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.
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.
In one of the most bizarre sentencing decisions in recent memory, visiting Judge Anthony Viviano sentenced Brian Kozlowski, 46, to just 60 days for a crime warranting 180 months. Kozlowski’s ex-wife suspected he was poisoning her and caught him on camera spiking her coffee. She was lucky but nearly not as lucky as he was in getting this ridiculously low sentence for a 12-year felony. Vivano said that he gave him the low sentence because Kozlowski showed some remorse.
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 the Washington Post Sunday on the legacy of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. With roughly 35 years on the bench, he was the nation’s second oldest and third-longest serving justice.
Stevens will lie in repose at the Supreme Court on Monday. On Tuesday his funeral will be held and he will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. I expect he would have preferred center field at Wrigley but this is a strong second option.
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.
While the headlines have been occupied with the Epstein matter and the other news, there is something curious happening in federal court with Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser. Flynn was just listed as an unindicted co-conspirator by the Justice Department. That itself is odd since Flynn is a cooperating witness facing sentencing before a fairly hostile federal judge. Nevertheless, Flynn now says that the government was trying to get him to give false evidence in the the trial of a former business partner, Bijan Kian, who is accused of violating foreign lobbying disclosure laws. The move by Flynn (following his replacement of counsel) could indicate an “all in” position for a pardon.
There certainly seems to be a lack of consensus in the Trump Administration over the census question. Yesterday both the Commerce Department and the Justice Department confirmed that the Administration would drop the controversial census question over undocumented status after the stinging defeat before the Supreme Court. Even conservative justices threw up their hands by the lack of foundation laid by the Trump Administration on the need or rationale for the question. Now there is utter confusion as the President insists that this Administration will litigate the issue again.
Below is my column on the end of the Supreme Court term and the one outstanding piece of business: an apology to Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch. After this column ran, Gorsuch again voted with the liberal justices on a critical due process issue. He has already carved out a principled legacy on the Court that follows his convictions rather than the predictions of his critics.
Today I have the honor of delivering a keynote speech to the 2019 Judicial Conclave in New Mexico at the Hyatt Regency in Albuquerque. I will be discussing the history, cases, and evolution of the “cultural defense” in federal and state courts. The speech is at 11:15 am on Friday at the conference held at the Hyatt.
Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on rejection of the lawsuit by the House of Representatives against the order issued by President Donald Trump to build the wall on the Southern border under the National Emergencies Act. I had previously testified against this lawsuit as a reckless and unnecessary move by the house. It is part of a litigation strategy that is clearly driven more by political than legal calculations.
I recently testified in the House Judiciary Committee that the Congress must challenge the refusal of the Trump Administration to turn over certain records and to bar certain witnesses from oversight investigations. While I also disagreed with some of Congress’s actions, the Trump Administration has cannot withhold material from oversight authority on the basis of undeclared privileges or ill-defined objections. This is the case in the refusal to turn over tax records demanded by Congress. As I stated earlier, the House has made only generalized claims of a legislative purpose for such records. Nevertheless, the law clearly favors Congress in seeking such material. Notably, the Trump Administration has not claimed executive privilege but only that the Committee lacks a legislative purpose. That is not enough. Now, it appears that the Administration was warned by its own confidential Internal Revenue Service legal memorandum that it would be violating the law by withholding the records without an executive privilege claim. It ignored the legal memorandum and refused the congressional demand.