Today’s News Bits

CNN is reporting that Jack Smith has offered limited immunity to two Trump fake electors. Also,

Prosecutors have played hardball with some of the witnesses in recent weeks, refusing to grant extensions to grand jury subpoenas for testimony and demanding they comply before the end of this month, sources said. In the situations where prosecutors have given witnesses immunity, the special counsel’s office arrived at the courthouse in Washington ready to compel their testimony after the witnesses indicated they would decline to answer questions under the Fifth Amendment, the sources added.

Sounds like things are getting serious on that front.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett has some disclosure issues. A professor who had just taken a leadership role at the Religious Liberty Initiative (RLI) at Notre Dame Law School purchased Barrett’s private home months after she was sworn in in October 2020. This is the same group that hosted Justice Sam Alito at a conference in Rome last year, The one where he joked about the Dobbs decision. Ironically, Alito’s speech at the conference was about defending religious liberty. Anyway, according to several news stories the RLI has had several briefs before the court. In a little bit of googling I couldn’t find any positions they’ve taken that seemed terribly egregious. But it says something that Alito is the one they hosted at their big conference.

Do see Dahlia Lithwick, Justice Alito IS the Salmon.

The problem with continuing to frame the Harlan Crow/Barre Seid/Paul Singer stories as “ethics” issues is that we tend to think of “ethics” scandals in league with failures to use the correct shrimp fork. This is kind of what happened when we framed the great pay-to-play Supreme Court Historical Society caper that permitted one couple, the Wrights, to purchase access to the Alitos and the Scalias for the price of $125,000, as a “leak” story. We keep centering the justices and their “ethics” misfires at the expense of the real grifting here: Billionaires being assigned, like something out of the Big Brothers program, to individual justices for the purposes of lavish gift giving and influence.

Look again at ProPublica’s photos of Paul Singer, Antonin Scalia, Leonard Leo, and Samuel Alito and the Big Shiny Fishes they netted. If you think the fish is the trophy in this picture, you’re making a galactic-category error. The trophy is the justice. The vital question here is not why did Justice Alito agree to take the trip, because the trip sounds quite awesome. The question is why did Leo pick him to go, empty seat on the private jet notwithstanding, and why was building a friendship with someone who was in the literal business of reshaping the court to favor his own business so urgently necessary? …

… Nobody in this world enjoys hearing that they are the salmon. But that is why we don’t allow the salmon be the sole arbiter of whether they are the salmon. Let’s please stop framing this issue in terms of “ethics” and “friendships” and “honor.” It is a big-game safari for access to powerful people, and this game has been played since power was first invented. Naming this as an influence scheme clarifies the rules and it clarifies the stakes, and most of all, it clarifies the stench.

Do read the whole thing. Use a “private” window if you hit the paywall.

9 thoughts on “Today’s News Bits

  1. If you think the fish is the trophy in this picture, you’re making a galactic-category error. The trophy is the justice.

    Perfect !

  2. Ali Velshi interviews Dahlia Lithwick and does a great job introducing it, featuring an over-top projection by Leonard Leo, trying to slime Pro Publica. Yes, he really is that clueless.

    Velshi said Leo’s role is that of some kind of matchmaker between billionaire and supreme court justices, but Josh Marshall characterized it more like finding a sponsoring family. Leo recognized that getting his justices onto the court wasn’t enough – he arranged billionaire sponsors to keep his charges in line.

    Velshi characterizes Leo as “Where’s Waldo?” – he’s always in the picture somewhere.

    More of Leo’s work: How Scalia Law School Became a Key Friend of the Court

  3. Wow, talk about "groomers."

    There's an old adage in poker:  If, after a few hands, you can't tell who the "mark" is, then the chances are it's you!

    Dahlia is a national treasure..

    Btw, Im in the hospital again. 

    This time, I'm rockin' a case of pneumonia. 🙁

    The good news?

    No evidence of any Boogie-Woogie F!u! 😉

  4. Regarding Jack Smith and witnesses… May I expand on the meaning of "limited immunity" in this context? They were going to take the Fifth. Jack said: "No. We will not prosecute you for any crimes you might have committed and admit to as long as you testify truthfully. But because we promise not to prosecute, you MUST testify. And if you lie, you are guilty of perjury." So the essence is "offer" immunity to "compel"  testimony. There's no escape from this.

    IMO, the target is Rudy. Once Jack has him by the cohones, Rudy has to talk or die in prison. I suspect Georgia has Rudy because eight (I think eight) of the people who signed the fake electors' doc in GA took immunity. So if the two who testified in NV are added to the ones in GA, you have conspiracy, assuming Rudy's fingerprints are on the smoking gun. On this theme, Eastman is before the bar in CA and it's not going well for him, they say. (I think Eastman is a target in GA where he took the Fifth all the way when he was required to testify.) Yeah, if Rudy or Eastman flips, the prosecutor does not need the other, so don't think too long guys if a deal is offered.

    This stuff is freaking Trump out. He's doing all caps screams to the House to intervene and make DOJ drop everything. At some point, it becomes Obstruction for Trump and the members of the House.  We're in uncharted waters but the statute is there and some members of the House are tap-dancing on the edge. If/when Jack drops the hammer on Rudy and Eastman, Trump will go ballistic.

    Regarding the USSC, if the party of fascism loses the House, does not take the Senate and (likely, I think) does not win the presidency, there will be a reckoning. If they can't sell fascism to a majority and they can't force fascism by violence, supporting fascism is the path to obscurity. Which the donor class won't fund. Yeah, I'm suggesting irreconcilable differences between the voter class of the GOP and the donor class of the GOP. The political equivalent of the immovable object struck by an irresistible force. How will it end? Watch the conservative media.

    If conservative media pulls the plug on MAGA racism and the full spectrum of book bans and homophobia, we have a whole new ball game. Expanding the court becomes possible to put Roe back in, to end book bans and state censorship, to open up immigration reform, to implement gun control features supported by the majority. If the GOP blows off MAGA, they have to pivot to the center for women voters and Hispanics. Can a seismic shift that big happen?

    Ummmm…. the Democrats rejected racism and decided to not only participate but lead the parade. Chicago riots, DNC. 1968. It can happen – we went through it.

  5. Leonard Leo is the common denominator. 

    He calls Alito and says go get on plane X. With people he does not know but off he goes. Why, que bono? He is already on the court. Supposedly Leo is getting the money so what is Alito getting? 

    Gorsuch got a house sold.

    ConeyBarrett got a house sold but then Notre Dame and the cult have sponsored her entire life.

    We know Leo paid Ginni.

    We know what Scalia got and Alito(somewhat) and Thomas.

    Every week a new shoe drops.

    Expand the court and please tell Durbin to let Sen Whitehouse take over and reform the confirmation process. It stinks.

  6. Since money is speech does that not mean that what Sammy and the gang say about the trips favors hospitality really ends up being a political contribution to an outcome? By the court's own logic?

  7. Since money is speech does that not mean that what Sammy and the gang say about the trips favors hospitality really ends up being a political contribution to an outcome? By the court's own logic?

    Sort of like "will someone rid me of …" and spoken with transportation food lodging activities and special company with cigars

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