210px-flag_of_washington_dcsvgThis afternoon, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs will hold its hearing on whether to accept a new state into the Union: New Columbia. While I was asked if I could testify on S. 132, I will be traveling today to Newport News to Christopher Newport University for a long-planned debate with John Yoo on presidential powers. I have written a long academic publication on the status of the District of Columbia and testified at the prior hearings on allowing for voting representation of District residents. See Jonathan Turley, Too Clever By Half: The Partial Representation of the District of Columbia in the House of Representatives, 76 George Washington University Law Review 305-374 (2008). Since I will not be able to appear, I thought that I would re-run my earlier column on the proposal. Before Congress embraces the path to statehood, it should give the original concerns of the Framers (and some new ones) full consideration. I have long argued that a constitutional amendment is the best way to give residents a vote in Congress. Statehood raises a myriad of difficult issues but regardless of the reform (whether statehood or an amendment simply allowing for a representative in the House of Representatives), this should be a decision that is submitted directly to the American people as a whole. I am troubled (as I was in 2007) by the effort to push this through Congress to avoid such a vote (as well as the cloud of partisan politics that continue to swell around the issue).

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HT_Carmel_Valley_mar_140910_4x3_992This is truly one of the more disturbing and bizarre criminal cases of the year. Kathy Rowe, 53, was shouldering a huge load with a severely disabled daughter and ill husband. She not only worked full time but slept in a chair in her daughter’s room every night. She was such an extraordinary mother that, in 2006, was picked as one of San Diego’s 50 best moms and mother of the year in 2007. She is now looking at jail time for how she decided to get a house that she felt was meant for her family.

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images1096As we previously discussed, the criminal charges against former Bush White House lawyer John Michael Farren for the attempted murder of his then-wife Mary Margaret Farren, a former partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. He has now been convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

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3989988_GMatthew-Baumrucker-and-Marriya-WrightWashington state prosecutor Marriya Wright has resigned from her $83,000-a-year job after a photograph of her in a bikini was found in the cell of Matthew Baumrucker, a prisoner who supports a forehead tattoo reading “criminal.” Officials later found that she had texted or called Baumrucker over 1,200 times during a period of a little over one month.

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220px-911report_cover_HIGHRES

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw) Weekend Contributor

In light of the recently observed 13th anniversary of the events on 9/11/01, I read an article this week that caught my eye.  According to reports, there is a 28 page section of the 9/11 Commission report that has never been released publicly and remains secret to this day.  Indeed, Congressmen must go through numerous security reviews before they can read the document in a secure room in Washington, D.C.

What kind of secret and clandestine information can be found in such a guarded document?  Since it is top-secret, we can only go by the reviews of people who have read the report.  What is found in that report may surprise you in light of its level of secrecy. Continue Reading »

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

decepticoncar-300x225We previously reported HERE an almost Onion like story of a man charged with impersonating a police officer by driving a black and white colored Maserati painted in a Transformer cartoon livery. The car was painted with white doors on a black body and included on the door a logo and the words Decepticons, Punish and Enslave to suggest the car was the Decepticons character Barricade. The driver was later charged with impersonating a police officer.

The driver’s attorney, provided us with the results of that hearing.

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By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

gavel2washington-flag-sealIn an unusual and historically unprecedented outcome, Washington’s Supreme Court held the state in contempt for the legislature failing to provide a clear plan in funding public education by the school year 2017-18 pursuant to the McCleary ruling the court handed down in January of 2012.

According to documents the court in McCleary v. State, 173 Wn.2d 477, 269 P.3d 227 (2012) unanimously affirmed a declaratory judgment of the King County Superior Court finding that the state is not meeting its “paramount duty … to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders” under Article IX Section 1 of the state constitution. The court initially deferred to the legislature’s chosen means of discharging its constitutional duty, but retained jurisdiction over the case to monitor the State’s progress in implementing by 2018 the reforms that the legislature had recently adopted. Pursuant to its retention of jurisdiction, the court has called for periodic reports from the State on its progress. Following the State’s first report in 2012, the court issued an order directing the State to lay out its plan “in sufficient detail to allow progress to be measured according to periodic benchmarks between then and 2014.

The legislature failed to meet the courts demands for production of evidence of progress by the legislature and the court then found the state in contempt. The issue has brought up certainly the notion of separation of powers, but the possibility of sanctions has many in the legislature motivated to now act.

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