Monday, October 5, 2015
Understanding the Country's Choice on Guns
by Josh Marshall
Going slightly beyond what the data tells us, it seems clear that being pro-gun has become a key element of Republican self-identification. That is to say, it's not just that many Republicans' views have changed since Obama took office, but that being pro-gun has become an elemental part of what it means to be a Republican.
Some related questions are less clear cut. For instance, the belief that more guns make us safer rather than less safe (a proposition that appears to be belied by all available social science) has grown more widely. Notably, that belief has grown dramatically in recent years among African Americans.
It seems reasonable to anticipate that if more people come to believe that more guns mean more safety that opposition to gun control will eventually fall in line with those views. So far, it hasn't.
But the basic point is clear. The politics of guns has transformed dramatically because starting at the time Barack Obama was elected President, Republicans became dramatically more committed to the right to own guns.
John W. O’Malley, S.J., in The Jesuits: A History From Ignatius to the
Jim Dwyer captures the experience of being educated by Jesuits. Unfortunately today the Society of Jesus is reduced in numbers; One consequence of the Society's membership loss is that so few today have the experience we had. In the service of others was not a tag line, but a living example. - gwc
"Instead of invoking monastic traditions of withdrawal from the world, Ignatius and the other early Jesuits placed high value on the richness of conversation, of art and reading and education. They would travel and preach. The world, after all, had been made by God; and, as Jerónimo Nadal, an early collaborator of Ignatius, said, “The world is our house.” He might as well have also said it was their schoolhouse. A decade after the founding, Jesuits began to open schools and universities. Education remains the most vibrant thread in the order’s DNA. Long after I served my last Mass, Ignatius leaned into my life through his progeny at a Jesuit high school and college. Jesuits and their lay colleagues taught me how to make a layup in basketball and critically read Walden Pond and how covalent bonds knit the physical world together." - Jim Dwyer (Writing her for the Jesuit magazine America, Dwyer is a Pulitzer Prize winning writer for the New York Times. Like me he was Jesuit-educated)Following an Order
Saturday, October 3, 2015
by Nicholas Kristof
Oregon college shooting is all the more reason to carry guns, say local residents | US news | The Guardian
Oregon college shooting is all the more reason to carry guns, say local residents | US news | The Guardian
by Rory Carroll
Friday, October 2, 2015
This is about a failure of imagination. The gut sense that my gun protects me is more concrete than the prospect of being the victim of a madman.
Most homicides are suicides. As was the Oregon massacre. Only the confiscation of personal weapons could prevent madmen from getting one. See point one. ~gwc
994 mass shootings in 1,004 days: this is what America's gun crisis looks like http://gu.com/p/4dxe4?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger
Monday, September 28, 2015
Florida Supreme Court adopts Bar Rules defining retainer, flat fee and advance fees and clarifying deposits of fees | Lawyer Ethics Alert Blogs
San Diego bishop: Pope's model of church one of transformation | National Catholic Reporter
by Tom Roberts
“The innocent victim of abortion, children who die of hunger or from bombings, immigrants who drown in the search for a better tomorrow, the elderly or the sick who are considered a burden, the victims of terrorism, wars, violence and drug trafficking, the environment devastated by man’s predatory relationship with nature – at stake in all of this is the gift of God, of which we are noble stewards but not masters.”
“I believe what he is telling us,” said McElroy, “is that our notion of the life issues has been impoverished and too truncated. What we’ve done is place them in two hermetically sealed boxes,” one labeled dignity issues and the other life issues.
“He’s saying all of them are life issues,” said McElroy, that economic matters and poverty and the environment are all life issues as well as dignity issues.
Now in a candid article Barnett is plain: the "judicial restraint" that was the right's battle cry for years is now outmoded. Go for activism, is the blunt advice of the influential conservative activist, - gwc
The Next Justces | The Weekly Standard
by Josh Blackman and Randy E.Barnett
Presidential candidates should reject the vapid labels of “restraint” and “legislating from the bench” and focus instead on what a prospective nominee’s proven track record and paper trail (see above) say about his or her constitutional philosophy. The heart of the inquiry should be whether the nominee is willing to engage and enforce the Constitution against the other branches, not whether they can parrot clichés about “strict constructionism” or “calling balls and strikes” during a confirmation hearing.
What happens when Kennedy and the other older Justices leave, potentially shifting the balance of power? Under a more conservative Supreme Court, abortion could become all but impossible to obtain, at least in red states. More reasonable gun control laws could fall to Second Amendment challenges, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to protect our air and water further diminished. The Court could allow the wealthy to give $1 million contributions or more directly to candidates. It could declare unconstitutional more affirmative action plans and voting rights protections. Congress’s power to combat climate change could be undermined, unions deprived of power, and consumer protections further gutted.
Thursday, September 24, 2015
September 24, 2015 | 1 p.m.
In 2001, Fordham University presented comedian and actor Bill Cosby with an honorary doctor of fine arts degree, not least because of the significant role he played in breaking the color barrier in American television and popular culture, and his position as an inspirational figure for millions of African Americans. At the time, there was no public awareness of the allegations of rape against him.
Fordham has never before rescinded an honorary degree. A recipient's actions would have to be both unambiguously dishonorable and have a deep impact. By his own admission, Mr. Cosby’s sexual exploitation of women was premeditated and ongoing. Equally appalling is his longtime strategy of denigrating the reputations of women who accused him of such actions.
That Mr. Cosby was willing to drug and rape women for his sexual gratification, and further damage those same women's reputations and careers to obscure his guilt, hurt not only his victims, but all women, and is beyond the pale.
As a Jesuit university, Fordham could no longer stand behind the degree it had bestowed upon Mr. Cosby, hence this unprecedented action.
When Popes Confront the Political World
Pope Francis spoke as an orthodox Catholic - he is for compassion, for the poor, immigrants, the disabled, and the unborn. He will likely persuade no one but will inspire all because each can take his or her own message from the carefully crafted remarks. James Carroll's father was the first director of the NSA. His father - like all in Congress today - was a "realist". His conventional wisdom played a major role in driving us into the nightmare of Vietnam - a nightmare principally because men like his father "knew" that the Pope was speaking of ideals - not actuality. - gwc
When Popes Confront the Political World
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
The Constitution does not mean whatever you wish it to mean. `Strict construction' does not yield a solution - because no strict command can be found in words like "equal protection" or "due process of law". Even Antonin Scalia under pressure retreated to "original public meaning", admitting that the words alone don't suffice.
Today's conservative view is that weak federal government is what the constitution requires. But as Josh Marshall (a trained historian) explains below Alexander Hamilton and James Madison saw weak states as the problem and designed a strong federal government - while mollifying critics with reassuring rhetoric in the op-ed pieces now known as the Federalist Papers.
I first grasped this not in grad school or law school but twenty years later when I read James Madison's Notes of the Constituional Convention 1787. It is plain there that Madison sought a strong national government. Hamilton then devised the key strategy for building that government: adopting the revolutionary war debts of the states and promising full payment to those who held the unpaid notes. National debt thus bound the moneyed classes to the new federal government - as it does today. If you have an FHA-insured mortgage, savings in US Treasury bonds, an FDIC-insured savings account, Social Security benefits, or Medicare you are similarly bound to a strong federal government. The government's obligations are to its citizens. If you want those guarantees you need a strong, not an emaciated, revenue starved government. - gwc
No. Sorry. You're Not a 'Constitutional Conservative'
by Josh Marshall // Talking Points Memo
***[James Madison and Alexander Hamilton's] central belief was that localism and a weak national government would prevent the United States from ever achieving greatness among the states of the world and condemn it to being the plaything or pawn of the great powers of the day. State governments, far from being the anchors or liberty or legitimacy, were obstacles to progress on almost every front. And a central aim of the constitutional project was, again, to bring the states to heel.
To be clear, it's not that Hamilton and Madison were liberals by any reasonable modern definition. In fact, in the final years of his life, Hamilton made what was probably the first effort in American history to create a political party based on the defense of Christianity - in addition to the Constitution. But in trying to create a strong state - stronger in key ways than many of us today would like - they were the polar opposites of today's Tea Partiers.
In fact, it gets even worse.
One of Hamilton's (and at least very early on Madison's) core ideas was to use a national debt (and a central bank) to bind the men of wealth to the embryonic state. This was the thought behind Hamilton's ingenious logic to have the federal government assume the revolutionary debts of the states. Not only was this a necessary inducement to get the states to ratify the Constitution. It was, as Hamilton realized, a positive good in itself.
By investing the country's elites, the men of wealth as they were then called, in the future of the federal state (both literally and metaphorically), they could ensure its survival and growth. The wealthy and powerful wouldn't conspire against the state if they were the beneficiaries of the state's debt obligations. Both men looked to the example of Great Britain and how it had used its national debt to create the first modern fiscal state - with an ability to borrow, tax and spend in ways that no other state of the day could.
The brilliance of the effort was that they realized that creating a strong state required strong protections to harness and contain the state's power. That's where Hamilton needed Madison because it was a concern the former was not nearly as sensitive to as the latter. But it was almost entirely - and rightly - the rights of individuals that he was concerned with. The ratification process also played a key role here - in pushing for an explicit list of protections. It was a push that Madison fully embraced and one to which the moderate anti-Federalists and their intellectual descendants can point to show they ended up playing a key, formative role in the process.
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
A "stamp of animus"? Plaintiffs in Miller v. Davis ask court to order Deputy Clerks to issue unadulterated marriage licenses //Balkinization
by Marty Lederman
The plaintiffs in the Kim Davis case have now made a motion to Judge Bunning to require the Deputy Clerks in Rowan County to go back to issuing marriage licenses in the form that Deputy Clerk Mason was issuing while Clerk Kim Davis was in federal custody--rather than the radically adulterated form that Davis directed Mason to issue once she returned to work. (For much more on the machinations that led to this motion, and the differences between the two marriage license forms, see my post from Saturday.)
The plaintiffs are also asking the judge to require the Deputy Clerks to reissue, in proper (i.e., pre-Sept. 14) form, any licenses that they issued over the past week, and to specifically order Kim Davis not to interfere with the Deputies' issuance of licenses. For the time being they are not asking the judge to hold Davis in contempt of his orders; but they are asking the judge to put Davis on notice that any violation of the new order--that is, any interference on her part--"will result in civil sanctions, including but not limited to (a) the placement of the Rowan County Clerk’s Office into a receivership for the limited purposes of issuing marriage licenses, and (b) the imposition of civil monetary fines as appropriate and necessary to coerce Davis’ compliance with this Court’s Order."
What is the ground for plaintiffs' complaint about the Davis-prescribed, adulterated form of marriage licenses? They do not invoke the Fourteenth Amendment in so many words but, as I read it, they are alleging that the use of the altered forms violates their rights under the Fourteenth Amendment in two respects:
Monday, September 21, 2015
Protect Lawyers' Rights: China's Supreme Court, Prosecutors, Public Safety and State Security Bureaus
Some counsel that it is pointless to petition the Communist Party leaders of China. Others are overly sensitive such as the American Bar Association which tepidly commented on detentions and arrests of lawyers for disfavored groups. But in a sign that China's leaders do hear protests from abroad, just days before the arrival in the U.S. of President Xi Jin Ping, China's Supreme Court, Prosecutor, Public and State Security bureaus issued a joint "regulation" 规定 on protecting lawyers' freedom of advocacy. It begins with a broad command to courts, prosecutors, police, state security bureaus, and legal administrators 【 司法行政机关】: Article 2 "Do not obstruct a lawyer's legal advocacy or representation of others, and do not infringe on a lawyer's legal rights." "第二条：。。。不得阻碍律师依法履行辩护、代理职责，不得侵害律师合法权利."
The Committee to Support Chinese Lawyers may find tools here to advocate for those whose rights they champion - to turn fine words into action. - gwc
by Maryam Jazini Dorcheh
With the ending on Sept. 17, 2015, of the congressional review period for the historic accord reached between Iran and the E3/EU+ 31 countries (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA), which restricts Iran's nuclear program in return for the easing of nuclear-related sanctions, U.S. and foreign-based businesses are wondering to what extent the Iran market is now open for business and how they will be impacted by the deal. This article analyzes how the sanctions regime will be changed by the accord and what, if any, impact it will have on various industries dealing with Iran. Perhaps surprising to some, the deal will have only limited impact on U.S. businesses as the main relief of U.S. sanctions will be focused on non-U.S. Persons. Foreign businesses will have few restrictions and will be well positioned to take advantage of Iran's almost untapped market.
Friday, September 18, 2015
How the Pope Might Renew the Church - The New York Times
by Francis A. Quinn (former Bishop of Sacramento)