Russia ‘moves troops, helicopters and armoured vehicles’ to its border with North Korea
‘New weapons’ displayed during military parade in North Korea to celebrate Kim Il SungA symphony orchestra played as one of Kim’s missiles hurtled into the US and revealed a smouldering Stars and Stripes flag.
Military figures watched on gleefully as uniformed troops from the Korean State Merited Chorus belted out a series of tuneless numbers.
And in a verse unlikely to make its way onto Broadway any time soon, one warbled: “Our proud Hwasong rocket blasts off” and “it flies as quickly as a flash of lightning to challenge imperialism”.
Others played trumpets as the 90s-style film saw a ballistic missile roar into America.
Accompanying it are the words: “If US imperialists move an inch toward us, we will immediately hit them with nukes.”
The bizarre video was played at the 105th birthday celebration of Kim’s late grandfather Kim Il-Sung at the weekend.
His regime had earlier that day put on a huge military procession to show off the country’s ballistic missile arsenal.
North Korea propaganda video shows US aircraft carrier being blown up
Story 2: Obama’s Iran Nuclear Agreement Legacy Heading Towards The Wastebasket? No. Certification Granted and Sanctions Suspended — All Talk–No Action — Bad Appeasement Deal Stands — Videos —
The Iran Nuclear Deal
How the Iran nuclear deal works, explained in 3 minutes
Iran and the Bomb
Published on May 12, 2014
Many countries have nuclear weapons, and many more want them. Only one, though, has its neighbors and the world terrified. That country is Iran. Why is everyone so concerned? Because the Islamic theocracy has repeatedly threatened to destroy Israel, sponsors global terrorism, and would leverage the deterrence effect of a nuclear weapon to advance their anti-Western and anti-American interests. Bret Stephens, foreign affairs columnist for the Wall Street Journal explains the one thing you really need to know in order to understand why we can’t let Iran get the bomb–they may actually use it.
The Iran Nuclear Deal Explained
The Iran Nuclear Deal Explained
Donald Trump on Iran Nuclear Agreement (C-SPAN)
Trump on Iran: ‘They will know I am not playing games’
Donald Trump on nuke deal: They are laughing at us in Iran
Sec. Rex Tillerson Warns ‘Unchecked’ Iran Could Follow Path Of North Korea | NBC Nightly News
Trump administration certifies Iran compliant with nuclear deal – donald trump news
Tillerson announces NSC will review the Iran nuclear deal
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says Iran could be the next North Korea
Tillerson Threatens Iran: ‘The Great Destabilizer’?
Trump Shies Away From Striking Down Obama Era Iran Deal: Why It Doesn’t Matter
What’s In The Iran Nuclear Deal?
Implementation of the JCPOA: Is It Working?
Tillerson Toughens Tone on Iran After U.S. Confirms Nuclear Deal Compliance
By GARDINER HARRIS APRIL 19, 2017
President Trump at the White House on Wednesday. During the 2016 campaign, he denounced the nuclear agreement with Iran as “the worst deal ever.”CreditAl Drago/The New York Times
WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson described a landmark Iran nuclear deal as a failure on Wednesday, only hours after the State Department said Tehran was complying with its terms. But the top United States diplomat stopped short of threatening to jettison the 2015 agreement that was brokered by world powers, or saying whether the Trump administration would punish Iran with new sanctions.
The whiplash left Republicans on Capitol Hill, who had universally excoriated the agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear program and voted against its implementation, uncertain of how to respond. Its architects, however, said they were cautiously optimistic that the deal would stay in place.
The nuclear deal “fails to achieve the objective of a non-nuclear Iran,” Mr. Tillerson said. “It only delays their goal of becoming a nuclear state.”
He said that Iran continued to threaten the United States and the rest of the world, and he announced that the Trump administration was reviewing ways to counter challenges posed by Tehran.
It was an attempt to clarify a State Department certification, issued shortly before a midnight deadline on Tuesday, that said Iran was complying with the nuclear agreement that also eased crippling international sanctions against the Islamic republic’s economy. During the 2016 campaign, President Trump denounced the agreement as “the worst deal ever,” and Vice President Pence promised to rip it up.
In a hastily called news conference at the State Department on Wednesday, Mr. Tillerson likened Iran to North Korea, whose nuclear weaponry and burgeoning missile technology is what the administration now believes is the gravest risk to world peace and security. Mr. Pence visited Seoul, South Korea, this week to declare that the United States was united with its allies to stem North Korea’s threat.
The Iran deal “represents the same failed approach to the past that brought us to the current imminent threat that we face from North Korea,” Mr. Tillerson told reporters. “The Trump administration has no intention of passing the buck to a future administration on Iran. The evidence is clear: Iran’s provocative actions threaten the United States, the region and the world.”
Once the National Security Council completes a review of the nuclear deal, Mr. Tillerson said, “we will meet the challenges Iran poses with clarity and conviction.”
Hours earlier, late on Tuesday night, Mr. Tillerson sent a terse letter to Speaker Paul D. Ryan pledging to evaluate whether earlier suspension of sanctions against Iran, as required under the terms of the nuclear agreement, “is vital to the national security interests of the United States.”
A man of few words, Mr. Tillerson has sometimes found that his cryptic remarks create more confusion than clarity among allies, friends and even adversaries. Earlier on Wednesday, Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, offered little additional information about the Iran certification. He refused to say whether the Trump administration would add the Iran deal to a series of other stunning foreign policy reversals it has made by deciding to retain it instead of ripping it up or renegotiating the agreement as promised.
“I think part of the review, the interagency process, is to determine where Iran is in compliance with the deal and to make recommendations to the president on the path forward,” Mr. Spicer said.
The enigmatic remarks left top Republicans on Capitol Hill nonplused. Senator Tom Cotton, the Arkansas Republican who led congressional opposition to the Iran deal, said in a statement that the administration’s “certification is shaky, and it doesn’t mean that the intentions behind Iran’s nuclear program are benign.”
Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said the Trump administration appeared to be preparing a tougher line against Iran.
“Secretary Tillerson made clear that regardless of Iran’s technical compliance with the nuclear deal, the administration is under no illusion about the continued threat from Tehran and is prepared to work closely with Congress to push back,” Mr. Corker said in a statement on Wednesday.
Tuesday’s certification extends sanctions relief for Iran in exchange for continued constraints on its nuclear program. American sanctions, as approved by Congress, were suspended instead of revoked; they can be reimposed with the stroke of a presidential pen.
The Trump administration has given itself 90 days to complete its review, but it will need to make a series of decisions in coming weeks about whether to continue its support of the deal, which was also brokered with Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia. Those governments, along with representatives of the United States and Iran, will meet next week in Vienna to review the pact’s progress.
Mr. Trump faces a mid-May deadline, as imposed by Congress, to decide whether to continue the suspension of sanctions.
Backing away from the agreement would spur enormous consternation across Europe and in Moscow.
In their first congratulatory phone calls to Mr. Trump after his electoral victory, both President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany emphasized the need to keep the Iran deal in place. And after her first meeting with Mr. Tillerson in February, Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign minister, said the Trump administration pledged “to stick to the full strict implementation of the agreement in all its parts.”
Analysts and former government officials said it was unlikely the Trump administration would renounce the Iran agreement.
“I’m glad this deal has held up to this point, and I hope it continues to hold up,” said Wendy Sherman, a former under secretary of state who was deeply involved in negotiating terms of the deal during the Obama administration.
Robert Einhorn, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who was involved in Iran policy under President Barack Obama, said it was “pretty much a foregone conclusion” that Mr. Trump would keep the nuclear agreement in place.
Still, the administration has sought since its first days in office to ratchet up pressure on Iran. In January, before he resigned, Michael T. Flynn, then the national security adviser, walked into the White House briefing room and declared that the administration was “officially putting Iran on notice” after it launched a ballistic missile.
The Trump administration has returned the United States to closer ties with its traditional Arab friends in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Part of those ties means supporting those nations, which are overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim, in their intense rivalry with Iran, a Shiite power.
By contrast, by the end of his second term, Mr. Obama had begun to view those sectarian tensions with a jaundiced eye, believing the United States should not intervene in a millennium-old religious struggle.
Earlier on Wednesday, Mr. Tillerson attended a United States-Saudi Arabia chief executive summit meeting where he declared that he was “pleased to be here today to reaffirm the very strong partnership that exists between the United States and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
Mark Dubowitz, chief executive of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a group that sought to defeat the Iran deal, said the administration may still walk away from the agreement or renegotiate it. He contended that the administration “should not be bound by arms control agreements that are deeply flawed.”
And even Ms. Sherman shied away from predicting it will remain in place. “I’m taking this one day at a time,” she said.
Formal negotiations toward the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear program began with the adoption of the Joint Plan of Action, an interim agreement signed between Iran and the P5+1 countries in November 2013. For the next twenty months, Iran and the P5+1 countries engaged in negotiations, and in April 2015 agreed on an Iran nuclear deal framework for the final agreement and in July 2015, Iran and the P5+1 agreed on the plan.
Under the agreement, Iran agreed to eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium, cut its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98%, and reduce by about two-thirds the number of its gas centrifuges for 13 years. For the next 15 years, Iran will only enrich uranium up to 3.67%. Iran also agreed not to build any new heavy-water facilities for the same period of time. Uranium-enrichment activities will be limited to a single facility using first-generation centrifuges for 10 years. Other facilities will be converted to avoid proliferation risks. To monitor and verify Iran’s compliance with the agreement, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will have regular access to all Iranian nuclear facilities. The agreement provides that in return for verifiably abiding by its commitments, Iran will receive relief from U.S., European Union, and United Nations Security Council nuclear-related economic sanctions.
In 1979, the Iranian Revolution took place, and Iran’s nuclear program, which had developed some baseline capacity, fell to disarray as “much of Iran’s nuclear talent fled the country in the wake of the Revolution.” Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was initially opposed to nuclear technology; and Iran engaged in a costly war with Iraq from 1980 to 1988.
Starting in the later 1980s, Iran restarted its nuclear program, with assistance from Pakistan (which entered into a bilateral agreement with Iran in 1992), China (which did the same in 1990), and Russia (which did the same in 1992 and 1995), and from the A.Q. Khan network. Iran “began pursuing an indigenous nuclear fuel cycle capability by developing a uranium mining infrastructure and experimenting with uranium conversion and enrichment.” According to the nonpartisan Nuclear Threat Initiative, “U.S. intelligence agencies have long suspected Iran of using its civilian nuclear program as a cover for clandestine weapons development.” Iran, in contrast, “has always insisted that its nuclear work is peaceful”.
In August 2002, the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran, an Iranian dissident group, publicly revealed the existence of two undeclared nuclear facilities, the Arak heavy-water production facility and the Natanz enrichment facility. In February 2003, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami acknowledged the existence of the facilities and asserted that Iran had undertaken “small-scale enrichment experiments” to produce low-enriched uranium for nuclear power plants. In late February, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors visited Natanz. In May 2003, Iran allowed IAEA inspectors to visit the Kalaye Electric Company, but refused to allow them to take samples, and an IAEA report the following month concluded that Iran had failed to meet its obligations under the previous agreement.
In June 2003, Iran—faced with the prospect of being referred to the UN Security Council—entered into diplomatic negotiations with France, Germany, and the United Kingdom (the EU 3). The United States refused to be involved in these negotiations. In October 2003, the Tehran Declaration was reached between Iran and the EU 3; under this declaration Iran agreed to cooperate fully with the IAEA, sign the Additional Protocol, and temporarily suspend all uranium enrichment. In September and October 2003, the IAEA conducted several facility inspections. This was followed by the Paris Agreement in November 2004, in which Iran agreed to temporarily suspend enrichment and conversion activities, “including the manufacture, installation, testing, and operation of centrifuges, and committed to working with the EU-3 to find a mutually beneficial long-term diplomatic solution”.
In August 2005, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a hard-liner, was elected president of Iran. He accused Iranian negotiators who had negotiated the Paris Accords of treason. Over the next two months, the EU 3 agreement fell apart as talks over the EU 3’s proposed Long Term Agreement broke down; the Iranian government “felt that the proposal was heavy on demands, light on incentives, did not incorporate Iran’s proposals, and violated the Paris Agreement”. Iran notified the IAEA that it would resume uranium conversion at Esfahan.
In February 2006, Iran ended its voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol and resumed enrichment at Natanz, prompting the IAEA Board of Governors to refer Iran to the UN Security Council. After the vote, Iran announced it would resume enrichment of uranium. In April 2006, Ahmadinejad announced that Iran had nuclear technology, but stated that it was purely for power generation and not for producing weapons. In June 2006, the EU 3 joined China, Russia, and the United States, to form the P5+1. The following month, July 2006, the UN Security Council passed its first resolution demanding Iran stop uranium enrichment and processing.Altogether, from 2006 to 2010, the UN Security Council subsequently adopted six resolutions concerning Iran’s nuclear program: 1696 (July 2006), 1737 (December 2006), 1747 (March 2007), 1803 (March 2008), 1835 (September 2008), and 1929 (June 2010). The legal authority for the IAEA Board of Governors referral and the Security Council resolutions was derived from the IAEA Statute and the United Nations Charter. The resolutions demanded that Iran cease enrichment activities and imposed sanctions on Iran, including bans on the transfer of nuclear and missile technology to the country and freezes on the assets of certain Iranian individuals and entities, in order to pressure the country. However, in Resolution 1803 and elsewhere the Security Council also acknowledged Iran’s rights under Article IV of the NPT, which provides for “the inalienable right … to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes”.[b]
In July 2006, Iran opened the Arak heavy water production plant, which led to one of the Security Council resolutions. In September 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama, revealed the existence of an underground enrichment facility in Fordow, near Qom saying, “Iran’s decision to build yet another nuclear facility without notifying the IAEA represents a direct challenge to the basic compact at the center of the non-proliferation regime.” Israel threatened to take military action against Iran.
In a February 2007 interview with the Financial Times, IAEA director general Mohamed ElBaradei said that military action against Iran “would be catastrophic, counterproductive” and called for negotiations between the international community and Iran over the Iranian nuclear program. ElBaradei specifically proposed a “double, simultaneous suspension, a time out” as “a confidence-building measure”, under which the international sanctions would be suspended and Iran would suspend enrichment. ElBaradei also said, “if I look at it from a weapons perspective there are much more important issues to me than the suspension of [enrichment],” naming his top priorities as preventing Iran from “go[ing] to industrial capacity until the issues are settled”; building confidence, with “full inspection” involving Iranian adoption of the Additional Protocol; and “at all costs” preventing Iran from “moving out of the [treaty-based non-proliferation] system”.
A November 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate assessed that Iran “halted its nuclear weapons program” in 2003; that estimate and subsequent U.S. Intelligence Community statements also assessed that the Iranian government at the time had was “keeping open the ‘option’ to develop nuclear weapons” in the future. A July 2015 Congressional Research Service report said, “statements from the U.S. intelligence community indicate that Iran has the technological and industrial capacity to produce nuclear weapons at some point, but the U.S. government assesses that Tehran has not mastered all of the necessary technologies for building a nuclear weapon.”
In March 2013, the United States began a series of secret bilateral talks with Iranian officials in Oman, led by William Joseph Burns and Jake Sullivan on the American side and Ali Asghar Khaji on the Iranian side. In June 2013, Hassan Rouhani was elected president of Iran. Rouhani has been described as “more moderate, pragmatic and willing to negotiate than Ahmadinejad”. However, in a 2006 nuclear negotiation with European powers, Rouhani said that Iran had used the negotiations to dupe the Europeans, saying that during the negotiations, Iran managed to master the conversion of uranium yellowcake at Isfahan. The conversion of yellowcake is an important step in the nuclear fuel process. In August 2013, three days after his inauguration, Rouhani called for a resumption of serious negotiations with the P5+1 on the Iranian nuclear program. In September 2013, Obama and Rouhani had a telephone conversation, the first high-level contact between U.S. and Iranian leaders since 1979, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had a meeting with Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, signaling that the two countries had an opening to cooperation.
After several rounds of negotiations, on 24 November 2013, the Joint Plan of Action, an interim agreement on the Iranian nuclear program, was signed between Iran and the P5+1 countries in Geneva, Switzerland. It consisted of a short-term freeze of portions of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for decreased economic sanctions on Iran, as the countries work towards a long-term agreement. The IAEA began “more intrusive and frequent inspections” under this interim agreement. The agreement was formally activated on 20 January 2014. On that day, the IAEA issued a report stating that Iran was adhering to the terms of the interim agreement, including stopping enrichment of uranium to 20 percent, beginning the dilution process (to reduce half of the stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium to 3.5 percent), and halting work on the Arak heavy-water reactor.
The agreement between the P5+1+EU and Iran on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is the culmination of 20 months of “arduous” negotiations.
The agreement followed the Joint Plan of Action (JPA), an interim agreement between the P5+1 powers and Iran that was agreed to on 24 November 2013 at Geneva. The Geneva agreement was an interim deal, in which Iran agreed to roll back parts of its nuclear program in exchange for relief from some sanctions. This went into effect on 20 January 2014. The parties agreed to extend their talks with a first extension deadline on 24 November 2014 and a second extension deadline set to 1 July 2015.
An Iran nuclear deal framework was reached on 2 April 2015. Under this framework Iran agreed tentatively to accept restrictions on its nuclear program, all of which would last for at least a decade and some longer, and to submit to an increased intensity of international inspections under a framework deal. These details were to be negotiated by the end of June 2015. The negotiations toward a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action were extended several times until the final agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was finally reached on 14 July 2015. The JCPOA is based on the framework agreement from three months earlier.
Subsequently the negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 continued. In April 2014, a framework deal was reached at Lausanne. Intense marathon negotiations then continued, with the last session in Vienna at the Palais Coburg lasting for seventeen days. At several points, negotiations appeared to be at risk of breaking down, but negotiators managed to come to agreement. As the negotiators neared a deal, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry directly asked Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to confirm that he was “authorized to actually make a deal, not just by the [Iranian] president, but by the supreme leader?” Zarif gave assurances that he was.
Ultimately, on 14 July 2015, all parties agreed to a landmark comprehensive nuclear agreement. At the time of the announcement, shortly before 11:00 GMT, the agreement was released to the public.
The final agreement’s complexity shows the impact of a public letter written by a bipartisan group of 19 U.S. diplomats, experts, and others in June 2015, written when negotiations were still going on. That letter outlined concerns about the several provisions in the then-unfinished agreement and called for a number of improvements to strengthen the prospective agreement and win their support for it. After the final agreement was reached, one of the signatories, Robert J. Einhorn, a former U.S. Department of State official now at the Brookings Institution, said of the agreement: “Analysts will be pleasantly surprised. The more things are agreed to, the less opportunity there is for implementation difficulties later on.”
The final agreement is based upon (and buttresses) “the rules-based nonproliferation regime created by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and including especially the IAEA safeguards system.”
Souvenir signatures of lead negotiators on the cover page of the JCPOA document. The Persian handwriting on top left side is a homage by Javad Zarif to his counterparts’ efforts in the negotiations: “[I am] Sincere to Mr. Abbas [Araghchi] and Mr. Majid [Takht-Ravanchi].”
Iran’s current stockpile of low-enriched uranium will be reduced by 98 percent, from 10,000 kg to 300 kg. This reduction will be maintained for fifteen years. For the same fifteen-year period, Iran will be limited to enriching uranium to 3.67%, a percentage sufficient for civilian nuclear power and research, but not for building a nuclear weapon.However, the number of centrifuges is sufficient for a nuclear weapon, but not for nuclear power. This is a “major decline” in Iran’s previous nuclear activity; prior to watering down its stockpile pursuant to the Joint Plan of Action interim agreement, Iran had enriched uranium to near 20% (medium-enriched uranium). These enriched uranium in excess of 300 kg of up to 3.67% will be down blended to natural uranium level or be sold in return for natural uranium, and the uranium enriched to between 5% and 20% will be fabricated into fuel plates for the Tehran Research Reactor or sold or diluted to an enrichment level of 3.67%. The implementation of the commercial contracts will be facilitated by P5+1. After fifteen years, all physical limits on enrichment will be removed, including limits on the type and number of centrifuges, Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium, and where Iran may have enrichment facilities. According to Belfer, at this point Iran could “expand its nuclear program to create more practical overt and covert nuclear weapons options”.
For ten years, Iran will place over two-thirds of its centrifuges in storage, from its current stockpile of 19,000 centrifuges (of which 10,000 were operational) to no more than 6,104 operational centrifuges, with only 5,060 allowed to enrich uranium, with the enrichment capacity being limited to the Natanz plant. The centrifuges there must be IR-1 centrifuges, the first-generation centrifuge type which is Iran’s oldest and least efficient; Iran will give up its advanced IR-2M centrifuges in this period. The non-operating centrifuges will be stored in Natanz and monitored by IAEA, but may be used to replace failed centrifuges. Iran will not build any new uranium-enrichment facilities for fifteen years.
Iran may continue research and development work on enrichment, but that work will take place only at the Natanz facility and include certain limitations for the first eight years. This is intended to keep the country to a breakout time of one year.
Iran, with cooperation from the “Working Group” (the P5+1 and possibly other countries), will modernise and rebuild the Arak heavy water research reactor based on an agreed design to support its peaceful nuclear research and production needs and purposes, but in such a way to minimise the production of plutonium and not to produce weapons-grade plutonium. The power of the redesigned reactor will not exceed 20 MWth. The P5+1 parties will support and facilitate the timely and safe construction of the Arak complex. All spent fuel will be sent out of the country. All excess heavy water which is beyond Iran’s needs for the redesigned reactor will be made available for export to the international market based on international prices. In exchange, Iran received 130 tons of uranium in 2015 and in late 2016 was approved to receive 130 tons in 2017. For 15 years, Iran will not engage in, or research on, spent fuel reprocessing. Iran will also not build any additional heavy-water reactors or accumulate heavy water for fifteen years.
Iran’s Fordow facility will stop enriching uranium and researching uranium enrichment for at least fifteen years; the facility will be converted into a nuclear physics and technology center. For 15 years, Fordow will maintain no more than 1,044 IR-1 centrifuges in six cascades in one wing of Fordow. “Two of those six cascades will spin without uranium and will be transitioned, including through appropriate infrastructure modification,” for stable radioisotope production for medical, agricultural, industrial, and scientific use. “The other four cascades with all associated infrastructure will remain idle.” Iran will not be permitted to have any fissile material in Fordow.
Iran will implement an Additional Protocol agreement which will continue in perpetuity for as long as Iran remains a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The signing of the Additional Protocol represents a continuation of the monitoring and verification provisions “long after the comprehensive agreement between the P5+1 and Iran is implemented”.
A comprehensive inspections regime will be implemented in order to monitor and confirm that Iran is complying with its obligations and is not diverting any fissile material.[c]
The IAEA will have multilayered oversight “over Iran’s entire nuclear supply chain, from uranium mills to its procurement of nuclear-related technologies“. For declared nuclear sites such as Fordow and Natanz, the IAEA will have “round-the-clock access” to nuclear facilities and will be entitled to maintain continuous monitoring (including via surveillance equipment) at such sites. The agreement authorizes the IAEA to make use of sophisticated monitoring technology, such as fiber-optic seals on equipment that can electronically send information to the IAEA; infrared satellite imagery to detect covert sites, “environmental sensors that can detect minute signs of nuclear particles”; tamper-resistant, radiation-resistant cameras. Other tools include computerized accounting programs to gather information and detect anomalies, and big data sets on Iranian imports, to monitor dual-use items.
The number of IAEA inspectors assigned to Iran will triple, from 50 to 150 inspectors.
If IAEA inspectors have concerns that Iran is developing nuclear capabilities at any non-declared sites, they may request access “to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear materials and activities or activities inconsistent with” the agreement, informing Iran of the basis for their concerns. The inspectors would only come from countries with which Iran has diplomatic relations. Iran may admit the inspectors to such site or propose alternatives to inspection that might satisfy the IAEA’s concerns. If such an agreement cannot be reached, a process running to a maximum of 24 days is triggered. Under this process, Iran and the IAEA have 14 days to resolve disagreements among themselves. If they fail to, the Joint Commission (including all eight parties) would have one week in which to consider the intelligence which initiated the IAEA request. A majority of the Commission (at least five of the eight members) could then inform Iran of the action that it would be required to take within three more days. The majority rule provision “means the United States and its European allies—Britain, France, Germany and the EU—could insist on access or any other steps and that Iran, Russia or China could not veto them”. If Iran did not comply with the decision within three days, sanctions would be automatically reimposed under the snapback provision (see below).
As a result of the above, the “breakout time”—the time in which it would be possible for Iran to make enough material for a single nuclear weapon—will increase from two to three months to one year, according to U.S. officials and U.S. intelligence.[d] An August 2015 report published by a group of experts at Harvard University‘s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs concurs in these estimates, writing that under the JCPOA, “over the next decade would be extended to roughly a year, from the current estimated breakout time of 2 to 3 months”. The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation also accepts these estimates. By contrast, Alan J. Kuperman, coordinator of the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project at the University of Texas at Austin, disputed the one-year assessment, arguing that under the agreement, Iran’s breakout time “would be only about three months, not much longer than it is today”.
The longer breakout time would be in place for at least ten years; after that point, the breakout time would gradually decrease. By the fifteenth year, U.S. officials state that the breakout time would return to the pre-JCPOA status quo of a few months. The Belfer Center report states: “Some contributors to this report believe that breakout time by year 15 could be comparable to what it is today—a few months—while others believe it could be reduced to a few weeks.”
Reuters reported that exemptions were granted to Iran prior to January 16, 2016. The reported purpose of the exemptions was so that sanctions relief and other benefits could start by that date, instead of Iran being in violation. The exemptions included: (a) Iran able to exceed the 300 Kg of 3.5% LEU limit in the agreement; (b) Iran able to exceed the zero Kg of 20% LEU limit in the agreement; (c) Iran to keep operating 19 “hot cells” that exceed the size limit in the agreement; (d) Iran to maintain control of 50 tonnes of heavy water that exceed the 130 tonne limit in the agreement by storing the excess at an Iran-controlled facility in Oman. In December 2016, the IAEA published decisions of the Joint Commission that spell out these clarifications of the JCPOA.
Eight years into the agreement, EU sanctions against a number of Iranian companies, individuals and institutions (such as the Revolutionary Guards) will be lifted.
The United States will “cease” application of its nuclear-related secondary sanctions by presidential action or executive waiver.Secondary sanctions are those that sanction other countries for doing business with Iran. Primary U.S. sanctions, which prohibit U.S. firms from conducting commercial transactions with few exceptions, are not altered by the JCPOA.
This step is not tied to any specific date, but is expected to occur “roughly in the first half of 2016”.
However, all U.S. sanctions against Iran related to alleged human rights abuses, missiles, and support for terrorism are not affected by the agreement and will remain in place. U.S. sanctions are viewed as more stringent, since many have extraterritorial effect (i.e., they apply worldwide). EU sanctions, by contrast, apply only in Europe.
No new UN or EU nuclear-related sanctions or restrictive measures will be imposed.
If Iran violates the agreement, any of the P5+1 can invoke a “snap back” provision, under which the sanctions “snap back” into place (i.e., are reimplemented).
Specifically, the JCPOA establishes the following dispute resolution process: if a party to the JCPOA has reason to believe that another party is not upholding its commitments under the agreement, then the complaining party may refer its complaint to the Joint Commission, a body created under the JCPOA to monitor implementation. If a complaint made by a non-Iran party is not resolved to the satisfaction of the complaining party within thirty-five days of referral, then that party could treat the unresolved issue as grounds to cease performing its commitments under the JCPOA, notify the United Nations Security Council that it believes the issue constitutes significant non-performance, or both. The Security Council would then have thirty days to adopt a resolution to continue the lifting of sanctions. If such a resolution is not adopted within those thirty days, then the sanctions of all of the pre-JCPOA nuclear-related UN Security Council resolutions would automatically be re-imposed. Iran has stated that in such a case, it would cease performing its nuclear obligations under the deal. The effect of this rule is that any permanent member of the Security Council (United States, United Kingdom, China, Russia and France) can veto any ongoing sanctions relief, but no member can veto the re-imposition of sanctions.
Snapback sanctions “would not apply with retroactive effect to contracts signed between any party and Iran or Iranian individuals and entities prior to the date of application, provided that the activities contemplated under and execution of such contracts are consistent with this JCPOA and the previous and current UN Security Council resolutions”.
Ankit Panda of The Diplomat states that this will make impossible any scenario where Iran is non-compliant with the JCPOA yet escapes re-imposition of sanctions. Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (which opposes the agreement) argues, however, that because the JCPOA provides that Iran could treat reinstatement of sanctions (in part or entirely) as grounds for leaving the agreement, the United States would be reluctant to impose a “snapback” for smaller violations: “The only thing you’ll take to the Security Council are massive Iranian violations, because you’re certainly not going to risk the Iranians walking away from the deal and engaging in nuclear escalation over smaller violations.”
Pictured here, Iranian foreign affairs minister and U.S. secretary of state shaking hands at the end of negotiations on 14 July 2015, Vienna. They shook hands on 26 September 2013 in the United Nations Headquarters for the first time.
Story 3: Radical Islamic Terrorist Attack In Paris, France Target Police One Officer Killed and One Wounded and One Shooter Killed and One Escaped — Videos —
One Officer Killed, One Wounded In Paris Shooting | NBC News
Trump Says Paris Shooting Looks Like Terror Attack
BREAKING Paris ISLAMIC Terrorist with Machine Gun kills police officer 2nd hurt April 20 2017 News
BREAKING!!! TERROR ATTACK IN PARIS!!!
Paris shooting ‘looks like another terrorist attack’ Trump says: ‘It just never ends’
The U.S. president addressed the assault on two police officers at a news conference Thursday afternoon in the White House’s East Room
French police say the incident involving at least two gunman was probably a ‘terrorist act’
‘We have to be strong, and we have to be vigilant, and I’ve been saying it for a long time,’ Trump said
By Francesca Chambers, White House Correspondent For Dailymail.com
PUBLISHED: 16:23 EDT, 20 April 2017 | UPDATED: 17:26 EDT, 20 April 2017
President Donald Trump says a shooting in Paris today ‘looks like another terrorist attack.’
The U.S. president addressed the assault on two police officers at a news conference Thursday afternoon.
‘It just never ends,’ he said of the terror threat from the White House’s East Room.
French police say the incident involving at least two gunman was probably a ‘terrorist act.’
President Donald Trump says a shooting in Paris today ‘looks like another terrorist attack.’
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said just before the news conference began that Trump had been briefed on the shooting that happened while he was meeting with the Italian prime minister.
‘Condolences from our country to the people for France again. It’s happening it seems,’ Trump said from the podium. ‘I just saw it as I was walking in, so it’s a terrible thing and it’s a very, very terrible thing that’s going on in the world today.’
Trump did not comment on the assault at the top of his remarks but said after he was asked for a reaction, ‘It looks like another terrorist attack, and what can you say? It just never ends.
‘We have to be strong, and we have to be vigilant, and I’ve been saying it for a long time,’ Trump told Fox News’ John Roberts.
France is in the process of holding a national election. The first round of voting begins on April 23.
A gunman wielding an AK-47 killed one police officer and wounded another today on the Champs-Elysees. The assailant was killed in the showdown with police, Paris police have said. Another suspect is believed to have been involved, as well.
Police just two days ago arrested two men in southern Marseille with weapons and explosives who were suspected of preparing an attack to disrupt the first-round of the presidential election on Sunday.
France is in a state of emergency and at its highest possible level of alert since a string of terror attacks that began in 2015 and have killed over 230 people.
Thousands of troops and armed police have been deployed to guard tourist hotspots such as the Champs Elysees or other potential targets like government buildings and religious sites.
‘Stay back, stay back!’ Police warn after shooting in Paris
Police closed off the popular avenue (pictured) after a policeman was killed during a shooting incident in the French capital
A French police officer was tonight shot dead on the Champs Elysees in Paris (pictured) – just as presidential candidates took part in a TV debate nearby
Up until now, polls showed voters more concerned about unemployment and their spending power than terrorism or security, though analysts warned this would change in the event of further bloodshed.
For weeks, centrist Emanuel Macron and National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen have been out in front.
Scandal-plagued conservative Francois Fillon and far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon have closed the gap substantially in the last two weeks.
Opinion polls now show there is a chance that any of the four leading candidates could reach the second-round run-off on May 7 if none of them reach a majority in this weekend’s election.
Footage potentially show s the moments after the Paris shootingPolice say the suspect was from an eastern Paris in suburb, despite ISIS naming him as a Belgian national on their Amaq news agency.
He is thought to have been known to security services for “extremist links”.
The shooter’s house in an eastern Paris suburb and other addresses are being searched by officers, a source told Reuters.
Inside the horrifying Belarus orphanages where starving kids look like ‘Nazi camp victims’
Cops have said they are hunting a second suspect who may or may not be involved in the incident.
Local police advised people to avoid the area after shots were fired at around 9pm local time.
Witnesses said the attacker pulled up beside a stationery police car and fired through the window.
“He parked just behind the van and he got out with a Kalashnikov and I heard six gunshots,” a witness named Chelloug said.
“I thought they were firecrackers, because we all looked around the road and there was no one.
“In fact, he was hidden behind the van and shooting at the police.
Eyewitness of the Paris shooting says he heard six gun shots between police and the gunman
Two French police officers killed by gunman in Paris ‘terror’ attack”I think he hit a policeman. As soon as the policeman opened the door of the van, he fell, I think.
“As soon as we saw that, we all ran back inside (a building). We hid and I went up to the first floor and we saw them (the policeman) shoot him (the perpetrator).”
He added: ” I was afraid. I have a two year-old girl and I thought I was going to die… He shot straight at the police officer.”
President Francois Hollande said officials are “convinced” the incident is a terror attack.
Paris Prosecutor’s anti-terror office has opened an inquiry.
Eyewitness of the Paris shooting says he heard six gun shots between police and the gunman
ISIS claims it was behind Paris police shootingYvan Assioma of the police union Alliance said: “The exact circumstances are still unclear but I can confirm the tragic death of one of our colleagues. Our thoughts are very much with the family.
“One or several attackers have been shot dead by the police. Some officers were hit but the bullets were stopped by their bulletproof vests, but two were hit.
“Nothing is being ruled out for the time being, terrorism or a criminal act.”
Champs-Elysees in Paris evacuated after two police officers shot dead
French police closes traffic on Champs Elysees after shootingA Government spokesperson said: “An automatic weapon was used against police, a weapon of war.
“The shooting started shortly after 9pm, when a car stopped alongside a stationary police car.
“A man immediately got out and opened fire on the police car, fatally wounding a police officer. He also wounded a second one, it would seem very seriously.”
The shooting happened near the Métro station Franklin D Roosevelt and the Marks and Spencer store on the Champs-Elysées.
It is one of the most famous streets in the world and a busy tourist hub.
Armed police and emergency services have been spotted at the scene.
Armed officers tak e position behind a kiosk on the Champs ElyséesFrance’s President Francois Hollande has scheduled an emergency meeting following the shootings.
French Presidential candidates Marine Le Pen and Francois Fill0n have cancelled their trips tomorrow.
The shooting comes just just days ahead of France’s presidential election.
On Tuesday, days after police arrested two men in southern Marseille with weapons and explosives who were suspected of preparing an attack to disrupt the first-round of the presidential election on Sunday.
Policeman shot dead and ‘two seriously injured’ on Champs-Élysé, Paris
Police officers evacuate people off the Champs Elysees after ‘terror attack’France is in a state of emergency and at its highest possible level of alert since a string of terror attacks that began in 2015, which have killed over 230 people.
The UK Foreign Office said: “The British Embassy is in contact with local authorities and urgently seeking further information following reports of a shooting incident on the Champs-Elysees in Paris.
“You should remain vigilant and follow the advice of the local security authorities and/or your tour operator.
“If you’re in the area and it is safe to do so, contact your friends and family to tell them you are safe.”
Story 4: Republicans Return Repeal Replace Obamacare — Compromise Should Pass House by April 28, 2017 Videos —
House Republicans Close To Obamacare Repeal
Published on Apr 20, 2017
House Freedom Caucus and moderate Republicans are edging closer to a deal on repealing Obamacare. The agreement, brokered by House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Tuesday Group co-chairman Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), would allow states to eliminate Obamacare’s community rating system, a rule that prohibits health insurers from pricing health care plans based on age, gender, or health status. States that repeal Obamacare’s community rating rules would have to join a federal high-risk pool or establish a local high-risk pool to obtain the waiver.
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It’s going to be nearly impossible for Republicans to repeal and replace Obamacare next week
The developing plan from House Republicans to push forward their overhaul of the US healthcare system has one big problem: timing.
A new amendment leaked Wednesday night appears to be a compromise between the leaders of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and moderate Tuesday Group that could produce some movement on the bill in that timeframe.
But Congress faces another looming deadline by April 28: funding the federal government. If no new funding bill is passed by next Friday, parts of the federal government will shut down.
Washington is not known for multitasking, and it could be difficult to get a funding bill passed as the White House and lawmakers push to add policy proposals to the funding bill. Given the political ramifications of the issue, the shutdown fight could consume the calendar.
According to Politico, the White House and Congress are considering passage of a one-week extension on funding in order to hash out a more considered funding bill and possibly give the House time to take up the AHCA, which became colloquially known as “Trumpcare.”
Barring such an extension, however, it would be highly unlikely that the American Health Care Act moves forward before Trump’s 100th day in the Oval Office.
The full text of the proposed amendment, obtained by Politico’s Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer, states that the waiver would be granted by the federal government if the state can prove that it has an alternative to “reduce premium costs, increase the number of persons with healthcare coverage, or advance another benefit to the public interest in the state.”
Essential health benefits require insurers to cover a baseline of health procedures such as prenatal care and emergency room visits. Community rating means that insurers must charge people living in the same area the same price for insurance regardless of things such as age, gender, or preexisting conditions.
“The gist of this is that federal protections for pre-existing conditions and required benefits remain…unless a state doesn’t want them to,” tweeted Larry Levitt, senior vice president at health policy think thank The Kaiser Family Foundation on Thursday.
However, this means that the Trump administration, most likely Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, would have final say on whether or not a waiver is granted.
While the deal was reportedly reached by conservative House Freedom Caucus chair Rep. Mark Meadows and moderate Tuesday Group chair Rep. Tom MacArthur, it also bears similarities to a previous deal that drew the ire of moderates for going too far in pulling back protections.
Additionally, it does not address the concerns of moderates such as the defunding of Medicaid expansion or the estimates that the Affordable Health Care Act could leave up to 24 million fewer people without health coverage over the next 10 years.
The Washington Post’s Robert Costa reported after the amendment’s outline was leaked that the GOP leadership is planning to release the exact language for the amendment later on Thursday and are targeting Wednesday for a vote on the revised bill, but that could change.
The amendment comes the day after reports that the White House was pushing for a deal to be completed by the end of next week in order to show progress during Trump’s first 100 days as president. Additionally, House Speaker Paul Ryan said in London on Wednesday that the GOP was putting the “finishing touches” on an Obamacare deal.
Passing the AHCA, even with the proposed changes, would be difficult in the short-term as Congress must also pass a bill to fund the federal government before parts of it shut down on April 28.
Mnuchin: Most significant tax code change since Reagan 9 Hours Ago | 01:19
The Trump administration is close to bringing forward “major tax reform,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday, days after he tempered expectations for how quickly it will pass.
Mnuchin, who this week backed off of his earlier goal of passing tax reform by August, said the White House will unveil a plan “very soon.” However, the Trump administration previously missed several of its deadlines for releasing its tax plan.
In terms of timing, he said he hoped passing a tax overhaul will not “take till the end of the year.”
Mnuchin spoke at the Institute of International Finance Washington Policy Summit, where White House chief economic advisor Gary Cohn was set to appear later Thursday.
In a Financial Times interview published Monday, Mnuchin said getting a bill to President Donald Trump‘s desk before August is “highly aggressive to not realistic at this point.” He said in February that he wanted to see “very significant” tax reform passed by Congress’ August recess.
The business community has hoped Republicans can move quickly on overhauling the American tax system, a prospect that partly fueled stock market gains in the months following Trump’s election. However, political realities have tempered expectations for changes to the tax system.
Republicans attempted to pass legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act before moving to a tax reform bill. That effort failed late last month, and Mnuchin said the setback contributed to his assessment that passing a tax overhaul by August could be difficult.
Trump put the pressure back on Tuesday after Mnuchin and Cohn appeared to walk back expectations for how quickly tax reform will happen. He called out Mnuchin by name during a speech at Snap-on headquarters in Wisconsin.
“So we’re in very good shape on tax reform. We have the concept of the plan. We’re going to be announcing it very soon,” Trump said at that time. “But health care, we have to get the health care taken care of, and as soon as health care takes care of we are going to march very quickly. You’re going to watch. We’re going to surprise you. Right, Steve Mnuchin? Right?”
Even though the president sounded optimistic Tuesday, the Trump administration has set deadlines for tax policy before that have not come to pass. In late February, Trump said the tax plan was “very well finalized,” only a day after press secretary Sean Spicer said it would be released “in the next couple weeks.
Republicans have refocused on resurrecting the effort to repeal the ACA, better known as Obamacare, as they get set to return from a recess next week. House GOP leaders are trying to balance the concerns of the both the party’s conservative and moderate wings as they try to follow through on a major campaign pledge.
Mnuchin said Thursday that “whether health care gets done or health care doesn’t get done, we’re going to get tax reform done.”
PUBLISHED: 08:13 EDT, 12 April 2017 | UPDATED: 10:10 EDT, 12 April 2017
A US Navy unit which killed Osama Bin Laden will be taking part in drills simulating removing North Korean despot Kim Jong-un from power.
The Special Warfare Development Group, best known as SEAL Team 6, will carry out drills in South Korea, the country’s Ministry of National Defense has revealed.
It is the team which carried out Operation Neptune Spear, the killing of the Al-Qaeda leader in Pakistan back in May 2011.
The Navy SEAL team is responsible for the killing of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan in May 2011
It will be taking part in exercises aimed at removing North Korean despot Kim Jong-un from power
An aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, will arrive in South Korea today, The Japan Times reports, along with US Army unit Delta Force, which specialises in counterterrorism operations.
It comes a day after US President Donald Trump said North Korea was ‘looking for trouble’ following missile tests, and vowed the United States would ‘solve the problem’ with or without China’s help.
Pyongyang has reacted angrily to the impending arrival of the aircraft carrier, warning of ‘catastrophic consequences’.
It comes after US President Donald Trump said North Korea was ‘looking for trouble’, and vowed the United States would ‘solve the problem’ with or without China’s help
The move is part of a growing US presence off the Korean Peninsula, and is reportedly part of a plan aimed at ‘incapacitating’ Kim Jong-Un‘s regime should conflict break out.
A nuclear-powered US aircraft carrier arrived in South Korea last month for joint military exercises in the latest show of force against the North.
More than 80 aircraft, including the fighter aircraft F/A-18F Super Hornet, the E-2C Hawkeye and the carrier-based EA-18G Growler were on board the supercarrier.
South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency claims the heightened military presence is part of a plan to decapitate North Korean leadership.
It claims a military official, who wished to remain anonymous, said: ‘A bigger number of and more diverse U.S. special operation forces will take part in this year’s Foal Eagle and Key Resolve exercises to practice missions to infiltrate into the North, remove the North’s war command and demolition of its key military facilities.’
More than 80 aircraft, including the fighter aircraft F/A-18F Super Hornet (at the front of the carrier), the E-2C Hawkeye and the carrier-based EA-18G Growler (in the middle) are on board the super carrier
The USS Carl Vinson approaches Busan port in South Korea to join the annual joint military exercise called Foal Eagle
The aircraft carrier and a US destroyer carried out naval drills including an anti-submarine manoeuvre with South Koreans in waters off the Korean peninsula as part of the annual Foal Eagle exercise.
Washington insisted they are purely defensive in nature.
Rear Admiral James Kilby, commander of USS Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group 1, said: ‘The importance of the exercise is to continue to build our alliance and our relationship and strengthen that working relationship between our ships.’
The US has also started to deploy ‘Gray Eagle’ attack drones to South Korea, a military spokesman revealed last month.
The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is taking part in South Korea-U.S. joint military maneuvers carried out in the largest scale yet, with North Korea’s growing nuclear and missile threats in focus
Amid tensions USS Carl Vinson arrives in South Korea
South Korean and US troops began the large-scale joint drills on March 1.
The spike in tensions concerned Beijing, with China’s Foreign Ministry calling on all sides to end ‘a vicious cycle that could spiral out of control.’
North Korea, which has alarmed its neighbours with two nuclear tests and a string of missile launches since last year, said the arrival of the US strike group was part of a ‘reckless scheme’ to attack it.
The North Korea’s state KCNA news agency said: ‘If they infringe on the DPRK’s sovereignty and dignity even a bit, its army will launch merciless ultra-precision strikes from ground, air, sea and underwater.
‘On March 11 alone, many enemy carrier-based aircraft flew along a course near territorial air and waters of the DPRK to stage drills of dropping bombs and making surprise attacks on the ground targets of its army,’ KCNA said.
Last month, North Korea fired four ballistic missiles into the sea off Japan in response to annual US-South Korea military drills, which the North sees as preparation for war.
The murder in Malaysia last month of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s estranged half-brother has added to the sense of urgency to efforts to get a grip on North Korea.
Visiting the headquarters of an army unit early this month, Kim praised his troops for their ‘vigilance against the US and South Korean enemy forces that are making frantic efforts for invasion’, according to the North’s official KCNA news agency.
Kim also ordered the troops to ‘set up thorough countermeasures of a merciless strike against the enemy’s sudden air assault’, it said.
The threat represented by North Korea’s growing nuclear and missile arsenal is the main reason for his trip to the region.
An F/A Super Hornet fighter jet takes off from the nuclear-powered USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier
F/A Super Hornets and other fighter jets await takeoff aboard the nuclear-powered USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier
A U.S. F18 fighter jet lands on the deck of U.S. aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson during the annual joint military exercise
A U.S. Navy crew member works on a U.S. F18 fighter jet on the deck of USS Carl Vinson
A F18 fighter jet prepares for take off as part of the annual military drills in South Korea that the North regards as rehearsal for invasion
South Korean and U.S. troops began the large-scale joint drills, which are billed as defensive in nature, on March 1
US Navy crew members look at an F/A-18 fighter from the deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson
US aircraft carrier visits South Korea for joint drills
US Navy crew members run next to an E-2C Hawkeye as it lands on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson
The all-weather E-2 Hawkeye airborne early warning and battle management aircraft has served as the ‘eyes’ of the U.S. Navy fleet for more than 30 years
PLANES ON THE USS CARL VINSON
The aircraft carrier, commissioned in 1982, is the centerpiece of the 7,500-sailor strike group. The 100,000-ton ship measures 333 meters in length and 77 meters in width.
The Carl Vinson has been involved in a number of notable events including Operation Iraqi Freedom. The ship also received huge attention in 2011 when the body of Osama bin Laden was buried at sea from its deck.
More than 80 aircraft, including the fighter aircraft F/A-18F Super Hornet, the E-2C Hawkeye and the carrier-based EA-18G Growler are on board the supercarrier.
The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is the U.S. Navy’s primary strike and air superiority aircraft.
The E-2C Hawkeye is the U.S. Navy’s primary carrier-based airborne early warning and command and control aircraft.
The EA-18G Growler is the U.S. Navy’s newest electronic attack aircraft intended to replace ageing EA-6B Prowlers in the service’s fleet.
As part of his plans to bolster the military, President Trump has vowed to expand the number of carriers the US fields from 10 to 12.
And he promised to bring down the cost of building three ‘super-carriers,’ which has ballooned by a third over the last decade from $27 to $36 billion.
US Navy crew members stand by an EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft on the deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson
The Carl Vinson Strike Group is participating in the annual joint Foal Eagle exercise between South Korea and the US
The joint exercises involve tens of thousands of troops, as well as strategic US naval vessels and air force assets
Story 1: Who Won The Third 2016 Presidential Debate? Trump — Who Will Be Elected President of The United States? — Who Do You Trust The Most? — Trump — Verdict On Hillary Clinton’s Criminal Activities Given By American People on Election Day, November 8 — Videos
As we head into the final presidential debate, and with just under three weeks to go until the 2016 presidential election, here’s the state of the race from the viewpoint of 14 forecasters. You can find all the associated maps, as well as a few others, on our2016 Presidential Election Forecasts page.
Since our last update on October 13th, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s average total electoral votes are little changed. Clinton is at 300, Trump 187. Within Trump’s average, however, we are beginning to see an erosion in states where the Republican nominee is favored vs. those that are leaning in his direction. For example, a couple forecasters have moved Texas from favored to leaning.
Note that the statistical projections (shaded in gray) in the table may change several times a day as new input data (e.g., polls released that day) are processed by the models. This will lead to more variability vs. the other forecasters.
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Hillary Clinton The Movie Banned by the Courts in 2008
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Dem Operative Who Oversaw Trump Rally Agitators Visited White House 342 Times
Reporter, Associate Editor
A key operative in a Democratic scheme to send agitators to cause unrest at Donald Trump’s rallies has visited the White House 342 times since 2009, White House records show.
Robert Creamer, who acted as a middle man between the Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee and “protesters” who tried — and succeeded — to provoke violence at Trump rallies met with President Obama during 47 of those 342 visits, according to White House records. Creamer’s last visit was in June 2016.
Scott Foval, the national field director for Americans United for Change, explained how the scheme works.
“The [Clinton] campaign pays DNC, DNC pays Democracy Partners, Democracy Partners pays the Foval Group, The Foval Group goes and executes the shit,” Foval told an undercover journalist.
One example of the “shit” Foval executes was an instance in which a 69-year-old woman garnered headlines after claiming to be assaulted at a Trump rally.
“She was one of our activists,” Foval said.
Creamer’s job was to “manage” the work carried out by Foval.
“And the Democratic Party apparatus and the people from the campaign, the Clinton campaign and my role with the campaign, is to manage all that,” Creamer told an undercover journalist.
“Wherever Trump and Pence are gonna be we have events,” he said.
denied appellants motion for a preliminary injunction 530 F. Supp. 2d 274 (D.D.C. 2008)probable jurisdiction noted128 S. Ct. 1471 (2008).
The Freedom of the Speech Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the government from restricting independent political expenditures by a nonprofit corporation. And the provision of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act prohibiting unions, corporations and not-for-profit organizations from broadcasting electioneering communications within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary election violates the clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. United States District Court for the District of Columbia reversed.
In the case, the conservativenon-profit organizationCitizens United wanted to air a film critical of Hillary Clinton and to advertise the film during television broadcasts, which was a violation of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, commonly known as the McCain–Feingold Act or “BCRA”. Section 203 of BCRA defined an “electioneering communication” as a broadcast, cable, or satellite communication that mentioned a candidate within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary, and prohibited such expenditures by corporations and unions. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia held that §203 of BCRA applied and prohibited Citizens United from advertising the film Hillary: The Movie in broadcasts or paying to have it shown on television within 30 days of the 2008 Democratic primaries. The Supreme Court reversed this decision, striking down those provisions of BCRA that prohibited corporations (including nonprofit corporations) and unions from making independent expenditures and “electioneering communications”. The majority decision overruled Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce (1990) and partially overruled McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (2003). The Court, however, upheld requirements for public disclosure by sponsors of advertisements (BCRA §201 and §311). The case did not involve the federal ban on direct contributions from corporations or unions to candidate campaigns or political parties, which remain illegal in races for federal office.
The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (known as BCRA or McCain–Feingold Act) – specifically §203, which modified the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, 2 U.S.C.§ 441b – prohibited corporations and unions from using their general treasury to fund “electioneering communications” (broadcast advertisements mentioning a candidate) within 30 days before a primary or 60 days before a general election. During the 2004 presidential campaign, a conservative nonprofit 501(c)(4) organization named Citizens United filed a complaint before the Federal Election Commission (FEC) charging that advertisements for Michael Moore’s film Fahrenheit 9/11, a docudrama critical of the Bush administration’s response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, constituted political advertising and thus could not be aired within the 30 days before a primary election or 60 days before a general election. The FEC dismissed the complaint after finding no evidence that broadcast advertisements for the film and featuring a candidate within the proscribed time limits had actually been made. The FEC later dismissed a second complaint which argued that the movie itself constituted illegal corporate spending advocating the election or defeat of a candidate, which was illegal under the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 and the Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments of 1974. In dismissing that complaint, the FEC found that:
The complainant alleged that the release and distribution of FAHRENHEIT 9/11 constituted an independent expenditure because the film expressly advocated the defeat of President Bush and that by being fully or partially responsible for the film’s release, Michael Moore and other entities associated with the film made excessive and/or prohibited contributions to unidentified candidates. The Commission found no reason to believe the respondents violated the Act because the film, associated trailers and website represented bona fide commercial activity, not “contributions” or “expenditures” as defined by the Federal Election Campaign Act.
In the wake of these decisions, Citizens United sought to establish itself as a bona fide commercial film maker, producing several documentary films between 2005 and 2007. By early 2008, it sought to run television commercials to promote its political documentary Hillary: The Movie and to air the movie on DirecTV.
In the District Court
In December 2007 Citizens United filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the constitutionality of several statutory provisions governing “electioneering communications”. It asked the court to declare that the corporate and union funding restrictions were unconstitutional both on its face and as applied to Hillary: The Movie, and to enjoin the Federal Election Commission from enforcing its regulations. Citizens United also argued that the Commission’s disclosure and disclaimer requirements were unconstitutional as applied to the movie pursuant to the Supreme Court decision in Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc.. It also sought to enjoin the funding, disclosure, and disclaimer requirements as applied to Citizens United’s intended ads for the movie.
In accordance with special rules in section 403 of the BCRA, a three-judge court was convened to hear the case. On January 15, 2008, the court denied Citizens United’s motion for a preliminary injunction, finding that the suit had little chance of success because the movie had no reasonable interpretation other than as an appeal to vote against Senator Clinton, that it was therefore express advocacy, not entitled to exemption from the ban on corporate funding of electioneering communications, and that television advertisements for the movie within 30 days of a primary violated the BCRA restrictions on “electioneering communications”. The court held that the Supreme Court in McConnell v. FEC (2003) had found the disclosure requirements constitutional as to all electioneering communications, and Wisconsin RTL did not disturb this holding because the only issue of that case was whether speech that did not constitute the functional equivalent of express advocacy could be banned during the relevant pre-election period.
On July 18, 2008, the District Court granted summary judgement to the Federal Election Commission. In accordance with the special rules in the BCRA, Citizens United appealed to the Supreme Court which docketed the case on August 18, 2008 and granted certiorari on November 14, 2008.
The Supreme Court heard oral argument on March 24, 2009 and then asked for further briefs on June 29; the re-argument was heard on September 9, 2009.
Before the Supreme Court
During the original oral argument, Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm L. Stewart (representing the FEC) argued that under Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the government would have the power to ban books if those books contained even one sentence expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate and were published or distributed by a corporation or labor union. In response to this line of questioning, Stewart further argued that under Austin the government could ban the digital distribution of political books over the Amazon Kindle or prevent a union from hiring a writer to author a political book.
According to a 2012 article in The New Yorker by Jeffrey Toobin, the Court expected after oral argument to rule on the narrow question that had originally been presented: could Citizens United show the film? At the subsequent conference among the justices after oral argument, the vote was 5–4 in favor of Citizens United being allowed to show the film. The justices voted the same as they had in Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc., a similar 2007 case, with Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas and Alito in the majority.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the initial opinion of the Court, holding that the BCRA allowed the showing of the film. A draft concurring opinion by Justice Kennedy argued that the court could and should have gone much further. The other justices in the majority began agreeing with Kennedy, and convinced Roberts to reassign the writing and allow Kennedy’s concurrence to become the majority opinion.
On the other side, John Paul Stevens, the most senior justice in the minority, assigned the dissent to David Souter, who announced his retirement from the Court while he was working on it. The final draft went beyond critiquing the majority. Toobin described it as “air[ing] some of the Court’s dirty laundry,” writing that Souter’s dissent accused Roberts of having manipulated Court procedures to reach his desired result – an expansive decision that, Souter claimed, changed decades of election law and ruled on issues neither party to the litigation had presented.
According to Toobin, Roberts was concerned that Souter’s dissent, likely to be his last opinion for the Court, could “damage the Court’s credibility.” He agreed with the minority to withdraw the opinion and schedule the case for reargument. However, when he did, the “Questions Presented” to the parties were more expansive, touching on the issues Kennedy had identified. According to Toobin, the eventual result was therefore a foregone conclusion from that point on. Toobin’s account has been criticized for drawing conclusions unsupported by the evidence in his article.
On June 29, 2009, the last day of the term, the Court issued an order directing the parties to re-argue the case on September 9 after briefing whether it might be necessary to overrule Austin and/or McConnell v. Federal Election Commission to decide the case. Justice Stevens noted in his dissent that in its prior motion for summary judgment Citizens United had abandoned its facial challenge of BCRA §203, with the parties agreeing to the dismissal of the claim.
Justice Sotomayor sat on the bench for the first time during the second round of oral arguments. This was the first case argued by then-Solicitor General and future Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. Former Bush Solicitor General Ted Olson and First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams argued for Citizens United, and former Clinton Solicitor General Seth Waxman defended the statute on behalf of various supporters. Legal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky called it “one of the most important First Amendment cases in years”.
Opinions of the Court
Justice Kennedy, the author of the Court’s opinion.
Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion found that the BCRA §203 prohibition of all independent expenditures by corporations and unions violated the First Amendment’s protection of free speech. The majority wrote, “If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech.”
Justice Kennedy’s opinion also noted that because the First Amendment does not distinguish between media and other corporations, the BCRA restrictions improperly allowed Congress to suppress political speech in newspapers, books, television, and blogs. The Court overruled Austin, which had held that a state law that prohibited corporations from using treasury money to support or oppose candidates in elections did not violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The Court also overruled that portion of McConnell that upheld BCRA’s restriction of corporate spending on “electioneering communications”. The Court’s ruling effectively freed corporations and unions to spend money both on “electioneering communications” and to directly advocate for the election or defeat of candidates (although not to contribute directly to candidates or political parties).
The majority ruled that the Freedom of the Press clause of the First Amendment protects associations of individuals in addition to individual speakers, and further that the First Amendment does not allow prohibitions of speech based on the identity of the speaker. Corporations, as associations of individuals therefore, have free speech rights under the First Amendment. Because spending money is essential to disseminating speech, as established in Buckley v. Valeo, limiting a corporation’s ability to spend money is unconstitutional because it limits the ability of its members to associate effectively and to speak on political issues.
The decision overruled Austin because that decision allowed different restrictions on speech-related spending based on corporate identity. Additionally, the decision said that Austinwas based on an “equality” rationale – trying to equalize speech between different speakers – that the Court had previously rejected as illegitimate under the First Amendment in Buckley. The Michigan statute at issue in Austin had distinguished between corporate and union spending, prohibiting the former while allowing the latter. The Austin Court, over the dissent by Justices Scalia, Kennedy, and O’Connor, had held that such distinctions were within the legislature’s prerogative. In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, however, the majority argued that the First Amendment purposefully keeps the government from interfering in the “marketplace of ideas” and “rationing” speech, and it is not up to the legislatures or the courts to create a sense of “fairness” by restricting speech.
The majority also criticized Austin’s reasoning that the “distorting effect” of large corporate expenditures constituted a risk of corruption or the appearance of corruption. Rather, the majority argued that the government had no place in determining whether large expenditures distorted an audience’s perceptions, and that the type of “corruption” that might justify government controls on spending for speech had to relate to some form of “quid pro quo” transaction: “There is no such thing as too much speech.” The public has a right to have access to all information and to determine the reliability and importance of the information. Additionally, the majority did not believe that reliable evidence substantiated the risk of corruption or the appearance of corruption, and so this rationale did not satisfy strict scrutiny.
The Court’s opinion relied heavily on the reasoning and principles of the landmark campaign finance case of Buckley and First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, in which the Court struck down a broad prohibition against independent expenditures by corporations in ballot initiatives and referenda. Specifically, the Court echoed Bellotti’s rejection of categories based on a corporation’s purpose. The majority argued that to grant Freedom of the Press protections to media corporations, but not others, presented a host of problems; and so all corporations should be equally protected from expenditure restrictions.
The Court found that BCRA §§201 and 311, provisions requiring disclosure of the funder, were valid as applied to the movie advertisements and to the movie itself. The majority ruled for the disclosure of the sources of campaign contributions, saying that
…prompt disclosure of expenditures can provide shareholders and citizens with the information needed to hold corporations and elected officials accountable for their positions and supporters. Shareholders can determine whether their corporation’s political speech advances the corporation’s interest in making profits, and citizens can see whether elected officials are “in the pocket” of so-called moneyed interests…This transparency enables the electorate to make informed decisions and give proper weight to different speakers and messages.
Roberts wrote to further explain and defend the Court’s statement that “there is a difference between judicial restraint and judicial abdication.” Roberts explained why the Court must sometimes overrule prior decisions. Had prior Courts never gone against stare decisis, for example, “segregation would be legal, minimum wage laws would be unconstitutional, and the Government could wiretap ordinary criminal suspects without first obtaining warrants”. Roberts’ concurrence recited a plethora of case law in which the court had ruled against precedent. Ultimately, Roberts argued that “stare decisis…counsels deference to past mistakes, but provides no justification for making new ones”.
Justice Scalia joined the opinion of the Court, and wrote a concurring opinion joined by Justice Alito in full and by Justice Thomas in part. Scalia addressed Justice Stevens‘ dissent, specifically with regard to theoriginal understanding of the First Amendment. Scalia said Stevens’ dissent was “in splendid isolation from the text of the First Amendment…It never shows why ‘the freedom of speech’ that was the right of Englishmen did not include the freedom to speak in association with other individuals, including association in the corporate form.” He further considered the dissent’s exploration of the Framers’ views about the “role of corporations in society” to be misleading, and even if valid, irrelevant to the text. Scalia principally argued that the First Amendment was written in “terms of speech, not speakers” and that “Its text offers no foothold for excluding any category of speaker.” Scalia argued that the Free Press clause was originally intended to protect the distribution of written materials and did not only apply to the media specifically. This understanding supported the majority’s contention that the Constitution does not allow the Court to separate corporations into media and non-media categories.
Justice Thomas wrote a separate opinion concurring in all but the upholding of the disclosure provisions. In order to protect the anonymity of contributors to organizations exercising free speech, Thomas would have struck down the reporting requirements of BCRA §201 and §311 as well, rather than allowing them to be challenged only on a case-specific basis. Thomas’s primary argument was that anonymous free speech is protected and that making contributor lists public makes the contributors vulnerable to retaliation, citing instances of retaliation against contributors to both sides of a then recent California voter initiative. Thomas also expressed concern that such retaliation could extend to retaliation by elected officials. Thomas did not consider “as-applied challenges” to be sufficient to protect against the threat of retaliation.
Justice Stevens, the author of the dissenting opinion.
A dissenting opinion by Justice Stevens was joined by Justice Ginsburg, Justice Breyer, and Justice Sotomayor. To emphasize his unhappiness with the majority, Stevens read part of his 90-page dissent from the bench. Stevens concurred in the Court’s decision to sustain BCRA’s disclosure provisions, but dissented from the principal holding of the Court. He argued that the Court’s ruling “threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation. The path it has taken to reach its outcome will, I fear, do damage to this institution.” He added: “A democracy cannot function effectively when its constituent members believe laws are being bought and sold.”
Stevens also argued that the Court addressed a question not raised by the litigants when it found BCRA §203 to be facially unconstitutional, and that the majority “changed the case to give themselves an opportunity to change the law”. He argued that the majority had expanded the scope beyond the questions presented by the appellant and that therefore a sufficient record for judging the case did not exist. Stevens argued that at a minimum the Court should have remanded the case for a fact-finding hearing, and that the majority did not consider other compilations of data, such as the Congressional record for justifying BCRA §203.
Stevens referenced a number of major cases to argue that the Court had long recognized that to deny Congress the power to safeguard against “the improper use of money to influence the result [of an election] is to deny to the nation in a vital particular the power of self protection”. After recognizing that in Buckley v. Valeo the Court had struck down portions of a broad prohibition of independent expenditures from any sources, Stevens argued that nevertheless Buckley recognized the legitimacy of “prophylactic” measures for limiting campaign spending and found the prevention of “corruption” to be a reasonable goal for legislation. Consequently, Stevens argued that Buckley left the door open for carefully tailored future regulation. Although the majority echoed many of the arguments in First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, Stevens argued that the majority opinion contradicted the reasoning of other campaign finance cases – in particular, Austin v. Michigan State Chamber of Commerce and McConnell v. Federal Election Commission – and found it telling that the majority, when citing such cases, referenced mainly dissenting opinions.
Stevens’ dissent specifically sought to address a number of the majority’s central arguments:
First, Stevens argued that the majority failed to recognize the possibility for corruption outside strict quid pro quo exchanges. He referenced facts from a previous BCRA challenge to argue that, even if the exchange of votes for expenditures could not be shown, contributors gain favorable political access from such expenditures. The majority considered access to be insufficient justification for limiting speech rights.
Stevens, however, argued that in the past, even when striking down a ban on corporate independent expenditures, the Court “never suggested that such quid pro quo debts must take the form of outright vote buying or bribes” (Bellotti). Buckley, he said, also acknowledged that large independent expenditures present the same dangers as quid pro quo arrangements, although Buckley struck down limits on such independent expenditures. Using the record from a previous BCRA §203 challenge, he argued that independent expenditures were sometimes a factor in gaining political access and concluded that large independent expenditures generate more influence than direct campaign contributions. Furthermore, Stevens argued that corporations could threaten Representatives and Senators with negative advertising to gain unprecedented leverage. Stevens supported his argument by citing Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co., where the Court held that $3 million in independent expenditures in a judicial race raised sufficient questions about a judge’s impartiality to require the judge to recuse himself in a future case involving the spender. Stevens argued that it was contradictory for the majority to ignore the same risks in legislative and executive elections, and argued that the majority opinion would exacerbate the problem presented in Caperton because of the number of states with judicial elections and increased spending in judicial races.
Second, Stevens argued that the majority did not place enough emphasis on the need to prevent the “appearance of corruption” in elections. Earlier cases, including Buckley and Bellotti, recognized the importance of public confidence in democracy. Stevens cited recent data indicating that 80% of the public view corporate independent expenditures as a method used to gain unfair legislative access. Stevens predicted that if the public believes that corporations dominate elections, disaffected voters will stop participating.
Third, Stevens argued that the majority’s decision failed to recognize the dangers of the corporate form. Austin held that the prevention of corruption, including the distorting influence of a dominant funding source, was a sufficient reason for regulating corporate independent expenditures. In defending Austin, Stevens argued that the unique qualities of corporations and other artificial legal entities made them dangerous to democratic elections. These legal entities, he argued, have perpetual life, the ability to amass large sums of money, limited liability, no ability to vote, no morality, no purpose outside profit-making, and no loyalty. Therefore, he argued, the courts should permit legislatures to regulate corporate participation in the political process.
Legal entities, Stevens wrote, are not “We the People” for whom our Constitution was established. Therefore, he argued, they should not be given speech protections under the First Amendment. The First Amendment, he argued, protects individual self-expression, self-realization and the communication of ideas. Corporate spending is the “furthest from the core of political expression” protected by the Constitution, he argued, citing Federal Election Commission v. Beaumont, and corporate spending on politics should be viewed as a business transaction designed by the officers or the boards of directors for no purpose other than profit-making. Stevens called corporate spending “more transactional than ideological”. Stevens also pointed out that any member of a corporation may spend personal money on promoting a campaign because BCRA only prohibited the use of general treasury money.
Fourth, Stevens attacked the majority’s central argument: that the prohibition of spending guards free speech and allows the general public to receive all available information. Relying on Austin, Stevens argued that corporations “unfairly influence” the electoral process with vast sums of money that few individuals can match, which distorts the public debate. Because a typical voter can only absorb so much information during a relevant election period, Stevens described “unfair corporate influence” as the potential to outspend others, to push others out of prime broadcasting spots and to dominate the “marketplace of ideas”. This process, he argued, puts disproportionate focus on this speech and gives the impression of widespread support regardless of actual support. Thus, this process marginalizes the speech of other individuals and groups.
Stevens referred to the majority’s argument that “there is no such thing as too much speech” as “facile” and a “straw man” argument. He called it an incorrect statement of First Amendment law because the Court recognizes numerous exceptions to free speech, such as fighting words, obscenity restrictions, time, place and manner restrictions, etc. Throughout his dissent, Stevens said that the majority’s “slogan” ignored the possibility that too much speech from one source could “drown out” other points of view.
Fifth, Stevens criticized the majority’s fear that the government could use BCRA §203 to censor the media. The focus placed on this hypothetical fear made no sense to him because it did not relate to the facts of this case – if the government actually attempted to apply BCRA §203 to the media (and assuming that Citizens United could not constitute “media”), the Court could deal with the problem at that time. Stevens described the majority’s supposed protection of the media as nothing more than posturing. According to him, it was the majority’s new rule, announced in this case, that prohibited a law from distinguishing between “speakers” or funding sources. This new rule would be the only reason why media corporations could not be exempted from BCRA §203. In this, Stevens and the majority conceptualize the First Amendment’s protection of “the press” quite differently. Stevens argues that the “Press” is an entity, which can be distinguished from other persons and entities which are not “press”. The majority opinion viewed “freedom of the press” as an activity, applicable to all citizens or groups of citizens seeking to publish views.
Sixth, Stevens claimed that the majority failed to give proper deference to the legislature. Stevens predicted that this ruling would restrict the ability of the states to experiment with different methods for decreasing corruption in elections. According to Stevens, this ruling virtually ended those efforts, “declaring by fiat” that people will not “lose faith in our democracy”. Stevens argued that the majority’s view of a self-serving legislature, passing campaign-spending laws to gain an advantage in retaining a seat, coupled with “strict scrutiny” of laws, would make it difficult for any campaign finance regulation to be upheld in future cases.
Seventh, Stevens argued that the majority opinion ignored the rights of shareholders. A series of cases protects individuals from legally compelled payment of union dues to support political speech. Because shareholders invest money in corporations, Stevens argued that the law should likewise help to protect shareholders from funding speech that they oppose. The majority, however, argued that ownership of corporate stock was voluntary, and that unhappy shareholders could simply sell off their shares if they did not agree with the corporation’s speech. Stevens also argued that Political Action Committees (PACs), which allow individual members of a corporation to invest money in a separate fund, are an adequate substitute for general corporate speech and better protect shareholder rights. The majority, by contrast, had argued that most corporations are too small and lack the resources and raw number of shareholders and management staff necessary to cover the compliance, accounting, and administrative costs of maintaining a PAC. In this dispute, the opposing views essentially discussed differing types of entities: Stevens focused his argument on large, publicly held corporations, while the justices in the majority, and particularly Justice Scalia’s concurring opinion, placed an emphasis on small, closely held corporations and non-profits.
Stevens called the majority’s faith in “corporate democracy” an unrealistic method for a shareholder to oppose political funding. A derivative suit is slow, inefficient, risky and potentially expensive. Likewise, shareholder meetings only happen a few times a year, not prior to every decision or transaction. Rather, the officers and boards control the day-to-day spending, including political spending. According to Stevens, the shareholders have few options, giving them “virtually nonexistent” recourse for opposing a corporation’s political spending. Furthermore, most shareholders use investment intermediaries, such as mutual funds or pensions, and by the time a shareholder may find out about a corporation’s political spending and try to object, the damage is done and the shareholder has funded disfavored speech.
Stevens concluded his dissent:
At bottom, the Court’s opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt. It is a strange time to repudiate that common sense. While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.
There was a wide range of reactions to the case from politicians, academics, attorneys, advocacy groups and journalists.
For too long, some in this country have been deprived of full participation in the political process. With today’s monumental decision, the Supreme Court took an important step in the direction of restoring the First Amendment rights of these groups by ruling that the Constitution protects their right to express themselves about political candidates and issues up until Election Day. By previously denying this right, the government was picking winners and losers. Our democracy depends upon free speech, not just for some but for all.
Republican campaign consultant Ed Rollins opined that the decision adds transparency to the election process and will make it more competitive.
Citizens United, the group filing the lawsuit, said, “Today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing Citizens United to air its documentary films and advertisements is a tremendous victory, not only for Citizens United but for every American who desires to participate in the political process.” During litigation, Citizens United had support from the United States Chamber of Commerce and the National Rifle Association.
Campaign finance attorney Cleta Mitchell, who had filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of two advocacy organizations opposing the ban, wrote that “The Supreme Court has correctly eliminated a constitutionally flawed system that allowed media corporations (e.g., The Washington Post Co.) to freely disseminate their opinions about candidates using corporate treasury funds, while denying that constitutional privilege to Susie’s Flower Shop Inc. … The real victims of the corporate expenditure ban have been nonprofit advocacy organizations across the political spectrum.”
Heritage Foundation fellow Hans A. von Spakovsky, a former Republican member of the Federal Election Commission, said “The Supreme Court has restored a part of the First Amendment that had been unfortunately stolen by Congress and a previously wrongly-decided ruling of the court.”
Libertarian Cato Institute analysts John Samples and Ilya Shapiro wrote that restrictions on advertising were based on the idea “that corporations had so much money that their spending would create vast inequalities in speech that would undermine democracy”. However, “to make campaign spending equal or nearly so, the government would have to force some people or groups to spend less than they wished. And equality of speech is inherently contrary to protecting speech from government restraint, which is ultimately the heart of American conceptions of free speech.”
The American Civil Liberties Union filed an amicus brief that supported the decision, saying that “section 203 should now be struck down as facially unconstitutional”, though membership was split over the implications of the ruling and its board sent the issue to its special committee on campaign finance for further consideration. On March 27, 2012, the ACLU reaffirmed its stance in support of the Supreme Court’sCitizens United ruling.
Academics and attorneys
Bradley A. Smith, professor of law at Capital University Law School, former chairman of the FEC, founder of the Center for Competitive Politics and a leading proponent of deregulation of campaign finance, wrote that the major opponents of political free speech are “incumbent politicians” who “are keen to maintain a chokehold on such speech”. Empowering “small and midsize corporations – and every incorporated mom-and-pop falafel joint, local firefighters’ union, and environmental group – to make its voice heard” frightens them. In response to statements by President Obama and others that the ruling would allow foreign entities to gain political influence through U.S. subsidiaries, Smith pointed out that the decision did not overturn the ban on political donations by foreign corporations and the prohibition on any involvement by foreign nationals in decisions regarding political spending by U.S. subsidiaries, which are covered by other parts of the law.
Campaign finance expert Jan Baran, a member of the Commission on Federal Ethics Law Reform, agreed with the decision, writing that “The history of campaign finance reform is the history of incumbent politicians seeking to muzzle speakers, any speakers, particularly those who might publicly criticize them and their legislation. It is a lot easier to legislate against unions, gun owners, ‘fat cat’ bankers, health insurance companies and any other industry or ‘special interest’ group when they can’t talk back.” Baran further noted that in general conservatives and libertarians praised the ruling’s preservation of the First Amendment and freedom of speech, but that liberals and campaign finance reformers criticized it as greatly expanding the role of corporate money in politics.
Attorney Kenneth Gross, former associate general counsel of the FEC, wrote that corporations relied more on the development of long-term relationships, political action committees and personal contributions, which were not affected by the decision. He held that while trade associations might seek to raise funds and support candidates, corporations which have “signed on to transparency agreements regarding political spending” may not be eager to give.
The New York Times asked seven academics to opine on how corporate money would reshape politics as a result of the court’s decision. Three of the seven wrote that the effects would be minimal or positive: Christopher Cotton, a University of Miami School of Business assistant professor of economics, wrote that “There may be very little difference between seeing eight ads or seeing nine ads (compared to seeing one ad or two). And, voters recognize that richer candidates are not necessarily the better candidates, and in some cases, the benefit of running more ads is offset by the negative signal that spending a lot of money creates.Eugene Volokh, a professor of law at UCLA, stated that the “most influential actors in most political campaigns” are media corporations which “overtly editorialize for and against candidates, and also influence elections by choosing what to cover and how to cover it”. Holding that corporations like Exxon would fear alienating voters by supporting candidates, the decision really meant that voters would hear “more messages from more sources”. Joel Gora, a professor at Brooklyn Law School who had previously argued the case of Buckley v. Valeo on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union, said that the decision represented “a great day for the First Amendment” writing that the Court had “dismantled the First Amendment ‘caste system’ in election speech”.
The Editorial Board of the San Antonio Express-News criticized McCain–Feingold’s exception for media corporations from the ban on corporate electioneering, writing that it “makes no sense” that the paper could make endorsements up until the day of the election but advocacy groups could not. “While the influence of money on the political process is troubling and sometimes corrupting, abridging political speech is the wrong way to counterbalance that influence.”
Anthony Dick in National Review countered a number of arguments against the decision, asking rhetorically, “is there something uniquely harmful and/or unworthy of protection about political messages that come from corporations and unions, as opposed to, say, rich individuals, persuasive writers, or charismatic demagogues?” He noted that “a recent Gallup poll shows that a majority of the public actually agrees with the Court that corporations and unions should be treated just like individuals in terms of their political-expenditure rights”. A Gallup poll taken in October 2009 and released soon after the decision showed 57 percent of those surveyed agreed that contributions to political candidates are a form of free speech and 55 percent agreed that the same rules should apply to individuals, corporations and unions. Sixty-four percent of Democrats and Republicans believed campaign donations are a form of free speech.
Chicago Tribune editorial board member Steve Chapman wrote “If corporate advocacy may be forbidden as it was under the law in question, it’s not just Exxon Mobil and Citigroup that are rendered mute. Nonprofit corporations set up merely to advance goals shared by citizens, such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Rifle Association, also have to put a sock in it. So much for the First Amendment goal of fostering debate about public policy.”
President Barack Obama stated that the decision “gives the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington – while undermining the influence of average Americans who make small contributions to support their preferred candidates”. Obama later elaborated in his weekly radio address saying, “this ruling strikes at our democracy itself” and “I can’t think of anything more devastating to the public interest”.On January 27, 2010, Obama further condemned the decision during the 2010 State of the Union Address, stating that, “Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign corporations – to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities.” On television, the camera shifted to a shot of the SCOTUS judges in the front row directly in front of the President while he was making this statement, and Justice Samuel Alito was frowning, shaking his head side to side while mouthing the words “Not true”.
Democratic Senator Russ Feingold, a lead sponsor of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, stated “This decision was a terrible mistake. Presented with a relatively narrow legal issue, the Supreme Court chose to roll back laws that have limited the role of corporate money in federal elections since Teddy Roosevelt was president.”RepresentativeAlan Grayson, a Democrat, stated that it was “the worst Supreme Court decision since the Dred Scott case, and that the court had opened the door to political bribery and corruption in elections to come. Democratic congresswoman Donna Edwards, along with constitutional law professor and Maryland Democratic State Senator Jamie Raskin, have advocated petitions to reverse the decision by means of constitutional amendment. Rep. Leonard Boswell introduced legislation to amend the constitution. Senator John Kerry also called for an Amendment to overrule the decision. On December 8, 2011, Senator Bernie Sanders proposed the Saving American Democracy Amendment, which would reverse the court’s ruling.
Republican Senator John McCain, co-crafter of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act and the party’s 2008 presidential nominee, said “there’s going to be, over time, a backlash … when you see the amounts of union and corporate money that’s going to go into political campaigns”. McCain was “disappointed by the decision of the Supreme Court and the lifting of the limits on corporate and union contributions” but not surprised by the decision, saying that “It was clear that Justice Roberts, Alito and Scalia, by their very skeptical and even sarcastic comments, were very much opposed to BCRA.” Republican Senator Olympia Snowe opined that “Today’s decision was a serious disservice to our country.”
Although federal law after Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission still prohibited corporate contributions to all political parties, Sanda Everette, co-chair of the Green Party, stated that “The ruling especially hurts the ability of parties that don’t accept corporate contributions, like the Green Party, to compete.” Another Green Party officer, Rich Whitney, stated “In a transparently political decision, a majority of the US Supreme Court overturned its own recent precedent and paid tribute to the giant corporate interests that already wield tremendous power over our political process and political speech.”
Ralph Nader condemned the ruling, saying that “With this decision, corporations can now directly pour vast amounts of corporate money, through independent expenditures, into the electoral swamp already flooded with corporate campaign PAC contribution dollars.” He called for shareholder resolutions asking company directors to pledge not to use company money to favor or oppose electoral candidates.Pat Choate, former Reform Party candidate for Vice President, stated, “The court has, in effect, legalized foreign governments and foreign corporations to participate in our electoral politics.”
Senator Bernie Sanders, a contender in the 2016 Democratic Primary, has filed a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s Decision. Further, both Sanders and Hillary Clinton have said that, if elected, they will only appoint Supreme Court Justices who are committed to the repeal of Citizens United. In September 2015, Sanders said that “the foundations of American Democracy are being undermined” and called for sweeping campaign finance reform.
The constitutional law scholar Laurence H. Tribe wrote that the decision “marks a major upheaval in First Amendment law and signals the end of whatever legitimate claim could otherwise have been made by the Roberts Court to an incremental and minimalist approach to constitutional adjudication, to a modest view of the judicial role vis-à-vis the political branches, or to a genuine concern with adherence to precedent” and pointed out, “Talking about a business corporation as merely another way that individuals might choose to organize their association with one another to pursue their common expressive aims is worse than unrealistic; it obscures the very real injustice and distortion entailed in the phenomenon of some people using other people’s money to support candidates they have made no decision to support, or to oppose candidates they have made no decision to oppose.”
Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, whose opinions had changed from dissenting in Austin v. Michigan State Chamber of Commerce to co-authoring (with Stevens) the majority opinion in McConnell v. Federal Election Commission twelve years later, criticized the decision only obliquely, but warned, “In invalidating some of the existing checks on campaign spending, the majority in Citizens United has signaled that the problem of campaign contributions in judicial elections might get considerably worse and quite soon.”
Richard L. Hasen, professor of election law at Loyola Law School, argued that the ruling “is activist, it increases the dangers of corruption in our political system and it ignores the strong tradition of American political equality”. He also described Justice Kennedy’s “specter of blog censorship” as sounding more like “the rantings of a right-wing talk show host than the rational view of a justice with a sense of political realism”.
Kathleen M. Sullivan, professor at Stanford Law School and Steven J. Andre, adjunct professor at Lincoln Law School, argued that two different visions of freedom of speech exist and clashed in the case. An egalitarian vision skeptical of the power of large agglomerations of wealth to skew the political process conflicted with a libertarian vision skeptical of government being placed in the role of determining what speech people should or should not hear. Wayne Batchis, Professor at the University of Delaware, in contrast, argues that the Citizens United decision represents a misguided interpretation of the non-textual freedom of association.
The four other scholars of the seven writing in the aforementionedNew York Times article were critical.Richard L. Hasen, Distinguished Professor of election law at Loyola Law School argued differently from his Slate article above, concentrating on the “inherent risk of corruption that comes when someone spends independently to try to influence the outcome of judicial elections”, since judges are less publicly accountable than elected officials. Heather K. Gerken, Professor of Law at Yale Law School wrote that “The court has done real damage to the cause of reform, but that damage mostly came earlier, with decisions that made less of a splash.” Michael Waldman, director of the Brennan Center for Justice at N.Y.U. School of Law, opined that the decision “matches or exceeds Bush v. Gore in ideological or partisan overreaching by the court”, explaining how “Exxon or any other firm could spend Bloomberg-level sums in any congressional district in the country against, say, any congressman who supports climate change legislation, or health care, etc.” andFred Wertheimer, founder and president of Democracy 21 considered that “Chief Justice Roberts has abandoned the illusory public commitments he made to ‘judicial modesty’ and ‘respect for precedent’ to cast the deciding vote for a radical decision that profoundly undermines our democracy,” and that “Congress and presidents past have recognized this danger and signed numerous laws over the years to prevent this kind of corruption of our government.”
The New York Times stated in an editorial, “The Supreme Court has handed lobbyists a new weapon. A lobbyist can now tell any elected official: if you vote wrong, my company, labor union or interest group will spend unlimited sums explicitly advertising against your re-election.”Jonathan Alter called it the “most serious threat to American democracy in a generation”. The Christian Science Monitor wrote that the Court had declared “outright that corporate expenditures cannot corrupt elected officials, that influence over lawmakers is not corruption, and that appearance of influence will not undermine public faith in our democracy”.
In 2012, Ben Cohen, the co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, founded Stamp Stampede, a sustained protest to demonstrate widespread support for a proposed constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. The campaign encourages people to rubber stamp messages such as “Not To Be Used for Bribing Politicians” on paper currency. In 2014, Cohen told Salon, “As long as the Supreme Court rules money is speech, corporations and the wealthy are using it by giving piles of it to politicians to pass or not pass laws that they want. Now, the rest of the people, [those] who don’t have that money, can actually make their voice heard by using money to stamp a message out.”
Most blogs avoided the theoretical aspects of the decision and focused on more personal and dramatic elements, including the Barack Obama–Samuel Alito face-off during the President’s State of the Union address. There, President Obama argued that the decision “reversed a century of law” (the federal ban on corporate contributions dates back to the 1907 Tillman Act, and the ban on union and corporate expenditures dates from 1947) and that it would allow “foreign corporations to spend without limits in our elections”, during which Justice Alito, in the audience, perceptibly mouthed the words “not true”. This event received extensive comment from political bloggers, with a substantial amount of the coverage concentrated on whether or not foreign corporations would be able to make substantial political contributions in US elections. In the opinion, the Court had specifically indicated it was not overturning the ban on foreign contributions.
ABC-Washington Post poll results.
An ABC–Washington Post poll conducted February 4–8, 2010, showed that 80% of those surveyed opposed (and 65% strongly opposed) the Citizens United ruling, which the poll described as saying “corporations and unions can spend as much money as they want to help political candidates win elections”. Additionally, 72% supported “an effort by Congress to reinstate limits on corporate and union spending on election campaigns”. The poll showed large majority support from Democrats, Republicans and independents.
A Gallup Poll conducted in October 2009, after oral argument, but released after the Supreme Court released its opinion, found that 57 percent of those surveyed “agreed that money given to political candidates is a form of free speech” and 55 percent agreed that the “same rules should apply to individuals, corporations and unions”. However, in the same poll respondents by 52% to 41% prioritized limits on campaign contributions over protecting rights to support campaigns and 76% thought the government should be able to place limits on corporation or union donations.
Separate polls by various conservative organizations, including the plaintiff Citizens United and the Center for Competitive Politics, found support for the decision. In particular, the Center for Competitive Politics poll found that 51% of respondents believed that Citizens United should have a right to air ads promoting Hillary: The Movie. The poll also found that only 22 percent had heard of the case.
SpeechNow is a nonprofit, unincorporated association organized as a section 527 entity under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. The organization was formed by individuals who seek to pool their resources to make independent expenditures expressly advocating the election or defeat of federal candidates. SpeechNow planned to accept contributions only from individuals, not corporations or other sources prohibited under the Federal Election Campaign Act. On February 14, 2008, SpeechNow and several individual plaintiffs filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the constitutionality of the Federal Election Campaign Act provisions governing political committee registration, contribution limits and disclosure. The plaintiffs contended that the Act unconstitutionally restricts their association guaranteed under the First Amendment. By requiring registration as a political committee and limiting the monetary amount that an individual may contribute to a political committee, SpeechNow and the other plaintiffs asserted that the Act unconstitutionally restricted the individuals’ freedom of speech by limiting the amount that an individual can contribute to SpeechNow and thus the amount the organization may spend. SpeechNow also argued that the reporting required of political committees is unconstitutionally burdensome.
On March 26, 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in SpeechNow.org. v. FEC that the contribution limits of 2 U.S.C. §441a were unconstitutional as applied to individuals’ contributions to SpeechNow. The court also ruled that the reporting requirements of 2 U.S.C. §§432, 433 and 434(a) and the organizational requirements of 2 U.S.C. §431(4) and §431(8) can be constitutionally applied to SpeechNow. A unanimous nine-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals struck down the federal limits on contributions to federal political committees that make only independent expenditures and do not contribute to candidates or political parties. This type of “independent expenditure committee” is inherently non-corruptive, the Court reasoned, and therefore contributions to such a committee can not be limited based on the government’s interest in preventing political corruption. In light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC, in which the Supreme Court held that the government has no anti-corruption interest in limiting independent expenditures, the appeals court ruled that “contributions to groups that make only independent expenditures cannot corrupt or create the appearance of corruption.” As a result, the court of appeals held that the government has no anti-corruption interest in limiting contributions to an independent group such as SpeechNow. Contribution limits as applied to SpeechNow “violate the First Amendment by preventing [individuals] from donating to SpeechNow in excess of the limits and by prohibiting SpeechNow from accepting donations in excess of the limits.” The court noted that its holding does not affect direct contributions to candidates, but rather contributions to a group that makes only independent expenditures. The appeals court held that, while disclosure and reporting requirements do impose a burden on First Amendment interests, they “‘impose no ceiling on campaign related activities'” and “‘do not prevent anyone from speaking.'” Furthermore, the court held that the additional reporting requirements that the Commission would impose on SpeechNow if it were organized as a political committee are minimal, “given the relative simplicity with which SpeechNow intends to operate.” Since SpeechNow already had a number of “planned contributions” from individuals, the court ruled that SpeechNow could not compare itself to “ad hoc groups that want to create themselves on the spur of the moment.” Since the public has an interest in knowing who is speaking about a candidate and who is funding that speech, the court held that requiring such disclosure and organization as a political committee are sufficiently important governmental interests to justify the additional reporting and registration burdens on SpeechNow.
On June 27, 2011, ruling in the consolidated cases of Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett (No. 10-238) and McComish v. Bennett (No. 10-239), the Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional an Arizona law that provided extra taxpayer-funded support for office seekers who have been outspent by privately funded opponents or by independent political groups. A conservative 5–4 majority of justices said the law violated free speech, concluding the state was impermissibly trying to “level the playing field” through a public finance system. Arizona lawmakers had argued there was a compelling state interest in equalizing resources among competing candidates and interest groups. Opponents said the law violated free-speech rights of the privately financed candidates and their contributors, inhibiting fundraising and spending, discouraging participation in campaigns and limiting what voters hear about politics. Chief Justice John Roberts said in the court’s majority opinion that the law substantially burdened political speech and was not sufficiently justified to survive First Amendment scrutiny.
As a consequence of the decision, states and municipalities are blocked from using a method of public financing that is simultaneously likely to attract candidates fearful that they will be vastly outspent and sensitive to avoiding needless government expense. “The government can still use taxpayer funds to subsidize political campaigns, but it can only do that in a manner that provides an alternative to private financing” said William R. Maurer, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice, which represented several challengers of the law. “It cannot create disincentives.” The ruling meant the end of similar matching-fund programs in Connecticut, Maine and a few other places according to David Primo, a political science professor at the University of Rochester who was an expert witness for the law’s challengers.
Despite the Citizens United ruling, In December 2011, the Montana Supreme Court, in Western Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Attorney General of Montana, upheld that state’s law limiting corporate contributions. Examining the history of corporate interference in Montana government that led to the Corrupt Practices Law, the majority decided that the state still had a compelling reason to maintain the restrictions. It ruled that these restrictions on speech were narrowly tailored and withstood strict scrutiny and thus did not contradict Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
While granting permission to file a Certiorari petition, the US Supreme Court agreed to stay the Montana ruling, although Justices Ginsburg and Breyer wrote a short statement urging the Court “to consider whether, in light of the huge sums of money currently deployed to buy candidate’s allegiance, Citizens United should continue to hold sway”. In June 2012, over the dissent of the same four judges who dissented in Citizens United, the Court simultaneously granted certiorari and summarily reversed the decision in American Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Bullock, 567, U.S. __ (2012). The Supreme Court majority rejected the Montana Supreme Court arguments in a two paragraph, twenty line per curiam opinion, stating that these arguments “either were already rejected in Citizens United, or fail to meaningfully distinguish that case.” The ruling makes clear that states cannot bar corporate and union political expenditures in state elections.
In addition to limiting the size of donations to individual candidates and parties, the Federal Election Campaign Act also includes aggregate caps on the total amount that an individual may give to all candidates and parties. In 2012, Shaun McCutcheon, a Republican Party activist, sought to donate more than was allowed by the federal aggregate limit on federal candidates. McCutcheon et al filed suit against theFederal Election Commission (FEC). In 2014, the US Supreme Court reversed a ruling of the DC District Court‘s dismissal of McCutcheon v. FEC and struck down the aggregate limits. The plurality opinion invalidated only the aggregate contribution limits, not limits on giving to any one candidate or party. The decisive fifth vote for McCutcheon came from Justice Thomas, who concurred in the judgment on the grounds that all contribution limits are unconstitutional.
The New York Times reported that 24 states with laws prohibiting or limiting independent expenditures by unions and corporations would have to change their campaign finance laws because of the ruling.
After Citizens United and SpeechNow.org numerous state legislatures raised their limits on contributions to candidates and parties. At the federal level, lawmakers substantially increased contribution limits to political parties as part of the 2014 budget bill. Such changes are widely perceived as efforts to place candidates and parties on something closer to equal footing with organizations making independent expenditures.
While many states and the federal government have raised contribution limits in response to Citizens United, proposals aimed at discouraging political spending, or providing for public financing of campaigns, have been less successful.
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) proposed that candidates who sign up small donors receive $900,000 in public money, but the proposal has not been acted on by Congress. Others proposed that laws on corporate governance be amended to assure that shareholders vote on political expenditures.
In February 2010, Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, immediate past Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, outlined legislation aimed at undoing the decision. In April 2010, they introduced such legislation in the Senate and House, respectively. On June 24, 2010, H.R.5175 (The DISCLOSE Act) passed in the House of Representatives but failed in the Senate. It would have required additional disclosure by corporations of their campaign expenditures. The law, if passed, would also have prohibited political spending by U.S. companies with twenty percent or more foreign ownership, and by most government contractors. The DISCLOSE Act included exemptions to its rules given to certainspecial interests such as the National Rifle Association and the American Association of Retired Persons. These gaps within the proposal attracted criticism from lawmakers on both political parties. “They are auctioning off pieces of the First Amendment in this bill… The bigger you are, the stronger you are, the less disclosure you have,” said Republican Congressman Dan Lungren of California. Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California commented, “I wish there had been no carve-outs”. The bill was criticized as prohibiting much activity that was legal before Citizens United.
The DISCLOSE Act twice failed to pass the U.S. Senate in the 111th Congress, in both instances reaching only 59 of the 60 votes required to overcome a unified Republican filibuster. A scaled down version of the DISCLOSE Act was reintroduced in both the House and Senate in 2012 but did not pass.
Some have argued for a constitutional amendment to overturn the decision. Although the decision does not address “corporate personhood,” a long-established judicial and constitutional concept, much attention has focused on that issue. Move to Amend, a coalition formed in response to the ruling, seeks to amend the Constitution to abolish corporate personhood, thus stripping corporations of all rights under the Constitution. In an online chat with web community Reddit, President Obama endorsed further consideration of a constitutional amendment and stated “Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court Doesn’t revisit it)”. He further elaborated that “Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight on the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change.”
Legislative reactions by state and local lawmakers
Members of 16 state legislatures have called for a constitutional amendment to reverse the court’s decision: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia.
Most of these are non-binding resolutions. However, three states – Vermont, California, and Illinois – called for an Article V Convention to draft and propose a federal constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. In Minnesota, the Minnesota Senate passed a similar resolution, “Senate File No. 17,” on May 2, 2013, but the House of Representatives returned the measure to the General Calendar (meaning the measure did not pass) on May 15, 2013. Thirty-four states are needed to call an Article V convention.
On a local level, Washington D.C. and 400 other municipalities passed resolutions requesting a federal constitutional amendment.
Since Citizens United, however, 13 states have actually raised their contribution limits.
The Citizens United ruling “opened the door” for unlimited election spending by corporations, but most of this spending has “ended up being funneled through the groups that have become known as super PACs”.While critics predicted that the ruling would “bring about a new era of corporate influence in politics” allowing companies and businesspeople to “buy elections” to promote their financial interests, as of 2016, in fact large corporations still play a “negligible role” in presidential election spending. Instead large expenditures, usually through “Super PACS,” have come from “a small group of billionaires”, based largely on ideology. This has shifted power “away from the political parties and toward the … donors themselves. In part, this explains the large number and variety of candidates fielded by the Republicans in 2016.” The ability of individuals to spend unlimited sums was first affirmed by the Supreme Court, however, not in Citizens United, but in Buckley v. Valeo, decided in 1976.
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission has often been credited for the creation of “super PACs“, political action committees which make no financial contributions to candidates or parties, and so can accept unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations and unions. Certainly, the holding in Citizens United helped affirm the legal basis for super PACs by deciding that, for purposes of establishing a “compelling government interest” of corruption sufficient to justify government limitations on political speech, “independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption”.
However, it took another decision, by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Speechnow.org v. Federal Election Commission, to actually authorize the creation of super PACs. While Citizens United held that corporations and unions could make independent expenditures, a separate provision of the Federal Election Campaign Act, at least as long interpreted by the Federal Election Commission, held that individuals could not contribute to a common fund without it becoming a PAC. PACs, in turn, were not allowed to accept corporate or union contributions of any size or to accept individual contributions in excess of $5,000. In Speechnow.org, the D.C. Circuit, sitting en banc, held 9–0 that in light of Citizens United, such restrictions on the sources and size of contributions could not apply to an organization that made only independent expenditures in support of or opposition to a candidate, but not contributions to a candidate’s campaign.
Citizens United and SpeechNOW left their imprint on the 2012 United States presidential election, in which single individuals contributed large sums to “super PACs” supporting particular candidates. Sheldon Adelson, the gambling entrepreneur, gave approximately fifteen million dollars to support Newt Gingrich. Foster Friess, a Wyoming financier, donated almost two million dollars to Rick Santorum’s super PAC. Karl Rove organized super PACs that spent over $300 million in support of Republicans during the 2012 elections.
In addition to indirectly providing support for the creation of super PACs, Citizens United allowed incorporated 501(c)(4) public advocacy groups (such as the National Rifle Association, the Sierra Club, and the group Citizens United itself) and trade associations to make expenditures in political races. Such groups may not, under the tax code, have a primary purpose of engaging in electoral advocacy. These organizations must disclose their expenditures, but unlike super PACs they do not have to include the names of their donors in their FEC filings. A number of partisan organizations such as Karl Rove‘s influential conservative Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies and the liberal 21st Century Colorado have since registered as tax-exempt 501(c)(4) groups (defined as groups promoting “social welfare”) and engaged in substantial political spending. This has led to claims of large secret donations, and questions about whether such groups should be required to disclose their donors. Historically, such non-profits have not been required to disclose their donors or names of members. See National Association for the Advancement of Colored People v. Alabama.
In an August 2015 essay in Der Spiegel, Markus Feldkirchen wrote that the Citizens United decision was “now becoming visible for the first time” in federal elections as the super-rich have “radically” increased donations to support their candidates and positions via super PACs. Feldkirchen also said in the first six months of 2015 the candidates and their super PACs received close to $400 million: “far more than in the entire previous campaign.” He opined that super-rich donating more than ever before to individual campaigns plus the “enormous” chasm in wealth has given the super-rich the power to steer the economic and political direction of the United States and undermine its democracy. In October 2015, the New York Times observed that just 158 super-rich families each contributed $250,000 or more, while an additional 200 families gave more than $100,000 for the 2016 presidential election. Both groups contributed almost half of the “early money” for candidates in the 2016 presidential election as of June 30, 2015 through channels like super PACs legalized by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.
Animal Defenders International v United Kingdom  ECHR 362, the leading case in Europe held that the UK’s total ban on political advertising was compatible with freedom of expression “given the danger of unequal access based on wealth and to political advertising” which goes “to the heart of the democratic process.”
The Second Amendment guarantees an individual’s right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed.
On June 26, 2008, the Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Heller v. District of Columbia. The Supreme Court struck down provisions of the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975 as unconstitutional, determined that handguns are “arms” for the purposes of the Second Amendment, found that the Regulations Act was an unconstitutional ban, and struck down the portion of the Regulations Act that requires all firearms including rifles and shotguns be kept “unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock“. Prior to this decision the Firearms Control Regulation Act of 1975 also restricted residents from owning handguns except for those registered prior to 1975.
Lower court background
In 2002, Robert A. Levy, a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, began vetting plaintiffs with Clark M. Neily III for a planned Second Amendment lawsuit that he would personally finance. Although he himself had never owned a gun, as a Constitutional scholar he had an academic interest in the subject and wanted to model his campaign after the legal strategies of Thurgood Marshall, who had successfully led the challenges that overturned school segregation. They aimed for a group that would be diverse in terms of gender, race, economic background, and age, and selected six plaintiffs from their mid-20s to early 60s, three men and three women, four white and two black:
A software designer and former nurse who had been active in trying to rid her neighborhood of drugs. Parker is a single woman whose life had been threatened on numerous occasions by drug dealers who had sometimes tried to break into her house.
A colleague of Robert A. Levy at the Cato Institute and the only plaintiff that Levy knew before the case began. Palmer, who is gay, defended himself with a 9mm handgun in 1982. While walking with a friend in San Jose, California, he was accosted by a gang of about 20 young men who used profane language regarding his sexual orientation and threatened his life. When he produced his gun, the men fled. Palmer believes that the handgun saved his life.
Gillian St. Lawrence
A mortgage broker who lives in the Georgetown section of D.C. and who owns several legally registered long guns which she uses for recreation in nearby Chantilly, Virginia. It had taken St. Lawrence two years to complete the registration process. She wanted to be able to use these guns to defend herself in her home and to be able to register a handgun.
Tracey Ambeau (now Tracey Hanson)
An employee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Originally from St. Gabriel, Louisiana, she lives in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of D.C. with her husband, Andrew Hanson, who is from Waterloo, Iowa. They live in a high-crime neighborhood near Union Station in D. C. She grew up around guns and wanted one to defend her home.
A communications lawyer who had previously contacted the National Rifle Association about filing a lawsuit to challenge the D.C. gun laws. Lyon held D.C. licenses for a shotgun and a rifle, but wanted to have a handgun in his home.
Dick Anthony Heller
A licensed special police officer for the District of Columbia. For his job, Heller carried a gun in federal office buildings, but was not allowed to have one in his home. Heller had lived in southeast D.C. near the Kentucky Courts public housing complex since 1970 and had seen the neighborhood “transformed from a child-friendly welfare complex to a drug haven”. Heller had also approached the National Rifle Association about a lawsuit to overturn the D.C. gun ban, but the NRA declined.
The court’s opinion first addressed whether appellants have standing to sue for declaratory and injunctive relief in section II (slip op. at 5–12). The court concluded that of the six plaintiffs, only Heller – who applied for a handgun permit but was denied – had standing.
The court then held that the Second Amendment “protects an individual right to keep and bear arms”, saying that the right was “premised on the private use of arms for activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the depredations of a tyrannical government (or a threat from abroad).” They also noted that though the right to bear arms also helped preserve the citizen militia, “the activities [the Amendment] protects are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual’s enjoyment of the right contingent upon his or her continued or intermittent enrollment in the militia.” The court determined that handguns are “Arms” and concluded that thus they may not be banned by the District of Columbia.
The court also struck down the portion of the law that requires all firearms including rifles and shotguns be kept “unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock.” The District argued that there is an implicit self-defense exception to these provisions, but the D.C. Circuit rejected this view, saying that the requirement amounted to a complete ban on functional firearms and prohibition on use for self-defense:
Section 7-2507.02, like the bar on carrying a pistol within the home, amounts to a complete prohibition on the lawful use of handguns for self-defense. As such, we hold it unconstitutional.
In her dissent, Circuit Judge Henderson stated that Second Amendment rights did not extend to residents of Washington D.C., writing:
To sum up, there is no dispute that the Constitution, case law and applicable statutes all establish that the District is not a State within the meaning of the Second Amendment. Under United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. at 178, the Second Amendment’s declaration and guarantee that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” relates to the Militia of the States only. That the Second Amendment does not apply to the District, then, is, to me, an unavoidable conclusion.
Petition for rehearing
In April 2007, the District and Mayor Adrian Fenty petitioned for rehearing en banc, arguing that the ruling creates inter- and intra-jurisdictional conflict. On May 8, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit denied the request to rehear the case, by a 6–4 vote.
The defendants petitioned the United States Supreme Court to hear the case. The plaintiffs did not oppose but, in fact, welcomed the petition. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case on November 20, 2007.The court rephrased the question to be decided as follows:
The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted limited to the following question: Whether the following provisions, D.C. Code §§ 7-2502.02(a)(4), 22–4504(a), and 7-2507.02, violate the Second Amendment rights of individuals who are not affiliated with any state-regulated militia, but who wish to keep handguns and other firearms for private use in their homes?
This represented the first time since the 1939 case United States v. Miller that the Supreme Court had directly addressed the scope of the Second Amendment.
Amicus curiae briefs
Because of the controversial nature of the case, it garnered much attention from many groups on both sides of the gun rights issue. Many of those groups filed amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs, about 47 urging the court to affirm the case and about 20 to remand it.
A majority of the states signed the brief of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, authored by Abbott’s solicitor general, Ted Cruz, advising that the case be affirmed, while at the same time emphasizing that the states have a strong interest in maintaining each of the states’ laws prohibiting and regulating firearms. Law enforcement organizations, including the Fraternal Order of Police and the Southern States Police Benevolent Association, also filed a brief urging that the case be affirmed.
A collection of organizations and prominent scholars, represented by Attorney Jeffrey Teichert, submitted an “errors brief” arguing that many of the common historical and factual “myths and misrepresentations” generally offered in favor of banning handguns were in error. Teichert’s errors brief argued from a historical perspective that the Second Amendment protected an individual right to keep and bear arms.[dead link]
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case on March 18, 2008. Both the transcript and the audio of the argument have been released. Each side was initially allotted 30 minutes to argue its case, with U.S. Solicitor GeneralPaul D. Clement allotted 15 minutes to present the federal government’s views. During the argument, however, extra time was extended to the parties, and the argument ran 23 minutes over the allotted time.
Alan Gura, of the D.C.-based law firm Gura & Possessky, was lead counsel for Heller, and argued on his behalf before the Supreme Court. Robert Levy, a senior fellow at theCato Institute, and Clark Neily, a senior attorney at the Institute for Justice, were his co-counsel.
(1) The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. Pp. 2–53.
(a) The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms. Pp. 2–22.
(b) The prefatory clause comports with the Court’s interpretation of the operative clause. The “militia” comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. The Antifederalists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable this citizens’ militia, enabling a politicized standing army or a select militia to rule. The response was to deny Congress power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, so that the ideal of a citizens’ militia would be preserved. Pp. 22–28.
(c) The Court’s interpretation is confirmed by analogous arms-bearing rights in state constitutions that preceded and immediately followed the Second Amendment. Pp. 28–30.
(d) The Second Amendment’s drafting history, while of dubious interpretive worth, reveals three state Second Amendment proposals that unequivocally referred to an individual right to bear arms. Pp. 30–32.
(e) Interpretation of the Second Amendment by scholars, courts and legislators, from immediately after its ratification through the late 19th century also supports the Court’s conclusion. Pp. 32–47.
(f) None of the Court’s precedents forecloses the Court’s interpretation. Neither United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542 , nor Presser v. Illinois, 116 U. S. 252 , refutes the individual-rights interpretation.United States v. Miller, 307 U. S. 174 , does not limit the right to keep and bear arms to militia purposes, but rather limits the type of weapon to which the right applies to those used by the militia, i.e., those in common use for lawful purposes.
(2) Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons. Pp. 54–56.
(3) The handgun ban and the trigger-lock requirement (as applied to self-defense) violate the Second Amendment. The District’s total ban on handgun possession in the home amounts to a prohibition on an entire class of “arms” that Americans overwhelmingly choose for the lawful purpose of self-defense. Under any of the standards of scrutiny the Court has applied to enumerated constitutional rights, this prohibition – in the place where the importance of the lawful defense of self, family, and property is most acute – would fail constitutional muster. Similarly, the requirement that any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock makes it impossible for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional. Because Heller conceded at oral argument that the D. C. licensing law is permissible if it is not enforced arbitrarily and capriciously, the Court assumes that a license will satisfy his prayer for relief and does not address the licensing requirement. Assuming he is not disqualified from exercising Second Amendment rights, the District must permit Heller to register his handgun and must issue him a license to carry it in the home. Pp. 56–64.
In District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), the Supreme Court undertook its first-ever “in-depth examination” of the second amendment’s meaning Id. at 635. After a lengthy historical discussion, the Court ultimately concluded that the second amendment “guarantee[s] the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation” (id. at 592); that “central to” this right is “the inherent right of self-defense”(id. at 628); that “the home” is “where the need for defense of self, family, and property is most acute” (id. at 628); and that, “above all other interests,” the second amendment elevates “the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home” (id. at 635). Based on this understanding, the Court held that a District of Columbia law banning handgun possession in the home violated the second amendment. Id. at 635.
Issues addressed by the majority
The core holding in D.C. v. Heller is that the Second Amendment is an individual right intimately tied to the natural right of self-defense.
The Scalia majority invokes much historical material to support its finding that the right to keep and bear arms belongs to individuals; more precisely, Scalia asserts in the Court’s opinion that the “people” to whom the Second Amendment right is accorded are the same “people” who enjoy First and Fourth Amendment protection: “‘The Constitution was written to be understood by the voters; its words and phrases were used in their normal and ordinary as distinguished from technical meaning.’ United States v. Sprague, 282 U. S. 716, 731 (1931); see also Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. 1, 188 (1824). Normal meaning may of course include an idiomatic meaning, but it excludes secret or technical meanings….”
With that finding as anchor, the Court ruled a total ban on operative handguns in the home is unconstitutional, as the ban runs afoul of both the self-defense purpose of the Second Amendment – a purpose not previously articulated by the Court – and the “in common use at the time” prong of the Miller decision: since handguns are in common use, their ownership is protected.
The Court applies as remedy that “[a]ssuming that Heller is not disqualified from the exercise of Second Amendment rights, the District must permit him to register his handgun and must issue him a license to carry it in the home.” The Court, additionally, hinted that other remedy might be available in the form of eliminating the license requirement for carry in the home, but that no such relief had been requested: “Respondent conceded at oral argument that he does not ‘have a problem with … licensing’ and that the District’s law is permissible so long as it is ‘not enforced in an arbitrary and capricious manner.’ Tr. of Oral Arg. 74–75. We therefore assume that petitioners’ issuance of a license will satisfy respondent’s prayer for relief and do not address the licensing requirement.”
In regard to the scope of the right, the Court wrote, in an obiter dictum, “Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”
The Court also added dicta regarding the private ownership of machine guns. In doing so, it suggested the elevation of the “in common use at the time” prong of the Miller decision, which by itself protects handguns, over the first prong (protecting arms that “have some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia”), which may not by itself protect machine guns: “It may be objected that if weapons that are most useful in military service – M16 rifles and the like – may be banned, then the Second Amendment right is completely detached from the prefatory clause. But as we have said, the conception of the militia at the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification was the body of all citizens capable of military service, who would bring the sorts of lawful weapons that they possessed at home.”
The Court did not address which level of judicial review should be used by lower courts in deciding future cases claiming infringement of the right to keep and bear arms: “[S]ince this case represents this Court’s first in-depth examination of the Second Amendment, one should not expect it to clarify the entire field.” The Court states, “If all that was required to overcome the right to keep and bear arms was a rational basis, the Second Amendment would be redundant with the separate constitutional prohibitions on irrational laws, and would have no effect.” Also, regarding Justice Breyer’s proposal of a “judge-empowering ‘interest-balancing inquiry,'” the Court states, “We know of no other enumerated constitutional right whose core protection has been subjected to a freestanding ‘interest-balancing’ approach.”
In a dissenting opinion, Justice John Paul Stevens stated that the court’s judgment was “a strained and unpersuasive reading” which overturned longstanding precedent, and that the court had “bestowed a dramatic upheaval in the law”. Stevens also stated that the amendment was notable for the “omission of any statement of purpose related to the right to use firearms for hunting or personal self-defense” which was present in the Declarations of Rights of Pennsylvania and Vermont.
The Stevens dissent seems to rest on four main points of disagreement: that the Founders would have made the individual right aspect of the Second Amendment express if that was what was intended; that the “militia” preamble and exact phrase “to keep and bear arms” demands the conclusion that the Second Amendment touches on state militia service only; that many lower courts’ later “collective-right” reading of the Miller decision constitutes stare decisis, which may only be overturned at great peril; and that the Court has not considered gun-control laws (e.g., the National Firearms Act) unconstitutional. The dissent concludes, “The Court would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons…. I could not possibly conclude that the Framers made such a choice.”
Justice Breyer filed a separate dissenting opinion, joined by the same dissenting Justices, which sought to demonstrate that, starting from the premise of an individual-rights view, the District of Columbia’s handgun ban and trigger lock requirement would nevertheless be permissible limitations on the right.
The Breyer dissent looks to early municipal fire-safety laws that forbade the storage of gunpowder (and in Boston the carrying of loaded arms into certain buildings), and on nuisance laws providing fines or loss of firearm for imprudent usage, as demonstrating the Second Amendment has been understood to have no impact on the regulation of civilian firearms. The dissent argues the public safety necessity of gun-control laws, quoting that “guns were responsible for 69 deaths in this country each day.'”
With these two supports, the Breyer dissent goes on to conclude, “there simply is no untouchable constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to keep loaded handguns in the house in crime-ridden urban areas.” It proposes that firearms laws be reviewed by balancing the interests (i.e., “‘interest-balancing’ approach”) of Second Amendment protections against the government’s compelling interest of preventing crime.
The Breyer dissent also objected to the “common use” distinction used by the majority to distinguish handguns from machineguns: “But what sense does this approach make? According to the majority’s reasoning, if Congress and the States lift restrictions on the possession and use of machineguns, and people buy machineguns to protect their homes, the Court will have to reverse course and find that the Second Amendment does, in fact, protect the individual self-defense-related right to possess a machine-gun…There is no basis for believing that the Framers intended such circular reasoning.”
National Rifle Association
Attorney Alan Gura, in a 2003 filing, used the term “sham litigation” to describe the NRA’s attempts to have Parker (aka Heller) consolidated with its own case challenging the D.C. law. Gura also stated that “the NRA was adamant about not wanting the Supreme Court to hear the case”. These concerns were based on NRA lawyers’ assessment that the justices at the time the case was filed might reach an unfavorable decision.Cato Institute senior fellow Robert Levy, co-counsel to the Parker plaintiffs, has stated that the Parker plaintiffs “faced repeated attempts by the NRA to derail the litigation.” He also stated that “The N.R.A.’s interference in this process set us back and almost killed the case. It was a very acrimonious relationship.”
Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s chief executive officer, confirmed the NRA’s misgivings. “There was a real dispute on our side among the constitutional scholars about whether there was a majority of justices on the Supreme Court who would support the Constitution as written,” Mr. LaPierre said. Both Levy and LaPierre said the NRA and Mr. Levy’s team were now on good terms.
Elaine McArdle wrote in the Harvard Law Bulletin: “If Parker is the long-awaited “clean” case, one reason may be that proponents of the individual-rights view of the Second Amendment – including the National Rifle Association, which filed an amicus brief in the case – have learned from earlier defeats, and crafted strategies to maximize the chances of Supreme Court review.” The NRA did eventually support the litigation by filing an amicus brief with the Court arguing that the plaintiffs in Parker had standing to sue and that the D.C. ban was unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.
Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, had indicated support of federal legislation which would repeal the D.C. gun ban. Opponents of the legislation argued that this would have rendered the Parker case moot, and would have effectively eliminated the possibility that the case would be heard by the Supreme Court.
Paul Helmke, the president of the Brady Campaign, suggested to D.C. before the Court granted certiorari that it modify its gun laws rather than appeal to the Supreme Court. Helmke has written that if the Supreme Court upholds the Circuit court ruling, it “could lead to all current and proposed firearms laws being called into question.”
After the ruling, Paul Helmke stated that, “the classic ‘slippery slope’ argument”, “that even modest gun control would lead down the path to a complete ban on gun ownership”, “is now gone.” Helmke added that, “The Court also rejected the absolutist misreading of the Second Amendment that some use to argue ‘any gun, any time for anyone,’ which many politicians have used as an excuse to do nothing about the scourge of gun violence in our country and to block passage of common sense gun laws.”
Various experts expressed opinions on the D.C. Circuit’s decision.
Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe contended that the Second Amendment protects an individual right, and predicted that if Parker is reviewed by the Supreme Court “there’s a really quite decent chance that it will be affirmed.” However, Professor Tribe has also argued that the District’s ban on one class of weapons does not violate the Second Amendment even under an individual rights view.
Erwin Chemerinsky, then of Duke Law School and now dean of the University of California, Irvine School of Law, argued that the District of Columbia’s handgun laws, even assuming an “individual rights” interpretation of the Second Amendment, could be justified as reasonable regulations and thus upheld as constitutional. Professor Chemerinsky believes that the regulation of guns should be analyzed in the same way “as other regulation of property under modern constitutional law” and “be allowed so long as it is rationally related to achieving a legitimate government purpose.” However, the dicta in Heller suggests that applying a mere rational basis analysis is an incorrect reading of the Constitution and would, in fact, defeat the entire purpose of the Second Amendment.
To the Supreme Court rulings
Cato Institute senior fellow Robert Levy, co-counsel to the Parker plaintiffs, agreed with the court’s ruling but describes that his interpretation of the Second Amendment would not preclude all governmental regulation of private ownership of weapons:
Even the NRA concedes that you can’t have mad men running around with weapons of mass destruction. So there are some restrictions that are permissible and it will be the task of the legislature and the courts to ferret all of that out and draw the lines. I am sure, though, that outright bans on handguns like they have in D.C. won’t be permitted. That is not a reasonable restriction under anybody’s characterization. It is not a restriction, it’s a prohibition.
Clark Neily, an attorney for Dick Heller in this case, has said regarding Heller:
America went over 200 years without knowing whether a key provision of the Bill of Rights actually meant anything. We came within one vote of being told that it did not, notwithstanding what amounts to a national consensus that the Second Amendment means what it says: The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Taking rights seriously, including rights we might not favor personally, is good medicine for the body politic, and Heller was an excellent dose.
The text of the amendment, whether viewed alone or in light of the concerns that actuated its adoption, creates no right to the private possession of guns for hunting or other sport, or for the defense of person or property. It is doubtful that the amendment could even be thought to require that members of state militias be allowed to keep weapons in their homes, since that would reduce the militias’ effectiveness. Suppose part of a state’s militia was engaged in combat and needed additional weaponry. Would the militia’s commander have to collect the weapons from the homes of militiamen who had not been mobilized, as opposed to obtaining them from a storage facility? Since the purpose of the Second Amendment, judging from its language and background, was to assure the effectiveness of state militias, an interpretation that undermined their effectiveness by preventing states from making efficient arrangements for the storage and distribution of military weapons would not make sense.
Heller thus represents the worst of missed opportunities—the chance to ground conservative jurisprudence in enduring and consistent principles of restraint. The Constitution expresses the need for judicial restraint in many different ways—separation of powers, federalism, and the grant of life tenure to unelected judges among them. It is an irony that Heller would in the name of originalism abandon insights so central to the Framers’ designs.
Alan Gura, Lead Counsel for Respondent in Heller rejects Wilkinson’s criticism, stating that “Rather, the Court affirmed the Second Amendment’s original public meaning, as confirmed by its plain text. Having determined the Amendment’s meaning, the Court showed the proper level of deference to the D.C. City Council’s outright repudiation of the constitutional text: none.”
Since the June 2008 ruling, over 80 different cases have been heard in lower federal courts on the constitutionality of a wide variety of gun control laws. These courts have heard lawsuits in regard to bans of firearm possession by felons, drug addicts, illegal aliens, and individuals convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors. Also, cases have been heard on the constitutionality of laws prohibiting certain types of weapons, such as machine guns, sawed-off shotguns and/or specific types of weapons attachments. In addition, courts have heard challenges to laws barring guns in post offices and near schools and laws outlawing “straw” purchases, carrying of concealed weapons, types of ammunition and possession of unregistered firearms.
The courts have upheld most of these laws as being constitutional. The basis for the lower court rulings is the paragraph near the end of the Heller ruling that states:
Nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions on the commercial sale of arms.
Consistently since the Heller ruling, the lower federal courts have ruled that almost all gun control measures as presently legislated are lawful and that according to UCLA professor of constitutional law Adam Winkler: “What gun rights advocates are discovering is that the vast majority of gun control laws fit within these categories.”
Robert Levy, the executive director of the Cato Institute who funded the Heller litigation has commented on this passage describing constitutionally acceptable forms of prohibitions of firearms: “I would have preferred that that not have been there,” and that this paragraph in Scalia’s opinion “created more confusion than light.”
Similar to the lifting of gun bans mentioned previously in the settlements of lawsuits filed post-Heller, in US v. Arzberger, also decided post-Heller, it was noted:
To the extent, then, that the Second Amendment creates an individual right to possess a firearm unrelated to any military purpose, it also establishes a protectible liberty interest. And, although the Supreme Court has indicated that this privilege may be withdrawn from some groups of persons such as convicted felons, there is no basis for categorically depriving persons who are merely accused of certain crimes of the right to legal possession of a firearm.
District of Columbia
The D.C. government indicated it would continue to use zoning ordinances to prevent firearms dealers from operating and selling to citizens residing in the District, meaning it would continue to be difficult for residents to legally purchase guns in the District. Additionally, the District enacted new firearms restrictions in an effort to cure the constitutional defects in the ordinance that the Supreme Court had identified in Heller. The new provisions were: (1) the firearms registration procedures; (2) the prohibition on assault weapons; and (3) the prohibition on large capacity ammunition feeding devices. In response, Dick Heller challenged these new restrictions filing a civil suit named Heller v. District of Columbia (Civil Action No. 08-1289 (RMU), No. 23., 25) where he requested a summary judgment to vacate the new prohibitions. On March 26, 2010, the D.C. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina denied Dick Heller’s request and granted the cross motion, stating that the court “concludes that the regulatory provisions that the plaintiffs challenge permissibly regulate the exercise of the core Second Amendment right to use arms for the purpose of self-defense in the home. “
Dick Heller’s application to register his semi-automatic pistol was rejected because the gun was a bottom-loading weapon, and according to the District’s interpretation, all bottom-loading guns, including magazine-fed non-assault-style rifles, are outlawed because they are grouped with machine guns.Revolvers will likely not fall under such a ban.
On December 16, 2008 the D.C. Council unanimously passed the Firearms Registration Emergency Amendment Act of 2008 which addresses the issues raised in the Heller Supreme Court decision, and also puts in place a number of registration requirements to update and strengthen the District’s gun laws.
Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion for the majority provided Second Amendment protection for commonly used and popular handguns but not for atypical arms or arms used for unlawful purposes, such as short-barreled shotguns. Scalia stated: “Whatever the reason, handguns are the most popular weapon chosen by Americans for self-defense in the home, and a complete prohibition of their use is invalid.” “We think that Miller’s “ordinary military equipment” language must be read in tandem with what comes after: “[O]rdinarily when called for [militia] service [able-bodied] men were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time.” 307 U. S., at 179.” “We therefore read Miller to say only that the Second Amendment does not protect those weapons not typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, such as short-barreled shotguns.” “It may be objected that if weapons that are most useful in military service – M-16 rifles and the like – may be banned, then the Second Amendment right is completely detached from the prefatory clause. But as we have said, the conception of the militia at the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification was the body of all citizens capable of military service, who would bring the sorts of lawful weapons that they possessed at home to militia duty.”
On July 24, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled, in Palmer v. District of Columbia, that the District’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns is unconstitutional. In its decision, the Court stated: “[ . . . ] the Court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional. Accordingly, the Court grants Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and enjoins Defendants from enforcing the home limitations of D.C. Code § 7-2502.02(a)(4) and enforcing D.C. Code § 22-4504(a) unless and until such time as the District of Columbia adopts a licensing mechanism consistent with constitutional standards enabling people to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms. Furthermore, this injunction prohibits the District from completely banning the carrying of handguns in public for self-defense by otherwise qualified non-residents based solely on the fact that they are not residents of the District.”
Mayor of New York CityMichael Bloomberg said that “all of the laws on the books in New York State and New York City” would be allowed by the ruling as “reasonable regulation.” Robert Levy has stated that the current New York City gun laws are “not much different” from the D.C. ban that has been overturned. The National Rifle Association and other gun-rights advocates have not ruled out suing New York City, especially over the definition of “reasonable regulation”.
Southern District of New York Magistrate Judge James Francis has said that, prior to Heller, it would not have been considered unreasonable to require a defendant to surrender a firearm as a condition of pretrial release. Specifically, according to Judge Francis:
This all changed, with the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller; 128 S.Ct. 2783 (2008), where the court changed the course of Second Amendment jurisprudence by creating what he said was a “protectible liberty interest” in the possession of firearms. Thus, in the absence of an individualized determination at a bail hearing, requiring the defendant to give up any firearms violates due process.
Maloney v. Rice (a.k.a. Maloney v. Cuomo and Maloney v. Spitzer), 554 F.3d 56 (2d. Cir. 2009) originally held that the 2nd Amendment does not apply to the states in the Second Circuit. The case involved a state ban on Nunchaku sticks (a martial arts weapon) in New York. In a memorandum opinion dated June 29, 2010, the Supreme Court vacated the Second Circuit decision in Maloney and remanded for further consideration in light of the holding in McDonald v. Chicago that the Second Amendment does apply to the states. The Second Circuit has remanded the case to the trial court.
The NRA has filed five related lawsuits since the Heller decision. In four Illinois lawsuits, the NRA sought to have the Second Amendment incorporated by the Fourteenth Amendment, causing the Second Amendment to apply to state and local jurisdictions and not just to the federal government. Three Illinois lawsuits have been negotiated and settled out of court involving agreements that repeal gun ban ordinances and did not result in incorporation of the Second Amendment to state and local jurisdictions. The fourth NRA lawsuit against Chicago was rejected. The NRA appealed the case to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. On June 2, 2009, the Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s decision, based on the theory that Heller applied only to the Federal Government (including the District of Columbia), and not to states or their subordinate jurisdictions. This opinion directly conflicts with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’s earlier decision, holding that Heller applies to states as well.
In Ezell v. Chicago, decided July 6, 2011, the Seventh Circuit reversed a district court decision that the post-McDonald measures adopted by the City of Chicago were constitutional. The Chicago law required firearms training in a shooting range in order to obtain a gun permit, but also banned shooting ranges within the City of Chicago. The City had argued that applicants could obtain their training at gun ranges in the suburbs. The opinion noted that Chicago could not infringe Second Amendment rights on the grounds that they could be exercised elsewhere, any more than it could infringe the right to freedom of speech on the grounds that citizens could speak elsewhere.
On January 14, 2009, in Guy Montag Doe v. San Francisco Housing Authority, the San Francisco Housing Authority reached a settlement out of court with the NRA, which allows residents to possess legal firearms within a SFHA apartment building. The San Francisco lawsuit resulted in the elimination of the gun ban from the SF Housing Authority residential lease terms. Tim Larsen speaking for the Housing Authority said that they never intended to enforce its 2005 housing lease gun ban against law-abiding gun owners and have never done so.
On February 13, 2014, in Peruta v. San Diego, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decided that the San Diego policy to disallow both concealed carry, and the State of California law that disallowsopen carry anywhere in the state, were not acceptable under Supreme Court precedent in Heller and McDonald. A “responsible, law-abiding citizen has a right under the Second Amendment to carry a firearm in public for self-defense.” More specifically, “the Second Amendment does require that the states permit some form of carry for self-defense outside the home.”(italics in original) … and “carrying weapons in public for the lawful purpose of self defense is a central component of the right to bear arms.” The case was remanded to the district court because “San Diego County’s ‘good cause’ permitting requirement impermissibly infringes on the Second Amendment right to bear arms in lawful self-defense.”
On January 10, 2014, in Morris v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the District Court struck down a Corps of Engineers regulation barring possession of loaded guns in recreation areas surrounding Corps dams. The court held that tents are akin to homes, and under Heller, Second Amendment rights are protected.
This article’s factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(September 2011)
Initial reaction has deemed the Heller ruling to be of great significance, though it remains too soon to tell what the long-term effects may be.Sanford Levinson has written that he is inclined to believe that the Hellerdecision will be relatively insignificant to the practice of law in the long run but that it will have significance to other groups interested in cultural literacy and constitutional designers.
In 2009, both Levinson and Mark Tushnet speculated that it is quite unlikely that the case would be studied as part of casebooks of future law schools. As was predicted, a large surge of court cases was seen in lower federal courts in the aftermath of the 2008 ruling. As of March 2009, over 80 cases had been filed seeking to overturn existing gun laws.[needs update]
The decision in McDonald v. Chicago, which was brought in response to Heller and decided in 2010, did invalidate much of Chicago’s gun purchase and registration laws, and has called into question many other state and local laws restricting purchase, possession and carry of firearms.
In 1963, Oregon, recidivist criminal Randle McMurphy is moved to a mental institution after serving a short sentence on a prison farm after raping a teenager. Though not actually mentally ill, McMurphy hopes to avoid hard labour and serve the rest of his sentence in a relaxed environment. Upon arriving at the hospital, he finds the ward run by the steely, strict Nurse Ratched, who subtly suppresses the actions of her patients through a passive-aggressive routine, intimidating the patients.
The other patients include anxious, stuttering Billy Bibbit; Charlie Cheswick, who is prone to childish tantrums; delusional Martini; the well-educated, paranoid Dale Harding; belligerent Max Taber; epileptic Jim Sefelt; and “Chief” Bromden, a tall Native American believed to be deaf and mute. Ratched soon sees McMurphy’s lively, rebellious presence to be a threat to her authority, confiscating the patients’ cigarettes and rationing them. During his time in the ward, McMurphy gets into a battle of wits with Ratched. He steals a hospital bus, escaping with several patients to go on a fishing trip, encouraging his friends to become more self-confident.
McMurphy learns his sentence may become indefinite, and he makes plans to escape, exhorting Chief to throw a hydrotherapy cart through a window. He, Chief, and Cheswick get into a fight with the orderlies after the latter becomes agitated over his stolen cigarettes. Ratched sends them to the “shock shop”, and McMurphy discovers Chief can actually speak, feigning illness to avoid engaging with anyone. After being subjected to electroconvulsive therapy, McMurphy returns to the ward pretending to have brain damage, but reveals the treatment has charged him up even more. McMurphy and Chief make plans to escape, but decide to throw a secret Christmas party for their friends after Ratched leaves for the night.
McMurphy sneaks two women, Candy and Rose, into the ward and bribes the night guard. After a night of partying, McMurphy and Chief prepare to escape, inviting Billy to come with them. He refuses, not ready to leave the hospital. McMurphy instead convinces him to have sex with Candy. Ratched arrives in the morning to find the ward in disarray and most of the patients unconscious. She discovers Billy and Candy together, the former now free of his stutter, until Ratched threatens to inform his mother about his escapade. Billy is overwhelmed with fear and locks himself in the doctor’s office and commits suicide. The enraged McMurphy strangles Ratched, before being knocked out by an orderly.
Ratched comes back with a neck brace and a scratchy voice. Rumours spread that McMurphy escaped rather than be taken “upstairs”. Later that night, Chief sees McMurphy being returned to his bed. He discovers McMurphy has lobotomy scars on his forehead, and smothers his friend with a pillow. Chief finally throws the hydrotherapy cart through the window and escapes into the night, cheered on by the men.
Filming began in January 1975 and concluded approximately three months later, and was shot on location in Salem, Oregon and the surrounding area, as well as on the Oregon coast. It was also shot at Oregon State Hospital in Salem, Oregon, which was also the setting of the novel.
Haskell Wexler was fired as cinematographer and replaced by Bill Butler. Wexler believed his dismissal was due to his concurrent work on the documentary Underground, in which the radical terrorist group The Weather Underground were being interviewed while hiding from the law. However, Miloš Forman said he had terminated Wexler over mere artistic differences. Both Wexler and Butler received Academy Awardnominations for Best Cinematography for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, though Wexler said there was “only about a minute or two minutes in that film I didn’t shoot.”
According to Butler, Jack Nicholson refused to speak to Forman: “…[Jack] never talked to Milos at all, he only talked to me.”
The film was met with overwhelming critical acclaim; Roger Ebert said “Miloš Forman’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a film so good in so many of its parts that there’s a temptation to forgive it when it goes wrong. But it does go wrong, insisting on making larger points than its story really should carry, so that at the end, the human qualities of the characters get lost in the significance of it all. And yet there are those moments of brilliance.” Ebert would later put the film on his “Great Movies” list. A.D. Murphy of Variety wrote a mixed review as well, as did Vincent Canby: writing in The New York Times, Canby called the film “a comedy that can’t quite support its tragic conclusion, which is too schematic to be honestly moving, but it is acted with such a sense of life that one responds to its demonstration of humanity if not to its programmed metaphors.”
The film opens with original music by composer Jack Nitzsche, featuring an eerie bowed saw (performed by Robert Armstrong) and wine glasses. Commenting on the score, reviewer Steven McDonald has said, “The edgy nature of the film extends into the score, giving it a profoundly disturbing feel at times — even when it appears to be relatively normal. The music has a tendency to always be a little off-kilter, and from time to time it tilts completely over into a strange little world of its own …”
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is considered to be one of the greatest American films. Ken Kesey participated in the early stages of script development, but withdrew after creative differences with the producers over casting and narrative point of view; ultimately he filed suit against the production and won a settlement. Kesey himself claimed never to have seen the movie, but said he disliked what he knew of it, a fact confirmed by Chuck Palahniuk who wrote, “The first time I heard this story, it was through the movie starring Jack Nicholson. A movie that Kesey once told me he disliked.”
Mike Pence scored a narrow win over Tim Kaine in the vice presidential debate Tuesday night,according to a CNN/ORC instant poll, with 48% of voters who watched the debate saying Pence did the better job while 42% think Kaine had the best night.
With two relatively unknown politicians taking the stage, those watching seemed more impressed by Pence than Kaine. About two-thirds of debate-watchers said Pence’s performance was better than they expected, just 14% said he did worse than they thought he would. Reviews of Kaine tilted toward the negative, with 43% saying he did worse than they expected and 38% saying he outperformed their expectations.
The debate itself focused more on the candidates at the top of the ticket than the two men on stage. Most debate watchers said Kaine did the better job defending Hillary Clinton, 58%, while just 35% thought Pence better defended Donald Trump.
Still, 29% of debate watchers said what they saw Tuesday made them more apt to vote for Trump, compared with 18% who said it made them more likely to back Clinton. Most debate watchers, 53%, said their vote was not swayed by Tuesday’s face off. After the first Clinton-Trump debate last week, 34% said it made them more apt to vote Clinton, 18% Trump.
Kaine’s performance fell short of Clinton’s on several other measures in the poll as well. Tuesday’s debate watchers were split on which candidate expressed his views more clearly, 47% named each, a metric on which Clinton soundly beat Trump in last week’s presidential debate.
And 48% said Kaine had a better understanding of the issues, edging out Pence at 41%. Clinton topped Trump by a better than 2-to-1 margin on that score after their first debate.
Kaine and Pence emerge from the debate with near identical and net-positive favorability ratings, but Kaine appears to have taken a hit among those who watched. Pence, meanwhile, boosted his numbers somewhat.
Pence was largely seen as the more likeable candidate on the stage, 53% to 37%, and nearly all of the movement in Kaine’s favorability rating post-debate was toward the negative side: His unfavorable rating rose from 28% among this same group of debate watchers when they were interviewed pre-debate to 40% after, while his favorability number held about even at 55%. For Pence, his favorability rating bumped up 7 points to 57%, from 50% pre-debate. His unfavorable numbers held about even 40%.
Both men are broadly judged qualified to take over the office of president if needed, 77% say Pence is qualified, 70% that Kaine is. Most voters who watched Tuesday night said Kaine’s positions on the issues are about right ideologically (57%) while 36% see him as too liberal and 5% too conservative. Assessing Pence’s positions, about half, 49%, think he’s about right, 46% too conservative and just 3% too liberal.
The CNN/ORC post-debate poll includes interviews with 472 registered voters who watched the October 4 vice presidential debate. Results among debate-watchers have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. Respondents were originally interviewed as part of a September 28-October 2 telephone survey of a random sample of Americans, and indicated they planned to watch the debate and would be willing to be re-interviewed when it was over.
Pence left the Indiana Policy Review Foundation in 1993, a year after beginning to host The Mike Pence Show, a talk radio program based in WRCR-FM in Rushville, Indiana. Pence called himself “Rush Limbaugh on decaf” since he considered himself politically conservative while not as outspoken as Limbaugh. The show was syndicated by Network Indiana and aired weekdays 9 a.m. to noon (ET) on 18 stations throughout the state, including WIBC in Indianapolis. From 1995 to 1999, Pence also hosted a weekend political talk show out of Indianapolis.
U.S. House of Representatives
Pence as a U.S. Congressman
In 1988, Pence ran for Congress against Democratic incumbent Phil Sharp, but lost the election. Pence ran against Sharp again in 1990, quitting his job in order to work full-time in the campaign, but once again lost the election. During the race, Pence used “political donations to pay the mortgage on his house, his personal credit card bill, groceries, golf tournament fees and car payments for his wife.” While the spending was not illegal at the time, it reportedly undermined his campaign.
During the 1990 campaign, Pence ran a television advertisement in which an actor, dressed in a robe and headdress and speaking in a thick Middle Eastern accent, thanked his opponent, Sharp, for doing nothing to wean the United States off imported oil as chairman of a House subcommittee on energy and power. In response to criticism, Pence’s campaign responded that the ad was not about Arabs; rather, it concerned Sharp’s lack of leadership. In 1991, Pence wrote an essay, “Confessions of a Negative Campaigner”, published in the Indiana Policy Review, in which he apologized for running negative ads against Sharp.
Mike Pence rejuvinated his political career by running for the U.S. House of Representatives again in 2000, this time winning the seat in Indiana’s 2nd congressional district after six-year incumbent David M. McIntosh opted to run for governor of Indiana. The district (renumbered as Indiana’s 6th congressional district beginning in 2002) comprises all or portions of 19 counties in eastern Indiana. As a Congressman, Pence adopted the slogan he had used frequently on the radio, describing himself as “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order.”
In his first year in office Pence established a reputation as one with strong convictions willing to go his own way. He opposed President George W. Bush‘s No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, as well as President Bush’s Medicare prescription drug expansion the following year. Pence was re-elected four more times by comfortable margins. In the 2006 and 2008House elections, he defeated DemocratBarry Welsh.
In 2008, Esquire magazine listed Pence as one of the ten best members of Congress, writing that Pence’s “unalloyed traditional conservatism has repeatedly pitted him against his party elders.” Pence was mentioned as a possible Republican candidate for president in 2008 and 2012. In September 2010, he was the top choice for president in a straw poll conducted by the Values Voter Summit. That same year he was encouraged to run against incumbent Democratic Senator Evan Bayh, but opted not to enter the race, even after Bayh unexpectedly announced that he would retire.
In May 2011, Mike Pence announced that he would be seeking the Republican nomination for governor of Indiana in 2012. Incumbent Republican Governor Mitch Danielswas term-limited. Despite strong name recognition and a popular outgoing governor of the same party, Pence found himself in a heated race, eventually pulling out a close win with just under 50 percent of the vote against Democrat John R. Gregg and Libertarian nominee Rupert Boneham. Pence was sworn in as the 50th governor of Indiana on January 14, 2013.
Fiscal and economic policy initiatives
Pence “inherited a $2 billion budget reserve from his predecessor, Mitch Daniels, and the state has added to that reserve under his watch, though not before requiring state agencies, including public universities, to reduce funding in years in which revenue fell below projections.” The state finished fiscal year 2014 with a reserve of $2 billion; budget cuts ordered by Pence for the $14 billion annual state budget include $24 million cut from colleges and universities; $27 million cut from the Family and Social Services Administration; and $12 million cut from the Department of Correction. During Pence’s term as governor, the unemployment rate reflected the national average. Indiana’s job growth lagged slightly behind the national trend. In 2014, Indiana’s economy was among the slowest-growing in the U.S., with 0.4% GDP growth, compared to the national average of 2.2%; this was attributed in part to sluggish manufacturing sector.Carrier Corp. and United Technologies Electronic Controls (UTEC) announced in 2016 that they would be closing two facilities in Indiana, sending 2,100 jobs to Mexico; Pence expressed “deep disappointment” with the moves. Pence was unsuccessful in his efforts to persuade the companies to stay in the state, although the companies agreed to reimburse local and state governments for certain tax incentives that they had received.
In 2013, Pence signed a law blocking local governments in Indiana from requiring businesses to offer higher wages or benefits beyond those required by federal law. In 2015, Pence also repealed an Indiana law that required construction companies working on publicly funded projects to pay a prevailing wage. Indiana enacted right-to-work legislation under Pence’s predecessor, Republican governor Mitch Daniels. Under Pence, the state successfully defended this legislation against a labor challenge.
Pence made tax reform, namely a 10% income-tax rate cut, a priority for 2013. While he did not get the 10% cut he advocated, Pence did accomplish his goal of cutting state taxes. Legislators cut the income tax by 5% and also killed the inheritance tax. Speaker of the House Brian Bosma said that the legislative package was the “largest tax cut in our state’s history, about $1.1 billion dollars.” By signing Senate Bill 1, the state corporate income tax would be dropped from 6.5% to 4.9% by 2021, which would be the second-lowest corporate income tax in the nation
On June 12, 2013, the Indiana Legislature overrode Pence’s veto of a bill to retroactively authorize a local tax. Lawmakers overrode Pence’s veto in a 68–23 vote in the House and a 34–12 one in the Senate. With an interesting twist, Republican legislators overwhelmingly voted against Pence, while most Democrats supported his veto. The Jackson–Pulaski tax fix, one of three bills vetoed by Pence during the session, addressed a 15-year-old county income tax which had been imposed to fund the construction of jail facilities with the stipulation that the tax be lowered by 1% after the first several years. The reduction was not implemented and thus county residents paid an additional 1% tax that they were legally not required to pay. The bill, which was passed by a huge majority of legislators and subsequently vetoed by Pence, allowed money to be kept and not returned to the tax payers as would have otherwise been necessary.
As governor, Pence pressed for a balanced budget amendment to the state’s constitution. He initially proposed the initiative in his State of the State address in January 2015. The legislation passed the state Senate and is progressing through the House. Indiana has had AAA credit ratings with the three major credit-rating agencies since 2010, before Pence took office; these ratings have been maintained throughout Pence’s tenure.
In 2014, Pence supported the Indiana Gateway project, a $71.4 million passenger and freight rail improvement initiative paid for by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the federal stimulus package), which Pence had voted against while a congressman. In October 2015, Pence “announced plans to pay off a $250 million federal loan” to cover unemployment insurance payments that spiked during the recession. In March 2016, Pence signed legislation to fund a $230 million two-year road-funding package.
During his tenure as governor, Pence supported significant increases in education funding to pre-schools, voucher programs, and charter schools, but frequently clashed with supporters of traditional public schools. In 2014, a little over one year after taking office, Pence helped establish a $10 million state preschool pilot program in Indiana and testified personally before the state Senate Education Committee in favor of the program to convince fellow Republicans (several of whom opposed the proposal) to approve the plan. Although the plan was initially defeated, Pence successfully managed to revive it, “getting Indiana off the list of just 10 U.S. states that spent no direct state funds to help poor children attend preschool.” Demand for enrollment in the program “far outstripped” capacity, and Pence at first refused to apply for up to $80 million in federal Health and Human Services Preschool Development Grant program funding, arguing that “Indiana must develop our own pre-K program without federal intrusion.” After coming under sustained criticism for this position, Pence reversed course and sought to apply for the funds.
In 2015, Pence secured significant increases in charter-school funding from the Legislation, although he did not get everything he had proposed. Legislation signed into law by Pence in 2013 greatly increased the number of students in Indiana who qualify for school vouchers, making it one of the largest voucher programs in the United States. The annual cost of the program is estimated to be $53 million for the 2015-16 school year.
Despite successful advocacy for more funding for pre-schools, voucher programs, and charter schools, Pence has frequently clashed with teachers unions and supporters of public schooling. In one of his first acts as governor, Pence removed control of the Educational Employment Relations Board, which is in charge of handling conflicts between unions and school boards, from Glenda Ritz, a Democrat who is the Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction (a separately elected position in the state). Pence created a new “Center for Education and Career Innovation” (CECI) to coordinate efforts between schools and the private sector; Ritz opposed the Center, viewing it as a “power grab” and encroachment on her own duties. Pence eventually disestablished the Center in order to help defuse the conflict. In May 2015, Pence signed a bill stripping Ritz of much of her authority over standardized testing and other education issues, and reconstituting the State Board of Education dominated by Pence appointees. The bill also allowed the board to appoint a chairman other than the Superintendent of Public Instruction starting in 2017, and added the State Board of Education (controlled by Pence) as a “state educational authority” along with the Department of Education (controlled by Ritz) for purposes of accessing sensitive student data. Pence and Ritz also clashed over non-binding federal guidelines that advised Indiana public schools must treat transgender students in a way that corresponds to their gender identity, even if their education files indicate a different gender.
Energy and environment
During Pence’s term in office, the Republican-controlled Indiana General Assembly has “repeatedly tried to roll back renewable energy standards and successfully ended Indiana’s energy efficiency efforts.” Pence is an outspoken supporter of the coal industry, declaring in his 2015 State of the State address that “Indiana is a pro-coal state,” expressing support for an “all-of-the-above energy strategy,” and stating: “we must continue to oppose the overreaching schemes of the EPA until we bring their war on coal to end.” In 2015, Pence sent a letter to President Obama denouncing the EPA’s Clean Power Plan (which would regulate carbon emissions from existing power plans) and stating that Indiana would refuse to comply with the plan. Indiana joined other states in a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the plan. In 2016, Pence stated that even if legal challenges failed, Indiana would continue to defy the rule and would not come up with its own plan to reduce emissions.
In 2014, over the opposition of Indiana school organizations, Pence signed a bill which allows firearms to be kept in vehicles on school property. In 2015, following a shooting in Chattanooga, Pence recruited theNRA to train the Indiana National Guard on concealed carry. Some National Guard officials from other states questioned why a civilian organization would be involved in a military issue. In May 2015, Pence signed into law Senate Bill 98, which limited lawsuits against gun and ammunition manufacturers and sellers and retroactively terminated the City of Gary‘s still-pending 1999 lawsuit against gun manufacturers and retailers that allegedly made illegal sales of handguns. The bill was supported by Republicans such as state Senator Jim Tomes, who hoped that the measure would attract more gun-related businesses to Indiana, but opposed by Gary mayor and former Indiana attorney generalKaren Freeman-Wilson, who viewed the measure as “an unprecedented violation of the separation of powers between the legislative and judicial branches of state government.” In 2016, Pence signed Senate Bill 109 into law, legalizing the captive hunting of farm-raised deer in Indiana.
Public health issues
Beginning in December 2014, there was an HIV outbreak in Southern Indiana. In 2011, Planned Parenthood ran five rural clinics in Indiana. They tested for HIV and offered prevention, intervention and counseling for better health. The one in Scott County performed no abortions. The Republican controlled legislature and Pence defunded Planned Parenthood. Scott County has been without an HIV testing center for two years. Pence had long been a vocal opponent of needle exchange programs, which allow drug users to trade in used syringes for sterile ones in order to stop the spread of diseases, despite evidence that such programs prevent the spread of AIDS and hepatitis C, and do not increase drug abuse.
In March 2015, after the outbreak began, Pence allowed at least five counties to open needle exchanges, but has not moved to lift the state ban on funding for needle exchanges. Critics say Pence’s compromise has been ineffective because counties had no way to pay for needle exchanges themselves. Indiana State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams defended Pence, saying that publicly-funded needle exchange programs are controversial in many conservative communities. In middle America, Adams said, you can’t “just point your finger at folks and say, ‘You need to have a syringe exchange and we’re going to pay for it with your tax dollars.’”
In 2015, Pence and the Obama administration agreed to expand Medicaid in Indiana, in accordance with the Affordable Care Act. As part of the expansion, Pence negotiated modifications to the program for Indiana that included co-payments by participants. The co-payments are linked to healthy behaviors on the part of the participants, so that, for example, a participant who quit smoking would receive a lower co-payment. Participants can lose benefits for failing to make the payments.
Mike Pence addressing supporters at a church service at the Living Word Bible Church.
Despite several successful policy initiatives, Pence found himself in several high profile controversies, including some that brought national attention. On March 26, 2015, Pence signed Indiana Senate Bill 101, also known as the Indiana “religious objections” bill (Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA), into law. The law’s signing was met with widespread criticism by people and groups who felt the law was carefully worded in a way that would permit discrimination against LGBT persons. Such organizations as the NCAA, the gamer convention Gen Con, and the Disciples of Christ spoke out against the law. Apple CEO Tim Cook and Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff condemned the law, with Salesforce.com saying it would halt its plans to expand in the state.Angie’s List announced that they would cancel a $40 million expansion of their Indianapolis based headquarters due to concerns over the law. The expansion would have moved 1000 jobs into the state. The mayors of San Francisco and Seattle banned official travel to Indiana. Thousands protested against the policy. Five GOP state representatives voted against the bill, and Greg Ballard, the Republican mayor of Indianapolis, criticized it as sending the “wrong signal” about the state.
Pence defended the law, stating that it was not about discrimination. In an appearance on the ABC News program This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Pence stated, “We are not going to change this law”, while refusing to answer whether examples of discrimination against LGBT people given by Eric Miller of anti-LGBT group Advance America would be legal under the law. Pence denied the law permitted discrimination and wrote in a March 31, 2015, Wall Street Journal op-ed, “If I saw a restaurant owner refuse to serve a gay couple, I wouldn’t eat there anymore. As governor of Indiana, if I were presented a bill that legalized discrimination against any person or group, I would veto it.” In the wake of the backlash against the RFRA, on April 2, 2015, Pence signed legislation revising the law to prevent potential discrimination.
Another controversy arose in March 2016 when Pence signed into law H.B. 1337, a controversial bill that both banned certain abortion procedures and placed new restrictions on abortion providers. The bill banned abortion if the reason for the procedure given by the pregnant person was the fetus‘ race or gender or a fetal abnormality. In addition, the bill required that all fetal remains from abortions or miscarriages at any stage of pregnancy be buried or cremated, which according to the Guttmacher Institute is not currently required in any other state. The law was described as “exceptional for its breadth”; if implemented, it would have made Indiana “the first state to have a blanket ban on abortions based solely on race, sex or suspected disabilities, including evidence of Down syndrome.” Days after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a federal court issued a preliminary injunction blocking the bill from taking effect, with U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt determining that the bill was likely to be unconstitutional and that the State of Indiana would be unlikely to prevail at trial.
In June 2013, Pence was criticized for deleting comments of others posted on his official government Facebook page; he apologized.
On January 26, 2015 it was widely reported that Pence had planned to launch a state-run, taxpayer-funded news service for Indiana. The service, called “JustIN”, was to be overseen by a former reporter for The Indianapolis Star, and would feature breaking news, stories written by press secretaries, and light features. At the time, it was reported that the two employees who would run the news service would be paid a combined $100,000 yearly salary. The target audience was small newspapers that had limited staff, but the site would also serve to communicate directly with the public. The publisher of the Commercial Review of Portland, Indiana, said, “I think it’s a ludicrous idea … the notion of elected officials presenting material that will inevitably have a pro-administration point of view is antithetical to the idea of an independent press.” There was speculation that the news service would publish pro-administration stories that would make Pence look good in the event of a presidential run.
According to the Associated Press, the idea “of stories prewritten for the media set off a wave of criticism from journalists around the country, who likened the Indiana endeavor to state-run media in Russia and China. Headlines like ‘Pravda in the Plains’ accompanied calls for Pence to scrap the idea.” David A. Graham of The Atlantic regarded the announcement of JustIN as evidence of a disturbing changing trend in how the public gets news. After a week or so of controversy about the idea, Pence scrapped the idea saying, “However well-intentioned, after thorough review of the preliminary planning and careful consideration of the concerns expressed, I am writing you to inform you that I have made a decision to terminate development of the JustIN website immediately.”
As governor, Pence attempted unsuccessfully to prevent Syrian refugees from being resettled in Indiana. In February 2016, a federal judge ruled that Pence’s order to cut off federal funds for a local non-profit refugee resettlement agency was unconstitutional; Pence has appealed. In December 2015, Pence stated that “calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional”.
Pence ran for a second term as governor. He was unopposed in the May 3, 2016, Republican primary for governor. He was to face Democrat John R. Gregg, former speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives, in a rematch of the 2012 race. However, Pence filed paperwork ending his campaign on July 15, 2016, as Trump announced his selection of Pence as his vice presidential running mate.
Donald Trump considered naming Pence as his vice presidential running mate along with other finalists including New Jersey governor Chris Christie and former House speaker Newt Gingrich. The Indianapolis Star reported July 14 that Pence would end his re-election campaign and accept the Republican vice presidential nomination instead. This was widely reported on July 14, 2016. The following day, Trump officially announced on Twitter that Pence would be his running mate.
Immediately after the announcement, Pence said that he was “very supportive of Donald Trump’s call to temporarily suspend immigration from countries where terrorist influence and impact represents a threat to the United States”. Pence said that he was “absolutely” in sync with Trump’s Mexican wall proposal, stating that Mexico is “absolutely” going to pay for it.
According to a FiveThirtyEight rating of candidates’ ideology, Pence is the most conservative vice-presidential candidate in the last forty years.
Pence has stated that his role model as vice president would be Dick Cheney.
During Pence’s twelve years in the House, he introduced 90 bills and resolutions; none became law.
Abortion and Planned Parenthood
Pence began seeking to defund Planned Parenthood in 2007, by introducing legislation aimed at preventing any organization that provides abortion services from receiving Title X funding.
In 2009, Pence opposed birthright citizenship (the legal principle set forth by the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside”). He co-sponsored a bill that would have limited citizenship to children born to at least one parent who is a citizen, immigrants living permanently in the U.S. or non-citizens performing active service in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Freedom won today in the Supreme Court. Today’s ruling in the Citizens United case takes us one step closer to the Founding Fathers’ vision of free speech, a vision that is cherished by all Americans and one Congress has a responsibility to protect. If the freedom of speech means anything, it means protecting the right of private citizens to voice opposition or support for their elected representatives. The fact that the court overturned a 20-year precedent speaks volumes about the importance of this issue.
Then-U.S. Representative Pence (third from left) standing behind then-governor Mitch Daniels at a 2008 press conference in Martinsville, Indiana
Pence was a supporter of earmark reform. He voted against the $139.7 billion Transportation-Treasury spending bill in June 2006, and in favor of a series of amendments proposed that same month by Jeff Flake which would strip other members’ earmarks from the federal budget. On occasion, however, Pence secured earmarks for projects in his district.
Pence was a co-sponsor of H.J.Res.73, a 2011 spending limit amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This amendment would limit federal spending to “the average annual revenue collected in the three prior years, adjusted in proportion to changes in population and inflation.” In regards to adopting the gold standard, Pence stated in 2011, “the time has come to have a debate over gold and the proper role it should play in our nation’s monetary affairs”. Pence proposed legislation to end the dual mandate of the Federal Reserve (maximizing employment and stabilizing prices), requiring the Fed to just focus on price stability and not full employment.
He voted against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. He had publicly opposed the bill denouncing it as a failure, and called for a federal spending freeze. Nevertheless, several months after voting against the bill, Pence privately sought $6 million in stimulus funds for projects in his district, and in 2010, hosted a job fair for stimulus-backed employers. A Pence spokesperson stated “… once it became law, he had a responsibility to support local efforts to secure funding for projects that could benefit people in his district.”
Pence “does not accept the scientific consensus that human activity is the primary driver of climate change.” In 2001, Pence wrote in an op-ed that “Global warming is a myth,” saying that “the earth is actually cooler today than it was about 50 years ago”. In 2006 and 2009, Pence expressed the view that it was unclear whether climate change was driven by human activity, and in 2009 he told political commentator Chris Matthews that there was a “growing skepticism in the scientific community about global warming”.
On September 27, 2016, however, Pence said “there’s no question” that human activity affects both the climate and the environment, while defending Trump’s position on the matter.
Crime and drug policy
Pence has questioned proposals to decrease penalties for low-level marijuana offenses in Indiana, saying that the state should focus “on reducing crime, not reducing penalties.” In 2013, Pence expressed concern that a then-pending bill to revise the state’s criminal code was not tough enough on drug crimes, and successfully lobbied to limit the reduction in sentencing of marijuana offenses.
In 2016, Pence signed into law a measure that reinstated a ten-year mandatory minimum prison sentence for certain drug offenders.
During 2014, Governor Pence sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder which said that Indiana would not comply with federal prison rape elimination standards because they were too expensive. According to the Indiana Department of Corrections, it would cost the state $15–20 million annually to comply with the guidelines. Pence said that a number of rape prevention measures had already been implemented.
In 2015, Pence signed Senate Bill 94, which lengthened the statute of limitations for rape — continuing for five years after sufficient DNA evidence is uncovered, enough recorded evidence is brought forth or discovered, or the offender confesses to the crime. Pence also signed Senate Bill 8, allowing the death penalty for beheadings was allowed if the victim was alive at the time of the offense.
During the Iraq War, Pence opposed setting a public withdrawal date from Iraq. During an April 2007 visit to Baghdad, Pence and John McCain visited Shorja market, the site of a deadly attack in February 2007, that claimed the lives of 61 people. Pence and McCain described the visit as evidence that the security situation in Iraqi markets had improved. The visit to the market took place under tight security, including helicopters overhead, and the New York Times reported that the visit gave a false indication of how secure the area was because of the extremely heavy security forces protecting McCain.
Pence has opposed closing the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and trying the suspected terrorists in the U.S. As an alternative, Pence has said that the “enemy combatants” should be tried in a military tribunal.
Pence has stated his support of Israel and its right to attack facilities in Iran to prevent the Iranians from developing nuclear weapons, has defended the actions of Israel in its use of deadly force in enforcing the blockade of Gaza, and has referred to Israel as “America’s most cherished ally”. He visited Israel in 2014 to express his support, and in 2016 signed into law a bill which would ban Indiana from having any commercial dealings with a company that boycotts Israel.
Pence is an advocate of federal restrictions of online gambling. In 2006, he was one of 35 cosponsors of H.R. 4411, the Goodlatte–Leach Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, and H.R. 4777, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act.
In 2000, Pence stated “Congress should oppose any effort to recognize homosexuals as a ‘discrete and insular minority‘ entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws similar to those extended to women and ethnic minorities.” He called for “an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus” and instead advocated for resources to be directed toward conversion therapy programs, “[for] those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”
Pence opposed the 2009 Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act, saying that Barack Obama wanted to “advance a radical social agenda” and said that pastors “could be charged or be subject to intimidation for simply expressing a Biblical worldview on the issue of homosexual behavior.”
Pence opposes both same-sex marriage and civil unions. While in the House, he said that “societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family”. He has advocated a constitutional same-sex marriage ban but did not champion such a proposed ban for his first year as governor.
In June 2006, Pence unveiled an immigration plan (which he described as “No Amnesty Immigration reform”) that would include increased border security, followed by strict enforcement of laws against hiring illegal aliens, and a guest worker program. This guest worker program would have required participants to apply from their home country to government-approved job placement agencies that match workers with employers who cannot find Americans for the job. The plan received support from conservatives such as Dick Armey, but attracted criticism from other conservatives such as Phyllis Schlafly, Richard A. Viguerie, and Pat Buchanan, who viewed Pence as lending “his conservative prestige to a form of liberal amnesty.”
In 2010, Pence voted against the DREAM Act, which would grant the undocumented children of illegal immigrants conditional non-immigrant status if they met certain requirements. In 2010, Pence stated thatArizona S.B. 1070, which at the time of passage in 2010 was the U.S.’s broadest and strictest anti-illegal immigration legislation, was “a good faith to try and restore order to their communities”.
Pence opposed President Obama’s executive order eliminating restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research. Pence stated, “I believe it is morally wrong to create human life to destroy it for research… I believe it is morally wrong to take the tax dollars of millions of pro-life Americans.” He asserted that “scientific breakthroughs have rendered embryonic stem-cell research obsolete”.
When asked if he accepts evolution, Pence answered “I believe with all my heart that God created the heavens and the earth, the seas and all that’s in them. How he did that I’ll ask him about some day.” In a 2002 statement on the floor of the House (reported in the Congressional Record), Pence told his colleagues “… I also believe that someday scientists will come to see that only the theory of intelligent design provides even a remotely rational explanation for the known universe.”
In 2001, Pence wrote an op-ed arguing against the tobacco settlement and tobacco regulation, saying that they would create “new government bureaucracies” and encroach on private lives. He stated that “despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn’t kill.” Pence asserted, “2 out of every three smokers does not die from a smoking related illness and 9 out of ten smokers do not contract lung cancer,” while acknowledging that “smoking isn’t good for you” and people who smoke should quit.
In 2002, Pence criticized a speech by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell where Powell stated that it was “important for young people… to protect themselves from the possibility of acquiring any sexually transmitted disease” through the use of condoms. Pence called Powell’s comments a “sad day” and expressed his support for abstinence education. Pence asserted that “condoms are a very, very poor protection against sexually transmitted diseases” and that Powell was “maybe inadvertently misleading millions of young people and endangering lives”.
When asked in 2010 if he would be willing to make cuts to Social Security, Pence answered, “I think everything has to be on the table.” When asked if he would raise the retirement age, he said, “I’m an all-of-the-above guy. We need look at everything on the menu.”
Pence voted against the Trade and Globalization Act of 2007, which would have expanded trade adjustment assistance to American workers adversely affected by globalization. However, in 2014 Pence called for the “swift adoption” of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), urging Indiana’s congressional delegation to support the trade deal.
Pence, and his wife, Karen, speaking at CPAC 2015 in Washington, D.C.
Kaine had a largely apolitical childhood, but became interested in politics in part due to the influence of his wife’s family and his experience attending Richmond city council meetings. In May 1994, Kaine was elected to the city council of the independent city of Richmond, from the City’s 2nd District. He defeated incumbent city councilman Benjamin P.A. Warthen by 97 votes. Kaine served four terms on the council, the latter two as mayor.
Mayor of Richmond (1998–2001)
On July 1, 1998, Kaine was elected mayor of Richmond, succeeding Larry Chavis. He was chosen by an 8-1 vote on the majority-black City Council,[b] becoming the city’s first white mayor in more than ten years, which was viewed as a surprise.Rudy McCollum, an African-American city councilor also interested in the position of mayor, decided to back Kaine after a private meeting between the two, clearing the way for Kaine to win election. Previous mayors had treated the role as primarily a ceremonial one, with the city manager effectively operating the city; Kaine treated the office as a full-time job, taking a more hands-on role.
Along with Commonwealth’s Attorney David Hicks, U.S. Attorney James Comey, and Police Chief Jerry Oliver, Kaine was a support of Project Exile, which a reporter described as a “controversial but effective program,” that shifted gun crimes to federal court, where armed defendants faced harsher sentences. The effort “won broad political support” and the city’s homicide rate fell by 55% over Kaine’s tenure in office. Kaine later touted Project Exile during his campaign for lieutenant governor in 2001.
On several occasions, Kaine voted in opposition to tax increases, and supported a tax abatement program for renovated buildings, which was credited for a housing renovation boom in the city. Richmond was named one of “the 10 best cities in America to do business” by Forbes magazine during Kaine’s term.
According to John Moeser, a professor emeritus of urban studies and planning at Virginia Commonwealth University and later a visiting fellow at the University of Richmond‘s Center for Civic Engagement, during his time as mayor Kaine “was energetic, charismatic and, most important, spoke openly about his commitment to racial reconciliation in Richmond.” The New York Times wrote that Kaine “was by all accounts instrumental in bridging the city’s racial divide.” In the early part of his term, Kaine issued an apology for the city’s role in slavery; the apology was generally well received as “a genuine, heartfelt expression.” In the latter part of his term, a contentious debate took place in the city over the inclusion of a portrait of Confederate generalRobert E. Lee in a set of historic murals to be placed on city floodwalls. Many African-Americans were outraged that Lee would appear on city walls, while Southern heritage groups demanded that Lee’s picture remain. Kaine proposed a compromise in which Lee would appear as part of a series of murals that also included figures like Abraham Lincoln and Powhatan Beaty. Kaine’s stance drew criticism from the NAACP; Kaine argued that placing Lee on the floodwall made sense in context, and that “Much of our history is not pleasant; you can’t whitewash it.” Kaine’s compromise proposal passed the council on a 6-3 vote.
During his tenure as mayor, Kaine drew criticism for spending $6,000 in public funds on buses to the Million Mom March, an anti-gun-violence rally in Washington, D.C.; after a backlash, Kaine raised the money privately and reimbursed the city.
Lieutenant governor of Virginia (2002–2005)
Kaine in an F-14 Tomcat while touring a naval base in 2003
In the general election, Kaine won with 925,974 votes (50.35%), of the vote, edging out his Republican opponent, state Delegate Jay Katzen, who received 883,886 votes (48.06%).Libertarian Gary Reams received 28,783 votes (1.57%).
Kaine was inaugurated on January 12, 2002, and was sworn in by his wife Anne Holton, a state judge.
Kaine at the Covington
Labor Day Parade in Virginia, September 4, 2006
In 2005, Kaine ran for governor of Virginia against Republican candidate Jerry W. Kilgore, a former state attorney general. Kaine was considered an underdog for most of the race, trailing in polls for most of the election. Two polls released in September 2005 showed Kaine trailing Kilgore—by four percentage points in a Washington Post poll and by one percentage point in a Mason-Dixon/Roanoke Times poll. The final opinion polls of the race before the November election showed Kaine slightly edging ahead of Kilgore.
Kaine emphasized fiscal responsibility and a centrist message. He expressed support for controlling sprawl and tackling longstanding traffic issues, an issue that resonated in the exurbs of northern Virginia. He benefited from his association with the popular outgoing Democratic governor, Mark Warner, who had performed well in traditionally Republican areas of the state. On the campaign trail, Kaine referred to the “Warner-Kaine administration” in speeches and received the strong backing of Warner. Kilgore later attributed his defeat to Warner’s high popularity and the “plummeting popularity” of Republican President George W. Bush, who held one rally with Kilgore on the campaign’s final day.
The campaign turned sharply negative in its final weeks, with Kilgore running television attack ads that claimed, incorrectly, that Kaine believed that “Hitler doesn’t qualify for the death penalty.” The ads also attacked Kaine for his service ten years earlier as a court-appointed attorney for a death-row inmate. The Republican ad was denounced by the editorial boards of the Washington Post and a number of Virginia newspapers as a “smear” and “dishonest.” Kaine responded with an ad “in which he told voters that he opposes capital punishment but would take an oath and enforce the death penalty. In later polls, voters said they believed Kaine’s response and were angered by Kilgore’s negative ads.”
On January 31, 2006, Kaine gave the Democratic response to President George W. Bush‘s 2006 State of the Union address. In it, Kaine criticized the Bush administration’s No Child Left Behind Act for “wreaking havoc on local school districts”; criticized congressional Republicans for cutting student loan programs; and condemned as “reckless” Bush’s spending increases and tax cuts. Kaine praised bipartisan initiatives in Virginia “to make record investments in education” and to improve veterans’ access to veterans’ benefits. Kaine criticized the Bush administration’s conduct of the Iraq War and treatment of U.S. soldiers; saying that “the American people were given inaccurate information about reasons for invading Iraq”; “our troops in Iraq were not given the best body armor or the best intelligence”; and “the administration wants to further reduce military and veterans’ benefits.”
Energy, the environment, and conservation
As governor, Kaine successfully protected 400,000 acres (1,600 km2) of Virginia land from development, fulfilling a promise that he made in 2005. Kaine’s conservation efforts focused on conservation easements (voluntary easements that preserve the private ownership of a piece of land while also permanently protecting it from development); a substantial Virginia land preservation tax credit encouraged easements. From 2004 to 2009, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation (a quasi-governmental entity set up in 1966 to preserve open land in the state) protected more land than it had in the previous forty years, a fact touted by Kaine as his term drew to a close.
As governor, Kaine established the Climate Change Commission, a bipartisan panel to study climate change issues. The panel was shuttered under Kaine’s Republican successor, Governor Robert F. McDonnell, but was revived (as the Governor’s Climate Change and Resiliency Update Commission) under his successor, Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe.
In October 2006, Kaine signed an executive orderbanning smoking in all government buildings and state-owned cars as of January 1, 2007. He signed legislation banning smoking in restaurants and bars, with some exceptions, in March 2009, making Virginia the first Southern state to do so.
In 2007, the Republican-controlled Virginia General Assembly passed legislation, with “overwhelming bipartisan support,” to require girls to receive the HPV vaccine (which immunizes recipients against a virus that causes cervical cancer) before entering high school. Kaine expressed “some qualms” about the legislation and pushed for a strong opt-out provision, ultimately signing a bill that included a provision allowing parents to opt out of the requirement without citing a reason.
In 2007, Kaine secured increases in state funding for nursing in the Virginia General Assembly and announced a 10% salary increase for nursing faculty above the normal salary increase for state employees, plus additional funds for scholarships for nursing master’s programs. The initiatives were aimed at addressing a shortage of practicing nurses.
Virginia Tech shooting
Following the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, in which 32 people were killed by Seung-Hui Cho, Kaine appointed an eight-member Virginia Tech Review Panel, chaired by retired Virginia State Police superintendent W. Gerald Massengill, to probe the event. The commission members included specialists in psychology, law, forensics and higher education as well as former Secretary of Homeland SecurityTom Ridge. The commission first met in May 2007, and issued its findings and recommendations in August 2007. Among other recommendations, the panel proposed many mental health reforms. Based on the panel’s recommendations, Kaine proposed $42 million of investment in mental health programs and reforms, included “boosting access to outpatient and emergency mental health services, increasing the number of case managers and improving monitoring of community-based providers.” In April 2007, Kaine signed an executive order instructing state agencies to step up efforts to block gun sales to people involuntarily committed to inpatient and outpatient mental health treatment centers. Kaine, who had been in Japan on a trade mission at the time of the shootings, received widespread praise for his quick return to the state and his handling of the issue .
Budget and economy
Among Kaine’s greatest challenges as governor came during the 2008–09 economic crisis; the Washington Post wrote that “perhaps his greatest success was keeping the state running despite [the crisis].” In the midst of the Great Recession, unemployment in Virginia remained lower than the national average. During Kaine’s tenure as governor, the unemployment rate in Virginia rose from 3.2% to 7.4%, a smaller increase than the national unemployment rate which rose from 4.7% to 9.9% during the same period.
As governor, Kaine approved about $3.31 billion in general fund spending cuts, and after the end of Kaine’s term in office, the Virginia General Assembly adopted about $1.33 billion in additional budget cuts that Kaine had recommended, for a total of $4.64 billion in cuts. The Washington Post noted: “Unable to raise taxes and required by law to balance the budget, he was forced to make unpopular cuts that led to such things as shuttered highway rest stops and higher public university tuition.” Virginia was one of three states to earn the highest grade in terms of management in a report by the non-partisan Pew Center on the States. Virginia took first place each year from 2006 to 2009 in the “Best States For Business” rankings published by Forbes magazine.
In July 2007, during the debate on the Silver Line of the Washington Metro through Tysons Corner, Kaine supported an elevated track solution in preference to a tunnel, citing costs and potential delays that would put federal funding at risk.
In 2006, early in his term, Kaine pressed the General Assembly to support a legislative package to ease severe traffic congestion by spending about $1 billion annually forhighway construction, repairs to aging roads, mass transit, and other transportation projects. The money would raised through increases in taxes and fees that would have raised an estimated $4 billion in revenue over four years. The Democratic-controlled Senate supported the plan, but the Republican-controlled House was ultimately unwilling to approve the taxes necessary to carry out the project, however, and the effort failed even after a special session of the Legislature was called over the transportation-funding stalemate.
In 2007, Republicans in the General Assembly passed their own transportation-funding bill. Rather than a statewide tax increase to finance the transportation improvements, as Kaine and most legislative Democrats favored, the Republican bill called for transportation funding “to come from borrowing $2.5 billion and paying the debt costs out of the general fund”; authorized local tax increase in Northern Virginia; increased fees and taxes on rental cars, commercial real estate, and hotels; and increased traffic infractionfines and driver’s licenses fees.
Kaine and most legislative Democrats opposed the Republican legislation, stating that it was inadequate to address traffic congestion and that the withdrawal of funds from the general fund would affect core services such as health care, law enforcement, and education. Kaine ultimately signed a bill with amendments reflecting “concerns by local government officials and a bipartisan group of lawmakers who were concerned that the plan took too much money from the state’s general fund.”
In 2008, Kaine backed a $22 million proposal in the Virginia General Assembly to make pre-kindergarten education more accessible to at-risk four-year-olds. Virginia was rated as the best state to raise a child in a 2007 report by Education Week and the Pew Center on the States.
On September 27, 2007, just weeks after appointing Esam Omeish to the 20-member Virginia Commission on Immigration, Kaine learned that Omeish had made videos accusing Israel of genocide and calling for the impeachment of President Bush. Kaine immediately requested and received Omeish’s resignation and said that background checks would be more thorough in the future.
Kaine announced his support for Senator Obama’s presidential bid in February 2007. It was maintained that Kaine’s endorsement was the first from a statewide elected official outside of Illinois. Because Kaine was a relatively popular governor of a Southern state, there was media speculation that he was a potential nominee for vice president.Obama had supported Kaine in his campaign for governor and had said about him: “Tim Kaine has a message of fiscal responsibility and generosity of spirit. That kind of message can sell anywhere.” On July 28, 2008, Politico reported that Kaine was “very, very high” on Obama’s shortlist for vice president, a list which also included then Senator Hillary Clinton of New York, Governor Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, and Senator Joe Biden of Delaware. Obama ultimately selected Biden to become the vice-presidential nominee.
Democratic National Committee chairman (2009–2011)
In January 2009, Kaine became the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.[e] Kaine had turned down the position the first time it was offered to him, expressing misgivings about accepting a partisan position, but nonetheless took the job at the request of President Obama. During his tenure, he oversaw a significant expansion of the party’s grassroots focus through Organizing for America, the political operation for the White House. In February 2011, after Kaine spoke to union leaders in Madison, Organizing for America got involved in Wisconsin’s budget battle and opposed Republican-sponsored anti-union legislation. They made phone calls, sent emails, and distributed messages via Facebook and Twitter to build crowds for rallies.
After completing his term as governor in January 2010, Kaine taught part-time at the University of Richmond, teaching a course in spring 2010 at the Jepson School of Leadership Studies and another in fall 2010 at the University of Richmond School of Law. Kaine explained that he had chosen to teach at a private university, rather than a public university, “because it would not have been right for a sitting governor to be seeking employment at an institution when he writes the budget and appoints the board of the institution.”
After Senator Jim Webb‘s decision not to seek reelection, Kaine announced on April 5, 2011, that he would run for Webb’s seat. He was initially reluctant to return to public office, but Webb, Senator Mark Warner, and other Virginia Democrats saw Kaine as the strongest potential Democratic candidate and convinced him to run.Mike Henry was chosen as Kaine’s campaign manager. Kaine filmed announcement videos in English and Spanish and was unopposed for the Democratic nomination. He defeated former Senator and Governor George Allen in the general election.
Kaine was sworn in for a six-year term on January 3, 2013, reuniting him with Mark Warner, the senior senator. Kaine was lieutenant governor when Warner was governor of Virginia.
On June 11, 2013, Kaine delivered a speech on the Senate floor in support of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” immigration bill. The speech was entirely in Spanish, marking the first time a senator had ever made a speech on the Senate floor in a language other than English.
While in the Senate, Kaine has continued to teach part-time at the University of Richmond, receiving a salary of $16,000 per year.
Kaine voted with his party more than 90% of the time. According to the Washington Post, Kaine has “crafted a largely progressive record as a senator.” He reportedly has good relations with both Democratic and Republican senators.
Kaine endorsed Hillary Clinton‘s presidential bid in 2016 and campaigned actively for Clinton in seven states during the primaries. He had been the subject of considerable speculation as a possible running mate for Clinton, with several news reports indicating that he was at or near the top of Clinton’s list of people under consideration alongside figures such as Elizabeth Warren and Julian Castro.