The Doomsday Scenario: How Replacing Sessions Could Trigger A Cascading Series Of Unfortunate Events

Superman_Doomsday_logojeff_sessions_official_portraitBelow is my column in USA Today on the possibility of a “Doomsday scenario” where President Donald Trump first fired (or forces the resignation) of Jeff Sessions and then moves to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller.  That scenario was reinforced yesterday with reports that Trump has discussed firing Sessions and giving a recess appointment to his successor — the very scenario laid out earlier in this column.   In addition, Trump blasted Sessions again yesterday — this time criticizing him for not replacing Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, whose wife ran for office in Virginia in 2015 and received large contributions from the Democratic Party.   

Trump’s unrelenting criticism of Sessions is occurring at the same time as new leaks about his discussing not just a replacement but a recess appointment — something the Democrats have vowed to prevent.  The question is whether some Republicans might join in that effort to prevent the type of Doomsday scenario laid out in this earlier column.

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Judge Richard Posner Declares Support For Supreme Court Expansion Proposal

I have previously discussed the legendary career of Judge Richard Posner of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.  Widely viewed as the father of Law and Economics, Posner remains one of greatest influences on American jurisprudence in the history of this country.  I have long been a great admirer of his work and teach his theories as part of my torts course.  It is for that reason that I was delighted when my co-counsel sent me the interview below where Judge Posner expressed support for the proposal that I have advanced for many years to reform the Supreme Court.  Posner agrees with the proposal to expand the Supreme Court to nineteen members.

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Michigan Judge Threatens To Throw Out Plea Bargain After Murderer Smirks Through Victim Statement

Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 10.49.07 PM.pngDefense counsel often discuss demeanor in court with our clients.  One thing that we all agree on is that it is a uniquely bad idea to smirk during victim statements, particularly in a murder case.  That is one lesson Danta Wright, 17, did not learn and it almost cost him the plea bargain negotiated with prosecutors.

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Trump And The Epiphany of Clarity: The Case For And Against Self-Pardons

donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedBelow is my column in the Hill Newspaper on the continuing debate over the constitutionality of self-pardons.  While I view this question as a close one, I do not agree with commentators like Brookings Fellow Norman Eisen that any claim that a president can self-pardon is “absurd.”  To the contrary, I believe that Trump would have a 50-50 chance in any challenge.

Of course, the first challenge to working out the merits of such arguments would be securing judicial view. In case like Ex Parte Garland (1866), the Supreme Court has previously treated the pardon power as largely unfettered and political in natural – a power that can be used for any federal offense before, during or after a prosecution. It is not something ordinarily subject to judicial review. It is possible that a federal prosecutor could seek to bring a charge and force a court to rule on a motion to quash an indictment based on a prior self-pardon.  A decision could easily go either way on this type of close and intractable question.

Here is the column:
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Wasserman Schultz Aide Arrested Allegedly Trying To Flee The County After Fraud Charge

Wasserman SchultzRep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), the former Democratic National Committee chairwoman, has been under intense criticism over her retention of Imran Awan as a technology aide.  While other members severed connections to Awan after he was accused of wrongdoing months ago, Wasserman Schultz retained him.  He has now been arrested at Dulles International Airport in an alleged attempt to flee the country.

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Iranian Presenter and Advocate Of Islamic Dress Laws Allegedly Caught Without Hijab and Drinking Beer In Switzerland

IAzadeh Namdari promoting Islamic dress in an Iranian newspaper - she is pictured walking down the street in a headscarfranian state television presenter Azadeh Namdari is known as an advocate of the strict Iranian dress codes for women that many women have bravely resisted in the authoritarian country.  For that reason, a photo of Namdari sitting outside without a hijab and allegedly drinking a beer has caused a firestorm of criticism from both secularists and Islamists.

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Heinz Accused Of Selling “Natural” Food For Children With Sugar Levels Qualifying As Confectionary Item

There is an interesting case out of Australia that will confirm the concerns of many parents over food for young children.  The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) brought a legal action against Heinz in June after reviewing a complaint by the Obesity Policy Coalition about the sugar content of the food.  The Commission determined that the level of added sugar would qualify the food — which is sold as a “natural” and healthy choice — as a confectionary item like junk food.  The focus is a product line called  “Little Kids Shredz.”

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