The Decision to Ban the Recent NY Post Piece Compels a Change to Section 230

By unilaterally deciding to block the recent NY Post story, Twitter and Facebook significantly escalated their blatant acts of censorship.

Red Blue and Yellow Textile

The NY Post recently published a bombshell story which detailed a web of emails and transactions allegedly involving Hunter Biden, Joe Biden, China, Ukraine, and others. When the paper tried to publish the story on Twitter and Facebook, the tech-giants blocked it from doing so and prevented others from disseminating the story. In deciding to do so, the tech-giants likely relied on 47 USC Section 230. However, given the impact, and the arbitrary nature of, such decisions, there are compelling reasons to revise Section 230 so as to prevent abuse of its very provisions.

The law, part of the Communications Decency Act, serves to shield companies like Twitter and Facebook from liability stemming from information published by others. Specifically, section (c) of the law states:

(c) Protection for “Good Samaritan” blocking and screening of offensive material

(1) Treatment of publisher or speaker

No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.

(2) Civil liability

No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of-

(A) any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected; or

(B) any action taken to enable or make available to information content providers or others the technical means to restrict access to material described in paragraph (1).

In other words, according to this law, a provider of an interactive computer service, such as Twitter of Facebook, is not considered to be the publisher of any information made by another and cannot be held liable if it in good faith restricts access to, or making material unavailable, that the provider deems obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable.

Clearly, the language of this law is quite broad and gives the provider significant leeway and discretion. For example, the term “otherwise objectionable” is broad and subject to interpretation, as is the term “good faith.” In the case involving the NY Post, both Twitter and Facebook decided to ban the publication and the dissemination of the story involving Hunter and Joe Biden. Clearly, the story was damaging to presidential candidate, Joe Biden, and his campaign, and some viewed the decision to ban its publication by these tech-giants as election interference, alleging that their content moderation decisions amounted to in-kind campaign contributions to former Vice President Joe Biden.

The trouble stems from the apparent free reign given to these social media giants by this law. As the law, in its current form, shields them from civil liability, there is nothing compelling such companies to change their methods. In essence, they are free to selectively ban whatever content they wish without any significant risk. For all intents and purposes, the law, in its current form, seemingly allows the CEO’s of these social media companies to use its very terms in an inappropriate manner and/or for improper purposes.

Just recently, the Supreme Court declined to review the scope of Section 230 in the case of MalwareBytes Inc. v. Enigma Software Group USA, LLC. While the court decided not to hear the case, Justice Clarence Thomas issued a statement that was quite critical of the specific law. As reported by Lawfare:

Justice Clarence Thomas released a statement agreeing with the court’s decision to not hear the Section 230 case, known as MalwareBytes Inc. v. Enigma Software Group USA, LLC. But he argued that courts have interpreted the provision to confer far more immunity to online platforms than the law requires, and therefore that the Supreme Court should reexamine the issue when a better case presents itself.

To Thomas, the real scope of Section 230 is quite modest: Section 230(c)(2) holds that internet platforms cannot be held liable for good-faith efforts to remove or restrict illegal content from third parties, and Section 230(c)(1) means that they’re also not liable for illegal content unknowingly left up on their sites. But Thomas gives several examples of what he sees as lower courts unduly expanding the provisions to confer “sweeping protection to Internet platforms.” He claims that courts have wrongly given immunity to companies that knowingly distributed illegal content; that courts have given companies immunity from liability for their own published content, even though the law covers third-party content; that by construing Section 230 to protect any form of content moderation, courts have encouraged racially discriminatory practices and that judges have given internet platforms the benefit of the doubt even when platforms are complicit in human trafficking and terrorism. Writing that “other examples abound” of lower courts finding broad immunity for platforms in the “policy” and “purpose” of Section 230, Thomas concludes that the Supreme Court should restore the law’s narrow scope in an appropriate case.

Given the breath of the law, some in Congress have suggested that Section 230 be revised, re-written, or eliminated altogether. The idea of revising or re-writing the law should garner bi-partisan support, as both major parties should oppose the seemingly arbitrary, politically-motivated, and damaging abuses of this law by the CEO’s of some of the largest social media giants. The decision to block and/or prohibit the publication of the recent NY Post story is a tragic example of such abuse.

However, the decision to eliminate the law should be more heavily scrutinized, as the risks of doing so could be more significant. Specifically, if Section 230 is eliminated, for example, providers like Twitter and Facebook would lose the protection from civil liability that they currently enjoy under the law. This could force the CEO’s of such companies to seriously consider whether or not to ban/block certain material on the grounds that it could be deemed improper and/or illegal, thereby triggering liability on their part. However, were this to happen, it is likely that providers would severely limit the type of information that they allowed. In other words, if such providers were responsible for the information submitted by others, they could, in all likelihood, be forced to “police” their users and to prohibit/ban a great deal of information for fear of being sued.   

Herein lies the problem. On the one hand, social media giants should not be permitted to utilize this law to further an improper/illegal motive without the risk of liability. For example, Twitter and Facebook should not be permitted to block their users from publishing and disseminating a story merely because the story could negatively impact their preferred political candidate. Whether or not such conduct constitutes election interference will likely be determined at a future time and date. On the other hand, care must be taken so that the law is not written in such a way where it will lead such providers to seriously limit the type of permissible content and the free exchange of ideas.

Notwithstanding these concerns, it is clear that something must be done in light of the blatant act of censorship against the NY Post (and others) by Twitter and Facebook. It is unclear whether the changes to this law should come from the Supreme Court, which could narrow the scope of the law and the protections that it affords to social media giants, or whether Congress should revise/re-write the law. Regardless, the law must be changed. By unilaterally deciding to block the recent NY Post story, Twitter and Facebook significantly escalated their blatant acts of censorship. Such decisions can have very serious consequences and must be addressed as soon as possible. 

This article is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to solicit business or to provide legal advice. You should not take, or refrain from taking, any legal action based upon the information contained in this article without first seeking professional counsel.

Mr. Hakim is a writer, commentator and a practicing attorney.  His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, The Epoch Times, The Western Journal, American Thinker and other online publications.

Twitter: @ThoughtfulGOP

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Americans Deserve to Know Joe Biden’s Position With Respect to Packing Before The Election

Joe Biden recently claimed that Americans don’t deserve to know if he would attempt to pack the Supreme Court if he became president and that they would find out after the election. Biden’s ultimatum should concern all Americans and should be rejected in its entirety.

Supreme Court, Building, Usa, Washington, Front

When Justice Brett Kavanaugh was nominated and subsequently confirmed to the Supreme Court, Democrats proposed the idea of packing (expanding) the Supreme Court. With the unfortunate and untimely passing of Justice Rush Bader Ginsburg, the issue has, once again, taken center stage. Despite the importance of this very important issue, presidential candidate, Joe Biden, has refused to specifically state whether or not he intends to pack the Supreme Court. Rather, as reported by Fox News, Biden recently claimed that Americans don’t deserve to know if he would attempt to pack the Supreme Court if he became president and that they would find out after the election. Biden’s ultimatum should concern all Americans and should be rejected in its entirety.

Packing the Supreme Court essentially means increasing the number of justices that currently sit on the highest court. Currently, the Supreme Court consists of nine justices (there are currently eight sitting justices due to Ginsburg’s recent passing). One proposal has been to increase the number of justices from nine, where it currently stands, to fifteen. Some on the left think that increasing the number of justices would prevent the Supreme Court from being viewed as a political institution, while others believe that packing the Supreme Court is vital to restore democracy.  

The United States Constitution does not specifically set forth how many justices must sit on the Supreme Court. As such, this number is entirely up to Congress. While Congress has not changed the number of justices on the nation’s highest court in 150 years, it is easy to contemplate how Democrats could “pack” the court if they controlled Congress under a Biden presidency.

Were this to happen, the results could be devastating, as Democrats could use the Supreme Court as another arm with which to pass their radical agendas. Specifically, Biden could nominate far-left activist judges, who would then be confirmed by the Senate (assuming that the votes were there). By way of example, if Democrats increased the number of justices to 15, they would change the balance of power of the Supreme Court from a “conservative” majority to a “far-left” majority. This would, then, allow Democrats to push their liberal agendas through with more ease because they could “rely” on the newly-formed far-left majority of the Supreme Court to side with them on various issues that come before the Court. This would severely weaken the system of checks and balances between Congress (legislative branch) and the judiciary (judicial branch).

Given the significant risks associated with packing the Supreme Court, Americans deserve to know Biden’s position on this issue. Along those same lines, Americans also deserve to see a list of Biden’s potential Supreme Court nominees, which he has also refused to produce until after the election. As reported by Reuters, when then-candidate Trump first ran for president, he “released a list of 11 judges that he would consider, if elected, to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.” He did this before the election. In doing so, he was transparent with the American people and gave them an idea of the types of judges that he would nominate to sit on the Supreme Court so that they could become better informed about their positions/policies on the issues that were important to them.

Joe Biden, on the other hand, doesn’t believe that Americans deserve to know any of this information before the election. Rather, according to Fox News, citing Biden, “you’ll know my position on court-packing the day after the election.” Simply stated, if Americans want to know Biden’s position relating to packing the Supreme Court and the list of names that he would choose from, they need to elect him president first.   

Americans should think long and hard about what this means. In essence, Biden is giving the American public an ultimatum whereby it is “his way or the highway.” In other words, from Biden’s perspective, Americans only have one choice, which is to vote for him and to blindly accept what he feels is the best course of action relative to the Supreme Court (even if it involves packing the Court with far-left activist justices).

Americans must reject Biden’s ultimatum for several reasons. First, Biden (and his running mate, Kamala Harris) support a far-left agenda that would result in higher taxes, open borders, “defunding” the police, eliminating fracking, eliminating fossil fuels and implementing the unaffordable and impractical Green New Deal, socialized medicine, decreased security at home and abroad, appeasing the nation’s enemies, eroding/eliminating the Second Amendment, and devastating the nation’s economy. Second, the Supreme Court can play a major role in shaping this far-left agenda. Given the precedent setting nature of the Supreme Court’s rulings/decisions, the decision to pack the Court with far-left progressive justices would make it much easier for Biden and the Democrats to push their far-left policies through, thereby creating very dangerous legal precedent.

For these reasons, American deserve to know whether Biden intends to pack the Supreme Court, and, if so, which judges he will select from and/or consider. The decision to pack the Supreme Court will have serious consequences that will not only impact the balance of power on the Court, but the rights of each and every American who will be bound by the Court’s decisions/rulings.

The Court should not be utilized as a tool to further the agenda of a political party. If Biden decides to pack the Supreme Court, he will not be restoring democracy, but seriously eroding it for the indefinite future. As such, Americans deserve an answer from Biden before casting their vote!  

Mr. Hakim is a writer, commentator and an attorney.  His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, The Western Journal, American Thinker and other online publications. Follow him on Twitter @ThoughtfulGOP and on social media at Thoughtfully Conservative. 


Despite Wallace’s Efforts to Change the Subject, Hunter Biden’s Transactions are Highly Relevant to Joe Biden’s Presidential Run

While Wallace and Biden wanted to push the discussion about Hunter Biden “under the rug,” the topic is highly relevant to Biden’s push to become president and should have been permitted and thoroughly explored.

Questions Answers Signage

During the first debate between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, it was only a matter of time until the president brought up Hunter Biden. Sadly, Chris Wallace, the “moderator” (and I use the term “moderator” loosely here), did not allow the president to pursue this line of questioning in sufficient detail, opining that the American public would prefer to hear about more substantive topics. Biden, obviously, agreed with Wallace’s assessment. While Wallace and Biden wanted to push the discussion about Hunter Biden “under the rug,” the topic is highly relevant to Biden’s push to become president and should have been permitted and thoroughly explored.

The allegations relating to Hunter Biden stem from various “business dealings” and payments that he received. As reported by Townhall, Hunter was paid $1 million a year by Burisma despite having no energy or Ukrainian expertise. According to the report in Townhall:

The Obama administration forked over $53 million in American taxpayer money to assist the Ukrainian energy industry. The public should know how much Burisma and its related ventures may have gotten.

Biden should also have to answer for the $20 million in taxpayer-funded loans that went to his Delaware pal John Hynansky to launch a luxury car dealership in Ukraine selling Porsches, Land Rovers and other high-ticket vehicles. None were made in the U.S. Hynansky had made large donations to Biden’s campaigns. Later he would loan $500,000 to Biden’s brother James, who was behind on mortgage payments and owed more than $590,000 in back taxes.

Moreover, as reported by Fox News, according to a recent interim report released by Republicans on the Senate Homeland Security and Finance Committees, “an investment firm co-founded by Hunter Biden, Rosemont Seneca Thornton, “received $3.5 million in a wire transfer” from Elena Baturina, the wife of the former mayor of the Russian capital.”

Fox News further reported that, according to the report, “Obama administration officials “knew” that Hunter Biden’s position on the board of Burisma was “problematic: and that it interfered “in the efficient execution of policy with respect to Ukraine.” Moreover:

“State Department official George Kent, who testified during Trump’s impeachment hearings last year, and Amos Hochstein, the former U.S. special envoy and coordinator for International Energy Affairs, raised concerns with Biden and his staff in the vice president’s office.”

Despite these concerning findings, Wallace failed to ask Biden about his son’s business dealings and the extent of Biden’s knowledge relating to Hunter’s conduct. Rather, when Trump tried to raise the topic, Wallace stated, “I think the American people would rather hear about more substantive subjects.”

More substantive topics? Joe Biden is running for president of the United States and the various reports indicate that he was possibly involved in improper conduct. The potential impropriety does not involve a speeding ticket, but raises concerns that Biden used his position as vice president to benefit himself and his family financially. Yet, according to Wallace, this is not a substantive topic that warrants further discussion?   

During the debate, Biden denied any wrongdoing and tried to deflect attention away from this troubling issue. While Biden and Wallace obviously didn’t want to discuss this issue for obvious reasons, it is highly relevant. The American public deserves to know whether the former vice president was involved in any improper conduct and, if so, what it involved. For example, did it involve fraud? Collusion? Using his position of power for personal pecuniary gain? The answers to these questions are vital. First, if any improper (or criminal) conduct was committed, this pertains directly to the issue of whether Biden may/should serve as president. They also go to the heart of Biden’s character and whether Americans should trust him to serve as president. Ironically, it is difficult to ascertain why many on the left found Trump’s alleged Emoluments Clause violations relevant enough to file suit (despite the absence of any evidence of wrongdoing), yet seemingly give Biden a free pass? Assuming that the Emoluments Clause also applies to the former vice president, the recent findings relating to Biden and his son are clearly relevant and certainly should have been pressed at the debate.

Not only is the information relevant and reflective of Biden’s character (or lack thereof) to serve as president, it also relates to his credibility (truthfulness). According to a 2019 report in The Hill, Biden was quoted as saying:

“There will be an absolute wall between personal and private and the government. There wasn’t any hint of scandal at all when we were there, and I will impose the same kind of strict, strict rules. That’s why I never talk with my son or my brother or anyone else in the distant family about their business interests, period.”

In the recent debate, Biden also denied any wrongdoing relating to Hunter’s improper business dealings and/or payments/earnings during his vice presidency. However, a recent report in The Washington Times paints a completely different picture based on Treasury Department reports received by Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, Wisconsin Republican, and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican. A review of some of the concerning transactions can be found here and here.

In light of the information that has been disclosed to date, there is no doubt that Hunter Biden’s questionable business dealings and “earnings,” and the extent of Joe Biden’s knowledge and/or participation in these transactions/events, are highly relevant. Chris Wallace should not only have asked Biden about this, but pressed him about the findings in the recent reports. After all, he didn’t hesitate to ask Trump about the recent New York Times report involving his tax payments. Wallace’s failure to do so was inexcusable. The information is clearly relevant, and Biden should be forced to thoroughly explain the inconsistencies between his generic explanations and/or denials and the information and findings that were recently released.    

Mr. Hakim is a writer and an attorney.  His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, American Thinker and other online publications.

Twitter: @ThoughtfulGOP

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The Recent Voting-Rights “Restoration” Payments In Florida Should be Investigated

Person Dropping Paper On Box

Billionaire, Michael Bloomberg, recently announced that he has paid off the court fines and fees for 32,000 Black and Latino ex-felons in Florida, thereby allowing them to register for the November elections. This was done in response to a recent ruling by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, the effect of which prevented ex-felons in Florida from voting until they paid back fines, fees, and restitution, which were part of their sentence. According to Bloomberg, “The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy and no American should be denied that right. Working together with the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, we are determined to end disenfranchisement and the discrimination that has always driven it.” While such feigned generosity “sounds” nice, it should be investigated by the appropriate state and/or national officials .

Florida Statute, Section 104.061(2), specifically states:

104.061 Corruptly influencing voting.

(2) No person shall directly or indirectly give or promise anything of value to another intending thereby to buy that person’s or another’s vote or to corruptly influence that person or another in casting his or her vote. Any person who violates this subsection is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. However, this subsection shall not apply to the serving of food to be consumed at a political rally or meeting or to any item of nominal value which is used as a political advertisement, including a campaign message designed to be worn by a person.

In light of the statutory language, the question is whether the decision to pay the court fines and fees (something “of value”) of 32,000 specific ex-felons (namely Blacks and Latinos) violates this statute? In other words, by focusing on these specific groups, is the payor trying to empower one political party by bribing a certain group of people to vote a certain way? Does the conduct constitute an improper effort to buy votes or to corruptly influence a person in casting his or her vote?

As recently reported by The Washington Post:

Former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg and his team have raised more than $16 million to pay the court fines and fees of nearly 32,000 Black and Hispanic Florida voters with felony convictions, an effort aimed at boosting turnout for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

The money will fund a program organized by the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition to pay the fines, fees and restitution costs for former prisoners who are already registered to vote in Florida but barred by law from participating in the election because of those outstanding debts.

Bloomberg, who has committed at least $100 million to electing Biden in the state, raised the money from individuals and foundations over the past week, his advisers said. He saw the donations as a more cost-effective way of adding votes to the Democratic column than investing money to persuade voters who already have the right to vote, a Bloomberg memo said.

“We have identified a significant vote share that requires a nominal investment,” the memo read. “The data shows that in Florida, Black voters are a unique universe unlike any other voting bloc, where the Democratic support rate tends to be 90%-95%.

As allegedly set forth in the “Bloomberg memo” referenced in The Washington Post article, the decision to help a specific “group” of ex-felons was seemingly intended to help those who would vote for Joe Biden.

While it is unclear whether such conduct is permissible, a January 21, 2016 advisory opinion written by Maria Matthews, Esq., Director of the Division of Elections in Florida, provides some context and guidance. In the advisory opinion, Matthews stated:

“Even the otherwise innocuous offering of an incentive simply to vote could run afoul of section 104.045 or section 104.061, or both, depending on the particular circumstances involved. That is, incentives could be offered to a voter in a way that would be designed to directly or indirectly cause the voter or a larger group of voters to vote in a particular manner.”

Matthews then listed several examples where a person offering incentives to voters simply to vote could possibly violate sections 104.045 and 104.061. One such example is where “incentives to vote might be offered to a group of people known to be registered under a particular party affiliation.” In such a case, Matthews states, “it would be possible that the intent of the person offering the incentives could run afoul of section 104.061(2), Florida Statutes, in a way that would constitute “vote-buying” or corruptly influencing voting.”   

While it is unclear whether the decision to pay the court fines and fees of 32,000 Black and Latino ex-felons violated Florida (or federal) law, it should, and is, being investigated by Florida’s Attorney General and/or the FBI. The risk associated with inaction is simply too great and could and end up costing President Trump the State of Florida, which he must carry come November.

This article is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to solicit business or to provide legal advice. You should not take, or refrain from taking, any legal action based upon the information contained in this article without first seeking professional counsel.

Mr. Hakim is a writer and an attorney.  His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, American Thinker and other online publications.

Twitter: @ThoughtfulGOP

The “New” Convention Theme Is Merely A Ruse to Attract Undecided Voters

i am a good man i am a good man

The Democratic National Convention, which started on Monday, has a new theme – We the People. As reported by The Associated Press, citing Biden campaign co-chair, Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., “The theme tonight is, ‘We the People’ — not, ‘We the Democrats,’ not, ‘We the Black People,’ not, ‘We White People,’ not, ‘We Republicans,’ but ’We the People. There are a bunch of people out there, silent Biden voters, Republicans that want to vote for Biden or will be voting for Biden, and it’s important to let them know they’re not alone.” Despite Cedric’s assurances and the Democrats’ “newly discovered” theme, a review of their policies and/or conduct presents ample evidence that this theme is complete hogwash and is nothing more than a ruse to attract undecided voters.

The trouble with the party’s theme is that it doesn’t correlate with the facts. It is easiest to think about this from the perspective of a trial lawyer. When a trial lawyer prepares a case for trial, the lawyer typically selects a specific theme (or message/story) and tries to establish/support that theme with the facts that he/she is working with. A poorly chosen theme, or one that doesn’t “mesh” with the given facts, can be fatal to the lawyer’s case in the eyes of the jury. Herein lies the problem with the Democrats’ attempts to sell their chosen theme. It simply doesn’t work!

On the first night of the Democratic National Convention, Senator Bernie Sanders stated:

Let me take this opportunity to say a word to the millions of people who supported my campaign this year and in 2016. My friends, thank you for your trust, your support, and the love you showed Jane, me, and our family. Together we have moved this country in a bold new direction, showing that all of us, Black and white, Latino, Native American, Asian American, gay and straight, native-born and immigrant, yearn for a nation based on the principles of justice, love, and compassion. Our campaign ended several months ago. Our movement continues and is getting stronger every day. Many of the ideas we fought for a few years ago were considered radical are now mainstream. But let us be clear. If Donald Trump is reelected, all the progress we have made will be in jeopardy.

Former first lady Michelle Obama also chimed in and stated:

“Let me be as honest and clear as I possibly can. Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country. He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us. It is what it is.”

It is not entirely clear how these messages support the Democrats’ “false” narrative that they are the party for all Americans. Sanders, by his own admission, praises far left progressive/radical policies that clearly don’t resonate with, or help, many Americans (which is why Sanders has failed on numerous occasions to get the Democratic nomination for president). Obama’s message also misses the mark for several reasons. First, Obama’s message was simply an assault on the president, which is not exactly unifying in nature. Second, her message lacked any real discussion of the party’s policies. This, of course, is understandable, given that a discussion of this nature would eviscerate the theme they are trying to “sell.” Finally, it is quite possible that former President Barack Obama’s administration (and some in his FBI) was/were involved in a coordinated effort to spy on Trump’s campaign. Such purported violations of privacy and individual liberty do not support Michelle Obama’s message of unity by way of “going high,” but reflect an “anything goes” method of “leadership,” which should concern all Americans.

The fact that Democrats want the American public to buy into their “new” theme is insulting to all Americans. After all, it was Democrats who encouraged and pushed the fake Russia investigation by Robert Mueller which ended up costing nearly $32 million. It was Democrats who pursued a baseless and politically driven impeachment that cost taxpayers over $3 million and, in essence, shut down Congress for quite some time. In 2019, it was the Democrats who were willing to allow the government shutdown to continue while hundreds of thousands of workers were furloughed or working without pay. Democrats did this all because President Trump wanted money to fund a border wall to make the country more secure. More generally, it was the Democrats who opposed President Trump’s decision to close the borders during the coronavirus outbreak despite the risks associated with inaction. It is also the Democrats that have promoted violent protests, free healthcare and college (including for those who are in the country illegally), a green new deal, and relaxed licensing requirements for illegal immigrants seeking work (which would take away jobs from U.S. citizens and lawful immigrants).

These examples (which are by no means exhaustive) are instructive, nonetheless. Viewed together, they paint a picture of a party in Washington whose far-left policies are unaffordable, unsustainable, dangerous, and put American citizens last. While some of the ideas might sound “appealing” in theory, they will almost certainly result in the loss of jobs, high unemployment, more bankruptcies, higher crime rates, uncontrolled borders, unaffordable taxes, and chaos. Simply stated, these policies will hurt many Americans.

Since the day that President Trump was elected, Democrats in Washington have implemented and promoted policies that have hurt the American public financially and otherwise. Their theme was never about unifying the country and doing what was best for all Americans. Rather, the party’s real theme was, and continues to be, removing the president at all costs.

The party’s attempt(s) to “change direction” by implementing a new theme is just a desperate attempt to reel in voters. Americans, who are very smart, must not fall victim to this ruse. Hopefully, come November, they make this point loud and clear.

Mr. Hakim is a writer, commentator and a practicing attorney.  His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, The Epoch Times, The Western Journal, American Thinker and other online publications.

Twitter: @ThoughtfulGOP



With Virtual School, Parents have an Opportunity to “Check” Teachers with a Political Agenda

photo of child sitting by the table while looking at the imac
Photo by Julia M Cameron on

The start of the new school year is right around the corner and many parents are concerned about the fact that their children will, once again, be learning in a “virtual” environment due to concerns related to the coronavirus. While the concept of “virtual” learning poses many challenges to students and parents, it also provides a much-needed opportunity to “equal the playing field” in a traditionally left-wing learning environment. More particularly, virtual learning allows parents to listen to what their children are learning, thereby serving as a “check” on teachers who try to use the classroom as a medium to promote their political opinions and agendas.

Most teachers are wonderful people who serve an invaluable role in our children’s lives. Many also tend to support left-wing candidates and/or describe themselves as Democrats. Unfortunately, in today’s polarized political environment, many teachers do not hesitate to impose their political opinions/agendas on their students, who oftentimes feel like they have to acquiesce. By way of example, shortly after President Trump was elected, a middle school teacher refused to include a slide of Trump during a class discussion of the nation’s presidents. Of course, the teacher had no problem including slides of former President Obama and all of the other former presidents. To this teacher, Trump was simply too controversial and, therefore, unnecessary. On another occasion, a teacher encouraged his young students to read sources like the New York Times, NPR and the Washington Post, which the teacher deemed “neutral,” “mainstream,” and with “minimal partisan bias.”

In the traditional classroom, parents typically rely on their children to tell them what they are learning. While some children are happy to share this information, many others choose not to do so. As a result, parents do not necessarily know what their children’s teachers are saying in the classroom.

There are some teachers who keep politics out of the classroom, which is where it belongs. Sadly, however, there are many others who don’t. Some examples can be found here. Moreover, as reported by The Hill, some teachers have also discriminated or retaliated against conservative students who did not support their liberal ideologies. This is not difficult to imagine in light of the perceived power and control that a teacher has over a student.

The virtual learning environment changes this dynamic somewhat. As reported by Fox News, Matthew Kay, who teaches English at the Science Leadership Academy, tweeted:

“So, this fall, virtual class discussion will have many potential spectators — parents, siblings, etc. — in the same room. We’ll never be quite sure who is overhearing the discourse. What does this do for our equity/inclusion work? How much have students depended on the (somewhat) secure barriers of our physical classrooms to encourage vulnerability? How many of us have installed some version of ‘what happens here stays here’ to help this?”

“While conversations about race are in my wheelhouse, and remain a concern in this no-walls environment — I am most intrigued by the damage that ‘helicopter/snowplow’ parents can do in the host conversations about gender/sexuality. And while ‘conservative’ parents are my chief concern — I know that the damage can come from the left too. If we are engaged in the messy work of destabilizing a kid’s racism or homophobia or transphobia — how much do we want their classmates’ parents piling on?”

Herein lies the problem. With all due respect to Kay and many other educators, it is not their place to “teach” our children about such things as homophobia, transphobia, and sexuality. It is also not their role to sharply criticize President Trump, to promote/encourage his impeachment and/or removal, to bolster Joe Biden and his “policies,” and/or to saturate the classroom with their social and political interpretations, definitions, and opinions.

While the same argument holds true for those teachers who promote conservative policies and/or publicly voice support for President Trump in the classroom, these teachers oftentimes face disciplinary action that their left-wing counterparts don’t. High school teacher and coach Justin Kucera’s story is a timely, yet unfortunate, reminder of this. As reported by Glenn Beck, Kucera, who was liked by most students, had no disciplinary action while teaching, and taught social studies in an apolitical way, was fired after tweeting, “I’m done being silent. Trump is our president.”

Fortunately, the online learning environment presents an opportunity for parents to observe and/or listen to what their kids are being told. Unlike the traditional brick and mortar learning environment, where many parents are in the dark about what their kids are learning, the online learning environment provides parents with the opportunity to “check” those teachers who try to use the classroom as a megaphone to promote their political ideologies.

This type of conduct is unacceptable and should not occur in the classroom. Parents put their trust in those who teach their children. In doing so, they expect the teachers and faculty to remain neutral, professional, and to refrain from directly or indirectly pushing/promoting their political agendas/opinions on their students. Teachers are not there to serve as political pundits and/or arms for their respective political party. They should not impose their positions/opinions on young and impressionable children who won’t dare talk back and/or disagree with them.

When this happens, parents must step in. Fortunately, the virtual learning environment puts parents in a better position to do so when necessary.

Mr. Hakim is a writer and a practicing attorney.  His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, The Western Journal, American Thinker and other online publications.

Twitter: @ThoughtfulGOP

Will Judge Sullivan Be Removed From The Michael Flynn Case?

Lincoln Statue, Historic Courthouse, Dc Courts

When the Department of Justice decided to drop the case against former national security advisor Michael Flynn, the case, for all intent and purposes, should have been dismissed by the presiding judge. Unfortunately, rather than dismissing the case, federal district judge Emmet Sullivan issued an order inviting third party groups to file amicus briefs regarding the Department’s decision to drop the case. The judge’s decision was ultimately overturned by a three-judge appeals court panel. Again, rather than simply dismissing the case, Judge Sullivan filed a petition for rehearing for an en banc review by the full court for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, agreed to hear oral arguments on August 11, 2020. Initially, the court agreed to hear arguments regarding the writ of mandamus. However, on August 5, 2020, the court entered another order directing the parties to be ready to address the applicability of several statutory provisions relating to the issue of judicial impartiality. Given the court’s recent order and Judge Sullivan’s role/conduct in Flynn’s case to date, there is a strong argument that he should be removed/disqualified from this case.

According to 28 U.S. Code §455:

(a) Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.

(b) He shall also disqualify himself in the following circumstances:

(1) Where he has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party, or personal                    knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding;

(5) He or his spouse, or a person within the third degree of relationship to  either             of them, or the spouse of such a person:

(i) Is a party to the proceeding, or an officer, director, or trustee of a Party.


The language of this statue is clear and compels a judge to disqualify him/herself under certain circumstances. More particularly, subsection (a) compels disqualification when the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned. While this does not require certainty, it will likely require a detailed and fact-specific analysis by the court as to whether the judge’s conduct, etc. made it reasonable to question his impartiality in Flynn’s case. Various Circuits have interpreted this provision differently. For example, some, but not all, Circuits have held that close questions should be decided in favor of disqualification.

Subsection (b) of the statute is much clearer and compels disqualification if the judge is a party to the proceeding. According to Section (d), the term “proceeding” includes pretrial, trial, appellate review, or other stages of litigation.

In light of this language, there is a question as to whether Judge Sullivan made himself a “party” to the lawsuit when he filed the Petition for Rehearing. In other words, by filing the petition, Flynn’s counsel could very well argue that Judge Sullivan injected himself into the case as a party, thereby cementing his immediate disqualification in Flynn’s case. As a matter of fact, Judge Sullivan also appears to be named as a “party” in the court’s recent Order and is allotted 20 minutes to present oral arguments. Therefore, if judge Sullivan is deemed to be a party, disqualification is mandatary pursuant to (b)(5)(i).

The court’s August 5, 2020 order added a new wrinkle to this already convoluted case. By ordering the parties to address the issue of judicial impartiality and disqualification, the court could rule on the issue of mandamus and/or also decide that Judge Sullivan should be removed from the case because he is a party to the proceeding and/or because his partiality can reasonably be questioned.

Hopefully, the court issues its ruling in relatively quick fashion. Until then, Michael Flynn’s freedom continues to hang in the balance.

This article is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to solicit business or to provide legal advice. You should not take, or refrain from taking, any legal action based upon the information contained in this article without first seeking professional counsel.  

Mr. Hakim is a writer, commentator, and a practicing attorney.  His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, The Epoch Times, The Western Journal, American Thinker, and other online publications.  

Twitter: @ThoughtfulGOP; Facebook: @ThougtfullyConservative

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Biden’s “pledge” to fix race-relations is stymied by his record and the president’s accomplishments


Shortly after President Trump delivered a historic speech in front of Mount Rushmore on Friday night, presidential hopeful Joe Biden released an Independence Day video message of his own focusing, in part, on racial issues. In his message, Biden pledged to end systemic racism and blamed the president for the divisiveness within the United States. The trouble, of course, is that Biden’s “quest” and commitment to fix race relations is significantly tainted because of his record and the president’s many successes with regard to black Americans. In essence, Biden’s “quest” to “fix” race relations only seems to apply when he is not engaged in the very wrong that he allegedly wants to correct.

According to Biden, his election in November would give the country the opportunity to “rip the roots of systemic racism out of this country.” Moreover, in a separate opinion piece published by NBC News, Biden blamed Trump for the division in the country. In essence, Biden is asking the American people to believe that he is their savior, the “messiah” who will unite the nation and bring all people together in peace, love, and harmony.

While Biden wants the American public to buy into his “pledge” to end/reduce racism throughout the country, he is, once again, haunted by his record. For example, according to Business Insider, citing a NY Times story, in 1977, Biden made very controversial remarks relating to busing and racial issues and was one of the Senate’s most vocal opponents to court-ordered busing. At a congressional hearing about anti-busing legislation, Biden stated:

Unless we do something about this, my children are going to grow up in a jungle, the jungle being a racial jungle with tensions having built so high that it is going to explode at some point. We have got to make some move on this.”

According to Business Insider, Biden was concerned that court-ordered busing would lead to a “race war” and cause resentment among black and white statements:

“You take people who aren’t racist, people who are good citizens, who believe in equal education and opportunity, and you stunt their children’s intellectual growth by busing them to an inferior school, and you’re going to fill them with hatred,” he said of a busing plan that would bus white students from the suburbs to urban schools.

He extended his concerns to a hypothetical black student from Wilmington too, wondering, “you send him to Alexis I. DuPont, bus him through Centerville every day, then send him back to the ghetto. How can he be encouraged to love his white brothers?”

Is this what Biden means by “fixing” race-relations?

Aside from these controversial and divisive comments, Biden’s record is marred by other such comments and/or examples. As reported by the Washington Examiner:

Biden told a largely black audience in Virginia during President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign that Republican candidate Mitt Romney was “going to put you all back in chains” should he win the election. And prior to Obama’s election to the White House, Biden called Obama the “first mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.”

“I mean, that’s a storybook, man,” Biden said at the time.

In 2019, Biden told a group of his supporters that “poor kids” were just as clever and talented as “white kids.” Finally, during a recent interview, Biden, in essence, told black voters how they should behave. According to Fox News, Biden stated, “I tell you if you’ve got a problem figuring out if you’re for me or for Trump, then you ain’t black.” This comment immediately faced backlash, leading a Biden aide to abruptly try to end the interview.

These examples cast serious doubt about the notion that Biden intends to “rip the roots” out of systemic racism and/or fix race relations. To the contrary, they are all controversial and directly relate to race-relations and/or stereotypes that he associates with different races. Rather than serving to calm emotions, they inflame and incite anger and resentment. However, Biden is stuck because his record speaks for itself. He is like a deponent who testifies under oath and later tries to change his answers because they do not fit a particular narrative/story. Unfortunately for Biden, he cannot take back his comments.

Further adding to Biden’s troubling record and his “pledge” to end systemic racism and/or fix race relations is the fact that President Trump, for example, has dramatically helped black Americans. More particularly, according to Newsmax, Trump signed the First Step Act into law, where 91% of the total inmates released have been Black Americans! President Trump also provided funding for historically black colleges and universities, reduced unemployment levels for black men and women to their lowest levels in modern history (the coronavirus has obviously impacted these employment numbers), and reduced dependency on food stamps by black Americans by encouraging (and helping) them to work.

Last Friday, after the U.S. Navy Blue Angels dazzled the thousands of onlookers, President Trump addressed the nation in front of Mount Rushmore, denounced “far-left fascism,” and defended Judeo-Christian principles.

His opponent, on the other hand, merely sent a video in hopes of garnering support and erasing a record that will stick with him long after the November elections have come and gone.

Mr. Hakim is a writer, commentator and a practicing attorney.  His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, The Epoch Times, The Western Journal, American Thinker and other online publications.

Twitter: @ThoughtfulGOP

FB: @ThoughtfullyConservative

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The Supreme Court Will Decide Whether The House Judiciary Committee Is Entitled To Mueller’s Underlying Grand Jury Material


The Supreme Court recently agreed to hear a case whereby it would decide whether the House Judiciary Committee is entitled to see the underlying/secret grand jury documents relative to the Robert Mueller report. Despite requests by various Democrats, this information was withheld when the Muller report was released. If the Supreme Court permits the House Judiciary Committee to see the grand jury documents in this case, the decision could have far-reaching and negative implications on future presidents.

In 2019, the Committee filed a petition to obtain the underlying grand jury material. At the time, Jerry Nadler, the Committee Chair, advised that the grand jury documents were necessary because the Committee was considering “whether to exercise its full Article I powers, including a constitutional duty, power of the utmost gravity, a recommendation of articles of impeachment.” The petition also asserted that “articles of impeachment are under consideration as part of the Committee’s investigation, although no final determination has been made.”

Grand jury information is generally protected from disclosure. Specifically, Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e) prohibits the public release of documents and testimony presented to the grand jury. The policy against such disclosure revolves around the need to protect the secrecy of the grand jury proceedings, prevent those who are being investigated from leaving the area (fleeing), ensuring full cooperation from witnesses and protecting those who are innocent from unnecessary and unjustified prosecution.

However, as is common in the law, there are exceptions. Specifically, as set forth in a 2019 report prepared by the Congressional Research Service, a court may authorize disclosure of grand jury matters “preliminarily to or in connection with a judicial proceeding.” Some courts have found that this exception is triggered when Congress requests grand jury materials in the context of impeachment proceedings.

The question, then, is whether potential impeachment proceedings fall within this exception. Some courts have held that a House investigation preliminary to impeachment falls within this exception. Of course, in this case, there is no pending impeachment and the impeachment that Democrats pursued against the president failed, thereby rendering their request for the grand jury documents moot. Therefore, the request cannot be construed as “preliminary” to impeachment, as no impeachment exists and the original impeachment for which the documents were sought is over.

Democrats, on the other hand, contend that they are still entitled to the material. Specifically, as reported by the Washington Examiner, Democratic counsel Douglas Letter wrote to the Supreme Court and stated:

“If this material reveals new evidence supporting the conclusion that President Trump committed impeachable offenses that are not covered by the Articles adopted by the House, the Committee will proceed accordingly — including, if necessary, by considering whether to recommend new articles of impeachment.”

Of course, to obtain the material, the House would need to establish a “particularized need” for the material and to show that the need outweighed the public interest in secrecy, as was the case in the Richard Nixon impeachment.

The Supreme Court’s eventual ruling will have far-reaching implications for future presidents. In the case involving President Trump, there was no evidence of any impeachable conduct relating to the Russia investigation. In addition, the materials were sought preliminary to an impeachment that has already been completed. Therefore, the request is, arguably, moot.

In essence, House Democrats are asking the Supreme Court to give them the green light to override the secrecy of grand jury materials/information on the basis of a supposed “impeachment inquiry” that stems solely from their hatred of the president and their desire to remove him from office. There is no pending impeachment. There is only a burning desire to remove the president. If the Supreme Court agrees with this position, future presidents could face a similar fate whereby the controlling party in the House decides to open an “impeachment inquiry” simply because the party does not like the president.

This is a very risky precedent to set.

This article is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to solicit business or to provide legal advice. You should not take, or refrain from taking, any legal action based upon the information contained in this article without first seeking professional counsel.

Mr. Hakim is a political writer and commentator and an attorney.  His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, The Algemeiner, The Western Journal, American Thinker and other online publications.

Twitter: @ThoughtfulGOP

FB: @ThoughtfullyConservative


Could the Proceeds from John Bolton’s Book Sales be up for Grabs?  


A federal judge recently allowed the publication of John Bolton’s book to proceed although it likely contains classified information. The Justice Department sought an injunction and a temporary restraining order to prevent Bolton from releasing his book. However, the judge denied the motion, finding that the government failed to establish that an injunction would prevent “irreparable harm” given the number of copies that had already been distributed. However, although Bolton was permitted to proceed with publication, the government may still be able to pursue/claim the profits from Bolton’s book sales.

According to the Judge Royce Lamberth, who presided over the injunction hearing, “Defendant Bolton has gambled with the national security of the United States. He has exposed his country to harm and himself to civil (and potentially criminal) liability.” In other words, Bolton could still face possible legal exposure as a result of his actions.

Putting aside the potential criminal liability (if any exists), Bolton could also face civil liability. After all, Bolton, the former national security advisor to President Trump, was privy to highly classified information, some of which was top-secret, and was likely required to go through a clearance process before publishing the information. As reported by CNN, citing Attorney General William Barr:

“People who come to work in the government and have access to sensitive information generally sign an agreement that says when they leave government, if they write something that draws on or might reflect some of the information they’ve head access to, they have to go through a clearance process before they can publish the book. We don’t think Bolton has gone through that process, hasn’t completed that process.”

While the Court denied the government’s effort to enjoin Bolton from publishing his book, a relatively old Supreme Court case could potentially help the government in a civil lawsuit.

In Snepp v. United States, Snepp, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agent, published a book about certain CIA activities in South Vietnam without submitting it to the CIA for prepublication review and despite having signed an agreement as a condition of his employment promising that he would “not . . . publish . . . any information or material relating to the Agency, its activities or intelligence activities generally, either during or after the term of [his] employment . . . without specific prior approval by the Agency..”

When Snepp subsequently published the book, the government sued him for, among other things, breach of contract, where a federal district court imposed a constructive trust on his proceeds from his book and prohibited Snepp from publishing anything in the future without first submitting it for review. On appeal, the federal appeals court overturned the lower court’s imposition of a constructive trust and limited the recovery to whatever nominal and punitive damages could be proven at trial.

The case eventually made it up to the Supreme Court, which, among other things, re-imposed the constructive trust against Snepp. Specifically, the court explained:

A constructive trust, on the other hand, protects both the Government and the former agent from unwarranted risks. This remedy is the natural and customary consequence of a breach of trust. It deals fairly with both parties by conforming relief to the dimensions of the wrong. If the agent secures prepublication clearance, he can publish with no fear of liability. If the agent publishes unreviewed material in violation of his fiduciary and contractual obligation, the trust remedy simply requires him to disgorge the benefits of his faithlessness. Since the remedy is swift and sure, it is tailored to deter those who would place sensitive information at risk. And since the remedy reaches only funds attributable to the breach, it cannot saddle the former agent with exemplary damages out of all proportion to his gain. The decision of the Court of Appeals would deprive the Government of this equitable and effective means of protecting intelligence that may contribute to national security. We therefore reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals insofar as it refused to impose a constructive trust on Snepp’s profits.

In other words, given the agreement that Snepp signed, his fiduciary and contractual obligations, and the fact that he failed to comply with these obligations by publishing information about the CIA without obtaining the requisite pre-publication review, Snepp was forced to give up the proceeds/profits from his book.

Bolton’s publisher has asserted that Bolton has cooperated with the pre-publication review and that Bolton has a First Amendment right to tell his story of his time in the White House. However, as reported by Fox News, at the injunction hearing, “the judge indicated that the government’s case against Bolton was ultimately likely to succeed on its merits.” While Bolton could have sued the government, the judge noted, he sought “unilateral fast-tracking” that “carried the benefit of publicity and sales, and the cost of substantial risk exposure” instead. More particularly, the judge stated:

“This was Bolton’s bet: if he is right and the book does not contain classified information, he keeps the upside mentioned above; but if he is wrong, he stands to lose his profits from the book deal, exposes himself to criminal liability, and imperils national security. Bolton was wrong.”

Eventually, Bolton will learn whether or not he made the right “bet.”

This article is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to solicit business or to provide legal advice. You should not take, or refrain from taking, any legal action based upon the information contained in this article without first seeking professional counsel.

Mr. Hakim is a political writer and commentator and an attorney.  His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, The Algemeiner, The Western Journal, American Thinker and other online publications.

Twitter: @ThoughtfulGOP

Parler and Facebook: @ThoughtfullyConservative

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