Fisher’s Defense Of Pence Policies Cost Him 7th Circuit Bid

first_imgMarilyn Odendahl FOR WWW.THEINDIANALAWYER.COM Behind-the-scenes maneuvering by the Trump Administration to elevate Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher to a seat on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals was apparently quashed by Vice President Mike Pence, according to a story published online Friday by Politico.According to the article, the White House counsel’s office, lead by then-attorney Don McGahn, wanted Judge Michael Kanne to retire so his seat could be filled by a younger conservative judge. In January 2018, conversations began with Kanne, now 80.The Indiana native told Politico that he told the White House he would consider taking senior status if Fisher — his former law clerk — was nominated as his replacement. However, Pence derailed the effort because, according to Politico, he did not want a public rehashing of the social-conservative controversies his administration was embroiled in during his time as Indiana governor.Contacted by Indiana Lawyer, Fisher declined to comment on the story and Kanne did not return a phone call.“I had not intended to take senior status because that wasn’t my plan, but if I had a former clerk who had the chance to do it, then I would,” Kanne said in an interview, Politico reported. “On the consideration that he would be named, I sent in my senior status indication to the president.” The article says Kanne withdrew his senior status request after the deal soured.Politico reported that according to five people familiar with the plans, “Pence’s aides got wind of the plan and scuttled Fisher’s nomination.” The report further said “neither McGahn nor his deputies had consulted with the vice president’s office before striking the tentative deal with Kanne, a breach of protocol that rankled Pence and his aides.”Fisher joined the Indiana Attorney General’s office in 2001 and became the state’s first solicitor general in 2005. A graduate of Wabash College and Indiana University Maurer School of Law, Fisher had the challenge of establishing the duties and responsibilities of solicitor general.“I didn’t want this to be a position that becomes in any way identified with me in the future,” Fisher said in a 2008 article for the Wabash College alumni magazine. “I just want this to be a solid stable position that has a well-defined role within the office. I’ll do the best I can to map that out and develop it even more.”As solicitor general, Fisher is often before Indiana and federal appellate courts defending the state’s laws or policies. He was often out front, defending the Pence administration’s most controversial policies and sometimes enduring withering attacks from the judges of the 7th Circuit.In 2014, Indiana appealed the overturning of its ban on same-sex marriage and Fisher unsuccessfully argued the state’s case at the 7th Circuit. Now-retired 7th Circuit Judge Richard Posner, in particular, was skeptical and kept pushing the solicitor general on how the ban was hurting the children in same-sex families.“What horrible stuff,” Posner said to Fisher during oral arguments in the case. What benefits to society in barring gay marriage, he asked, “outweighs that kind of damage to children?”Fisher tangled with Posner when the Pence Administration tried to ban Syrian refugees from being settled in Indiana.At one point, Posner quarried Fisher, “Are Syrians the only Muslims Indiana fears?” Fisher responded, “This has nothing to do with religion” which caused Posner to retort, “Oh, of course it does.” The two then engaged in a heated exchange for which Fisher was admonished for arguing over Posner.“Attempting to argue over a judge is not a productive method of argument,” Posner’s fellow panelist, Judge Frank Easterbrook, advised Fisher.The Religious Freedom Restoration Act that Pence singed in 2015 ignited a national firestorm when it was widely interpreted as allowing discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community. Legal scholars, including several professors from Indiana law schools, warned of the potential consequences of RFRA, and Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law had to cancel the annual Birch Bayh Lecture when the speaker declined to appear because of RFRA.Fisher was never called upon to defend the law. The Indiana General Assembly quickly adopted an amendment that was touted as fixing RFRA, but the legal community believed the courts would still have to grapple with issues raised by the law.Also, the fix apparently put Pence in hot water with religious conservatives.Pence was tapped to be vice president in the summer of 2016, but Fisher has continued to defend the former administration.As governor, Pence signed the House Enrolled Act 1337 in 2016, which limited access to abortion. The ACLU of Indiana and Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky filed two separate lawsuits challenging different provisions in the law.PPINK and the ACLU argued in the first lawsuit that HEA 1337 violated the Constitution by placing a prohibition against terminating a pregnancy because of the race, gender or genetic anomaly and by requiring that fetal remains be either buried or cremated. In the second complaint, the nonprofits asserted the law’s requirement that women seeking an abortion have an ultrasound at least 18 hours prior to the procedure created an undue burden.Fisher represented Indiana’s position when the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana blocked key provisions from being enacted. The 7th Circuit affirmed the district court’s rulings but in a per curiam decision, the Supreme Court of United States upheld the fetal disposition provision of HEA 1337.Fisher previously was among 15 applicants interviewed for a seat on the Indiana Supreme Court in 2016, but he was not among the three finalists the Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission presented to Pence for his appointment. Pence appointed Geoffrey Slaughter to the bench, replacing retired Justice Brent Dickson. FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

Kentucky National Guard Maintenance Team visits Ecuadorean Military

first_imgBy Story by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Alexa Becerra, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment June 29, 2018 The Ecuadorean military hosted a team of soldiers from the Kentucky National Guard, June 3-9, 2018, during a military-to-military event through the State Partnership Program (SPP). The event focused on vehicle maintenance procedures, involved a visit to maintenance shops at an Army base in the capital, Quito, and also a marine base in Guayaquil. The Kentucky National Guard has been partnered with Ecuador since 1996, and has collaborated in more than 70 missions in both countries. The partnership is enhanced by conducting exchanges focusing on military and civilian best practices in areas which include: air and land forces interoperability, disaster management, professional development, engineering, aviation, medical support, and communications. “This trip re-establishes the partnership with the Ecuadorean military,” said Capt. Eric Green, operations officer at the 149th Brigade Support Battalion and assistant superintendent for the Maneuver Area Training Equipment Site. “Our focus was to assess the status of the Army and Marine Corps maintenance and supply programs, while introducing them to new equipment and systems.” “This visit means to revive cooperative relations between the military institutions of both countries regarding the aspects of doctrine, techniques, in the determination of needs and processes of obtaining the necessary spare parts, and also the execution of the maintenance plan for the HMMWV vehicles,” said Ecuadorean Army Lt. Col. Milton Sanchez, commander of the Maintenance Battalion. The Kentucky Guard maintenance team conducted training on preventative maintenance, plans, and shop procedures with the mechanics and leadership of the Logistics Command Reino de Quit” No. 25. With SPP, the Ecuadorean military has the ability to purchase U.S. products through a Letter of Request. “The support we receive when it comes to technical knowledge is extremely beneficial,” said Ecuadorean Army Staff Sgt. Manuel Calvopina Soto, mechanic for the Logistics Command. “For example, knowing we have the ability to restore several vehicles we thought were dead-lined assists us greatly, thanks to the team’s expertise.” According to U.S. Army Maj. Jamie Carta, coordinator of SPP in Kentucky, cooperative training exercises such as this and key leadership engagements help service members learn from each other and build lasting relationships that will continue to build forces for the future. “This visit was very productive because it allowed both our militaries to come together and determine a proper form of executing the maintenance and operability of our vehicles,” said Lt. Col. Sanchez. “The vision we have for this partnership is to become a model of cooperation between our military technical institutions that will allow the successful recovery of American tactical vehicles.” The guardsmen left confident in meeting the intent of their leadership to assess the Ecuadorean vehicle fleet and supply systems. “I believe this trip helped to establish a sense of trust in our abilities and dedication to helping the Ecuadorean military,” said Capt. Green. “They were wonderful hosts and treated us as distinguished guests. Moving forward we hope to further strengthen the partnership with training opportunities in Ecuador and in Kentucky,” he said.last_img read more

Student group hosts free community concerts

first_imgFounder Rina Ritivoiu (back left), Irena Preda (front left), and over 20 of their peers are planning a concert on Skid Row, as part of their new volunteer music performance group. (Ling Luo | Daily Trojan)Students from the Thornton School of Music filled the streets of Koreatown with song as they performed for community members in line at a food pantry Saturday morning. A few hours later, the group sang again for patients at the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center. Each time, they performed a variety of songs from operas to classics like “Over the Rainbow” and were met with smiling audiences, who danced and sang along. “I saw the power of music and what it does,” said Rina Ritivoiu, a doctoral student studying musical arts in sacred music who founded the group. “[It] brings hope, vitality, people feel enlightened. Their heart is light. Their body feels light. They feel like they are transformed somewhere.”Ritivoiu was inspired to form  the volunteer group in one of her graduate courses this semester, when her professor, Dana Gioia, assigned students to either present about an existing organization or imagine their own. Ritivoiu hoped to bring her idea to life and  approached Gioia, who suggested that Ritivoiu’s group host concerts for the community. She recruited over 20 friends and peers to join the project, and planned their first concert. “All students ask for advice,” Gioia said. “What’s different about Rina is that about a month later, she was already doing things. To me, that’s a sign of somebody who is going to be successful.”Irena Preda, a graduate student studying music performance, was the first friend asked to join the group. Preda was interested in the project because it helps bring live performances to those who don’t typically experience them.“There’s a certain segment of the population that tends to be the target audience and tends to go to concerts, be it classical music concerts or rock or pop or jazz concerts,” Preda said. “A lot of the underserved communities cannot afford to provide instruments for their children, so there’s a whole segment of society that never gets exposed to live music.”Ritivoiu is  working to plan future concerts throughout the surrounding communities, including Skid Row. She also said the group plans to return to the hospital to perform in the chemotherapy unit for patients undergoing treatment.By performing for these communities, Ritivoiu hopes the group can help people relax and escape from their problems.“I want them to have this opportunity because they are already going through so much,” Ritivoiu said. “Music can [help] to bring them out of their circumstances for a few minutes or maybe 30 minutes, that they feel like they’re appreciated, they’re acknowledged.”Through the research she has done in some of her classes, Ritivoiu learned about the positive impacts of music, both mental and physical. Still, she said musicians don’t always take part in philanthropic events because they struggle financially.Ritivoiu said she hopes that the organization will create careers for philanthropic musicians, so they can help underserved communities without worrying about financial insecurity.“We are doing as much important work as medical professionals, [and] we know that they are known for being rich,” Ritivoiu said. “I feel like musicians also need that support, and they deserve good recognition, and they shouldn’t be constantly known to be struggling musicians. My project and organization is to give them careers where they can do what they love but have supporters as well.”last_img read more