Archive for the ‘Constitutional Law’ Category

200px-BYU_Medallion_Logo.svg175px-Brigham_Young_by_Charles_William_CarterThere is an interesting protest growing on the campus of Brigham Young University where students are opposing a rule imposed by the school. The subject of the protests is rather unique. No it is not a war protest or some other usual campus cause. It is facial hair. The university has banned beards, a curious rule to be sure for a school named after Brigham Young who would have been banned from campus due to his facial hair.

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holderericBelow is my column on the resignation of Eric Holder as United States Attorney General. For civil libertarians, Holder’s tenure as Attorney General under President Obama has been one of the most damaging periods in our history with a comprehensive attack on various constitutional rights and principles from free speech to the free press to international law. In recent polling by NBC and the Wall Street Journal, Holder was the second most unpopular government official after the positively radioactive Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

As someone who previously called for Holder’s firing after the investigation of various journalists under national security powers, I am hardly one who can offer congratulatory sentiments for such a record. However, much like President Obama, one has to wonder what could have been if Holder had chosen a more principled and less political approach to his office. Holder is resigning the same week that a federal judge ordered the release of “Fast and Furious” documents after the Justice Department was accused of a pattern of delay and obstruction. Holder was previously held in contempt by Congress for his withholding documents and conflicting accounts to an oversight committee looking into the scandal. Indeed, Holder was looking at an even more aggressive period with the possible loss of the Senate and increased GOP seats in the House.

Ironically, Holder came into office trying to distinguish himself from such disastrous predecessors as Alberto Gonzales but proved no less political or blindly loyal to his own president. Indeed, both men fought aggressively to expand the powers of the presidency and national security laws over countervailing individual rights and separation of powers principles. It will be civil liberties and not civil rights that will be the lasting, and troubling, legacy of Eric Holder. The column is below:

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124934515-e57055cd-e51d-400f-9705-9aecf3e4626cSamira Salih al-Nuaimi died last week as she lived: a brave symbol of human rights in a region of religious extremist and oppression. Al-Nuaimi, a mother of three and lawyer, was taken from her home in Mosul by Islamic State fighters and taken to a Sharia court for trial for apostasy in her abandoning of true Islamic teachings. This true Islamic path for ISIS then included days of torture and the executive of Al-Nuaimi.

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One month ago, United States District Court Judge Clarke Waddoups handed down his final ruling in favor of my clients in the Sister Wives case. Utah Attorney General, Sean Reyes has now filed his notice of appeal in the case — a move that will take this historic case to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Denver and potentially to the Supreme Court.

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Profesor_Ilham_TohtiChina has continued its crackdown on political speech with a truly disgraceful trial of Uighur scholar Ilham Tohti. The prominent scholar has written about the discontent in his region and lack of rights. The Chinese declared the writings as encouraging separatism. While that would not be a crime in any free nation, China handed him a life sentence after this supporters say that he was denied food and then denied copies of the evidence used against him.

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1411505445739_wps_3_Americans_weren_t_amused_It is being called “Semper Latte” and, if this is the biggest scandal that President Barack Obama has to worry about, his Administration is safe. Various people are denouncing the President for saluting his Marine guard while holding a cup of tea or coffee. From CNN to the Daily Mail to ABC to the New York Daily News to the Washington Post to the New York Post to NBC to CBS to countless others, the salute is generating heated comments across the country. YouTube clips show the salute over and over along with multiple postings expressing outrage. My reaction is a bit different. The President has launched another declared war that his aides say could last “years.” However, there seem more debate over this tempest in a tea [cup] than the fact that we are bombing another nation.

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220px-B-2_spirit_bombingPresident_Barack_ObamaI just completed a two-city debate with former Bush official John Yoo on executive power with a focus on undeclared wars. It appears Yoo won the debate . . . at least with President Obama. Indeed, Yoo appears to have had Obama at “hello” to quote Jerry Maguire. Without any declaration of war, Obama has launched attacks against targets in Syria — an act of war by any measure and a violation of international law.

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