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Bob McDonnell Uses Felon Voting Policy to Dodge Prison

January 5th, 2015 - 8:26 pm

Former Virginia Governor and convicted felon Bob McDonnell has converted his public policies supporting automatic felon voting rights into his effort to avoid federal prison. In federal court filings running many hundreds of pages, McDonnell has submitted hundreds of letters from individuals seeking leniency from United States District Judge James R. Spencer. These letters repeatedly cite McDonnell’s support for automatic felon voting rights.

Spencer is set to sentence McDonnell on January 6. He faces upwards of 10 years in prison for his public corruption convictions.

During his term as governor, McDonnell overrode the wishes of the Virginia legislature and initiated a policy to automatically restore felon voting rights. Restoration of felon voting rights is a top priority of Democrats because felons empirically vote for Democrats by overwhelming proportions. Apart from the partisan benefits to Democrats, automatic restoration of felon voting rights has numerous policy problems, including the fact that an individualized (instead of automatic) review of a felon’s restoration of rights application ensures a more fair process. (PJ Media covered McDonnell’s adoption of Democrat/George Soros felon voting objectives here, here and here.)

Under federal sentencing guidelines, McDonnell may submit letters regarding his character to help him avoid prison. A review of the hundreds of pages of letters by PJ Media include many heartwarming stories of McDonnell’s character, including his trip to New Orleans to help rebuild after Katrina. They also include a touching story of McDonnell reaching out to the family of a young runner who died during a race.

McDonnell drives a Ferrari

McDonnell drives a Ferrari

But the hundreds of letters also provide accidental context to the prosecution’s case against McDonnell as well as insight into the political traits of the former governor.  The letters are mostly from political appointees of McDonnell, campaign staffers, political donors, recipients of appointments to state boards, political figures and others who received favors from McDonnell over the years. McDonnell was convicted of using public office for personal gain. The hundreds of letters are intended to help McDonnell avoid federal prison.

A deep strain of incredulity also runs through the letters. Numerous authors plainly doubt the validity of McDonnell’s conviction. One such author in denial is Dorothy Jaeckle, an elected official in Chesterfield County.

McDonnell “is in no possible way a felon,” Jaeckle wrote to Judge Spence.  On September 4, 2014, McDonnell was convicted of eleven felony counts by a jury.

Jaeckle

Click to enlarge.

The letters also reveal that McDonnell took private positions defending President Obama when many of his Republican attorney’s general colleagues voiced opposition to President Obama.

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George Stinney was not “exonerated”

December 22nd, 2014 - 5:13 am

Death penalty foes are making much of some unconventional legal process in South Carolina related to an execution seventy years ago.  The 1944 conviction of 14-year old George Stinney was set aside by a South Carolina Circuit Judge Carmen Mullen.  Stinney was convicted and executed for the murder of two girls in 1944.  Stinney is the youngest person executed in the United States.

Death penalty foes are forever in search of the innocent who was executed.  It helps their narrative that the death penalty is inherently flawed.  In the case of George Stinney, it helps their narrative that the death penalty is inherently flawed, and racist.

It is the media coverage, however, on the South Carolina ruling that is flawed.  Nearly all of it presents the court’s decision as if it reviewed the evidence and “exonerated” Stinney of the murder.  The court did no such thing.  This blog has a more detailed description of the procedural posture of the case.

In short, the movants were seeking to have Stinney’s guilty verdict vacated because the police didn’t use procedures which became constitutional minimums decades after the 1944 trial.  For example, the Supreme Court recently ruled that minors cannot be executed.  Thus, Stinney’s 1944 execution would have been invalid under 2014 procedural rules.

The movants filed a Writ of Coram Nobis.  This writ seeks merely to set aside the conviction, not exonerate the defendant.

That pesky fact doesn’t stop blogs like Wonkette from blasting the headline: Judge Exonerates 14-Year-Old Black Boy 70 Years Later. Execution Harder To Reverse.

Wonkette is in familiar territory being wrong.  Stinney was not exonerated.  He was not found “innocent.”

These errors help fuel a favorite left wing narrative, one heard in places like Ferguson: the criminal justice system is illegitimate and structurally racist.  Stinney, they would have readers believe, was an innocent child framed for the murder of white females by a racist southern system.

stinney

No articles I’ve seen make mention of the fact that Stinney was heard threatening to kill girls before girls were, indeed, killed.  One eyewitness also saw Stinney talking to the victims in the same place he made threats to kill other girls.  (Watch the video of an eyewitness who heard Stinney’s threat to kill girls.) This inconvenient fact provides strong circumstantial evidence of murderous intent.  Moreover, few of the articles mention that Stinney made three separate confessions to the murder.  Sure, crow about Gideon all you want.  But Gideon only became the law 18 years after Stinney was convicted.  Nearly every criminal conviction in the history of the United States before 1962 is subject to being vacated under this theory.

When you learn that the evidence of Stinney’s threats and his three confessions were introduced as evidence at trial, the conviction doesn’t seem quite so outlandish.  The execution of a 14-year old does not conform to modern jurisprudential standards, but the law doesn’t operate to review convictions 50, 70, 100 years in the past using modern standards.

Perhaps South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson will appeal.  I doubt the South Carolina Supreme Court wants to see a parade of litigants seeking to reverse the criminal convictions of thousands of relatives long dead.

Wickedness has darkened this season of lights in Brooklyn.  It is no surprise or accident that a ghoul like Ismaaiyl Brinsley bathed himself in messages of hate, racial division and anger and then chose to destroy lives.  But Brinsley wasn’t alone in his racially soaked hatred of the police.

For starters, a mob has Brinsley’s back.  This seemingly disconnected mob has been on the prowl in the months since America learned of Ferguson, Missouri.  They’ve smashed up windows of banks in Berkeley, burned up bakeries in Ferguson, and looted, burned, shot, robbed and killed across the nation.  But such mobs are really never disconnected, are they?

When a mob led by Al Sharpton chants on the streets of New York City they want “dead cops,” people should expect dead cops.  The clapping and laughing at the crime scene in Brooklyn as well as the happy-it-happened racialist venom on Twitter leave no doubt that the mob has Brinsley’s back.

Brinsley

Brinsley

Three years ago, we saw similar mobs rampage across London after a police officer used legal and justified deadly force against a drug-dealing gangster who likely was armed. To the London mobs, Mark Duggan’s race explained the police use of deadly force.

Fire, just as in Ferguson, was the London mob’s favored weapon. The London mob burned down dreams and destroyed lives, as Brinsley did in Brooklyn. The House of Reeves in Croydon, a furniture store which survived even Hitler’s blitz seventy years earlier, burned to ash.

But fire returned to London and accomplished what even Hitler couldn’t.

House of Reeves Burns in 2011

House of Reeves burns in 2011

Unfortunately, the line separating mayhem and a peaceable kingdom can be a thin one indeed.  Across the tide of time, the destruction and violence of the wicked is a far more common human experience than what we in the West have come to expect.

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Attorney General Eric Holder has issued an edict, through a memorandum, that cross dressing and transsexualism is now protected under federal civil rights laws which were designed to protect women from sex discrimination. Existing federal law provides no statutory support for treating cross-dressers and transsexuals as the law treats female victims of discrimination.

This means that the Justice Department could now, for example, consider the decision by a school or church to not hire a transvestite as a violation of federal law.

Holder ordered that the Department of Justice will stop making arguments in litigation suggesting that transgender people are not covered by Title VII, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in employment.

Holder’s memo says that “sex” under Title VII doesn’t only now pertain to sex discrimination. To Holder and his army of DOJ lawyers, federal law now prohibits discrimination based on transgender status, including discrimination “because an employee’s gender identification is of a particular sex, or because the employee is transitioning, or has transitioned to another sex.” The memo says that “the Department will no longer assert that Title VII’s prohibition against discrimination based on sex does not encompass gender identity per se (including transgender discrimination).”

DOJ lawyers have enormous power to bring civil rights cases against entities ranging from local government to school districts. The DOJ must also defend the federal government against discrimination claims brought by federal employees. In lawsuits involving federal employees, DOJ has in the past advanced the sound legal axiom that Title VII does not provide protection for transgender workers.

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Holder bases his edict on a federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruling that transvestites and transsexuals are protected by federal law from discrimination against their cross-dressing gender-switching behavior. A ruling from the EEOC has no jurisprudential effect and no binding authority on the Department of Justice. Had the case been decided by the Supreme Court or another federal court of appeals, Holder’s decision would have had more merit.

The EEOC is not entitled to deference, and certainly no deference on a ruling so far outside the law. The Holder Justice Department has bullied school districts that prohibited boys in high school from dressing in drag as part of a school dress code. In New York, one male student came to school dressed in a mini skirt, stilettos and a pink wig. As I described in Injustice, Holder’s DOJ took action:

The school district was forced to pay the transvestite-child $50,000, pay for counseling services with a psychiatrist specializing in “gay, bisexual and transgender youth issues,” hire an expert to review the school’s “gender expression” programs, and hire a second expert to conduct annual training on “gender identity and gender expression” discrimination. In short, the DOJ rolled the school district. Obviously, the school district’s lawyer, unlearned in the lawless proclivities of the Civil Rights Division, recommended this complete capitulation and settlement terms far beyond what the law required. The final consent decree appears to contain only one provision requested by the school district: an agreement not to mention any employee’s name. Then again, perhaps that’s the best that can be hoped for when the plaintiff is largely inventing the legal rules.

Over 200 Democrat legislators think it requires an act of Congress to change discrimination law so radically, and they are right. That’s why H.R. 1755 was introduced in Congress with scores of co-sponsors. That’s how our legal system works. The fact that this bill was introduced, and has not passed, highlights the lawlessness of Holder’s edict.  When someone wants to expand protected classes under civil rights laws, Congress passes a new law. That’s how it works in America. But in the age of Obama, lawlessness is the quicker, more expedient way to impose the views of the outvoted minority onto the rest of the country.

Shutdown Fairy Tales

December 15th, 2014 - 9:57 am

With the passage of a $1.1 trillion spending bill that fails to defund President Obama’s immigration amnesty plan (as promised), it seems many Republicans still believe in Beltway fairy tales. If President Obama had shut down the government by vetoing an appropriations bill that didn’t fund the president’s amnesty plan, so the fairy tale goes, Republicans would be blamed and damaged politically.

There’s just one problem with this fairy tale: the 2014 election results.

Nobody blamed Republicans for a shutdown in 2013, and nobody cared. The Washington establishment fears big bad shutdowns because they illustrate to the rest of the country that they can get along just fine without Washington.

I never saw a United States Park Service vehicle until the day I saw federal employees putting up barricades to block parking spaces on the George Washington Parkway during the last government shutdown. It was shutdown theater. Nobody blamed Republicans. Nobody cared.

That’s the real reason the Washington establishment fears a shutdown. Government shutdowns illustrate how inessential Washington is to the lives of ordinary Americans.

Capture

As my former Justice Department colleague Hans von Spakovsky pointed out in August 2013 when a similar funding fight over Obamacare was looming, leaders in the House majority were misreading their own party’s political history:

Speaker John Boehner warned that a defunding amendment might lead to a government shutdown and then reportedly reminded the Republicans of the supposed political backlash over the government shutdowns in 1995-96.

Remember 1996? That was when four networks dominated the news cycle and almost nobody used the internet for information. Back then, Matt Drudge was bundling the latest headlines on Usenet to a whopping 50,000 readers.

Even in that obsolete media environment, the shutdown didn’t hurt Republicans, and helped the country. Those 1990s shutdowns resulted from budget fights between Pres. Bill Clinton and Speaker Newt Gingrich, who was trying to bring down the budget deficit, a noble and principled endeavor.

In fact, in the presidential election of 1996 in which voters rejected Republican Bob Dole and reelected Bill Clinton, Republicans only lost eight seats – the first time Republicans had maintained their majority control of the House of Representatives in almost 70 years. They actually gained two seats in the Senate in spite of a Democratic presidential incumbent. Better yet, the federal government was restrained by the GOP’s principled stand.

Out of these positive events, a dark fairy tale emerged, one that still haunts the GOP congressional leadership.

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Media Silence on Lena Dunham Rape Questions

December 8th, 2014 - 8:52 am

If you needed any more proof of media bias, Google Lena Dunham. About the only news hits you’ll see go to John Nolte’s blistering investigative reporting on dubious parts of Dunham’s allegations of rape published at Breitbart (Powerline also has this piece). Apart from a single Washington Post mention, Dunham’s dubious story of her rape at Oberlin College by a college Republican (naturally) is nowhere to be found in any legacy news outlet, particularly those that have spent the last few years fawning over her.

To recap: Dunham’s new book has a detailed story of date rape by one “Barry,” whom she identifies as a well-known college Republican on campus. Not only did this Barry purportedly rape her, but he also was a serial rapist, including gruesome scenes of bloody violence committed against other Oberlin College students.

He’s the kind of fellow who should be in prison. But Nolte reports that Dunham doesn’t seem too interested in putting him there.

John Nolte spent a great deal of time on Oberlin’s campus, reviewing records which would touch on the credibility of Dunham’s Barry account, and Nolte found enough holes in Dunham’s story to qualify her to write for Rolling Stone.

Of course, few reviewers of Dunham’s potentially libelous new bestseller have had much to say.

Katy Waldman, who told us at Slate of Dunham’s “not-entirely-consensual encounter in college,” has been silent. Michiko Kakutani reviewed Dunham’s tale for the New York Times, and said Dunham “has written a book that’s as acute and heartfelt as it is funny.”

Perhaps Dunham’s book is heartfelt and funny — unless you happen to be Barry, and Dunham’s rape story is entirely fabricated.

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After Nolte began digging deeper into Dunham’s story some weeks ago, Barry-the-accused has powered up for possible libel litigation against Dunham. I won’t mention Barry’s full name anymore than I will provide a link to Dunham’s book, but anyone with a search engine can figure out who Barry is.

And that’s the problem for Dunham. Barry has set up a legal fund to pay for any action against Dunham.

The fact that Barry needs to ask for money exposes yet another irony of the entertainment/media/liberal alliance. Shirley Sherrod didn’t need to go hat-in-hand to scrounge up money to bring her libel case against Andrew Breitbart and Larry O’Connor, and now Andrew Breitbart’s widow. Oh no, that libel lawsuit is being handled by a big law firm, for free.

In some quarters it’s fashionable to run in the race-agitator crowd. It’s also fashionable to play in the fashionable feminist HBO scene, especially with Dunham’s innuendo-filled politics.

In Manhattan’s publishing industry, where magazines like Glamour, Vogue, and Marie Claire treat Dunham as some sickening combination of Madonna and Rosa Parks, there is probably hardly a soul aware that Nolte has wrecked Dunham’s story.

Even if a few are aware, truth and falsehood in those quarters comes by the identity of the speaker.  If conservative new media wrecks Dunham’s veracity, it will take weeks for the New York publishing world to acknowledge it, if then.

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James O’Keefe has filed an ethics complaint with various bar associations against Department of Justice Civil Rights attorney Karla Dobinski and three others arising out of a prosecution of police officers in New Orleans.

PJ Media has covered Karla Dobinski’s ethical misconduct here and here.

Dobinski was in charge of the taint team in the prosecution of New Orleans polices officers on civil rights charges in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The taint team was responsible for protecting the constitutional rights of the accused police officers. It was responsible for ensuring that evidence obtained in the local internal affairs investigation did not make its way into the criminal prosecution.

Judge Kurt Engelhardt called the DOJ attorney misconduct “grotesque.” Despite that, Dobinski is still employed by the Criminal Section in the Civil Rights Division, the same component which is investigating the police in Ferguson, Missouri.

Dobinski is also at the very top of the federal payscale, making in excess of $155,000 despite having engaged in grotesque misconduct.

Dobinski is a member of both the Wisconsin and District of Columbia bars. If either bar takes action against her, it is likely the other bar will follow. For example, if Dobinski were disbarred in Wisconsin for her behavior in the New Orleans police prosecution, she would likely be disbarred by the D.C. Bar.

An attorney general nominee will soon have to answer questions in confirmation hearings. One question that must be asked is whether it is wise to keep lawyers employed at the Justice Department who engaged in “grotesque” unethical conduct in the prosecution of police officers, especially when the nation is now alerted to pending matters in Ferguson and Staten Island.

Here is the new O’Keefe video describing the bar complaints against the DOJ lawyers:

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Marching Down New Black Panther Memory Lane

December 3rd, 2014 - 8:06 am

The New Black Panthers can’t stay out of the news, mostly because the Obama administration continues to behave so strangely when they come calling. The latest example is the oddly thin indictment on federal gun charges against two members of the anti-Semitic and anti-white hate group, when so much more seemed possible. Let’s recap.

Local St. Louis media reported that St. Louis police were investigating two New Black Panthers who sought to assassinate law enforcement officials in Ferguson as well as the local district attorney. The reports also indicated that they sought to use explosive devices against the St. Louis Gateway Arch. After this story, I opined here that the charges should be federal domestic terrorism charges, not state-level charges.

And voila! We have a thin two-page indictment against them on basic illegal gun purchasing charges. As Bill Gertz’s piece points out:

The soft treatment for activities that normally would have brought federal terrorism charges appears to be part of efforts by Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department to “go soft” on the racist group, according to former Justice official J. Christian Adams.

That’s odd. But what is odder still is how it seems a local St. Louis police investigation has been smothered, overtaken, and downplayed. When Gertz called the local police for comment, they referred him to the U.S. attorney in St. Louis. Normally, local officials don’t punt to the feds on a local investigation.

Then, when Gertz called the U.S. attorney, he was told he had to call the Office of Public Affairs in Washington. These are the professional, politicized press flunkies for Holder. When Gertz asked if more charges would be issued, he got no answers.

Remember, when the same Justice Department indicted Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, the indictment ran dozens and dozens of pages. The facts were laid bare. But McDonnell is a Republican, and the New Black Panthers, shall we say, are not.

Why did Washington absorb what started as a state case, and then downplay it?

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Flames of Ferguson Illuminate Age of Obama

November 25th, 2014 - 8:13 am

When history remembers the Obama administration, the flames of Ferguson will light up our memories. It wasn’t just an AutoZone and Jade Nails burning up in the fires of Ferguson, it was also the “Hope” of 2008 going up in smoke.

Instead of hope, the age of Obama has been characterized by racial division and discord.

Obama and Holder commanded the police to behave themselves. The police behaved, and look what happened.

Last week, members of the New Black Panther Party were arrested by state officials for plotting to use pipe bombs against the St. Louis Gateway Arch and for purchasing guns in a plot to kill as many policemen as possible.

Notice it was state officials who made the arrests. The Washington Times had a no-longer-surprising quote from an Obama administration official characterizing the plot to blow up the arch and kill (presumably) white police officers as “not a serious threat.”

Why do avoidable subplots involving the New Black Panthers keep shadowing this president? From the time he marched with them in Selma in 2007, to this past weekend, there has been a strange ambivalence toward their racially soaked radicalism.

Why would an administration official say anything to downplay a gun and bomb charge against New Black Panthers? Better yet, why didn’t the Justice Department bring their own domestic terrorism charges against these New Black Panthers?

Critics will say all these questions about the administration coddling the New Black Panther Party are getting old and tiresome, and I wholeheartedly agree.

Obama and Holder stoked division, strife and anger in Ferguson, culminating in last night’s violence.

Sure, President Obama called for calm in Ferguson. But that was after the damage was done. Calls for calm came after Attorney General Eric Holder tripped the time bomb during his visit to Ferguson by meeting with activists and agitators and assuring them the administration was on their side against the police.

When Holder complained about the police, when Obama talked about problems with policing in the United States, everyone understood the administration’s loyalties.

President Obama’s call for calm in Ferguson provided the administration deniability that the administration bore any responsibility for the riots, even after Holder flooded the zone with swarms of FBI agents and Civil Rights Division lawyers to investigate the police.

The Obama administration led their legions to believe that if Officer Wilson was not charged, it was due to racial injustice, racial injustice Obama would help remedy one way or another. Holder and Obama made the protesters think their cause was just and correct.

It was no accident that President Obama named Vanita Gupta acting head of the Civil Rights Division weeks ago. Gupta is beloved by the radical left for her militant hostility toward law enforcement officers. It’s why another Justice Department lawyer, Karla Dobinski, who illegally railroaded police officers in Louisiana, still hasn’t been fired.

Today, Holder announced that a federal criminal investigation will be ongoing. Holder is barely telling the truth.

Here’s some news that I suspect the mainstream media will ignore. My sources familiar with what is happening on the ground in Ferguson say DOJ Criminal Section lawyers have been encamped in Missouri. Nevertheless, sources familiar with the federal process say federal charges are very unlikely due to lack of evidence of a crime by Officer Darren Wilson.

Yet Holder will maintain the charade that federal civil rights charges might yet come.

Maintaining the pretense of an expensive investigation, too, is another dual message. Just like calling for calm while stoking the protests, prolonging the promise of a federal indictment against Officer Wilson keeps the folks energized on the side of the administration. Obama will use their anger, for example, to implement anti-police policies at the Justice Department while he outlasts the short memories of the protesters.

After all, the folks firebombing the AutoZone probably don’t spend much time watching cable news.

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This is the same game Holder has played with George Zimmerman the last two years. Activists, like the New Black Panthers, hold out hope that Zimmerman will eventually face federal civil rights charges. Meanwhile, sources with direct knowledge have told me that FBI agents have repeatedly told FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Eric Holder that there is no federal civil rights case to be made against Zimmerman.

But the phony Zimmerman “investigation” rolls on. Karla Dobinski’s Criminal Section at DOJ is still trolling for tips at Sanford.Florida@usdoj.gov.

So why doesn’t Holder announce the Zimmerman case is closed? The answer is obvious, and the same sick storyline may play out in Ferguson.

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Obama, Our Modern John C. Calhoun

November 20th, 2014 - 7:04 am

One of the ideas that plunged America into the bloody Civil War was the belief that federal laws could be nullified by those who disagree with them. Senator John C. Calhoun of South Carolina was a chief proponent of the doctrine that Southern states could nullify federal laws if states disagreed with them. In announcing a lawless amnesty edict tonight, President Obama is our modern John C. Calhoun.

Elementary school civics class has taught the same thing for two hundred years: Congress makes the laws, the president enforces the laws, the judiciary interprets the laws. The reason this is so is because individual liberty thrives when government is hobbled by division of power. People live better lives when federal power is stymied.

When President Obama announces that he will be suspending laws to bless the illegal presence of millions of foreigners in the United States, he will have adopted the most basic philosophy of John C. Calhoun: some laws can be tossed aside because his ends justify the lawlessness.

John C. Calhoun

John C. Calhoun

Make no mistake about why Obama wants millions of foreigners to remain in the United States. He told us exactly why in 2008: he aims to “fundamentally transform” America.

One way to transform America is to import populations with cultural and legal traditions foreign to American traditions. Central and South America has a cultural tradition of instability in government, of graft, corruption, and civil strife. People from those countries bring an expectation that the systems are rigged against them, because oftentimes they are.

Obama wants to transform America by transforming who Americans are. Even if these millions are not granted the right to vote (immediately), their children, yet unborn, will be granted it by virtue of being natural-born citizens. Obama is playing the long game.

Obama learned the history of the 20th century: when radical statists take power quickly, openly, and brazenly, Americans will stand in the breach. Whether on the blazing beaches of Saipan, in the Ardennes snow, or in dark alleys in Bucharest, Americans will risk it all. But Americans are less familiar with a slow-moving threat to American values. The long game isn’t as recognizable to us.

The long game is what Putin plays in Eastern Europe, what radical Islam plays everywhere, and what Obama now plays domestically with amnesty. Obama just had to reach back and borrow some ideas from one of the most vociferous defenders of Southern slavery, and nullify laws he took an oath to enforce.

Take some comfort in this: executives acting lawlessly is a transgression as old as human history.  Charles I similarly ignored the law when he went so far as to dissolve a Parliament with which he disagreed. When he started running out of money to conduct his wars with France and Spain, he violated Magna Carta by imposing a forced loan on the monarchs without the consent of Parliament.

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