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View Full Version : Robert Novak's 2008 article on Soicitor Gen'l Paul Clement drama in Heller...


bwiese
01-11-2010, 9:23 AM
The late Bob Novak wrote this, just 2 months before Heller was handed down (article quoted below) about (now-former) Solicitor General Paul Clement.




http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/12/AR2008031203396.html?hpid%3Dopinionsbox1&sub=ARDahlia Lithwick, legal analyst for Slate, offered this commentary on Clement (and other issues raised in the Novak article), not enough room to include. I think some of her analysis is a bit off and Novak is closer to the mark but they do both echo each other in part.

http://www.slate.com/id/2185927/



Gun Battle at the White House? Robert D. Novak
Thursday, March 13 2008

In preparation for oral arguments Tuesday on the extent of gun rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment, the U.S. Supreme Court has before it a brief signed by Vice President Cheney opposing the Bush administration's stance. Even more remarkably, Cheney is faithfully reflecting the views of President Bush.

The government position filed with the Supreme Court by U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement stunned gun advocates by opposing the breadth of an appellate court's affirmation of individual ownership rights. The Justice Department, not the vice president, is out of order. But if Bush agrees with Cheney, why did the president not simply order Clement to revise his brief? The answers: disorganization and weakness in the eighth year of his presidency.

Consequently, a Republican administration finds itself aligned against the most popular tenet of social conservatism: gun rights, which enjoy much wider agreement than do opposition to abortion or gay marriage. Promises in two presidential campaigns are being abandoned, and Bush finds himself to the left of even Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama.

The 1976 D.C. statute prohibiting ownership of all functional firearms was called unconstitutional a year ago in an opinion by Senior Judge Laurence Silberman, a conservative who has served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit for 22 years. It was assumed that Bush would fight Mayor Adrian Fenty's appeal.

The president and his senior staff were stunned to learn, on the day it was issued, that Clement's petition called on the high court to return the case to the appeals court. The solicitor general argued that Silberman's opinion supporting individual gun rights was so broad that it would endanger federal gun control laws such as the bar on owning machine guns. The president could have ordered a revised brief by Clement. But facing congressional Democratic pressure to keep his hands off the Justice Department, Bush did not act.

Cheney did join 55 senators and 250 House members in signing a brief supporting the Silberman ruling. Although this unprecedented vice presidential intervention was widely interpreted as a dramatic breakaway from the White House, longtime associates could not believe that Cheney would defy the president. In fact, he did not. Bush approved what Cheney did in his constitutional role as president of the Senate.

That has not lessened puzzlement over Clement, a 41-year-old conservative Washington lawyer who clerked for Silberman and later for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Clement has tried to explain his course to the White House by claiming that he feared Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Supreme Court's current swing vote, would join a liberal majority on gun rights if forced to rule on Silberman's opinion.

The more plausible explanation for Clement's stance is that he could not resist opposition to individual gun rights by career lawyers in the Justice Department's Criminal Division (who clashed with the Office of Legal Counsel in a heated internal struggle). Newly installed Attorney General Michael Mukasey, a neophyte at Justice, was unaware of the conflict and learned about Clement's position only after it had been locked in.

A majority of both houses in the Democratic-controlled Congress are on record as being against the District's gun prohibition. So are 31 states, with only five (New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey and Hawaii) in support. Sen. Barack Obama has weighed in against the D.C. law, asserting that the Constitution confers an individual right to bear arms -- not just collective authority to form militias.

This popular support for gun rights is not reflected by an advantage in the oral arguments to take place Tuesday. Former solicitor general Walter Dellinger, an old hand at arguing before the Supreme Court, will make the case for the gun prohibition. Opposing counsel Alan Gura, making his first appearance before the high court, does not have the confidence of gun-ownership advocates (who tried to replace him with former solicitor general Ted Olson).

The cause needs help from Clement during his 15-minute oral argument, but it won't get it if he reiterates his written brief. The word was passed in government circles this week that Clement would amend his position when he actually faces the justices -- which would be an odd ending to bizarre behavior by the Justice Department.

[* * * *]

jdberger
01-11-2010, 9:28 AM
Opposing counsel Alan Gura, making his first appearance before the high court, does not have the confidence of gun-ownership advocates (who tried to replace him with former solicitor general Ted Olson).

Reeeeeeeeally now......he didn't? Maybe Novak should have spent more time reading CGN. ;)

wildhawker
01-11-2010, 10:06 AM
@jdberger: They must have been reading the NRA-ILA blogs...

ETA: Bill, this did nothing to soothe the heartburn I have for this issue.

bwiese
01-11-2010, 10:09 AM
@jdberger: They must have been reading the NRA-ILA blogs...

ETA: Bill, this did nothing to soothe the heartburn I have for this issue.

I never said it would, just wanted to bring up some partial background.
Thank goodness for Cheney.

navyinrwanda
01-11-2010, 11:36 AM
Has Clement ever told his side of this story?

6172crew
01-11-2010, 12:02 PM
Novak is a propaganda master, he uses small parts out of a story to get you to see his way. He has been the main source of info for anti-gun law makers in CA.

He wants everyone who owns firearms to have a valid ID card saying you are a gun owner. I don't read his blogs anymore because I can't help but to reply to junk he writes.

I also here he has mental issues, my son who is on the Autisim spectrum has a hard time with reason as well.

If any of these rumors are un-true let me know and I will delete them or admit I am wrong.

jdberger
01-11-2010, 12:13 PM
Novak is a propaganda master, he uses small parts out of a story to get you to see his way. He has been the main source of info for anti-gun law makers in CA.

He wants everyone who owns firearms to have a valid ID card saying you are a gun owner. I don't read his blogs anymore because I can't help but to reply to junk he writes.

I also here he has mental issues, my son who is on the Autisim spectrum has a hard time with reason as well.

If any of these rumors are un-true let me know and I will delete them or admit I am wrong.

Wrong Novak.

You're thinking Nowick. (http://www.calccw.com/Forums/legal/4893-noted-california-expert-irwin-nowick-heller.html)

DedEye
01-11-2010, 12:14 PM
Novak is a propaganda master, he uses small parts out of a story to get you to see his way. He has been the main source of info for anti-gun law makers in CA.

He wants everyone who owns firearms to have a valid ID card saying you are a gun owner. I don't read his blogs anymore because I can't help but to reply to junk he writes.

I also here he has mental issues, my son who is on the Autisim spectrum has a hard time with reason as well.

If any of these rumors are un-true let me know and I will delete them or admit I am wrong.

The author of this article is the late pundit Robert Novak. You seem to be referring to Irwin Nowick.

bwiese
01-11-2010, 12:16 PM
Novak is a propaganda master, he uses small parts out of a story to get you to see his way. He has been the main source of info for anti-gun law makers in CA.

He wants everyone who owns firearms to have a valid ID card saying you are a gun owner. I don't read his blogs anymore because I can't help but to reply to junk he writes.

I also here he has mental issues, my son who is on the Autisim spectrum has a hard time with reason as well.

6172,

Let's clarify - two different people.

The late Robert Novak (died last year of cancer) was a conservative journalist/commentator in Washington, DC area.

Irwin Nowick is a Sacramento, CA fixture in the Dem party, wrote details of a ton of our gun laws over the last two decads. I believe he's still a legislative aide, forgot for whom - he has a permanent job there given his family has a lotta $$$ into the Dem party.

hoffmang
01-11-2010, 10:59 PM
I do not like the precedent. We are making it clear that no matter how hard you hurt gun rights you can be hired by our side...

-Gene

sholling
01-11-2010, 11:44 PM
The late Bob Novak wrote this, just 2 months before Heller was handed down (article quoted below) about (now-former) Solicitor General Paul Clement.
Thank you for posting this. Now someone should send certified letters to the NRA board with copies of the article or perhaps we all should. Just a thought.

Mitch
01-12-2010, 6:39 AM
The government position filed with the Supreme Court by U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement stunned gun advocates by opposing the breadth of an appellate court's affirmation of individual ownership rights. The Justice Department, not the vice president, is out of order. But if Bush agrees with Cheney, why did the president not simply order Clement to revise his brief? The answers: disorganization and weakness in the eighth year of his presidency.

You'd expect Novak to say something like this.

The truth of the matter is simpler: Bush never gave a rat's *** about gun rights for ordinary Americans.

If someone can show me tangible evidence to the contrary, I would be grateful.

GuyW
01-12-2010, 8:03 AM
The truth of the matter is simpler: Bush never gave a rat's *** about gun rights for ordinary Americans.

If someone can show me tangible evidence to the contrary, I would be grateful.

He signed pro-gun legislation in Texas, he allowed the federal assault weapon ban to expire...

.

CHS
01-12-2010, 9:10 AM
he allowed the federal assault weapon ban to expire...


Uhhh, no he didn't. The renewal never made it to his desk. He had nothing to do with it. In fact, he stated that he would sign a renewal IF it made it to his desk.

bwiese
01-12-2010, 9:55 AM
Clarification of misinformation above:

- Bush said he'd renew AW ban if it came to his desk, but had Karl Rove make that not happen.

- Bush signed and helped drive PLCAA - absolutely vital key bill of decade.

Mitch
01-12-2010, 12:52 PM
He signed pro-gun legislation in Texas, he allowed the federal assault weapon ban to expire....

Dunno about Texas, and he had nothing whatever to do with the AWB expiration, which was written into the 1994 legislation. On the other hand, he publicly proclaimed he would sign an extension if it came across his desk.

Our hero.

press1280
01-12-2010, 1:32 PM
Dunno about Texas, and he had nothing whatever to do with the AWB expiration, which was written into the 1994 legislation. On the other hand, he publicly proclaimed he would sign an extension if it came across his desk.

Our hero.

He did put Alito and Roberts on SCOTUS. That made the biggest difference of all.