As many know I am often a staunch critic of Washington’s child protective services and a system that at times has shown itself to be rife with incompetence, vindictiveness, and laziness. For the past several years hardly a six month time period elapses without news of yet another major debacle occurring that shatters the life of a child or family member and results in millions of dollars paid out by the state in damages.
But the latest spell in my view goes beyond the usual bureaucratic blundering and crosses a line into what many would consider to be corruption.
As the Democratic presidential race gets more crowded and frantic, the rhetoric is rising. As with some of President Trump’s comments, one can dismiss much of these comments as irresponsible efforts to trigger a base of voters. However, some comments raises more troubling issues. That was the case with Beto O’Rourke’s comments on the media. O’Rourke accused conservative media of being the mouthpieces of terrrorism — an attack every bit as chilling as Trump’s calling the media the “enemy of the people.”
Years ago, I handled a challenge to the decision of the State of Idaho to ban the sale of “Five Wives Vodka” due to the illegality of polygamy in the state. We succeeded in having the decision reversed. Now, however, another Utah brewery has lost its appeal of a decision to bar the sale of “Polygamy Porter” in North Carolina due to the fact that “polygamy is illegal.” It is an illogical and capricious decision that should be further appealed.
Washington appears to be settling around background checks as the response to the latest massacres in Texas and Ohio despite the fact that such background checks would not have stopped most of the past mass shootings. What politicians will not admit to the public is that there is a very limited range of actions that Congress can take in curtailing an individual constitutional right.
Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe has a history of passionate opposition to President Trump and calling for his impeachment, and he continued the trend Sunday by blaming Trump for a pair of shootings that took place over the weekend in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Others have also placed blame on Trump for the shooting though Tribe goes as far as to declare Trump a terrorist. I have previously disagreed with Professor Tribe on these tweets against Trump and Republicans and this attack appears unhinged and entirely inappropriate for a respected academic.
This morning I have the great honor of delivering a keynote address before the Federal Bar Conference in Anchorage, Alaska. The conference is being held at the Hotel Captain Cook and I will be speaking at 9:00 am on the foundations and evolution of both free speech and the free press in America.
Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the growing calls from Democratic presidential candidates for “wealth taxes” targeting the increasingly demonized “super rich.” Putting aside serious questions over the constitutionality of such wealth taxes (despite being the core cause of candidates like Elizabeth Warren), Democrats appear to be moving from Rousseauian to a Robespierrean rhetoric in this new class warfare.
Here is the column with a few of the underlying facts beyond the rhetoric:
I have written previously about the often frivolous lawsuits brought by Democratic leaders that not only threaten to create bad precedent but undermine legitimate claims against President Donald Trump. One such meritless action was filed by the Democratic National Committee, an action that came perilously close to crossing the line of Rule 11 on meritless or vexatious actions. Judge John Koeltl, a Clinton appointee, was scathing in dismissing the action against key members of the Trump Administration and Wikileaks as “entirely divorced” from the facts.
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 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.