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JERRY KASSAR
JERRY KASSAR

It must be uncomfortable for the Democrats in the U.S. Senate. The group unanimously voted to confirm U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch for the U.S. Court of Appeals when he was nominated for that position back in 2006. He was viewed as eminently qualified, and his background exceptional. Although acknowledged to be a conservative, his judicial writings have been described as thoughtful and fair.

Liberal and conservative legal scholars have all agreed that Gorsuch is an excellent choice for the court. And bar associations not known for being hotbeds of conservative thought have also near unanimously praised the president’s nominee.

Yet the Senate Democrats have threatened to filibuster. In the end, they will certainly lose. Not only will the majority comprised of Republicans unanimously vote to confirm Gorsuch, but it is anticipated three or four Democrats will join them.

In any other environment and probably at most any other time in our history, Gorsuch would be a mostly non-controversial nominee. Being nominated by President Trump — who kept a very important campaign promise at a time when the rudderless Democratic Party is attempting to move from large but politically ineffective rallies in blue states to being once again a national political movement — has put Gorsuch in their crosshairs. Unfortunately for the Democrats, the affable and qualified Gorsuch is simply not a good flashpoint for their activities.

In fact, it was the president’s September announced commitment to nominate someone from a short list that included Gorsuch that is credited with energizing his final few weeks to an election victory. So Trump is working to keep his Electoral College majority happy by keeping his promises to them. The Democrats are doing all they can do to keep their losing minority happy by criticizing exactly what President Trump promised which got him elected.

As much as I doubt the first 100 days of the Trump administration will ever be described as a honeymoon for him, I think it can be described as a nightmare for the Democratic Party.

***

A public opinion poll conducted by the New York State Conservative Party showed that two thirds of New Yorkers opposed the five-cent tax masquerading as a fee that the New York City Council hoped to impose on shopping bags. The opposition was not surprisingly most intense in minority communities with the least amount of disposable income. The Council seemed not to care despite opposition that you really did not need a poll to know.

The state legislature, led by Senators Felder and Golden (whom I serve as chief of staff) and Assemblymembers Malliotakis and Abbate, introduced a bill to prohibit the city from going ahead with the fee. The Senate passed it. The Assembly agreed in principle but wanted some changes. An agreement was reached and as of this writing it is anticipated that legislation calling for a one-year moratorium with the requirement that the Council pass a new bill is expected to pass both houses and be signed by the governor.

Several things you should know which leads me to believe the bag fee will not be coming back at least in its current form next year are:

*One, it will be a new City Council. The make-up will likely comprise a majority of members who ran on a commitment not to re-impose it.

*The mayor knows it was immensely unpopular. He and any and all mayoral candidates are likely to indicate that a new fee is unlikely to receive their support.

*The legislature would probably simply repeal any new fee if it came back in its present form

*An effort to create more bag recycling opportunities as well as better recycling education is a being discussed. This is certainly a more productive way to protect the environment.

This was a big victory for Felder, Golden, Abbate and Malliotakis. For once, it appears that common sense won over an ultra-liberal environmental mentality that permeates New York City’s nanny government.

The City Council that created this unpopular fee has on repeated occasions over the past three years moved bills to increase regulations and fees on long suffering small businesses, weakened laws designed to protect the quality-of-life, considered bills to give non-citizens the right to vote, shown little support for law enforcement, passed resolutions to release terrorists and refused to consider a reduction in the crimes undocumented aliens are protected from, including drunk driving and sexual abuse, under the sanctuary city law.

This Council dominated by extreme Democrats is a disgrace. Fortunately, this is an election year for the Council and many of its members including the speaker are term limited. I feel certain that we can do better.

Already, we are seeing primaries being announced in the Democratic Party with more reasonable candidates coming forward. And, for the first time in years, it appears that there will be a large and energized crop of Republican candidates in many races around the city.

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