Below is my column in USA Today on the passing of Associate Justice John Paul Stevens. I have another column appearing today in the Sunday Washington Post’s Outlook Section. I remain surprised by the comparatively light coverage of the passage of this great man who gave so much to the country. I disagreed with Stevens on various cases, but I always held him in the highest regard as a person and as a jurist.
Below is my column on the charging of Jeffrey Epstein and the complex connections raised by his prosecution. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta gave a press conference where he attempted to show that 2007 was a different century where victims rights did not exist and transparency was just a word used in window glazing. It was a ridiculous performance as Acosta sought to justify a sweetheart deal that has been universally condemned. Acosta attempted to shift the blame to state prosecutors who came out after the press conference to angrily contest his account. Previously, in 2011, Acosta insisted he yielded in the case because of “a year-long assault on the prosecution and the prosecutors” by “an army of legal superstars” like Dershowitz and Starr. He also wrote “The defense strategy was not limited to legal issues. Defense counsel investigated individual prosecutors and their families, looking for personal peccadilloes that may provide a basis for disqualification.” That is bizarre. Most prosecutors would have the backbone to double their efforts in the face of such pressure. Instead, Acosta’s defense came off as a whining or whimpering excuse for letting these big bad lawyers scare him off.
Below is my column on the vote scheduled for this week by France to impose a new regulation on Internet speech — essentially forcing companies to scrub their sites of any hate speech as defined under sweeping French laws. What is astonishing is how many Americans are prepared to follow the European model in limiting free speech on the basis for loosely defined terms of threatening or intimidating or harassing anyone on the basis for race or religion or sexual orientation or other protected groups. The implications for free speech is sweeping and chilling. The West has fallen out of love with free speech. What is most concerning however is that countries like France and Germany are likely to strip away free speech protections for the rest of the World, even in countries like the United States where free speech is still given broad protection.
Below is my column in The Hill Newspaper. Even after Nike embraced Colin Kaepernick, I was flabbergasted by the decision of Nike to pull sneakers showing the early American flag because Kaepernick found it offensive. Supporters of Kaepernick has insisted that the flag is now a symbol of white supremacists. I do not know about the adoption by white supremacists but I am familiar with the flag being used by prior protesters ranging from Civil Rights marchers to anti-Vietnam activists as well as displayed at events like President Barack Obama’s inauguration. Today, the Anti-Defamation League added its voice in saying that “We view it as essentially an innocuous historical flag. It’s not a thing in the white supremacist movement.”
Nevertheless, Nike has clearly decided that it will write off those citizens who feel strongly about the flag as a national symbol and play to Kaepernick’s base. The company’s sales went up seven percent after its controversial decision to hire Kaepernick for its campaign in 2018. Yet, the move has also hurt its brand with a sizable number of Americans and the latest move will likely weigh heavily on many not to buy Nike products. Many of us are not inclined to buy Nike products in light of its extreme position on the flag.
Below is my column in the Hill on the upcoming (and long-delayed) appearance of Robert Mueller, former Special Counsel, before Congress. It will be interesting to watch if Democratic members protect Mueller from having to address some of the glaring contradictions and problems in his report. However, in case there is a modicum of interest in delving into such areas by either party, here are 20 questions that I would ask Robert Mueller.
Below is my column on the end of the Supreme Court term and the one outstanding piece of business: an apology to Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch. After this column ran, Gorsuch again voted with the liberal justices on a critical due process issue. He has already carved out a principled legacy on the Court that follows his convictions rather than the predictions of his critics.
Below is my column on the move to remove the star of Donald Trump from the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The controversy of the Trump star is trivial in comparison to the more important, and growing, question of whether art appreciation should be based to some degree on appreciating the artist.
Below is my column on the record defamation verdict against Oberlin College and its implications for higher education. Obviously, I am quite critical of the actions of the college. What is the most striking aspect of this story is how completely unapologetic the college remains. There is little evidence of objective reevaluation of its actions such as the alleged demand that this bakery give first-time shoplifters from Oberlin a pass. There are three thousand students at Oberlin. There would be little left on the shelves if the word got out of a one-time pass where students could use their free shoplifting trip at Gibson’s.
In the meantime, alumni will be asked to support a college that may have burned tens of millions of dollars in just one incident. How many scholarships could have been granted for $33-$44 million? The annual tuition is $55,000. That is over 750 students who could have received free scholarships. Instead, over a stolen bottle of wine, the college has dug itself into a massive hole . . . and it is still digging.
Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the recent testimony by former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean. While President Trump has personally attacked Dean, I have always liked and respected him. However, I disagree with his historical analogies. Comparisons to the Nixon case are fair, but they become forced when people insist that the conduct or record is the same. There are fundamental and likely determinative distinctions. There is a valid basis for an investigation but the record does not support the extent of comparison laid out by John Dean. John often seems to rank presidents on a Nixon scale. Yet, rather than giving Trump essentially “five Nixons,” I would put it as one or two pending further investigation. In other words, the case must still be made that this is “just like Watergate.”
Below is my column on the recent controversy over a threatened tariff against Mexico for its failure to stop undocumented immigrants from crossing the U.S. border. Despite the last-minute deal with Mexico purportedly avoiding the tariff, President Donald Trump was back on the weekend threatening “very profitable tariffs” on Mexico. Whatever the purpose of such tariffs, however, they are unlikely to solve our problem with unlawful immigration absent greater enforcement on this side of the border. My point is not to call for wholesale prosecutions. Indeed, the primary concern is not the hiring by families or small businesses, but rather large operations with large percentages of undocumented workers. If there government truly wants to curtail the undocumented workforce (and that is uncertain), hammering the immigrants at the border or attempting mass deportations is unlikely to succeed. There remains a striking disconnect between the level of enforcement directed at undocumented individuals as opposed to large employers of undocumented persons.
Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on rejection of the lawsuit by the House of Representatives against the order issued by President Donald Trump to build the wall on the Southern border under the National Emergencies Act. I had previously testified against this lawsuit as a reckless and unnecessary move by the house. It is part of a litigation strategy that is clearly driven more by political than legal calculations.
Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the press conference held by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his refusal to answer questions from the media (or any questions from Congress beyond what is written in his Report). Mueller not only demanded silence but faith from the media, which surprisingly obeyed. Few reporters noted the direct contradictions in Mueller’s brief statement or the many unanswered questions that he left in his imperious wake. Since Attorney General Bill Barr has already testified on the process and his decisions related to the Report, there was nothing preventing Mueller from answering questions about his own decisions. Instead, Mueller simply said that the media would listen and remain silent . . . and the media dutifully complied.