Judge Aileen Cannon and the ‘deep state’

Gilead

Abortion


Fig. 1. Sign at demonstration in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, May 3, 2022. Janni Rye, via Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

It’s not going to be often that I put in a plug for a government website, but this one is important. When California says you can get an abortion there, whether or not you’re a resident, they mean it. Please pass the word. The link is https://abortion.ca.gov/.

This will likely also be true of Pennsylvania at least in the near term. I say that because the present governor, Tom Wolf, has vowed to protect abortion access,[13] and I think Josh Shapiro, who has also vowed to protect abortion rights,[14] will defeat ultra-wacko arch-Trumpist Doug Mastriano[15] in the race for governor of Pennsylvania[16] (see below). If I’m wrong, white Christian nationalists will have unfettered control of the state government and would likely make a liar of me.[17] Whoever wins, Wikipedia makes it look like inauguration day for the next governor will be on or around January 20, 2023.[18]

That said, Pennsylvania’s white Christian nationalist legislature will likely advance a ballot measure, bypassing the governor entirely, to amend the state constitution to “say[] that the ‘policy of Pennsylvania is to protect the life of every unborn child from conception to birth,’ and that nothing in the state constitution ensures ‘any right relating to abortion or the public funding thereof.’” To make this happen, they need to pass identical language for the measure in two consecutive sessions.[19] They have done it once and “both chambers would need to approve the resolution again next year. It could go before the voters for a vote as early as the 2023 primary election.”[20] Apparently, the date of that election has yet to be determined.[21]

Moira Donegan, “Republicans won’t stop until abortion is banned across America. And it could be,” Guardian, September 15, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/sep/15/republicans-wont-stop-until-abortion-is-banned-across-america-and-it-could-be

Donald Trump

Coup attempt


Fig. 1. Original: The White House. Derivative work: J. J. Messerly, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Me, I wouldn’t believe the sky was blue if Donald Trump told me so, but Judge Aileen Cannon seems to buy Trump’s “deep state” rhetoric hook, line, and sinker:

“The Court does not find it appropriate to accept the Government’s conclusions on these important and disputed issues without further review by a neutral third party in an expedited and orderly fashion,” [Aileen] Cannon, a Trump appointee, wrote in her 10-page ruling denying the Justice Department’s request to essentially exclude about 100 documents marked classified from the special master process.[22]

She appointed Raymond Dearie as special master. He has until November 30 to complete his review of the seized documents.[23]

Devlin Barrett and Perry Stein, “Justice Dept. says it would accept Trump’s candidate for special master,” Washington Post, September 12, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/09/12/trump-classified-special-master/

Greg Sargent, “Trump faces a new threat: Scrutiny of ‘stop the steal’ money scam,” Washington Post, September 13, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/09/13/trump-doj-subpoenas-jan-6-save-america-pac/

Jennifer Rubin, “Trump’s legal problems multiply as his excuses disappear,” Washington Post, September 14, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/09/14/trump-unsealed-affidavit-doj-brief/

Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, “Judge appoints special master, rejects DOJ bid to delay Mar-a-Lago ruling,” Politico, September 15, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/09/15/judge-rejects-doj-bid-to-delay-mar-a-lago-ruling-appoints-special-master-00057123


Pennsylvania

2022 election


Fig. 1. There’s much too much of this kind of thing to be seen around Pittsburgh. Photograph taken by author through his windshield, May 17, 2022, just outside Braddock, Pennsylvania.

[Doug] Mastriano’s radical brand of post-Trumpian politics has been a tough sell with Pennsylvania’s general election voters. After beating nine less zany Republican rivals with a whopping 42.3 percent of the primary vote, Mastriano is now lagging his Democratic rival, the state attorney general Josh Shapiro, by somewhere between 3 and 11 points, depending on the poll. That’s worse than expected given the G.O.P.’s structural advantages this cycle, but it’s basically in line with Dr. Mehmet Oz’s performance against John Fetterman, also in Pennsylvania. And, frankly, it’s still within striking distance of Shapiro, especially if the polls are off. Mastriano still has time, in theory, to modulate some of his hard-right positions, as Blake Masters has done in Arizona, or to engage traditional media, to capture the moderate voters he needs.

But Mastriano, thus far, has evidenced zero ability to pivot. He barely has a relationship with the Republican Governors Association, the organization that’s supposed to be working on his behalf, and he’s been downright hostile toward the mainstream press—not just national outlets like The New York Times, but also local television and radio stations in Pennsylvania. Instead, he’s deliberately limited his media exposure to digital livestreams with far right internet personalities, such as Real America’s Voice and the Chris Stigall Show, and appearances on Newsmax, OAN and Steve Bannon’s War Room. His campaign rallies are functionally closed to the press. He’s beefed with Breitbart and ignored Fox News, very occasionally talking to their digital team but otherwise ignoring their cable arm.[24]

I count eight weeks until November 8. I’m seeing a few more yard signs for Mehmet Oz and Doug Mastriano, but I’m not seeing anywhere near as many as I would expect to. I think both Mastriano and Oz will be defeated.

Tina Nguyen, “Doug Mastriano’s Snowflake Strategy,” Puck News, September 14, 2022, https://puck.news/doug-mastrianos-snowflake-strategy/


  1. [13]Erin McCarthy, “Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf vows to protect abortion rights, but can only do so for the next eight months,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 4, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/news/pennsylvania/abortion-rights-pennsylvania-governor-wolf-20220504.html
  2. [14]Ryan Deto, “Supreme Court abortion decision places higher stakes on Pa. election, experts say,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 24, 2022, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/supreme-court-abortion-decision-places-higher-stakes-on-pa-election-experts-say/
  3. [15]William Bender, “Doug Mastriano’s comments on Islam and climate change resurface, the latest hit for his campaign,” Philadelphia Inquirer, August 19, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/politics/election/doug-mastriano-islam-global-warming-2018-governor-pennsylvania-20220819.html; Chris Brennan, “Doug Mastriano wore a Confederate Army uniform in an Army War College faculty photo,” Philadelphia Inquirer, August 26, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/politics/pennsylvania/doug-mastriano-confederate-uniform-photo-army-war-college-20220826.html; Stephen Caruso and Ethan Edward Coston, “How Doug Mastriano built a grassroots movement in Pa. on election denial, Christianity, and Facebook,” Spotlight PA, May 23, 2022, https://www.spotlightpa.org/news/2022/05/doug-mastriano-pa-governor-pennsylvania-shapiro/; Philissa Cramer, “Republican Jews call on Doug Mastriano, GOP candidate for PA governor, to stop using Gab,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, July 22, 2022, https://www.jta.org/2022/07/22/politics/republican-jews-call-on-doug-mastriano-gop-candidate-for-pa-governor-to-stop-using-gab; Dana Milbank, “And on the eighth day, God said: Let Mastriano win Pennsylvania,” Washington Post, September 9, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/09/09/doug-mastriano-prophet-julie-green/; Tina Nguyen, “Doug Mastriano’s Snowflake Strategy,” Puck News, September 14, 2022, https://puck.news/doug-mastrianos-snowflake-strategy/; Zach Montellaro, Meredith McGraw, and Holly Otterbein, “Trump endorses Mastriano for Pennsylvania governor,” Politico, May 14, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/14/trump-endorses-mastriano-pennsylvania-governor-00032538; Andrew Seidman, “A top GOP candidate for governor campaigned at an event promoting QAnon and conspiracy theories about 9/11,” Philadelphia Inquirer, April 27, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/politics/election/doug-mastriano-teddy-daniels-qanon-conference-gop-candidates-20220427.html; Jonathan Tamari, “Trump’s ‘Stop the Steal’ allies are back on the ballot in Pa., and could win more power over the next election,” Philadelphia Inquirer, July 28, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/politics/election/pa-jan-6-2022-elections-mastriano-shapiro-20220728.html
  4. [16]Jonathan Tamari, “Fetterman and Shapiro lead Oz and Mastriano in key Pa. races, despite headwinds against Democrats, poll finds,” Philadelphia Inquirer, July 29, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/politics/election/pa-2022-poll-fetterman-oz-shapiro-mastriano-senate-gov-20220729.html; Julia Terruso and Jonathan Lai, “Women are registering to vote in Pa. in numbers far exceeding men since the Supreme Court abortion decision,” Philadelphia Inquirer, August 22, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/politics/election/pennsylvania-women-voter-registration-dobbs-20220822.html
  5. [17]Ryan Deto, “Supreme Court abortion decision places higher stakes on Pa. election, experts say,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 24, 2022, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/supreme-court-abortion-decision-places-higher-stakes-on-pa-election-experts-say/; Katie Meyer, “Fight gears up over Pa. constitutional amendment to protect ‘every unborn child,’” WHYY, July 1, 2022, https://whyy.org/articles/pennsylvania-abortion-rights-constitutional-amendment-fight/
  6. [18]Wikipedia, s.v. “List of governors of Pennsylvania,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_governors_of_Pennsylvania
  7. [19]Katie Meyer, “Fight gears up over Pa. constitutional amendment to protect ‘every unborn child,’” WHYY, July 1, 2022, https://whyy.org/articles/pennsylvania-abortion-rights-constitutional-amendment-fight/
  8. [20]Gillian McGoldrick, “Pa. Legislature approves constitutional amendments to declare residents don’t have the right to an abortion, to require voter ID,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 8, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/politics-state/2022/07/08/pennsylvania-senate-advances-constitutional-amendments-residents-rights-relating-abortion-require-voter-id/stories/202207080102; see also Gillian McGoldrick, “Pa. Senate GOP committee advances late-night amendment to restrict abortion, require voter ID,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 8, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/politics-state/2022/07/08/pennsylvania-senate-republicans-advance-constitutional-amendment-to-restrict-abortion-and-call-for-voter-ids-roe-v-wade/stories/202207080073
  9. [21]Ballotpedia, “Pennsylvania elections, 2023,” n.d., https://ballotpedia.org/Pennsylvania_elections,_2023
  10. [22]Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, “Judge appoints special master, rejects DOJ bid to delay Mar-a-Lago ruling,” Politico, September 15, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/09/15/judge-rejects-doj-bid-to-delay-mar-a-lago-ruling-appoints-special-master-00057123
  11. [23]Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, “Judge appoints special master, rejects DOJ bid to delay Mar-a-Lago ruling,” Politico, September 15, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/09/15/judge-rejects-doj-bid-to-delay-mar-a-lago-ruling-appoints-special-master-00057123
  12. [24]Tina Nguyen, “Doug Mastriano’s Snowflake Strategy,” Puck News, September 14, 2022, https://puck.news/doug-mastrianos-snowflake-strategy/

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