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Joel Kaplan is the chief Washington lobbyist at Facebook.  That’s him sitting behind Kavanaugh at his hearing.

Facebook employees were none too pleased to see a senior executive support Kavanaugh so visibly. He’s not just any executive, he’s also the company’s chief lobbyist. As such, his explanation that he was there in a purely “personal capacity” doesn’t hold water. He’s Facebook’s public face in Washington.

The furor at his employer was so strong that he had to issue an apology for his appearance.

“I want to apologize,” the Facebook executive wrote last Friday in a note to staff. “I recognize this moment is a deeply painful one — internally and externally.”

The apology came from Joel Kaplan, Facebook’s vice president for global public policy. A day earlier, Mr. Kaplan had sat behind his friend, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, when the judge testified in Congress about allegations he had sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford in high school. Mr. Kaplan’s surprise appearance prompted anger and shock among many Facebook employees, some of whom said they took his action as a tacit show of support for Judge Kavanaugh — as if it were an endorsement from Facebook itself.

Kaplan’s colleagues at Facebook might be forgiven for wondering whether his apology was sincere because the day Kavanaugh got sworn in, Kaplan did this.

— FACEBOOK’S JOEL KAPLAN and his wife LAURA COX KAPLAN hosted a Kavanaugh celebration at their house last night for people who had worked on his nomination. Brett and Ashley Kavanaugh stopped by the gathering of about 25 people that was organized by Laura, Ginger Loper and several other Kavanaugh female supporters. — www.politico.com/… 10/07/2018

So we can get it right, the chief Washington lobbyist for Facebook held a party for the Kavanaugh supporters who were front and center in pushing back on the sexual assault allegations. And Belligerent Brett dropped by to thank them all.

Meanwhile, it looks like Kavanaugh might be voting on a case as soon as this week. And it’s a significant case. It involves the Commerce secretary’s instructions to the census department to ask a citizenship question.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s first vote as a member of the Supreme Court could come as soon as Tuesday or Wednesday on a Trump administration request testing how much power courts should wield over top executive branch officials.

The administration has already made one unsuccessful run at the high court on the issue: It asked Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last week to step in to block depositions of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Justice Department civil rights chief John Gore in lawsuits challenging Ross’ decision to put a question about citizenship on the 2020 U.S. Census. — www.politico.com/…

The aim of the Trump census policy is to frighten immigrant communities and lower their census response rates. That will then water down the electoral might of these communities and states (they’ll have fewer seats in the house). It’ll also reduce the funds that go to them.

Oh, and by the way, Wilbur Ross is being sued by people who invested in his businesses and it looks like he may have broken several laws. It’s not just the Trump family, much of the cabinet are crooks as well.

The Justice Department has signaled that it will ask the Supreme Court again to protect Ross and Gore from being deposed. The argument they’ll make is that this is an intrusion into executive authority.

It’s the kind of argument that could appeal to Kavanaugh, who has advocated broad interpretations of executive power. However, deferring to the Trump administration within days of joining the court could appear to confirm many of Kavanaugh’s critics’ claims that he’s likely to be a rubber stamp for Trump and his agenda.  — www.politico.com/…

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

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