My blue county

Another nice story featuring yours truly via WRAL’s Laura Leslie.  It’s kind of amazing the degree to which my home county, Wake, has shifted so decisively towards the Democratic party during the time I’ve been here.  It’s pretty much hopeless for Republicans now– the theme of the story.

“Everything that is the Democratic coalition, which is younger voters, which is more diverse, minority voters, which is college-educated professionals, Wake County is becoming more of all these things,” Greene said. “So, certainly for the short term, the Republican party is in huge trouble in Wake County.”

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Do you have a telephone?

It’s funny, when I was younger it seemed we used the words telephone and phone almost perfectly interchangeably, but in this Iphone world it seems that “telephone” is a much rarer occurrence.  To the point that my two youngest kids asked the other day, “what’s the difference between a telephone and a phone” and seemed to think a telephone was an old rotary landline, or something like that.  Anyway, it occurred to me there is a way to see how our language usage has evolved– Google Ngrams.  I really wish this data came up past 2008, but it is nonetheless interesting to see how usage of “telephone” didn’t really drop, but “phone” shot way up.  I imagine the trend has only become more so in the past decade.

Whitaker

Don’t listen to what I have to say, how about former Obama administration solicitor general Neal Katyal and Kellyanne Conway’s husband, George:

A principal officer must be confirmed by the Senate. And that has a very significant consequence today.

It means that Mr. Trump’s installation of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general of the United States after forcing the resignation of Jeff Sessions is unconstitutional. It’s illegal. And it means that anything Mr. Whitaker does, or tries to do, in that position is invalid. [emphases mine]

Much of the commentary about Mr. Whitaker’s appointment has focused on all sorts of technical points about the Vacancies Reform Act and Justice Department succession statutes. But the flaw in the appointment of Mr. Whitaker, who was Mr. Sessions’s chief of staff at the Justice Department, runs much deeper. It defies one of the explicit checks and balances set out in the Constitution, a provision designed to protect us all against the centralization of government power.

If you don’t believe us, then take it from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, whom Mr. Trump once called his “favorite” sitting justice. Last year, the Supreme Court examined the question of whether the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board had been lawfully appointed to his job without Senate confirmation. The Supreme Court held the appointment invalid on a statutory ground.

Justice Thomas agreed with the judgment, but wrote separately to emphasize that even if the statute had allowed the appointment, the Constitution’s Appointments Clause would not have. The officer in question was a principal officer, he concluded. And the public interest protected by the Appointments Clause was a critical one: The Constitution’s drafters, Justice Thomas argued, “recognized the serious risk for abuse and corruption posed by permitting one person to fill every office in the government.” Which is why, he pointed out, the framers provided for advice and consent of the Senate.

I’ve had some pushback from friends when I talk about Trump being a threat to the rule of law.  I don’t know what else you would call appointing a personal loyalist to run the nation’s chief law enforcement agency, an agency Trump has already made quite clear he believes exists to protect him rather than serve the American people.

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