Let’s not mince words: expressing enthusiastic support for Donald Trump is… déclassé. As a person with some right-of-center views and many conservative and libertarian friends, mainly through Federalist Society circles, I know a decent number of people who might or will vote for Donald Trump. But they’re not happyabout it, and their support for the Republican presidential nominee is very sotto voce.
At the recent reunion of law clerks to my former boss, Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain of the Ninth Circuit, I did an off-the-record, informal survey of attendees about whom they support in the election. In this fairly conservative group — law clerks to a high-profile, right-of-center judge, including former clerks to conservative Supreme Court justices and lawyers who have served in high-ranking posts in Republican administrations — I found just one vocal Trump supporter. Everyone else will vote for him reluctantly and quietly (mainly because of his declared intentions on SCOTUS appointments), vote for Gary Johnson, not vote this year, or — horror of horrors! — vote for Hillary Clinton.
So given the disdain for “the short-fingered vulgarian” among legal elites — graduates of top law schools, law clerks to leading judges, lawyers at prominent Biglaw firms — it’s interesting to find one exceedingly well credentialed lawyer who supports the Donald. And this lawyer is a woman, interestingly enough — not a demographic Trump does well with, especially in the wake of his latest offensive comments.
The Republican nominee for United States senator from New York refers to America by feminine pronouns, as in “her borders” and “her values.”
She once apologized when using a vulgar word to describe her opponent’s economic policies, and paused demurely when searching for a family-friendly synonym for one’s rear end, settling finally, with a smile, on “derrière.”
When the Pledge of Allegiance was recited at a recent event, she pressed her hand to her heart — and, seconds after everyone else had moved on, kept it there.
That, at first glance, is Wendy E. Long, a former Supreme Court clerk and corporate litigator turned home-schooling mother and reluctant politician. Once an unsuccessful challenger to Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, she will soon be, in all likelihood, an unsuccessful challenger to another Democrat, Senator Charles Schumer.
As you can see from her New York Times wedding announcement, Wendy Long graduated from Dartmouth College and Northwestern Law School before clerking for SCOTUS, where she met her husband, and practicing as a Biglaw litigatrix. The Times profile offers a good summary of her dazzling CV:
Her résumé braids elite credentials with conservative fervor. After working for two Republican senators in Washington, she clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas — “the greatest living American,” in her words — and married a fellow clerk, Arthur Long, who is now a partner at the firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.
When the couple moved to New York, where Mr. Long grew up, she worked as a litigator at Kirkland & Ellis before helping to found the Judicial Confirmation Network, now known as the Judicial Crisis Network, which pushed for the confirmations of right-leaning Supreme Court nominees.
And unlike many GOP nominees seeking elective office in blue states, this conservative candidate is firmly on board the Trump Train:
As a group, women for Trump would seem to be an increasingly endangered species. Yet Ms. Long, a mother of two, says she has supported Mr. Trump since before he announced his candidacy, and still does, despite finding his recorded comments from 2005 “repulsive.” Intelligent women, she said, would see that an 11-year-old tape had little bearing on today’s urgent issues.
“I do think it’s just words,” she said in a recent interview, adding that she had found Mr. Trump’s apologies sincere. “I don’t believe he’s ever raped anyone, which I do believe Bill Clinton has done, and Hillary Clinton has enabled that.”
…. [Long praised Trump] for what she called his unpolished, uncalculated style — “He’s not your typical mealy-mouthed politician” — and his gusto for pulping elite orthodoxies. But even if Ms. Long says Mr. Trump’s candidacy spurred her moonshot bid for the Senate and shaped much of her current thinking about immigration (build a wall), Muslim refugees (the country needs “extreme vetting”) and trade (keep American jobs American), her politics are no dalliance.
“I’ve never really fit in,” she said, whether at a big law firm or on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where she lives. “I’m kind of a small-town girl.”
Can this “small-town girl” with big-time achievements unseat a popular and entrenched incumbent — while carrying the baggage of supporting Donald Trump in a state he might lose by more than twenty points? I’d say the odds are long, lowercase “l” — but at least give Wendy Long credit for standing up for her beliefs.