Judge Andrew P. Napolitano from Creators Syndicate https://www.creators.com/read/judge-napolitano Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Mon, 26 Jun 2017 15:00:27 -0700 https://www.creators.com/ http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Judge Andrew P. Napolitano from Creators Syndicate https://cdn.creators.com/features/judge-andrew-p-napolitano-thumb.jpg https://www.creators.com/read/judge-napolitano 4cea9cd17f678c53abb1da62fce3af49 Is President Trump the Subject of a Criminal Investigation? for 06/22/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/judge-napolitano/06/17/is-president-trump-the-subject-of-a-criminal-investigation Thu, 22 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>I was surprised last weekend when one of President Donald Trump's lawyers told my colleague Chris Wallace twice on "Fox News Sunday" that the president is being investigated by the FBI and then told him twice that he is not. This same lawyer repeated the "not being investigated" argument on a half-dozen other Sunday shows but did not repeat the "is being investigated" remark.</p> <p>This produced substantial consternation in the news media and at the White House, since the president himself had tweeted over the weekend that he is being investigated for firing FBI Director James Comey by the same person &#8212; Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein &#8212; who recommended Comey's firing and that the investigation is a "witch hunt."<p>Updated: Thu Jun 22, 2017</p> 5b8745b3d5d1375321d0671d40089176 The Consent of the Governed for 06/15/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/judge-napolitano/06/17/the-consent-of-the-governed Thu, 15 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Last week, when former FBI Director James Comey gave his long-awaited public testimony about his apparently rough-and-tumble relationship with President Donald Trump, he painted a bleak picture. The essence of Comey's testimony was that the president asked him to drop an investigation of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn &#8212; Trump's former national security adviser &#8212; and then asked him to do so in return for keeping his job as FBI director and then fired him for not obeying his order.</p> <p>On the other hand, Comey confirmed that the president personally, as of the time of Comey's firing, was not the target of any FBI criminal investigation. It was not clear from the Comey testimony whether this exoneration was referring to salacious allegations made by a former British intelligence agent of highly inappropriate and fiercely denied personal behavior a few years ago in a Moscow hotel room or whether the exoneration was with respect to widely reported allegations that the 2016 Trump campaign may have helped Russian intelligence agents in their efforts to manipulate the outcome of the presidential election.<p>Updated: Thu Jun 15, 2017</p> ac77c3118026887bd12572b4bcf7aa69 Once in a While, a Good Leak for 06/08/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/judge-napolitano/06/17/once-in-a-while-a-good-leak Thu, 08 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Last weekend, the FBI arrested an employee of a corporation in Augusta, Georgia, that had a contract with the National Security Agency and charged her with espionage. Espionage occurs when someone who has been entrusted to safeguard state secrets fails to do so. In this case, the government alleges that the person to whom state secrets had been entrusted is 25-year-old Reality Leigh Winner, who had a top-secret national security clearance.</p> <p>The government claims that Winner downloaded and printed a top-secret NSA report, removed the printed version of the report from her employer's premises, and then mailed it to The Intercept, a highly regarded international media outlet that exposes government wrongdoing.<p>Updated: Thu Jun 08, 2017</p> f163fd56d211491dbe8c9c7c34a370c4 Spying on You, Spying on Me, Spying on the President for 06/01/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/judge-napolitano/05/17/spying-on-you-spying-on-me-spying-on-the-president Thu, 01 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"The makers of our Constitution ... conferred, as against the Government, the right to be let alone &#8212; the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men." &#8212; Justice Louis D. Brandeis, 1928</p> <p>After the Watergate era had ended and Jimmy Carter was in the White House and the Senate's Church Committee had attempted to grasp the full extent of lawless government surveillance in America during the LBJ and Nixon years, Congress passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. FISA declared that it provided the sole source for federal surveillance in America for intelligence purposes.<p>Updated: Thu Jun 01, 2017</p> 04a52977d95885273e0090a97ada6058 Is President Trump in Trouble? for 05/25/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/judge-napolitano/05/17/is-president-trump-in-trouble Thu, 25 May 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The bad news for President Donald Trump keeps coming his way, notwithstanding a generally bravura performance on the foreign stage this past week in Riyadh, Jerusalem and Vatican City. Yet while he was overseas, his colleagues here in the United States have been advising him to hire criminal defense counsel, and he has apparently begun that process. Can the president be charged with obstructing justice when he asks that federal investigations of his friends be shut down?</p> <p>Most legal scholars agree that the president cannot be prosecuted while in office and that the appropriate remedy for presidential criminal wrongdoing is impeachment.<p>Updated: Thu May 25, 2017</p> 399dccc18eb75139a14f2ef8de9d1210 Donald Trump's Seven Days in May for 05/18/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/judge-napolitano/05/17/donald-trumps-seven-days-in-may Thu, 18 May 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>In a period of seven days this month, President Donald Trump fired James Comey as director of the FBI and was accused of sharing top-secret intelligence data with the Russian foreign minister and the Russian ambassador to the United States, the latter a known Russian spy.</p> <p>The Comey firing was clumsy and rude. Comey learned of it from FBI agents in Los Angeles who noticed reports of it on television monitors that they could see while he was speaking to them. The White House initially claimed Comey had been fired because of his poor judgment in the Hillary Clinton email investigation, in which he announced that she would not be indicted even though there was ample evidence to indict her and then reopened the case two weeks before Election Day even though there was no evidence to justify doing so.<p>Updated: Thu May 18, 2017</p> d49447f800d266b2905b9f5febb2e972 The House of Representatives Endorses Obamacare for 05/11/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/judge-napolitano/05/17/the-house-of-representatives-endorses-obamacare Thu, 11 May 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives crafted a partisan compromise bill that endorsed and reinforced the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. This was done notwithstanding claims to the contrary by President Donald Trump and the House Republican leadership, who want us to believe that this bill, if it becomes law, will effectively repeal and replace Obamacare.</p> <p>Obamacare is a stool with four problematic legs. The constitutional leg is the premise that the federal government has the lawful power to regulate the delivery of health care. The legal leg is the premise that the federal government is obliged to provide health insurance to everyone in America. The economic leg commands that everyone in the U.S. purchase and maintain health insurance. And the Orwellian leg says that every physician in the U.S. shall retain all patient records digitally and that federal bureaucrats shall have access to all those records.<p>Updated: Thu May 11, 2017</p> c04259ac5f289f13efa695db38f82149 More Spying and More Lying for 05/04/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/judge-napolitano/05/17/more-spying-and-more-lying Thu, 04 May 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Late last week, President Donald Trump told CBS News that domestic surveillance of American citizens should the "No. 1" topic of inquiry until we can find out "what the hell is going on" with it. Also late last week, the National Security Agency &#8212; the federal government's 60,000-person-strong domestic spying agency &#8212; announced that it would voluntarily hold back on its more aggressive uses of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.</p> <p>That section permits the NSA to capture communications between foreigners and Americans without a warrant from any court, even though the NSA has its own secret court that has granted well over 99 percent of applications for spying brought to it.<p>Updated: Thu May 04, 2017</p> 934b9dda2d1c99341c2344402d315a62 The FBI and Hillary, Again for 04/27/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/judge-napolitano/04/17/the-fbi-and-hillary-again Thu, 27 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Last weekend, The New York Times published a long piece about the effect the FBI had on the outcome of the 2016 presidential campaign. As we all know, Donald Trump won a comfortable victory in the Electoral College while falling about 3 million votes behind Hillary Clinton in the popular vote.</p> <p>I believe that Clinton was a deeply flawed candidate who failed to energize the Democratic Party base and who failed to deliver to the electorate a principled reason to vote for her. Yet when the Times reporters asked her why she believes she lost the race, she gave several answers, the first of which was the involvement of the FBI. She may be right.<p>Updated: Thu Apr 27, 2017</p> f6d06aec4fb72a04f9cd4020bef5e10f What if We Don't Really Govern Ourselves? for 04/20/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/judge-napolitano/04/17/what-if-we-dont-really-govern-ourselves Thu, 20 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>What if our belief in self-government is a belief in a myth? What if the election of one political party over the other to control Congress changes only appearances? What if taxes stay high and regulations stay pervasive and the government stays oppressive and presidents fight wars no matter what the politicians promise and no matter who wins elections? What if the true goal of those whom we elect to Congress is not to be our agents of self-government or even to preserve our personal liberties but to remain in power by getting re-elected?</p> <p>What if they use government to aid their own re-elections by bribing us with our own money &#8212; the rich with bailouts, the middle class with tax breaks and the poor with transfer payments?<p>Updated: Thu Apr 20, 2017</p> 83222b4903463c69d26cdf2b71236651 The Missiles of Holy Week and the Rule of Law for 04/13/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/judge-napolitano/04/17/the-missiles-of-holy-week-and-the-rule-of-law Thu, 13 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The history of the world is the history of violence. I had planned to write this column about the most critical act of violence in human history and its superhuman aftermath &#8212; the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter, which celebrates His resurrection in a few days, is the centerpiece of all Christian belief. Without the risen Christ, we are doomed. Only with Him can we be saved. An old Irish priest told me in my youth that Easter means there is hope for the dead. And if there is hope for the dead, there is hope for the living.</p> <p>But the living must do more than just hope, because governments continue to crush hope with violence, irrespective of moral and legal norms. Last week, as Holy Week was approaching, the United States launched 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield because President Donald Trump was morally repulsed at the use of poison gas in Syria in the days preceding.<p>Updated: Thu Apr 13, 2017</p> c35f44c6a8de528ebabb78f5d6e8837f A Hole in the Constitution for 04/06/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/judge-napolitano/04/17/a-hole-in-the-constitution Thu, 06 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The issue of federal government surveillance of Americans has largely occupied Washington politicians and the media since President Donald Trump first accused the administration of his predecessor of spying on him while he and his colleagues worked at Trump Tower in New York City during the presidential election campaign and during the presidential transition.</p> <p>Trump's allegations were initially dismissed as a diversionary tactic to get the attention of the media and the interest of the public off allegations made against the Trump campaign that it conspired with agents of Russian intelligence to facilitate Russian interference with the presidential election. Even some very smart colleagues of mine dismissed Trump's allegations, arguing that no one in Washington found them believable.<p>Updated: Thu Apr 06, 2017</p> 9d5fe66cc9e16515a395bcb5b946a1a8 Is Health Care a Right or a Good? for 03/30/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/judge-napolitano/03/17/is-health-care-a-right-or-a-good Thu, 30 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The political fiasco that unfolded last week as President Donald Trump and the Republican House leadership failed to pass legislation repealing the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, is attributable as much to the failure of politics as it is to the failure of politicians to understand the constitutional role of the federal government.</p> <p>Republicans could not muster a majority in the House, which they control, because a determined small group of them want to remove the federal government from the regulation of health care and believe that the replacement for Obamacare that House leaders have offered would keep too much of it in place. The president and his allies have argued that their bill would invalidate enough of Obamacare to return free choices to health care and to fulfill their campaign promises. Neither side has prevailed.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 30, 2017</p> 359bc66bdbe0790aa5ca2b5f1ba70a0a Questions for Judge Gorsuch for 03/23/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/judge-napolitano/03/17/questions-for-judge-gorsuch Thu, 23 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>I have spent this past week watching the Senate Judiciary Committee interrogating U.S. Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch. Judge Gorsuch is President Donald Trump's nominee to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court. The vacancy was created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia more than 13 months ago. The Supreme Court is currently generally divided between four liberals and four conservatives. As a justice, Gorsuch would probably break many ideological ties.</p> <p>During the hearings, Republican senators are doing their best to associate Judge Gorsuch with the popular-in-death Justice Scalia, and Democratic senators are doing their best to try to pin down Gorsuch by making him commit publicly to positions on hot-button issues, such as abortion, gun rights and the use of unrestricted money in political campaigns. Gorsuch has accepted the Republican sobriquets and declined to answer Democratic inquiries with specificity. So, are the hearings of any real value?<p>Updated: Thu Mar 23, 2017</p> 967f8487af42c9b0c2ca64c035a8d5b3 Did Obama Spy on Trump? for 03/16/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/judge-napolitano/03/17/did-obama-spy-on-trump Thu, 16 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The question of whether former President Barack Obama actually spied on President Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign and transition has been tantalizing Washington since President Trump first made the allegation nearly two weeks ago. Since then, three investigations have been launched &#8212; one by the FBI, one by the House of Representatives and one by the Senate. Are the investigators chasing a phantom, or did this actually happen?</p> <p>Here is the back story.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 16, 2017</p> 011aedbea90fb3b6d1e7a47526b3bee6 Congress Created a Monster for 03/09/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/judge-napolitano/03/17/congress-created-a-monster Thu, 09 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Those of us who believe that the Constitution means what it says have been arguing since the late 1970s that congressional efforts to strengthen national security by weakening personal liberty are unconstitutional, un-American and ineffective. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which Congress passed in the aftermath of President Richard Nixon's use of the CIA and the FBI to spy on his political opponents, has unleashed demons that now seem beyond the government's control and are more pervasive than anything Nixon could have dreamed of.</p> <p>This realization came to a boiling point last weekend when President Donald Trump accused former President Barack Obama of monitoring his telephone calls during the 2016 presidential election campaign. Can a U.S. president legally spy on a political opponent or any other person in America without any suspicion, probable cause or warrant from a judge? In a word, yes.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 09, 2017</p> 325eaa34925348d60464d7d99780410e Concealing and Revealing for 03/02/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/judge-napolitano/03/17/concealing-and-revealing Thu, 02 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Last week, President Donald Trump erupted with fury over a series of public revelations of private facts &#8212; some top-secret and some office gossip &#8212; that painted him and his White House in a bad light. The president ordered the FBI to investigate some of these so-called leaks and his own White House counsel to investigate others.</p> <p>There are numerous issues related to the leaking of government information. They include the leaking of classified information, the leaking of confidential communications and the publishing of leaked material.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 02, 2017</p> a75600fd6dc7567f239f5d40a9e1a9fe The Chickens Have Come Home to Roost for 02/23/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/judge-napolitano/02/17/the-chickens-have-come-home-to-roost Thu, 23 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Last week, The Wall Street Journal revealed that members of the intelligence community &#8212; part of the deep state, the unseen government within the government that does not change with elections &#8212; now have acquired so much data on everyone in America that they can selectively reveal it to reward their friends and harm their foes. Their principal foe today is the president of the United States.</p> <p>Liberty is rarely lost overnight. The wall of tyranny often begins with benign building blocks of safety &#8212; each one lying on top of a predecessor &#8212; eventually collectively constituting an impediment to the exercise of free choices by free people, often not even recognized until it is too late.<p>Updated: Thu Feb 23, 2017</p> d99bfbd0661447f77bb5688d68d15ff6 Intellectual Honesty and Political Indifference for 02/16/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/judge-napolitano/02/17/intellectual-honesty-and-political-indifference Thu, 16 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Over the past weekend, Trump administration officials offered harsh criticisms of the judicial interference with the enforcement of the president's immigration order. The Jan. 27 order suspended the immigration privileges of all refugees from Syria indefinitely and all immigrants from seven designated countries for 90 days.</p> <p>After a federal district judge in Seattle enjoined the federal government from enforcing the executive order and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that injunction, President Donald Trump's folks pounced.<p>Updated: Thu Feb 16, 2017</p> 8c7b13c245d5e65174fe42fd53e7a6fe The President and the Courts for 02/09/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/judge-napolitano/02/17/the-president-and-the-courts Thu, 09 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Last week, in a public courtroom in the federal courthouse in Seattle, the states of Washington and Minnesota &#8212; after suing President Donald Trump, alleging injury caused by his executive order that suspended the immigration of all people from seven foreign countries &#8212; asked a federal judge to compel the president and all those who work for him to cease enforcing the order immediately. After a brief emergency oral argument, the judge signed a temporary restraining order, which barred the enforcement of the president's order everywhere in the United States.</p> <p>The president reacted with anger, referring to the judge as a "so-called judge," and immigrant rights groups praised the judicial intervention as a victory for the oppressed. The president meant, I think, that Judge James L. Robart had not acted properly as a judge by second-guessing him &#8212; that he had acted more like a politician; and the immigrant rights groups felt, I think, that the United States was once again a beacon of hope for refugees.<p>Updated: Thu Feb 09, 2017</p>