Once upon a time, law students were taught principles like fairness, reasonableness and courtesy. In some corners of the practice, collegiality and measured discourse still predominate. But woe to the law student considering a career that touches on politics or public service, especially if they are conservative.
No matter your worthy accomplishments or achievements, no matter your character or kindness, the Left has it in for you because of what you stand for.
I experienced this recently, as I’ll discuss in a future column in great detail. But let’s start with the just-concluded fight over adding the citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
Wait, the citizenship census question fight isn’t over, at least according to the ACLU!
Indeed, despite the president pulling the plug on the citizenship question – oh, is that an insider’s tale yet to be told – citizenship question foes aren’t content to declare victory and move onto their next effort to undermine our elections. They need to satisfy their lust for personal destruction, and this time the target is Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Gore.
Gore, you see, is the author of a letter from the DOJ Civil Rights Division to the Secretary of Commerce asking for the citizenship question to aid Voting Rights Act enforcement. Gore was right, and Chief Justice Roberts and the majority were wrong, for reasons described amply in this brief. Gore’s letter made the purely uncontroversial observation that having better data produces better enforcement of the Voting Rights Act.
And for this, Gore must go. Not quietly, either.
The ACLU has filed motions asking for the federal court hearing the seemingly finished case to keep it open so they can conduct lawfare on Gore. They want the power to drill into their conspiracy theory that Gore was part of a conspiracy to undermine Hispanic voters. They want sanctions against him personally. Dale Ho at the ACLU is on a crusade against Gore. He would like to dig up anything that he can use against Gore to smear and punish him for opposing the ACLU litigation agenda. The ACLU wants to conduct more discovery so they can create more narrative and raise more alarms, and of course, raise more money.
One thing I have learned about the Left’s lawfare tactics is that it doesn’t matter what the facts are, they will construct a story out of a discovery record that suits their destructive aims.
One thing I have learned about the Right is that they don’t defend their friends the way the Left does.
Gore deserves a swarm of articles and letters of support defending him. He didn’t do anything wrong. But all too frequently, some oh-so-respected lawyers on the Right flee from the sound of the guns because they don’t want to be within 100 yards of something “controversial.” It might dirty their white shoes and prevent them from being published in the Washington Post.
The Left’s new approach to personal destruction through lawfare doesn’t stop with just one conservative target in the Justice Department. It’s across the board. It was aimed at Andrew Breitbart. It’s aimed still at James O’Keefe. It was aimed at conservatives in Wisconsin like Eric O’Keefe, who dared exercise their First Amendment rights. It’s aimed at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Mark Steyn for questioning climate change data, and more. It is aimed at most everybody who fights for election integrity and against voter fraud.
That’s why the Left filed twelve lawsuits to stop the work of President Trump’s election integrity commission on which I served. The stakes were too high to let it continue. Documenting voter fraud undercuts too much of their dogma.
If you ever end up in court against this gang, hope the courtroom has lots of chairs. I watched a bailiff in one federal court bring in extras because the other side had so many lawyers, a dozen chairs at counsel table wasn’t enough. They have all the money in the world to harass conservatives with whom they disagree.
They are no longer content with the ends justifying the means as their approach to litigation.
Now it’s the means justifying the means.
The means are smears,—destruction and furious demonization—and are the entire purpose of the litigation in the first place. The pain is the process. You can’t get funding on the Left unless the means justify the means. It’s Alinsky, Rule 9.
This is what happened to Clarence Thomas, and indeed we may have seen the genesis of the tactic in 1991. Stopping Thomas from becoming a Supreme Court Justice was, of course, an end to his ritual defamation by the Left. But mostly the means were the end.
The means that turned Thomas’ foes giddy were personal destruction and consignment to oblivion for daring to be a black man who not only had conservative views, but called the Left out for what they were with a degree of understanding and sophistication that was far too dangerous. The means, their tactics, are what really gave his foes their rush. They lusted at watching his possible destruction, his disappearance. They were smiling inside and out as they flogged him.
They were just getting started back in 1991 when they tried to destroy Clarence Thomas.
Hanging in my office is the framed commission of my appointment by President Trump to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. Next to this framed document is another framed document, a full-page New York Times advertisement attacking me, Hans von Spakovsky, Ken Blackwell and Kris Kobach as “vote suppressors” appointed by President Trump to the Commission. The New York Times told me it would cost $250,000 to run a full-page Sunday advertisement. I delight in the fact that the People For the American Way blew a quarter-million dollars on a false smear.
The framed advertisement reminds me every day who the modern Left is. Nasty. Dishonest. Destructive. Inhuman.
Naturally the term “vote suppression” is a phony term not found in any statute or code. Any election integrity measures like voter ID or even voter registration are “vote suppression” to them. If you aren’t in favor of their radical agenda to transform elections into a no-registration, no-border free-for-all, you are a vote suppressor and deserve threats and annihilation. Street trials on MSNBC to follow.
Poor Kris Kobach. I recently saw him on CNN earnestly trying to convince the barely-watched Chris Cuomo that he was right about an issue having nothing to do with Kris Kobach.
I was reminded of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn when he was confronted by a prisoner in the Gulag who was certain of his innocence, and if he could just talk to the right people, he could convince them that he didn’t belong there. Solzhenitsyn told him, they aren’t interested in talking, they don’t care to debate your ideas, “they are interested in your destruction.”
So we have entered a new phase in our history, where one side seeks to vanish the other’s ideas. It’s an old tactic, and thank God himself that the proponents haven’t enjoyed the full arsenal of tools their ideological ancestors enjoyed. It’s times like this you really appreciate America’s founders and realize the importance of the first two amendments to the Constitution.
This is a dangerous thing. There are many reasons why America is more divided in 2019 than it was in 1990. Internet news silos, forced cultural agendas, and social media anonymity are among them. But some things overlooked are the hundreds of millions of dollars the left has spent to use the courts and legal process as a way to transform the country outside of normal political and legislative channels, and the associated personal destruction campaigns in these lawsuits.
The Left – and that now certainly includes Dale Ho at the ACLU – is using legal process to settle scores, to cause pain to opponents that they once could only touch with free speech. Eventually, the targets of their Alinsky lawfare tactics will run out of patience and goodwill for a system that too often is tolerating bad behavior, abuse of process and injustice. If the worm turns, it will be a very sad and very, very ugly time.