Category: Uncategorized

“Prison Doesn’t Kill, Loneliness Does”: Filmmaker Dies In Prison For Video Mocking Egyptian President Al Sisi

Screen Shot 2020-05-04 at 7.33.18 AMAs the United States has continued to give the regime billions and President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi has been showered with praise from President Donald Trump, the Egyptian regime continues to wipe out free of speech, the free press, and other civil liberties.  The latest outrage is the death of Egyptian filmmaker Shady Habash, 24, who was incarcerated for two years without trial for a music video entitled “Balaha” mocking Sisi.  The American people has supported this lethally insecure authoritarian leader and a regime at war with the very founding principles of this country.  In a letter published by his supporters, Habash wrote “Prison doesn’t kill, loneliness does.”

Continue reading ““Prison Doesn’t Kill, Loneliness Does”: Filmmaker Dies In Prison For Video Mocking Egyptian President Al Sisi”

Pandemic Passport And The Danger Of Immuno Discrimination

1193px-SARS-CoV-2_without_backgroundBelow is a longer version of my column that ran in the Los Angeles Times on the danger of using antibody testing as a basis for discrimination.  The concept of a pandemic passport of course will only be plausible if such antibodies truly yield a form of immunity.  The WHO has declared that there is no evidence to support that claim.  Yet, plasma treatments are reportedly successful.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Pandemic Passport And The Danger Of Immuno Discrimination”

President Trump Calls For Lawyers To Strip Reporters Of Their Pulitzer Prizes

donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedPresident Donald Trump turned to Twitter this weekend in a rage against a less than flattering Times story  about his work habits and schedule.  The Twitter tirade turned into a demand that New York Times reporters give back the “Nobles” for their coverage of the Russian investigation. That will be difficult for a number of reasons, including the fact that they never received Nobel prizes but Pulitzer Prize.  More importantly, the courts have no role in such awards and the suggestion of litigation to force their return is completely meritless and frankly bizarre.  Update: President Trump is now claiming that, like the disinfectant remarks, he was just being sacrastic.

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“Dustbin of History”: Supreme Court Rules State Juries Must Be Unanimous In Major Constitutional Ruling

440px-Associate_Justice_Neil_Gorsuch_Official_PortraitThe Supreme Court handed down a major new ruling today that requires state juries to be unanimous to convict defendants in criminal trials.  It is a historic “incorporation” ruling that the Sixth Amendment would apply in the same way to the states as it does the federal government.  Most rights are incorporated, but the Supreme Court has long allowed this protection to be decided state-by-state. The court’s 6-3 ruling overturned its 1972 decision in Apodaca v. Oregon. Notably, the opinion was written by Justice Neil Gorsuch who continues to follow his conscience in breaking from the right of the Court — as I expect he would when I testified in favor of his confirmation.   Gorsuch declared that “Louisiana’s and Oregon’s laws are fully—and rightly—relegated to the dustbin of history.”

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The Constitutional Defibrillator: Trump To Invoke Unprecedented Power To Adjourn Congress

800px-Capitol_Building_Full_ViewBelow is my column in USA Today on the pledge of President Donald Trump that he would adjourn Congress under a never used and rarely discussed power of Article II.  While Trump pledged to do so a week ago, there has been no mention of the invocation since that time.

In the White House press conference, President Trump stated:

“If the House will not agree to that adjournment, I will exercise my constitutional authority to adjourn both Chambers of Congress. The current practice of leaving town while conducting phony, pro forma sessions is a dereliction of duty that the American people cannot afford during this crisis. It is a scam. What they do. It’s a scam and everybody knows it, and it’s been that way for a long time, and perhaps it’s never done before. It’s never been done before. Nobody’s even sure if it has, but we’re going to do it.”

He later added:

“[Congressional leaders] know. They’ve been warned and they are being warned right now. If they don’t approve it, then we’re going to go this route, and we’ll probably be challenged in court and we’ll see who wins, but when the court hears that we aren’t getting people approved . . . for two and a half years for an important position that we need because of this crisis. We needed these people before, but now we really need these people.”

Here is the column:

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Federal Judge Dismisses Stone Motion … and Premise Of An Unbiased Jury

ajacksonIn the crush of news this week, one story was a bit buried. U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson has denied former Donald Trump adviser Roger Stone’s motion for a new trial. It was an expected ruling but one that eviscerates the notion of an unbiased jury.  I previously discussed the issue of the bias of the head juror and the need for a new trial.  What is interesting is that Jackson does not seriously question her political bias but effectively gives a shrug and says “go to jail anyway.”

Continue reading “Federal Judge Dismisses Stone Motion … and Premise Of An Unbiased Jury”

State Attorneys General Demand That The Court Reconsider The Public Charge Rule In Light Of The Pandemic

Supreme CourtThe attorneys general of New York, Connecticut, and Vermont have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider the decision early this year to allow the Trump Administration to rollout its “public charge rule.”  The Court split along ideological lines to lift the nationwide injunction.  The decision was clearly influenced in part by the strong opposition of some members to lower courts binding the entire country through national injunctive orders.  However, it also reflected the view of conservative justices on the inherent authority of the President in the area.  The effort to get a reconsideration of the decision based on the pandemic is likely to be viewed by a number of justices as seeking a policy judgment.

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A Second Impeachment? D.C. Circuit Orders Justice To Turn Over Mueller Grand Jury Material To Congress

The D.C. Circuit has ruled that Justice Department must turn over grand jury (Rule 6e) material to Congress — affirming a lower court in ruling against the Trump Administration. What was most interesting about the decision was the overriding necessity: to allow the House to decide if it needs to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time.

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Pelosi Accuses Trump Of Looking “Sedated” At State Of The Union

I have previously written that some Democrats appear to be adopting Trump-like tactics while denouncing Trump for the very same conduct. The trend is spreading with name calling and increasingly outlandish criticisms. The Democrats will not out-Trump Trump, but they will erase any distinction between them if this trend continues. That was evident yesterday when Speaker Nancy Pelosi not only expressed pride in shattering decades of tradition in her conduct at the State of the Union, but changing the role of the Speaker at the SOTU from a strictly neutral figure to an openly partisan one — a change that was widely celebrated by Democrats without any self-awareness at the hypocrisy of the position. Pelosi then added an entirely unexplained allegation that the President was drugged or medicated at the address to the two houses. The media again seemed relatively mild in the face of that allegation as well as the unprecedented conduct of Pelosi.

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RES IPSA HITS 39,000,000

Yesterday, we passed the 39,000,000 mark in views on the blog. We have used these moments to give thanks for our many regular readers around the world and give you an idea of the current profile of readers on the blog. We continue to rank in the top legal blogs in the world and I am particularly proud of our growing international readership. As always, I want to offer special thanks for Darren Smith who has continued to help manage the blog and help out folks who encounter posting problems.

So here is our current profile:

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Former Drexel Professor Arrested For Spending Nearly $200,000 On Strippers and Other Personal Expenses

download-2We previously discussed the allegations against former Drexel University professor Chikaodinaka Nwankpa, 57, for using $185,000 on adult entertainment and other personal expenses. He has now been charged criminally with theft by unlawful taking and theft by deception.  The charging documents however revealed one curious element. Many of the charges were processed during a window between midnight and 2 a.m.

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The New York Times Triggers Widespread Ridicule Over Endorsing Both Warren and Klobuchar

It might be easier for the New York Times to simply say who it is not endorsing. I have long been a critic of media endorsements which I view as self-obsessed as well as inimical to journalistic values of neutrality. For decades I have argued that media should end endorsements of political candidates. The Times however seems to be literally doubling down with its much ridiculed endorsement of both Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. I can certainly understand endorsing either candidate given their achievements and leadership but endorsing both is rather bizarre since they present sharply different policies and approaches. While the editorial board wrote that in choosing these two candidates was “radical” but “realist,” many of us view it as just ridiculous.

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What History Really Tells Us About Senate Trials

200px-110th_US_Senate_class_photoBelow is my column on history — and some dubious historical claims — related to Senate impeachment trials.  As with the conflicting position on witnesses of some senators, the growing narrative in the media that Republicans senators have departed from the tradition of the Senate in commenting on trial has more hypocrisy than history behind it.  I have repeatedly encouraged senators not to discuss the evidence or their likely votes, but that is a rule honored historically in the breach by members of this curious trial jury.

Here is column: Continue reading “What History Really Tells Us About Senate Trials”

Nadler: Hunter Biden Must Not Be Called

hunter-bidenI have been writing on the obvious relevance of Hunter Biden  as a defense witness and the equally obvious hypocrisy of some Democrats in demanding their own witnesses while refusing to consider key White House witnesses.  Now. House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., has suggested that, if a trade is needed to secure House witnesses, the managers will not agree to any witnesses if Hunter Biden is part of the deal.   If true, is the House prepared to give up on proving its case to protect the Bidens from the ignoble moment of answering questions about the Ukraine contract?  That is a considerable price to pay to protect Joe Biden.  It is also another reason why the decision to rush the impeachment vote was such a historic blunder by Speaker Nancy Pelosi. If they had waited a couple months as I called for in my testimony, they could have called these witnesses and not handed over control to the Senate. Instead, they impeached by Christmas and then waited a month. Continue reading “Nadler: Hunter Biden Must Not Be Called”