Friday, February 10, 2017

Quick Hits: Volume CXLIII

- Kellyanne Conway, the top aide to President Donald Trump, raised some ethical issues when pitching certain products Thursday morning.

In a Fox News appearance, Conway responded to President Donald Trump's Twitter attack on Nordstrom on Wednesday for saying it plans to stop selling Ivanka Trump's products. The chain faced backlash from some consumers for selling Ivanka Trump-branded products amid concerns about her father's policies. It said its decision was based only on business considerations.

Trump alleged that Nordstrom treated his daughter "unfairly," renewing concerns that he is using his platform to affect his family's business interests. Conway raised even more ethical issues after criticizing Nordstrom's decision and saying that people can "see through" the company's intentions.

"Go buy Ivanka's stuff, is what I would tell you. I'm going to. I hate shopping and I'm going to go get some myself today," Conway told "Fox and Friends."

"I'm going to give it a free commercial here."

As a result, ranking members on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee are looking into the matter.

While there may be some ethics violations here, can we all agree that Conway's statement itself is not becoming of the decorum we should expect from the White House? The only comment which would have been appropriate would be along the lines of "He wasn't a president looking to undermine a business as much as a father looking out for his daughter." 

How long before we can reasonably expect amateur hour to finally be up?

- The Seattle Seahawks signed former Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh on Thursday. Ironically, it was a game against Seattle 13 months ago which was the beginning of the end for Walsh in Minnesota.

In the wild-card round of the 2015 playoffs, Walsh missed a potential game-winning field goal from 27 yards out against the Seahawks, allowing Seattle to advance. The miss came after kickers had hit 189 of 191 field goals from 27 yards or shorter during the 2015 season.

I am envisioning a scenario where Walsh kicks the game-winning field goal for Seattle in next year's Super Bowl, which just happens to take place at the Vikings home field in U.S. Bank Stadium. Wouldn't such an occurrence just be the most Vikings thing ever?

- In perhaps the least surprising legal ruling in a while, President Trump's temporary immigration ban is still on hold.

The ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco means the temporary travel ban — which caused chaos and massive protests at airports across the US — cannot go into effect without further litigation.

“The Government has pointed to no evidence that an alien of the countries named in the Order has perpetrated a terrorist attack in the United States,” the three-member panel wrote.

“Rather than present evidence to explain the need for the Executive Order, the Government has taken the position that we must not review its decision at all. We disagree.”

Trump responded in an all-caps post on Twitter:


As David French, an attorney himself, pointed out in National Review, the Trump administration bears much responsibility for this Executive Order being on shaky legal ground.

Critically, the Trump administration issued a significant executive order (and then defended it in court) without laying any real factual foundation for its finding. Next, the administration enforced the order in a haphazard and unnecessarily cruel manner, initially including even green-card holders in its scope. By slamming the door (at least temporarily) in their faces, it created a crisis atmosphere that not only ramped up the political stakes, it told the court that the administration didn’t exactly know how to interpret its own order. This invites judicial meddling.

Definitely read the entire piece.

While Trump himself threw down the gauntlet with his "SEE YOU IN COURT" declaration, White House legal officials have indicated they are weighing all options. It's quite possible that the administration's legal team will advise drafting a new Executive Order. With Trump seemingly eager to implement this ban as soon as possible, this will be a major test in determining how much (if at all) Trump can be reigned in and convinced to act in a more prudent manner.


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