Connect-the-Dots : Koch Brothers and Erik Paulsen Power Grab

Did you read Erik Paulsen’s OpEd,

Stalling Stras’ nomination is the latest example of partisan game-playing in Washington.
By blocking his confirmation, the senators are keeping an outstanding legal mind off the Eighth Circuit court, and preventing another Minnesotan from joining a court where the majority of judges are from other states.
This is unacceptable.

Gosh, sorta makes you think that this is one Minnesotan sticking up for another Minnesotan … but is it … or is it a crass political attack and power grab ?

In the previous commentary, it mentioned that Congressman Paulsen established a Judicial Selection Committee for Minnesota Federal District Court Vacancies and that he initiated contact with MN Supreme Court Justice David Stras about his interest in a lifetime appointment to the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Considering that the House has no constitutional role in the Senate’s “advise and consent” responsibility (Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution), ya gotta wonder WHY would “Representative” Paulsen get involved. Doesn’t he have enough on his plate as the self-professed “champion of small business” and spokesman for the Beer Institute ?

Well, maybe it isn’t small business and craft brewers but Koch brothers’ network ?

Politico reports that the network of conservative donors plans to spend between $300 million and $400 million on politics and policy during the 2018 cycle.

At a recent private retreat in Colorado for some 400 of the network’s donors, Koch officials discussed the Senate confirmation process including the “blue-slip” practice cited in Congressman Paulsen’s OpEd.
Funny thing is that Congressman Paulsen targets Senators Klobuchar (she wants a follow-up meeting with Justice Stras) and Franken for taking their time to review the nominee before processing the “blue-slip“, yet the “blue-slip” is not a Senate rule. It’s a tradition and Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has said he expects to abide by the blue-slip tradition.
WHY Congressman Paulsen doesn’t attack the Republican Senator sorta tells you that his OpEd was another example of “partisan game-playing” … a political attack on the DFL Senators.
[FYI : The blue slip is a century-old practice of senatorial courtesy and refers to the blue-colored form that the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee sends to a nominee’s home-state senators. Senators can send it back with a positive response to move the nomination along.]

Mark Holden, a top official in the Koch network, called the lower-court nominations a “huge priority” for the political empire associated with Charles Koch and his brother, David Koch.
Considering that the Supreme Court typically takes only about 80 cases a year, so the group is focused on shaping the lower courts that “are rendering all the decisions,” Holden said.
Hence, why Justice David Stras and his lifetime appointment to the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, would be of interest to the Koch brothers … and thereby, necessary for their political operative … err “Representative” … to elevate this for public awareness by writing an OpEd.
[Hmmmm … wonder if Koch campaign contributions are based on the number of words, or just per OpEd?]

Robin M. Wolpert, president of the Minnesota State Bar Association, wrote an interesting commentary on having a judicial selection process that rises above politics, unites the legal profession, inspires trust and confidence in our courts, and creates a sense of security and relief in a tense political environment.

It bears emphasizing that when people believe that the courts are just like the legislature, with judges simply acting on their own preferences, then they also believe that the judicial process is “fixed” and unfair, and perhaps even biased against them. The impact of this belief on litigants and their attorneys cannot be overstated. It will lead people to feel helpless and powerless and ultimately they may give up on the courts.

It is important that everyone believes the process is fair and that a judge will listen to their arguments with an open mind, understand their perspective and life experience, and consider their case on the merits.

So, “Representative” Paulsen accuses Minnesota’s DFL Senators of “partisan game-playing” saying “This is unacceptable.”

Hmmm … yep, “This is unacceptable” to the Koch Brothers … so watch for more campaign checks to role in the Paulsen campaign ‘cuase he knows how to manipulate voters with by his power-grabbing “partisan game-playing”.

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