SCOTUS under Trump


I’m prety sure it’s bribery all the way down and has been for decades. It’s just lip service to the letter of the law, not to the ethical question of quid pro quo. We seem to have been fine with it when it was ‘hidden’ by a thin veneer of basically nothing, so why the big deal over this one? Business as usual, just that now it’s the actual voters holding their representatives feet to the fire, rather than businesses and PACs, and the reps don’t appear to like being told what to do by their constituents. Poor reps.

I’m fine with getting bribes out of politics, but as long as it’s there, it should be free game for anyone.


Basically my feelings on this. There is no meaningful limitations on the wealthy or corporations here. And they can coordinate and do things in ways that the average voter can not.

Or do you think that the NRA people didn’t use back channels to explicitly state that they would be punished/ rewarded for voting on certain bills in a specific manner? I am 100% confident that any leveragable rep who was considering voting to their displeasure got the message loud and clear.

But here, with actual voters banding together to hold a person responsible for their representation? Now this is unacceptable? Fuck that. How else, pray tell, would you suggest that the voters voice their collective displeasure?


I don’t know, but for fuck’s sake please be civil about it!!


I’m pretty sure you can’t say, “Man, I would be really grateful if someone just killed my husband. I’ve got a fairly big insurance payment coming if he dies…”

Or to use your extortion analogy, what if you said, “Well, I’ve never called the cops on a party I was attending, but I have been known to call them about parties that get too loud…” it’s basically, “Nice party you’ve got here, would be a shame if someone called the cops…” The idea that you have to explicitly promise specific dollar values or explicit actions is incorrect. You can imply threats or bribes and still be doing something illegal.


“Will no one rid me of this troublesome argument?”


While this would certainly attract the attention of law enforcement, it’s not a crime until you promise to pay somebody something. It’s legal to wish people harm, and to talk about the benefits of their death.

This is just roundabout way of saying “invite me or I’ll call the cops”. It’s clear what you want, and what you’ll do if you don’t get what you want. It’s illegal no matter how you phrase it.

Not illegal, yet, until there is another conversation about what you want in exchange. And, “Say, did I tell you I need $5000 my kid’s braces” is sufficient if everyone understands what is implied.


So is the NRA’s threat or any number of other similar examples already given.

If you said that to some people, who thought you were serious, and they killed your husband, there’s a very good chance a jury would find you guilty. Again, the exact phrasing is less important than the clear intent.


No, it’s not clear. If you do what the NRA wants this one time, are you guaranteed an A? If you don’t, are you guaranteed an F? If you vote against the NRA on this one bill but otherwise vote with the NRA on every other bill, will you be judged the same as a liberal who opposes the NRA at every turn? There are no answers to these questions, by design.

They don’t even promise an endorsement. Look at the actual wording of what they offer to those who vote their way:

the NRA will offer our enthusiastic support and consider those votes in our future candidate evaluations as well

That’s way too vague to be actionable.


Do you know how the NRA grades and rates politicians? Because you clearly seem like you do not.

Let me break down what the NRA does. They assign letter grades to every congressman and woman. They will put a scale of what % of times they vote with the NRA position interest. They are very clear about what will and will not happen. If a politician votes against them one time, but otherwise has a 95% A rating then they will get an endorsement, and likely campaign contributions if they are in a contested race.

A politician with a C rating is likely going to see a primary challenger funded. In fact they make it clear that if you do not vote with them some minimum threshold, this is exactly what they will do.

So they are prett clear and specific about how they operate here. And on important (to them) bills they will put out a message with their stated and preferred position.

They then publish this position in their magazines. Every year in the month before voting, in their October edition of American Hunter for example, they publish a voting guide by district. And they will occasionally do so for primary season. So they send out this position and a list of bills they did not support to their members. So, please, the NRA is explicitly telling them ‘vote with us, or else’.


Vote with us, or else we will tell everyone that you didn’t vote with us.

Sorry, that’s not actually an illegal threat.

There is a reason the NRA does what it does. It can appear as threatening as possible, without actually making an illegal threat. Just like “Do what I want, or I’ll sue.” Sounds like extortion, but it isn’t.


Withhold funding, and finance your primary opponent,

Let’s not play dumb, shall we? It is intellectually dishonest to pretend that it is not explicitly, and implicitly, understood by every politician on the hill exactly what the NRA does. They know the numbers, and we can get them too. Just because they aren’t explicitly saying in public that ‘if they do not vote yes on HB… we will give his primary opponent $25000’ doesn’t mean they don’t know exactly what is going to happen.

And don’t pretend that their magazines, mailers, and website communications aren’t geared at mobilizing people to vote exactly how they want. A republican who bucks the NRA knows they will lose their seat by being primaried. They have a well organized group of voters who will vote exactly as the NRA wants, including bringing their NRA voting guide into the polling place. I know, I’ve seen it first hand. My dad is one of these people, and I grew up seeing and reading their magazines.


I think that DC lobbyists know the law, and know ways to get the maximum possible influence without crossing the line into illegal bribery. Their livelihoods depend on it.

I think that anyone dumb enough to tell a politician, “Here is $1000, it’s yours if you vote my way” obviously doesn’t know the law, and would draw sneers from DC lobbyists who know what they are doing.

And I think the attempt to influence Collins with $3 million was quite unusual and may or may not have crossed that line. It’s not an obvious answer.


No, I rather think he insists that we do that.


Time to drain the swamp perhaps? DC Lobbyists would be a great place to start.

Bet they’d cry something about freedom of speech though, which actually means freedom to spend their money to gain influence, which totally isn’t bribery and is completely different from what these ragged consituents are up to. Filthy peasants.


Sessions’s DoJ is awful


Session’s anything is awful. Nothing he does at the DOJ is a surprise.


Yeah, but, he has protected Muller at the expense of enraging Trump for over a year, right? That’s gotta count for something…


I guess in the same way “I don’t beat my wife” would get you brownie points.


This seems like an incredibly risky thing to to do…

…unless Grassley knows that the DOJ won’t do anything with this and will let it drop. Thus it becomes a political thing for ol’ Chuck.

But if they investigate, hoo-boy. Not sure Kavanaugh, Grassley, or anyone in the administration wants to turn over those rocks. Never know what’s underneath.


Yeah, the Blow-back potential is staggering. However, with Avenatti’s $4.5m judgement hanging, he’s definitely wounded…