Virginia Supreme Court Leaves Governor’s Capitol Gun Ban in Place

The Virginia Supreme Court on Friday evening declined to hear a challenge to Democratic governor Ralph Northam’s temporary ban of gun-carry during a pro-gun-rights rally on Monday, leaving the ban in effect.

The high court refused a request by gun-rights groups to overturn a lower court ruling upholding the governor’s emergency order. Northam had banned guns on the Capitol grounds from Friday night through Tuesday, meaning those planning to gather for Monday’s rally will not, unlike previous years, be allowed to carry firearms. The restriction may impact how many people attend the event and divert those who prefer not to be disarmed to other areas around Richmond.

Organizers of the gun-rights rally, which is in opposition to a package of gun-control bills being considered by the Democrat-controlled legislature, are asking attendees not to flout the ban on Monday.

“We ask everyone to follow the temporary Capitol grounds rules,” the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) told supporters in an email on Saturday. “There is NO need for an act of civil disobedience to achieve standing for a court fight. We already have standing.”

VCDL called the Supreme Court’s decision not to review the case “unfortunate” and insisted the governor’s emergency order is still “illegal.” It said however that the right course forward was to comply on Monday and continue to fight the case in court.

“We still will have our day in court to fully debate the governor’s unconstitutional overreach in just a few short weeks,” the group told supporters.

Northam said he was “grateful” the temporary gun ban would stay in effect for Monday. While hundreds of pro-gun events have been carried out peacefully over the past several months across the state of Virginia with tens of thousands attending, Northam argued the existence of threats from groups unaffiliated with the organizers of Monday’s rally were enough to justify the gun ban.

“I am confident that the majority of those attending Monday’s rally will be peaceful,” he said in a statement. “I have full respect for their fundamental American right to voice their opinions. But over the past few days, the news has confirmed that this rally is attracting extreme individuals and groups—including national hate, neo-Nazi, and white supremacist groups—who are threatening violence and looking to advance a violent agenda.”

The legal dispute over the ban centered on language in Virginia’s emergency powers law which prohibits the governor from using those powers to ban gun-carry except in limited circumstances. Plaintiffs argued the governor’s gun ban violates state law, but circuit court judge Joi Taylor upheld the ban on Thursday.

“Because individuals have limited right to bear arms,” she wrote in the ruling, “the Plaintiffs in this case will not suffer an irreparable harm sufficient to justify the injunction sought by the Plaintiffs.”

The Virginia Supreme Court did not weigh in on the merits of the case but instead refused to hear it because of a lack of information.

“Under the circumstances, we are unable to discern whether the circuit court abused its discretion,” the Virginia Supreme Court said in its ruling. “The circuit court decided this case in less than one day, and, accordingly, the record before the Court is scant, there is no transcript or written statement of facts detailing the events of the hearing, and we are unaware of any evidence that was taken.”

VCDL and fellow plaintiff Gun Owners of America plan to continue the case after Monday in hopes of preventing similar emergency gun bans in the future. The gun-rights groups predicted the legal setback will embolden more supporters to show up for the rally.

“Ironically, this outcome will only further embolden Second Amendment supporters to be even louder for their rights,” Erich Pratt, senior vice president of Gun Owners of America, said in a statement. “Gun owners in the Commonwealth will continue to challenge Gov. Northam’s unconstitutional gun control measures at every turn.”

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Review: ‘Restoring Our Republic’ by Ned Ryun

Devoting hours of one’s life to reading a book is an extraordinary commitment, especially in this modern age of digital distraction. The very least one can ask of a book is that it won’t lower one’s opinion of President Donald J. Trump, the most successful chief executive in American history. Unfortunately, Ned Ryun’s Restoring Our Republic fails to clear even this exceedingly low bar.

Trump is perhaps the most outstanding literary figure since the invention of the printing press. As such, the president’s endorsement of Ryun’s book was a seminal moment in the history of American literature. It was also a rare misstep from an intellectual heavyweight who ought to know better.

Before reaching the table of contents in Restoring Our Republic, the reader is confronted with a quote in a foreign language—never a good sign, especially for a book that claims to promote American values. The passage from the Roman poet (and polytheistic heretic) Horace concerns the crafting of a “monument more lasting than bronze.” The arrogance astounds, while the table of contents leaves much to be desired.

How many times should the word “transcendent” need to appear in a book about the history of the American republic and how to “reclaim” it from the communists? Once? Twice? Surely, 13 times is excessive, but Ryun lets it fly like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stuttering at the podium. The word “Trump,” meanwhile, appears just one time and only in the context of praising the administration’s efforts to reform the Department of Agriculture, an agency that ought to have been abolished by now if we are serious about promoting “small government” in this country. Alas…

Readers interested in a CliffsNotes-style overview of America’s founding would be better off—and I don’t say this lightly—consulting the work of mainstream media outlet ABC, producers of the Schoolhouse Rock! video series. At least the musical numbers are entertaining. Instead, Ryun force feeds a gluttonous diet of foreign influence, from the ramblings of French tourist Alexis de Tocqueville to the so-called wisdom of ancient Greece—a country so wise it went bankrupt.

Ryun’s solutions for “restoring our republic” are just as inane. First of all, his diagnosis misses the mark. Despite the historic election of Donald Trump, the author insists that American democracy is not “robust and fully healthy.” One assumes Ryun would have preferred a Hillary Clinton presidency, under which the NRA would be abolished and the California feces crisis would afflict every state in the union.

Ryun’s prose at times reads like the soft-bodied whimpering of disgraced former Republican Matthew Dowd:

It may seem odd to think of “love” in such political terms, but casting a vote for a statesman, lobbying your state legislature to repeal an onerous law, or speaking out against corruption at a local town hall meeting can all be ways to demonstrate love to your neighbor because it shows that you actually care.

It, therefore, comes as no surprise when Ryun suggests that Election Day be made a national holiday in order to “emphasize civics and patriotism and love of country.” The implication here—that not enough citizens are exercising their right to vote—would have appalled the Founders, but Ryun doesn’t seem to care.

“Our need today is not so much to return to the principles of the Founding as it is to renew them, to apply them afresh, in our age,” the alleged conservative writes, sounding an awful lot like one of those libs who wants to “update” the Constitution to make hijabs mandatory in public schools.

It gets worse. “[A]t the end of the day, the Constitution is a piece of paper,” he writes dismissively while arguing that American values can be safeguarded from socialism by—I kid you not—drafting hardworking patriots into a small army of “active community leaders.” Sound familiar? This country (barely) survived eight years under the community organizer-in-chief and his ACORN affiliates. Such behavior is the last thing we should be trying to “restore” in this country, thank you very much.

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Nuns Will Return to Supreme Court to Fight Obamacare Mandate

The Little Sisters of the Poor are once again asking the Supreme Court to defend their religious exemption to Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate.

On Friday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania, et al. The nuns welcomed the hearing, which could bring their five-year legal fight to a close.

“It is disappointing to think that as we enter a new decade we must still defend our ministry in court,” Mother Loraine Marie Maguire said in a statement. “We are grateful the Supreme Court has decided to weigh in, and hopeful that the Justices will reinforce their previous decision and allow us to focus on our lifelong work of serving the elderly poor once and for all.”

 The nuns, who care for the elderly poor, previously took the Obama administration to the Supreme Court, arguing that the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate violated their religious liberty. Justices urged the two sides to reach a compromise, and the Catholic religious order appeared to have won the battle after the Trump White House expanded an existing exemption to include organizations like the Sisters in 2018. Democratic leaders in Pennsylvania and California, however, sued to block the new rules from taking effect.

“The Trump Administration’s rule allows employers to deny contraceptive services to any employee for any reason—including the belief that women don’t belong in the workforce,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said in an email to the Washington Free Beacon. “Two federal courts have blocked this rule and we are confident the Supreme Court of the United States will do the same. I look forward to making our case before the Justices.”

Pro-life organizations and religious liberty activists called on the Supreme Court, which previously returned the sisters’ case to lower courts, to take decisive action to end their legal struggle.

“The Supreme Court of the United States needs to protect once and for all the Little Sisters of the Poor and people of all faiths from government-forced violations of their religious beliefs,” Stephanie Taub, senior counsel to the First Liberty Institute, said in a statement. “We are confident the Justices will again respect the religious liberty of all religious non-profits and reverse the Third Circuit’s dangerous decision.”

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said the exemption should stand to safeguard religious freedom.

“President Trump took strong steps to put this nonsense to an end and his administration’s rule should be upheld. No one—not Catholic nuns who care for the elderly poor, and not moral objectors like Susan B. Anthony List—should ever be forced by the government to provide abortion-inducing drugs in their health care plans,” she said. “Conscience rights and religious freedom are important parts of American history and tradition, and the government, state-level or federal, doesn’t need nuns to deliver abortion inducing drugs to women.”

The Supreme Court has yet to set a date for a hearing, but has allotted one hour for oral arguments.

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Mark Levin Warns of Democratic Overreach in Virginia

Conservative radio host Mark Levin said Democratic legislative overreach could drive residents out of Virginia.

“What’s going to happen is the productive people in Virginia will begin to leave. A lot of people who believe in liberty will leave,” Levin said during his radio show Friday night. “So you’ll see depopulation, voluntary depopulation, like you see in New York, New Jersey, California, Illinois, on and on, where people are looking for liberty.”

Virginia Democrats won a majority in the both houses of the state’s legislature, and are aiming to address priorities such as increased gun control measures. State Democrats withdrew a senate bill that would have effectively confiscated firearms like AR-15s.

Such measures have sparked public backlash and demonstrations from gun rights activists. More protests are expected early next week.

“These issues of the Second Amendment, the First Amendment, property rights.” Levin said. “It’s not about being a ‘right-winger.’ It’s about liberty… People will look for freedom. It’s like water finding cracks. But this is how it works, and this is the problem.”

Levin also warned about a decline in civic knowledge.

“The principles upon which this nation was founded are not taught, they’re not promoted, they’re not embraced,” he said. “A country cannot survive on its founding principles if its founding principles are not indoctrinated into one generation after the next.”

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Warren Says She’s the Only Candidate With Executive Branch Experience

Presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) on Friday claimed she is the only candidate in the race with prior experience in the executive branch of the federal government, despite the fact that she’s running against a former vice president, Joe Biden.

“Let me remind you, I think I’m the only one who’s running for president who’s actually been on the executive side,” Warren said during a town hall event in Newton, Iowa. She took credit for getting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) “up and operational” during the Obama administration, although she was passed over to be its director.

Warren’s rival Biden was not only Barack Obama’s vice president, but his 2020 campaign has heavily focused on his record in the Obama administration. He even made the case on the debate stage last October that he was critical to whipping votes to create the CFPB, although Warren responded by downplaying his contribution.

On Friday, Warren also argued that her experience gives her a superior grasp of “agency power.” Her campaign platform includes numerous promises to aggressively use executive power to accomplish her policy goals, such as a ban on fracking that experts say would cost millions of jobs.

 

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The Root Attacks ‘White’ National Review Writer… Who’s Actually Black

A left-wing website attacked a “white” National Review Online writer for his perspective on black history, failing to realize the writer in question is black.

Peter Kirsanow, a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and a former member of the National Labor Relations Board, argued in a piece published Thursday that the New York Times‘s 1619 Project has an “obsession” with slavery at the expense of the rest of American history. Michael Harriot, a senior reporter for the liberal African-American publication The Root, responded in a piece titled, “Black History, According to White People.” Harriot referred to Kirsanow as white throughout the post.

“As white people are wont to do, Kirsanow framed his argument in the context of Martin Luther King Jr.,” Harriot wrote. “White people love to quote King because he is a mythical figure who has been whitewashed by the very version of America that Kirsanow wants to perpetuate … ‘The 1619 Project’s obsession with race, standing alone, is bad enough,’ Kirsanow writes, whitely.”

Kirsanow was surprised to discover that he is caucasian.

“Well, I guess if Elizabeth Warren can be Cherokee, I can be white,” Kirsanow told the Washington Free Beacon. “Wait till my wife finds out.”

Harriot did not respond to a request for comment.

National Review Online editor Charles Cooke mocked the error on Twitter Friday, tweeting, “Today I learned that Peter Kirsanow is white.”

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Sayonara, Keg Sweats! This Brett Kavanaugh-Inspired Pizza Looks Like The Perfect Hangover Cure

Brett Kavanaugh’s official duties as the junior member of the Supreme Court include running the cafeteria. That’s great news for ambitious young law clerks who love beer but don’t want a pesky hangover to get in the way of their own duties advising the justices and/or babysitting Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Roll Call reports that the Supreme Court cafeteria has started serving pizza at Kavanaugh’s request. The junior justice actually joked about the lack of pizza in November during a speech at the Federalist Society.

“When I arrived, I noticed the cafeteria did not serve pizza,” Kavanaugh said. “I thought, ‘What an outrage.’ My legacy is secure. It’s fine by me if I’m ever known as the ‘pizza justice.'”

Roll Call even went so far as to review the new pizza offering, giving it two stars out of five while praising the generous pepperoni topping and the affordable price:

The crust is slightly burnt around the edges where the cheese bubbles. The pepperonis are large, oily and plentiful, so no complaints there….

If you’re looking for a flavor comparison, I’d rank it just below Pizza Hut and just above the average gas station offering.

The meal comes with a small container of mesclun greens that some people (not me) would call a salad. And at $8, it’s a decent price point.

Food critics are unlikely to be impressed, but it’s safe to say that Brett has scored a hit with this one, and is already living up to his reputation as the “pizza justice.” There’s no better option than a greasy pizza when it comes to delivering sustenance to the body after a long night of kegging. How it looks, or even how it tastes, is irrelevant. It’s pizza, for crying out loud.

Here’s hoping that Kavanaugh can continue to make his mark on the cafeteria in what little time he has left before President Donald J. Trump inevitably nominates another highly qualified justice to the Supreme Court.

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Trump Admin Sanctions Top Iranian General for Slaughtering Anti-Regime Protesters

U.S. special representative for Iran Brian Hook

The Trump administration issued new sanctions on Friday against a top Iranian general who oversaw the killing of nearly 150 Iranian anti-regime protesters, according to U.S. officials.

The State Department applied new economic sanctions on Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) brigadier general Hassan Shahvarpour for overseeing a recent assault on Iranian demonstrators who have taken to the streets in recent weeks to protest the regime’s downing of a Ukrainian civilian airliner.

The sanctions on Shahvarpour were issued as a result of the State Department’s Iran tip line, which has empowered Iranian citizens to document the regime’s human rights abuses and send on-the-ground testimonials directly to the Trump administration via a secure channel. More than 88,000 videos, pictures, and testimonials have been sent to the State Department since it established the network late last year.

“General Shahvarpour committed gross violations of human rights against protesters in Mahshahr,” Trump administration Iran envoy Brian Hook announced to reporters. “He oversaw the massacre of 148 helpless Iranians in the Mahshahr region last November.”

“Shahvarpour was in command of units responsible for the violent crackdown and lethal repression around Mahshahr,” Hook disclosed. “This is the first designation on an Iranian regime official being taken under” new State Department sanctions authorities.

The Iran tip line played an instrumental role in exposing Shahvarpour’s crimes, Hook said.

“This action taken today was made possible through the information we received on the tip line that the secretary established,” he said. “We use this information to expose the criminality of the regime and to hold violators accountable. Since the violent crackdown on protests last November, the United States has sanctioned two judges and eight other regime officials for their roles in brutalizing the Iranian people. We are continuing to review all information we receive from the Iranian people, and we will continue to hold more regime officials responsible for human rights violations.”

Hook also said that a host of new sanctions issued during the past year on Iran have decimated the country’s economy and contributed to the popular anti-regime demonstrations currently taking place.

The imposition of oil sanctions alone has deprived the Iranian regime of around $50 billion annually. Another $200 billion has been lost due to a host of other economic sanctions, according to Hook.

“The sanctions we have imposed are the toughest ever,” Hook said. “They are making an enormous difference, and the Iranian people are rightly blaming their own government for 40 years of corruption, mismanagement, and kleptocracy.”

Hook vowed the Trump administration would continue strangling the country’s economy until it abandons its pursuit of nuclear weapons and support for regional terror organizations.

“Yesterday, [Iranian] president Rouhani made veiled threats against European troops,” he said. “Today, the supreme leader [Ayatollah] Khamenei, lashed out against Europe for standing up to Iran’s nuclear blackmail. As long as the regime threatens the world, it will become further isolated. Until Iran behaves like a normal nation, its isolation will only deepen.”

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Senator Biden Paid Men More Than Women, Now Blames Pay Gap on White Men

In a New York Times interview, presidential hopeful Joe Biden said the barrier to equal pay for women has been white men at the “top of the heap”—but he took no blame for the unequal results in the one organization that had him at the top of the heap. Biden paid his male staffers more than his female staffers in each of his 36 years in the Senate.

Biden told the Times editorial board in an interview released Friday that wealthy Americans oppose equal pay because they “don’t like the idea” of women being paid as much as men. However, women working in Biden’s Senate office earned as little as 44 percent of what male employees made. Over the course of Biden’s 36 years in the Senate, women on average earned just 67 cents for each dollar earned by men.

“All white guys are just basically, they don’t give a damn about women. They don’t care about equal pay,” Biden said in the interview. “The people that don’t like equal pay are at the top of the heap. I don’t like the idea that you’re going to get paid as much as a man doing your job.”

Biden distinguished himself from wealthy Americans by invoking his middle-class background, saying that in “neighborhoods I come from” equal pay means “you can put four new tires on the car. … It means you can replace your water heater. It means you can send your kid back to that community college.”

But Biden himself was at the “top of the heap” as a senator. His 1973 freshman Senate salary of $42,500 equates to $256,370.77 in 2019 dollars. Biden paid women just 68 cents for each dollar earned by men in 1973, and continued to pay women less than their male counterparts during the entirety of his 36 years in the Senate, a Washington Free Beacon analysis found.

The Biden campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Though Biden has campaigned for the presidency as someone who’s “fought for women’s rights his whole career,” his Senate office paid women two-thirds, on average, the amount male employees received. The pay gap was highest in 1983 and 1984, when Biden’s female employees made only 44 percent of what male employees made.

Biden has also faced allegations of misconduct from at least eight different women. One accuser, Alexandra Tara Reade, served in Biden’s Senate office for nine months. According to Reade, Biden would “put his hand on my shoulder and run his finger up my neck,” and asked her to serve drinks at an event because he “liked her legs.” 

Reade reported the misconduct to Senate personnel and left Biden’s office shortly thereafter. She accused the former Delaware senator of reprimanding her for blowing the whistle on his alleged misconduct.

Biden’s record with women has drawn criticism during the presidential campaign. During a July Democratic debate, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) criticized the Democratic frontrunner’s opposition to a proposed child tax credit expansion.

“When the Senate was debating middle-class affordability for child care, [Biden] wrote an op-ed,” Gillibrand said. “What he wrote in an op-ed was that he believed that women working outside the home would ‘create the deterioration of family.’ He also said that women who were working outside the home were ‘avoiding responsibility.'”

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Biden Denies That He Told Aides He’ll Only Serve One Term If Elected

Joe Biden

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden denied in his interview with the New York Times that he has signaled to aides that he would serve only one term as president if elected, saying reports on the matter were “simply not true.”

“I never hinted that,” Biden told the paper’s editorial board in an interview published Friday. “That is simply not true.”

Biden’s denial came after the editorial board’s Kathleen Kingsbury said the former vice president had “hinted a little bit” that he’d be willing to serve just a single term. The transcript of the interview cites a December Politico report that Biden was “quietly indicating that he will almost certainly not run for a second term.” The report cites four top campaign advisers who said Biden would not publicly make a one-term pledge but recognized that it was inconceivable for him to run for reelection in 2024 at the age of 82.

Biden said in the interview that he didn’t know where the suggestions were coming from.

“I don’t know where it came from, but it did not—it came from somebody who in fact, I guess, thinks that they know me and thinks that maybe, I don’t know,” Biden said.

A spokesman for Politico said the outlet “stands by the story and our reporting of it.”

Kate Bedingfield, the deputy campaign manager and communications director for Biden’s campaign, pushed back on the Politico report when it was first published.

“This is not a conversation our campaign is having and not something VP Biden is thinking about,” Bedingfield said in December.

Biden was asked earlier this year by the Associated Press if he would only serve one term and was noncommittal.

“I feel good and all I can say is, watch me, you’ll see,” Biden said. “It doesn’t mean I would run a second term. I’m not going to make that judgment at this moment.”

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