The House Democrats, with the support of President Joe Biden, are set to vote to approve the establishment of the “State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth” as our 51st state today. I had testified and written about D.C. statehood for decades and, as noted in a recent column, I believe that the best interests of both the country and the district residents is found in retrocession, not statehood. Continue reading ““State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth”: House Democrats Set To Approve D.C. As The 51st State”
Sgt. William Kelly, the second highest-ranking official in the Norfolk Police Department’s internal affairs division, has been fired for making an anonymous donation to the defense fund for Kyle Rittenhouse. The donation (revealed after a security breach of the Christian crowdfunding site GiveSendGo was accompanied by a note saying that Rittenhouse did “nothing wrong.” Despite the obvious attack on free speech and associational rights, there has been little concern raised in the media or by legal experts. Two days ago, a reporter in Utah went to the home of a paramedic to confront him on why he made a $10 donation of Rittenhouse, who is accused of killing two people during violent protests last summer in Wisconsin.
The shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant, 16, in Columbus, Ohio has sparked protests despite the police releasing a videotape that appeared to show Bryant moving to stab another girl. The incident has strikingly similar legal issues to the shooting of Adam Toledo in Chicago. The parents of Bryant insist that she dropped the knife just before being shot, the same situation raised in the Toledo shooting. The videotape does appear to satisfy the standard for the use of lethal force under Tennessee v. Garner and other case law. Continue reading “Columbus Shooting Sparks Protests Despite Videotape Showing Knife Attack”
Below is my column in The Hill on two issues that arose on the final day of the trial of Derek Chauvin that could now feature prominently in any appeal. There will likely be an array of conventional appellate issues from the elements of the murder counts to the sufficiency of the evidence. Obviously, any appeal will wait until after sentencing, which will take many weeks. However, two issues were highlighted on the final day which could play a role in the appeal even if the odds are against Chauvin. The first on the denial of a venue change and the sequestering of the jury is very difficult make work on appeal. However, there are strong arguments to be made in this case. I believe Judge Cahill should have granted the venue change and also sequestered this jury. It is not clear if the court polled the jury on trial coverage, particularly after the inflammatory remarks of Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Cal.). However, there are credible grounds for challenging how this jury may have been influenced by the saturation of coverage of the trial as well as rioting in the area.
Here is the column:
The fallout over the comments of Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Cal.) continued as Democrats were asked to condemn her call for protesters to stay in the streets and get more confrontational. I recently wrote a column on how Waters had become the best possible witness for Donald Trump in her own lawsuit against him. Waters was denounced by Judge Peter Cahill for undermining not just any conviction in the trial of Derek Chauvin but the court itself in seeking to carry out its constitutional function. It would seem a simple matter for responsible people to condemn Waters’ inflammatory remarks but Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Cal.) defended her and refused to criticize the comments. Earlier this year, Pelosi condemned Trump for criminal incitement and pushed through his impeachment for using similar words on Jan. 6th. Waters was also defended on CNN where media figures supported her call for protesters to stay in the streets and get “more confrontational.” Continue reading “Pelosi Refuses To Criticize Waters Despite Court Denouncing Her Remarks For Undermining The Chauvin Trial”
I previously wrote a column warning that media coverage of the George Floyd trial of Derek Chauvin was dangerously incomplete and slanted. The concern was that the public was not being informed of strong defense arguments that would be used at the trial. The danger is that any acquittal or hung jury would then come as an even greater surprise — contributing to more rioting and violence. The coverage of the final day of the trial only magnified those concerns as legal experts and journalists seemed more set on advocating than reporting on the underlying issues. Continue reading ““Believe Your Eyes, Chauvin’s Knee Killed Floyd”: How The Line Between The Press and The Prosecution Disappeared In The Chauvin Trial”
We recently discussed the reckless rhetoric of Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Cal., in Minnesota, including declaring that she and protesters would not accept an acquittal in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin. The comments came after days of rioting, looting, and other violence. The concern is that such rhetoric would inflame those already inclined toward violence, particularly given the gunfire directed at National Guardsman after her comments. Now it appears that protesters targeted one of the witnesses for the defense — an act that is clearly intimidating and retaliatory. It turns out the home defaced was the former home of Barry Brodd, the retired police officer. Continue reading “Protesters Deface The Former Home Of Defense Witness In Chauvin Trial”
A vote is expected on Thursday in the House for granting the District of Columbia full statehood. The bill will reach the floor without a discussion of the alternative options to securing full voting rights for the district. While the House bill is unlikely to pass unless the Democrats can succeed in killing the filibuster, the real loss is that we have gone another year without discussing options that could actually pass and bring a myriad of benefits to the district beyond just adding two Senate seats. That is the option that the Democratic leadership has spent decades blocking from serious consideration. I lived in Washington and have close ties to the city after first coming to Washington as a young congressional page. I have long advocated a “modified retrocession” plan rather than the creation of a micro state because I truly believe that a tailored plan could address long-standing problems for the district in addition to its representational status.
With rioting continuing in Brooklyn Center, Minn. and around the country, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-CA, went to Minnesota and told the protesters that they “gotta stay on the street” and “get more confrontational.” The statement is ironic since Waters is one of the House members currently suing former President Donald Trump and others for inciting violence on January 6th with his words on the Mall. Waters insists that Trump telling his supporters to go to the Capitol to make their voice heard and “fight” for their votes was actual criminal incitement. Conversely, Waters was speaking after multiple nights of rioting and looting and telling protesters to stay on the streets and get even more confrontational. There was violence after the remarks, including a shooting incident where two National Guard members were injured. Waters has now guaranteed that she could be called as a witness by Trump in his own defense against her own lawsuit. Continue reading “Trump’s Surprise Witness: Rep. Waters Becomes A Possible Witness Against Her Own Lawsuit”
Chicago prosecutor, James Murphy, has been placed on leave Saturday after he noted in court hearing this month that Adam Toledo, 13, had a gun in his possession. The statement was made at the bond hearing for Ruben Roman, 21, who was with Toledo on the night that he died. The action was taken despite the position of the Chicago police that Toledo was armed until a fraction of a second before the shooting — a view also echoed by local media after reviewing the videotape. However, various politicians like Andrew Yang have insisted that this was the shooting of “an unarmed child” by police. The error may prove be the use of the word “has” in a court statement. The question is whether this type of action was warranted for a prosecutor who was trying to keep a dangerous individual in jail.
Below is my column in USA Today on charging decisions in the Wright and Babbitt shootings. The sharp contrast in the two decisions raises serious questions over the legal and political issues that rage around such cases.
Here is the column:
It often seems that our politics of rage has created a new age of berserkers, warriors revered for their blind destructive fury. In order to distinguish yourself from the rest of the mob, you must show a willingness to lay waste to any structure or institution on the path to victory. That type of blood-lust politics was on display this week when House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., Sen. Ed Markey , D-Mass, and others unveiled a raw court packing bill to add four new justices to the Supreme Court to give liberals a one-justice majority. Not to be outdone, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. not only endorsed the court-packing scheme but appeared to question the very basis for Marbury v. Madison — the case laying the foundation for the Supreme Court in our constitutional system. Continue reading ““How Much Does The Current Structure Benefit Us?”: AOC Questions Role Of Supreme Court In Defending Court Packing”
We recently discussed the move by Twitter to block the tweet of sports journalist Jason Whitlock criticizing the BLM co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors for purchasing a $1.4 million home in a secluded area of Los Angeles. A self-professed Marxist, Cullors has reportedly purchased four homes worth more than $3 million and has looked at real estate investments in places like the Bahamas. As with the censoring of a New York Post article on the Hunter Biden laptop story, Twitter was criticized for the censoring of the story and later said it was a mistake. Now, Facebook has reportedly blocked the underlying New York Post report about the controversy. In the meantime, BLM itself insists that the controversy is little more than terrorism from white supremacists.
Today, I will be debating the constitutionality of the wealth tax. The Federalist Society has organized today’s debate with Indiana Law Professor David Gamage who co-authored Why A Wealth Tax Is Definitely Constitutional.
The event titled “Would a Wealth Tax Pass Constitutional Muster” is open to public for registration and will be held virtually at 1:30 ET.
Update: Here is the podcast.
We recently discussed the controversial commission created by President Joe Biden to discuss calls to pack the Supreme Court as well as a number of truly looney ideas for circumventing or reducing the authority of the Court’s conservative majority. Some members however decided not to wait even for a commission that is itself packed with liberal members. House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler, D-NY, Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass, and others will be announcing their plan to immediately add four new justices to the Court. The number is calculated purely to give liberals a 7-6 majority on the Court. It is about a subtle as a B-52 run. Continue reading “Hostile Takeover: Democrats To Introduce Bill To Pack The Supreme Court”