MGM 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.
Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the legacy and vision or Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy. The departure of Kennedy will leave the Supreme Court more calcified and rigid in its ideological division. Chief Justice John Roberts now assumes the role of the swing vote with a center of gravity that will likely move further to the right. His voice was unique and often profound. He applied a conservative jurisprudence that emphasized the protection of individual rights and identity. Time will show that Kennedy saw a horizon for our society that we are still struggling to attain.
Here is the column:
Much of the impetus for the current Special Counsel investigation can be attributed to two equally disastrous decisions: the decision to fire FBI Director James Comey in the midst of the Russian Investigation and the meeting of Donald Trump Jr. with Russians promising dirt on Hillary Clinton. While I continue to doubt that the meeting (or the later misleading statement issued by Trump Jr.) constituted any type of crime, I have previously written that it was an astonishingly dumb decision to go (with both Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort) to this meeting. I have little doubt that the Clintons would have eagerly accepted the same information, but they would have used surrogates as they did with the Steele dossier. Now Trump Jr. is dismissing the very idea that his father would sit down with Mueller. While this is certainly a good-faith disagreement among lawyers, Trump Jr. is wrong again about a meeting. There are perfectly good reasons for his father to go to such a meeting and interview, but it should have been done months ago as I previously discussed. Continue reading ““I Wouldn’t Do It”: Trump Jr. Declares It Would Be “Stupid” For Trump To Go To Meeting With Mueller”
There is an interesting new story about a bizarre practice by President Donald Trump who reportedly rips up material given to him despite the duty to preserve the documents under the Presidential Records Act. Two staffers have recounted how they were required to spend considerable time taping the documents back together to stay in compliance with the PRA. They reportedly complained about the duty for people making $60,000 a year. They were suddenly fired. This Humpy Dumpty duty raises some serious questions of federal violations. Continue reading “Humpy Dumpty Duty: Trump Regularly Rips Up Documents, Requiring Staff To Tape Them Back Together To Comply With Federal Law”
Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the implications of the indictment of James Wolfe for lying to federal investigators. I have very serious concerns over the targeting of a journalist for surveillance in this case, particularly because there seems ample alternatives to the intrusion into confidential communications of a reporter. However, the most obvious threat may be to Andrew McCabe who is still awaiting word on whether he will be criminally charged and recently sought immunity from Congress. Continue reading “The Wolfe Indictment: Is Andrew McCabe Next In Line For Prosecution?”
There has been continued controversy over the penchant of President Donald Trump to pardon celebrities or political figures or, most recently, a woman who was championed by Kim Kardashian. Today Trump announced that he is considering a pardon for the late boxing sensation Muhammad Ali — not long after he granted a posthumous pardon to boxing legend Jack Johnson (who was advocated for by celebrity Sylvester Stallone). This case however raises the added curiosity that Ali’s conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court in Clay v. United States, 403 U.S. 698 (1971)(when Ali was still under his birth name of Cassius Clay). Obviously, there is no conviction to pardon or commute in this case. In addition to the overturning of the conviction, draft dodgers were given amnesty previously by both Ford and Carter. Continue reading “A Pardon For Muhammad Ali Is Neither Needed Nor Warranted”
Rudy Giuliani has often strayed far beyond his brief as a lawyer representing the President in the Russian investigation. These include controversial comments about Korean nuclear negotiations where he was criticized widely in falsely predicting an imminent change. Most recently, while in Israel, Giuliani told the world that Kim Jong-un “got back on his hands and knees and begged” for the United States to revive the Singapore summit. Now, Giuliani is not being contradicted by a foreign leader but the first lady. Giuliani, also during the Israeli trip, declared on the Stormy Daniels scandal that the First Lady “believes her husband, and she knows it’s untrue.” That led to the rare push back from the First Lady’s office from her spokesperson and East Wing communications director Stephanie Grisham that “I don’t believe Mrs. Trump has ever discussed her thoughts on anything with Mr. Giuliani.” In Washington talk, that is a take down. The First Lady rarely issues statements and this statement would never be released absent her consent.
This has been quite a trip of Giuliani in tripping wires and causing controversies. He also attacked Daniels as beyond belief as someone who “sells her body for sexual exploitation.” At least those comments were tangentially related to his brief for the president. The comments on high-level diplomatic matters or the relations between the first couple are well beyond what most lawyers would feel comfortable discussing in public. My concern is that it shows a continued lack of message discipline and focus on the legal team. In this case, that lack of discipline led to a countervailing statement of the First Lady’s spokesperson. In other words, it made the record worse for his client.