Monday, June 30, 2014

Why Did Maine's Governor Conspire With 'Sovereign Citizen' Extremists?

Maine Governor Paul LePage, a Tea Party favorite, is a guy who believes all the right wing memes. He is hostile to government benefits to anyone but business, anti-affirmative action, hostile to environmental regulation, etc. He is given to provocative oddball statements. It seems that some of these come from his indulgence of the insurrectionary wing of dissenters who call themselves Sovereign Citizens. Below is an excerpt from Chapter 1 of As Maine Went: Governor Paul LePage and the Tea Party Takeover of Maine, by Mike Tipping, posted today by Talking Points Memo.Why Did Maine's Governor Conspire With 'Sovereign Citizen' Extremists?

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Some Corporations do have souls, Supreme Court says

A Corporation... may not commit treason, nor be outlawed, nor excommunicate, for they have no souls, neither can they appear in person, but by Attorney 33 H. 8. Br. Fealty. A Corporation aggregate of many cannot do fealty, for an invisible body cannot be in person, nor can swear, it is not subject to imbecilities, or death of the natural, body, and divers other cases.
Sir Edward Coke, The Case of Sutton's Hospital, 1612
Overturning 402 years of common law principle the Supreme Court today in Hobby Lobby v. Burwell decided that closely held corporations, partnerships, and proprietorships can on grounds of religious conscience deny their female employees government-mandated health benefits generally available to employees of non-religious employers.

Inequality Is Not Inevitable -

"Ideology and interests combined nefariously" in the wake of the Cold War in America, writes Joseph E. Stiglitz, the Nobel prize economist,  in the last of a series on The Great Divide.  Opposition to communism led to celebration of its opposite - a tough-luck celebration of individualism that was aided by racism and the anti-communist consensus.  The collapse of the Soviet Union accelerated the shift to a hypocritical anti-government ideology.  Socialism only for the rich, tough luck for the rest, it could be called. - gwc
Inequality Is Not Inevitable -
by Joseph Stiglitz
Our current brand of capitalism is an ersatz capitalism. For proof of this go back to our response to the Great Recession, where we socialized losses, even as we privatized gains. Perfect competition should drive profits to zero, at least theoretically, but we have monopolies and oligopolies making persistently high profits. C.E.O.s enjoy incomesthat are on average 295 times that of the typical worker, a much higher ratio than in the past, without any evidence of a proportionate increase in productivity.
If it is not the inexorable laws of economics that have led to America’s great divide, what is it? The straightforward answer: our policies and our politics. People get tired of hearing about Scandinavian success stories, but the fact of the matter is that Sweden, Finland and Norway have all succeeded in having about as much or faster growth in per capita incomes than the United States and with far greater equality.
More than a half-century ago, America led the way in advocating for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations in 1948. Today, access to health care is among the most universally accepted rights, at least in the advanced countries. America, despite the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, is the exception. It has become a country with great divides in access to health care, life expectancy and health status.
In the relief that many felt when the Supreme Court did not overturn the Affordable Care Act, the implications of the decision for Medicaid were not fully appreciated. Obamacare’s objective — to ensure that all Americans have access to health care — has been stymied: 24 states have not implemented the expanded Medicaid program, which was the means by which Obamacare was supposed to deliver on its promise to some of the poorest.
We need not just a new war on poverty but a war to protect the middle class. Solutions to these problems do not have to be newfangled. Far from it. Making markets act like markets would be a good place to start. We must end the rent-seeking society we have gravitated toward, in which the wealthy obtain profits by manipulating the system.

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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Drug and Device Law: Fosamax Plaintiffs Between A Rock And A Hard Place

It's been hard time lately for Fosamax plaintiffs.  Here's the unabashed defense take. - gwc
Drug and Device Law: Fosamax Plaintiffs Between A Rock And A Hard Place:

We have discussed before (here and here)how the defendant manufacturer in Fosamax litigation took advantage of a fairly unique regulatory history to meet the Supreme Court’s unprecedentedly high "clear evidence" standard from Levine and preempt an entire MDL’s worth of warnings claims from before the drug’s label changed in 2011. For us, this was noteworthy and welcome. Prescription drug cases are fundamentally about warnings and many plaintiffs base their claims on the purported need for labeling that never would have been approved in the real world. Without devolving into a Bexisish rant on why Levine was wrong and many courts have been unduly frightened away from applying preemption because of facile readings of Levine—our own version of Charybdis—we can say that a clean preemption win in a prescription drug case was long overdue.

The Fosamax plaintiffs, not surprisingly, did not share our view and persisted in trying to keep their litigation going with post-labeling change cases. Well, they kindof persisted. Mostly, it seems that they desperately wanted to avoid a consideration of the merits of their remaining claims while keeping the litigation pending. This required a series of maneuvers that ultimately ended up with the plaintiff in In re Fosamax (Alendronate Sodium) Prods. Liab. Litig., No. 12-1492, 08-08, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82003 (D.N.J. June 17, 2014), squarely between—you guessed it—a rock and a hard place when the defendant moved for summary judgment. We suspect many other plaintiffs in the litigation will end up in the same place.
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Posner: Supreme Court Ignored Privacy in Abortion Clinic Case //Slate

The last thing a woman about to have an abortion needs is to be yelled at by the Godly. /// Slate
by Richard A. Posner
What we call “constitutional law” is not, for the most part, the result of interpretation of the Constitution. The Constitution is the pretext for what amounts to a body of judge-made law, much like the common law of England and America.
Now, the last case: this morning’s decision in McCullen v. Coakley, which invalidated a Massachusetts law requiring abortion protesters to keep 35 feet away from the entrance to abortion clinics.* Like Town of Greece, the opinion fetishizes First Amendment rights. The core of the opinion can be found in two brief quotations from it, which I’ve strung together: “With respect to other means of communication, an individual confronted with an uncomfortable message can always turn the page, change the channel, or leave the Web site. Not so on public streets and sidewalks. There, a listener often encounters speech he might otherwise tune out. … Petitioners wish to converse with their fellow citizens about an important subject on the public streets and sidewalks—sites that have hosted discussions about the issues of the day throughout history. Respondents assert undeniably significant interests in maintaining public safety on those same streets and sidewalks, as well as in preserving access to adjacent healthcare facilities.”
The concern with privacy that animated the Riley case was forgotten after one day. Who wants to be buttonholed on the sidewalk by “uncomfortable message[s],” usually delivered by nuts? Lecturing strangers on a sidewalk is not a means by which information and opinion are disseminated in our society. Strangers don’t meet on the sidewalk to discuss “the issues of the day.” (Has Chief Justice John Roberts, the author of the opinion, ever done such a thing?) The assertion that abortion protesters “wish to converse” with women outside an abortion clinic is naive. They wish to prevent the women from entering the clinic, whether by showing them gruesome photos of aborted fetuses or calling down the wrath of God on them. This is harassment of people who are in a very uncomfortable position; the last thing a woman about to have an abortion needs is to be screamed at by the godly.
The issue is not mainly, as the court stated in the last sentence that I quoted, the maintenance of public safety. Most abortion protesters are not violent, and police will be present to protect the visitors to the clinic. The issue is the privacy, anxiety, and embarrassment of the abortion clinic’s patients—interests that outweigh, in my judgment anyway, the negligible contribution that abortion protesters make to the marketplace of ideas and opinions.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Bishops' Synod working paper is boring and joyless | National Catholic Reporter

Synod working paper is boring and joyless | National Catholic Reporter:
by Thomas Reese, S.J.
A document "intended to provide an initial reference point" for the October Synod of Bishops on the family was released Thursday at the Vatican. The document acknowledges that "the primary task of the church is to proclaim the beauty of the vocation to love," but there is little beautiful or inspiring in this document. If married life is as boring and joyless as this document, I am glad I am celibate.
The 85-page document, called an instrumentum laboris or working paper, is based on responses to a questionnaire sent out from the Secretariat of the Synod in October. Compiling input from numerous sources does not lead to a coherent presentation or scintillating prose. Drawing up the paper was more difficult than usual because of the large number of responses and the limited time the secretariat had to do its job.
The secretariat undoubtedly did what it did for earlier synods: put the responses into two piles. Into the first and most important pile go the responses from bishops' conferences, the Roman Curia, and those bishops who will attend the synod. The second pile contains responses from individual bishops and others, including the laity. The first pile gets the most attention.

For anyone familiar with the 1980 synod on the family, reading the new instrumentum laborisfosters a feeling of déjà vu.

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Supreme Court Strikes Down Law on Abortion Clinic Buffer Zones -

Today the Supreme Court struck down as not sufficiently narrowly tailored a Massachusetts law that created a thirty five foot zone around abortion clinic entrances.  The judgement in McCullen v. Coakley was unanimous.  But Justice Antonin Scalia dissented from the majority opinion in which C.J. John Roberts joined with the liberals.  In typically sharp rhetoric Scalia objects to that part of the majority opinion that says the statute is not content-based, i.e. NOT aimed at anti-abortion protesters:
Today’s opinion carries forward this Court’s practice of giving abortion-rights advocates a pass when it comes to suppressing the free-speech rights of their opponents. There is an entirely separate, abridged edition of the First Amendment applicable to speech against abortion. See, e.g., Hill v. Colorado, 530 U. S. 703 (2000); Madsen v. Women’s Health Center, Inc., 512 U. S. 753 (1994).
I agree with Scalia that the measure is content-based.  But I would embrace a "separate" First Amendment jurisprudence for anti-abortion protests.  Because I don't think that people have a right to intrude on the privacy of people seeking medical attention, delivering pleas to not have an abortion, etc.  Of course a woman going to such a clinic may be seeking advice, birth control pills, post-op check up, a medically necessary abortion, or an elective one. In my view it is none of the bloody business of anyone else.  I would have voted to uphold the statute. - GWC

Supreme Court Strikes Down Law on Abortion Clinic Buffer Zones -
by Adam Liptak

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a Massachusetts law that barred protests near abortion clinics.
The law, enacted in 2007, created 35-foot buffer zones around entrances to abortion clinics. State officials said the law was a response to a history of harassment and violence at abortion clinics in Massachusetts, including a shooting rampage at two facilities in 1994.
The law was challenged on First Amendment grounds by opponents of abortion who said they sought to have quiet conversations with women entering clinics to tell them about alternatives to abortion.
In 2000, the Supreme Court upheld a similar Colorado law in Hill v. Colorado. That law established 100-foot buffer zones outside all health care facilities, not just abortion clinics. Inside those larger zones, the law banned approaching others within eight feet for protest, education or counseling without their consent.
Massachusetts experimented with a similar law but found it inadequate.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

SCOTUSblog still barred from Supreme Court press room

I was once credentialed to the Supreme Court for the New Jersey Law Journal.  It was Martin Luther King's birthday in 1991 when I attended oral argument in Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete, which extended the landmark Batson rule barring racial discrimination in jury selection to civil cases.  It was fun to enter the pressroom and to sit at the scribes table off to the left of the high bench where the Justices sit.  There were three or four other reporters there that day, as the cases argued attracted little attention.  I wrote my story on the train on the way back to New York.

But now virtually everyone who follows the U.S. Supreme Court relies on Scotusblog and its live-blogging.  It is a source of raw material, a valuable journal, reliable source of informative commentary pre and post argument.  It’s just great, really.  So it seems unfair at first blush that its live-blogging on opinion days, and its instant-replay commentary, so widely followed, have not earned it a seat in the courtroom with the scribes of the New York Times, NPR, and other journalistic stalwarts.  Only their venerable reporter Lyle Denniston, credentialed by WBUR Boston, has a spot in the courtroom and the press room downstairs.

The Senate Standing Committee of Correspondents which handles credentialing for the Supreme Court heard Scotusblog owner Tom Goldstein’s presentation in May.  They have now refused to reconsider his plea for a seat at the table.  The world of journalism has changed, of course.  Print is fading and digital is surging we all know.  But there is a difference between blogging and journalism.  It is the difference between the Press Officer and the reporter.  Both may speak the truth by their best lights but only the reporter can claim to be independent.  It is on the issue of independence that the Senate Correspondents Committee relied.    The Committee explained:

Standing Committee of Correspondents letter to SCOTUSblog June 23, 2014 |

For a firewall to satisfy the Standing Committee, it would separate the law practice from the publication to prevent the law practice – which is an active advocate before the Supreme Court – from influencing editorial content. 
Goldstein, who earns his living at the law firm, controls the blog’s editorial direction and has day-to-day story conversations with SCOTUSblog reporters. The firm manager of Goldstein & Russell is the deputy manager of SCOTUSblog.... Far from keeping the blog editorially independent of the law practice as the rules require, these policies appear to permit the law practice to blend in with the blog. That makes it hard to determine where one ends and the other begins.
Although the First Amendment spares the press from the regulation that our procession experiences, that independence distinguishes journalists from lawyers who are zealously loyal  to our clients.

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The Reality of Student Debt Is Different From the Clichés -

The Reality of Student Debt Is Different From the Clichés -
by David Leonhardt
The anecdotes have created the impression that such high levels of student debt are typical. But they’re not. They are outliers, and they’re warping our understanding of bigger economic problems.
In fact, the share of income that young adults are devoting to loan repayment has remained fairly steady over the last two decades, according to data the Brookings Institutions is releasing on Tuesday. Only 7 percent of young-adult households with education debt have $50,000 or more of it. By contrast, 58 percent of such households have less than $10,000 in debt, and an additional 18 percent have between $10,000 and $20,000.

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Scotus blog denied press pass

I agree but scotus should allow live streaming.

Senate reaffirms decision to deny press pass to Scotusblog

Monday, June 23, 2014

The al Awlaki targeted killing memo

UK and Germany break solar power records | Environment |

Lines of solar panels near Truro, England. Sunny weather has helped solar power set new records in the UK
solar panels at Truro, England

Germany's electricity output was over half solar on June 9.  England hit 7.8% on the longest day.  And they don't have sunny California or the Mohave Desert.  Meanwhile we labor under those who think that global warming is a debatable proposition, and threaten to shut down the government over the plan to reduce power plant emissions by 30%.  Whatever happened to Yankee ingenuity?  - gwc
UK and Germany break solar power records | Environment | "Britain and Germany have broken records for generating solar electricity in the last few weeks, according to new industry figures. Germany generated over half its electricity demand from solar for the first time ever on 9 June, and the UK, basking in the sunniest weather of summer during the longest days of the year, nearly doubled its 2013 peak solar power output at the solstice weekend. France, Italy, Denmark and other countries are also believed to have generated record amounts in June. According to UK trade body the Solar Trade association (STA), the total UK installed solar capacity generated from homes, buildings and solar farms is now about 4.7 gigawatts compared to 2.7GW in July last year. It is not possible to tell exactly how much solar power was generated in Britain because electricity from small-scale household units is not centrally measured, but the STA estimated on Monday that 3.9% of the UK's electricity demand was met by solar photovoltaic systems (PV) over the 24 hours of Saturday. This means solar's contribution peaked at a record 7.8% of daytime electricity, on 21 June, said the association."

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EU mulls cutting energy use by 35% | Environment |

Meanwhile we suffer under the Fox News House of Representatives. - gwc
EU mulls cutting energy use by 35% | Environment |
by Arthur Neslen // The Guardian Environment Network
 "To maintain Europe’s emissions-cutting momentum, a 30% cut in energy usage is needed by 2030, rising to 35% if the EU wants to reap the benefits of energy security, jobs and growth, says a draft communication for the bloc’s energy efficiency review, seen by EurActiv. The target would be indicative – or non-binding on member-states – until 2017 at least, and would be based on an absolute reduction in primary energy consumption of 1312 Million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) for the 35% figure, and 1218 Mtoe for the 30% goal.
 The paper is broadly in line with findings from an impact assessment revealed by EurActiv last week, which show that higher efficiency targets would bring optimum levels of GDP growth, jobs, energy security and emissions cuts. But no agreement on a final goal to complement a planned 40% greenhouse gas emissions cut was reached at a meeting between the EU president José Manuel Barroso and a cabinet of top Commissioners on 18 June."

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The Benghazi trial belongs in New York || Guardian

A former Gitmo prosecutor explains that the alleged Benghazi assault leader is not a prisoner of war, and should be tried by jury in federal court in New York.- gwc

Now, a man named Ahm-0ed Abu Khattala is finishing up a long trip from Benghazi to a New York courtroom, aboard a Navy ship under interrogation by a team of FBI investigatorsincreasingly focused on gathering intelligence and evidence.

As if being the alleged mastermind behind the 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi wasn't politically thorny enough, Abu Khatalla's trial seems fraught with legal complications – it is, after all, a microcosm of how the Obama administration delivers justice upon that dual legacy of torture and unpunished terror, in its dual system of terror courts.

And while it's conceivable that both federal and military commissions could try Khattala for his alleged crimes, Benghazi was not a war, and the killing of Ambassador Chris Stevens and his security detail wasn't a war crime. Getting the KSM trial out of the shadow of the 9/11 attacks in downtown Manhattan was one thing, but that's exactly where the Benghazi ringleader should be tried....

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Who will future Gerry Conlons count on? Guardian

Gerry Conlon after his conviction was quashed in 1989.
Gerry Conlon, released in 1989,
after 15 years in prison

Who will the Gerry Conlons of the future count on?
Gerry Conlon died last week.  The innocent victim of British injustice against the Irish, his story was told in the movie `In the Name of the Father'. But recently Conlon was warning of the danger of similar injustices inflicted on Muslim prisoners. - gwc
by Owen Jones // The Guardian

Along with three others, Conlon was wrongly incarcerated for the 
Guildford IRA pub bombings of 1974. When his father crossed the Irish Sea to come to his help, he – along with six others, the Maguire Seven – was also banged up on the basis of evidence that would later be entirely discredited. He died in prison in 1980. Guns were put to their head; they were beaten with batteries in socks; urine, faeces and glass were put in their food. Left to rot in prison for many years until campaigners took up their case, it would take 15 years before their unjustly stolen liberty and reputations were restored. And when he was finally free, an emotionally damaged Conlon took to alcohol and drugs, suffered two nervous breakdowns and attempted to kill himself. As he wrote before his death, he was tormented by nightmares.

For those who find it too disturbing to imagine that the British state could be capable of such injustice, it will be comforting to conclude that this episode belongs to the history books: disturbing, but a reminder of a murky past we have thankfully moved on from.

So here is my fear. Last week, David Cameron informed the House of Commons that Britain faced the threat of terrorism from British jihadis returning from Syria and Iraq. The Met's Cressida Dick – who oversaw the police operation that shot dead the innocent Jean Charles de Menezes in 2005 – has this weekend backed up his assertions. Some will cast a wary eye back to the cast-iron intelligence that Iraq posed an imminent security threat to Britain. And set against a background of frighteningly widespread anti-Muslim bigotry, the threat of miscarriages of justice like that suffered by Conlon is surely real and will in turn serve as a recruiting sergeant for fundamentalist extremism.

Already, more than a third of British people believe Muslims pose a "serious threat" to democracy. Just a third believe they are compatible with the "British way of life". And 45% of Brits think there are "too many Muslims". Studies of media coverage suggest a relentlessly negative depiction of Muslims; in 2011, the journalist Richard Peppiatt resignedfrom the Daily Star in protest at its anti-Muslim slant. Muslims are invariably portrayed as radicals, extremists and potential terrorists. The recent Trojan Horse saga portrayed socially conservative pushy parents as "extremists". Crucial as it is to defend a secular education, it was again Muslims being singled out and cast as a threat to "British values".

Allure of Normalcy: What America Still Owes the World | New Republic

Crawling under desks in air raid drills for fear of Russian bombers, the nuclear arms race, and the Vietnam war made me a skeptic about American power. When people like Madelyn Albright say "America is the one indispensable nation, I cringe. Confidence comes from peace and prosperity.  A confident America need not be a militaristic one. But confidence requires a more prosperous america - which requires improving employment prospects and wages.  Kagan here overstates American importance in what is, I agree, a very problematic future in west asia and north Africa.  - gwc
Allure of Normalcy: What America Still Owes the World | New Republic:
by Robert Kagan

Almost 70 years ago, a new world order was born from the rubble of World War II, built by and around the power of the United States. Today that world order shows signs of cracking, and perhaps even collapsing. The Russia-Ukraine and Syria crises, and the world’s tepid response, the general upheaval in the greater Middle East and North Africa, the growing nationalist and great-power tensions in East Asia, the worldwide advance of autocracy and retreat of democracy—taken individually, these problems are neither unprecedented nor unmanageable. But collectively they are a sign that something is changing, and perhaps more quickly than we may imagine. They may signal a transition into a different world order or into a world disorder of a kind not seen since the 1930s.

If a breakdown in the world order that America made is occurring, it is not because America’s power is declining—America’s wealth, power, and potential influence remain adequate to meet the present challenges. It is not because the world has become more complex and intractable—the world has always been complex and intractable. And it is not simply war-weariness. Strangely enough, it is an intellectual problem, a question of identity and purpose.

Many Americans and their political leaders in both parties, including President Obama, have either forgotten or rejected the assumptions that undergirded American foreign policy for the past seven decades. In particular, American foreign policy may be moving away from the sense of global responsibility that equated American interests with the interests of many others around the world and back toward the defense of narrower, more parochial national interests. This is sometimes called “isolationism,” but that is not the right word. It may be more correctly described as a search for normalcy. At the core of American unease is a desire to shed the unusual burdens of responsibility that previous generations of Americans took on in World War II and throughout the cold war and to return to being a more normal kind of nation, more attuned to its own needs and less to those of the wider world.

If this is indeed what a majority of Americans seek today, then the current period of retrenchment will not be a temporary pause before an inevitable return to global activism. It will mark a new phase in the evolution of America’s foreign policy. And because America’s role in shaping the world order has been so unusually powerful and pervasive, it will also begin a new phase in the international system, one that promises not to be marginally different but radically different from what we have known these past 70 years. Unless Americans can be led back to an understanding of their enlightened self-interest, to see again how their fate is entangled with that of the world, then the prospects for a peaceful twenty-first century in which Americans and American principles can thrive will be bleak.

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What to Do in Iraq | The Weekly Standard

Is it possible to be wrong on all issues at all time?  For William Kristol the answer is Yes.  For the VSP Frederick Kagan that is not enough.  He uses his influence to make things worse. - gwc
What to Do in Iraq | The Weekly Standard:
by William Kristol and Frederick Kagan

There is a third alternative.  That alternative is to act boldly and decisively to help stop the advance of the forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)—without empowering Iran. This would mean pursuing a strategy in Iraq (and in Syria) that works to empower moderate Sunni and Shi’a without taking sectarian sides. This would mean aiming at the expulsion of foreign fighters, both al Qaeda terrorists and Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah regular and special forces, from Iraq.

This would require a willingness to send American forces back to Iraq. It would mean not merely conducting U.S. air strikes, but also accompanying those strikes with special operators, and perhaps regular U.S. military units, on the ground. This is the only chance we have to persuade Iraq’s Sunni Arabs that they have an alternative to joining up with al Qaeda or being at the mercy of government-backed and Iranian-backed death squads, and that we have not thrown in with the Iranians. It is also the only way to regain influence with the Iraqi government and to stabilize the Iraqi Security Forces on terms that would allow us to demand the demobilization of Shi’a militias and to move to limit Iranian influence and to create bargaining chips with Iran to insist on the withdrawal of their forces if and when the situation stabilizes.
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Are we all sheep? Solomon Asch

The Gestalt social psychologist Solomon Asch devised clever experiments to show the power of peer pressure.  here's a Candid Camera episode that used on of them.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Baghdad's Sunni fighters: we are ready for zero hour | World news | The Guardian

Baghdad Adhamiya district cafe
Sunni men playing dominoes in Baghdad
"At zero hour, we start our fight by assassinating all the spies and agents. Our neighbourhood, like every Sunni neighbourhood, has many spies and informers. When we assassinate the leaders, the ranks will collapse."
- a  Sunni fighter in Baghdad

Dreadful. - gwc

Baghdad's Sunni fighters: we are ready for zero hour | World news | The Guardian:
In a dilapidated cafe in north Baghdad under a TV set blasting patriotic 
songs in support of Iraq's embattled prime minister, a young man looked grave.

"Why did the revolutionaries stop?" he asked in a low voice, referring to the Sunni insurgents sweeping across northern Iraq. "Why did they reach Salaheddin [province] and stop? This will be very bad for us, the Sunnis in Baghdad, if they liberate the north and leave us here. We will be under the mercy of the militias. They have to push down, otherwise it will be the end of us."

The man, a Sunni fighter in the last round of civil war, stole a concerned glance at the men around him, some playing cards or backgammon.

"There are many men willing to start the fight again but the problem is there is no fear," he said. People were not sufficiently worried about the situation, he said, and did not realise there was no way back. "If we string two Shia on poles for everyone to see, the militias will retaliate and all the men in the area will be forced to carry arms. This is how we start bringing our men together."

A broad-shouldered Sunni commander next to him leaned forward and assured his friend, saying insurgents had set up sleeping cells and were waiting for zero hour to take the war into the heart of the Iraqi capital. "At zero hour, we start our fight by assassinating all the spies and agents. Our neighbourhood, like every Sunni neighbourhood, has many spies and informers. When we assassinate the leaders, the ranks will collapse."
How Maliki fell out of favor with the U.S.
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Tiny grass is dreaming >>Language Log

Language Log » Tiny grass is dreaming:
 "The real problems of this sign are not with the English, but with the Chinese, which reads: Xiǎocǎo xiūhù, qǐng wù kángjiǎo 小草休扈,请勿扛搅. I should note that the Chinese may not be the original after all. Instead, the person who made the sign may have started with the English (which is widespread in China [see below]) and attempted to back-translate into Chinese, with disastrous results. 
 The Chinese sign is untranslatable, because neither *xiūhù 休扈 nor *kángjiǎo 扛搅 mean anything, at least they are not intelligible in the context of the sign, and they certainly do not mean "dream", which is the most conspicuous element of the English: *xiūhù 休扈 ("rest-retinue") *kángjiǎo 扛搅 ("shoulder[vb.]-stir/disturb/annoy") F
or the first error, I suspect that the sign-writer was somehow confused by the homophonous expression xiūhù 修护 ("under repair / maintenance"). It would have been more natural to say that the tiny grass is xiūxī 休息 ("resting") or, to match English "dream" in what I suspect might have been the impetus for the wording, zuòmèng 做梦 ("is dreaming"), mèngxiǎng 梦想 ("dream"), or some other poetic expression for "dream" containing mèng 梦. 
 The second error is probably orthographic, since it would be perfectly acceptable to write dǎjiǎo 打搅 ("disturb") in that position. When written hurriedly and sloppily, dǎ 打 and káng 扛 resemble each other. It would also be perfectly acceptable to write dǎrǎo 打扰 ("disturb"). The fact that dǎrǎo 打扰 ("disturb") and dǎjiǎo 打搅 ("disturb") are synonyms and sound similar may also have contributed to the confusion."

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Richard Posner, NAACP v. Button - the back story

We see our task as lawyers as working out the logic of the law and applying it to the facts.  But the law embraces competing values, so one must choose which to elevate and which to subordinate.  For many years stirring up litigation was deemed an evil.  Virginia passed five laws which took aim at such practices.  but their real target was the NAACP which was the leading force in the courts supporting Brown v. Board of Education.  So in Richmond, former capital of the Confederate States of America, lawyers devised a facially neutral policy that would put the NAACP out of business in the name of regulating the practice of law: plainly a state function.
Bt contingencies determine fate. The original vote was 5-4 in favor of Virginia but the resignation of Justice Whittaker and the severe stroke suffered by Felix Frankfurter changed the composition of the Court - and the result.  Ronald Collins digs into the back story. - gwc
h/t John Steele, Legal Ethics Forum 
Richard Posner & NAACP v. Button — A Short History - Concurring Opinions:
by Ronald K. Collins
"The case’s original name was NAACP v. Patty, which began in 1957. After cert. was granted, the case name changed to NAACP v. Gray. Later it would be changed to Button, the last name of the Virginia Attorney General at the time. The controversy involved a challenge to five Virginia laws which, according to Fourth Circuit Court Judge Morris Aimes Soper, “were enacted [in 1956] for the express purpose of impeding the integration of the races in the public schools of the state which the plaintiff corporations are seeking to promote.” The laws in question banned the encouragement of certain kinds of litigation (“barratry” statutes) and the solicitation of clients (including in pro bono cases) and/or the financing of litigation (“champerty” statutes). The lawyer who represented the NAACP was Robert L. Carter (1917-2012), Thurgood Marshall’s chief legal assistant (and later General Counsel to the NAACP). By 1957, recalled Carter in his memoir (A Matter of Law), the group was involved in 25 cases in various states employing barratry and champerty laws aimed at halting civil rights litigation. 
Henry T. Wickham (1920-2008) represented the state of Virginia. In his obituary it was noted that Mr. Wickham “served as a special assistant to former Virginia Attorney General J. Lindsay Almond Jr. representing Virginia in an effort to preserve segregated public schools” in Brown v. Board. → For an informative and thoughtful account of Button, see Harry Kalven, Jr., The Negro and the First Amendment 75-90 (1965). The Hand of Fate 
Robert Young Button was the Attorney General of Virginia (Dem. –1962-1970) who backed policies of Massive Resistance to prevent public school desegregation (see short video clip here) When it came time for a conference vote in the Button case, Chief Justice Earl Warren, predictably, voted to reverse. “The purpose of the statute is obviously to circumvent Brown,” he said. Justice Hugo Black agreed. “This is part of a scheme to defeat the Court’s order, and sooner or later we will have to grapple with these problems in those terms. The NAACP is finished if this law stands.” 
But Justice Felix Frankfurter pushed back. “I can’t imagine a worse disservice than to continue being the guardians of the Negroes. . . . There is nothing in the record to show that this statute is aimed at Negroes as such.” Justices Tom Clark and Charles Evans Whittaker agreed. “To strike this law down, we would have to discriminate in favor of Negroes,” said Clark, to which Whittaker added: “We should be color blind on this law.” 
 Warren added up the votes. It was a five-to-four split in favor of the state of Virginia. Justice Frankfurter eagerly began work on his majority opinion upholding Virginia’s law—the laws that made the NAACP’s brand of non-pecuniary solicitation and financing of litigation a disciplinary offense that could result in disbarment. (For a discussion of Frankfurter’s early role in the case, see Mark V. Tushnet, Making Civil Rights Law 277-278 (1994).)"***

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office: "Redskins" name disparages Native Americans.

In another sign of the cultural divides in the country conservatives today denounced the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board decision cancelling trademarks of the Washington, D.C. professional football team.  For twenty two years the Washington Redskins football team owners have fought to defend their name against assertions by Native Americans that the name is disparaging.  That is grounds for cancellation of a trademark.  The United State Patent and Trademark Office did just that in a 1999 decision.  But the decision was overturned on appeal on grounds that the challenge was untimely.  A new challenge was filed in 2006.  Today the TTAB again ruled that the name is disparaging and canceled the trademark.  The decision is HERE
More sensitive people - like the Vincentian priests who lead St. John's University in New York - changed the name of their teams from the Redmen to the Red Storm.  No change in competitiveness or fan loyalty has been observed. Gender equality was also served. - gwc
- gwcU.S. Patent Office Cancels Redskins Trademarks For Being 'Disparaging To Native Americans':
by Eric Lach // Talking Points Memo

 "The United States Patent and Trademark Office has cancelled six of the Washington Redskins' trademark registrations, because they "were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered." The agency ruled Wednesday in a case brought by five Native Americans, who sought cancellation of the team's trademark registrations, arguing they violated the prohibition on registering "marks that may disparage persons or bring them into contempt or disrepute," as the agency wrote in its ruling. "We decide, based on the evidence properly before us, that these registrations must be cancelled because they were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered," the agency wrote. In emailed statements, the plaintiffs’ attorneys lauded the ruling as "historic.""

Warring visions: Justices Kagan and Scalia on gun rights

As I noted the other day about Ron Paul's "win an AR 15" raffle, the tribal divide in America is so deep that the "we are all Americans first" meme is of dubious accuracy.  A similar tribal divide is seen between Associate Justices Elena Kagan and Antonin Scalia.  They skirmished? jousted? traded shots? rhetorical pyrotechnics? over gun rights last week in the "straw buyers" case Adamski v. United States.  The Guardian tells the story and assembles the warring blasts.  A taste follows:

Scalia: The majority [contends] “the individual who sends a straw to a gun store to buy a firearm is transacting with the dealer, in every way but the most formal.” That certainly distinguishes that individual from the intended subsequent donee or purchaser; so would the fact that he has orange hair.

Kagan: But that is an example of wit gone wrong. Whether the purchaser has orange hair, we can all agree, is immaterial.

All China Lawyers Association Disciplinary Rules (Provisional) Comment Draft // China Law Translate |

This is a work in progress via crowd-sourcing - translation of the proposed disciplinary rules for China's lawyers.  gwc
China Law Translate | Lawyers Association Disciplinary Rules (Provisional) Comment Draft:

Lawyers Association Rules for Punishment of Members for Violations (provisional)
[revision draft for the solicitation of comments]

Chapter I: General Provisions

Article 1:These rules are drafted in accordance to "Lawyers' Law of the People's Republic of China," "Measures on the Punishment of Illegal Acts by Lawyers and Law Firms," "Charter of All-China Lawyers' Associations," ("Charter" below) and "Regulations of Lawyers' Professional Conduct" in order to strengthen the professional ethics of lawyers and build professional discipline; regulate the professional acts of lawyers and management of law firms; and regulate lawyers' associations' disciplinary work against members who violate the rules.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

This empire of suffering | Mary L. Dudziak // OUPblog

"'I fear they do not know us,' Navy Adm. Mike Mullen told the class of 1,031 cadets. 'I fear they do not comprehend the full weight of the burden we carry or the price we pay when we return from battle.'"

Admiral Mike Mullen in 2011 speaking at West Point of the isolation of Americans from the burdens faced by our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and families. - gwc

This empire of suffering | OUPblog: 
by Mary L. Dudziak //Emory School of Law
"On 6 June 2014 at Normandy, President Barack Obama spoke movingly of the day that “blood soaked the water, bombs broke the sky,” and “entire companies’ worth of men fell in minutes.” The 70th anniversary of D-Day was a moment to remember the heroes and commemorate the fallen. The nation’s claim “written in the blood on these beaches” was to liberty, equality, freedom, and human dignity. Honoring both the veterans of D-Day and a new generation of soldiers, Obama emphasized: “people cannot live in freedom unless free people are prepared to die for it.” Death is seen as the price of liberty in war. But war deaths are more than a trade-off or a price, shaping soldiers, communities, and the state itself. Drew Gilpin Faust wrote that during the Civil War the “work of death” was the nation’s “most fundamental and enduring undertaking.” Proximity to the dead, dying and injured transformed the United States, creating “a veritable ‘republic of suffering’ in the words [of] Frederick Law Olmsted.”"

If war and suffering played a role in constituting American identity during the Civil War, it has moved to the margins of American life in the 21st century. War losses are a defining experience for the families and communities of those deployed. Much effort is placed on minimizing even that direct experience with war deaths through the use of high-tech warfare, like drones piloted far from the battlefield.

Over time, the United States has exported its suffering, enabling the nation to kill with less risk of American casualties. Whatever the benefits of these developments, it is worth reflecting upon the opposite of Faust’s conception of Civil War culture: how American identity is constituted through isolation from the work of war death, through an export of suffering. With a protected “homeland” and exported violence, perhaps what was once a republic has become instead, in war, an empire of suffering.

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Two tribes: AR 15 is Ron Paul's Lottery prize

Two tribes that are so foreign to each other that I think we should give up this "we're all Americans" meme.  Whatever you want to call them there are two nations that inhabit different ideological and emotional kingdoms.  We think they're nuts and they think we're.....- gwc
It Could Be You!: by Josh Marshall // TPM 
"As part of his new fundraising drive, former Rep. Ron Paul (R) is giving away a "brand new Colt LE6920MP-B AR-15 equipped with a red dot sight" to one lucky winner in honor of the 2nd Amendment."

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Monday, June 16, 2014

"Secret Settlements Fueled GM's Latest Ethical Inferno" //Richard Zitrin // Legal Ethics forum

For thirty years GM, aided by its lawyers, suppressed the fact that plaintiffs were successfully suing the company for a dangerous design.  The settlements were made with stipulations of secrecy.  Lawyers pride themselves on their zeal.  But that creates both motivation and peer pressure to maximize the client's interests in a zero sum game.  Courts rarely interfere with - or even inquire about - a private settlement.  So the net result of GM's lawyers's zeal is shameful because it facilitated GM's false public denials and derived injured parties of the ability to learn (via discovery and exchange with other lawyers) about other accidents - which would have strengthened the victims claims.  
Where lies the source of this problem and where the cure? - gwc
Legal Ethics Forum: "Secret Settlements Fueled GM's Latest Ethical Inferno":
by Richard Zitrin
Memories are short, even when it comes to outrageous corporate behavior, and even when that behavior relates to hundreds of accidents and deaths and hundreds of millions of dollars paid. So here's a pop quiz: How many people remember the story in the 1980s and 1990s of GM's side-mounted gas tank fires? Here's a reminder: For years, many GM trucks had side-mounted gas tanks that did not sit within the frame of the vehicle. Eventually consumer groups and news organizations began claiming these gas tanks were defective because of how easily they could catch on fire or explode in side-impact accidents. But GM insistently denied there was a problem. And there was virtually no evidence that crash victims had been suing GM.Still, the criticism continued. Clarence Ditlow, then and now head of the original Nader Raider organization, the Center for Auto Safety, continued to say the gas tanks were unsafe. And an NBC network news magazine televised a demonstration that showed a GM truck blowing up.....Finally, in May 2003, 30 years after the first case was filed and seven years after the forced disclosure to the Center for Auto Safety, Judge Malloy, finding GM had no good cause for secrecy, ordered the information released: 297 separate cases settled for $495 million.

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Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Cloud

Photos by Connie Zhou//Google
Think of the environment before you print?  Think about how much coal is burned to power these enormous arrays of computers so that we can have the anytime, anywhere access we have come to expect. - GWC
SECRET TOPIC  The Google data center near Atlanta. Google, Apple, Cisco and Facebook were among companies that declined to discuss how they shipped their populated racks or individual servers.
PRECAUTIONS  A room of server racks at Google’s Oklahoma unit.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Rethinking Court’s Reversal of S.E.C. Challenger -James B. Stewart -

James B. Stewart, the Times business writer has a good piece on the Second Circuit's reversal of Judge Jed Rakoff's refusal to approve the S.E.C.'s settlement with Citigroup Global Markets.  Taking  a separation of powers approach he actually offers his own dissent to the majority opinion. - GWC
Rethinking Court’s Reversal of S.E.C. Challenger -

Video - James B. Stewart on CNBC
STEWART, Circuit Judge:
The issue before this court isn’t whether Citigroup engaged in fraud in marketing complex mortgage-backed securities in the run-up to the financial crisis, as the S.E.C. said in its complaint. Maybe it did and maybe it didn’t.
Nor is it our function to determine the appropriate fines or penalties. As part of the proposed settlement, Citigroup has agreed to pay $285 million and to refrain from future such conduct. Whether that’s a slap on the wrist or excessive punishment or just right isn’t for the courts to decide. Rather, the standard is whether the settlement is “fair and reasonable.”
Thus, the question before this court is simply whether a district court judge can declare a settlement to be fair and reasonable if that judge knows nothing about the facts of the case.

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Revenge of the Kurds // FP

With the opening of the pipeline through Turkey, Kurdistan is posed to bargain on equal terms with Baghdad. - gwc
Revenge of the Kurds:
by Keith Johnson // FP
The Islamist insurgents, known variously as ISIS and ISIL, continued their drive south toward the Iraqi capital on Thursday after having captured key northern cities, including Mosul. No less vigorous has been the Kurdish response: In sharp contrast to the Iraqi military forces, which evaporated despite outnumbering ISIS fighters, Kurdish military forces on Thursday took Kirkuk, an important city straddling the Arab and Kurdish parts of Iraq and the centerpiece of the northern oil industry. The Kurdish occupation, in a matter of hours, of a city that has been a bone of contention between Arabs and Kurds for centuries -- and especially during Saddam Hussein's rule of Iraq -- underscores how dramatically the ISIS offensive is redrawing the map of Iraq."This may be the end of Iraq as it was. The chances that Iraq can return to the centralized state that [Prime Minister Nouri] al-Maliki was trying to restore are minimal at this point," said Marina Ottaway, a Middle East specialist at the Wilson Center.
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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Iraq On the Cusp of the Deluge //Josh Marshall // TPM

On the Cusp of the Deluge: "JOSH MARSHALL – JUNE 12, 2014, 1:21 PM EDT You never know whether an Army is an Army until it's under fire. We're learning - not terribly surprisingly - that the Iraqi Army was not an army. Its soldiers appear to have ditched their uniforms and fled almost the moment they came under fire from an organized paramilitary. As one of my colleagues just noted, the commentary on what's unfolding is remarkably shallow, even from some of the most knowledgable and insightful journalists in the field. The simple and fundamental fact is that this is the fallout of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Any analysis that doesn't grapple with and accept that basic fact is just wrong and possibly dishonest to boot. It's not about how President Obama organized the exit from Iraq, whether he did it well or poorly. And yet, President Bush isn't president anymore. It's not his problem. It's President Obama's problem. And he has to figure out - decide on - the least worst way to deal with what's happening."

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

"A Miracle of God" David Brat on his Victory over Eric Cantor

There is no reason not to gloat over the defeat of the snarky Eric Cantor, until you hear his conqueror David Brat who sees God's hand in his victory. - gwc

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Suit Targets Federal Court Rule That Favors N.J. Lawyers' Bar Admission | New Jersey Law Journal

Jerome Simandle, Chief Judge
District of New Jersey
Sounds right to me.  Why should the United States courts discriminate against lawyers based on the state in which they are licensed?  Isn't licensure and good standing enough?  I sometimes benefited from the local counsel requirement when I was hired by New York labor law firms, but I don't think there was any logic to it.  It was nice work when I could get it but being admitted in New Jersey gave me no special competence for service in the federal courts. The complaint is HERE.- GWC
Suit Targets Federal Court Rule That Favors N.J. Lawyers' Bar Admission | New Jersey Law Journal:
A group advocating multi-jurisdictional law practice is challenging a District of New Jersey rule that gives N.J. lawyers—but not lawyers from other states—instant admission to the federal bar.The suit, charging the rule unconstitutionally discriminates against lawyers from other states, seeks an injunction against its enforcement and declaration that attorneys in good standing may be admitted on motion in the District of New Jersey, regardless of their state of licensure.Local Rule 101(a) is "an antiquated guild-like vestige from a by-gone era that continues to exist in this 21st Century because of inertia," according to the suit, National Association for the Advancement of Multijurisdictional Practice v. Simandle, 14-3678.Named as defendants are all of the district judges and magistrate judges in the District of New Jersey, as well as Attorney General Eric Holder Jr.
Read more:
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Monday, June 9, 2014

New Jersey State Bar Opposes Counsel Fee Award in Breach of Fiduciary Duty Case

A Bergen County, New Jersey jury, in Innes v. Marzano-Lesnevich, awarded damages to a father who lost all contact with his child when his estranged wife took the child to Spain where courts refused to honor the custody order of the American courts.  The abduction was enabled by a lawyer who succeeded to custody of the child's passport but released it to the mother contrary to an escrow agreement.
The Appellate Division affirmed that Marzano-Lesnevich breached her duty as escrow agent, and awarded counsel fees to the plaintiff father, a beneficiary of the agreement.  Now the New Jersey State Bar Association has filed a brief protesting the extension of the fee shifting rule to a case in which the plaintiff in the legal malpractice case is not a client of the defendant lawyer.
I am the plaintiff's expert on liability whose qualifications are faulted by the NJSBA.  The brief, ironically, is signed ex officio by newly installed NJ State Bar President Paris Eliades, who recently appointed me to the Association's amicus committee.  I was not a member at the time this issue came up and would, in any event, have been recused. The NJSBA press release follows. - GWC
NJSBA amicus in case over use of American Rule 
New Jersey generally sticks to The American Rule controlling assessment of attorney fees, whereby litigants are expected to pay their own counsel fees. It’s prevailed since 1796, although the courts have permitted some exceptions.
But a recent ruling from the Appellate Division of the superior court has turned this philosophy on its head by permitting a client to sue his adversary’s attorney for legal malpractice. The April 7, 2014, decision – now before the New Jersey Supreme Court – is fundamentally unfair, inconsistent with the high court’s prior decisions and should be reversed, according to the friend-of-the-court brief filed last week by the New Jersey State Bar Association.
In Peter Innes v. Madeline Marzano-Lesnevich, Esq. and Lesnevich and Marzano-Lesnevich, a lawyer and her Hackensack firm were hit with a judgment for the role they played in the case. Circumstances resulted in international child abduction.
“The matter is of grave concern to the New Jersey State Bar Association as it, for the very first time in New Jersey jurisprudence, permits a party lacking privity to sue an opposing counsel in negligence theory, and thereafter, pursue an award of counsel fees under Saffer v. Willoughby, 143 N.J. 256 (1996), a result never addressed or intended by this Court,” wrote Dennis Drasco and Arthur M. Owens, of Lum, Drasco & Politan LLC, and Frugan Mouzon, of Gibbons P.C. NJSBA President Paris P. Eliades signed the amicus brief, which also asks the Supreme Court to express the degree of specialization necessary to serve as an expert witness in legal malpractice claims.
 “The court mistakenly allowed a law professor with little, if any, experience in matrimonial law to offer testimony against an experienced, practicing matrimonial attorney in a legal malpractice action alleging negligence in a family law matter,” the brief states. 
The case stems from the divorce between Peter Innes and Maria Jose Carrascosa, who married in 1999. Carrascosa, a native of Spain, is a lawyer admitted to practice in the European Union. Their daughter, Victoria, was born in Secaucus in 2000. In 2004, Carrascosa obtained a domestic violence temporary restraining order against Innes, after which Victoria flew to Spain in the custody of a maternal grandparent. She never returned, despite legal attempts by her father. At trial, Innes asserted the separation caused him emotional distress, and a jury awarded him nearly $1 million.
The appeal concerns the duty to safeguard the child’s passport, outlined in a 2004 parenting agreement when West Caldwell solo practitioner Mitchell Liebowitz represented Carrascosa. That agreement forbade either parent from traveling outside the U.S. without the other parent’s consent, and Liebowitz was to hold the child’s U.S. passport in trust. However, both parents repudiated the agreement, and the mother retained the Marzano-Lesnevich firm. An associate there requested the file, and Liebowitz responded by asking that a messenger pick it up. The passport arrived at the firm, but eventually went missing. Lesnevich later testified that she gave the passport to the child’s mother. 
In 2004 a New Jersey court granted Innes custody. When Victoria’s mother did not return the child, she was incarcerated after returning to New Jersey for the divorce trial.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Obama Has Now Fulfilled His 4 Big Promises -- NYMag

How does the MSM get filled with laments about how Obama is on the rocks - because Bowe Bergdahl has been freed but the right can't stand it? because the military didn't hoot and holler at the prospect of no new wars? because adding 2 million jobs per year isn't enough? (it's not but whose fault is that?) because common core is controversial? because so many don't "believe" in global warming and want to pump more oil and dig more coal? - gwc
Obama Has Now Fulfilled His 4 Big Promises -- NYMag:
by Jonathan Chait

On January 20, 2009, when Obama delivered his inaugural address as president, he outlined his coming domestic agenda in two sentences summarizing the challenges he identified: “Homes have been lost, jobs shed, businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly, our schools fail too many, and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.” Those were the four major areas of domestic reform: economic recovery measures, health-care reform, a response to climate change, and education reform. 

h/t Andrew Sprung

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Saturday, June 7, 2014

[By Prof. Laurence Tribe:] The Roberts Court: New frontiers in constitutional doctrine

One of the challenges of teaching is the discipline to present fairly arguments of judges whose views appall you, while not acting like an robot without opinions or feelings.  Laurence Tribe, the Harvard constitutional law prof, manages to do that.  the effect is to make the Supreme Court's conservative majority even scarier than simple denunciation would effect.  - gwc
[By Prof. Laurence Tribe:] The Roberts Court: New frontiers in constitutional doctrine
"One of the Supreme Court’s most important roles in interpreting the Constitution is deciding what areas of public policy will be subject to the limits of constitutional law.  For the most part, these boundaries are well settled and are not the subject of significant dispute.  For instance, laws that burden political speech, searches executed without a warrant, and physically coercive interrogations are clearly covered by the Constitution....[But i]n each of these three areas — guns, federalism and individual rights relating to economic liberty — the Roberts Court has pushed the frontiers of constitutional law in new directions, empowering itself at the expense of other actors and issuing rulings with far-reaching implications.  Some of the most interesting Roberts Court stories in the years ahead will almost certainly arise from these fields, though the path ahead remains fraught with uncertainty."

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