Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin is calling for the expulsion of Republican members for challenging the electoral votes this week as “sedition.” From the outset, I opposed this challenge as unfounded. However, think about this demand (which has been raised by others). Rubin wants to expel members who joined challenges allowed under a federal law (on the very same grounds that Democrats have made in past elections). Indeed, she declares “Every Republican bears a responsibility for what happened on Wednesday, whether or not they participated in a seditious attempt to overthrow our democracy.” So Republicans who opposed the challenge and denounced the violence should still be punished or blamed?
On January 7th, an attorney representing President Donald Trump filed a one-page motion of withdrawal from a case filed shortly after the election. That is hardly remarkable with attorneys entering and leaving cases every day in federal court. What is remarkable is the reason. Philadelphia-based attorney Jerome Marcus told the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania that he was withdrawing because President Trump used him, and his election challenge, to “perpetuate a crime.” The filing raises some troubling questions regarding the alleged criminal conduct as well as the necessity of making such an allegation in a simple motion to withdraw from representation.
Below is my column in USA Today on the need for a federal commission on the 2020 election. While I opposed the challenge and the call for the ten-day commission, I do believe that a real commission is warranted. Indeed, the violence yesterday only further shows the deep divisions in this country over these lingering questions. However, there must be the commitment to a real commission — not another placebo commission
Below is my column in the Hill on today’s challenge to the counting of electoral votes in Congress. The challenge raises a long-standing debate over the authority of Congress in making such challenges. What is clear in my view is that Vice President Michael Pence does not have the unilateral authority claimed by President Donald Trump to simply “send back” electoral votes for particular states. Nothing in the Constitution suggests such authority and the Electoral Count Act expressly contradicts such claimed authority. Indeed, such an act could bring an unprecedented challenge and judicial intervention in the certification of the presidential election.
What is odd is the President’s continued assurance to his supporters that this is a possible path to victory. Shortly after the election, I wrote that I thought the President was laying the foundations for a “Death Star” strategy but that it would not likely succeed. To make that Luke Skywalker shot, he needed a perfect alignment of elements. None of those elements are present today. The over-hearted rhetoric from the President and his critics however are magnifying our divisions and anger.
Here is the column:
For many legal analysts, President Donald Trump remains a type of criminal Midas figure: everything he says or does turns instantly into a crime. Over the last few years, the media has published a long line of unfounded criminal theories by experts claiming that a tweet or a meeting or a statement established a clear prosecutable case. It is a popular and profitable take with the media which has been feeding an insatiable appetite for such reassuring views. Law has become a recreation and legal analysts have become part of the legal entertainment. Continue reading “Trump’s Midas Touch: Legal Experts Line Up To Declare The Georgia Call As The Latest Crime By Trump”
Below is my column in the Hill on the rise of delusional politics in America — a problem captured vividly on New Year’s Eve as Mayor Bill de Blasio dancing with his wife to a virtually empty Times Square. This is not Chicago where Sinatra sang about seeing a “guy dancing with his wife.” It is New York and the only one dancing seemed to be de Blasio.
We are watching as both parties seem blissfully and utterly detached from reality.
Here is the column:
There is a controversy developing in North and South Dakota where The Standing Rock Sioux tribe is prioritizing speakers of its native languages for its COVID-19 vaccine distribution. The tribe insists that it wants to protect those who can preserve its language. However, that is the imposition of a language criterion over those categories set out by the CDC for health workers, the elderly and most at risk individuals. The clear import is that prioritized individuals under the CDC guidelines could become infected and die because of the desire to protect those viewed as greater “assets” to the tribe. Continue reading “Sioux Tribe Imposes Language Criterion For Priority Vaccinations”
Napoleon once said “treason is a matter of dates.” The Democrats seem to have taken Napoleon’s words to heart in declaring Republicans traitors or anti-Democratic in their planned challenge the certification of electoral votes next week. Both the media and Democratic members have advanced this narrative despite Democratic members repeatedly raising such challenges in the past. In the few acknowledgments of that history, Democrats seem to be advancing a simple and familiar defense: Trump. Once again, open hypocrisy is negated by Trumpunity. After all, they cannot be anti-Democratic because they are Democrats. That conclusory position was evident in the spin this week on CNN by former California Sen. Barbara Boxer who led such a challenge to the 2004 election results. Continue reading ““Treason Is A Matter Of Dates”: Democrats Denounce Republicans For The Same Challenge They Previously Made To Republican Presidents”
U.S. District Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner attracted considerable criticism when she declined to recuse herself from a challenge over voter eligibility. Gardner is the sister of Stacey Abrams who has led the effort to register voters in the state. Many felt it was inappropriate for Gardner to rule on the case, a concern that was magnified by her quick rejection of a purging of the rolls of roughly 4000 inactive voters. Now, it appears that Gardner has not recused herself but did reverse herself. A new order has issued upholding the purge in the face of an appeal.
We have previously discussed attorneys arrested in attacks with Molotov cocktails during protests. One of the individuals charged in the firebombing of police cars during Black Lives Matter protests in Arkansas turns out to be a former public radio reporter, Renea Goddard, 22. She is one of four charged in the slashing of police car tires and burning them with Molotov cocktails.
President Donald Trump has been criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike for his recent spate of pardons, including corrupt ex-congressmen and the father of Jared Kushner. I was one of those who immediately criticized those pardons as manifestly unjustified and inimical to our legal system. However, none of that makes the comments of senior U.S. District Judge Robert Pratt of the Southern District of Iowa any less troubling. Judge Pratt gave an interview slamming the pardons in a departure from judicial ethics rules barring jurists from engaging in such political commentary.
The New York Times is under fire for its coverage of how an incoming Tennessee cheerleader was dumped from the team after the release of a three-second video in which she used a racial epithet. Times reporter Dan Levin gave a strikingly positive account of how Jimmy Galligan waited for years to release the video to do the most harm to Mimi Groves. The article “A Racial Slur, a Viral Video, and a Reckoning,” is being cited as the ultimate celebration of the cancel culture in its tenor and lack of balance. Everyone agrees that the use of the n-word was a terrible thing. However, the same standard does not seem to apply to professors who use racist and insensitive comments. It would seem that, even if students are not accorded the same protections for faculty, universities should offer them the same opportunity for redemptive change. After all, college is meant as place for personal growth for students.
Michael Cohen is now a prisoner rights advocate. As someone who has run a prisoner project for decades, it came as something of a surprise to me but Cohen is now a reformer . . . just ask Tony Meatballs. The reference came up in an interview with MSNBC’s Ari Melber in which Cohen explained that he only filed for early release under the First Step Act (Trump’s much touted criminal justice reform bill) because he promised “my buddies Tony Meatballs and Big Minty, that I wasn’t going to stop once I got out” in seeking to reform our prisons. You see, it is really not for Mike Cohen. It is for Tony Meatballs.
Below is my column in the Hill on claims by former Deputy Special Counsel Andrew Weissmann that the recent pardons by President Donald Trump reinforce a possible obstruction of justice case against him. We have previously discussed how Weissmann has proven critics correct in their description of his animosity and bias toward Trump. For my part, his book and recent statements reinforce the view of an abusive prosecutor, particularly in his untethered view of obstruction. Indeed, Weissmann seems intent on making the best case for Trump to grant himself a self-pardon. He is calling for prosecutors to use grand juries to pursue Trump and others in an unrelenting campaign based on unfounded legal theories.
Here is the column: