Glenn Beck: Roger Pilan about the Sotomayor nomination



Roger Pilon is the Vice President for Legal Affairs for the CATO Institute

GLENN: Roger Pilon is the vice president for legal affairs at the Cato Institute and also director for the Center For Constitutional Studies. Roger, how are you, sir?

PILON: Well, thank you, Glenn.

GLENN: Well, tell me about Justice how do you say her name? Sotomayor?

PILON: Sotomayor.

GLENN: Tell me about her.

PILON: Well, she was a judge on the second circuit. She was before that a district court, federal district court judge named by the first George Bush, elevated to the second circuit by President Clinton, and she has a very attractive history. She came up the hard way, so to speak. Her father died when she was 9 years old. She was brought up by a single mother thereafter. She went to Princeton, went to Yale Law School and served as a U.S. attorney, assistant district attorney in New York. But there is a lot of negative as well, and it's going to come out in these hearings.

GLENN: Well, hang on. Hang on, I didn't I didn't hear really the positives there. I mean, I know she had a tough life and, boohoo, cry me a river, a lot of people had a tough life.

PILON: Yep.

GLENN: And then she went to Yale and Princeton which kind of goes against the tough life thing, but maybe that's just me. What are the strengths that she has? I hate to boil it down to, you know, content of character kind of issues, but what has she done that has she done anything that is a positive when it comes to looking at the Constitution?

PILON: Well, you maybe want to rephrase that question this way: Were she not female and Hispanic, would she be nominated.

GLENN: The answer to that is no, and I know nothing about her.

PILON: That's right. And the reason is this, that the left is fairly salivating for someone who will be intellectually powerful and an effective voice against the intellectually powerful people like Antonin Scalia, John Roberts and so on.

GLENN: I

PILON: And the question is, is she going to be this kind of person? And there is concern on the left that she will not.

GLENN: Okay, I have heard that she is, in the second court of appeals that she is almost a bully at times, that she has the image of not being that intellectually bright. I don't know if this is true or not. This is one piece of analysis that I heard today: She's not that intellectually bright and she's almost a bully. She just loves to hear herself talk.

PILON: This is widely held. You can see a piece in the New Republic on May 4th by Jeffrey Rosen, their Supreme Court correspondent, that addresses that issue, drawing from a number of Democrats who have clerked and who known her over the years. So there is that. But without question, Glenn, the case that is really going to come to the fore is this Ricci V. DeStefano and that's the New Haven firefighters case, just for your audience who may not be familiar with it. This is a case brought by Ricci and several others, white firefighters including one Hispanic, by the way, who got high marks on the exam for officer, firefighter officer. And when the results did not come out right, the city threw the test out. So Mr. Ricci brought suit. He was dyslexic. He had studied long and hard for this. He had spent a substantial amount of money getting the tests put into recorded form so that he could study for it, and he came out number 6, I believe it was, in the order and therefore was a prime candidate for elevation to an officer. The Court threw it out, and the district the district court threw it out. The appellate court, the panel on which Judge Sotomayor sat, all but dismissed the case, gave a perfunctory disposition of it. Indeed in a response to Judge Cabrenas, a colleague of Judge Sotomayor on that court, he said it contains no reference to the constitutional court to the claims of the core of this case, a perfunctory disposition, rest with the weighty issues addressed by this appeal. In other words, it was a classic affirmative action case in which she stood for affirmative action and it is going to come down from the Supreme Court next month. The oral arguments suggest that the Supreme Court is going to reverse the second circuit and so if these hearings are going to be held in July, it will be right after that decision comes down and they will be stormy hearings, I predict.

GLENN: Okay. So she was against and explain the there's some sort of law that even if this test, even if none of the questions were like are you black or are you handicapped; if so, you're out, even if there was no evidence that there was any kind of racism in this test, if the results of the test are that, hey, select group of people, whichever group that is, didn't make it into the top, then that can be deemed racist because of its effect? Is that right?

PILON: This is the way the court in effect decided it. Now, I ask you, if it had turned out that the African Americans had come out on top, the Court surely would not have sustained and the city would not have thrown out the results and, of course, if it had, the court would have found this to be a violation of equal protection. So I mean, we have we're just about as blatant a case of race discrimination as you could possibly ask for and yet she sat on this panel and found nothing wrong. There's the nub of the matter right there.

GLENN: Roger, let me ask you one more question, then I want to ask you about another big case coming out today. When she has to take the oath of office, why has no one been challenging Barack Obama when he says he wants somebody of empathy, and she's quoted in one of her lectures saying that she really, you know, she just hopes that a Latina woman with rich experience is appointed to the court, et cetera, et cetera; how come nobody is pointing out the oath that she's going to have to take, I solemnly swear that I will administer justice without respect to persons and do equal right to the poor and to the rich and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge? There's no empathy in you would have to violate your own oath to be empathetic. Why is there no challenge here?

PILON: Well, there is a challenge but they are by people who are being dismissed out of hand because it's politically incorrect to raise such a challenge. That's what we've come to, Glenn. This is a Constitution that has been so politicized in recent years that it's hardly indicative of the rule of law. It is an empty vessel in which transient majorities or judges 5 4 can pour their own conception of evolving social values.

GLENN: We have the audio of her. Can we play that, Dan? We have the audio of her speaking. Now, this is recorded on videotape, et cetera, et cetera. Listen to what she says about the role of the court.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SOTOMAYOR: The role of the legal defense funds out there, they are looking for people with court of appeals experience because it is, court of appeals is where policy is made. And I know, and I know this is on tape and I should never say that because we don't make law, I know. (Laughter). Okay. I'm not promoting it, I'm not advocating it, you know.

GLENN: Stop, stop.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

GLENN: She's clearly saying it and then trying to backpedal like, no, no, no, really, I mean, you can't I mean, this is the reality, Roger.

PILON: Yeah.

GLENN: What you are saying is an empty vessel, this is proof positive of it.

PILON: Absolutely. This is a wink and a nod, right, to the rule of law. It is saying in effect that we sit as one more legislative branch, making policy. And, of course, that is not what the Court is supposed to do. We call the Court the nonpolitical branch as opposed to the legislature and the executive because it is to decide cases brought before them by the law. That's why Lady Justice, Justicia is blindfolded.

GLENN: Roger, I don't know if you can answer this. When we come back you just tell me if you're not the guy to talk to on this. But the way they are going to they are going to rule today on Proposition 8 as well.

PILON: Yeah.

GLENN: Can you discuss that?

PILON: Well, I can, yes, but it's I can only give you the conventional wisdom on it because no one knows how the

GLENN: Right, right. But I have a question on this because there seems to be a very convenient loophole that I bet you my life the Supreme Court is going to take, and I'd love to get your opinion on it. We'll do that next.

PILON: Okay.

(OUT 9:45)

GLENN: 888 727 BECK. Roger Pilon is with us. He's vice president for legal affairs at the Cato Institute. And by the way, here's the quote. Here's the quote from Sonia Sotomayor. She said, quote: I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion as a judge than a white male that hasn't lived that life. Have you ever heard anything like that, Roger, before? I mean, you know, outside of KKK rallies or, you know, Nazi party speeches.

PILON: There are judges, there are judges out there who believe that. In fact, this goes way back to the 1930s when people argued that the judges make decisions based upon what they ate for breakfast that morning. And so this is an approach that has come from the school of legal realism, as it's called, and it's been around for some time. Of course, it is not our ideal of what a judge should do, but that's why as I said before the break, we have Lady Justice with the blindfold on because she really doesn't care whether the person before her is black or white, rich or poor. Her job is to apply the law in light of the facts before her. And that is what as Chief Justice Roberts put it in his confirmation hearings, it's like an umpire. The umpire calls balls or strikes not for the home team or for the visitors but as he sees them.

GLENN: Of course that's what a white male who hasn't lived life would say.

Roger, let me go to Proposition 8. Proposition 8, as far as I'm concerned, whatever you want to do in your own bedroom is your own business. Anybody who thinks that, well, we're just going to stop this at gay marriage if the state is involved, you have no intellectual but I mean, you know, neither does Sonia what's her face. You have no intellectual honesty. If you can say, well, we're going to make an exception here but not for triads but not for polygamy or anything else. You can't change one part of it without the other. I personally think, like California be California, Utah be Utah, call it a day, let's move on.

PILON: Well, this is a complex issue that can be approached on many levels. Let's start at the most basic level. Marriage is a contract. And who's to say what contracts people can enter into of various kinds.

Now, what's the state doing involved in this contract? Well, there are complicated reasons for that. Historical, for example, then there are children involved, at least in some marriages where the state has an interest. And then, too, there is the impremateur factor and that's the really tricky issue. It's one thing if you have contracts that are just simply recognized about I the state, but the state recognition tends to impose an impremateur and that's where you get into the political difficulties because there are lots of people, as in the State of California who don't want their impremateur to be placed on the political realm on this union of same sex couples. And it came out that way when it was put to a vote not once but twice in the State of California and so now you get to the Democratic dimensions. And if the Supreme Court of California overrides again the will of the voters

GLENN: They are going to.

PILON: then there is going to be some real consternation, I predict. That's why the conventional wisdom has it that there will be kind of a split decision, that is to say they will allow the proposition to stand but they will also allow those marriages that took place before that to stand as well.

GLENN: I think they are going to go for this new argument that it has to be introduced by the legislature with 3/4 vote and then brought to the people.

PILON: I see. You think that's the route? Well, it's possible, yeah.

GLENN: You don't think so?

PILON: I don't know. I mean, the California Supreme Court

GLENN: Crazy?

PILON: is a world all unto itself.

GLENN: If that happens and I've only got 30 seconds here. If that happens, shouldn't you go back in California and repeal every constitutional amendment that hasn't been done exactly that way?

PILON: Well, one would think that that would follow. But Glenn, let me tell you. The same sex marriage issue is the least of the problems in California today.

GLENN: I mean, it's just, it's really ridiculous. I mean, it really is. Like, "So North Korea's testing nukes. Hey, who won on American Idol?" Maybe that's just me. Roger, thank you so much, sir.

PILON: You're quite welcome.

Carter Page, a former advisor to Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, found himself at the center of the Russia probe and had his reputation and career destroyed by what we now know were lies from our own intelligence system and the media.

On the TV show Thursday, Page joined Glenn Beck to speak out about how he became the subject of illegal electronic surveillance by the FBI for more than two years, and revealed the extent of the corruption that has infiltrated our legal systems and our country as a whole.

"To me, the bigger issue is how much damage this has done to our country," Page told Glenn. "I've been very patient in trying to ... find help with finding solutions and correcting this terrible thing which has happened to our country, our judicial system, DOJ, FBI -- these once-great institutions. And my bigger concern is the fact that, although we keep taking these steps forward in terms of these important findings, it really remains the tip of the iceberg."

Page was referencing the report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, which revealed that the FBI made "at least 17 significant errors or omissions" in its Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications for warrants to spy on Page, a U.S. citizen.

"I think this needs to be attacked from all angles," Glenn said. "The one angle I'm interested in from you is, please tell me you have the biggest badass attorneys that are hungry, starving, maybe are a little low to pay their Mercedes payments right now, and are just gearing up to come after the government and the media. Are they?"

I can confirm that that is the case," Page replied.

Watch the video clip below for a preview of the full-length interview:

The full interview will air on January 30th for Blaze TV subscribers, and February 1st on YouTube and wherever you get your podcast.

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On Wednesday's TV show, Glenn Beck sat down with radio show host, author, political commentator, and film critic, Michael Medved.

Michael had an interesting prediction for the 2020 election outcome: a brokered convention by the DNC will usher in former First Lady Michelle Obama to run against President Donald Trump.

Watch the video below to hear why he's making this surprising forecast:

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On Thursday's "Glenn Beck Radio Program," BlazeTV's White House correspondent Jon Miller described the current situation in Virginia after Gov. Ralph Northam (D) declared a state of emergency and banned people carrying guns at Capitol Square just days before a pro-Second-Amendment rally scheduled on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Jon told Glenn that Gov. Northam and the Virginia Legislature are "trying to deprive the people of their Second Amendment rights" but the citizens of Virginia are "rising up" to defend their constitutional rights.

"I do think this is the flashpoint," Jon said. "They [Virginia lawmakers] are saying, 'You cannot exercise your rights ... and instead of trying to de-escalate the situation, we are putting pressure. We're trying to escalate it and we're trying to enrage the citizenry even more'."

Glenn noted how Gov. Northam initially blamed the threat of violence from Antifa for his decision to ban weapons but quickly changed his narrative to blame "white supremacists" to vilify the people who are standing up for the Second Amendment and the Constitution.

"What he's doing is, he's making all all the law-abiding citizens of Virginia into white supremacists," Glenn said.

"Sadly, that's exactly right," Jon replied. "And I think he knows exactly what he's doing."

Watch the video to catch more of the conversation below:

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Ryan: Trump Louisiana Finale

Photo by Jim Dale

Part One. Part Two. Part Three.

At the end of Trump rallies, I would throw on my Carhartt jacket, sneak out of the press area, then blend in with everyone as they left, filing out through swinging doors.

Often, someone held the door open for me. Just 30 minutes earlier, the same person had most likely had most likely hissed at me for being a journalist. And now they were Sunday smiles and "Oh, yes, thank you, sir" like some redneck concierge.

People flooded out of the arena with the stupidity of a fire drill mishap, desperate to survive.

The air smacked you as soon as you crossed the threshold, back into Louisiana. And the lawn was a wasteland of camping chairs and coolers and shopping bags and to-go containers and soda cans and articles of clothing and even a few tents.

In Monroe, in the dark, the Trump supporters bobbled over mounds of waste like elephants trying to tiptoe. And the trash was as neutral to them as concrete or grass. They plodded over it because it, an object, had somehow gotten in their way.

It did not matter that they were responsible for this wreckage.Out in the sharp-edged moonlight, rally-goers hooted and yapped and boogied and danced, and the bbq food truck was all smoke and paper plates.

They were even more pumped than they had been before the rally, like 6,000 eight year olds who'd been chugging Mountain Dew for hours. Which made Donald Trump the father, the trooper, God of the Underworld, Mr. Elite, Sheriff on high horse, the AR-15 sticker of the family.

Ritualistic mayhem, all at once. And, there in Louisiana, Trump's supporters had gotten a taste of it. They were all so happy. It bordered on rage.

Still, I could not imagine their view of America. Worse, after a day of strange hostilities, I did not care.

My highest priority, my job as a reporter, was to care. To understand them and the world that they inhabit. But I did not give a damn and I never wanted to come back.

Worst of all, I would be back. In less than a week.

Was this how dogs felt on the 4th of July? Hunched in a corner while everyone else gets drunk and launches wailing light into the sky? configurations of blue and red and white.

It was 10:00 p.m. and we'd been traveling since 11:00 a.m., and we still had 5 hours to go and all I wanted was a home, my home, any home, just not here, in the cold sweat of this nowhere. Grey-mangled sky. No evidence of planes or satellites or any proof of modern-day. Just century-old bridges that trains shuffled over one clack at a time.

And casinos, all spangles and neon like the 1960s in Las Vegas. Kitchy and dumb, too tacky for lighthearted gambling. And only in the nicer cities, like Shreveport, which is not nice at all.

And swamp. Black water that rarely shimmered. Inhabited by gadflies and leeches and not one single fish that was pretty.

Full of alligators, and other killing types. The storks gnawing on frogs, the vultures never hungry. The coyotes with nobody to stop them and so much land to themselves. The roaches in the wild, like tiny wildebeests.

Then, the occasional deer carcass on the side of the road, eyes splayed as if distracted, tongue out, relaxed but empty. The diseased willows like skeletons in hairnets. The owls that never quit staring. A million facets of wilderness that would outlive us all.

Because Nature has poise. It thrives and is original.

Because silence is impossible. Even in an anechoic chamber, perfectly soundproofed, you can hear your own heartbeat, steady as a drum. A never-ending war.

I put "Headache" by Grouper on repeat as we glided west. We were deadlocked to asphalt, rubber over tarface.

And I thought about lines from a Rita Dove poem titled "I have been a stranger in a strange land"

He was off cataloging the universe, probably,
pretending he could organize
what was clearly someone else's chaos.

Wasn't that exactly what I was doing? Looking for an impossible answer, examining every single accident, eager for meaning? telling myself, "If it happens and matters the next year, in America, I want to be there, or to know what it means. I owe it to whoever cares to listen."

Humans are collectors and I had gone overboard.

Because maybe this wasn't even my home. These landmarks, what did they mean? Was I obvious here? When I smiled, did I trick them into believing that I felt some vague sense of approval? Or did my expressions betray me?

Out in all that garbage-streaked emptiness — despite the occasional burst of passing halogen — I couldn't tell if everything we encountered was haunted or just old, derelict, broken, useless. One never-ending landfill.

Around those parts, they'd made everything into junk. Homes. Roads. Glass. Nature. Life itself, they made into junk.

I cringed as we passed yet another deer carcass mounded on the side of the road.

As written in Job 35:11,

Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds in the sky?

Nobody. Look at nature and you feel something powerful. Look at an animal, in all of its untamable majesty, and you capture a deep love, all swept up in the power of creation. But, here, all I saw were poor creatures who people had slammed into and kept driving. Driving to where? For what reason? What exactly was so important that they left a trail of dead animals behind them?

So I crossed myself dolorously and said an "Our Father" and recited a stanza from Charles Bukowski's "The Laughing Heart"

you can't beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.

Out here, nothing but darkness. Needing some light, by God. Give me something better than a Moon that hides like an underfed coward.

Jade told me about some of the more traumatic things she'd seen while working at the State Fair.

"Bro, they pull roaches out of the iced lemonade jugs and act like nothing happened."

"All right but what about the corn dogs?"

"You do not want to know, little bro."

She looked around in the quiet. "Back in the day, the Louisiana Congress refused to raise the drinking age from 18 to 21," she said. "They didn't want to lose all that drunk gambler money. So the federal government cut off funding to highways."

We glided through moon-pale landscape for an hour before I realized what she had meant. That there weren't any light poles or billboards along the road. Nothing to guide us or distract us. Just us, alone. And it felt like outer space had collapsed, swallowed us like jellybeans.

Like two teenagers playing a prank on the universe.

In the cozy Subaru Crosstrek, in the old wild night, brimming with the uncertainty of life and the nonchalance of failure, we paraded ourselves back to Dallas. Alive in the river silence that follows us everywhere.

New installments come Mondays and Thursdays. Next, the Iowa caucuses. Check out my Twitter. Email me at kryan@blazemedia.com