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Okay, so today at a rally in suburban Detroit…

“By the way, I’m spending a lot of money on my campaign. And why isn’t she spending some money on hers? I’m spending a hundred million dollars,” Trump said, after criticizing Clinton for accepting donations from Wall Street bankers and special interest groups. “… I think I’ll be over a hundred million dollars.”

Trump tells Obama not to pardon Clinton, even though she hasn’t been charged or convicted of anything, Jenna Johnson, Washington Post, today

Look, folks.  It’s way, way, way past time that Clinton shout from the rooftops that there are three billionaires who are writing extremely large checks to Trump’s super PAC, two—father-daughter hedge-fund duo Rebekah and Robert Mercer, and oil and gas billionaire Harold Hamm—who are determining Trump’s fiscal and regulatory policy proposals and prospective court and agency-head appointees.

No. One. Knows. This.

She also needs to say, and say again, and again, that the aggregate amounts of “Citizens United money” that will have gone respectively to support her, and Trump’s, campaigns by November 8 is far less important than the amounts one or two or three billionaires are donating to each campaign, and the percentages of the total donations to the respective campaign that these billionaires’ donations comprise.

Earlier today, in the Comments thread to my post from earlier this week titled “What Clinton and her surrogates need to get across to millennials, racial minorities and union members,” I exchanged these comments with reader Eric377:

Eric377 / October 1, 2016 8:57 am

Well it seems to me that Trump got and used a lot less “Citizens United” type money than his Republican opponents and Clinton. The deep suspicion – conviction for many, really – is that voting for Clinton is voting to leave the current elite structure completely unchanged.

Me / October 1, 2016 9:57 am

Here’s the problem with looking only at the aggregate amount each candidate has received in Citizens United money: As I’ve written in AB posts here seemingly ad nauseam since early Aug. when I learned of it, sometime late in the primary season two hedge fund father-daughter billionaires, Robert and Rebekah Mercer, who had been funding Cruz, began instead funding Trump to the tune of many millions of dollars. They live in the Hamptons and began meeting with him and effectively controlling his fiscal and regulatory policy proposals as well as his selections of nominees for the Supreme Court and for agency chiefs. These people are the main funders of Breitbart–thus, Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway–and of the Heritage Foundation, thus Stephen Moore and other ostensible economics experts.

The other billionaire who’s been funding Trump–some oil-and-gas billionaire named Harold Hamm–to the tune of many, many millions of dollars is–surprise–recommending appointments as Interior and EPA chiefs.

If Clinton actually wants to energize millennial progressives, all she has to do, I think, is tell them this. She doesn’t–for fear of, y’know, alienating all those moderate suburban Republicans who would be thrilled to see the oil-and-gas industry control Interior and the EPA, and extreme rightwing hedge fund billionaires and the Heritage Foundation make fiscal and regulatory policy.

Meanwhile, today CNN Politics is reporting, in a story reported by Theodore Schleiffer titled “Trump finally hits the big-money jackpot,” that Trump is now also funded by Republican billionaires Sheldon and Marion Trump and the Ricketts family—two of the uber-funders of far-right Republican campaigns, and of Republican candidates who are far-right mainly because Adelson, the Rickets and the Kochs are. About the Adelsons, Schleiffer writes:

Despite only publicly committed $5 million to what is likely to be the de facto Trump super PAC, Sheldon and Miriam Adelson are pledging at least $25 million to pro-Trump presidential efforts, according to multiple people briefed on their donations. That sum includes giving to nonprofit group that will never be required to disclose his donations.

As for the Ricketts, their wealth comes from TD Ameritrade, which the current Mr. Ricketts, Thomas, joined at age 30.  His father founded the company, but it was entirely a merit hire.  In any event, Trump apparently doesn’t know that it is a financial institution.  (It’s a large one, Donald.)

Which brings me to a post that was in follow-up to my earlier post, in which I mentioned that there really, truly, honestly is a difference between Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

Anyone know who Gary Johnson would name to the Supreme Court?  It doesn’t matter, cuz he won’t be naming anyone to the Court.  Trump or Clinton will.

So, so much about Clinton’s campaign has just completely missed the mood of a huge swath of voters in this election cycle.  Not least is that moderate Republican suburbanites—to whom she’s directed her campaign almost exclusively—would be less likely rather than more likely to vote for Trump if they knew that he indeed has billionaire puppeteers, who they are, what they want, and the extraordinary influence they’re having on his policy proposals and will have on his court and agency-head appointments.   It’s way, way, wayyy past time for Clinton to tell the public about this.

Also at that rally today, Trump suggested that he be indicted for his serial criminal fraud, bribery, and tax and other laws related to his charity.  Wire fraud, for sure.  Johnson reports in that article:

NOVI, Mich. — Donald Trump called on President Obama on Friday to refuse to pardon Hillary Clinton and her associates, even though they have not been charged with any crimes, let alone convicted of any crimes.

“Mr. President, will you pledge not to issue a pardon to Hillary Clinton and her co-conspirators for their many crimes against our country and against society itself?” Trump said to a cheering audience in this Detroit suburb on Friday evening.

He added: “No one is above the law.”

One of the very many thoroughly disorienting characteristics of Trump’s in this campaign is his routine tactic of accusing others of what he is accused, with supporting evidence, of doing.  I do think, though, that on this he’s playing with fire.  That quote of his will support demands for criminal investigations and civil fines.

Although, I suppose he could assert the defense that he is no one, and therefore is above the law.

I’m guessing that the starkness of Trump’s manic conduct in the last two days—and, really, you don’t need any formal knowledge about severe bipolar illness to recognize that, apart from other obvious mental illness, he is severely manic—will, finally, finish off this candidacy.  But the answer to why Clinton isn’t far ahead in the polls is not just the malpractice nature of so much high-profile journalistic coverage of these two candidates—the obscenely overblown emails-and-related-matters obsession, to cited the most obvious news media indulgence.  It’s also that Clinton has run as an outdated moderate Republican, almost throughout her campaign dating back to its inception.

There’s really no time like the present for her to start campaigning like it’s 2016.  Since, after all, that’s what it is.

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What HE said! (And what I said. Yesterday.)

Any American under the age of 50 has no memory of living with a liberal Supreme Court. That could change soon. Were a Democratic appointee to fill the current opening, laws could change on voting rights, corporate power, campaign finance, criminal justice and many other issues.

“For the first time in decades,” Jeffrey Toobin writes in the current New Yorker, “there is now a realistic chance that the Supreme Court will become an engine of progressive change rather than an obstacle to it.”

A Liberal Supreme Court, David Leonhardt, NYT, today

Time to campaign on this, with specifics, Hillary Clinton.  And time for your surrogates to do so.  As I said yesterday.

Please instruct voters on the difference between Sonia Sotomayor and Samuel Alito.  There is a difference.  A big one.  The Mercers know this.  Please ensure that voters and potential voters know this, too.

Thank you.

 

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ADDENDUM: Anyone who’s actually interested in this subject might want to read the Comments thread to my post from yesterday, which I linked to above.

Added 9/30 at 1:39 p.m.

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Clarence Thomas confirms his belief that the only constitutional right we leave up to federal, state and local prosecutors is the right to keep and bear arms. And that that right is the only one, more generally, that we treat so cavalierly. [His words. Seriously.]

The Supreme Court said Monday that people convicted of domestic abuse can be prevented from owning a gun, in a case that prompted the first questions from Justice Clarence Thomas in 10 years.

In a 6-to-2 decision, the court said Congress had intended to keep firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers.

The question for the court was whether the gun ban applies to those convicted under state law of misdemeanor domestic abuse and specifically whether assault convictions for “reckless” conduct could trigger the prohibition. …

The case decided on Monday was brought by two men, including Stephen Voisine, who was separately being prosecuted for killing a bald eagle. He had a previous conviction for a misdemeanor assault of a woman with whom he had a relationship, and federal prosecutors said that meant he should be banned from owning firearms.

The court rejected that argument, finding Monday that “a person who assaults another recklessly uses force no less than one who carries out that same action knowingly or intentionally,” according to the majority opinion by Justice Elena Kagan. She was joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and Samuel A. Alito Jr.

To accept the interpretation of the petitioners, the majority said, would risk striking down similar laws in 34 states and the District and allowing “domestic abusers of all mental states to evade” the firearms ban. …

In his dissent Monday, Thomas said the firearms ban should apply only to “intentional acts designed to cause harm” — not to those based on “mere recklessness,” which do not necessarily involve the use of physical force.

“The majority fails to explain why mere recklessness in creating force — as opposed to recklessness in causing harm with intentional force — is sufficient,” he wrote.

Thomas was joined in part in his dissent by Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Separately, he also objected to the imposition of a lifetime firearms ban based on a misdemeanor assault conviction because of its implications for a person’s Second Amendment rights.

“This decision leaves the right to keep and bear arms up to the discretion of federal, state and local prosecutors,” Thomas wrote. “We treat no other constitutional right so cavalierly.”

Supreme Court: Domestic abusers can be banned from owning firearms, Ann E. Marimow, Washington Post, today

Actually, what Thomas meant by that last sentence is that we treat no other constitutional right so cavalierly that Thomas and his Federalist Society colleagues care about.  Ones that don’t concern gun ownership, or the unfettered freedom to buy elected officials, or to adopt a local or state, or the federal, government as your Christian pulpit.

Y’know; the constitutional rights that matter.  The ones that garner pro bono defense at the Court by some rightwing legal think tank whose name on a certiorari petition means the petition will actually be read by a justice or two, or three, or four.

And the ones whose certiorari petitioner can foot the $1,000 hourly billing fee totaling well into the six figures, to have the name of one of the tiny handful of Washington, D.C.-based Supreme Court “regulars’” name and law firm on the petition cover—the only other way to obtain actual review of your petition by an actual justice if you’re not represented in that petition by a non-government attorney (i.e., a state attorney general).  The petitioners who after paying those attorneys’ fees still have sufficient discretionary income to pay the $8,000 cost for the printing of the certiorari petition as per the extremely weird printing requirements that only three printing companies in the country can do.

Okay, well since the “regulars” get steep discounts at those printing companies, their clients will need considerably less than that full-freight price.  Which must be nice.

In any event, precious few others need apply.  Although nearly 10,000 others a year do.

Thomas’s veritable stock-in-trade is declaring something as fact that is clearly and facially false, often bizarre, sometimes downright comical.  He did that recently in what, happily, was, like this one, a dissent.  Thomas claims this time around that the only constitutional right we leave up to federal, state and local prosecutors is the right to keep and bear arms.  And that that right is the only one, more generally, that we treat so cavalierly.

Well, maybe.  Then again, it could be that that is just the only one Thomas knows of, since the Court itself has aggressively blocked federal-court review of violations of most constitutional rights involving state and local prosecutors, state courts, and state criminal statutes in the name of state-courts’ rights to violate individuals’ constitutional rights, and since gun-ownership rights are pretty much the only rights that are at issue solely in non-white-collar-crime appeals.  And therefore the only criminal-law-related constitutional rights raised in certiorari petitions that he reads.

Which of course explains this one justice’s belief that the only constitutional right we leave up to federal, state and local prosecutors is the right to keep and bear arms.  And that that right is the only one, more generally, that we treat so cavalierly.

There are many thousands of Americans who could disabuse him of that belief.  Some of them have even filed certiorari petitions.

____

ADDENDUM: Reader MIJ and I had the following exchange in the Comments thread:

MIJ

June 27, 2016 11:17 pm

Ok, I’m intrigued – not by Thomas who is predictably irrational, but by the way this vote went.
It appears Sotomayor joined the dissent “in part” while Alito abandoned his partner in the summer stock version of “Dumb and Dumber”.

There has to be a story here.

Me

June 28, 2016 10:50 am

Hi, Mark. This actually doesn’t surprise me. Thomas’s dissent is in three parts. The first two parts attack the majority’s claim that recklessness amounts to the “use of physical force” and “violence.” Those wo parts argue, in my opinion correctly, btw, that the terms “use of physical force” and “violence” denote only intentional conduct and therefore preclude recklessness. Thomas notes that even recklessness that causes a traffic accident is not considered “violence.”

The third part, the part that Sotomayer did not join, sings the praises of an absolutist Second Amendment.

The opinion and dissent are here.   (PDF required.)

Alito always—always—sides against the criminal defendant, in criminal cases and habeas cases, with the single exception of cases in which a key aspect (either the conduct of the defendant or the conduct of law enforcement) is something that he can imagine himself being entangled in. The only notable examples are Fourth Amendment cases in which Alito can imagine himself being victimized by an anything-goes nullification of the warrantless-search-and-seizure proscription.

Three or four years ago, Alito wrote an awesome opinion barring law enforcement from sticking a GPS tracker under your car. Alito of course parks his car in his home’s garage and in the Supreme Court’s employee garage, but presumably also, on occasion, in, say, a medical office parking lot or a shopping mall or restaurant one. Scalia, by contrast, apparently didn’t worry about such things; he dissented.

Then, two weeks ago, Alito joined the majority—Thomas dissented—in barring compulsory, warrantless blood tests for suspicion of DUI.  Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern wrote a terrific article there last week about the whiplash Fourth Amendment-cases effect, caused sometimes, as happened last week, when two Fourth Amendment opinions are issued within days of each other, this time first an appalling one, then the DUI one.  It’s here.

As for Sotomayor dissenting, she’s simply not willing to treat anything related to a narrow definition of domestic violence as per se passing muster simply because domestic violence issues are all the rage these days among progressives. Sotomayor, to her credit, in my opinion, recognizes that once you treat recklessness as intent and violence for purposes of domestic violence you probably will be asked to do so for other things as well. There are differences in law, normally, between recklessness and intent (e.g., manslaughter vs. murder), and it’s dangerous to start conflating the two.

Truth be told, I haven’t read the majority’s opinion, and I’m not sure how domestic violence even can be charged, absent intent. But apparently in this case, under a state statute, it was.

Added 6/28 at 11:35 a.m. 

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