Law

Gay marriage vs. religious freedom, the latest installment

Featured image Two ordained ministers, a husband and wife, who perform marriage ceremonies but oppose gay marriage reportedly face a 180-day jail term and a $1,000 fine for each day they decline to celebrate a same-sex wedding. The ministers operate a chapel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The city has an ordinance that prohibits discrimination, including on the basis of sexual orientation, in public accommodations. Recently, the ministers turned down a gay couple’s »

Government case implodes as its former lawyers allege fraud against Holder DOJ

Featured image The New York Observer reports that two former Assistant United States Attorneys say the Holder Justice Department engaged in deceit and corruption of justice in connection with the DOJ’s litigation against Sierra Pacific Industries, a California lumber company. As a result of the allegations, a federal district judge has ordered the recusal from the case of every judge in the Eastern District of California. He reasons that the court may »

For our D.C. area readers, a workshop on “disparate impact”

Featured image “Disparate impact” theory is the left’s most potent weapon in the war on standards. Activists use the theory to attack, say, school disciplinary standards or the use of employment tests or standards on the theory that these policies disproportionately burden blacks. Typically, the remedy they seek is the discarding or relaxation of the standard. As I observed here, the real goal of this campaign is to impose a de facto »

Federal district court rules against Obamacare subsidies on federal exchange

Featured image A federal district court in Oklahoma has ruled that the Obamacare statute means what it says: subsidies may not granted to people obtaining their health insurance through the federal exchange. In Pruitt v. Burwell, Judge Ronald White of the Eastern District of Oklahoma followed the reasoning of the panel in Halbig v. Sebelius, a ruling that the full D.C. Circuit, having been packed by the Democrats, recently vacated. The Oklahoma »

Does Obama have congressional authority to bomb ISIS?

Featured image Yesterday at the Heritage Foundation, a distinguished panel considered whether the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed by Congress in 2001 authorizes President Obama to bomb ISIS. Steve Bradbury, a terrific lawyer who headed up the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel during President George W. Bush’s second term, argued that the AUMF confers this authority. Robert Chesney, a law professor at the University of Texas and »

Holder to leave, but his stain will linger

Featured image There have been worse members of presidential cabinets than Eric Holder. John B. Floyd and Howell Cobb, both of James Buchanan’s cabinet, who apparently aided the South in the days before secession come to mind. In my 40 plus years of observing presidencies, though, Holder has a strong claim on first place. His warped attempts to use the national law enforcement apparatus to remake America along leftist lines would have »

Will the Obama EEOC sue the NFL over its new domestic violence policy?

Featured image The answer, of course, is no. If anything, the Obama administration seems to be pushing the NFL to prevent young black men who have been convicted of no crime from earning a living. But my question isn’t frivolous, given the EEOC’s litigation policy towards employers that deny employment opportunities to blacks who get into trouble with the law. Indeed, the EEOC has no tolerance at all for employers who exclude »

Incapable in Kansas

Featured image The race for the Kansas Senate seat held by Republican incumbent Pat Roberts has been essentially a three-way affair among Roberts, Democrat Chad Taylor and Independent (Democrat) Greg Orman. When Taylor purported to withdraw as the Democratic nominee earlier this month, he did so in a terse letter to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach: I, Chadwick J. Taylor, Democratic nominee for the United States Senate race, do hereby withdraw »

Obama’s legal justification for asserting the power to attack ISIS: ironic and weak

Featured image President Obama initially justified air strikes against ISIS on the legal theory that, as commander-in-chief, he has a responsibility to protect U.S. citizens and facilities. However, as Eli Lake points out, Obama’s battle against ISIS quickly expanded into an effort to protect Iraqi infrastructure. And now it has expanded into an effort (how serious we don’t know) to “degrade and destroy” ISIS. By what legal theory does Obama justify this »

Ordinary politics as corruption: the left’s new totalitarian hobby horse

Featured image Whatever one thinks about the conviction of former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell on fraud and extortion charges, there is little doubt that the legal theories that produced the conviction blur the distinction between criminal corruption and ordinary politics. Indeed, it is my view that the left sees no such distinction. To the extent that ordinary politics stands in the way of its agenda, the left perceives ordinary politics as, at »

Bob McDonnell and the criminalization of politics

Featured image For former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell, found guilty last week of fraud and extortion, I have only the small amount of sympathy reserved for those who fall from grace deservedly, but not due to true malice or viciousness. However, I agree with William & Mary law professor Jeffrey Bellin that charges like those brought against McDonnell present the real danger of criminalizing ordinary politics. The essence of the legal case »

GAO: Obama administration violated law in releasing Gitmo detainees to Qatar in Bergdahl deal

Featured image The Government Accounting Office has concluded that the Obama Defense Department violated section 8111 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act when it transferred five detainees at Guantanamo Bay to Qatar without providing at least 30 days notice to certain congressional committees. Section 8111 prohibits the Defense Department from using appropriated funds to transfer any individuals detained at Gitmo unless the Secretary of Defense provides such notification. The GAO also »

Rick Perry and the Democrats’ pattern of “lawfare” against rising Republicans

Featured image John and Scott have commented on the indictment of Gov. Rick Perry. As they note, it fits a pattern of politically motivated indictments of prominent Texas Republicans. The Perry indictment also fits a pattern of harassment via the legal process of prominent Republican governors: Sarah Palin, Scott Walker, Chris Christie, and now Perry. What do these four have in common? Why, they all are (or were) potentially viable candidates for »

Hating and fishing in Sherrod v. Breitbart’s widow

Featured image I wrote here about Shirley Sherrod’s lawsuit against Andrew Breitbart’s widow in connection with video Andrew posted. In the video, Sherrod regales an NAACP audience with the tale of how, as a public employee, she initially stiffed a white farmer seeking her help. Andrew did not post, presumably because he did not have, the full video in which Sherrod says she eventually saw the error of her ways and helped »

American Sniper on trial: The verdict

Featured image I wrote about Jesse Ventura’s defamation claim against the estate of Chris Kyle in the post “American Sniper on trial.” I attended closing arguments in the case in federal district court in St. Paul this past Tuesday morning and am disappointed to report that, after declaring itself deadlocked yesterday, the jury returned with a verdict in favor of Jesse Ventura against the estate of Chris Kyle this afternoon. The 10-person »

Obamacare architect explained intent behind allowing subsidies only on state exchanges

Featured image Jonathan Gruber, a professor at MIT, is widely is regarded as the architect of both Romneycare and Obamacare. Following the D.C. Circuit’s decision in Halbig, he asserted that the provision of Obamacare limiting subsidies to the state exchanges was a “typo.” Indeed, he found it “criminal” to suggest that Obamacare was intended to work this way. But William Jacobson (via one of his readers) has unearthed video from 2012 in »

Pro bono law morphs into left-wing lawfare

Featured image Do you remember Shirley Sherrod? She’s the former Department of Agriculture official caught on camera saying she denied a white farmer the full measure of benefits she could have given him, before later describing how she ended up rejecting this racist approach to her job. The late Andrew Breitbart posted excerpts of the Sherrod video that failed to include the part about how she overcame her racist impulse and ended »