Category: Constitutional Law

“Does This Sound Like A Good, Or Even Great Lawsuit?”: No, Mr. President, It Does Not.

President Donald Trump responded to the release of tapes from CNN this weekend showing a strong anti-Trump bias and agenda at CNN. The tapes were no surprise to many of us who have criticized CNN for its open advocacy against Trump and slanted coverage of political and legal issues. However, Trump again returned to his continuing call for lawsuits against the media over the issue: “Does this sound like a good, or even great, lawsuit?” The answer is no, Mr. President, it does not.

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O’Rourke Pledges To Strip Religious Organizations Of Tax Exemption If They Do Not Support Same-Sex Marriage

Roughly 15 years ago, I wrote about the collision between anti-discrimination laws and the free exercise of religion. I have been critical of the premise of the use of the tax code to effectively punish organizations that do not comport with the IRS’s view of good public policy. Now, presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke has fulfilled the prediction in the piece by promising to strip religious organizations of the tax exemption if they do not recognize same-sex marriage.

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Tax Man Cometh: Trump Loses Appeal On Tax Records

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has rejected the appeal of President Donald Trump to block a House subpoena for his tax documents. The ruling follows another loss in New York where a federal judge rejected Trump’s claim that he cannot be subject to criminal process of any kind while in office. That case has been appealed. Trump can appeal this latest ruling to the full court or to the Supreme Court or both.

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Will June Medical Deliver A Fatal Dose Of Reality For Precedent?

Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on the late addition of the Louisiana abortion case to an already impactful Supreme Court docket. The most interesting aspect of June Medical however may be what it will ultimately say about the doctrine of Stare Decisis and the respect for precedent.

Here is the column:

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Fox: Over Half Of Voters Want Trump Impeached and Removed

Polls are showing significant increases in citizens, including Republicans, who want to see President Donald Trump impeached. One of the most unsettling polls must be the one in Fox News which has generally tracked more favorably for Trump. The most recent Fox News Poll shows a new high of 51 percent in favor of both impeachment and removal.

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White House Issues Defiant Letter Refusing To Cooperate In Impeachment Proceedings

The White House continued along its ill-considered strategy of refusing to cooperate in an impeachment inquiry. I have previously written that Speaker Nancy Pelosi has made a fundamental error in not securing a vote of the House to commence an impeachment investigation. However, the letter issued by the White House counsel further undermines the case for executive privilege arguments and could reinforce obstruction allegations in any final articles of impeachment.

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Trump Tweet Undermines Privilege Claims For Barring Testimony

Today, President Trump tweeted on the decision to bar EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland from testifying since it would be in front of a “a totally compromised kangaroo court.” The problem is that any fight would be on the basis for executive privilege, not the disagreement with the Committee agenda or fairness. Executive privilege is based on protecting confidential communications and diplomatic relations. Trump seems to be saying is that he simply does not trust the Committee, which is not a ground for refusal if a subpoena is now issued.

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NBA Kowtows To China After A Manager Expresses Support For Hong Kong Protesters

The National Basketball Association debased itself in public as it heaped praise on the authoritarian regime of China after a manager simply tweeted support for Hong Kong protesters. China has canceled plans for a NBA exhibition game and is threatening a lucrative expansion deal into China. Basketball player James Harden profusely apologized to China for a manager simply expressing a view in favor of human rights. The league and top players have shown how money is an easy substitute for principle. Morey was forced to delete his innocent tweet and apologize. Harden is shown proclaiming “We apologize. You know, we love China. We love playing there. For both of us individually, we go there once or twice a year. They show us the most important love.” As the NBA heaps fawning praise on the Chinese regime, Amnesty International is calling for world action over its crackdown on protesters seeking simple forms of democracy and free speech. They however give no money to the NBA or its stars.

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Federal Court Rejects Trump Effort To Block Release Of Tax Returns

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in New York has rejected the effort of President Donald Trump to block a subpoena of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., for his tax returns. As I noted when the action was filed, the position of the President that he cannot be subject to any criminal process of any kind while in office is extreme and unsupportable in the Constitution. The full opinion is below.

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Casual or Cowardly? Pelosi Takes Dangerous Road To Impeachment

Below is my column on the curious footing of the impeachment “inquiry” against President Donald Trump. The failure to hold a vote of the full house has left many of us wondering what Speaker Nancy Pelosi was actually announcing in her press conference. The Judiciary Committee had been calling their proceedings an “impeachment inquiry” for weeks but Pelosi held a press conference with great fanfare to announce the commencement of an inquiry. Now Pelosi has finally responded to criticism and said that she may still hold a floor vote — again fueling questions of what the press conference was about to being with.

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Apple Pulls Crowd-Sourced App Used By Hong Kong Protesters

Apple has been repeatedly accused to yielding to the demands of China in its censorship and access control demands. Now, even after a protester was shot, Apple has removed a crowd-sourced app developed by protesters to track the location of demonstrations and police. The app however is still being offered by Google.

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Federal Judge Upholds Harvard’s Race-Based Admission Criteria

As previously discussed the controversy over the race-based criteria used Harvard University’s undergraduate admissions program and whether it discriminates against Asians. Not only do the criteria limit Asian-American students to 20 percent of the class but the plaintiffs alleged that such students are routinely given low scores on “personal ratings” to further reduce their admission numbers. U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs in Boston has now rejected those claims and upheld the admissions criteria, writing in the 130 page opinion that “The court will not dismantle a very fine admissions program that passes constitutional muster, solely because it could do better.” This case could prove a major new challenge to race-based admissions as it now works up to the court of appeals.

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Report: Trump Allegedly Suggested Shooting Migrants In The Legs And Building A Moat

The New York Times is reporting that, based on interviews with more than a dozen White House officials involved with a meeting in March, President Trump suggested shooting migrants in the legs to slow them down. When cabinet members told him that his some of his proposals were illegal, Trump reportedly yelled “You are making me look like an idiot!. I ran on this. It’s my issue.” The paper also alleges that Trump suggest a moat filled with snakes or alligators. The sheer number of sources is illuminating in this story. There has always been a surprising number of leakers in this White House but the numbers appear to be growing.

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Trump “Trying To Find Out” Identity Of Whistleblower Despite Federal Law

In a continuing failure to respect the spirit and letter of the whistle-blower law, President Donald Trump said on Monday that he was “trying to find out” the identity of the whistle-blower who accused him of using military aid to pressure a foreign government to investigate his political rival. Once again, there is no need for such a highly inappropriate effort. This is part of an impeachment inquiry, and the witness is likely to appear before Congress. However, the whistle-blower law — and good policy — protects the identity of such staff members. Trump previously had compared the whistle-blower to a spy — an accusation that was clearly threatening and improper.

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Trump Warns Of “Civil War” And Calls For Schiff To Be Questioned For Treason

This is not helping. President Donald Trump continued a tweet tirade against the impeachment investigation today, including quoting a highly controversial pastor in his warning that removal of Trump would spark a “Civil War.” Equally disturbing was Trump’s call to have the whistleblower brought to him and for Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff to be questioned for possible treason.

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