Law

James Risen would prefer not to; Eric Holder must decide what he prefers

Featured image James Risen is the New York Times reporter who, on several occasions, has materially harmed the United States with his reporting on top secret affairs. As Scott Johnson has written, “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.” Scott went on to document this »

Harvard and Yale law deans embarrass themselves with mindless op-ed

Featured image Martha Minow, dean of Harvard law school, and Robert Post, dean of Yale law school, have written an op-ed in the Boston Globe about the need to “regain trust in the legal system” following the grand jury “no-bills” in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner killings. It’s a shockingly bad piece, devoid of both evidence and argument. The thesis of the op-ed is that in the criminal justice system, at »

Columbia law school and “existential worry”

Featured image I thought I had covered every angle of interest to me in the story about Columbia law school postponing the exams of law students “traumatized” by two grand jury no-bills. But the New York Times article that John linked to prompts an additional line of thought. Here is what one Columbia law student, a Latino, told the Times: “The word ‘trauma’ is sort of being misunderstood. It’s not a trauma »

How to talk to a traumatized law student

Featured image In his message to the Columbia Law School community, interim dean Robert Scott tells those “who would like support” in the wake of two recent grand jury “no-bills” that four professors have made themselves available for that purpose. The four are: Katherine Franke, Conrad Johnson, Olati Johnson, and Susan Sturm. Who are these professors and what are they likely to say to support traumatized students? The law school’s website answers »

Eric Garner and the issue of over-criminalization

Featured image The death of Eric Garner at the hands of a police officer has focused attention not only on the use of force against Garner, but also on the low-level nature of the crime that put him in jeopardy. Garner’s offense was selling loose cigarettes, a means of evading the high tax imposed on tobacco products. For purposes of analyzing the potential case against the officer who choked Garner, it makes »

No indictment in the Michael Brown shooting

Featured image A Missouri grand jury has declined to indict Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown. The decision will, no doubt, be greeted by much outrage and perhaps some violence. At this time, I doubt that anyone outside of the grand jury process knows enough about the evidence to say whether Wilson should have been indicted. Unfortunately, this won’t stand in the way of a blizzard of »

Obamnesty, what to do

Featured image There are as many ways to express disgust with President Obama’s unlawful amnesty as there are talented conservative pundits prepared to write about it. The real question is what, if anything, can be done to negate the amnesty. Impeachment is not the answer. The votes don’t exist to remove Obama from office. Nor should Republicans attempt impeachment. Doing so would probably hurt Republican standing in the run-up to the crucial »

Reagan and Bush 41 provide no precedent for Obama’s amnesty by executive order

Featured image Tonight, President Obama will override Congress and effectively declare amnesty for at least several million illegal immigrants. As Scott has noted, Obama himself has repeatedly admitted he lacks the constitutional power to make this move. Some of Obama’s defenders claim that the president was mistaken when he acknowledged his lack of power to override the immigration laws. One supporter (I don’t remember who) said that Obama received bad legal advice. »

Boehner hires anti-executive power extremist to represent House in Obamacare suit

Featured image The House of Representative has chosen law professor Jonathan Turley to represent it in a lawsuit against the Obama administration. The suit challenges changes the administration made to Obamacare without congressional authorization. The hiring of Turley has been praised by some conservatives because Turley is a liberal. He voted for Obama in 2008, supports national health care, and so forth. Turley’s status as a liberal may, indeed, be one reason »

How will the Supreme Court rule in the latest Obamacare challenge?

Featured image As Steve has noted, the Supreme Court will review the Fourth Circuit’s decision in King v. Burwell. That decision holds that the provision of Obamacare authorizing tax credits for insurance purchased on an exchange “established by the State under section 1311” also authorizes tax credits for insurance purchased on an exchange established by the federal government. It seems clear that four Justices are prepared to reverse the Fourth Circuit and »

In Other News. . .

Featured image While we’re still having fun making the Democratic rubble bounce from Tuesday’s carpet bombing, there was an important federal district court case ruling yesterday out of Utah that promises to put a crimp in the Endangered Species Act if it is upheld on appeal.  Jonathan Adler reports: This afternoon a district court in Utah held that the federal prohibition against “taking” Utah prairie dogs — listed as “threatened” under the Endangered »

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 »