Archive for February, 2008

John McCain’s possible election could trigger review under an obscure part of the Constitution: the birth eligibility provision of Article II. The requirement that an American be “natural-born” has long been controversial, but few associated John McCain with the problem as opposed to other leaders like Arnold Schwarzenegger. McCain, however, may be a foreign born citizen given his birth in the Canal Zone. Due to the bar on advisory opinions, this issue might not be ripe for review until after the general election, triggering another Bush v. Gore moment in the high court. Ted Olson has even been retained for the possible fight to complete the scene for a Supreme redux. (more…)

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To say the least, I am getting a bit of flack for suggesting that John McCain could have a constitutional problem under Article II’s eligibility provision. In the interest in lightening up the discussion, I offer the following as a possible rallying song for Panamanian and Panamanian-born friends alike. It appears that with a little tweaking and the indulgence of our Canadian neighbors, O Canada seems remarkably apropos. (more…)

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The Connecticut Supreme Court has issued an interesting ruling that bars the widow of a judge from suing under a law designed to benefit her alone. It is like a reverse bill of attainder ruling: barring selective special benefits as opposed to punishment in legislation. (more…)

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The United States has now passed a milestone, one of every one hundred adults are in prison or jail. This number grows even more when one considers the number of people on parole or probation. While the dollar is at a record low and our economy is collapsing, we can now at least claim that America now runs the world’s largest prison system. (more…)

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After YouTube blocked a video posted by a human rights activist on Russian prison abuse, the company has yielded to international objections and restored the video. The video shows the chronic abuse that occurs within the Russian prison system. (more…)

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While other departments are trying to teach non-violent methods, Russia appears to favor a more physical approach, as shown in this video. (more…)

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The American Field Service (AFS) is facing a possible lawsuit in a shocking case of alleged abuse and negligence. Maine teenager
Jonathan McCullum lost 60 pounds while placed with a family in Egypt. When he returned he was so weak that he had difficulty carrying his luggage and had to be hospitalized . AFS has refused to comment and referred inquiries to a lawyer who has also refused to comment. This could present some novel tort issues, but it appears that AFS has much to answer for. (more…)

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The expected nomination of John McCain has been eagerly anticipated by constitutional scholars, not because of political support but selfless academic interest. McCain’s election would trigger review of an obscure part of the Constitution: the birth eligibility provision of Article II. The requirement that an American be “natural-born” has long been controversial, but few associated John McCain with the problem as opposed to other leaders like Arnold Schwarzenegger. McCain, however, may be a foreign born citizen given his birth in the Canal Zone. (more…)

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It appears that the French believe that caffeine should only be delivered to tourists in small espresso cups in large numbers on the Champs-Elysées. The French government has banned Red Bull as dangerous to public health and the European Court of Justice said that it could do so. However, the Court ordered France to lift the ban until it could prove those dangers. (more…)

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Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has been trying hard — and spending millions in public funds — to bury a scandal related to his affair with a former aide. The most recent defeat for Kilpatrick came yesterday when the Supreme Court ruled that documents from a civil case could be made public — adding more evidence of Kilpatrick’s cover-up of an affair with his chief of staff Christine Beatty. (more…)

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Roger Clemens’ decision to testify before Congress without immunity was a considerable risk designed to protect his legacy. He may now lose both his legacy and his liberty. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Henry Waxman and ranking Republican Tom Davis sent a letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey asking for a criminal investigation into whether Clemens gave false information to Congress in the investigation in to the use of performance enhancing drugs. (more…)

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Michael Ray, a federal inmate, could rightfully claim some confusion. A “jailhouse lawyer,” Ray convinced the United States Supreme Court to accept an important prisoner case this term — an achievement unmatched by the vast majority of practicing lawyers. Now, however, the South Carolina State Attorney General is reportedly investigating Ray for possible charges of practicing without a license. What is particularly curious is that this is the same state that recently admitted well-connected applicants for the bar after they flunked the exam. South Carolina appears to have entered some parallel universe where success in the law is failure while failure in the law is success. (more…)

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Those brilliant environmentalists in the Chinese regime that brought us the Three Gorges Dam and cancer villages have come up with another breakthrough idea. Faced with soaring pollution in lakes like Chau Hu (Lake Chao), the Chinese government is introducing silver carp to eat the toxic algae chocking the lake. It will then feed the toxic-algae fed fish to Chinese citizens as food. (more…)

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Only recently, the Saudi police arrested an American businesswoman who sat down at a Starbucks next to a man who was not a family member. Now, a university professor has been sentenced to eight months in jail and 180 lashes for having coffee with a female student in Saudi Arabia. He was arrested by the religious police for being in a state of khulwa – seclusion – with an unrelated female. (more…)

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Karyn Galila, 24, has been given a 90 day jail sentence for her false report of being raped at gun point by five men in San Mateo, California. What is most striking about this story is the lack of consistency in the treatment of such false accounts, particularly the refusal of prosecutors to pursue charges against the two women behind the false rape charges in the Duke Lacrosse case. (more…)

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