Category: Politics

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”

The Real Spartacus Moment: How The Kavanaugh Hearing Played Out A Familiar Tale Of Ambition and Hubris

Tod_des_Spartacus_by_Hermann_Vogel.jpgBelow is my column in The Hill newspaper on the controversial declaration of Sen. Cory Booker (D, NJ) that he was taking his “Spartacus” stand in releasing a restricted, non-public document regardless of the consequences. Well, it was not quite a dramatic as suggested since the document was in fact already public.   As should come as no surprise to many of you who know my love for military history, I did however appreciate the reference.

Here is the column: Continue reading “The Real Spartacus Moment: How The Kavanaugh Hearing Played Out A Familiar Tale Of Ambition and Hubris”

Just Don’t Do It: Burgerville Takes Opposite Approach To NFL On Protests

download-5300px-National_Football_League_logo.svgWe discussed yesterday the decision of the NFL to shelve its policy on anthem protests.  In the meantime, the Burgerville chain has faced the same question and reached a very different conclusion.  Its employees were wearing protest buttons reading “Abolish ICE” and “No One Is Illegal.”  Unlike the NFL which did have guidelines barring such protests, Burgerville had nothing in its rules. However, the chain then formally adopted a non-retroactive rule against such protests or advocacy during work hours for its employees.  It is not clear if any Burgerville employee will now be considered for the next Nike “Just Do It” campaign. Continue reading “Just Don’t Do It: Burgerville Takes Opposite Approach To NFL On Protests”

Just Do It: The NFL Backs Out Of Anthem Policy As Nike Takes A Knee With Kaepernick [Updated]

images-3The opening day has finally arrived for many of us who are football fans.  However, if there was hope to have a season without the highly divisive anthem controversy, those hopes were dashed as the NFL officially announced that it would go forward on its policy against protests during the anthem.  Further fueling the controversy will be Nike’s campaign featuring “Just Do It” ad, narrated by Colin Kaepernick. Nike is referencing Kaepenick’s stand as an example of courage despite the opposition of many football fans. I have previously written about the legal aspects of these protests.

Update:  The Dolphins led the protests today with players kneeling during the anthem. Continue reading “Just Do It: The NFL Backs Out Of Anthem Policy As Nike Takes A Knee With Kaepernick [Updated]”

Papadopoulos Gets A 14-Day Sentence Despite Mueller Demand For 6 Months

download-4Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos was sentenced Friday to just 14 days in prison for lying to the FBI despite the position of Special Counsel Robert Mueller that he should spend at least six months in jail.  The position of Mueller appeared to reflect a view that Papadopoulos was not as cooperative (or perhaps productive) as a witness.  In the end, Papadopoulos appeared in an almost hostile position vis-a-vis Mueller. Continue reading “Papadopoulos Gets A 14-Day Sentence Despite Mueller Demand For 6 Months”

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”

UNC Professor: Destroying Public Art Like “Silent Sam” Is A Justified And Moral Act

Continue reading “UNC Professor: Destroying Public Art Like “Silent Sam” Is A Justified And Moral Act”

Moore Sues Showtime and Sacha Baron Cohen For Embarrassing Interview

Judge_Roy_MooreFormer Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore has long been an perpetual litigation machine. Indeed, Moore and his wife appear to have created a cottage industry out of being themselves — getting people to give them huge amounts of money to fight their enemies.  I have been skeptical of these past lawsuits — as well as Moore’s often bizarre conduct.  Now, after the prior lawsuit amounted to nothing, Moore is launching yet another lawsuit. The latest claim is based on Moore’s sitdown with comedian Sacha Baron Cohen for his Showtime series “Who is America?” Essentially, Moore is complaining that he made of fool of himself because Cohen tricked him.  Moore has demanded $95 million in punitive and compensatory damages.  Despite my long admitted aversion to Moore, the complaint does raise some interesting, and unresolved, legal issues. It also presents some risks for Moore himself. Continue reading “Moore Sues Showtime and Sacha Baron Cohen For Embarrassing Interview”

Not OK: Liberal Bloggers Falsely Attack Kavanaugh Supporter For Flashing White Supremacist Sign At Hearing

download-3The hysteria and hypocrisy that characterizes modern American politics seems to be worse by the day on both sides of the political aisle.  One of the latest examples of distemper is an attack on the woman who was placed behind Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh for his hearings.  Handlers will often put someone over the shoulder of a nominee for the right optics to reflect his supporters.  With attacks over his view of Roe v. Wade, it is not surprising that the White House chose a young former female clerk of Kavanaugh named Zina Gelman Bash. Bash however found herself being called a white supremacist for flashing an “OK” gesture associated with the “white power” movement.  It seems clearly to be just the arbitrary positioning of her hands but liberal bloggers like Amy Siskind, president and co-founder of the feminist advocacy group New Agenda, went into full riot over the alleged reveal of Bash’s white power links.  The problem is that Bash has Jewish roots and Mexican heritage and has absolutely no ties or association with such groups. She simply crossed her arms and fingers during the long hearing.  It is the ultimate sign of our times in how we have lost all decency and decorum in our politics. Continue reading “Not OK: Liberal Bloggers Falsely Attack Kavanaugh Supporter For Flashing White Supremacist Sign At Hearing”

The Notorious RBG and the Problem With The Celebrity Justice

download-2Below is my column in The Hill on the continuing promotionals for “The Notorious RBG.”  I have long been a critic of this trend toward celebrity justices and the discomfort over these campaigns is not simply about Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  The culture of the Court is changing and I do not believe it is  changing for the better.

Here is the column:
Continue reading “The Notorious RBG and the Problem With The Celebrity Justice”

Texas Spends $7 Million Fighting Demand To Add Air Conditioning To Dangerously Hot Prison . . . Then Installs The System For $4 Million

PrisonCellTexas recently settled a legal fight over its failure to install air conditioning at the Wallace Pack Unit near College Station — a facility long deemed dangerously hot in the summer. In the wisdom only known to bureaucrats, the state spent $7 million to fight the lawsuit and ultimately paid $4 million to simply put in the air conditioning system. Continue reading “Texas Spends $7 Million Fighting Demand To Add Air Conditioning To Dangerously Hot Prison . . . Then Installs The System For $4 Million”

Source: FBI Given Evidence Accusing Mueller Witness Of Alleged “Blackmail” Following His Cooperation Agreement With The Special Counsel

Screen Shot 2018-09-03 at 10.25.53 AM.pngThis weekend I discussed a surprising, and unreported, allegation made on CNN by former Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili against the latest cooperating witness of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, former Republican lobbyist and Paul Manafort associate, Sam Patten.  Saakashvili preceded me on CNN and accused Patten of threatening to ruin him if he went public with allegations about Patten’s work with Russian interests in Georgia.  Since Saakashvili could easily be called as a rebuttal witness to Patten, the threats could be viewed as witness tampering.  Saakashvili viewed them as outright Russian-style blackmail.  Since I ran that column, I have heard from a great number of people on both sides, but I received an email this morning from Christina Pushaw, who identifies herself as Saakashvili’s representative.  Pushaw sent the underlying material supporting Saakashvili’s charges and confirmed that they have given the allegation and evidence to the FBI today.  The complaint to the FBI only magnifies the problems for both Patten and Mueller that I discussed earlier. A submission to the FBI, including a criminal allegation, comes with added penalties for false statements or submissions.  Both sides in this dispute have been the subject of serious criminal allegations in Europe.  Yet, such communications (if true) from a cooperating witness would unlikely be approved by prosecutors. Mueller’s team is about to present its prosecution of Paul Manafort for witnessing tampering for contacting potential witnesses to shape their accounts.  That creates a rather awkward situation when its most recent cooperative witness is allegedly the subject of a complaint to the FBI.

Continue reading “Source: FBI Given Evidence Accusing Mueller Witness Of Alleged “Blackmail” Following His Cooperation Agreement With The Special Counsel”

Rio Spends Billions On Olympics . . . Then National Museum Burns Due To Lack Of an Adequate Fire Prevention System

2016_Summer_Olympics_logo.svgWe previously discussed the wisdom of Brazil spending billions on the 2016 Olympics when its country was struggling with serious economic and social problems including rampant corruption.  Now, in a loss for the entire world, Rio de Janeiro’s 200-year-old National Museum has been reportedly gutted in a catastrophic fire.  According to reports, the museum has begged the federal government for funding of the aging building, including the need for a fire prevention system. Continue reading “Rio Spends Billions On Olympics . . . Then National Museum Burns Due To Lack Of an Adequate Fire Prevention System”