Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Florida primary: What the blowout means - The Plum Line - The Washington Post

Well that's the end of the clown show. Newt may hang on to the end as he says, but it will not take much of Romney's attention or money. Ron Paul was never serious. Rick Santorum should stay at home, hoping for a cabinet job or something fitting his regressive policy interests. The general election starts now.
by Jonathan Bernstein
"Mitt Romney delivered a blowout in Florida today. He’s clobbered Newt Gingrich in three of the four states so far, and proven that Gingrich is terribly vulnerable to attacks. Meanwhile, Rick Santorum finished a weak third, and Ron Paul, who mostly skipped Florida, ended up a distant fourth.

At this point, Romney essentially has the nomination wrapped up. Yes, people will point out that only a very small portion of delegates has been selected, but most of these contests are usually long over when the winner finally hits the mark that technically clinches it. Realistically, only some sort of external and utterly unexpected event could derail Romney now."
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Obama’s breach of faith over contraceptive ruling - The Washington Post

E.J. Dionne thinks Obama botched the contraception decision:
"Speaking as a Catholic, I wish the Church would be more open on the contraception question. But speaking as an American liberal who believes that religious pluralism imposes certain obligations on government, I think the Church’s leaders had a right to ask for broader relief from a contraception mandate that would require it to act against its own teachings. The administration should have done more to balance the competing liberty interests here.
And it was offered a compromise idea to do just that by Melissa Rogers, the former chair of Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. (Rogers and I have worked together on religion and public life issues over the years, though I played no role in formulating her proposal.) In The Washington Post’s “On Faith” forum in October, she pointed to a Hawaii law under which “religious employers that decline to cover contraceptives must provide written notification to enrollees disclosing that fact and describing alternate ways for enrollees to access coverage for contraceptive services.” The Hawaii law effectively required insurers to allow uncovered individuals to secure this coverage on their own at modest cost."
Obama’s breach of faith over contraceptive ruling - The Washington Post:

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Catholics denounce ruling on religious exemption | National Catholic Reporter

"WASHINGTON -- Religious groups -- notably the U.S. Catholic bishops -- felt rebuffed by the Obama administration’s decision not to change a provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires employers to offer contraceptive services in their health care packages without charging copays, coinsurance or deductibles.

Catholic groups, including the bishops, Catholic charities, colleges and universities, and health care institutions, had lobbied hard to have the narrow religious exemption in the rule, which was released last summer, expanded to cover more religious nonprofit agencies.
When the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Jan. 20 that it would not expand the exemption, the U.S. bishops called the decision “literally unconscionable.”
The Health and Human Services rule requires that FDA-approved contraceptive services be included in mandated “preventive services” covered in the basic insurance package of all insurance plans."

But a different voice was that of the president of Catholic Democrats, Patrick Whelan, a doctor and member of the pediatrics faculties at Harvard Medical School in Boston and the Keck School of Medicine of at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, said in a statement that because of the rule “more women will have access to the kind of health care that has been denied to millions over the years because of the high cost.”
Greater access to contraceptives will help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and “correspondingly are likely to further decrease the incidence of abortion,” said Whelan, who is also anNCR board member.
“I am aware that some Catholics will hear this news with mixed or negative emotions, including many bishops. At the same time, we know Catholic women, and by extension their families, use oral contraception at the same rate as the overall population.”
“Catholics and Catholic theologians” have taken issue with the church’s anti-birth-control teaching for more than 50 years, he said.
“Today, many will use this decision to further their own political agenda. The need for the hierarchy, theologians and the laity to come together and discuss these important issues has never been more pressing.”

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NCR: Issues of conscience, without hyperbole | National Catholic Reporter

The public and the Presidential debate already includes denunciation as anti-Catholic bigotry of the mandate that employers who provide health insurance cover contraception.  A dangerous flash-point is near.  Though the Church peacefully coexists in many countries where such coverage is provided by national health insurance schemes the employer-based U.S. system provides a unique friction point. Yesterday's National Catholic Reporter editorial concludes with a call for calm:
It is worth taking the year to investigate how this matter is handled in those states that require religious institutions to cover contraception. One model that a number of commentators have advanced is Hawaii, where religious organizations can refuse to cover contraceptives but must notify employees of the restriction, tell them where they can obtain such services and where employees can purchase separate riders to provide coverage for contraceptives.
Institutions change, the standing of bishops and other religious leaders is not what it once was, the demands of pluralism and the possibilities of medical science push through what once were comfortably kept boundaries. It is futile to wish for a simpler time. The challenge on both sides is to figure out, given the increasing complexities, how the church can continue to act with integrity, and how the state can provide for the greatest good, freed itself from the strictures of individual religions while simultaneously freeing religion as far as possible to act without interference from the state.
Issues of conscience, without hyperbole | National Catholic Reporter:

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Catholics Hear Protests of Obama Health Ruling at Mass - NYTimes.com

America's Catholic bishops say they will defy the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services. DHHS has ordered that all employer-sponsored health plans must offer contraceptive and other birth control services (but not abortion) to covered employees.  That excludes churches but includes the huge Catholic-sponsored hospital network. It is widely reported that most Catholics ignore the Church on birth control. But the hierarchy is bound by papal decree to oppose artificial contraception. The choice to use artificial birth control rests with the patient, of course. But the bishops take an unyielding position - now refusing to allow Catholic hospitals to insure their employees for such purposes.  If hospitals defy the bishops they will be forced to sever their ties with the Church.
 On another sexual politics front last week Archbishop Timothy Dolan, addressing bioethics  at Fordham Law School, said according to the Times that people who postpone conception with “chemicals and latex” are part of the “culture of death."  Such hyperbole is inconsistent with Pope Benedict XVI who has said that one infected with a sexually transmitted disease like HIV should choose to use a condom rather than have unprotected sex.  A more considered approach by Cardinal-designate Dolan would have been to distinguish between a condom and an abortifacient like RU-486.    According to the DHHS 40 percent of unplanned pregnancies end in abortion.  Unfortunately Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and the Obama administration's `lesser evil' approach to reducing abortions has not persuaded the bishops to moderate their stance.  
We now confront an election year in which the Catholic hierarchy is arrayed in battle lines against the Democratic candidate for President.  Rigidity on sexual politics will align the bishops against the candidate who on immigrants rights, universal health care, aid to the poor, and peace is more closely aligned to the Church's social ethic than is any of his likely opponents.
Catholics Hear Protests of Obama Health Ruling at Mass - NYTimes.com: "(Reuters) - U.S. Catholic bishops and priests across the country read out letters at Mass on Sunday protesting plans by President Barack Obama's administration to force religiously-affiliated nonprofit groups to offer birth-control coverage to women employees.
On Jan 20, the Obama administration made final a proposal requiring most employer-sponsored health plans to offer women contraceptive services including sterilization without copays, co-insurance or deductibles.

Religious authorities including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops condemned the rule as a violation of religious conscience and the constitutional right to religious freedom."

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

What a Drag | Jared Bernstein | On the Economy

What a Drag | Jared Bernstein | On the Economy: "Here’s one reason we’re stuck in slow growth mode: the budget crunch among state and local governments.

The figure shows the yearly percentage point contribution to or subtraction from real GDP growth from the state and local sectors since the late 1980s. The trend bounces around but the recent cliff dive is evident. It’s also why we keep losing jobs in these sectors month after month. "

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What's needed: A national youth service for a military we no longer know - Tampa Bay Times

"America no longer knows its military, and the U.S. military no longer knows America", retiring Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen said last year. The career "volunteer" army lives in isolation on bases here and around the world. Soldiers like my young cousin are facing a fourth deployment to a war zone. Russ Hoyle discusses the dilemma: we no longer demand national service via the draft. We have turned the military into a job. And that has turned our military into a warrior caste increasingly culturally isolated.  Hoyle suggests that mandatory national youth public service - with military a favored option - could help integrate the military and those it serves - the American people. Ted Kennedy long favored such a course, but little support is voiced today. - GWC
What's needed: A national youth service for a military we no longer know - Tampa Bay Times:
by Russ Hoyle
"As U.S. forces come home from Iraq after nine years at war, the nation is about to come face to face with professional troops sufficiently bruised and isolated from American society that some defense experts are whispering that major changes in military education and even a conscription-based national youth service program may be needed to reboot our fighting forces....
To reduce the military's isolation from civilian life, the Pentagon should begin by implementing deep cuts in manpower and supporting renewed conscription in the form of a three-year mandatory national service program (which would include civilian energy, education, infrastructure, environmental and urban service options) for all Americans between 18 and 25, with special benefits for military service.
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Friday, January 27, 2012

Annotated State of the Union Speech - James Fallows - Politics - The Atlantic

Obama's hand - editing a draft.
Don't they know how to find the double-space key at the White House?

James Fallows is an excellent experienced analyst of Presidential rhetoric. He was a speech-writer for Jimmy Carter, a much less satisfying job than writing for Barack Obama who actually closely edits his own speeches even when he doesn't write the draft himself. DON'T read the excerpt below. Click on the link. Then you will find that when you put the cursor over an underlined phrase Fallows' comments pop up. - GWC 
Remarks of President Barack Obama—As Prepared for Delivery
State of the Union Address
"An America Built to Last"
Tuesday, January 24th, 2012
Washington, DC
As Prepared for Delivery -
Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:
Last month, I went to Andrews Air Force Base and welcomed home some of our last troops to serve in Iraq. Together, we offered a final, proud salute [1]to the colors under which more than a million of our fellow citizens fought—and several thousand gave their lives.
We gather tonight knowing that this generation of heroes [2]has made the United States safer and more respected around the world[3]. For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq. For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden[4] is not a threat to this country[5]. Most of al Qaeda's top lieutenants have been defeated. The Taliban's momentum has been broken, and some troops in Afghanistan have begun to come home.
These achievements are a testament to the courage, selflessness, and teamwork of America's Armed Forces.[6] At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations. They're not consumed with personal ambition[7]. They don't obsess over their differences.[8] They focus on the mission at hand. They work together[9].
Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example[10]. Think about the America within our reach: A country that leads the world in educating its people. An America that attracts a new generation of high-tech manufacturing and high-paying jobs. A future where we're in control of our own energy, and our security and prosperity aren't so tied to unstable parts of the world. An economy built to last,[11]where hard work pays off, and responsibility is rewarded.
 p.s. Fallows is not the only one making notes; Here is the National Academies Press version with links to resources about the problems of which the President spoke.
'via Blog this'Annotated State of the Union Speech - James Fallows - Politics - The Atlantic:

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Legal Aid Groups Planning Major Layoffs in 2012 - Law Blog - WSJ

There is not much left of the War on Poverty, is there? The Legal Services Corporation is a surviving outgrowth of the Office of Economic Opportunity. OEO was the executive branch arm of Pres. Johnson's War on Poverty, which was first led by the late Sargent Shriver. Even more devastating than budget cuts is the fact that interest on lawyers trust accounts plummeted with the federal funds rate and the decline in housing sales. That device provided a great deal of the funding for legal aid and defender services nationwide.
Legal Aid Groups Planning Major Layoffs in 2012 - Law Blog - WSJ:

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Torts Today: NJ Supreme Court Upholds Enhanced Fees in Rights Cases - Again Rejecting U.S. High Court Rule

The New Jersey Supreme Court has again declined to follow the U.S. Supreme Court's rejection of enhanced contingent fees in fee-shifting consumer protection and discrimination cases.
Torts Today: NJ Supreme Court Upholds Enhanced Fees in Rights Cases - Again Rejecting U.S. High Court Rule:

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Second Chances - NYTimes.com

Linda Greenhouse - one of the Supreme Court's most attentive observers - is mystified at the unexpected display of compassion by usually hard-line members of the court in the case of a death row inmate whose lawyers neglected a deadline. She speculates what may underlie C.J. Roberts and Associate Justices Kennedy and Alito's decision to join Justice Ruth Ginsburg's opinion to grant relief. - GWC
Second Chances - NYTimes.com:
by Linda Greenhouse
"The Supreme Court’s decision last week giving an Alabama death-row inmate who was abandoned by his lawyers a second chance at an appeal has been justly celebrated. The 7-to-2 decision in Maples v. Thomas was a welcome display of compassion by a substantial majority of the Roberts court – for which compassion (dare I say empathy?) is not a descriptor that often springs to mind.

The inmate, Cory R. Maples, convicted of killing two drinking companions during a night on the town, had been represented during a state-court appeals process by two volunteer lawyers from the white-shoe law firm Sullivan & Cromwell. The lawyers left the firm in mid-stream for new jobs without informing either their client or the court. Unbeknownst to Mr. Maples, the 42-day period for filing a notice of appeal expired, thus creating a “procedural default” that disqualified him from seeking a writ of habeas corpus in federal court. “In these circumstances, no just system would lay the default at Maples’ death-cell door,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the majority. Only Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented."

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tax equity - Obama's State of the Union theme

"We don't begrudge financial success in this country. We admire it. When Americans talk about folks like me paying my fair share of taxes, it's not because they envy the rich. It's because they understand that when I get tax breaks I don't need and the country can't afford, it either adds to the deficit, or somebody else has to make up the difference - like a senior on a fixed income; or a student trying to get through school; or a family trying to make ends meet. That's not right. Americans know it's not right."

Barack Obama, State of the Union address, January 24, 2012
Was Obama's use of the phrase
`built to last' a dog whistle to Deadheads?
I think that gets it right. Like other professional families we pay taxes at twice Mitt Romney's 13.9%. To say that he should pay what we pay is not envy. It is asking that those who can pay a decent share.

Brad DeLong: Ryan Lizza's Verdict on Obama so Far…

Brad DeLong: Ryan Lizza's Verdict on Obama so Far…: "Obama didn’t remake Washington. But his first two years stand as one of the most successful legislative periods in modern history. Among other achievements, he has saved the economy from depression, passed universal health care, and reformed Wall Street. Along the way, Obama may have changed his mind about his 2008 critique of Hillary Clinton. “Working the system, not changing it” and being “consumed with beating” Republicans “rather than unifying the country and building consensus to get things done” do not seem like such bad strategies for success after all."

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The Summers Memo : The New Yorker

News Desk: The Summers Memo : The New Yorker:

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Monday, January 23, 2012

28,000 die of HIV/AIDS in China 2011: official report - People's Daily Online

28,000 die of HIV/AIDS in China 2011: official report - People's Daily Online: "BEIJING, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- A total of 28,000 people died of HIV/AIDS in China in 2011, and another 48,000 in the country were found newly infected by the virus, according to an official publication on Saturday.

The report on the epidemic situation of HIV/AIDS in China, which was jointly produced by China's Ministry of Health, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS and the World Health Organization, said that the number of people living with HIV/AIDS increased by 40,000 in two years from 2009, although cases of new infections remained at a low level.

With about 780,000 people living with HIV/AIDS nationwide, including 154,000 AIDS patients, the total infection rate of the country stands at 0.058 percent, the report said."

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Silver lining for Mitt: he'll pay no taxes under Newt's tax plan

As good as it gets: under Newt's tax plan there would be no tax on capital gains.  Under Mitt's plan people earning under $200,000 who usually don't have any capital gains won't pay any taxes on the capital gains they don't have.  Under Newt's plan Mitt will pay no taxes.  Clever that newt.

China Grammar Wiki. What A Great Idea! : China Law Blog : China Law for Business

China Grammar Wiki. What A Great Idea! : China Law Blog : China Law for Business:

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

OMG - Chris Christie as VP? Livewire | TPM

Love of country - and party - that's what motivates them. Chris Christie being no exception. - GWC
Livewire | TPM:
"New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said on Meet the Press that he wants to be New Jersey’s governor and “I absolutely believe that come November 2012, I’m going to be governor of New Jersey.” But, if Romney called him to talk about Christie being on the ticket with him, “I love my country enough and my I love my party enough to listen.”"

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

South Carolina primary is a bump in the road for Romney - Jonathan Bernstein- WAPO

South Carolina primary is a bump in the road for Romney, but he’s still the favorite - The Plum Line - The Washington Post:
by Jonathan Bernstein
"I’m certainly not going to say that Saturday night was a good one for Mitt Romney, who got beaten solidly by Newt Gingrich in South Carolina (a scenario I’m afraid I called “an extreme long shot” last week). But while he would have shut down the nomination contest entirely by winning tonight, the truth is he’s probably a bit closer to winning it all now than he was after New Hampshire, and a lot closer than he was, say, before Iowa. A little history might help explain that."

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cory R. Maples Gets Second Chance After Mailroom Mix-Up - NYTimes.com

Cory R. Maples Gets Second Chance After Mailroom Mix-Up - NYTimes.com: "WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that an Alabama death row inmate who missed a filing deadline thanks to a mix-up in the mailroom of a prominent New York law firm must be given another chance."

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Newt Gingrich feeds the lions on M.L. King day

Newt Gingrich really knows how to hit the hot buttons.  The contempt in his voice and the punchlines drive the Fox Republican Presidential Debate crowd into wild cheers.  The poor are lazy. They need to be taught to work.  The unions are out of control - New York City should fire janitors and hire kids.  "More people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history."  "I'm going to continue to help poor people learn how to get a job, get a better job and learn how to own the job".  Charles Blow comments in the Times "It is Gingrich's gift to make ill will sound like good will."  This is how the former Speaker and South Carolina Republicans marked the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. who died in Memphis where he was supporting the sanitation workers struggle for better wages. - GWC

Monday, January 16, 2012

Jonathan Cohn: Moderate Mitt? Have You Looked At His Budget? | The New Republic

Jonathan Cohn: Moderate Mitt? Have You Looked At His Budget? | The New Republic:

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What the Right Gets Right - NYTimes.com

What the Right Gets Right - NYTimes.com:
by Thomas Edsall
Edsall is the author of the new Age of Austerity, and of What's the Matter with Kansas.  He teaches at Columbia Journalism School
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Serial killers in China | Danwei

Serial killers in China | Danwei:

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Judge: Stanford Lawyers Must Stay the Course - Law Blog - WSJ

Allen Stanford - accused of
$7 billion fraud
Judge: Stanford Lawyers Must Stay the Course - Law Blog - WSJ: "The lawyers for jailed money manager R. Allen Stanford must continue to represent him at his criminal trial, which begins later this month, a federal judge has ruled.

In a case marked by unusual turns of events, Stanford’s entire defense team asked to withdraw from the case on Wednesday, 12 days before jury selection is scheduled to begin in his case."
h/t Legal Ethics Forum

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Letter From Birmingham City Jail by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Federal safety net programs efficiently reach beneficiaries - CBPP

Critics of government claim that government bureaucracy is filled with waste and/or corruption. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities demonstrates here that federal safety net programs are very efficient in getting benefits to their intended beneficiaries. - GWC
Off the Charts Blog | Center on Budget and Policy Priorities | Romney’s Wrong: Federal Low-Income Program Dollars Go Overwhelmingly to Beneficiaries:

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Things We're Supposed To Be Quiet About - NYTimes.com

Beyond Originalism: Conservative Declarationism and Constitutional Redemption - Ken Kersch | Maryland Law Review

Boston College political science professor Ken I. Kersch seeks to redeem conservative jurisprudence from the mortal sin of racism by grounding constitutional theory in the embrace of the Declaration of Independence as vindicated by the post civil war amendments 13, 14, and 15.
Embracing the natural law vision of the 18th century he develops a nationalist, quasi-religious originalism to save conservative jurisprudence from the white southern strategy that has dominated the modern Republican Party. - GWC

Beyond Originalism: Conservative Declarationism and Constitutional Redemption

by Ken Kersch
UM Carey Law | Maryland Law Review Volume 71, Issue 1:
The Declarationist narrative I have described here represents one strain of the constitutional nationalism forged by the contemporary conservative movement, with the aim of forming movement identities and allegiances, and distinguishing friends from enemies. It positions contemporary conservatives—and the Republican Party—as
the true heirs and guardians of the legacy of the American Founders, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr.  Far from signaling a (wholly) reactionary return to pre-civil rights movement neoConfederatism, contemporary conservative Declarationism—with sometimes millennialist overtones—looks to the present, and, especially, the future. It emphasizes sin, and redemption, with a very modern focus on the sin of racism. It explains to conservatives the ways in which, through their rock-solid commitment to the first principles of the Declaration, they are the legatees of the Great Men who founded the Great Nation, and then redeemed it from the evil of chattel slavery, and from the sin of racial segregation.
h/t Balkinization 

Mandarin Smackdown! Stewart vs. Huntsman vs. Xiao Li - James Fallows - Politics - The Atlantic

Mandarin Smackdown! Stewart vs. Huntsman vs. Xiao Li - James Fallows - Politics - The Atlantic:

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Inequality Obstructs Progress - Chief White House Economic Adviser

Alan Krueger and Pres. Obama
Alan B. Krueger, the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers has sounded a strikingly populist note.  Inequality is a part of the problem, not the solution.  The contrast with Mitt Romney - who describes such concerns  as class warfare and the product of envy - could not be clearer. speaking on January 12 at the Center for American Progress, President Obama's chief economist declared:

My theme in this talk is that the rise in inequality in the United States over the last three decades has reached the point that inequality in incomes is causing an unhealthy division in opportunities, and is a threat to our economic growth. Restoring a greater degree of fairness to the U.S. job market would be good for businesses, good for the economy, and good for the country.
Leveling of the once sharply graduated tax code has played a large role in that - as has the steady erosion of trade union power.  Reversing that trend will take a concentrated effort that no one in the political mainstream has mustered since the New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Split Over the Right to Effective Counsel in Immigration Proceedings - Circuit Splits

This issue has been building for a while. In January 2009 - the waning days of the Bush administration -  AG Michael Mukasey in the Compean case repudiated the body of law that entitled aliens to relief if their attorney was shown to be incompetent. That measure was quickly renounced by Attorney General Holder.  But the bigger question is - if there is a right to due process in deportation (removal) proceedings does it extend to the right to effective assistance of counsel (which Congress has steadfastly refused to supply)? The Fifth Amendment (in the Scottsboro case - Powell v. Alabama) was the foundation for effective assistance cases before the 6th Amendment was recognized in Gideon v. Wainwright.
The Third Circuit has identified the circuit split (the 4th and 8th deny the right) as ripe for Supreme Court review. - GWC
Split Over the Right to Effective Counsel in Immigration Proceedings - Circuit Splits:
"Today’s post covers yet another circuit split over the applicability of the Due Process Clause. This time, however, the circuits disagree on whether the Clause’s guarantee of effective assistance of counsel, a component of due process, applies to aliens during removal proceedings.
As the Third Circuit recently illustrated in the following footnote, this question has produced a circuit split that can only be described as "ripe for review":
Because immigration proceedings are civil rather than criminal in nature, the Sixth Amendment right to the effective assistance of counsel does not apply. Fadiga, 488 F.3d at 157 n.23. But we have recognized (along with a majority of our sister Courts of Appeals) that "[a] claim of ineffective assistance of counsel in removal proceedings is cognizable under the Fifth Amendment — i.e., as a violation of that amendment's guarantee of due process." Id. at 155; see also Zheng v. Gonzales, 422 F.3d 98, 106 (3d Cir. 2005); Xu Yong Lu v. Ashcroft, 259 F.3d 127, 131-32 (3d Cir. 2001).3"
h/t Legal Ethics Forum

"Envy" is what drives the attacks on me: Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney: "It's fine to talk about fairness of income distribution in quiet rooms and in discussions of tax policy, but...."
h/t Paul Krugman

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bitter Primaries Revealing The Real Romney | National Memo | Breaking News, Smart Politics

Mitt Romney's minders are going to have to work overtime to keep him on script, and to minimize opportunities for anything extemporaneous. - GWC
Bitter Primaries Revealing The Real Romney | National Memo | Breaking News, Smart Politics:
by Joe Conason
"For Mitt Romney, Tuesday night's expected triumph in the New Hampshire primary will offer a tempting opportunity to gloat. Such unattractive conduct would no longer be surprising from the Republican front-runner, who is enduring the gradual disclosure of his personality."

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

NY Times on law school accreditation - Tamanaha is skeptical

Brian Tamanaha looks behind the last in the recent Times series on law schools.  It treat Duncan Law School as a victim of a rigid ABA accreditation process which obstructs the school's effort s to provide lawyers to serve the impoverished Appalachian region. The school was struggling with decliing enrollment and was already on notice that it was not likely to pass muster. - GWC
by Brian Tamanaha
"The theme of the final installment of the New York Times series on law schools, "For Law Schools, A Price to Play the A.B.A.'s Way," was that ABA accreditation is to blame for high tuition. The story revolved around the effort of Duncan School of Law to obtain provisional A.B.A. accreditation. In the article, Duncan administrators and the main benefactor complained that accreditation regulations were "massive, just massive." Without these requirements, they claimed, "Duncan could have cut its tuition in half, maybe by two-thirds."

The article gave the clear impression that Duncan was awaiting a final decision on whether it would receive accreditation without any foreknowledge of its likely fate."

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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Torts Today: Aliens denied equal access to health benefits: Mass. Supreme Court

Torts Today: Aliens denied equal access to health benefits: Mass. Supreme Court:

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The G.O.P.’s ‘Black People’ Platform - NYTimes.com

Charles Blow points out that it's race-baiting time because it's voting time. The Republican Party has in the past 40 years repudiated its venerable role as the party of Lincoln. Now the contest is on to tip toe up to the line - signal resentment of the lazy (especially black) people who want welfare not work. At the high end it's Mitt Romney denouncing President Obama as the apostle of an "entitlement society", not an "opportunity society". It is facially neutral but disparate in impact. 

Blow points out:

Kevin Phillips, who popularized the right’s “Southern Strategy,” was quoted in The New York Times Magazine in May 1970 as saying that “the more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans.”
The G.O.P.’s ‘Black People’ Platform - NYTimes.com:

Postpone mandate test, Court urged : SCOTUSblog

The lawyer appointed by the Supreme Court to address the Anti-Injunction Act issue in the 26 state challenge to the Affordable Care Act has urged the Supreme Court to back off. The court-appointed amicus argues in his brief :It's a tax and a taxpayer challenge is premature until it has been imposed Dismiss the appeals now and deal with the issues of the individual mandate after it becomes effective in 2015, argues Robert Long of Covington & Burling.
 Lyle Denniston reports on Scotusblog.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Robert L. Carter, Judge and Desegregation Strategist, Dies at 94 - NYTimes.com

NAACP lawyers: Louis Redding, Robert L. Carter,
Oliver Hill, Thurgood Marshall, Spotswood Robinson, II

U.S. District Judge Robert L Carter was, in the view of many, the key architect of the successful desegregation strategy of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc.
Torts Today: Robert L. Carter, Judge and Desegregation Strategist, Dies at 94 - NYTimes.com:

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No. 22 Harvard Loses to Fordham - 60 - 54 NYTimes.com

Fordham 60  Harvard 54!
No. 22 Harvard Loses to Fordham - NYTimes.com: "The nonconference victory by the Rams (7-6) ended their 54-game losing streak against ranked opponents. The last time Fordham defeated a ranked opponent was on Feb. 26, 1978, when the Rams beat No. 18 Georgetown, 63-59.

Fordham already has won as many games this year as it did under Tom Pecora last season, his first at the university, and the Rams have beaten two notable opponents in a row. They defeated visiting Georgia Tech, 72-66, last Thursday.

“This place is a pit,” Pecora said of the cozy gymnasium in the Bronx, which was loud Tuesday even though students are still on semester break. “It can be for us what Cameron is for Duke.”

Then, as winter break descended upon Fordham’s Gothic campus, a team that features seven freshmen and four sophomores began to jell. The win over Harvard was the Rams’ third in a row, following defeats of Texas State and Georgia Tech. All at home in their little slice of New York basketball history.  
Rose Hill Gym, with a capacity of 3,470, opened in 1925 and is the oldest gymnasium still being used by a Division I team. And, perhaps fitting for a team that plays in one of New York’s basketball landmarks, Pecora has assembled a squad that relies heavily on talent from the tri-state area.  
Eight of the 15 players on the Rams’ roster are from New York City. Against Harvard, the starting lineup featured four players from Brooklyn and one — Chris Gaston, the team’s leading scorer — from Union City, N.J.
“That’s the only way I’ve ever done it,” Pecora said. “I’m New York, born and bred. Born in Brooklyn, raised in Queens. Live on Long Island, coach in the Bronx. Hang out in Manhattan, drive through Staten Island.”

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Political Animal - Gingrich takes off the gloves

John McCain named his campaign bus the Straight Talk Express. Newt Gingrich tried that approach on CBS's Face the Nation - after absorbing the body blows of $3 million in negative adds by pro-Romney Superpacs.  Steve Benen reports:
Political Animal - Gingrich takes off the gloves:

"“I have to ask you, are you calling Mitt Romney a liar?”
“Yes,” Gingrich replied.
“You’re calling Mitt Romney a liar?”
“Well, you seem shocked by it!” said Gingrich. “Yes.”"
The shocked hosts (CBS White House Correspondent Nora O'Donnell and anchor Bob Schieffer did seem shocked. Newt Gingrich replied:
Which part of what I just said to you is false?” he asked the surprised hosts. “Why is it that if I’m candid in person and I wanted to be honest in person, that’s shocking? If [Romney’s] PAC buys millions of dollars in ads to say things that are false, that’s somehow the way Washington plays the game. Isn’t that exactly what’s sick about this country right now? Isn’t that what the American people are tired of?”
Well, yes.  But it is very hard for Serious People like Schieffer and O'Donnell to admit that the emperor's clothes are, well, tattered...
(The good stuff is about 3 minutes in)

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Sunday, January 1, 2012

China Amends Law to Boost Occupational Illness Prevention, Control

China Amends Law to Boost Occupational Illness Prevention, Control:
by CRenglish.com
"Upon the conclusion of a six-day bimonthly session on Saturday, China's top legislature adopted an amendment to the Law on Occupational Illness Prevention and Control in a bid to better protect worker's legal rights.

The amendment was added after the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), the legislature, conducted a third reading of the draft, which had previously been read in June and October.

President Hu Jintao has issued an order to publicize the amendment, which will take effect from the day of its publication.

Occupational illness refers to those illnesses caused by contact with dust, radioactive materials or other poisonous, harmful elements during a worker's occupational activities with enterprises, public institutions and individual business units, according to the amended law.

The amended law highlights China's enhanced moves to simplify procedures to help those suffering from occupational illnesses and to protect worker's legal rights, as treatment for such illnesses has become a growing public concern."

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