Category: Constitutional Law

Barr’s Appointment Of Special Counsel Leaves Biden and Democrats In A Muddle

Below is my column in USA Today on the implications of the appointment of U.S. Attorney John Durham as a Special Counsel.  House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff and other Democrats have already denounced the move and called for the next Attorney General to consider rescinding the appointment.  While Schiff previously called for legislation to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller to complete his work without interference from the Attorney General, he ramped up the rhetoric against Durham as leading a “politically motivated investigation.” Durham was previously praised by Democrats and Republicans alike as an independent, apolitical, and honest prosecutor.  After insisting that the public has a right to see what has been uncovered over years of investigation by Mueller, they are now pushing to end the Durham investigation and forestall any final public report.

Here is the column:

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Flynn Retweets Call For Trump To Declare Martial Law To Hold New Elections

Retired Gen. Michael Flynn embraced an extreme call this week for President Donald Trump to declare martial law to hold a new presidential election. In a tweet, Flynn appeared to endorse a call from We the People Convention to declare martial law. He added “Freedom never kneels except for God.” As someone who long criticized Flynn’s prosecution as abusive, his association is deeply disappointing. While it does not alter the view of the prosecution, it will alter the view of Flynn to support such a call. Continue reading “Flynn Retweets Call For Trump To Declare Martial Law To Hold New Elections”

Turley To Speak at USC Law School on the Supreme Court

This afternoon I have the pleasure of joining a distinguished panel to speak on the Supreme Court at the University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law. The event is part of the LACBA Business Law Section 2020 Virtual Institute for Corporate Counsel and will also include Michael J. Gerhardt of UNC School of Law and Pamela S. Karlan of Stanford Law School who testified with me during the Trump impeachment hearing.  It will also include Beth S. Brinkmann of Covington & Burling LLP.

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Trump Administration Moves To Bar Any Group Supporting A Boycott of Israel

For years, we have discussed the effort of states to bar individuals, groups, and businesses from state contracts if they support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. Other Western nations have also moved to declare BDS “hate speech.” I have previously opposed such laws as unconstitutional and an attack on free speech. I do not support the BDS movement but I believe that it is a form of political speech that should be protected. For that reason, the move this week by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is alarming. He has declared that any non-profit groups supporting BDS will be cut off from government funding. Continue reading “Trump Administration Moves To Bar Any Group Supporting A Boycott of Israel”

Norway Criminalizes Hate Speech Against Transgender People . . . In Private Homes or Conversations

We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in Europe. The move to criminalize speech has led to an insatiable appetite for new limitations and broader prosecutions. Norway is an example of this headlong plunge into speech controls and crimes in the West. This week the legislature adopted (without even a vote) a new criminal law that punishes people for saying anything deemed hate speech toward transgender people in their own home or private conversations. Continue reading “Norway Criminalizes Hate Speech Against Transgender People . . . In Private Homes or Conversations”

Pilgrim’s Progress: How Thanksgiving Should Be A Celebration Of Nonconformity

Below is my column in The Hill on the attacks on the Pilgrims this Thanksgiving and why they embodied a critical characteristic in our country’s history: nonconformity. Indeed, the first major act that these courageous people did upon their arrival on these shores was the signing of a compact of rights that affirmed:

 

 

“solemnly and mutually, in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid: And by Virtue hereof do enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions, and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general Good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due Submission and Obedience.”

Here is the column: Continue reading “Pilgrim’s Progress: How Thanksgiving Should Be A Celebration Of Nonconformity”

The Supreme Court Bars Cuomo’s Pandemic Limits On Houses of Worship

The U.S. Supreme Court delivered a surprising blow to pandemic restrictions on house of worship in a late night order barring the enforcement of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Oct. 6 “Cluster Initiative” limiting attendance at religious services.  Five justices (including newly installed Justice Amy Coney Barrett) blocked the limits while allowing the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to hear the merits in the case. Notably, Chief Justice John Roberts voted with the liberal justices but only because he felt that the order was not needed since the plaintiffs were not currently subject to the most severe limits. Continue reading “The Supreme Court Bars Cuomo’s Pandemic Limits On Houses of Worship”

The Best Case For A Flynn Pardon May Be The Conduct Of The Court Rather Than The Defendant

President Donald Trump is reportedly considering a pardon for his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn this week. As someone who has long opposed Trump’s pardons of Trump associates like Roger Stone and  Joe Arpaio, I do not come easily to the idea of pardon for someone like Flynn. However, the strongest case for a pardon for Flynn was not made by his lawyers as much as his judge, the Honorable Emmet Sullivan. Sullivan’s continued controversial actions in the case could be cited as a credible, if not a compelling basis, for a pardon of Flynn. Continue reading “The Best Case For A Flynn Pardon May Be The Conduct Of The Court Rather Than The Defendant”

Barrett Reloaded? A New Third Circuit Decision Could Prove The Perfect Base For A Second Amendment Blowout

The Third Circuit has issued an opinion that has received little attention over the right to bear arms, but it should. The decision in Folajtar v. The Attorney General of the United States may be one of the most perfectly tailored case for major Supreme Court decision. Indeed, the only thing lacking from the 2-1 decision is a mailing label directly to Justice Amy Coney Barrett. In ruling that a non-violent tax conviction can result in the denial of gun ownership, the panel presents a clean case to further define the contours of the individual rights recognized in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008). It is also an opportunity that any new justice would relish: after being the lone dissenter on a similar case, Barrett could be the critical vote (and even the author) on the opinion changing the area in line with her prior position.

Continue reading “Barrett Reloaded? A New Third Circuit Decision Could Prove The Perfect Base For A Second Amendment Blowout”

Kentucky Attorney Files Challenge To Kentucky Governor’s Closure OF Religious Schools

There is an interesting fight brewing in Kentucky between Attorney General Daniel Cameron and Gov. Andy Beshear. Cameron has filed in support of a challenge to Beshear’s latest executive order closing religious schools to combat the pandemic. Beshear has correctly cited a major victory recently before the Kentucky Supreme Court — an unanimous decision in favor of his authority to issue pandemic orders. However,  Cameron is seeking a higher standard of review by focusing on religious schools that could change the result. Continue reading “Kentucky Attorney Files Challenge To Kentucky Governor’s Closure OF Religious Schools”

Michigan Attorney General Resumes Threats Of Criminal Prosecution Against Those Alleging Voter Fraud

We have been discussing the use of the criminal code by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) to threaten people who post videos on alleged voter fraud or legislators who raise such objections in the state. These threats are coercive and abusive, particularly when targeting opponents of your party who are challenging the victory of your candidate for president. Yet, as shown by a congressman seeking to disbar dozens of Trump lawyers, such threats are popular in today’s rage-filled politics.  So, Nessel continued her threats of prosecution on Monday in warning that a former state senator could be prosecuted for alleging possible voter fraud at a meeting of the Michigan Board of State Canvassers.  So, raising voting fraud at the board overseeing voting is now a possible basis for prosecution in Michigan. Continue reading “Michigan Attorney General Resumes Threats Of Criminal Prosecution Against Those Alleging Voter Fraud”

The Death Star Strategy: Is Trump Contemplating The Ultimate Constitutional Trick Shot?

Below is my column in The Hill on the possibility of contesting electoral certifications by key states. With the adverse ruling in Pennsylvania, the Trump legal team is still pledging new evidence of massive fraud as certifications are completed. The options for the team seem more and more reduced to the ultimate constitutional trick shot in engineering a fight on the floor of Congress.

Here is the column:

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Uncured: Federal Judge Dismisses Trump Challenge In Pennsylvania

On Saturday, U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Brann dismissed the challenge filed by the Trump campaign to stop the certification of the vote in Pennsylvania. The court acknowledged that vote negation may have occurred due to different “curing” rules, but balked at the legal and logical basis for blocking certification of the state electoral votes to remedy to such claims. The scathing order described the argument of Trump counsel Rudy Giuliani as a “Frankenstein monster” composed of disparate parts of different legal claims. Notably, the court did find that the “Individual Plaintiffs have adequately pled that their votes were denied.” However, that island of support is lost in a vast ocean of countervailing and caustic findings by the court. Continue reading “Uncured: Federal Judge Dismisses Trump Challenge In Pennsylvania”

Michigan Legislators Face Calls For Possible Criminal Charges After Meeting With President Trump On Certification

We have been discussing the campaign of The Lincoln Project and others to harass and abuse lawyers who represent the Trump campaign or other parties bringing election challenges. Similar campaigns have targeted election officials who object to counting irregularities.  Now, the Michigan Attorney General and others are suggesting that Republicans who oppose certification or even meet with President Donald Trump on the issue could be criminally investigated or charged. Once again, the media is silent on this clearly abusive use of the criminal code target members of the opposing party in their raising objections under state law.

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No, Whitmer Should Not Be Impeached

I have been highly critical of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for her misrepresentation of a state supreme court ruling that she violated the state constitution in her pandemic orders, a false account echoed by NBC’s Chuck Todd. However, the move today to impeach Whitmer is wrong for many of the same reasons raised in my testimony against the impeachment of President Donald Trump. Whitmer did violate the Constitution, as have other public officials in other states. However, this was a legal dispute on the scope of her discretion that was resolved by the state courts.  We cannot have impeachment as a type of “no confidence” vote on chief executives.

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Res ipsa loquitur – The thing itself speaks