Wednesday, November 14, 2018


The rats are regarding the shore and starting to talk exit strategy:
The annual convention of the Federalist Society, the conservative legal group, has long been a glittering and bustling affair. In the Trump era, though, the group has become more powerful than ever, supplying intellectual energy and judicial candidates to an assertive administration eager to reshape the legal landscape. 
But as the group prepares to gather on Thursday for the start of this year’s convention, more than a dozen prominent conservative lawyers have joined together to sound a note of caution. They are urging their fellow conservatives to speak up about what they say are the Trump administration’s betrayals of bedrock legal norms. 
“Conservative lawyers are not doing enough to protect constitutional principles that are being undermined by the statements and actions of this president,” said John B. Bellinger III, a top State Department and White House lawyer under President George W. Bush. 
The group, called Checks and Balances, was organized by George T. Conway III...
Smell a con yet? Conway, husband of Trump lie generator Kellyanne Conway, is best known for making anti-Trump statements, which makes everyone laugh (how embarrassing for the missus!)  too much to notice what a great ass-covering technique it is for when it all goes south -- see, they'll tell us in the aftermath, Kellyanne had to "do her job" for the sake of the country but George was conveying the Washington power couple's real feelings about that awful man!

And how would this enlightened new FedSoc faction -- "not a rump group... not a disavowal” of the Society,  another member is quick to assure New York Times reporter Adam Liptak -- do things differently than the organization that's been larding our judicial system for years with rightwing operatives who are hostile to legal civil rights protections and government regulation of business? Not at all, really: Like the original-flavor FedSoc, they "generally approved of Mr. Trump’s judicial choices," Liptak tells us, and they don't say boo about society doctrine.

No; like so much other political self-promotion these days, it's All About Trump; after several paragraphs about how much the C&B's love "the country’s commitment to the rule of law and the core values underlying it," we learn that they just don't like the way the President "attacks the Justice Department and the news media." Trump has "a fundamentally wrong and very dangerous view of the criminal justice system," one of the C&Bs tells Liptak, "and people from both parties and across the political spectrum should condemn it."

Well, people from one side of the political spectrum have been condemning it since Trump started muscling Sessions. What took these guys so long?

It should be obvious, but these people clearly hope it's not: One of them assures Liptak that "the timing of the announcement of the group’s formation... was not a coincidence," but suggests the animating event was the upcoming Federalist Society convention -- not the midterm elections that show Trump dragging the GOP down and -- perhaps more importantly -- a lot of reporting on the skunky voter suppression tactics Republicans have been using to stay in office, not to mention the prospect under the new Democratic House majority of Congressional investigation that might begin to stop it.

In other words, if you're of a cynical turn of mind, it seems less likely these conservative bench-stuffers suddenly saw the light on the damage one Republican was doing to the American Way, and more likely that they realized if they want to hold any power in the rapidly approaching post-Trump world they're gonna have to throw up a scrim of plausible deniability but pronto.

Are Times readers dumb enough to buy it? Well, they're dumb enough to subscribe!

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