Author Archives: Scott Johnson

Is administrative law unlawful? A word from the author

Featured image Philip Hamburger is the Maurice and Hilda Friedman Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. He is a distinguished scholar of legal history and the author, most recently, of Is Administrative Law Unlawful? It is the most important book I have read in a long time. I think this will be the first post in a series that will feature the book. Here I have invited Professor Hamburger to preview »

Paul Mazursky, RIP

Featured image Writer/director/actor Paul Mazursky died in Los Angeles on Monday at the age of 84. The Los Angeles Times recounts his incredibly long and productive career in its obituary. The Times also picks five of Mazursky’s best films. Movies you may have forgotten, or forgotten to associate with Mazursky, include I Love You, Alice B. Toklas (which he co-wrote with Larry Tucker), starring Peter Sellers. Mazursky provided an early (1967) take »

Cleta Mitchell to the IRS: See you in court

Featured image Cleta Mitchell represents True the Vote, one of the groups illegally targeted by the IRS in the scandals that have exposed the agency as a partisan operation. True the Vote’s Catherine Engelbrecht has been harassed by federal law enforcement authorities representing three different federal agencies. The recent disclosure of the “loss” of thousands of emails subject to production by the IRS in the litigation was the subject of Cleta’s letter »

The Ayers file

Featured image Megyn Kelly is airing her interview of former Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers on her FOX News show. Ayers is the former Weather Underground terrorist and, as we all learned in 2008, former intimate ally of Obama in Chicago. If American voters didn’t get a handle on Obama in 2008, it wasn’t for lack of information in the public domain. The first two segments of Kelly’s interview of Ayers aired »

The unbearable lightness of being Obama

Featured image President Obama found an impossibly weird way to salute White House pastry chef Bill Yosses during a reception in honor of LGBT Pride Month yesterday. I had forgotten that a whole month is devoted to the celebration of LGBT Pride. The Library of Congress joins the celebration here and here. Obama noted that Bill was there with his husband and that he (Bill) would be leaving his position at the »

Is the Times a law unto itself?

Featured image In writing here about New York Times reporter James Risen yesterday, I linked to a January 2006 column that I wrote for the Weekly Standard on Risen’s first big story blowing a critical national security program during the Bush administration. The Standard headlined the column “Exposure and it is still accessible online, but errors crept into the formatting when the Standard redesigned its site. I am taking the liberty of »

Lerner’s attorney: It was just one of those things

Featured image Lois Lerner attorney William Taylor III appeared on CNN this morning and among the items up for discussion was the “loss” of two-years’ worth of Lerner’s emails in the epidemic of computer crashes plaguing the IRS. As for the crashes, according to Taylor, we don’t know the half of it. As for the “loss” of Lerner’s email, it was just one of those things. Taylor omits the rest of the »

James Risen would prefer not to

Featured image New York Times reporter James Risen has excellent sources in the intelligence community. If you are a disgruntled intelligence officer or official and want to preserve your anonymity while undermining a top secret program or aiding the enemies of the United States, Risen is your go-to guy. Risen’s accomplishments in this area have been overshadowed by the emergence of Edward Snowden, but Risen should not be forgotten. We know of »

Clouded with a chance of meatballs

Featured image New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan solicits a response to criticisms of the Times’s coverage (or lack thereof) of the IRS scandals from David Joachim, who is the Times’s man on the case. Sullivan links to Joachim’s stories and provides his response in “Is the Times ignoring a scandal at the IRS?” Joachim holds that “we’ve paid copious attention to this story, and we will continue to do so. »

Crimes of the IRS: John Eastman comments

Featured image Our friend John Eastman is the chairman of the National Organization for Marriage. After months of evasion and denial, the IRS has now admitted that it illegally leaked the names of NOM’s donors to a third party who saw to their publication. The IRS agreed to settle NOM’s case against it on the basis of a consent judgment under which it will receive $50,000 as actual damages. I wrote about »

Rachelle Fraenkel speaks

Featured image Times of Israel editor David Horovitz sat down for an interview with the mother of kidnapped Israeli teenager Naftali Fraenkel (video below). Naftali has been kidnapped by Hamas operatives at work in the area that is the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority. David briefly introduces the video and posts the transcript in “A mother’s plea for ‘prayer, positive energy, whatever it takes to find’ kidnapped teens.” Writing from Jerusalem this »

Thoughts from the ammo line

Featured image Our friend Ammo Grrrll ends the working week with a bang. She takes a look at the invasion occurring on our southern border and declares: “HALLELUJAH, IT’S OBVIOUSLY THE END OF RACISM!!” She writes: Many years ago, Albert Brooks wrote and starred in the wonderful movie Lost in America. Briefly, a highly-paid ad executive and his ditzy wife chuck the high life to go on a quest to discover America »

Crimes of the IRS, NOM edition

Featured image Two years after activists for same-sex marriage obtained the confidential tax return and donor list of a national group opposed to redefining marriage, the Daily Signal reports, the Internal Revenue Service has admitted wrongdoing and agreed to settle the resulting lawsuit. The Daily Signal explains that under a consent judgment entered earlier this week, the IRS agreed to pay $50,000 in damages to the National Organization for Marriage as a »

Grassley’s narrow escape [With Comments By John]

Featured image The House Ways and Means Committee has issued a press release stating that Lois Lerner sought to target Republican Senator Chuck Chuck Grassley for audit. The press release is based on email messages that the committee has posted here. Through a sheer stroke of bad luck, Lois Lerner received an event invitation directed to Senator Grassley and Grassley apparently received Lerner’s. The invitation indicated that the event organizer would pay »

Help wanted, Obama style

Featured image Thomas Lifson draws attention to the notice taken here by Sundance of Conservative Treehouse to the peculiar advertisement posted by DHS this past January: On January 29th of this year, the federal government posted an advertisement seeking bids for a vendor contract to handle “Unaccompanied Alien Children.“ Not just any contract mind you, but a very specific contract – for a very specific number of unaccompanied minors: 65,000. • Why »

Conquest’s Second Law illustrated

Featured image At least two of Robert Conquest’s Three Laws — set forth here by John Derbyshire — explain the political world much as Newton’s laws of motion explain the physical world. Conquest’s Second Law provides: “Any organization not explicitly and constitutionally right-wing will sooner or later become left-wing.” Derbyshire adds with respect to the Second Law: “Conquest gave the Church of England and Amnesty International as examples.” Conquest’s Second Law probably »

And the most absurd Democrat is…

Featured image In an astute Wall Street Journal column almost exactly one year ago, my daughter Eliana named House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings “The IRS’s best friend in Congress.” And that was before Cummings’s moving tribute to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in last night’s hearing! In his column on last night’s hearing, Byron York names Cummings the best supporting actor. Having watched the hearing, I would say the competition for »