“The Very Definition Of Tyranny”: Roy Moore Calls For Justices To Be Removed For Voting For Same-Sex Marriage

Supreme CourtJudge_Roy_MooreIt appears that the Senate race in Alabama between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones is now a dead heat.   The tie in the normally reliable red state reflects controversial views of Moore who was twice removed from his job as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court for defying federal court orders.  One of his most alarming recent statements concerns the Supreme Court.  Moore told followers that he would support the impeachment of any justice voting in favor of same-sex marriage, a position that would destroy the integrity and traditions of our legal system.

 

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Court Rules That Menendez Case Will Go To The Jury For A Verdict On Public Corruption

800x-1Senator Robert Menendez and his close friend Salomon Melgen, a Florida eye doctor, are heading to a jury decision after U.S. District Judge William Walls ruled that the indictment against them for public corruption would stand.   Menendez not only stands in considerable jeopardy for his highly questionable relationship with Melgen but his conviction could flip the seat in the Senate since Governor Chris Christie would appoint his successor. ( A new governor will be elected for January).

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Democrats Challenge The Right Of Trump To Rescind Obama Order That A Federal Court Declared Unconstitutional

donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedHealth_Care_Delivery_System_Reform_and_The_Patient_Protection_&_Affodable_Care_Act.pdfThere are now eighteen states and the District of Columbia lined up to challenge the executive order by President Donald Trump to rescind the Obama order giving insurance companies billions in subsidies . . . without an appropriation of Congress.  As explained below, this challenge advances a rather curious claim that Trump cannot rescind an earlier order found to be flagrantly unconstitutional by a federal court.  In most high-profile litigation cases, counsel spends considerable time exploring whether a challenge will allow a bad case to make bad law on appeal.  That would seem the most likely outcome here but much of the litigation by Democratic Attorneys General have been driven more by political than legal calculations.  Voters now expect every act of Trump to be challenged and no Democratic AG wants to be the only one to sit out a challenge to an unpopular order.  The result is a type of perpetual litigation machine where bad precedent is being cranked out because it is viewed as good politics.

Here is the column:

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Kansas Teacher Barred From Employment Due To Her Support For Boycott Movement

israel1download-1We have been discussing the increasing scrutiny being applied to teachers and professors over their political views and social media commentary.  A particularly problematic case has been taken up by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) involving Kansas teacher Esther Koontz.  The long-time math teacher (and something called a “curriculum coach”) at Horace Mann Dual Language Magnet School in Wichita, Kansas, Koontz was barred from renewing her contract as  teacher because she supports the boycott of Israel over the occupation of Palestinian territories.  This is not simply reflective of her political views but a religious based obligation as a member of the Mennonite Church USA.  The church in July voted to divest itself from American companies that profit off of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.  The Kansas law therefore collides head on with the rights of free speech, free exercise, and free association.

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NAACP Denounces Demand For Players To Stand At NFL Games As “Unconstitutional”

Naacplogo300px-National_Football_League_logo.svgThe National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has Cowboys owner Jerry Jones saying that any players who protest during the anthem will be disciplined and not allowed to play. The NAACP has denounced the policy as “unconstitutional.”  While one can certainly disagree on the merits over the protests, teh NAACP is wrong on the constitutionality of such a policy.  An employer can clearly bar political protests during work hours. Moreover, the First Amendment is primarily directed to limiting government interference or regulation of speech.  While a public university qualifies as a state actor, it does not necessarily mean that protests are protected.  Even on college fields, school are giving considerable leeway in setting such rules, including the recent dismissal of a college quarterback for kneeling.

 

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Of Cake Shops and Coffee Shops: Recent Controversies Raise The Question Of When Owners Can Refuse Service To Those With Opposing Views

275px-A_small_cup_of_coffeeWedding_cake_with_pillar_supports,_2009A viral video from a Seattle coffee shop illustrates the growing tension between free speech and religious exercise values.  In the Facebook video, Ben Borgman — the owner of Bedlam Coffee shop — threw a Christian group out of his shop while spewing vulgar and obscene comments about their views.  There are a growing number of such conflicts as store owners assert their right to refuse to serve those with opposing religious or social values.  On December 5, the Supreme Court will hear the argument in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Rights Commission.  That case will determine if a cake shop owner could refuse to prepare a cake for a same-sex couple on the basis of his opposing religious values.

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Gun Control After Heller: The Second Amendment Requires More Than Passing Rational Responses To An Irrational Act

260px-capitol_building_full_viewBelow is my column in the Hill Newspaper on the proposals for new gun control measures in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre.  As I discuss below, there are some obvious possible measures that could pass constitutional muster like banning bump stocks (which allow semi-automatic weapons to perform more like automatic weapons) and conversion kits.  However, these proposals would not have prevented the massacre.  There are many “work arounds” for semi-automatic weapons and Paddock would have likely passed any enhanced background checks.  Nevertheless, GOP members have expressed interest in some additional gun control  measures.  

Here is the column:

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