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Archive for the ‘Judicial Nominees’ Category

During Amy Coney-Barrett’s confirmation, Dianne Feinstein and Al Franken did something offensive. They questioned Prof. Barrett’s faith. Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber sent a letter to Sen. Charles Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking member of the Committee.

First, a little background is required. During her questioning, Sen. Feinstein stated “When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for, for years in this country.” Sen. Feinstein’s mention of dogma refers to Prof. Barrett’s Catholic faith.

According to Princeton University President Eisgruber’s statement, that’s off-limits. In his letter, President Eisgruber said “I write, as a university president and a constitutional scholar with expertise on religious freedom and judicial appointments, to express concern about questions addressed to Professor Amy Barrett during her confirmation hearings and to urge that the Committee on the Judiciary refrain from interrogating nominees about the religious or spiritual foundations of their jurisprudential views. Article VI of the United States Constitution provides explicitly that ‘no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.'”

Sen. Feinstein has been a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee for years. There’s no reason for her not to know that part of the Constitution. In fact, I’d be surprised if Sen. Feinstein didn’t just ignore Article VI. It isn’t an accident that our institutions aren’t functioning properly. When politicians like Sen. Franken and Sen. Feinstein ignore constitutional protections to drive their obstructionist agenda, everyone suffers.

Sen. Feinstein essentially said that she’s skeptical that devout Christians are capable of serving in government. That is a religious test, which the Constitution prohibits. In principle, that isn’t any different than Republicans disqualifying people who don’t take their faith seriously.

Feinstein and Franken are ignoring the Constitution that they swore to uphold. That makes them unfit for the offices they hold.

It isn’t surprising that Sen. Al Franken criticized a Trump judicial nominee. What’s surprising is that his criticism is based on information supplied by the Southern Poverty Law Center, aka SPLC. According to the article, Sen. Franken “tried to tie one of President Trump’s judicial nominees to a “hate group” Wednesday, saying the woman’s decision to speak at an event sponsored by Alliance Defending Freedom, a religious liberty law firm, makes her unfit to sit on a federal appeals court.”

During Wednesday night’s show of The Five, Greg Gutfeld demolished the SPLC, saying “You ever heard the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)? They’re a hard left outfit that loves to label people as extremists. Their ever-growing list seems to defame everyone. Ben Carson, he’s an extremist. Rand Paul. They called Maajid Nawaz an anti-Muslim extremist and get this, he’s a moderate Muslim battling religious extremism. It makes no sense. There’s [Ayaan] Hirsi Ali, a black feminist who protests against genital mutilation. SPLC placed her name and a guy to anti-Muslim extremists. So that’s extreme, to be against genital mutilation?”

Later, Gutfeld said this:

But that’s not the funny part. It’s the money. This poverty center has loads of it. A $320 million endowment and chucks almost 20% of it into offshore equities. Cayman Island stuff. I don’t understand it. So this poverty group sits on a pile of offshore dough. That’s like a personal trainer with a gut. Or a priest with a harem. The Center paid out $20 million in salaries in 2015 but provided just 61 grants in legal assistance. So the Southern Poverty Law Center appears to have no poverty and do virtually no law.

Actually, I’d argue that the SPLC is just another Democrat front group that’s used to criticize people that Democrats disagree with. Then there’s this:

Michael Farris, president of ADF, bristled at the charge, and said seven of the Supreme Court’s justices agreed with ADF’s position in a case earlier this year about state funds used for a church playground. “As a member of Congress, Sen. Franken needs to fact-check before parroting discredited attacks by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a once-proud civil rights organization that is now a left-wing smear machine known to incite violence,” said Mr. Farris.

It’s rich to hear Sen. Franken citing the SPLC as though they were an upstanding, ethical organization. They’re nothing of the sort. Sen. Franken is an ill-informed hyperpartisan bombthrower. What he isn’t is a man that’s intellectually capable of a committee assignment on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Anyone that’d cite the SPLC as an impartial arbiter of justice isn’t the brightest bulb in a chandelier.

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Scott Johnson’s latest post on Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar blocking the confirmation of Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals is informative in that it show how dishonest Franken and Klobuchar are. It also highlights how corrupt the Twin Cities media is.

Speaking to the latter, Scott writes “I have done my best to bring to light the machinations involved in the blocking of the Stras nomination. Wheels are in spin. The story is of interest to many Minnesota citizens of different stripes, yet it has received virtually no coverage in the Star Tribune or the Minnesota media. The story is also of interest to a national audience following the Minnesota senators, each of whom has big plans for the future. From the perspective of their aspirations, Justice Stras is a bit player.”

It isn’t a secret that both Klobuchar and Franken see themselves as part of a national ticket in the next couple of elections. That they see themselves that way is why the Twin Cities media is doing their best to protect them from being called obstructionists.

To the former, Scott writes “Senator Klobuchar has carved a niche projecting an aura of bipartisan good feelings that conceals pure partisan hackery. As I think our coverage has demonstrated, the Stras nomination presents a powerful case in point, several times over.”

This weekend, I saw a liberal pundit address the Stras nomination on At Issue. This pundit tried justifying the Stras nomination obstructionism by saying (I’m paraphrasing this) Republicans blocked a Supreme Court nominee from even getting a hearing. This pundit was talking about Merrick Garland’s nomination. I’d just argue that Republicans didn’t attempt to hide their strategy.

They announced that they weren’t going to give him a hearing and they said why they were employing this strategy. Compare that with the secrecy that St. Amy of Hennepin County and Sen. Stuart Smalley, my nicknames for Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Franken, have operated under while obstructing Stras’s nomination.

Simply put, Franken is a political hatchetman who’s part of the Resistance Movement that’s done everything to obstruct everything that President Trump has tried doing to fix the mess that the Obama administration dumped into his lap.

Franken hasn’t done anything to pretend that he’s got Minnesota’s or the nation’s best interest at heart. Klobuchar is a political hack, too, though she has more political talent than Franken. They, along with Gov. Dayton, have gotten elected because people still think today’s DFL is like the party of Humphrey, Mondale and Wellstone.

The truth is that party disappeared years ago. Today’s DFL doesn’t represent farmers or laborers, the F and L in DFL. Farmers have abandoned the DFL in recent years, as evidenced by the fact that rural Minnesota is what’s helped Republicans regain the majority in both houses of the Minnesota legislature. Further, Hillary Clinton got buried in northern Minnesota, losing the Eighth District to President Trump by almost 60,000 votes.

It’s time for the Twin Cities media to prove that they’re professionals, not DFL activists. Thus far, I’ve seen little proof that they aren’t DFL activists.

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It’s indisputable that the Democratic Party is the party of identity politics. Scott Johnson’s post highlights the Democrats’ moral depravity by highlighting Sen. Franken’s and Sen. Klobuchar’s silent ‘filibuster’ of Justice David Stras.

In his post, Johnson wrote “On Thursday left-wing interest groups released a deeply dishonest 7-page letter opposing the confirmation of Justice Stras. The statement of these left-wing groups — Alliance for Justice, Courage Campaign, Every Voice, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Main Street Alliance, NAACP, NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Association of Social Workers, National Council of Jewish Women, National Education Association, People For the American Way, Service Employees International Union and Voting Rights Forward — lacks any individual signatory.” Whether it’s Sen. Franken or Sen. Klobuchar or other Democrats, they’re too sensitive to these special interests’ wish lists to pay attention to doing what’s best for their constituents. The last time Democrats did what their constituents wanted is years ago.

I remember writing something about PFAW, aka the People for the American Way, years ago. PFAW was instrumental in borking Judge Robert Bork. They were also instrumental in the “high tech lynching” that Justice Clarence Thomas spoke of. This exchange is still what PFAW is remembered for:

One of the things that Scott wrote about is the Twin Cities media. Saying that he’s disappointed with their performance is understatement. Here’s a portion of what Scott wrote:

Earlier this week I quoted Minnesota Senator Al Franken on his obstruction of the Senate consideration of the nomination of Justice David Stras to the Eighth Circuit: “I think we’re going to have a decision very soon.” That is a somewhat cryptic statement. What is he waiting for? If we had a free press operating in Minnesota, the obvious follow-up question would have been asked. Coverage of the blocking of the Stras nomination by Senators Franken and Klobuchar would be deep and continuing. As it is, nada.

Thanks to blogs like Powerline and commentaries like Harold Hamilton’s weekly commentaries, Minnesota conservatives are finding out what’s happening. They’re finding out what the Twin Cities media refuses to tell them.

It isn’t a stretch to think that the Twin Cities media won’t drive the coverage much longer. That’s bad news for dishonest politicians like Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar. They do best when their activities are kept in the shadows.

BTW, another name for identity politics is special interest politics. If Democrats continue catering to the special interests, they’ll continue losing, even in Minnesota, which used to be a blue state not that long ago.

Scott Johnson’s post on Al Franken’s obstructionist tactics might get Sen. Franken in trouble. It seems that Sen. Franken’s explanation on why he’s obstructing David Stras from getting a hearing doesn’t add up. Put differently, Sen. Franken might be lying.

According to Scott’s post, Sen. Franken’s standard reply to why Justice Stras hasn’t received a hearing is “Thank you for contacting me regarding the nomination of Justice David Stras to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. I appreciate hearing from you.

On May 8, 2017, President Donald Trump nominated Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras to fill a vacancy on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. As senator and a member of the Judiciary Committee, I have the responsibility to vet and vote on judicial nominees, and this is a responsibility that I take very seriously. I believe the record, experience, and philosophy of all nominees should be carefully scrutinized in order to fully evaluate them.

Justice David Stras is a committed public servant whose tenure as a professor at the University of Minnesota underscores how much he cares about the law. I am concerned, however, by the fact that Judge Stras’ nomination is the product of a process that relied heavily on guidance from far-right Washington, DC-based special interest groups–rather than through a committee made up of a cross-section of Minnesota’s legal community. As President Trump’s nominee to the Eighth Circuit, I am taking a close look at his record and his writings to better understand how he thinks about the important matters before our federal courts today.”

It’s time for Sen. Franken to tell the truth about this. According to this post, Stras has been a justice since 2010. President Trump nominated Justice Stras to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in early May, which means Justice Stras has, at most, 5-6 years worth of rulings to go through. As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, it shouldn’t take 4 months to read through Justice Stras’s rulings and form an opinion on those rulings.

Reading between the lines of Sen. Franken’s stock reply, it sounds more like Sen. Franken is holding this nomination up on purely ideological grounds. I’m betting that he isn’t willing to admit that in public. The line that tips this off is when Sen. Franken said “I am concerned, however, by the fact that Judge Stras’ nomination is the product of a process that relied heavily on guidance from far-right Washington, DC-based special interest groups.”

That’s BS. As Scott mentioned in his post, Stras is supported isn’t limited to conservatives. Stras is supported by people from across Minnesota’s political spectrum.

Sen. Franken is being a weasel. Here’s hoping Minnesota voters remember this when he’s up for re-election in 2020.

When KSTP’s Tom Hauser interviewed Sen. Klobuchar, (DFL-MN), Sunday morning, they discussed President Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. Like an actress reading from a script, Sen. Klobuchar said that Judge Garland is a moderate. That term is interesting because it’s empty. Being the inquisitive type, I sent Sen. Klobuchar a message for clarification. It read “Sen. Klobuchar, you told Tom Hauser that Judge Garland is a moderate. I understand what a political moderate is but I don’t know what a judicial moderate is. I’d appreciate it if you’d explain what your definition of a judicial moderate is. Further, if Judge Garland is a moderate, does that mean Justice Sotomayor and Justice Kagan are radicals or ideologues? I’d appreciate a quick, substantive reply.”

Sen. Klobuchar’s auto-response said “Thank you for taking the time to e-mail me. This is a confirmation that we have received your message. One of the most important parts of my job is listening to what the people of Minnesota have to say to me. I am here in our nation’s capital to do the public’s business on behalf of the people of our state. Please continue to visit my website at to follow what I am working on, both in Washington and Minnesota. It is frequently updated with current news and events regarding my work in the U.S. Senate. Additionally, many constituents ask about tracking the progress of legislation. One useful tool is to regularly check my website. Another resource I recommend is the Library of Congress legislative information website, I hope you find this information helpful. – Amy”

Since Sen. Klobuchar hasn’t explained what a judicial moderate is yet, I’ll rely on something that Dennis Prager wrote about Judge Garland:

In a column in The Wall Street Journal, Juanita Duggan, President and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business, wrote that Garland is so anti-small business and so pro-big labor, that “This is the first time in the NFIB’s 73-year-history that we will weigh in on a Supreme Court nominee.”

What worries the NFIB, she explains, is that “in 16 major labor decisions of Judge Garland’s that we examined, he ruled 16-0 in favor of the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board).”

Apparently, a judicial moderate sides with Big Labor 100% of the time. Forgive me if I don’t agree that that’s the definition of a moderate. Forgive me if I think that sounds more like a hardline leftist ideologue. Then there’s this:

Tom Goldstein wrote in the SCOTUSblog that Garland favors deferring to the decision-makers in agencies. “In a dozen close cases in which the court divided, he sided with the agency every time.”

Again, that sounds more like the definition of a leftist ideologue. It doesn’t sound like a centrist/moderate. This is worth checking out, too:

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After the Judiciary Committee’s confirmation on Goodwin Liu, Sen. Leahy made some assinine comments that are worth highlighting:

Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy. D-Vt., on Friday accused Republicans of applying a double standard in Liu’s case. He said that in the past he had supported GOP-selected conservative, activist court nominees after they pledged they would be impartial on the bench.

“I hope they will give the same credence to professor Liu’s assurances that he understands the proper role of a judge,” Leahy said. “I hope they will keep the same open mind kept by Democratic senators…I hope they will not apply a double-standard to this extraordinary nominee,” he added.

I’d love hearing Sen. Leahy’s definition of what a conservative activist justice is. I’m betting he’s refering to Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito. In his warped mind, I suspect that he thinks undoing the damage done by true activist judges is activism in its own right. He’s wrong if that’s what he thinks.

The reason he’s wrong if that’s what he’s thinking is because Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito literally apply the Constitution in making their rulings. That isn’t judicial activism. It’s what justices routinely did before progressives packed the courts with justices who thought of the Constitution as an impediment to their progressive agenda.

During Chief Justice Roberts’ confirmation hearing, Sen. Durbin asked him what assurances he could have that Chief Justice would “side with the little guy.” Chief Justice Roberts replied that “Every time the law is on the little guy’s side, I’ll rule in his favor.” I wish I would’ve seen a picture of the Democrats’ faces after hearing that answer.

What’s made the United States great was adhering to the belief that we’re “a nation of laws, not men.” Anytime that we don’t adhere to that principle, everyone suffers longterm. Either our rights protect everyone or they don’t protect anyone.

As for Sen. Leahy’s saying he hopes Republicans “will keep the same open mind kept by Democratic senators”,I hope for something just a little different. I hope that Republicans will remember the brass-knuckled tactics that the Democrats used in filibustering President Bush’s district court nominees.

Let’s remember that the Democrats argued that Chief Justice Roberts wasn’t qualified for the role of Chief Justice because he wasn’t experienced enough. Let’s remember that the reason his experience was shortened was because Democrats filibustered the confirmation of John Roberts. Isn’t that like kids that kill their parents, then beg the mercy of the court because they’re orphans?

To be fair, I understand how Sen. Leahy thinks that strict constructionist judges like Roberts, Alito, Scalia and Thomas are activist jurists. Sen. Leahy thinks it’s a revolutionary thing to actually adhere to the Constitution. In a way, he’s right. Found in that document are the principles that our Founding Fathers fought a revolutionary war over.

Think of it this way: Roberts, Alito, Scalia and Thomas all point to the genius of the Founding Fathers. That’s a good thing in the eyes of most people. To corrupt politicians like Sens. Leahy, Durbin, Specter and Schumer, that’s something to abolish.

The good news is that We The People have the final vote on Sens. Leahy, Durbin, Specter and Schumer this November. We won’t vote them all out of office but we will take away their authority by winning, winning and more winning.

We can’t afford senators that confirm make-the-rules-as-we-go-along judges. We can’t afford more of that type of activism.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Just when you thought Lindsey Graham couldn’t say something more clueless, he says something utterly clueless in an interview with Politico:

In an interview with POLITICO Thursday, the South Carolina Republican defended his decision to back Sotomayor by laying out a broad critique of conservative activists who push “ideological purity” and refuse to cooperate with a Democratic Congress and White House.

“If we chase this attitude…that you have to say ‘no’ to every Democratic proposal, you can’t help the president ever, you can’t ever reach across the aisle, then I don’t want to be part of the movement because it’s a dead-end movement,” Graham said.

“I have no desire to be up here in an irrelevant status. I’m smart enough to know that this country doesn’t have a problem with conservatives. It has a problem with blind ideology. And those who are ideological-driven to a fault are never going to be able to take this party back into relevancy.”

That’s the type of blather why I consider Sen. Graham the most intellectually lazy Republican in the Senate. The strawman argument that there are significant numbers of conservatives who insist that Republicans reflexively say no to “every Democratic proposal” shows how little Sen. Graham understands about the underpinnings of conservatism.

Conservative activists aren’t telling Graham to say no on the Sotomayor nomination just because it’s a Democratic proposal. Conservative activists are telling Graham to vote aginst Sotomayor because she hasn’t shown the proper respect for the Constitution, which means she’ll vote her ideology more than she’ll vote for liberty.

Why wouldn’t Graham vote against a judge whose votes will have more to do with her ideological underpinnings than with the Constitution? Let’s remember that Sen. Graham took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. Shouldn’t that oath be a code of honor, not just words that Sen. Graham mumbles so he can keep his membership in the elitist club of senators? Shouldn’t they be words that you passionately fight for?

Sen. Graham bemoans the fact that “you can’t ever reach across the aisle.” I’d love hearing Sen. Graham explain what the halfway point between protecting and defending the Constitution vs. ignoring the Constitution.

That’s we’re better off without unprincipled politicians like Sen. Graham, Charlie Crist and Arlen Specter. I can deal with principled men that I disagree with because there’s a rational starting point for a conversation. How do you build trust with someone that you don’t know what they believe in from minute to minute? Why would you even try to build a trust with someone who’s priorities are like shifting sand?

I disagreed with a number of things former Sen. Norm Coleman voted for. I enthusiastically supported him, though, because I knew he was a principled man who thought things through.

Sen. Graham said that “This country doesn’t have a problem with conservatives. It has a problem with blind ideology.” What he fails to understand is that unprincipled moderation is an ideology, too. In September, 2007, I wrote something called “Without a Vision, the People Perish.” Here’s what I wrote then:

Part of why we got whipped in 2006 is because every other GOP commercial only talked about how America wouldn’t like Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco values agenda. The GOP’s message didn’t inspire people to vote for GOP candidates. That’s also why funds trickled into the RNC, the NRSC and the NRCC in 2006. People were fed up with Republicans who didn’t act like Republicans. This year, the funds are trickling in again. The cure is in Republicans acting like Republicans. It’s also about them not worrying about tailoring their message to appeal to moderates.

That last premise was proved right in 2008 when squishy John McCain picked Sarah Palin. People understood that she wouldn’t tolerate corruption regardless of who the corrupt person was. They thrilled to the fact that she defeated corrupt members of her own party, then dealt with corrupt politicians on the opposite side of the aisle.

Most importantly, she had a vision for getting America going again.

Sen. Graham has been on my radar screen since the impeachment of President Clinton. In all that time, I’ve never detected a hint of a vision that Sen. Graham espouses.

Chris Chocola has it right:

Club for Growth president Chris Chocola says Graham “has it backwards.”

“It’s not about purity,” he said. “It’s about sticking to the fundamentals in order to build a sustainable majority. If you play a sport and you’re not performing well, you don’t say, “I have to try 10 new things.” You ask, “What are the fundamentals I’ve forgotten about?” The same thing is true in politics. If you’ve had a few bad cycles, what are the fundamentals you’re ignoring?”

That makes perfect sense. Joe Mauer had a rough patch prior to the All Star Game and the first couple games after. Thursday, Mauer was back to his old self, getting a couple hits, including his patented line sincle up the middle. Friday night, he hit home runs in his first two at-bats. His batting average is climbing because he’s stopped trying to pull the ball too often. He’s returned to Joe Mauer’s fundamentals.

When Reagan won in 1984, he didn’t get derailed from his principles. When Newt rode the revolution to the Speaker’s chair in 1994, Republicans promised that they’d pass an appealing agenda. In both those elections, we didn’t have a strategy for reaching out to moderates. We stood for time-tested principles, which moderates found appealing. It’s time we returned to that.
It’s time someone taught Sen. Graham a little bit about time-tested principles.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

The Supreme Court just overturned Judge Sotomayor’s ruling regarding a set of New Haven, CT firefighters:

The Supreme Court has ruled that white firefighters in New Haven, Conn., were unfairly denied promotions because of their race, reversing a decision that high court nominee Sonia Sotomayor endorsed as an appeals court judge.

New Haven was wrong to scrap a promotion exam because no African-Americans and only two Hispanic firefighters were likely to be made lieutenants or captains based on the results, the court said Monday in a 5-4 decision. The city said that it had acted to avoid a lawsuit from minorities.

The ruling could alter employment practices nationwide, potentially limiting the circumstances in which employers can be held liable for decisions when there is no evidence of intentional discrimination against minorities.

This ruling isn’t likely to keep Judge Sotomayor from becoming the next associate justice but it’s bound to open up a great line of questioning for Republicans serving on the Judiciary Committee. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask her what her reasoning was in reaching that ruling.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

This afternoon, Priscilla Lord-Faris was interviewed by King and Michael. Al Franken should be thankful that she didn’t get in earlier because he would’ve been toast. (More on that later.)

The first thing that came through loud and clear was that she wasn’t intimidated by the settings. Another thing that was obvious was that she’s a confident lady with a positive, albeit liberal, agenda. It’s obvious why Mr. Franken doesn’t want her at the FarmFest debate: She’d clean his clock. In fact, it’s clear that she’s Franken opposite. Whereas he’s a hardline ideologue, she’s a negotiator. Whereas Franken listens only to his far left brethren, she responded directly to King’s and Michael’s questions.

It’s also obvious that she’s still a liberal, though she’s more in the traditional Humphrey mold than today’s brash progressives. In that respect, she’s a proponent of Madeleine Albright, of talking with Iran “rather than rattling the sabres.” She’s also big into wind farms and other alternatives rather than drilling.

On the personal side, she talked about her brother’s heart illness and how that was her sole focus until he passed away. Though that was painful, she talked about that part of her life in a dignified way.

Had she not been focused on family issues, I think she would’ve been the DFL endorsed candidate.

While I admire her for granting this interview with King and Michael and while I thought she acquitted herself well, that doesn’t mean I’d ever vote for her. She sounded too much like she’s into the Democratic talk-for-the-sake-of-talking thing for my liking.

The other reason why I wouldn’t vote for her is Sen. Coleman. He’s an impressive legislator whose views are much closer to mine than are Lord-Faris’. Sen. Coleman is right on judges, Iraq, the GWOT, energy and taxes.

To those who didn’t listen to the interview, I’d strongly encourage you to listen to the podcast when it’s posted.

I’d recommend that to everyone except Al Franken. If he listened, he’d be nervous. VERY NERVOUS.

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