The Supreme Court overruled its prior decisions in a historic decision this week that will allow politicians to tap into Internet sales with new taxes. President Donald Trump has praised the decision in allowing Internet sales to be now subject to taxation from all 50 states. The decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair overturns the prior 1992 ruling in Quill Corp. v. North Dakota (what is it about those Dakotas and Internet taxes?). South Dakota wanted to take a cut of Internet sales even though these business have no property or employees in the state. To do so, the Supreme Court had to guy its prior requirement of a physical presence in a given state. It just did by a vote of 5-4. The opinion also contains a body blow to the doctrine of stare decisis (“to stand on the decisions”) under which the Court strives to maintain its own prior decisions. We now have a doctrine of abdicare decisis (“To ignore the decisions).
This morning I posted a column in The Hill newspaper on the passing of Charles Krauthammer, one of the truly great columnists of his generation. For those of us who had the privilege of knowing Charles as well as his millions of followers, this is a devastating loss that will leave a deep and lasting void. Continue reading
Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski has been dropped by his speaker’s bureau and widely denounced for his mocking of a story of a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome who was separated from her mother. Now, after refusing to apologize, Lewandowski is denouncing the entire story (of playing his own words) to be “fake news.” Continue reading
In an act of utter Parliamentary pusillanimity, members have declared that the traditional pudding served in the Stranger’s Dining Room would be stripped of its name, “The Spotted Dick.” For generations, ordering the Spotted Dick has been the subject of good-natured chuckles and teasing. However, the current members appear constantly on the lookout for any term or practice that can sanitized as socially or culturally offensive. So, the pudding will now be called “Spotted Richard” – a change that is entirely divorced from any connection to the original meaning of the dish. The proof is in the pudding, but Parliament does not give a wit for the historical meaning of eating a dick. Continue reading
Our Victorian mugshot of the day is Samuel Crowley, who was charged with “having skeleton keys” in October 1862. We have been reviewing some of the earlier mugshots in England from West Midlands. These Birmingham mugshots offer a unique insights into the period.
Two days ago, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was effectively chased from a restaurant by protesters screaming at her and her companion. The scene at MXDC Cocina Mexicana was shocking to most of us who have decried the loss of civility in today’s political discourse. One person clearly not shocked was Rep. Jackie Speier (D., Cal.) who defended the protesters and blamed it on Trump’s divisive political rhetoric. While the protest seemed clearly organized, Speier portrayed it as a spontaneous expression of anger by citizens in her interview on CNN. The scene was very disturbing as was the apparent impunity exercised by the protesters in shutting down a restaurant. It now appears that it was a protest by the Democratic Socialists of America and one of those participating was a DOJ employee, Allison Hrabar. Hrabar is reportedly a paralegal specialist and her participation could raise again our long-standing debate over the punishment of employees for comments or actions taken outside of the workplace.
Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the recent hearing before the Senate Judiciary on the Inspector General’s investigation into the Clinton email controversy.
Here is the column :