THE CONTINGENCY PRESIDENCY: PRESIDENTIAL IMMUNITY INVOKED IN KENTUCKY CASE BY TRUMP’S LOCAL COUNSEL

Below is my column in USA Today on the concern over arguments being advanced in the dozens of personal cases pending against President Donald Trump across the country.  As someone who acquired his wealth in the New York real estate market, Trump has been a frequent litigant and is someone who is not deterred by threats of litigation.  Indeed, in that market, litigation is treated as an extension of the business and often used in leverage or delay tactics.  As President, Trump cannot maintain the same approach to the courts if he has any concern over the position of his office.  Much of the privileges surrounding the presidency are not expressly stated in the Constitution. They are, therefore, vulnerable to the curtailment of negative rulings.  For that reason, most presidents have avoided court tests and invoke privileges and immunities cautiously.  Yet, no president has ever had this massive number of private lawsuits pending upon taking office.  With various private lawyers asserting defenses, it raises the danger of unintended and uncoordinated presidential claims being made by largely unknown lawyers.  It is like creating constitutional law on contingency or hourly contacts. Private counsel seeks to win these civil cases and are likely less concerned (and certainly less equipped) in dealing with the long-term implications of privilege or immunity arguments.  Trump needs to carefully define the scope of advocacy for his local counsel to avoid the first contingency presidency.

Here is the column.

Continue reading

Howard Dean: The Constitution Does Not Protect Hate Speech

We have been discussing how the left has fallen out of love with free speech and how free speech is now being treated not as the defining right of liberty but the very threat to liberty.  Indeed, the most existential threats to free speech around the world are now coming from the left, which has embraced speech codes and the criminalization of speech with a passion.  There are exceptions like Bernie Sanders who recently declared that Ann Coulter should be allowed to speak at Berkeley — a position that I obviously have shared on this blog.   However, that principled position was countered by the most common response of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean who declared that hate speech is not protected by the Constitution.  He is obviously wrong but his inclination — even eagerness — to limit free speech is now a mainstream idea among liberals who once were the champions of this defining right.  Notably, Dean has shown increasing intolerance in other areas.  He recently denounced a member of Congress after she simply asked for evidence to support the culpability of the Syrian regime in the recent chemical attack.

Continue reading

Misogyny Meet Irony: Saudi Arabia Elected To United Nation’s Women’s Rights Commission

If you like your misogyny with a heavy serving of irony, you could do no better than the United Nations this week after Saudi Arabia was elected to a  2018-2022 term on the Commission on the Status of Women, the U.N. agency that, according to its website, is “exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.”  As with Iran being put on the Commission, the irony would be humorous if there were not millions of victims over decades of abuse by these countries.  Previously, Saudi Arabia taking over the top spot on the Human Rights Commission was viewed as unbelievable, but the entry on the Commission on the Status of Women sets a level of irony that may be unsurpassable.

Continue reading

Washington Post Poll: Trump Would Still Beat Clinton

Hillary_Clinton_Testimony_to_House_Select_Committee_on_Benghazi

There is an interesting finding from a Washington Post poll that is rather buried in the story: “The new survey finds 46 percent saying they voted for Clinton and 43 percent for Trump, similar to her two-point national vote margin. Asked how they would vote if the election were held today, 43 say they would support Trump and 40 percent say Clinton.”  Given Trump’s dismal popularity (perhaps the least popular president in the first 100 days in office since the start of modern polling), it was a surprising result.  It comes at a time when Clinton has been listing a number of reasons for her historic defeat . . . except for herself.  This includes her explanation (and her supporters) that it was not Clinton but self-hating, misogynistic women who could not vote for any woman for President.

Continue reading

Teed Off: Frozen Hash Browns At Roundy’s and Harris Teeter Recalled After Discovery Of Ground Up Golf Balls

Kallerna

We recently discussed the discovery of a dead bat in a salad bag.  It appears that you can also have some ground golf ball to go with your salad if you shop at Harris Teeter.  Frozen hash browns sold in nine states by Harris Teeter and Roundy’s were found to have pieces of golf balls.  McCain Foods USA’s recall notice said the golf balls apparently were “inadvertently harvested” along with the potatoes and chopped up.

Continue reading

Berkeley Reverses Decision On Coulter Speech But Coulter Rejects New Conditions [Updated]

220px-Ann_Coulter_by_Gage_Skidmore_4Seal_of_University_of_California,_Berkeley.svg
The officials at the University of California at Berkeley have had a change of heart and agreed to the planned speech by conservative Ann Coulter.  The decision to cancel the speech was criticized on this blog and in other forums as the latest example of mob rule on our campuses.  The decision is a welcomed change.  However, Coulter has objected to the scheduling change in the speech when no students are likely to be on campus. Coulter has rejected the change and plans to move forward as previously set for the event.
Continue reading