Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
⇒Linked articles in bold purple
◆ Comment: No university president should ask students to lobby for a law. It is simply inappropriate. But that is exactly what Rutgers University president Robert Barchi did. (Campus Reform)
Further Comment: Rutgers’ Board of Governors should formally reprimand Barchi for this serious misuse of his authority.
Whether the law itself is good or bad is irrelevant. That is why I didn’t mention the substance of the law; all you need to know is that it is politically controversial to know Barchi was seriously wrong. Asking students to engage in a politically-controversial act (as opposed to urging them to vote) oversteps the proper bounds of any university official. To his credit, Barchi said that his request was purely optional. But he should never have made the request at all.
A university president should understand the proper bounds of his or her authority. Requesting students take a specific political position puts the university in a position of backing one view and opposing another. Generally, speaking, the university as an institution should remain neutral so the individual students, faculty, and staff can take any position they wish. If the university does wish to take an institutional position, it should do so but it should never urge students or faculty to support its position.
◆ Obama and Kerry gave $221 million to Palestinian political groups on his final hours in office (New York Post) Congress had tried to block the transfer, largely because so much of the money is divided between corrupt officials in the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, direct payment to families of terrorists, who are treated as heroic martyrs, and to Hamas itself, which the US has deemed a terrorist organization.
◆ More obstruction and slow-walking: “Dems Force Trump’s Ed. Nominee to Answer 1,397 Questions in Writing–Obama’s TWO (nominees) had 109, Combined” (Daily Caller)
Arne Duncan, Pres. Obama’s first Sec. of Ed., had 53 follow-up questions. His successor, John King, Jr., had 56. Trump’s nominee, Betsy DeVos, has been flooded with 25 times as many.
Comment: This “flood the zone” strategy is effectively “lawfare,” in which political opponents use lawsuits and bureaucratic manuevers to tie up their opponents. If you oppose Betsy DeVos, vote against her. Stop playing these destructive, delaying games. They are why the House and Senate have lower popular support than used-car dealers.
◆ Trump says he will announce his Supreme Court nominee next week. Expect fireworks.
Comment: Trump’s nominee will inevitably be conservative, but there are different flavors that could please (or repel) different segments of the party. What you can be certain of, in the post-Bork era, is that most Democrats will staunchly oppose.
What we don’t know yet–this will depend on the nominee–is whether some Democrats will support the nomination, perhaps because they are in states Trump carried and facing election themselves soon. Nor do we know if Mitch McConnell will decide to change the rules so the nominee needs 50 votes (plus the Vice-President), rather than 60.
Harry Reid opened the door when he changed the tradition Senate rules, but he did not include the Supreme Court. That exclusion, the Republicans will argue, was arbitrary and, now that Democrats are blocking the nominee, the rules need to change.
With so many elderly Justices, this fight could be repeated going forward, with Trump having a real chance to shape the court for years to come. It was a major issue for many voters, one that helped Trump and hurt Clinton, according to exit polls.
◆ Nikki Haley, Gov. of South Carolina until recently, confirmed as UN Ambassador with significant Democratic support, partly because she was so frank about where she disagreed with the President who appointed her. (Washington Post)
◆ Trump expected to sign Executive Orders for a border wall and against sanctuary cities. More on this as the orders emerge. (Washington Post)
◆ Beijing continues to warn Washington over the South China Sea (Time)
♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
◆ Marcia Sukenik Weiss for the story on money given to Palestinian Authority
◆ Michael Lipson on Trump’s forthcoming Executive Orders