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ScoutNerd

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Some of you may look at this as a black helicopter theory, but facts are facts. The ACLU was founded by Roger Baldwin, a well known sympathizer of communism. Two more that helped it off it's feet were Earl Browder, General Sec. of the Communist Party, and Crystal Eastman who was also a communist sympathizer and organizer of a radical womans organization. All three of them were watched closely by th FBI due to their ani-American activities. The ACLU was an offshoot of the American Union Against Militarism which led opposition to Americas entry into war. The ACLU is against most everything this country was founded on. The war they wage on religion is becomming more aggressive and if they could get their hands on the Boy Souts, much like they have with the Girl Scouts, they would liberalize every regulation the Boy Scouts hold to remain traditional and religious. Bottom line is, the ACLU does not hold the best intrest for America. Every religion should be accepted by the masses except Christianity, and our children should be tought about evolution and the Koran in school but how dare you mention the Ten Commandments. I could carry on all night on this subject.

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>BTW, wouldn't ACLU lawyers argue that they're just freedom fighters standing up for the disenfranchised and those whom are discriminated against?

 

>Of course they would. And wouldn't Osama Bin Laden and his ilk argue (and doubtless believe in their heart of hearts that they are) exactly that?

 

Kahuna,

By that logic, wouldn't groups such as Focus on the Family have to be lumped into the group you've formed with the ACLU and Osama Bin Laden? They also think that they are protecting a group that they feel is discriminated against.

 

The ACLU probably is left leaning, but I'm not sure how you could support an argument saying that they are anti-Constitution. They are anti-religion only to the extent that they usually oppose actions that they see as violating the separation of church and state.

 

"Evil" has nothing to do with it.

 

J_P,

So, are you saying that the ACLU remains a Communist organization? I think that most would find that, well, hilarious. The fact that the FBI investigates some individual or group doesn't make them guilty of anything. In fact, the FBI, in its past, had an unfortunate habit of investigating individuals and groups for strictly political reasons. Remember the McCarthy hearings? Not exactly a bright spot in American history.

 

As far as the ACLU being against most things this country was founded on? How, exactly? The founding fathers left a country that had a state religion that descriminated against other faiths. The U.S. was founded on a separation of church and state for this reason, and the ACLU has defended that. The founding fathers left a country that suppressed freedom of expression of opposing views. The ACLU supports that every time they defend the KKK or the Nazis against towns that try to stop them from parading their views. We may not like the groups and what they stand for, but they have as much right to air their views as anyone else. As soon as you start picking who can and who can't enjoy these freedoms, you have to wonder how long it is until other groups are denied their freedoms as well. The ACLU isn't at war with the BSA or the Girl Scouts or anyone else. They do bring action against groups that they think are violating the law of the land.

 

To my knowledge, no public schools are allowed to teach the Koran or any other religion, except in the context of something like a comparative religion class. Private schools are able to do this and meet this need. In this country, the majority accept the teaching of evolution as science; Creationism is considered a "belief" more than "science". There's nothing wrong with teaching Creationism in and of itself, but in this country it's not accepted as a component of a "science" curriculum. At least, I think that that's true. If you want your children to learn a particular religious view of the world, including such things as Creationism, there are any number of private schools that contain such curriculums.

 

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Wanna limit funding to the ACLU through lawsuit settlements? Wanna greatly limit their activities?

Huh?

Huh?

There's an easy way to do this:

As Fletcher Reid said, "STOP BREAKING THE LAW!"

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Pack. I guess if you cave into whatever the ACLU's view of the Constitution is on any given day (sans the right to bear arms, of course), then we would have no litigation.

 

Prarie.

 

>I would say, rather, that the ACLU tries to maintain the separation of church and state as required by law.

 

I can't seem to find anywhere in the Constitution that requires church and state to be separated. Can you help me on that?

 

>In regards to your feelings about judges, you might be targeting the wrong people. Judges only act on cases brought before them; they don't get to just make up things.

 

That's true, but when they get the "right" case in front of them, activist judges use it to create new law.

 

>The job of the judge is to interpret law; do some of them overreach? I'm sure they due, and I would bet that there is pretty much an even split between conservative and liberal judges who do that.

 

I completely diagree. Liberal means open minded and one lending towards change, with a rejection of established positions and values. Conservative is one who maintains the status quo. So an activist liberal judge is one who changes the law. An activist conservative judge is what...one who takes the law back to where it was before? The activist conservative cannot, by definition, bring in something that the people have not already decided.

 

So I'll just have to disagree.

 

>And, judges aren't quite "unelected". When it comes to federal judges, at least, there is a process of review and then a vote by the Senate, who are our representatives.

 

I disagree. Unless the people are casting ballots for a judge (which is the case in some state judges), then the judges are unelected. Ballet = election. If there's no ballot, there's not election.

 

No?

 

>>Regards the filibuster, it has been widely reported in the media that, while not a popular tactic, the use of the filibuster in this situation is not without precedent.

 

I missed this. Give me an example. Since it's so widely reported, it should be extremely simple. When is the last time a judge who had majority support by the Senate was filibustered?

 

>The Democratic Party, I would guess, sees the judicial committee as a group simply rubber stamping the judicial nominations, and is doing what it can when it sees nominees that it considers to be clearly unacceptable.

 

I don't recall the Constitution even requiring a vote by Committee. If the Judiciary Committee "rubber stamped" the nominee, why is that unconstitutional? Furthermore, have give me the name of ONE judge that you consider to be "rubber stamped", and I'll point you to the hearing reports. Just one will do.

 

>You'll see that they've done this with only a very small number of judges, while passing on many, many more.

 

The little guys don't count. These are the big dogs, the ones who are proficient, capable, but have a viewpoint that a minority of Senators disagree with.

 

>It's one thing to let the President have his "team". While Cabinet members, for example, do get scrutinized, more often than not the minority party will vote the candidate on to a full vote in the Senate. Judges, because they are lifetime appointments, should have further review and care, and extra efforts are made to try to stop those that are too extreme in either direction.

 

Okay. That's fine. Scrutinize.

 

>Rules allowing the minority to block a vote aren't "hiding" in some "penumbra" someplace. They are rules that were created by the Senate and have existed and worked just fine for 200 years.

 

Then why have the filibuster rules never been used to do what Senate Democrats are doing now? Why didn't the Senate Democrats use the filibuster to block Clarence Thomas, who they strongly disagreed with and barely passed? They had the votes to block it by filibuster...so why didn't they?

 

>Doesn't require an amendment to the Constitution, and they needn't be changed just for the convenience of the party in power.

 

If a rule changes the requirements set by the Constitution, I think it is unconstitutional. Tell me why that is wrong, please.

 

>I'd have a hard time painting the Democrats as the "evil" party here. Both parties have gotten to the point where the political battle is more important than the process of government.

 

True. But the Democrats took this fight a step further than has EVER been attempted before.

 

>The Democrats use unpopular tactics to block judicial appointees; the Republicans have a member in trouble with the ethics committee, so they just change the ethics rules to get around the problem. Tit for tat down the line. I've got a button around here someplace that says "Re-elect Nobody". Sounds good to me.

 

Sorry. I don't see ethic rules in the Constitution. I don't care if the houses set their rules, so long as those rules do not get in the way of what the Constitution requires.

 

Fact 1: The Constitution gives the President the right to nominate judges.

 

Fact 2: The Constitution requires a judicial nomination to receive 51 votes in the Senate prior to taking his seat.

 

Fact 3: As the result of the use of the filibuster by Senate Democrats, a judicial nominee needs to receive 61 votes.

 

Now please answer my question, that I've posed before. Why do you defend a rule that imposes a higher standard for judicial appointments than that provided for in the Constitution?

 

If a judicial nominee has the support from 55 Senators (more than that required by the Constitution), why would you argue that a minority Senators be permitted to block that nominee?(This message has been edited by tortdog)

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My opinion, as it has been noted sometimes in earlier threads, is unimportant. But it's not up to me but to the courts (jury or judges). And as mentioned by another poster, the courts are being conservative in their approach.

 

BSA can choose to be whatever it wants to be as a private club. BSA can discriminate and be as bigoted and hateful as it wants. OR it can be inclusive, open, and tolerant...BSA has won the court's approval for BSA's right to have a private choice in these matters.

 

BUT, if the government interacts with BSA in a manner that violates the law (and the law is fairly clear in these matters), the ACLU has an opportunity to take action. And they do because they have a perfect right to do so, as much right as BSA has to pursue its policies.

 

There is nothing you can do to stop the ACLU from doing this and all the crying and whining won't help. IF BSA wants to have their cake and to eat it too, THAT is dishonest. The simple and honest approach would be for governments to obey the law thus leaving no need for action by the ACLU. BSA knew the score and went ahead knowing there would be consequences. These are the consequences. Live with them.

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I sorry but I have a real problem with anyone that calls the Boy Scouts bigoted and hateful. I've been involved with Scouts over 30 years and I've never seen bigotry and hatred in the program.

 

Are the Girl Scouts bigoted and hateful for not allowing boys to join?

 

What's the old saying? Everyone's crazy, the ones to watch out for are the ones that say they're not. I've found that often the people that are complaining the loudest about bigotry are really bigots themselves.

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Tort,

Thanks for the insightful reply. I don't agree with all of it, as you might expect, and don't have time right now for a line by line response, so let me try the following...

 

Regards the separation of church and state, you might visit this website..

members.tripod.com/~candst/tnppage/tnpids.htm

It seems to have a pretty good discussion of the historical background behind the separation of church and state. Also, I've "Yahoo'd" "constitution separation church state" and gotten some pretty interesting hits.

 

Regards judicial filibustering, the example I've heard most often is the Abe Fortas nomination in 1968.

 

Regards your definition of liberal and conservative, I'd more or less agree, but at least theoretically, a conservative judge could limit the effects of a law passed by a liberal Congress by using court cases to do so. That wouldn't fall into your definition of conservative judges protecting the status quo, correct?

 

You're right that the Constitution doesn't specifically mention ethics rules. But, the Constitution does allow the Senate to set its own rules; the ethics rules would fall into that category.

 

I can't speak to the Thomas nomination directly; I don't remember the politics behind it in enough detail. I can't delve into the minds of the Senate, but I'd suspect that the Congress as a whole has become so contentious over the past 20 years or so that perhaps the minority party feels the need to take steps it normally wouldn't have taken in the past.

 

Regards facts...

Yes, the President has the power to nominate judicial candidates.

I don't believe the Constitution specifically says 51 votes are needed to approve a candidate.

61 votes are needed to break a filibuster, not to approve the candidate. It's a fine point, yes, but I think it's important to separate the two. The filibuster, in reality, has only been used in rare occasions for any reason, let alone judicial nominees, and was put into place by the Senate, I think, to protect the minority party from being steamrolled by the party in power, giving them no say in the governing process.

 

During the Clinton administration, didn't Senator Hatch block a number of Clinton judicial nominees by not even letting them get a hearing in the judicial committee? How right is it to have a minority of 1 effectively deciding who the full Senate will get to vote on?

 

Point is, this isn't about who's "right"; this is really just about political gamesmanship. In the end, neither party is right; as I've said before, both parties are at the point where the "game" is more important than governing the country.

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I could spend weeks writing responses to statements in this thread if I had the time, but I don't. I just have time to make this quick point:

 

The U.S. Constitution does not, indeed, say how many votes are needed to confirm a judicial (or other) appointee. All it says is that these appointments are to be made by the president "with the advice and consent of the Senate." Somewhere else in the constitution it says that the Senate and House make their own rules. Therefore the rules of the Senate govern how the Senate decides whether to give consent, and right now the rules of the Senate permit 41 Senators to block a nomination (or legislative proposal) from coming to a vote. These rules have been used by both parties and by ideological coalitions (like when Republicans and Southern Democrats blocked the nomination of Abe Fortas to be Chief Justice), to block both judicial and non-judicial appointments. During the Clinton administration the Republicans used "holds" that could be imposed by only ONE Senator (rather than 41) to kill some judicial nominations, so the current conservative talk-show talking point that this has never happened before, is untrue. The mechanism used may be different, but the fact is that both parties have used techniques in which less than a majority can block a vote on a judicial nomination.

 

My understanding of what is being proposed in the so-called "nuclear option" is that the Republicans are going to change the rules of the Senate to disallow the use of the filibuster for judicial nomination. The problem is that the non-partisan Senate parliamentarian has stated that to pass such a measure by majority vote (in the face of a certain Democratic filibuster) would in and of itself violate the rules of the Senate. So calling it the "constitutional option" is very cute but the fact remains that the constitution says nothing about the number of votes required to bring a matter to a vote. In fact, since the constitution does say each house makes its own rules, it would be more accurate to call the "nuclear option" the "UN constitutional option."

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Pack. I think you are mostly right. The one thing I wouldn't mind seeing is that if the BSA is attacked by the ACLU and the BSA wins, that it gets to recover all its attorney fees from the ACLU, i.e., put up or shut up.

 

What I disagree with is "The simple and honest approach would be for governments to obey the law thus leaving no need for action by the ACLU." If the ACLU were always right, you would be accurate. But, as we all know, people file lawsuits based on their private interpretations of the law (even the ACLU) and sometimes those interpretations are wrong, e.g. Dale.

 

Prarie. I am well read on the view of separation of church and state, with it going back to Jefferson's letter. But I disagree that a private letter by Jefferson makes it constitutional law, and until rather recently, it was not the law. Some judges agree with the view of separation of church and state, while others disagree. My view? Once it's in the Constitution, I will agree. Until then, the Constitution prohibits Congress from making a law respecting a religion, and I don't see how Congress is doing that when a private party puts a Bible in front of a state courthouse. (Not that I agree this is a good idea...but that's my point.)

 

You give me one example of a filibustered judicial appointment (in the 225+ year history of the union). That ONE nominee was filibustered, but he failed to have support by the majority. In other words, he never got the 51+ votes necessary to become a judge. So that one is irrelevant to the cases at hand, in which judges having majority support from the senators are being filibustered.

 

>I'd more or less agree, but at least theoretically, a conservative judge could limit the effects of a law passed by a liberal Congress by using court cases to do so.

 

I could see that, theoretically. It's what Roosevelt reacted to in threatening to pack the Supreme Court. In that case, the courts are refusing to allow a liberal law to stand, when the people's representatives passed that law.

 

Okay...that's wrong.

 

But...on the spectrum of things, it's not nearly as bad as when the courts impose NEW laws on the people that they never passed. Brown vs. Board of Education was a good result, but the PEOPLE should have been the ones passing the law (not the unelected judges). Miranda rights are good. But the PEOPLE should be the ones giving us those rights, not unelected judges.

 

That's my view.

 

Well, my point is any blocking of nominees by a President is wrong, regardless of the party. Senator Frist has offered to prohibit any artificial maneuvers that block a nominee from getting his vote. I agree with that. I don't see a good argument against it (other than the party out of power doesn't want the President to get his nominees through despite having support by a majority of Senators).

 

 

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BTW...I am incorrectly stating it takes 61 votes to break a filibuster. I think it's 60 votes.

 

NJCub.

 

>The U.S. Constitution does not, indeed, say how many votes are needed to confirm a judicial (or other) appointee. All it says is that these appointments are to be made by the president "with the advice and consent of the Senate."

 

Right...and that rule is a majority. The Constitution provides that certain items need supermajority status, while others have always been assumed to be a majority.

 

>Somewhere else in the constitution it says that the Senate and House make their own rules. Therefore the rules of the Senate govern how the Senate decides whether to give consent, and right now the rules of the Senate permit 41 Senators to block a nomination (or legislative proposal) from coming to a vote. These rules have been used by both parties and by ideological coalitions (like when Republicans and Southern Democrats blocked the nomination of Abe Fortas to be Chief Justice), to block both judicial and non-judicial appointments.

 

First of all, that's the ONLY case of a filibuster of a justice nominee, and that appointment did not have majority support. So it's a weak one. NEVER (until now) in the history of the Union has a minority of senators blocked a nominee having majority support.

 

NEVER.

 

>During the Clinton administration the Republicans used "holds" that could be imposed by only ONE Senator (rather than 41) to kill some judicial nominations, so the current conservative talk-show talking point that this has never happened before, is untrue. The mechanism used may be different, but the fact is that both parties have used techniques in which less than a majority can block a vote on a judicial nomination.

 

Yes, and I disagree with it...and the use of "holds" was done by both parties during Clinton's administration (and both parties during Bush's administration). It's wrong...so let's stop it, no?

 

>My understanding of what is being proposed in the so-called "nuclear option" is that the Republicans are going to change the rules of the Senate to disallow the use of the filibuster for judicial nomination. The problem is that the non-partisan Senate parliamentarian has stated that to pass such a measure by majority vote (in the face of a certain Democratic filibuster) would in and of itself violate the rules of the Senate. So calling it the "constitutional option" is very cute but the fact remains that the constitution says nothing about the number of votes required to bring a matter to a vote. In fact, since the constitution does say each house makes its own rules, it would be more accurate to call the "nuclear option" the "UN constitutional option."

 

So would you opine that a rule requiring any measure to pass a constitution amendment need 99% of all senators to pass (when the Constitution states only 2/3s are required) as being constitutional?

 

What about a "rule" that states that any nominee by the President must first dance a jig on one leg for at least 30 minutes before the senators would be able to vote?

 

When do you draw the line between a valid rule (set up by a majority of senators to govern the Senate) and a rule that imposes a requirement far more burdonesome than the Constitution?

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DEMOCRAT SENATORS OPPOSED TO FILIBUSTERS OF JUDICIAL NOMINEES

 

Senator Lieberman: Argued in 1995 that a supermajority requirement for cloture has "no constitutional basis

 

Senator Tom Harkin: "[T]he filibuster rules are unconstitutional" because "the Constitution sets out...when you need majority or supermajority votes in the Senate." "I urge the Republican leadership to take the steps necessary to allow the full Senate to vote up or down on these important nominations."

 

Former Senator Daschle: "I find it simply baffling that a Senator would vote against even voting on a judicial nomination."

 

Senator Kennedy: "Senators who believe in fairness will not let a minority of the Senate deny the nominee his vote by the entire Senate."

 

Senator Boxer: "It is not the role of the Senate to obstruct the process and prevent numbers of highly qualified nominees from even being given the opportunity for a vote on the Senate floor."

 

Senator Reid: "[W]e should have up-or-down votes in the committee and on the floor."

 

Senator Feinstein: "It is our job to confirm these judges. If we dont like them, we can vote against them."

 

I agree.

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Tort,

 

>When do you draw the line between a valid rule (set up by a majority of senators to govern the Senate) and a rule that imposes a requirement far more burdonesome than the Constitution?

 

I don't think you can draw a line, because it's the same Senate voting both on what you'd consider a "valid rule", and on the more "burdensome" rule. It's really up to them.

 

I agree that they ought to let them vote on the nominees in most cases. The filibuster was created as an attempt to provide some measure of balance in the Senate. It is, in reality, rarely used for any reason, let alone judicial nominees, because it is an unpleasant device to use, and brings up these very arguments of "why not just let the majority have its way?". Some Senate rules and parliamentary procedures exist to provide the minority party methods to stop the majority when they feel it is necessary to do so. Both parties use them. There exist some cases where the minority party feels so strongly about an issue that they feel that they have to use whatever tools are at their disposal to stop the issue from moving forward. In regards to judicial nominees, both parties have used a variety of tactics to block what they see as "bad choices", and I believe that if someone were to count, the Republicans stopped many more nominations during the Clinton administration than the Democrats have stopped in the Bush administration.

 

This is really a contrived battle, don't you think? We're talking about 10 nominees that were blocked by the Democrats during the last election cycle. The vast majority were approved. Instead of just moving on to other nominees with a better chance to be approved, or at least fought less vigorously, the Republican leadership created this "nuclear option" and the President re-nominated these candidates, knowing exactly what would happen as a result.

 

 

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I disagree that it's just politics. It's the heart and soul of our Constitution. I believe strongly that the President has the right to nominate judges, and that Senate's sole right is to advise and consent on those nominations, and that since the Constitution does not require a supermajority, the vote requirement is a simple majority.

 

By allowing a minority of senators to rule the majority, and for the first time in Senate history block judicial nominations with majority support is to trample on our Constitution. It robs us of the best minds, and shifts power unconstitutionally from the President to the Senate.

 

If a rule imposes a higher restriction than that imposed by the Constitution, it is unconstitutional in my opinion. I have always had that opinion. That used to be the opinion of many Senate Democrats.

 

Consistency sure is nice. Reality is that the Senate Democrat leadership is playing this game because it wants to placate liberals in its party. The Republicans are doing the same to placate conservatives. But...the Republicans in this instance have the moral high ground. They are arguing to follow the Constitution, pure and simple, exactly as Democrat senators argued before.

 

And...you are playing with numbers. The Senate Democrats have filibustered about 1/3 of the President's nominees to circuit courts for no other reason than they disagree with the nominees' viewpoints. The nominees have received ABA approval. Some of them sit on state supreme courts. The President nominated them, a majority of Senators consent to the nominations, but a minority is using a rule to prevent a vote.

 

And you argue that's okay. Would you have sided with Democrats a few years ago when they argued filibustering of judicial nominees was unconstitutional?

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>I disagree that it's just politics. It's the heart and soul of our Constitution. I believe strongly that the President has the right to nominate judges, and that Senate's sole right is to advise and consent on those nominations, and that since the Constitution does not require a supermajority, the vote requirement is a simple majority.

 

Well, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this point because I think that this is almost solely a political battle at this point. Both parties are playing to their constituencies. I honestly don't know if the Constitution mandates a simple majority if it doesn't require a supermajority. I'll take your word for it.

 

>By allowing a minority of senators to rule the majority, and for the first time in Senate history block judicial nominations with majority support is to trample on our Constitution. It robs us of the best minds, and shifts power unconstitutionally from the President to the Senate.

 

Clearly this is not the first time in Senate history. Members of both parties have used a variety of maneuvers to block nominees in the past, the Democrats in this election cycle, the Republicans during the Clinton administration. Whether we're being robbed of our best minds, etc., just depends what side of the fence you happen to be sitting on.

 

Regards the high moral ground, this time around, sure. During the Clinton administration, the Democrats were probably saying the same thing when the Republicans were blocking Clinton's nominees.

 

>And...you are playing with numbers

The news reports I've read have said that the Democrats have blocked 10 of Bush's nominations, while passing on many, many more. News reports also said that the Republicans blocked something like 170 Clinton nominees during his adminstration. Are the news reports wrong? I'm just passing on what I've read.

 

I'm not necessarily arguing that the Democrats or the Republicans are "playing nice", or that what they're doing is "ok". I am saying that it's good for the minority party to have tools that provide them some relief. If these tools are used responsibly, then the system works. These days, I don't think either party is "playing nice". Their actions are, to my mind, equally ridiculous.

 

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I don't think you are getting my argument on robbing the best minds. By refusing to allow votes on nominees who hold established points of view (which results when you require a supermajority vote), we limit ourselves to nominees that can get through both parties. That means you get middle-of-the-road candidates, or dark-horse candidates that hide their opinion. You don't get honesty. You don't get stellar candidates who are well written (because the other "viewpoint" will stop that candidate from getting a vote).

 

Not brining religion in this, solely as the analogy, you get luke warm water as opposed to hot or cold, and luke warm is good for nothing. I would rather have a stellar liberal on the court, then a Ginsburg or Kennedy. Give me someone who is well written and at the top of his class in his writings - someone who actually puts forward a viewpoint. Don't give me someone who pleases both sides, because that person is either a liar or a man without an opinion. Frankly, we don't need that sort to lead our country in any branch of government.

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