Archive for June, 2012

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence Rafferty (rafflaw)- Guest Blogger

With apologies to the writers of the famous song by the same title, I came across a small news item that didn’t make the big headlines this past week.  Our friends in Georgia just don’t seem to get the idea that their citizen soldiers deserve the same right to vote that on military members enjoy.  In the upcoming primary elections and general election cycle, Georgia has violated the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) by not providing military members the minimum amount of time between elections in order to assure that their absentee ballots arrive in time to actually be counted in the respective elections.  At least the Justice Department thinks Georgia does not have the military on its mind! (more…)

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-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

Katherine Eban of Fortune has published the results of a six-month investigation into the Fast and Furious scandal that turns the previous narrative on its head. Eban notes a fundamental misconception at the heart of the scandal: while no one disputes that straw purchasers repeatedly bought guns that fell into the hands of criminals, “five law-enforcement agents directly involved in Fast and Furious tell Fortune that the ATF had no such tactic.”

Eban points out the irony of Republicans, who support the National Rifle Association’s attempts to weaken gun laws, chiding the ATF for not interdicting enough guns.

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Cute Kitteh Picture

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

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“Un-Civil” Wars

By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

Like many of us, I’ve read the back-and-forth exchanges between our host, Professor Turley, and Wisconsin law professor, Ann Althouse, about Prf. Turley’s Washington Post (WaPo) article proposing an expansion of the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS)  to nineteen members. It’s been a fascinating glimpse into what passes for dialog among American intelligentsia. Professor Turley reiterates a proposal he’s made years before, suggesting SCOTUS needs to keep up with the times and expand to reduce the power of a lone swing voter. Prf. Althouse responds that the reasons for the proposal cited by Prf. Turley are pure BS and that she knows better what’s in JT’s heart. Prf. Turley responds by saying her research into his position and attitude is deficient and laments the loss of civility among colleagues. Althouse replies that she’s just “plain talking” and that her real point was the manipulation of  the timing of Turley’s article by the newspaper even as it drives its own pro-Obama agenda.

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Immigration officials have declared Shera Bechard former Miss November and girlfriend of Playboy Enterprises founder Hugh Hefner to be pure genius. Bechard was allowed a visa by immigration officials as an “individual with extraordinary ability.” The specific extraordinary ability was left unstated on immigration forms but it is believed that the matter was fully researched by officials.
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Someone sent me this screen shot from yesterday’s coverage and asked how I was able to join Chief Justice John Roberts in discussing the health care ruling. Frankly, I thought arriving at the studio in his robe was a bit much but I appreciate his participation in the coverage. It is, however, a bit unfair to reply to analysis by your co-panelist with “well, that is not what I meant.” I think I have a slightly better handle on his own intentions, fears, and feelings after doing this type of work for a couple decades. Indeed, I have been known to go into a deep trance on television and channel the thoughts of James Madison (as well as Thomas Paine’s bartender).
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Police in Evansville, Indiana were alarmed to find threatening comments from someone on the Internet toward local police. They responded by sending a SWAT team to a home to capture the person who left the Topix postings. They invited a camera crew to watch them take down the villain — and it did not exactly turn into the camera-ready moment that they had hoped for.

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A Virginia woman has filed a lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, its bishop, and an anti-abortion ministry for what she alleges was sexual assault during an exorcism. The woman claims that the Rev. Thomas Euteneuer, then president of Front Royal-based Human Life International Inc., made her repeatedly take off her clothes and then caressed and kissed her — saying that he was “blowing the Holy Spirit” into her. She said it gradually dawned on her that this was not your standard exorcism. The case will apparently explore the difference between showing why “Jesus Loves You” and showing how “Jesus loves you.”
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Below is today’s column in USA Today on the health care decision. Though I support President Obama’s effort to establish health care, I have always opposed the individual mandate as a violation of federalism principles. What is fascinating is how some challengers have heralded yesterday’s decision as a victory of federalism. As shown below, I do not take that view.

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In an important win for free speech, the Supreme Court affirmed the Ninth Circuit in striking down the Stolen Valor Act — legislation that I have previously criticized (here and here) as a threat to the first amendment. The nice thing is that it was not particularly close and Chief Justice Roberts again broke with his more conservative colleagues. In United States v. Alvarez, No. 11-210, the Court held 6-3 that it is unconstitutional to criminalize lies — in that case lying about receiving military decorations or medals. Ironically, Alvarez now has something to brag about but no one will believe him.

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The U.S. Supreme Court

I am still at NBC but, as many have heard, the Supreme Court delivered a clear victory to the Obama Administration in upholding the individual mandate. However, the response may be a bit too gleeful for both those following the implications for the Court and the White House.

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The U.S. Supreme Court

I am currently scheduled to discuss the Supreme Court cases starting with MSNBC and then NPR’s Here and Now followed by Fox (Special Report) and CNN. I have been encouraging people to keep in mind that we are not just waiting for the Health Care ruling but the Stolen Valor case, the latter being a case with sweeping potential for free speech in the country.

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Anthony Chase, a former tenured professor at Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center in Florida is suing the law school for firing him due to its fear that he was “mentally deranged enough to engage in a campus shooting rampage.” His attorney has charged that the school not only did not give him a fair investigation but “buried the entire paper trail” to justify the termination. The lawsuit raises a novel claim under Americans with Disabilities Act alleging that Chase was fired based on the school’s perception of a mental disability.

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Every once in a while a story comes along that it both horrific and inspiring. The story of Heather Town, 32, is one such story. Heather’s 3-year-old girl Anne Marie was found alive in her arms after a tornado lifted her home off its foundation and threw her hundreds of feet. Heather held the child safely to the very end and was found alive and cradling her child by rescuers. After the child was pulled from her arms, Heather died.

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Saudi police have been dealing with a bizarre form of reckless driving called “Hagawalah” where men (women still are prohibited from driving in the Kingdom) skid their cars at high speeds as crowds cheer. Drifters often skid into opposing traffic or into awaiting crowds. One man identified only as “Mutannish” (or “he who ignores”) has been sentenced to be beheaded for killing two people while drifting.

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