On DOJ’s Election-Integrity-Suppression Efforts

Washington, DC once ran with a degree of “comity”, which is to say, “friendly social atmosphere.” Both parties fundamentally saw themselves as in a cooperative enterprise (“We are all working to lead the country forward, and though we have different views on how to do that, we will acknowledge that we agree on that much and will find ways to work together per the Constitution to make it happen” ). After 9/11 that comity broke down. Judge Merrick Garland* was ultimately the greatest victim of that breakdown, and it cost him a seat on the Supreme Court.

This cyclic degeneration of the comity of Washington got out of control over the last two decades. How did it happen? As I recall the events:

  • Round 1 (2001) – Miguel Estrada,** a conservative lawyer, was nominated to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals by Bush II. He was eminently qualified (per an honest Lefty law professor friend of mine), but Democrats blocked him on the grounds of his being appointed by Bush.
  • Round 2: The turnabout was Republicans blocking most Obama judicial nominees via filibuster. 
  • Round 3: Harry Reid lost his temper at McConnell and at his behest the Dems changed the rules so that judicial nominees below the Supreme Court level couldn’t be filibustered (the “Reid Rules”). The first beneficiaries were three eminently qualified judges for the DC Circuit.
  • Round 4: Once the Republicans had the Senate again, McConnell didn’t need the filibuster. He could just keep nominations bottled up in committee. It came to a boil with the death of Scalia and the nomination of Garland. McConnell said it was too close to the election to confirm a new Supreme Court justice, so Garland never even got a hearing before the Judiciary Committee.
  • Round 5: McConnell changes the Reid rules (which was “no filibusters below the Supreme Court level, but filibusters still permitted for the Supreme Court”). To get Gorsuch and Kavanaugh confirmed, McConnell abolished the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees.
  • Round 6: The death of RBG. McConnell rammed Amy Barrett through, notwithstanding that it was much closer to Election Day than Garland.

Sorting this out to say who is really at fault is like sorting out two squabbling children who want to tell you about who stole the first French fry. It does seem to me that the Democrats broke “comity” first by rejecting Estrada and then made an enormous change with the Reid Rule, but that the Republicans have not been shy about retaliating in kind and beyond in kind.

But this is not the kind of thing to be resolved by figuring out which child has the better case about who stole the first French fry. What the moment needs instead is a national Orestia. And in Judge Garland, I had been praying our country had the man who could bring it about. I had always assumed that the PR on Judge Garland had been accurate. He was a moderate, and he got screwed on his SCOTUS nomination: an Orestia takes a party who has a legitimate grievance but is willing to be the one to move past it first. Judge Garland’s history would have made him the perfect American to bring about that Orestia.

Yet lately our esteemed Attorney General Merrick Garland is acting in a disappointing fashion. The DOJ would appear to be seeking to dissuade states from doing more audits like Arizona’s. Recent actions rare positively goonish: threatening states if they do independent audits? Treating the petition of government for redress of grievance (by rallying in support of audits, for example) might be prosecuted as voter intimidation? That’s nuts. And now I wonder if the description of him as a “moderate” from 5 years ago was well-earned.

I had hoped that the Biden administration would have at least one adult that might counsel a path other than anti-Constitution thuggery, if for no other reason that there would finally be “someone we can talk to” (as my old Lubavitcher friends would say) and crisis could be averted. I was hopeful it would be he. Recent events are shaking me from that optimism.

Judge Garland (now General Garland), the Constitution applies to us, too. And mass election fraud IS voter suppression.

Most respectfully,
Patrick M. Byrne

*_ My feelings are shaped by the fact that Judge Garland is well-known to a friend, an esteemed professor at Georgetown law, who has spoken to me privately and warmly of Garland for years.

**__My honest but Lefty law professor friend adds, “Some Republicans would say that Round 1 was the 1988 Bork nomination. I don’t agree. Bork presented himself in the hearings as a professor who treats law as intellectual puzzles for him to sink his very sharp teeth into, who couldn’t care less about human beings. I recall one journalist who said that he looked like the kind of judge who would throw the book at the whole country. He sunk himself. It was an own-goal.”

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  1. With all due respect to your friend’s kind words concerning Garland, there is a hard truth that we all have to accept. The corruption of thought at the top law schools and with the elite judges in this country is complete. We will not see the likes of Scalia or Thomas again. The current and future nominees are all slaves to prior bad precedent, consensus, and public opinion. A “conservative” judge vetted by the Federalist Society and nominated by a Republican President is no longer moored to the Constitution but rather uses vagaries such as levels of scrutiny to justify results oriented decisions to support policies they think will make them popular in DC. Even a “moderate” nominated by a Democrat would be far worse. They would know the score. They are a super legislator being appointed to a lifetime star chamber. I am sure Garland would have been a nightmare on SCOTUS or Obama (who hates the Constitution for only stating negative rights, what the government cannot do to the people, as opposed to positive rights, what the government must provide for the people) never would have considered him. I am not surprised Garland is proving to be a loyal toady of the revolution at AG. He knows that the lack of voter integrity is essential to his regime’s electoral success, and he will bring down the power of the entire DOJ to accomplish that obvious partisan goal. The various states must be diligent in resisting the DOJ, otherwise they will find their new voter integrity laws enjoined right before the ballots are to be printed and mailed out. The challenge may ultimately be overruled, but it will be just too late to apply those new voter integrity rules to this election cycle. Better luck next time. That is how our “conservative” SCOTUS rolls these days.

    1. Excellent and sadly, a very accurate description of what is going on at SCOTUS/DOJ and the other alphabet agencies.

      1. By the way. My comments were directed at TommiLotto, bravo for your reply and I agree with his reply. I think your conclusion of Garland is being clouded by your fondness and admiration of that law professor. This is clear for the way he has show his partisanship by deciding which states to target (Georgia), which defendants to charge 1/6 versus BLM, which made up powers are given to the CDC (eviction moratorium) etc. He’s been a partisan in hiding. Now that he won’t be a Supreme Court justice, it is clear he doesn’t have to appear to be a moderate anymore, the wolf in sheep’s clothing has taken his fleece off.

  2. Regarding election fraud, it seems to me the solution would be a voting system that perhaps had both an electronic,blockchain vote AND a paper vote cast simultaneously in which the electronic ballots and paper ballots were counted separately to expose any discrepancies / fraud.

    Voatz system seems to be a good solution to election fraud which I first heard about when Patrick mentioned it in a conference call when he was still at Overstock..Here is an excerpt from their website and the link has video on it as well:

    “HOW VOATZ WORKS

    How do voters confirm that their votes are counted?

    Once a voter submits a ballot, three distinct records are created that allow a voter to verify their vote is recorded and counted as they intended.

    Ballot Receipt: Soon after voting, a voter receives an encrypted, anonymized receipt to verify their selections. This receipt is password protected and signed with an anonymous ID (only the voter knows this password and anonymous ID).
    Paper Ballot: A paper ballot is generated and printed at the jurisdiction for tabulation. This paper ballot is signed with the same anonymous ID, and this paper ballot constitutes the record being counted.
    Blockchain Record: All ballot selections pass through multiple, distributed nodes on a public-permissioned blockchain network. If the votes pass all checks, they are stored as a tamper-resistant record alongside all other votes.
    There is an additional step a voter can take to verify their vote(s). Once the election closes, the voter has the opportunity to participate in a public citizens’ audit, where all ballot receipts, paper ballots and blockchain data are compared to ensure voter intent is reflected in the overall election count. For more information about the Voatz post-election audit process, view the video on the Security & Technology page of our website.”
    https://voatz.com/how-it-works/

    I don’t understand why Voatz does nothing to promote their system to the public.
    Something like an exhibition/test election with hypothetical candidates for POTUS that could be promoted on social media could really draw a lot of public attention and participation,IMO.

  3. The Arizona audit is in no way independent. You have hired a crack team of morons to find fraud that doesn’t exist. It’s so sad to see what you’ve become Patrick. You people are ruining lives.

  4. This breakdown of comity is a generational effect. By the year 2000, Baby Boomers were in full flower in the highest places. Boomers place manners and taste near the bottom of the priority list. The fact that Patrick sees value in comity means that he is more of a GenXer than a Boomer, despite his year of birth. Trump runs a full blown shit show and thus communicates to the Baby Boomers well. Leftist Boomers scream right back. Millennials can’t stand this, nor can the GenXers, though we are well versed enough in the foodfight tactics. High class (manners, taste, appearance, education) will be making a comeback in the very near future.

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  6. Where is the widespread voter fraud? Please enlighten us.
    Voter suppression is just a remnant of Jim Crow Confederacy laws.

  7. Maybe you should wait to Judge this Audit team and results until the final report comes out.
    Arizona’s Constitution gives the Legislators the right to Audit. The Dominion machines are the Fraud!
    It happened in Georgia too!

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  9. What the demofascists, led by Ted Chappaquiddick Kennedy, did to Judge Bork was scandalous. The fact that the Judge’s last name has become a verb, synonymous with political assassination, speak volumes about just how severe the damage done was and still is.

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