Category Archives: Law & justice

Speak Out Against Judicial Mass Impeachment!

TTDem Committee, March 21, 2018

Pennsylvania state Republicans called yesterday for the mass impeachment of the four Supreme Court justices who voted to strike down their gerrymandered Congressional districting map and impose a new map for the 2018 elections. Having failed to persuade three courts, including the US Supreme Court, of the validity of their claims, state Republicans hope to simply cleanse the court of the four justices whose ruling they don’t like.

This assault flies in the face of the principle of judicial independence, one of the underpinnings of our form of government. If judges have to fear impeachment for decisions legislators don’t like, courts cannot properly function.

Rep. Ryan Costello in particular has been outspoken in calling for the mass impeachment of the justices with whom he disagrees.

Please call your state and national representatives today and ask them to speak out publicly against this attack on the state judiciary.

Contact Information: [for Tredyffrin; find others here]

State Rep. Warren Kampf, Paoli office: 610-251-2876

Sate Sen. Andy Dinniman, West Chester office: 610-692-2112

Congressman Ryan Costello, West Chester office: 610-696-2982

Sign and send the petition to your legislators: Do not impeach state Supreme Court justices

Petition from Daily Kos, 3/21/18

In a stunning display of contempt for democracy and the rule of law, Pennsylvania Republican state Rep. Cris Dush has introduced a resolution to impeach the state Supreme Court justices who struck down the GOP’s congressional gerrymander and replaced it with a much fairer map for the 2018 elections.

This maneuver came just a day after the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously rejected the GOP’s bid to block the state court’s ruling, demonstrating that even the conservative-majority federal bench thinks Pennsylvania Republicans have no legal leg to stand on.

The bad news? Republicans hold enough seats needed to impeach judges thanks to their gerrymanders of the legislature, which gave them a solid hold on the state House and the minimum two-thirds of necessary seats in the state Senate.

The good news? All we need is one Republican in the state Senate to block this charade. That’s why Pennsylvanians must contact their legislators, and pressure them against the undemocratic travesty.

Sign and send the petition to your Pennsylvania legislators: Do not impeach justices.

Andrew McCabe vs. Donald Trump

text of McCabe’s statement from Daily Kos, 3/17/18

I have been an FBI Special Agent for over 21 years. I spent half of that time investigating Russian Organized Crime as a street agent and Supervisor in New York City. I have spent the second half of my career focusing on national security issues and protecting this country from terrorism. I served in some of the most challenging, demanding investigative and leadership roles in the FBI. And I was privileged to serve as Deputy Director during a particularly tough time.

For the last year and a half, my family and I have been the targets of an unrelenting assault on our reputation and my service to this country. Articles too numerous to count have leveled every sort of false, defamatory and degrading allegation against us. The president’s tweets have amplified and exacerbated it all. He called for my firing. He called for me to be stripped of my pension after more than 20 years of service. And all along we have said nothing, never wanting to distract from the mission of the FBI by addressing the lies told and repeated about it.

No more.

The investigation by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) has to be understood in the context of the attacks on my credibility. The investigation flows from my attempt to explain the FBI’s involvement and my supervision of investigations involving Hillary Clinton. I was being portrayed in the media over and over as a political partisan, accused of closing down investigations under political pressure. The FBI was portrayed as caving under that pressure, and making decisions for political rather than law enforcement purposes. Nothing was further from the truth. In fact, this entire investigation stems from my efforts, fully authorized under FBI rules, to set the record straight on behalf of the Bureau and to make it clear that we were continuing an investigation that people in DOJ opposed.

The OIG investigation has focused on information I chose to share with a reporter through my public affairs officer and a legal counselor. As Deputy Director, I was one of only a few people who had the authority to do that. It was not a secret, it took place over several days, and others, including the Director, were aware of the interaction with the reporter. It was the same type of exchange with the media that the Deputy Director oversees several times per week. In fact it was the same type of work that I continued to do under Director Wray, at his request. The investigation subsequently focused on who I talked to, when I talked to them, and so forth. During these inquiries, I answered questions truthfully and as accurately as I could amidst the chaos that surrounded me. And when I thought my answers were misunderstood, I contacted investigators to correct them.

But looking at that in isolation completely misses the big picture. The big picture is a tale of what can happen when law enforcement is politicized, public servants are attacked, and people who are supposed to cherish and protect our institutions become instruments for damaging those institutions and people.

Here is the reality: I am being singled out and treated this way because of the role I played, the actions I took, and the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of James Comey. The release of this report was accelerated only after my testimony to the House Intelligence Committee revealed that I would corroborate former Director Comey’s accounts of his discussions with the President. The OIG’s focus on me and this report became a part of an unprecedented effort by the Administration, driven by the President himself, to remove me from my position, destroy my reputation, and possibly strip me of a pension that I worked 21 years to earn. The accelerated release of the report, and the punitive actions taken in response, make sense only when viewed through this lens. Thursday’s comments from the White House are just the latest example of this.

This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort not just to slander me personally, but to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally. It is part of this Administration’s ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the Special Counsel investigation, which continue to this day. Their persistence in this campaign only highlights the importance of the Special Counsel’s work.

I have always prided myself on serving my country with distinction and integrity, and I have always encouraged those around me to do the same. Just ask them. To have my career end in this way, and to be accused of lacking candor when at worst I was distracted in the midst of chaotic events, is incredibly disappointing and unfair. But it will not erase the important work I was prevailed to be a part of, the results of which will in the end be revealed for the country to see.

I have unfailing faith in the men and women of the FBI and I am confident that their efforts to seek justice will not be deterred.

ACLU of PA to Congressman: Stop Shutting Out Your Constituents

ACLU, March 12, 2018 [elevator version: Can a political officeholder legally obstruct criticism by banning constituents from speaking their views in his public meetings and social media?]

PHILADELPHIA – The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania delivered a letter to Congressman Ryan Costello today urging him to stop blocking constituents who disagree with him from his official Facebook page and to cease denying them entry to his public town hall meetings. Writing on behalf of nine constituents from the 6th congressional district who have protested or criticized the congressman, the ACLU of Pennsylvania warned Costello that blocking residents from his social media pages and his community meetings based on their opposing views is prohibited by the First Amendment.

“In our democratic form of government, an elected official represents all of his constituents–even those who disagree with him,” said Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “We commend Congressman Costello for creating forums for his constituents to express their views, but he does not have the right to pick and choose which viewpoints he gets to hear.”

The constituents who have been blocked by Costello have expressed their opinions to him on a wide range of issues, including net neutrality, the environment, his support of President Trump, and his unwillingness to condemn racist, alt-right rhetoric. Most of the constituents named in the ACLU’s letter have been prohibited from commenting on Costello’s Facebook page, and at least three were denied admission to his town hall meetings, including one in Wyomissing, Berks County, where there were empty seats.

The letter from the ACLU cites Supreme Court precedent explaining that the First Amendment prohibits public officials from censoring speech based on the viewpoint expressed. The ACLU has offered Costello the opportunity to take corrective action but has also left open the possibility of filing a lawsuit against the congressman.

“Our clients simply want to be heard by their elected representative in Congress, and to have the same access to the congressman’s social media pages and events as his other constituents,” said Molly Tack-Hooper, staff attorney with the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “It’s unconstitutional for a member of Congress to censor, block, and exclude his critics.”

The residents cited in the letter are represented by Tack-Hooper, Witold J. Walczak, and Michelin Cahill of the ACLU of Pennsylvania and Professor Seth F. Kreimer of the University of Pennsylvania Law School. The letter that was sent to Costello is available at aclupa.org/Costello.