Category: Courts

Turley and Toobin To Debate Impeachment In Dallas After Midterm Election

images-1The National Constitution Center and the Old Parkland Debate Series has announced that a debate will be held on November 12th between George Washington Professor Jonathan Turley and CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin on impeachment.  The debate will occur a week after the 2018 midterm elections and many have called for the impeachment of both President Donald Trump and Judge Brett Kavanaugh following a Democratic takeover of the United States House of Representatives.  The debate question is: Resolved, the framers designed impeachment as a political, rather than a legal process.  Toobin will argue that the Framers intended impeachment to be a political judgment while Turley will argue that the Framers intended more of a legal judgment. Turley was the last lead counsel in an impeachment trial in the Senate and Toobin previously worked for Independent Counsel Lawrence E. Walsh.

Continue reading “Turley and Toobin To Debate Impeachment In Dallas After Midterm Election”

“Horror Has A Face”: Primordial Politics and the Aftermath of the Kavanaugh Confirmation

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the aftermath of the Kavanaugh confirmation. It is not that there is no winner and loser as much as both Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh are both winners and losers.

It will take time to decide which party will benefit, but there is clearly Brett bump for Republicans going into the midterms.  Yet, the confirmation will also continue to resonate Democratic voters.

Continue reading ““Horror Has A Face”: Primordial Politics and the Aftermath of the Kavanaugh Confirmation”

Merkely Files To Enjoin Kavanaugh Vote

Jeff_Merkley,_115th_official_photoSen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) filed for an injunction in federal court to stop a final vote on Brett Kavanaugh.  The filing claims that the Republican majority is obstructing  his constitutional duty to give advise and consent on nominees.  The filing is entirely and utterly meritless.  It will be dismissed and is unlikely to receive a hearing on the claim.

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Kavanaugh Accuser Goes Public With The Support Of A Polygraph To Support Alleged High School Sexual Assault

download-6For a week, a scandal has grown over an anonymous accusation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.  I previously wrote about the unfairness of this last minute accusation from an unnamed law professor who declined to be named.  Moreover, the underlying letter has been in the possession of Democrats since July.  Now, the mystery is over:  Palo Alto University professor Christine Blasey Ford has come forward to say that she is indeed the accuser of Kavanaugh.  It appears that the earlier leaks and media reports that this was a Stanford law professor were untrue.  She is shown here from her high school yearbook picture.  Notably, her lawyer has said that she passed a polygraph examination that found her account was truthful.

Continue reading “Kavanaugh Accuser Goes Public With The Support Of A Polygraph To Support Alleged High School Sexual Assault”

A Bill Comes Due: Susan Collins Faces Rising Demands To Fulfill Her Promise To Vote Against A Presumed Anti-Roe Nominee

440px-Susan_Collins_official_Senate_photoBelow is my column in The Hill newspaper on the rising pressure on Sen. Susan Collins over her vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.  There is considerable anger over Collins maintaining that she would never vote for a nominee hostile to Roe v. Wade but refusing to acknowledge the widespread view of Kavanaugh as not only hostile to the reasoning of Roe but appointed by a president who promised only to nominate an anti-Roe justice.  As with Neil Gorsuch, Collins appears inclined to vote for Kavanaugh despite her oft-repeated pledge.   She insists that she is comfortable after Kavanaugh told her that Roe is “settled” law.  However, many have put Collins’ position as falling somewhere between hopeful thinking and willful blindness.  As discussed below, the unsettling thing about settled law is that only five votes make anything truly settled on the Court.

Adding to the political dimension are polls showing that the hearings did not produce a bump for confirmation.  The latest polling shows 38 percent in favor of Kavanaugh and 39 percent opposed. 

Here is the column: Continue reading “A Bill Comes Due: Susan Collins Faces Rising Demands To Fulfill Her Promise To Vote Against A Presumed Anti-Roe Nominee”

GW To Host Annual Supreme Court Review

Supreme CourtI will have the pleasure of participating in the annual Supreme Court review today previewing the upcoming October term.  The other panelists will be former Solicitor General Gregory Garre, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund President and Director-Counsel Sherrilyn Ifill.  Associate Dean (and Supreme Court litigator) Alan Morrison will moderate the panel.

Previewing the Supreme Court’s October Term 2018” will be held in the Jacob Burns Moot Court Room, 2000 H St NW, Washington, D.C. at 9:00.m. Continue reading “GW To Host Annual Supreme Court Review”

Defense Counsel Calls Out DOJ For Falsely Accusing His Client Of Trading Sex For Access . . . Court Imposes Gag Order On Counsel

09dc-butina-jumboYesterday, we discussed the prosecution of accused Russian agent Maria Butina and how prosecutors put out clearly false allegations that she traded sex for favors.  Butina’s defense counsel Robert Driscoll called out the government for the clearly baseless allegations spread throughout the media.  U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan has now responded by gagging counsel, an order that has become all too common in federal cases. Continue reading “Defense Counsel Calls Out DOJ For Falsely Accusing His Client Of Trading Sex For Access . . . Court Imposes Gag Order On Counsel”

Democratic Attacks On The Supreme Court Confuse Patterns of Principle with Politics

440px-Sheldon_Whitehouse_2010Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing and the opening statement of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse attacking the conservatives on the Supreme Court as a virtual ideological cabal.  I have always found Whitehouse an articulate and insightful member of the Congress.  He was not alone in these attacks.  However, I found the attack on the current justices to be unwarranted and distorted.  There is a tendency when you disagree with a decision like Hobby Lobby to conclude that the motivations of the justices must therefore be raw politics.  The possibility that the justices, including Justice Kennedy, are following a coherent jurisprudential view is dismissed in favor of partisanship.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Democratic Attacks On The Supreme Court Confuse Patterns of Principle with Politics”

Supremely Forgettable: A Majority Of Americans Cannot Name A Single Justice

1599px-Supreme_Court_of_the_United_States_-_Roberts_Court_2017There is an interesting C-SPAN survey out this week where ninety-one percent of citizens agreed that decisions on the Supreme Court impacted the lives of every American but a majority lack the ability to name a single justice. 

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Four “Yutes” And Counting: Controversy Grows Over The Judge’s Comments In The Manafort Trial

ManafortBelow is my column in the Hill newspaper on the controversial statements of the judge presiding over the trial of Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman. Judge T.S. Ellis III has raised growing concerns over his comments in court, particularly before the jury.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Four “Yutes” And Counting: Controversy Grows Over The Judge’s Comments In The Manafort Trial”

Mr. Manafort And His $15,000 Ostrich Coat

1531416683549The Justice Department received well-deserved pushback yesterday in the trial of Paul Manafort from U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis who noted that it’s not a crime to be rich in America.   The Justice Department has been trying every possible way of introducing pictures and witnesses detailing Manafort’s “extravagant lifestyle” in the jury trial.  This includes such items as his $15,000 jacket that’s “made from an ostrich.”  On style values alone, many of us would be tempted to convict on the Ostrich jacket but that is hardly what Manafort is charged with. Nevertheless, the government got plenty by using lifestyle witnesses to confirm Manafort’s use of direct wire transfers from his many foreign accounts — a practice that was recalled as exceptionally rare by the witnesses.

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Republicans Need To Consider The Consequences Of A Rosenstein Impeachment

Rod_Rosenstein_Official_DAG_PortraitBelow is my column in the Hill newspaper on the calls for the impeachment of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.  While the key sponsors have indicated that they may be willing to delay this effort, many continue to advocate for a vote on articles of impeachment.  As I have previously said, that would be a mistake.  Putting aside the historical and constitutional reasons discussed below, this is the worst possible time for the Republicans to lower the standard for impeachment. The Democrats could well retake the house in November and the effort against Rosenstein could make it all the more easy for Democrats to pursue Donald Trump after the midterm elections. Continue reading “Republicans Need To Consider The Consequences Of A Rosenstein Impeachment”

Scratch A Lawyer, Find A Foe: Michael Cohen Releases Secret Recording Of Trump Discussing Payment To Alleged Mistress

donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedBelow is my column in the Hill newspaper on release of the first Cohen tape and rumored seizure of many more such tapes by federal prosecutors.  I have previously stated that the secret taping of Donald Trump was, in my view, flagrantly dishonest and disloyal in dealings with a client.  While the American Bar Association relaxed the rule against secret taping from being per se unethical, few lawyers would contemplate what Cohen did to his client.  Indeed, New York is a jurisdiction that looks with disfavor on such taping as a routine matter.  Unless done for some clear societal benefit, it is a serious potential unethical act.  Michael Cohen continues to be an embarrassment to the profession in his low level of legal judgment and even lower professional standards of conduct.

Here is the column:

Continue reading “Scratch A Lawyer, Find A Foe: Michael Cohen Releases Secret Recording Of Trump Discussing Payment To Alleged Mistress”

Changing Dealers? MGM Resorts Sues The Victims In The Mandalay Bay Massacre

220px-The_ScreamMGM Resorts International has gone to an extraordinary point to forum shop for more sympathetic judges: it is actually suing the victims of last year’s Las Vegas concert mass shooting.  The move has outraged many as MGM shamelessly sues grieving families and individuals to get before the more conservative federal bench. It is a move that is a stark reminder of how corporations openly forum shop for judges as well as the view of the federal bench as being more sympathetic to corporate defendants.  What is all the more unsettling is that MGM and Mandalay Bay could well succeed.

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