The Iranians have given the world another absurd application of its brand of Islamic faith. The government has declared that Zumba exercises classes are effectively banned in Iran because the dance “contravenes Islamic ideology.” The “rhythmic movements” of Zumba appear to be anti-Islamic. There is no room for rhythmic dance in the Islamic Republic.
Italy’s highest court handed down a victory for animal rights activists last week that mandates that restaurants can no longer keep lobsters on ice because it causes them unjustifiable suffering. It is a decision applauded by many who viewed the crustaceans as being subjected to unnecessary discomfort. As much as a applaud such decisions in favor of animals, it does still leave the rather obvious conflict with the fact that the lobsters are then boiled alive.
I have the honor of participating this year in the special program benefiting the widely respected Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. Since 1994, the Mock Trial Series has been held to bring Supreme Court justices and members of the bar to join in a fun night in which Shakespeare figures are tried by leading members of the bar. This year, the three Weird Sisters from Macbeth will be in the dock. The bench will consist of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Stephen G. Breyer, Judge David S. Tatel, Judge Sri Srinivasan, and Judge Patricia A. Millett, United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The court marshal will be Pamela Talkin, of the Supreme Court of the United States. As the jurists deliberate the fate of the three sisters, I will take the stage with attorney Abbe Lowell to discuss the recent conviction of Michele Parker for encouraging the suicide of Conrad Roy III.
For many weeks, I questioned the need for a Special Counsel in the Russian investigation because it seems like a coverup in search of a crime. I still do not see the evidence of a crime and simply saying “collusion” does not supply an actual crime. However, when President Donald Trump fired James Comey, I supported the appointment of a Special Counsel to investigate obstruction of justice, even though I remained skeptical of the basis for an actual obstruction charge. I still fail to see the compelling basis for an obstruction case without stretching the criminal code to the breaking point. Nevertheless, I continue to support the need for an independent investigation.
The investigation of a sitting American president however must itself be beyond question as to any bias or influence. For that reason, I have been questioning the propriety of Rod Rosenstein to continue in his current position vis-a-vis the Russian investigation. From the outset, Rosenstein seemed to me to be an inevitable and important witness. Ironically, the recent leak magnified this problem. The leak seemed calculated to protect Mueller from being terminated by publicly identifying Trump as a possible target. However, whatever benefit the leak brought Mueller, it undermined Rosenstein. If Mueller is investigation Trump for obstruction, Rosenstein should immediately recuse himself.
It is not clear if Mueller has an equal conflict of interest. There is reason to be concerned. If Mueller discussed the Comey’s termination with Trump as a candidate for the next FBI Director, he might also be considered a witness in any obstruction investigation. It would seem highly material to the investigation to learn of how Trump described his decision and what he said (if anything) to Mueller about the ongoing Russian investigation. At a minimum, the Special Counsel should address what is a reasonable question about his own knowledge of (and participation in) any meetings with Trump on the Comey termination and the Russian investigation. I do not agree with the campaign to discredit Mueller and strongly object to attacks on his character. I believe Mueller to be a person of integrity and I hope that he recognizes that such a meeting raises some legitimate questions that should be addressed.
Here is the column:
Another day, another leak. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that it has seen a memo written by Rick Ledgett, the former deputy director of the NSA, detailing a phone call in which U.S. President Donald Trump NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers to state publicly that there is no evidence of collusion between his campaign and Russia. It is the latest high-level official reporting a concerted effort by Trump to dispel allegations of collusion. While the Special Counsel is reportedly seeking to interview Ledgett, I still remain skeptical of the current facts being used as the basis for an obstruction case. As I previously discussed, Robert Mueller has hired at least one senior lawyer known for his unsuccessful effort to expand the scope of obstruction. However, this memo does not necessarily change the narrative on both sides of the controversy. There remains an obvious defense to a conventional obstruction claim – assuming the definition of the crime is not stretched beyond recognition to change the meaning of “corruptly influence.”
We have often discussed the uncertain art of taking a mugshot and whether it is better to smile or leave an expressionless face. Merrick David Isaacks, 19, went with the happy image approach which seems wildly out of place with his alleged crime: shooting cyclists for fun with a shotgun
Criminals in Santa Clara have discovered the only thing worse than stealing a police cruiser with a GPS device. Instead, they stole over a hundred of Roambee GPS trackers from the manufacturer. When asked if they knew where the thieves went, Roambee employees said . . . well yeah. They then turned on their tracker on the GPS devices and police immediately arrested the stunned criminals.