Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Trump’s Supreme Court pick, and his (in)famous mother


Trump’s Supreme Court pick, and his (in)famous mother

Jerry Adler 2 hours 50 minutes ago

Anne Gorsuch Burford in 1984. (Photo: Ed Maker/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Neil Gorsuch, nominated by President Trump to the Supreme Court, bears a name many Republicans would just as soon forget: that of his late mother, Anne Gorsuch Burford, a controversial administrator of the Environmental Protection Administration under President Ronald Reagan, and the first Cabinet-level official to be cited for contempt of Congress.

Anne Gorsuch, who died in 2004, was a little-known Colorado state legislator when she was tapped by Reagan in 1981 to head the EPA. Together with her fellow Westerner, James Watt — Reagan’s pick for secretary of the interior — she personified the “Sagebrush Rebellion” of the 1970s and 1980s, an attempt by ranchers, farmers, miners and oil interests to overturn federal land-use and environmental regulations.

She did her part, cutting her agency’s budget by 22 percent, curtailing research and enforcement activities and scaling back regulations on air and water pollution. (Carbon dioxide and climate change, the most contentious issues facing the EPA today, weren’t yet on anyone’s agenda.) She even attempted to relax limits, imposed in the 1970s, on lead additives to gasoline, regulations that are credited now with preventing the poisoning of large numbers of children. A New York Times editorial in 1983 said she had taken one of the most effective government agencies and left it  “reeking of cynicism, mismanagement and decay.”

She lasted less than two years in the job, brought down by a series of congressional investigations — the House was controlled by Democrats then — into her management of the Superfund program to clean up toxic-waste sites. She refused to comply with subpoenas on the grounds of executive privilege, and evidence suggested that key documents had been shredded. In the ensuing showdown, she was cited for contempt of Congress. Months later she resigned, thrown under the bus, she contended, by an administration that lacked the spine to defend her.

In her 1986 book, “Are You Tough Enough?” Ms. Burford called the episode her “expensive mid-life education.

Above is from:  https://www.yahoo.com/news/trumps-supreme-court-pick-and-his-infamous-mother-012731939.html

Trump picks Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court vacancy

Dylan Stableford 3 hours ago


President Trump announced Tuesday night that Neil Gorsuch, a conservative federal judge on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, is his pick to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Scalia died last February, and congressional Republicans blocked President Barack Obama’s choice of Merrick Garland as Scalia’s replacement.

“When Justice Scalia passed away suddenly last February, I made a promise to the American people,” Trump said in announcing his choice inside the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. “If I were elected president, I would find the very best judge in the country for the Supreme Court.”

“I took the task of this nomination very seriously. I have selected an individual whose qualities define, really and I mean closely define, what we’re looking for,” Trump continued. “Judge Gorsuch has outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, tremendous discipline and has earned bipartisan support.”

“This has been the most transparent and most important Supreme Court selection process in the history of our country, and I wanted the American people to have a voice in this nomination,” Trump added. “Judge Gorsuch has a superb intellect, an unparalleled legal education, and a commitment to interpreting the Constitution according to its text. He will make an incredible justice as soon as the Senate confirms him.”

“As this process now moves to the Senate, I look forward to speaking with members from both sides of the aisle, from answering their questions to hearing their concerns,” Gorsuch said. “I consider the United States Senate the greatest deliberative body in the world. … It is the role of judges to apply, not alter, the work for the people’s representatives.”

Gorsuch, a Colorado native with an Ivy League pedigree, is seen as a relatively safe pick by legal observers, primarily because his “originalist” views on the Constitution are very much in line with those of Scalia.

“Both his pre-judicial résumé and his body of work as a judge make him a natural fit for an appointment to the Supreme Court by a Republican president,” SCOTUSblog notes. “He is relatively young, and his background is filled with sterling legal and academic credentials.”

The 49-year-old Gorsuch is the youngest Supreme Court nominee in about 25 years.

Gorsuch studied as an undergraduate at Columbia University, earned his law degree at Harvard as a classmate of Obama and obtained a doctorate in legal philosophy at Oxford University, where he studied as a Marshall Scholar.

He clerked for two U.S. Supreme Court justices — Byron White and Anthony Kennedy — before spending a decade as a partner at the law firm of Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel in Washington, D.C., where his specialties ranged “from antitrust to securities fraud, fiduciary duty to telecommunications,” according to his official bio.

In 2006, Gorsuch was nominated by President George W. Bush to serve on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. His nomination was confirmed by the Senate in a unanimous voice vote.

Gorsuch is the son of Anne Burford, who was the head of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Ronald Reagan the first time the Republicans tried to dismantle it.

Burford, the first female head of the EPA, was forced to quit after she refused to turn over Superfund records to Congress.

President Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House to announce Judge Neil Gorsuch as his nominee for the Supreme Court on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) President Trump introduces Judge Neil Gorsuch as his nominee for the Supreme Court. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

He lives with his wife and two daughters in Boulder, Colo., where he is a visiting professor at the University of Colorado’s law school. He is also a member of the Federalist Society, a conservative and libertarian group that promotes an “originalist interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.”

Gorsuch was on the long list of potential Supreme Court nominees Trump released before the election.

According to the Washington Post, Gorsuch was a “natural” choice given his “family connection to Republican establishment politics,” his “glittery Ivy League résumé” and his Supreme Court clerkship.

Related: A law school review’s guide to some of Gorsuch’s key opinions

In an interview with the Denver Post, University of Denver law professor Justin Marceau called Gorsuch “a predictably socially conservative judge who tends to favor state power over federal power.”

Gorsuch wrote a 2006 book, “The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia,” arguing against assisted-suicide laws.

Perhaps most importantly, Gorsuch is like Scalia in many ways.

“He is celebrated as a keen legal thinker and a particularly incisive legal writer, with a flair that matches — or at least evokes — that of the justice whose seat he would be nominated to fill,” SCOTUSblog commented. “In fact, some of the parallels can be downright eerie.”

Gorsuch’s opinions are exceptionally clear and routinely entertaining; he is an unusual pleasure to read, and it is always plain exactly what he thinks and why. Like Scalia, Gorsuch also seems to have a set of judicial/ideological commitments apart from his personal policy preferences that drive his decision-making. He is an ardent textualist (like Scalia); he believes criminal laws should be clear and interpreted in favor of defendants even if that hurts government prosecutions (like Scalia); he is skeptical of efforts to purge religious expression from public spaces (like Scalia); he is highly dubious of legislative history (like Scalia); and he is less than enamored of the dormant commerce clause (like Scalia).

If confirmed, Marceau said, we would see in Gorsuch “a judge who, while perhaps not as combative in personal style as Justice Scalia, is perhaps his intellectual equal.”

Two months after Scalia’s death, Gorsuch gave a speech at Case Western Reserve University School of Law honoring his legacy.

“Sometimes people are described as lions of their profession, and I have difficulty understanding exactly what that’s supposed to mean,” Gorsuch said. “Not so with Justice Scalia. He really was a lion of the law: docile in private life but a ferocious fighter when at work, with a roar that could echo for miles.”

Gorsuch reiterated his view of Scalia as a “lion” in his speech at the White House on Tuesday.

“A judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge, stretching for results he prefers rather than those the law demands,” Gorsuch said. “I am so thankful tonight for my family, my friends and my faith. These are the things that keep me grounded at life’s peaks, and it sustains me in its valleys.”

Above is from:  https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-picks-neil-gorsuch-for-supreme-court-vacancy-010447668.html

Diplomats defy White House warning, criticize travel ban


MATTHEW LEE,Associated Press 5 hours ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hundreds of American diplomats defied a White House warning on Tuesday, sending a memo to the State Department's leadership that criticizes President Donald Trump's temporary travel ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries. It is believed to be one of the most popularly supported statements of dissent in the department's history.

A State Department official said the cable was received just a day after White House spokesman Sean Spicer suggested those disagreeing with Trump's new policy should resign. The official did not have an exact number of signatories, but said more than 800 indicated they would sign after drafts of the cable circulated over the weekend. The official wasn't authorized to discuss the matter publicly and demanded anonymity.

The document argues that the executive order Trump signed last week runs counter to American values and will fuel anti-American sentiment around the world.

"A policy which closes our doors to over 200 million legitimate travelers in the hopes of preventing a small number of travelers who intend to harm Americans from using the visa system to enter the United States will not achieve its aim of making our country safer," the diplomats wrote in the so-called "dissent cable."

"This ban stands in opposition to the core American and constitutional values that we, as federal employees, took an oath to uphold," a draft of the cable said. The final version wasn't immediately available.

Dissent channel cables are a mechanism for U.S. diplomats to register disagreement internally about U.S. policies. It was established during the Vietnam War and was most recently used by diplomats to criticize the Obama administration's approach to Syria. In that case, former Secretary of State John Kerry met with signers of the cable to discuss their concerns.

Trump's secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson is still awaiting Senate confirmation and it was unclear how we would respond to the memo.

In response to reports of the cable Monday, Spicer said of the diplomats: "They should either get with the program or they can go."

He dismissed the criticism from what he called "career bureaucrats." While he later said Trump appreciates the work of public servants, Spicer said they should respect the desires of the American people and the importance Trump places on protecting the country.

"If somebody has a problem with that agenda, that does call into question whether they should continue in that post or not," Spicer said. "This is about the safety of America."

Signers of dissent cables are supposed to be protected from retribution from superiors.

The department, along with other agencies entrusted with implementing Trump's order, has been confused about the details, offering several contradictory instructions to embassies and consulates on how it plans to do so.

As word of the executive order began to circulate last week, diplomats at some embassies began to prioritize visa applications from citizens of countries they suspected might be affected, according to officials.

On Friday, before the order was signed, workers at one embassy dumped bins of hundreds of approved passports on the floor to pull those from the affected countries and affix visas in them, officials said. That effort stopped when the order was signed, they said.


Ellen Knickmeyer contributed to this report.

Above is from:  https://www.yahoo.com/news/white-house-us-diplomats-clash-over-travel-order-083919520--politics.html

Caterpillar to move headquarters from Peoria to Chicago


Posted at 8:44 AM Updated at 8:57 AM

By Matt BudelGateHouse Media

PEORIA - Caterpillar Inc. has scrapped plans to build a new office complex in downtown Peoria and will move its global headquarters to the Chicago area by the end of the year.

The upper echelon of executives, including newly installed CEO Jim Umpleby, will begin relocating later this year, with up to 100 employees total moving by year's end. About 300 employees will work in the new office at an as yet undecided location once the transition is complete.

"I think our commitment and our ties to Peoria will still be very, very strong," Umpleby said in an exclusive interview with the (Peoria) Journal Star. "We'll have more employees in this area than any other place in the world. We intend to continue our deep philanthropic and civil involvement."

Umpleby continued: "So (Peoria) really will still be, in my view, the center of the universe for Caterpillar. That's not going to change."

The action about to be undertaken by Caterpillar, however, represents a stark reversal of official company words from years and decades past.

Studies for modernization of the company's global headquarters that began in 2012 focused almost exclusively on downtown Peoria and the surrounding region, according to accounts given by Caterpillar at the time.

Then, in February 2015, the company affirmed its intention to remain local and global when it unveiled plans for a sprawling campus to be built on the Chase Bank building block, across the street from the current headquarters.

Doug Oberhelman, who retired as CEO at the beginning of the year but remains the chairman of Caterpillar's Board of Directors through the end of March, said simply at the time: "Caterpillar will stay in Peoria. I repeat, we will stay in Peoria."

Much has changed since those plans first were set into motion - to Caterpillar's plans and bottom line.

The company indefinitely suspended planning for the new Peoria headquarters in the fall of 2015 after announcing a restructuring effort that called for up to 10,000 jobs to be cut and about 20 facilities around the world to be closed or consolidated.

The projection was low, and the plan evolved. Since the original announcement, 30 facilities have been affected and 16,000 Caterpillar employees have lost jobs.

The changes contributed to $2.3 billion in savings in 2016, but sales and revenue for last year still were more than 40 percent below peak levels of 2012. Umpleby said that decline is a fundamental reason the company's Board of Directors opted to move global headquarters to an area where the global marketplace is in easier reach.

"What we're really after here in terms of the location is access to flights and the ability to get to markets more quickly," Umpleby said. "One of the reasons we chose Chicago is it allows us that easier global access but it also is close to where we're going to still have the majority of our people. We have more people here than any other location in the world."

Umpleby stressed that Caterpillar intends to lease existing office space in the Chicago area, rather than build. And that space will not be a place where the company plans to move thousands of employees from Peoria.

Instead, those who will work in the Chicago area office will include the CEO, group presidents, a few vice presidents and some staff from the financial, legal and human resources departments, as well as support staff.

"The reason we're doing this is the management team has a singular focus, and the board, on helping Caterpillar grow again. That is what we're focused on," Umpleby said. "And that means making priority decisions with our resources. And we believe that it's a better use of our resources to invest in new products, services and solutions than to build an office building. That will allow us to compete, increase sales and grow the business."

Umpleby also acknowledged the civic magnitude of moving the global headquarters from the city where Caterpillar was founded in 1925 and eventually grew to be the world's largest manufacturer of earth moving equipment.

"I understand it is a big deal, and it is not a decision that we made lightly. As we step back and looked at what is most important, what's most important for us is to get Caterpillar growing again and for us to make the company successful," Umpleby said. "And I clearly recognize it will be disappointing, it will be tough. This is not easy. I clearly recognize that. But again I think it's the right thing for Caterpillar to do in the long term."

The company planned to call in city leaders to inform them of the move this morning before informing employees and notifying the public.

Matt Buedel: 309-686-3154; mbuedel@pjstar.com; @JournoBuedel

Above is from:  Caterpillar to move headquarters from Peoria to Chicago