Washington State Governor Sued For Removal Of Leonard Peltier Art Display

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Leonard Peltier

I featured three articles in November, 2015 (HERE, HERE, and HERE) depicting a controversy caused by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries’ promotion of artwork made by Leonard Peltier, who was convicted for the June, 1975 murders of FBI Special Agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams. The display furthered the controversy in that it marked the 40thanniversary year of the agents’ murder. After considerable outcry on both sides of the issue, the dispay was taken down two weeks prior to its scheduled conclusion date.

Now, a lawsuit has been filed in U.S. District Court by Leonard Peltier and his son Chauncey against the state naming L&I Director Joel Sacks, Governor Jay Inslee, the L&I spokesman, retired FBI Special Agents, and two hundred John Does as defendants, claiming that the Peltiers were denied their First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated by the state’s removal of the artwork.

The lawsuit indicates strongly how controversies such as these can be avoided and that allowing state employees to promote controversial issues often leads to disaster.

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This morning I will testify at the confirmation hearing on the nomination of the Hon. Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court.  The hearing will commence around 9 am at the hearing room of Hart 216. Ironically, it is the same room that I litigated much of the Porteous impeachment case before final arguments before the 100 Senators on the Senate floor.  Below is my written testimony. Continue reading


This morning, our blog hit 31,000,000 views. We have had an increase in visitors and our new voices are heartily welcomed to our little band of commentators.  We try to offer a place for civil but passionate discourse on legal and policy issues  of our time (and perhaps a few wacky stories).  We continue to rank in the top legal blogs in the world and we are continuing to see a growing international readership. We often use these milestones to look at the current profile of the blog and its supporters around the world.

As always, I want to offer special thanks for our weekend contributors: Mike Appleton, Larry Rafferty, Darren Smith, Kimberly Dienes, and Cara Gallagher. I particularly want to thank Darren who has continued to help manage the blog and help out folks who encounter posting problems.

I also want to thank our regular commentators and readers.  We try to keep this blog as an open forum with as little interference or monitoring of the comments as possible.  Given our free speech orientation, we try not to delete comments and, for that reason, we are deeply appreciative of how most people avoid personal or offensive comments in debating these issues.  The success of this blog is due to the fact that we offer something more than the all-too-common troll-driven, angry, and insulting commentary of the Internet.  Thank you for voluntarily assuming restraint over the tenor and content of your comments. Continue reading

California Legislators Move To Punish Companies Working On Border Wall

440px-Algodones_sand-dune-fenceThere is an interesting proposal in California where legislators are moving to punishing any companies who work with the federal government in the construction of the wall pledged by President Donald Trump between the United States and Mexico.  The bill would force pension funds to divest from participating companies.  It is a bill that would significantly raise the level of conflict between the Trump Administration and certain states.  The Trump Administration is already moving to withdraw grants from cities and states barring assistance to federal immigration officials.  To now have states retaliate against companies for simply contracting with the federal government would push the already bad situation to Def Con 1 over federal/state conflict.  There is no way that the federal government could sit ideally by as states retaliated against federal contractors.

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University of Alabama Students Arrested in Two Epic Spring Break Cases


Alden Whiteside could not have handled things worse on his way Spring Break in Florida.  First, there was the seven cases of beer in plain view in his truck.  Then there was the problem of being 19 and not allowed to drink or buy alcohol.  Then there was the fact that he was speeding.  Then there was the fake driver’s license that he was using.  Finally, there was the marijuana discovered in the car.  That pretty much covers most of the criminal code.  He was not the only Alabama college student facing charges from a Spring Break gone bad.

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