New Mexico Attorney Sues Senate To Force Garland Vote

Merrick_GarlandSupreme Court nominee Merrick Garland is in the unenviable position of having everyone in Washington saying nice things about him. There are two occasions when that is common: a judicial nomination going no where and eulogy. For Garland, it may be both. The Senate Republicans have already said that Garland will not receive a hearing, let alone a vote, before the inauguration of the next president. For attorney Steven Michel, that is too long. Michel has filed an action in federal court demanding a judicial order to force the Senate to take up the Garland nomination. Despite my agreement that Garland should receive a vote, the lawsuit is meritless in my view. The Senate clearly has the authority to withhold consent by refusing a hearing or a vote to a nominee.

Continue reading

TRUMP’S TRIBUNALS: THE GOP NOMINEE EMBRACES USE OF GITMO TO TRY CITIZENS

Camp_x-ray_detainees495px-Donald_Trump_by_Gage_SkidmoreBelow is my column in USA Today on Donald Trump’s statement that he thinks that American citizens should be tried at Guantanamo Bay with other “terrible people” accused of terrorism.  I have previously criticized Hillary Clinton for her views on free speech and executive power.  However, the suggestion that U.S. citizens could be sent for faux trials at Gitmo is truly chilling.  Here is the column.

Continue reading

Trump: Americans May Be Tried In Military Tribunals Under His Administration

495px-Donald_Trump_by_Gage_SkidmoreCamp_x-ray_detaineesI have long been a critic of military tribunals as constitutionally dubious and practically ineffectual institutions. The tribunals at Guantanamo Bay have resulted in few actual trials and undermined the standing of the United States as a nation committed to the rule of law. The principle rationale cited by former officials in defense of Gitmo has been that it would not be used to try citizens. Now in a deeply disturbing interview, GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has stated that he might try citizens at Gitmo — maintaining a shadow court system for stripping citizens of basic rights of due process just a few miles off the United States shore.

Continue reading

Can You Guess What This Person Was Charged With?

fewr334554353fddsIf you said impersonating a police officer to meet Hooters waitresses, you have a gift.  Nicholas M. Fuhst, 18, went into a Hooters in Kochville Township, Michigan and said that he was an undercover cop in need for reviewing the background information of various waitresses.   They gave him the information but also gave the real police a call.  Fuhst has now pleaded  no contest to impersonating a police officer.

Continue reading

“What the hell is going on?”: Kentucky Judge Expressed Outrage at Jail Bringing Woman Into Court Without Pants

pantsThere was a deeply disturbing scene in Louisville when a female prisoner was brought into court without pants.  Kentucky Judge Amber Wolf  was rightfully irate and called the jail directly from the courtroom.  What is equally disturbing is that this woman was in court for simply failing to complete a diversion program on a 2014 shoplifting charge, but held for three days and denied feminine hygiene products in jail.

Continue reading

Court Awards Couple $18,000,000 For City’s Land Grab. Largest In State History

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor.

City of SeaTac LogoIn a significant judgment against the City of SeaTac, Washington in a property rights case a King County Superior Court judge awarded Gerry and Kathy Kingen $18.3 million after what the court described as “a pattern of deception that lasted years.”

The trouble for the couple began in 2003 when they purchased land in the vicinity of Sea-Tac Airport with the intent to develop the land into a Park-and-Fly garage. Immediately after bringing notice to the city of their plans the city council declared a moratorium on the construction of these garages and engaged in tactics to hinder the couple’s investment until, according to court documents, they were forced under duress to sell the property to a “phantom buyer” who was later determined to be a surrogate for the city.

Continue reading

THE GINSBURG CONTROVERSY: IT IS TIME TO IMPOSE A CODE OF ETHICS ON OUR HIGHEST COURT

440px-Supreme_Court_US_2010Below is my column on Sunday in the Chicago Tribune on the controversy involving Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Ginsburg’s expression of “regret” over “ill-advised” statements may strike many as a bit short of an actual apology for what was facially unethical conduct. However, it was more than was required because nothing is required from a Supreme Court justice. That is the problem. Not the tirade against Trump. Not the criticism of Republicans in Congress. The real problem is that Ginsburg and her colleagues claim that the Code of Judicial Ethics is only binding on lesser jurists. Indeed, a majority of justices have been accused of ethical violations, but the Supreme Court is the only part of our government that is not subject to any enforceable code of ethics. Ginsburg’s apology should not detract attention from pressing need for reforms of our Court, including the creation of an enforceable ethical code for the justices. Once again, we have addressed only the latest manifestation of the problem on the Court rather than the underlying cause: the absence of an enforceable code of ethics for the justices. I have long advocated two primary reforms for the Court: the establishment of an enforceable code of ethics and the expansion of the Court to 19 members. What was disturbing recently during an appearance on the Washington Journal on C-Span was how many people argued against an enforceable code of ethics and just accepted that justices speak and act politically. While some people simply supported what Ginsburg had to say about Trump, others view the notion of an enforceable code of ethics as “naive” despite that fact that all other federal jurists comply with such a code. Below is the column:

Continue reading