Pamela Karlan’s Long, Biased Record of Anti-Trump Prejudices

On December 27, 2013, it was reported that Pamela Karlan would join the Obama administration. She initially had been a leading Obama preference for the Supreme Court, but her name was not submitted because it was determined that she never would pass Senate confirmation owing to her extreme leftist leanings. Karlan is so left-wing that Obama instead selected Sonia Sotomayor as a less extreme nominee.

2. After representing Edith (Edie) Windsor in attacking the Clinton administration’s Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Pamela Karlan boasted that she gave Edie “a mug with pictures from the argument.… It’s got a photo of the White House lit up in the rainbow colors on the second anniversary of the decision in United States v. Windsor, when the Supreme Court issued its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges making marriage equality the law of the land.”

3. Speaking at the 2014 LGBT Pride Month Celebration, Pamela Karlan said, “Sometimes, as I work here at the [Obama] Civil Rights Division for the equality of LGBT people, but also for the rights of people of color, of Muslims, of First Americans and of immigrants, I actually think we’re pretty lucky.… If only people who are unconnected with other civil rights struggles could one day wake up to discover that their children are black, their relatives are undocumented, or their friends are poor, just as they wake to find that those folks often are gay, what a different world this might be.”

4. On January 3, 2013, George Will — the ultimate NeverTrumper — published a blistering attack on Pamela Karlan:

Today’s American public does not share Karlan’s nostalgia for the Warren court, which she says was “optimistic about the possibility of politics.” Karlan subscribes to the progressive axiom that the cure for the ills of democracy is democracy, meaning elections. She sees little need for courts to protect against what the Founders feared — liberty-threatening excesses of majorities. With a true progressive’s impatience with the crux of the Constitution, the separation of powers, Karlan wants the court to consider Congress “a full partner in seeking to address the nation’s pressing problems.” But often our institutions preserve liberty by being rivals rather than collaborators.

She abhors the conservative justices’ “combination of institutional distrust — the court is better at determining constitutional meaning — and substantive distrust — congressional power must be held in check.” Clearly she thinks Congress would be “better” at judging the limits of its own power. This fits her assumption that restraints on its power are presumptively anti-democratic.

She concludes, “For if the justices disdain us, how ought we to respond?” Her pronoun radiates democratic sentimentality — “us” conflates the citizenry and Congress. Today, just 18 percent of the citizenry approves of Congress’ performance. What becomes of Karlan’s argument when the conservative justices’ distrust of Congress, for which she disdains them as anti-democratic, is exceeded by the public’s distrust of Congress?

5. On December 13, 2016, Pamela Karlan released a December 8 “open letter” to newly elected President Donald Trump. The three-page letter, signed by 40 self-described “constitutional law scholars” of the same mindset, attacked the president’s promised policies, his association with Steve Bannon, his criticism of biased journalists, his nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions to be attorney general, and further accused and warned the president-elect, inter alia,

[Y]ou have demonstrated extreme hostility toward the press.… Your conduct and rhetoric fail to register that the institutional role of the press in the United States is to check candidates for office and government officials, the President paramount among them.… Your inflammatory rhetoric during the campaign has been taken as an invitation to discriminate and to act out in all kinds of hate-filled ways.… Although we sincerely hope that you will take your constitutional oath seriously, so far you have offered little indication that you will. We feel a responsibility to challenge you in the court of public opinion, and we hope that those directly aggrieved by your administration will challenge you in the courts of law.

6. On December 21, 2016, the San Francisco Chronicle quoted Pamela Karlan on newly elected President Donald Trump:

“Nearly every president has probably done something that a court has later held unconstitutional or contrary to law,” said Pamela Karlan, a Stanford law professor who recently served as supervisor of voting rights cases in the Obama administration’s Justice Department. “But I can’t think of one who had such an across-the-board combination of ignorance, indifference and defiance.”

7. Pamela Karlan, in an interview released May 12, 2017, by Stanford Law School on the legal implications of the Comey firing: “The reasons that President Trump gave [for firing James Comey] are patently insincere, even by Trumpian standards” (my emphasis).

8. Speaking about then–newly named Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch on September 15, 2017, at the Marshall–Wythe School of Law, Pamela Karlan said,

[Gorsuch is] 40 years younger, which means that he’s going to be around on the Supreme Court long after Donald Trump is gone, even if Donald Trump makes it through four years.

In summary, a “scholar” is one who is schooled, well schooled. Pamela Karlan is well schooled. Like thousands of other law professors, academics, judges, and other legal scholars, she has learned the laws, read the cases, argued some in the courts, and taught others. To that degree, she certainly is a “legal scholar.” Welcome to the club. But just as the courts are filled with deeply conservative jurists and radical left jurists — and all kinds of judges in between along the broad spectrum of political and legal thought — so it is with “legal scholars.” They can take the law, and they can make an argument in any direction that their proclivities or clients’ needs lead them. After all, in every lawsuit, in every litigation — whether of the most profound constitutional import or the least consequential slip-and-fall — there always are attorneys arguing passionately on both sides.

Therefore, when a “constitutional scholar” shows up in a mock Democrat political theater event, built on the sham Schiff House Intelligence charade and followed by Jerrold Nadler’s desperate quid pro quo effort to steer the House Judiciary Committee to “impeach” so that Nadler himself does not get “primaried” out of office in less than a year, it is prudent to look closely at the “scholar” in question.

Here, in Pamela Karlan, we have a person with so many chips on her shoulders that she is fortunate to have shoulders. Her record, augmented by her own words, presents a deep-seated leftist bias in her politics — so extreme that even Obama would not name her to a judgeship, deeming even Sonia Sotomayor more “moderate.” Karlan, reminiscent of Inspector Javert’s single-minded pursuit of Jean Valjean in Les Misérables, has been going after Donald Trump from day one of his presidency — and even from before. She is on record, even before Mr. Trump became president, as saying about him that “I can’t think of one who had such an across-the-board combination of ignorance, indifference and defiance.” She is on record, even before he began, as questioning whether or not he would last four years in the presidency and mocking his “Trumpian standards.” She publicly released an open letter warning him — again, even before he took office — that she and her ilk “feel a responsibility to challenge you in the court of public opinion, and we hope that those directly aggrieved by your administration will challenge you in the courts of law.”

On the subject of Donald J. Trump and his presidency, the opinion of this “scholar” has no more legitimacy or value than does any other coherent person’s opinion. She may have tried to seem tough, combative, and authoritative when answering Republican questioners during her testimony at the Nadler Show on Wednesday, but her record condemns her as biased beyond words, prejudiced against the democratically elected man whose election by the voters she wants to help the Democrats undo, and thoroughly unsuited to present an objective view of the president.

We have no more use for this witness.

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Author: Dov Fischer

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