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Behind Mike Pence and the Christian right’s ‘disappointment’ with John Roberts

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The Christian right has a long history of railing against Supreme Court justices who were nominated by Republican presidents but weren’t the far-right culture warriors they anticipated — and now, social conservatives have turned their ire on Chief Justice John Roberts, appointed by President George W. Bush in 2005. The Christian right is furious with Roberts for siding with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and other liberals in cases having to do with a Louisiana anti-abortion law, as well as one involving LGBTQ rights in the workplace, and Vice President Mike Pence expressed his “disappointment” with Roberts during an interview with David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network.

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Pence told Brody, “We have great respect for the institution of the Supreme Court of the United States, but Chief Justice John Roberts has been a disappointment to conservatives whether it be the Obamacare decision or whether it be a spate of recent decisions.”

President Donald Trump has promised the Christian right he would only nominate conservatives along the lines of Justice Clarence Thomas and the late Antonin Scalia — and the two justices he has brought to the High Court so far, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, are often of that ilk. Yet Gorsuch, much to the chagrin of the Christian right, wrote the majority 6-3 opinion in Bostock v. Clayton County and ruled that LGBTQ residents of the U.S. are protected against discrimination in the workplace. And Roberts agreed with Gorsuch in that case.

The Louisiana law that Roberts and four other justices struck down in June Medical Services v. Russo required doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Pence, during his CBN interview, argued, “That’s a very modest restriction on abortion providers, but a narrow majority in the Supreme Court still said it was unacceptable. And I think it’s been, I think it’s been a wake-up call for pro-life voters around the country who understand, in a very real sense, (that) the destiny of the Supreme Court is on the ballot in 2020.”


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Joy Reid: What’s the point of having laws if the president’s friends can break them without consequence?

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The recent pardon of ret. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn exasperated MSNBC's Joy Reid, who welcomed former federal prosecutors on her show Wednesday. She explained that President Donald Trump's opposition to "law and order" when it comes to his friends is just more example of Republican hypocrisy to which Americans have become accustomed.

"You know, and Congressman Lieu, you've got The Wall Street Journal going sort of deeper into some of the other things that he did," Reid said of Flynn. "This is not the guy we remember just chanting 'lock her up' at the 2016 Republican National Convention, which is what probably people know him for. Michael Flynn planned to forcibly kidnap a Muslim cleric living in the United States and deliver him to Turkey under the alleged proposal. Flynn and his son, Michael Flynn Jr. were to be paid as much as $15 million to deliver him to the Turkish government, basically renditioning him for cash. Yet you have Lindsey Graham still Lindsey Grahaming calling it 'a great use of the pardon.' A-OK. Great job, Donald. I wonder what you make of this. I'm old enough to remember when Bill Clinton did a pardon for which Republicans would love to see him clacked in leg irons at the end of his presidency!"

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‘Last chapter in The Godfather’: Watergate prosecutor tears into Trump’s ‘continuing coverup’ of his associates’ Russia misdeeds

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On CNN Wednesday, former Watergate assistant special prosecutor Nick Akerman tore into outgoing President Donald Trump for his pardon of ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn — and warned that a larger coverup is looming.

"I think you have to look at the big picture here," said Akerman. "The big picture is that this is part of the continuing coverup of Donald Trump's efforts to conceal what happened between his campaign in 2016 with the Russian government. It started with Jim Comey, his firing because he refused to basically give an oath of loyalty to Donald Trump. It continued when Robert Mueller was appointed, the continuing threats of firing Mueller and his staff. It continued with Roger Stone, who was — his sentence was commuted."

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Conservative Charlie Sykes tells Trump if he wants a pardon — he’ll have to admit he’s guilty first

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Editor and creator of The Bulwark, Charlie Sykes, told MSNBC's Joy Reid that the most "Trumpy" of things President Donald Trump could do is pardon himself ahead of leaving office in January.

After the president pardoned ret. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, it sparked new anticipation on how Trump will protect himself from prosecution after leaving office. Trump was alleged to have committed at least ten acts of obstruction of justice by special counsel Robert Mueller. In that case, the Justice Department followed the internal rule that sitting presidents could not be indicted. Then, it stands to reason that the Justice Department would also follow a 1974 memo from the same Office of Legal Counsel that said a president could not pardon himself.

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