Below is my column in The Hill on the call for Justice Amy Coney Barrett to recuse herself or be impeached. The call for recusal is indicative of demands and threats that are becoming more unhinged by the day. Whether it is adding or impeaching justices, the Democrats are yielding to the same 30 percent of irate and increasingly irrational voters in their base. What is concerning is the utter lack of responsible voices from the party to counter this retaliatory impulse or to defend the institution of the Court. Instead, former Vice President Joe Biden’s declaration that the Court is “out of whack” now means that many Democrats are out to whack either the Court or its members.
Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the range of options referenced by Vice President Joe Biden in the last debate that may be considered by his new “commission” for reforming the Supreme Court. It is worth looking at the parade of horribles proposed by academics for changing the Court to legislatively negate the majority of conservative justices after the addition of Amy Coney Barrett to the Court (as early as today). The concern is that this is little beyond enablement by commission as Democrats claim license to do lasting harm to one of the most important institutions in our constitutional system.
In this election, the Lincoln Project has been arguably the most prolific anti-Trump organization in running scathing and often personal attacks on Trump, his family, and his associates. The ads have ranged from the genuinely funny to the shockingly vicious. Now however, the Project may have added openly defamatory. The Project has erected a pair of billboards in Times Square that slam Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump as callous and mocking figures in the fast of the rising death toll from Covid-19. The Project has received a letter of intent to sue from the family’s lawyer and, while these actions by public official or public figures are extremely difficult to maintain, the claim could have merit. I have updated the column below to add the statement from the Lincoln Project.
I recently wrote about how the Barrett confirmation hearing is proof that Benjamin Franklin was right when he wrote that “it is hard for an empty sack to stand upright.” Now that analogy is becoming reality as Democrats plan to leave actual empty seats in today’s hearing to vote on the nomination. It is all an effort to convince Democrats voters that the senators are really angry over the nomination and fighting like the dickens to stop it. It is, of course, pure theater with no real impact on the nomination but voters seem to demand little more from politicians today than visceral distractions.
Below is my column in the Wall Street Journal on nomination of Amy Coney Barrett. While the confirmation hearing often seemed weirdly disconnected to the nominee, there were important moments where the jurisprudential views of Judge Barrett were expressed with striking — and rare — clarity.
I previously testified in the Senate on Antifa and the growing anti-free speech movement in the United States. I specifically disagreed with the statement of House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler that Antifa (and its involvement in violent protests) is a “myth.” My greatest concern remains the growing use of violence to shutdown free speech events around the country — a practice that has been going on for years on our campuses. That danger was evident in San Francisco yesterday when a conservative group gathered for a free speech rally to protest the recent actions of big tech companies like Twitter. They were violently attacked and the organizer had two teeth knocked out before the event was canceled. Continue reading “Conservatives Attacked by BLM and Antifa Supporters In Effort To Hold Free Speech Rally In San Francisco”→
Below is my column in USA Today on the troubling course taken by Democratic members in the confirmation hearing of Judge Amy Coney Barrett. As I have stated, there are a host of legitimate questions to be raised over Judge Barrett’s view of the law. Indeed, I praised the exchanges between Sen. Dick Durbin (D., IL.) and Judge Barrett as the substantive highlight of the hearing. Unfortunately, those were the exceptions. Instead, the thrust of the entire hearing was that Barrett was unqualified due to her expected vote in the upcoming case on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Various senators directly stated that they would vote against Barrett to protect the ACA. That is what is so unnerving about the Barrett confirmation hearing.
Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on Roe v. Wade and the doctrine of stare decisis (or the respect and preservation of precedent). One of the most notable moments in the hearing came when Judge Barrett suggested that Roe was not “super precedent.” Indeed, she noted that the concept of “super precedent” is the work of others in academic publications. However, on Roe, Judge Barrett had an interesting exchange with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. in which she identified Brown v. Board of Education as such super precedent. However, when pushed on Roe, she noted “I’m answering a lot of questions about Roe which I think indicates that Roe doesn’t fall into that category.”
We occasionally have the opportunity to publish columns from other academics on pressing legal or political issues. In the column below, Professor Douglas A. Kahn discusses the charge that Judge Amy Coney Barrett would clearly vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the pending case of California v. Texas. Professor Kahn is the Paul G. Kauper Professor Emeritus of Law at the University of Michigan. He taught for decades at Michigan and has written a host of books and articles in his distinguished career. He is also a graduate of our law school at George Washington University. It is my distinct honor to post his thoughts on the ACA issue below.
Many of us in the free speech community have long complained that the 1969 case of Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District is often dismissed in cases addressing the free speech rights of students. The famous decision declared that students “do not shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” Yet, courts have regularly curtailed free speech rights in deference to school officials maintaining discipline and order in their schools, even in the regulation of speech outside of schools. One rare victory emerged this week in Louisiana where a federal judge ruled that Superintendent Frances Varnado and Washington Parish School District board violated the rights of a high school senior by painting over his mural of President Donald Trump. U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon relied on Tinker and declared the mural to be protected political speech.
In Connecticut, U.S. District Judge Alfred V. Covello has dismissed a free speech challenge that could have sweeping implications for protests against police operations or policies. Michael Friend was arrested in 2018 after he held up a sign warning motorists “Cops Ahead.” The police were looking for distracted drivers in Stamford. Covello ruled that Friend did not have a free speech right in making such a protest. As will likely surprise few on this blog, I disagree. Covello’s decision dismisses the obvious political and social viewpoints reflected in Friend’s protest. Under this standard, a wide variety of speech could be curtailed as inimical to police operations.