President Trump's replacement of the U.S. attorney general on Nov. 7 has generated a storm of well-merited criticism regarding the appointment's constitutionality, ethics, politics and potential criminality.

For these reasons, the Justice Integrity Project strongly opposes for matthew whitaker agthese reasons the appointment of Matthew Whitaker, right. The project was founded in 2010 to report on abuses by the Justice Department, courts and those who appoint such officials. That remains the core of our mission even though our coverage has expanded to include the consequences of injustice, including globally.

Whitaker is a "lackey" of Trump in ways that undermine the independent role of the Justice Department, as many expert commentators have stated recently. Vox also reported Trump loyalist Matthew Whitaker was counseling the White House on investigating Clinton.

Scandal and other criticism of Whitaker arose quickly after his appointment. Trump tried to pretend on Nov. 9 that he did not even know his appointee, as the New York Times reported in Trump Says ‘I Don’t Know Matt Whitaker,’ Despite Several Oval Office Visits. Last month, Trump had even praised Whitaker by name as "a good guy."

Justice Department logoBy all appearances, Whitaker won his job from Trump by showing as a cable television pundit that he opposes anything but a narrow agenda for Special Counsel Robert Mueller III's ongoing probe of the Trump campaign. Whitaker now supervises that probe because he is not recused, as was his predecessor Jeff Sessions.

On a related issue of even more historic importance, if possible, he opposes also the U.S. Supreme Court's 1803 holding in Marbury v. Madison, establishing judicial review power to monitor unconstitutional and other excesses within the Executive and Congressional Branches.

Aside from such policy views, the circumstances of Whitaker's appointment without confirmation by the U.S. senate and during a crucial phase of Mueller's investigation raise serious constitutional and other concerns, as described in a Nov. 9 New York Times oped Trump’s Appointment of the Acting Attorney General Is Unconstitutional.

This is particularly so because efforts by Whitaker to limit Mueller's probe, particularly further investigation of Trump and the president's relatives, could be construed as obstruction of justice by Whitaker and Trump.

john mitchell croppedAs precedent, President Nixon's attorney general John Mitchell, shown at left in a file photo, served a prison term on obstruction charges for conspiring to hide details of the 1972 Watergate break-in. Obstruction was also one of the three impeachment charges that the House Judiciary Committee approved against Nixon in 1974 shortly before he resigned rather than face the charges before the full House.

Also prompting criticism is Whitaker's involvement during recent years with lobbying for a dark money group called the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT).

ftc logoEven more seriously, he was a director of World Patent Marketing (WPM), a scam company recently forced to pay a $26 million fine after an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, an agency located a block from the Justice Department headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue and with overlapping jurisdiction in some cases of fraud and consumer protection.

The Wall Street Journal reported late Nov. 9 in its electronic edition: FBI Is Investigating Florida Company Where Whitaker Was Advisory-Board Member. The Guardian reported also, Trump's acting attorney general involved in firm that scammed veterans out of life savings.

Regarding Whitaker's relatively brief stints in federal law enforcement:

President George W. Bush appointed Whitaker as U.S. attorney for the Southern district of Iowa, where he brought a controversial corruption prosecution against a prominent gay Democrat, whom a jury promptly acquitted in a case summarized this way on Wikipedia: "From 2005 to 2007, he was responsible for the unsuccessful investigation and prosecution of Iowa State Sen. Matt McCoy, a liberal Democrat, on charges of attempting to extort $2,000. The jury took less than two hours to return a not guilty verdict.

CNN reported this week recounted the tale in more detail in Whitaker's controversial prosecution of a gay Democrat: When Iowa state Sen. Matt McCoy learned Donald Trump had appointed Matthew Whitaker to be acting attorney general of the United States, he was aghast — he believes Whitaker was behind a politically motivated prosecution that was personally "devastating" to him.

It started in 2007, when McCoy was a rising Democrat in state politics, and the state's first openly gay lawmaker. Whitaker was the US attorney for Iowa's Southern District at the time.

matt mccoy iowaA grand jury indictment accused McCoy, right, of using his elected office to try to extort $2,000 from a Des Moines home security company where McCoy was a consultant. The charges came after an elaborate undercover investigation in which the FBI had McCoy's business partner wear a recording device. McCoy demanded money he says he was owed for his consulting work.

The trial lasted more than a week, with prosecutors trying to prove the business partner never agreed to pay McCoy for his consulting and the defense torpedoing the partner's testimony because he couldn't recall many details and admitted he had trouble with sobriety, according to Des Moines Register articles on the trial.In the end, the jury reached a not guilty verdict in an hour and a half, including time for lunch, according to the Des Moines Register.

"I believe it was a political prosecution, there's no doubt in mind, I'm 100% certain that it was," McCoy said, adding he believes he was targeted not just because he's a Democrat, but also because he's gay. "As US attorney (Whitaker) spoke at Christian Coalition events and would often refer to bringing God into his decision-making process and being guided by God's hand," McCoy said, "and so I believe that he was very much resentful of my lifestyle and I believe that played a factor in it."

sam clovis fox news CustomWhitaker has long been active in partisan politics, raising other concerns. In 2012, Whitaker served as campaign manager for Samuel Clovis, left, later a Trump campaign official and a witness in the Mueller inquiry who was forced to leave his Trump administration post under a cloud.

In an unsuccessful race for the U.S. Senate representing Iowa, Whitaker argued that he would not "support ‘secular’ judicial nominees and courts should be ‘inferior branch."

Shown below are excerpts and hot links to a number of these and other news reports and commentaries on these issues.

As these revelations unfold, the Justice Department's ethics office, congressional leaders and ordinary members of the public must continue to speak out and demand that the Justice Department's vital functions be run by a proper appointee vetted in a constitutional and otherwise appropriate manner.

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Massive voting by Americans in the midterm elections on Nov. 6 is the best way to respond to Republican campaign lies, fear-mongering, racism, and voter suppression intended rig elections for the foreseeable future.

If successful the effect of the tawdry GOP tactics would be to continue the massive tax cuts enabling rule by the GOP donor class, which reacts to increasing budget deficits by advocating austerity conditions that would kill tens of thousands of Americans by reducing the safety net on health care. Those are facts, easily verified.

mitch mcconnell2So, it's not enough to document abuses and read about them. It's time to vote in such overwhelming numbers that would-be tricksters are intimidated, overwhelmed and otherwise rendered ineffective for the plan announced by GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, right, to cut the increasing budget deficit after these elections by attacking Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

New restrictions on the Affordable Care Act's "Obamacare" protections for pre-existing conditions would likely be attempted also. There have been 70 previous attempts by congressional Republicans (no matter what their election season rhetoric).

Congressional Republicans could also help President Trump end the threats against them posed by the continuation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Trump campaign election rigging and other corruption.

The scope of the crisis has finally become too grave for the major media to ignore. One indication is Paul Krugman's New York Times column A Party Defined by Its Lies: At this point, good people can’t be good Republicans and the Washington Post's Judge rules against Brian Kemp over Ga. voting restrictions days before gubernatorial election. .

Krugman, a Nobel-prize winning economist and political commentator, wrote in that when he began his oped column in 1999 the Times forbade him from using the word "lie" for any American politician, no matter what the circumstances. Times have changed, as indicated by the title of his column, A Party Defined by Its Lies: At this point, good people can’t be good Republicans.

In similar fashion, the mainstream media have for years virtually ignored even well-documented instances mass voter suppression and electronic election-rigging.

Fortunately, investigative reporter and author Greg Palast is among those who have fought hard against those tactics via columns, books and litigation.

Palast has documented GOP election cheating in such news reports as GOP’s Brian Kemp Purged 1 in 10 Georgia Voters: I’ve Got the Names for Truthout. He and his team also undertook eve reporting and with photos (at the top of this article) showing the impact of Trump's bigotry at his Nov. 5 rally. The Palast team was working undercover at a Trump rally in Georgia.

"All my East and West coast liberal friends are telling me not to worry, thinking the Dems have got  #Midterms2018 in the bag," Palast wrote on Monday via Twitter.

"What they're not seeing is stuff like this. This is what much of America looks like. ...Went undercover at yesterday's #Trump/#Kemp rally at the Middle #Georgia Regional Airport in Macon, GA. It was scary as shit: QAnon, Proud Boys, and a safe-zone for white supremacists. Just a patriot hate fest."

Palast is shown below left with the cover of his book Vultures' Picnic exposing techniques of ruthless billionaire "vulture" hedge fund power players like Paul Singer who pour vast amounts of unaccountable "dark money" into campaigns to fund deceptions, dirty tricks and other anti-democratic tactics to continue their tax cuts and vision of a nation run by billionaires via puppet officials and an uninformed and gullible electorate.

greg palast cover profileOne former Washington Post political reporter unsuccessful in publishing allegations about electronic cheating that proved decisive in the 2004 presidential election confided to me that his newspaper had required years ago "one hundred percent proof" of any such fraud to before it would publish a story that might undercut public confidence in election integrity and official "results." That is a near-impossible standard to achieve publication on almost any news topic.

By contrast, this investigative site and our 2013 book Presidential Puppetry documented, as have many others in the alternative media, how candidates (primarily Republicans in the major races) have won elections via a variety of voter suppression and vote-rigging techniques. Those tactics would be in addition to such long-standing tactics as dark money, misinformation and such dirty tricks as hoked-up sex scandals.

Puppetry showed, for example, how investigative reporter Greg Palast proved that Republicans and their election contractors stole the 2000 presidential election by quietly removing the voter registrations of more than 100,000 Floridians (mostly Democrats) shortly before the election that cost Democrats far more lost votes than the "hanging chads" that riveted the media.

presidential   puppetry coverThe massive confusion and lack of congressional concern and news coverage allowed the Republican majority on the U.S. Supreme Court to vote 5-4 on a party line vote to stop a vote recount and award the presidency to their fellow Republican George W. Bush.

The book reported also on how Alabama political operative Dana Jill Simpson had sought to describe as a whistleblower to Congress, the FBI and the news media how her former Republican colleges such as Bush White House Senior Advisor Karl Rove won many elections nationally by a variety of dirty tricks.

These included, by her own account and our subsequent investigations, frame-ups on corruption charges of prominent Democrats, such as former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, electronic tampering of election results (victimizing Siegelman in his 2002 re-election bid, and then others such as the Kerry presidential bid in 2004), and grooming with the help of dark money donors unethical politicians to ascend to secretary of state positions where the most devious pols could rig elections for others and, if they proved successful enough, ascend to higher office themselves.

Simpson was largely unsuccessful in winning congressional, Justice Department or media interest in her evidence, although CBS 60 Minutes did feature some of her allegations regarding the Siegelman frame-up in a 2008 broadcast and best-selling House of Saud, House of Bush author Craig Unger heavily quoted her findings in his important 2012 book Boss Rove: Inside Karl Rove's Secret Kingdom of Power.

Meanwhile, Palast and other authors, litigators and activists sought to maintain visibility for relevant issues, particularly regarding the core civic function of fair elections. In addition to the well-known civil rights groups, Ohio-based author-litigators Bob Fitrakis, Harvey Wasserman and Clifford Arneback, Code Red author Jonathan Simon of the Election Defense Alliance, and the editorial teams of Russ Baker at WhoWhatWhy and Rob Kall of OpEdNews have been tireless in documenting election shenanigans in the alternative media and to the courts. 

But Republican majorities on the Supreme Court have significantly worsened these election problems by two activist decisions rewarding the GOP majority's radical right base.

In a 2011 5-4 party line vote, the court overturned the nation's federal campaign finance law in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, thereby enabling major donors to fund campaigns in many ways by avoiding previous limits.

Then in Shelby County (Alabama) v. Holder, court Republicans substituted their opinion in 2013 for that of Congress by removing the extra Justice Department scrutiny that lawmakers had ordered for localities tarnished by their history of illegal voter suppression and similar tactics to reduce minority vote. The court's Republicans theorized that officials would no longer act in biased fashion.

"Five years after the ruling, nearly a thousand polling places have been closed in the country, with many of the closed polling places in predominantly African-American counties," according to research published in September by the Pew Trusts. "Research shows that the changing of voter locations and reduction in voting locations can reduce voter turnout."

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Federal authorities released on Wednesday a long-secret grand jury "road map" of Watergate evidence that prompted President Richard Nixon's 1974 resignation — and could provide a precedent for the current investigation of President Trump by a special counsel.

robert mueller waving armThe National Archives released the documents following recent litigation before a federal judge by scholars who successfully argued that the grand jury's 1974 work is too important to remain secret, especially in view of current investigation of the Trump Administration by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III, a former FBI director shown in a file photo.

The road map is here. It consists of a two-page summary with 53 numbered statements. The statements are supported by 97 documents, such as interviews and tapes.

District Judge Beryl A. Howell, chief judge of the District of Columbia court, ordered release of the report prepared under the supervision of then-Independent Counsel Leon Jaworski and then-Chief Judge John J. Sirica.

nara logoThe report is known as the “Sirica road map” because Sirica approved the report's creation and transmission to lawmakers. The judge regarded such transmission as the best solution to the knotty but rare constitutional problem of what prosecutors should do with extensive grand jury evidence suggesting probable cause that a president committed serious crimes.

Such evidence is normally used to indict a suspect, who is then brought to a criminal trial. Courts have not tested whether a sitting president could be criminally tried and sentenced while in office outside of the impeachment process provided by the U.S. Constitution.

leon jaworskiJaworski, shown at right on a Time cover, and his predecessor, Archibald Cox, had developed evidence sufficient to indict more than 50 persons associated with the Nixon administration and/or the cover-up of the Watergate break-in during the 1972 presidential campaign. Washington, DC police arrested  operatives burglarizing the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate office complex in the city.

Federal prosecutors finessed the constitutional issue of whether a president can be indicted in office by passing their "Sirica road map" developed with grand jury information to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. The committee used the materials to begin drafting articles of impeachment against Nixon that citing his administration's actions in covering up Watergate-related crimes by additional crimes, such as obstructing justice.

Nixon resigned office after fellow Republicans advised him that he could no longer count on enough GOP support to thwart an impeachment vote in the House conviction in the U.S. Senate after a trial of charges brought by the House.

Donald Trump (Defense Department photo by Dominique Pineiro)Mueller, a "special" counsel slightly different than the "independent" counsel during the Watergate or Kenneth Starr's "Whitewater" probes of President Clinton and his administration during the 1990s, has functioned in somewhat similar fashion by amassing evidence much like the plea deals or other inducements to obtain evidence against Trump (shown in a Pentagon photo), his administration personnel and their allies.

Mueller's probe began with a focus on suspected Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election but has expanded to cover a number of arguably related topics, including potential obstruction of justice in covering up evidence and otherwise seeking to thwart investigation.

A significant part of the Watergate materials became public via criminal trials and other proceedings in the 1970s but some material was restricted because of the traditional secrecy of grand jury materials.

Geoffrey Shepard, a California lawyer who once worked for Nixon, years ago sought release of the materials via litigation before U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth in Washington, beryl howellDC. But the case languished until a team of three legal experts filed a parallel action two months ago that led the Howell, the chief judge (shown at right), to assume control of the litigation and move for prompt release via the Archives.

The three scholars, as described in their pleadings and commentaries, were Brookings Institution senior fellow Benjamin Wittes; Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard University law professor who led the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel under President George W. Bush; and Stephen Bates, a professor at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, who co-wrote the Starr report with Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh years before Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court.     

Wittes, Goldsmith and Bates published reports about their litigation on the blog Lawfare, an influential DC site co-founded by Wittes, a former Washington Post editorial board member who last year called for Trump's impeachment. The reports are excerpted below, as are such other commentaries as a Washington Post news story Wednesday by Spencer Hsu, U.S. archivists release Watergate report that could be possible ‘road map’ for Mueller.

richard nixon desk archives

President Richard Nixon in the White House Oval Office (Photo via Wikimedia and the National Record and Archives Administration).

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Three Americans who have visited Syria multiple times amid the ongoing civil war provided detailed briefings this month to the McClendon Group at a special dinner presentation at the National Press Club.

The speakers presented their observations about the people, the government, and the civil war in Syria that differ sharply with mainstream media accounts in Western and Gulf monarchy-controlled news media.

The presentation, “Syria: Three Personal Accounts,” was delivered on Oct. 12 to nearly 30 attendees of the McClendon Group, a speaker society that presents alternative views of important issues. It is named for the late White House correspondent Sarah McClendon

janice korthkamp richard black carla ortiz img 5490Speakers were: Virginia State Senator Richard Black, an attorney with a long military background in the U.S. Marines and the U.S. Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps; Carla Ortiz a Bolivian-born film documentary maker and film star who is a naturalized U.S. citizen; and Janice Kortkamp, an American who describes herself as a "housewife" who felt obligation to learn more about the war-torn nation.

The adjoining photo shows the three, with Ortiz on the right.

They gave first-hand reports of their experiences with the Syrian people, the Bashir al Assad government, and the civil war.

Each speaker offered a unique and deeply personal account of their on-the-ground experiences, traveling around Syria, interviewing people from all backgrounds and walks of life (including many internally displaced persons), and meeting with military and humanitarian group officials.

First to speak was Black, who has visited Syria twice since 2014. He noted that his engagement in a personal effort to bring an end to the war began with a letter he sent to President Bashir al Assad. The letter thanked Assad for the Syrian military’s defense and rescue of the Christian communities in Syria from the brutal terrorists’ torture and murders victimizing that religious community.

wesley clark oBlack gave a long-term overview of the war in Syria. He noted that as far back as 2001 the Pentagon was planning for regime change in Syria.

Black cited for this  the statements of former U.S. Army General Wesley Clark — former Supreme Allied Commander in Europe (SACEUR), shown at right in a file photo — that he had been told by high level U.S. officials of plans for regime change in Syria as one of governments in seven Middle East countries that were to be overthrown by a U.S.-led effort. One of Clark's widely viewed video clips of his recollection is here.

Black also gave details of reports of U.S. smuggling weapons from the regime change effort in Libya in 2011 to Syria directly into the hands of jihadi groups, including Al Qaeda, to overthrow President Assad.

In pursuing this war with these allies, Black said, the U.S. adopted an “empire” policy that is alien to the nation’s true interests and which is aiding the same terrorists carla ortiz ghoutathat attacked the U.S. on 9/11.

Following him was Ortiz, an internationally known actress, producer and philanthropist. Born in Bolivia, she began her acting career at age 15.

After achieving stardom in Latin America and Hollywood, she turned to documentary filmmaking and has produced several documentaries on the plight of the victims of the Syrian war. She has spentg much of the past two years on the ground in Syria visiting some of the most devastated war zones.

She is shown with a child in Douma [aka Ghouta] in May 2018 shortly after Syrian government forces offered reconciliation deals to rebels or transported them north to rebel-held territory following years of rebel occupation of Douma and bombardment of civilian populations of nearby Damascus.

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The U.S. Supreme Court helped launch the Brett Kavanaugh era on Oct. 10 by curtailing the voting of Native Americans in North Dakota, where a tight Senate race threatens a Democrat who voted against Kavanaugh's recent confirmation.

brett kavanaugh white house promoThe court enabled a new state rule barring voters who use for election purposes Post Office boxes instead of street addresses. Many Native Americans living on reservations use only PO Boxes and have heavily supported Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, below, the incumbent Democrat who is now an underdog in her race.

heidi heitkamp oThe court's refusal to intervene follows its recent practice of avoiding review for the most part of voter suppression and gerrymandering efforts by Republican state officials who have taken major steps recently to reduce voter registrations and polling place en masse in ways that heavily disadvantage Democrats in November.

In the North Dakota case, five votes were needed from the nine justices. Kavanaugh, shown in a White House-promoted political-type photo of a kind unusual for a sitting justice, did not participate for unexplained reasons, presumably because of his busy schedule getting installed onto the court.

Several columns this week describe a looming legal crisis regarding election-rigging in next month's elections and beyond.

Update: Trump Administration Seeks to Stifle Protests Near White House and on National Mall.

Investigative reporter Greg Palast, who documented for the BBC in 2001 how Republicans had stolen the 2000 presidential election by eliminating the names of more than 100,000 suspected Democrats from voter rolls (and not by the few ballots with hanging "chads" described by the American media), published several investigations regarding secret cutbacks in 2018 voter rolls by Republican secretaries of state seeking to tilt next month's elections.

For example, he wrote for Truthout in GOP’s Brian Kemp Purged 1 in 10 Georgia Voters: I’ve Got the Names. "My lawyer had to threaten Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp with a federal lawsuit to force him to turn over the names of over half a million voters whose citizenship rights he quietly extinguished," Palast began. "This past week, I released the name of every one of these Georgia voters Kemp flushed from voter rolls in 2017."

Yet all such legal actions and reporting is based on the increasingly quaint theory that federal courts will honestly address the election issues and not just endorse Republican vote suppression by 5-4 party line votes by justices installed like Kavanaugh after long involvement in extreme partisan politics, including dirty tricks at election time.

brett kavanaugh election fraud wmr graphicTaking another broad view, investigative reporter Wayne Madsen linked Kavanaugh with presidential election rigging in the United States with Karl Rove and in the Ukraine with Paul Manafort in 2004, as portrayed above right and as described in his column Exclusive Investigative Commentary: Bush backed Kavanaugh to keep election thefts of 2000 and 2004 a secret.

The column, based on Madsen's years of covering election frauds, linked Kavanaugh and Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee to the Bush dynasty and its election-rigging operation headquartered in Chattanooga, TN,  where Corker was mayor before his 2006 election to the senate.

Madsen thereby explained the all-out Bush team pressure that kept such supposed "moderates" as Corker and former Bush appointee Susan Collins as strong Kavanaugh supporters despite their supposed willingness to weigh evidence fairly about  allegations against the nominee. Collins is married to Thomas Daffron, a lobbyist with deep ties to the Bush administration and powerful corporations.

Also, Ohio-based investigative reporters/authors Robert Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman published Will the Trump GOP Strip and Flip America's 2018 Election While the Democrats Fail to Protect the Vote?

djt brett kavanaugh anthony kennedy oct 8 2018 white houseEarlier this week, President Trump invited the newest justice and his family to the White House to reenact the official weekend swearing-in ceremony.

With Trump front and center and denouncing Democrats, the White House ceremony became a highly partisan attack by the president on "mobs" of protesters against the nominee.

Democrats and other protesters must be defeated at the polls in next month's elections to maintain law and order, the president urged as the new justice looked on during the celebration — thereby horrifying both Democrats and others who think presidents and judges should at least pretend to be non-partisan on formal occasions.

The spectacle was an especially flagrant disregard of norms for a non-partisan judiciary independent of party or president. That's because Kavanaugh, doubtless now deeply indebted to Trump, has argued that a president should not have to undergo civil or criminal litigation.

Yet Kavanaugh had been one of the most aggressive prosecutors against a president in United States history while working for Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr in the 1990s to impeach Democratic President Bill Clinton over allegations of a consensual dalliance with Monica Lewinsky.

mercedes schlapp brett kavanaugh matt schlappA former counsel for the Bush-Cheney campaign during its recount vote theft and Supreme Court battle in 2000, Kavanaugh is shown in a Twitter photo celebrating at the White House this week with Matt Schlapp, one of the "Brooks Brothers" rioters (GOP DC operatives pretending to be Florida voters), and Schlaap's wife Mercedes Schlapp, deputy Trump White House communications dDirector. Her husband is head of the American Conservative Union and a frequent TV cable commnentator advocating for the Trump Administration and its goals

Meanwhile, other Republicans joined the fray this week by insisting that Democrats and other critics should get over their suspicions about Kavanaugh and the confirmation process — even as Senate Majority Leaders Mitch McConnell floated the idea that Republicans deserve to replace in 2020 any justice who leaves the court that year.

That might enhance the court's already unprecedented 5-4 majority of hard-right Republicans able to enact throughout the nation's federal courts any legal policy that the majority wants.

In sum, such developments recall the now-discredited, but once-common, advice nostrum to rape victims: Don't fight back.

Instead, it's now time to draw larger lessons now that Kavanaugh has been confirmed as the court's newest, most partisan, most disgraced and most dangerous member.

Most important to remember: Republicans led a sham FBI background check and Senate confirmation hearing that prevented meaningful review of Kavanaugh's multiple seeming perjuries. The corrupt process and the fakery involved by important participants illustrate several massive dangers.

  1. Kavanaugh has been installed as a radical right wrecking ball against traditional norms of impartial justice and rule of law; and
  2. Even more disturbing, a massive fraudulent process has been exposed yet again whereby dirty tricks fueled by dark money overwhelms traditional checks-and-balances and free press safeguards enacted in the U.S. Constitution.

Today's column amplifies these themes based on our Justice Integrity Project (JIP) coverage of the confirmation hearing and relevant news/commentary. The commentary is excerpted below and on our specialized news sub-sites, including JIP Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Review and JIP #MeToo and Assault Allegations.

The material already exceeds book length. So we shall focus on a few key themes at a time and update also the action agenda we proposed on Sept. 26 in Five Ways To Thwart GOP Court Fraud.

We are already poised for steps Four (Ensure that at least one branch of Congress has a Democratic majority able to conduct an honest investigation since Republicans have failed to undertake them in the branches that they control).

And then comes Step Five (Cite the available evidence to expose Kavanaugh and his enablers before seeking the appropriate sanctions). Sanctions could include disbarment, civil and criminal litigation, and potentially impeachment.

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Prominent members of the scandal-stricken Roman Catholic legal leadership in the District of Columbia convened on Sunday for the annual Red Mass that provides a spiritual kick-off to the new Supreme Court term and the legal community's public aspirations for justice.

The ceremony was majestic as usual but unfolded before a slightly smaller audience than normal and under the shadow of unfolding scandal involving the local Catholic-reared Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

cardinal donald wuerl portrait fullCardinal Donald Wuerl, left, was absent from the mass, which he has normally led for most of his 12-year tenure in Washington. Instead, he has recently been awaiting possible sanction from the Vatican for his alleged role in covering-up sexual offenses by priests in Pittsburgh, one of the cardinal's previous postings.

As usual, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts led a delegation from the court to the ceremonies at the historic Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle and a subsequent brunch.

But Roberts was accompanied by only two of the associate judges, Republican Catholic Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer, a Democrat of the Jewish faith.

This editor has attended the Red Mass and brunch a number of times previously and so is in position to comment on its history, inspiring ceremonial and spiritual aspects, as well as some of the embarrassing but largely unspoken undercurrents.

red mass 2018 straight cover MediumThe event first launched in 1928 at the St. Andrews Church in New York City, in 1953 at St. Matthews in the District of Columbia and in a number of other metro areas around the United States.

The event in the nation's capital has attracted the U.S. presidential attendance and more commonly during recent years a majority of the Supreme Court Justices, sometimes including multiple non-Catholics.

The Court in recent years has included six justices reared as Roman Catholics and three Jewish members. Kavanaugh, schooled at the Jesuit school Georgetown Prep, would be another Catholic if confirmed.

But his status is in peril following numerous claims of sexual assault and lying under oath that are surfacing. Kavanaugh has denied wrongdoing (as we and others have reported extensively elswhere, including here) and was not reported as present at the mass on Sunday.

Publically, the mass unfolded as a spiritual and civic occasion framed by the magnificant cathedral and stirring Biblical readings, sacred music and other religious trappings.

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