Friday, May 30, 2014

Public Defender System for Immigrants Facing Deportation Would Pay for Itself, Study Says -

Public Defender System for Immigrants Facing Deportation Would Pay for Itself, Study Says -
Every year, tens of thousands of people appear in immigration court to fight deportation orders without a lawyer to assist them. Many are poor and adrift, unable to speak English or understand the laws determining their fate.
Were indigent immigrants to face prosecution in the nation’s federal criminal courts, they would have the right to a lawyer at the government’s expense. But nothing in the law provides such a benefit in immigration court.
For years, immigration lawyers and other supporters have pressed to change this. On Friday, the New York City Bar Association plans to release  Cost of Counsel in Immigration a study contending that cost should not be an obstacle to the creation of a public defender system, paid for by the federal government, for indigent immigrants facing deportation.

'via Blog this'

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Maya Angelou - dance on!

Dance on!

Polar Vision - Linda Greenhouse //

Linda Greenhouse, long the New York Times Supreme Court reporter, is the author of Becoming Justice Blackmun.  She is at Yale Law School now - the only non-lawyer on the faculty. - gwc
Polar Vision -
by Linda Greenhouse
It’s tempting for commentators, including journalists and some scholars, to stay on the safe side by talking about process rather than substance. Voting patterns can be displayed on a chart, and no one can question the author’s accuracy or motives. On the other hand, to argue that the Roberts court is hurtling down the wrong path substantively is to make a judgment call that invites pushback and debate. I understand that. This is an opinion column, and here is my opinion: the court’s majority is driving it into dangerous territory. The problem is not only that the court is too often divided but that it’s too often simply wrong: wrong in the battles it picks, wrong in setting an agenda that mimics a Republican Party platform, wrong in refusing to give the political system breathing room to make fundamental choices of self-governance.

'via Blog this'

Obama's West Point address

NYTimes: Transcript of President Obama’s Commencement Address at West Point

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

North Carolina GOPers Catch 'Convention Of The States' Fever

This sort of thing complicates my suggestion that we delete the Second Amendment. - gwc
North Carolina GOPers Catch 'Convention Of The States' Fever:
by Eric Lach
A group of Republican state legislators in North Carolina on Tuesday introduced a bill that would, if passed, establish a committee to study whether the state should apply to Congress for a "convention of the states" under Article V of the Constitution.
The convention the lawmakers have in mind would propose amendments imposing "fiscal restraints" on the federal government, limiting its "power and jurisdiction" as well as the "terms of office for its officials and members of Congress."
The bill's four primary sponsors are state Reps. Bert Jones, Chris Millis, Dennis Riddell, and Jim Fulghum -- all Republicans. The bill itself, the text of which is only a page long, argues that the federal government has "created a crushing national debt through improper and imprudent spending," "invaded the legitimate roles of the states through the manipulative process of federal mandates," and "ceased to exist under a proper interpretation of the Constitution of the United States."

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Politics Is More Broken Than Ever—Political Scientists Need to Admit It - Thomas E. Mann - The Atlantic

Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein are long-time collaborators (R and D) observing the U.S. political system in operation. Familiar talking heads on PBS they have become leading critics of false equivalence, the some think the world is round, others disagree let's discuss norm in the "mainstream media", extending even to 42d Street and 8th Avenue. - gwc
Politics Is More Broken Than Ever—Political Scientists Need to Admit It - Thomas E. Mann - The Atlantic: \\
"But I believe these times are strikingly different from the past, and the health and well-being of our democracy is properly a matter of great concern. We owe it to ourselves and our country to reconsider our priors and at least entertain the possibility that these concerns are justified—even if it’s uncomfortable to admit it....Political polarization does not explain all. Democrats in power have acceded to much of this agenda -- e.g., financial deregulation, low taxes on capital gains, tax loopholes for equity-based incentive pay. One way or another, we've collectively fallen victim to ideological capture. And with our multiple-veto-point system of government -- not to say our nonrepresentational system of government -- rolling back the effects is going to be a very heavy lift."

'via Blog this'

Monday, May 26, 2014

Massacre //Talking Points Memo

Massacre in Isla Vista:  Email from a mother of two kids living there - neither injured by the shooter. - gwc
For how long do we as a society continue to sublimate the reality that (mostly) young people are being massacred every day in cities all over this country--a very concrete, visible, measurable disaster--to a romantic fantasy cherished by a minority of Americans about heroically fighting off some secret government army that is planning to move in and turn us into, oh I don't know, Soviet Russia or Nazi Germany or who knows what inchoate mashup of bogeys that burns in their imaginations.

'via Blog this'

Parents’ Nightmare: Futile Race to Stop Killings -

Antonin Scalia explained banning possession of guns has been taken off the table by the Second Amendment.  Too bad for us.  We should delete the Second Amendment.  - GWC
Parents’ Nightmare: Futile Race to Stop Killings -
Only weeks earlier, in late April, deputies from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office had stopped by Mr. Rodger’s apartment at the request of state mental health officials, acting on an expression of concern by his mother. They left after a calm and polite Mr. Rodger assured them that there was nothing to worry about. The officers reported that Mr. Rodger was shy and had told them that he was having difficulties in his social life.
That gave them little ground on which to act, under California law. Because Mr. Rodger was never institutionalized because of his emotional problems, he was able to legally purchase the weaponry he used in the shooting.
Sometime after the police visit, Mr. Rodger — who had already amassed a stockpile of weapons and ammunition in the apartment — added a note to his manifesto: “If they had demanded to search my room that would have ended everything. For a few horrible seconds I thought it was all over.”

'via Blog this'

Saturday, May 24, 2014

End Mass Incarceration Now -

There is usually little point in highlighting a New York Times editorial.  But this message is so blunt and necessary that I thought it made sense to point it out.  In essence "what everyone knew" was crackpot realism as John Kenneth Galbraith used to say. - gwc
End Mass Incarceration Now - 
by the Editorial Board of the New York Times

Several recent reports provide some of the most comprehensive and compelling proof yet that the United States “has gone past the point where the numbers of people in prison can be justified by social benefits,” and that mass incarceration itself is “a source of injustice.”
That is the central conclusion of a two-year, 444-page study prepared by the research arm of the National Academy of Sciences at the request of the Justice Department and others. The report highlights many well-known statistics: Since the early 1970s, the nation’s prison population has quadrupled to 2.2 million, making it the world’s biggest. That is five to 10 times the incarceration rate in other democracies.
On closer inspection the numbers only get worse. More than half of state prisoners are serving time for nonviolent crimes, and one of every nine, or about 159,000 people, are serving life sentences — nearly a third of them without the possibility of parole.
While politicians were responding initially to higher crime rates in the late 1960s, this “historically unprecedented” growth is primarily the result of harsher sentencing that continued long after crime began to fall. These include lengthy mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenses that became popular in the 1980s, and “three strikes” laws that have put people away for life for stealing a pair of socks.

'via Blog this'

Friday, May 23, 2014

The heirs of Nehru ~ End of the Line? ||Guardian

Rahul Gandhi
Rahul and his mother Sonia Gandhi are vie-president, and president of the Congress Party.
His great grandfather was Jawaharlal Nehru, whose daughter Indira was murdered in 1984.  Her son Raji was also murdered.  His wife Sonia, an Italian, is Rahul's mother.   
The Congress Party - Mohandas Gandhi's party has long been the Nehru party.  Ian Jack understands this unique Anglophone and Anglopile family that has long led India, now interrupted by the Hindu nationalist BJP.  Hindu nationalism is one of the more repulsive and regressive notions in politics today.  But the uneven development of India and the undoubted too-long-in-power sort of corruption of the Congress Party understandable led to this reaction.  

A few months before he died in May 1964, Jawaharlal Nehru gave an interview to the English travel writer Eric Newby, who had embarked on a foolish scheme to sail a raft down the world's most sacred river. Newby tells the story of their encounter in his book, Slowly Down the Ganges. "This was the one [interview] at which our friend, the cockney photographer Donald McCullin, had made his immortal remark to the prime minister. 'Mr Nehru,' he said, bobbing up from behind a sofa from the shelter of which he had been photographing the great man. 'You must find it difficult to control this rough old lot.' The prime minister had not taken kindly to this remark."

Well, of course he hadn't. It was an insult on several levels: to the 450m people who then lived in India, to their heritage and traditions, to the world's largest democracy of which Nehru had been the chief architect, to a popular leader to whom the idea of "control" was offensive. On the other hand, perhaps McCullin divined something about Nehru that has remained true of all his descendants: that he wasn't quite like the people he led, and not just because he lived more comfortably than the great majority of them, or had a better education or a successful politician's gifts and tricks of personality. He was separate in some more fundamental way. A kind of Englishness obviously had something to do with it. A youthful progression through Harrow, Trinity College Cambridge and the Inner Temple made him more English, as the word used to be understood abroad, than a cockney photographer who left his Finsbury Park secondary modern at 15. But there was also an elevation that came from his looks and his bearing; in the iconography of Indian independence, Mahatma Gandhi was the saintand Nehru the prince.

These qualities and the isolating effects of fame left him a lonely figure...

Supreme Court's Stuart Rabner, saved from Christie's axe: Editorial |

Supreme Court's Stuart Rabner, saved from Christie's axe: Editorial |
There was no question in this case. Allowing the chief justice to be deposed for purely political reasons would have put a chilling effect on every judge in this state. More than 180 Superior Court judges don’t have tenure, and we can’t have them worrying that every decision they’re about to make might kill their careers.
Think about it: If Christie dumped Rabner, what judge up for reappointment would want to enforce an open public records request for Bridgegate documents?
Rabner’s reappointment is a big win for democracy. But make no mistake: judicial independence is still threatened in New Jersey. It began when Christie broke tradition by removing state Supreme Court Justice John Wallace for purely political reasons — the first time in modern history that a sitting justice was not granted tenure — and continued when he did the same thing to Justice Helen Hoens.
Even as the governor dismissed the threat to judicial independence yesterday as a “crock,” he made it clear that he still believes he has the right to replace justices for ideological reasons. The state constitution, Christie said, “doesn’t put any restrictions on the governor in terms of how to make that judgement.”
We need to fix that, to prevent Christie or any successor from ever making a move like this again. Christie has criticized our justices for acting with “extraordinary hubris” and “self-interest,” digs that better apply to himself. Thankfully, Sweeney stepped up like a linebacker, to make sure he couldn’t bully our top judge off the bench.

'via Blog this'

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Christie brushes off criticism for re-nominating Rabner as NJ Supreme Court chief justice |

What a guy. - gwc

Christie brushes off criticism for re-nominating Rabner as NJ Supreme Court chief justice |

"The New Jersey Bar Association called the news a victory for judicial independence. “We applaud Governor Christie and Senate President Sweeney in putting aside ideological differences and politics to preserve the independence of the Judiciary,”, immediate past president Ralph Lamparello, said in a statement. But the combative Christie didn't return Lamparello's praise. “This judicial independence thing is a crock. It’s a complete crock. And the Bar Association knows it. This is the way they’ve decided to be relevant,” Christie said. “Out of all the factors I considered in whether to re-nominate the chief justice, the opinion of Ralph Lamparello and the Bar Association didn’t make the list .”"

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Democrats Push to Restart CDC Funding for Gun Violence Research - ProPublica

A Senate which cannot bring itself to confirm Vivek Murthy, nominee for Surgeon General, because he supports this sort of study is probably a graveyard for this measure.  But thanks to Congress Members Maloney and Markey for holding the torch high.  - gwc

Democrats Push to Restart CDC Funding for Gun Violence Research - ProPublica:
by Lois Beckett

Two Congressional Democrats are unveiling legislation this morning that would restart the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's gun violence research efforts.
Since 1996, when a small CDC-funded studyon the risks of owning a firearm ignited opposition from Republicans, the CDC's budget for research on firearms injuries has shrunk to zero.
The result, as we've detailed, is that many basic questions about gun violence — such as how many Americans are shot each year — remain unanswered.
The new legislation, which will be introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) in the House, and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) in the Senate, would give the CDC $10 million a year "for the purpose of conducting or supporting research on firearms safety or gun violence prevention."
"In America, gun violence kills twice as many children as cancer, and yet political grandstanding has halted funding for public health research to understand this crisis," Maloney said in a statement.
Maloney, who co-sponsored the 1994 assault weapons ban, is a long-time gun control advocate. Earlier this year, she and Markey encouraged President Obama to include CDC funding in his proposed 2015 budget, which he did.
Obama's proposal has been opposed by key Republicans.

'via Blog this'

Christie to nominate Chief Justice Rabner for tenure on NJ Supreme Court |

New Jersey Chief Justice Stuart Rabner
In  major victory for the Bar, the Democratic majority in the New Jersey Senate has compelled Gov. Chris Christie to abandon his plan to radically re-make the New Jersey Supreme Court.  In a deal that preserves the court's 4-3 partisan composition (4 R, 3 D) the Governor will nominate the 53 year old moderate Democrat Chief Justice Stuart Rabner, fill one vacancy with a choice of Christie's, and leave in place a temporarily assigned Appellate Division judge Mary Catherine Cuff.
Throughout his tenure the composition of the Supreme Court and its liberal legacy has been a source of contention as Christie fought to use his five opportunities to transform the high court.  Although the court has slipped to the right - particularly on product liability and criminal justice - there will be no repudiation of its progressive legacy on school funding and open housing.
The State Bar Association has led a high profile campaign to repudiate Christie's ideologically-driven refusal to nominate for tenure a justice whose philosophy was not his.  Associate Justice Helen Hoens, one who did share his views, was sacrificed for political expediency in an unexplained deal with Senate President Stephen Sweeney, a construction union leader who has been willing to swing deals with the Governor that appeal to conservative Democrats, like increasing judges' pension and insurance contributions, and cutting back on public employee benefits. - GWC
Christie to nominate Chief Justice Rabner for tenure on NJ Supreme Court |
By Matt Friedman and Salvador Rizzo/The Star-Ledger
TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie today will re-nominate Stuart Rabner as chief justice of the state Supreme Court, The Star-Ledger has learned.
The development is a breakthrough in negotiations between Christie and state Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester), who had been locked in a battle over New Jersey’s highest court for years, and a victory for Sweeney.
According to three sources with knowledge of the agreement, Rabner — who has been chief justice since 2007 — will be nominated by Christie for tenure, and serve until he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70 in 2030.
Christie, in turn, will get to nominate with Sweeney's support a close ally to one of two vacant seats on the court: Superior Court Judge Lee Solomon, a Republican who previously served as president of the Board of Public Utilities.

'via Blog this'

Balkinization: A Third Founding: Part one -- The Twentieth Century Achievement

Bruce Ackerman - an exponent of popular constitutionalism - criticizes te reliance on "great man" approaches to constitutional development.  The emphasis on judicial opinions ignores the role of the people, he argues.  - GWC
Balkinization: A Third Founding: Part one -- The Twentieth Century Achievement:
by Bruce Ackerman //  Yale Law School

This fixation on the Warren and Burger Courts is a symptom of a larger dis-ease: Whether you are a judge or an advocate, a bureaucrat or a legislative counsel, the place to begin your study of the modern Constitution is with the great decisions of a long line of Justices from Holmes to Scalia. Your main task is to massage these opinions into arguments that will convince the world that the law is on your side. You may, if you like, spice up your brief or opinion with some passing references to complex statutory schemes or elaborate institutional dances involving the presidency, Congress, and the states. But don’t get carried away with such peripheral matters: your real job is to make the most out of the case-law.
If you ignore this advice, the only thing you'll accomplish is to establish your lawyerly incompetence. Since this is not an option, few serious professionals pause to consider the tension between their modern fixation on the case-law and their focus on the great deeds of We the People during the Golden Age. There is an implicit message in this lawyerly turn from the People to the Court: popular sovereignty is dead in modern America.

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

U.S. Cites End to C.I.A. Ruses Using Vaccines -

I guess I'm reassured that they'll never do that again?  I remember how crazy it was when people thought Peace Corps Volunteers like me were CIA spies.  Never happen. 
- gwc
U.S. Cites End to C.I.A. Ruses Using Vaccines -
by Mark Mazzetti

WASHINGTON — Three years after the Central Intelligence Agency set up a phony hepatitis vaccination program in Pakistan as part of the hunt for Osama bin Laden, the Obama administration told a group of American health educators last week that the agency no longer uses immunization programs as a cover for spying operations.
 In a letter to leaders at a dozen schools of public health, President Obama’s senior counterterrorism adviser said the C.I.A. had banned the practice of making “operational use” of vaccination programs, adding that the agency would not seek to “obtain or exploit DNA or other genetic material acquired through such programs.”  

'via Blog this'

Eric Holder wants to talk about ‘subtle’ discrimination. This is what he means.

Eric Holder wants to talk about ‘subtle’ discrimination. This is what he means.:
by Emily Badger  //Wonkblog - Washington Post

This is the work that truly matters – because policies that disenfranchise specific groups are more pernicious than hateful rants. Proposals that feed uncertainty, question the desire of a people to work, and relegate particular Americans to economic despair are more malignant than intolerant public statements, no matter how many eyebrows the outbursts might raise. And a criminal justice system that treats groups of people differently – and punishes them unequally – has a much more negative impact than misguided words that we can reject out of hand.
Eric Holder should get a lot of credit for saying this. But he gave only a few of the most obvious examples of the "more hidden, and more troubling" patterns and policies that he's talking about. He cited "zero-tolerance" school discipline guidelines thatdisproportionately punish black boys. He mentioned criminal sentencing disparities, and "new types of restrictions" on voting that have the effect of disenfranchising more minority, poor and elderly voters in the name of fighting "voter fraud."

'via Blog this'

Monday, May 19, 2014

Recall the Recalled Judges // NJ Law Journal Editorial Board

New Jersey's courts face many challenges.  Too many judges is not one of them.  Over forty vacancies impact is moderated by the longstanding use of recalled retired judges, most beyond the constitutionally mandated retirement age of 70.  A dissenting judge in the Appellate Division has concluded that retired means retired, done, off the bench, for good.  At the state's storied Constitutional Convention of 1947 the drafters omitted a recall provision that had been in an earlier, rejected draft.  Judge Jonathan Harris conceded in dissent that the majority's interpretation of retired as less than absolute is appealing.  Nonetheless he concluded that the practice -enabled by legislation signed in 1974 by Gov. Brendan T. Byrne - is barred by Article VI, Section IV and  Article XI, Section IV of the Constitution of 1947  and that the judgment of conviction entered by a recalled judge cannot stand.

The Law Journal's Editorial Board backed the dissenter's view.  Since a dissent creates an appeal of right the Public Defender will find itself urging the Supreme Court to abandon a practice that many view as essential to keeping the wheels turning during a time when the stand-off between Gov. Chris Christie and the Democratic legislative majority shows no signs of abating.  The State Bar Assocation will doubtless be concerned about the impact that the loss of 80 recalled judges would have on the system. - GWC  (disclosure: I am a member of the NJLJ Editorial Board)

Recalling the Recalled Judges | New Jersey Law Journal:

by the Editorial Board

In the areas of school funding and equal access to housing, just to name two, the New Jersey Supreme Court has not hesitated to direct the legislative and executive branches to comply with the state constitution, even at great expense and administrative burden to those branches. Now, the court must decide a case in which the judiciary itself might be significantly burdened.
In State v. Buckner, a divided Appellate Division panel affirmed the Supreme Court's ability to assign judges on recall status, notwithstanding that in virtually all cases those recalled judges have reached the mandatory retirement age of 70. The dissent in the case provides an appeal as of right to the Supreme Court.
We have long held the view, expressed repeatedly on this page, that the recalling of jurists over the age of 70 finds no basis in constitutional text. The text could not be clearer that "justices and judges shall be retired upon attaining the age of 70 years." In another section pertaining to the jurists who carried over from a prior system, the constitution directs that no justice or judge "shall hold his office" after age 70. As one legal scholar succinctly put it in a 2003 law review article, "once a judge or justice in New Jersey reaches the age of 70, he or she must cease performing judicial acts." The fact that there is a statute in place authorizing the recalling of retired judges does not diminish what we believe is a clear constitutional infirmity in that practice.
So we agree with the defendant in Buckner that the recalled judge who presided over and heard motions in respect of defendant's trial on robbery and assault charges should have been disqualified. But agreeing with the defendant does not mean that every recalled judge (there are currently over 70 such jurists in the system) must immediately exit the bench. We are acutely aware of the disruption to the judiciary that would result if the court were to eliminate the use of recall judges. But there are ways to ameliorate at least some of that disruption.

Read more:

Friday, May 16, 2014

Parents Involved (Seattle Schools) and the Search for Historical Memory // Mark Tushnet

Parents Involved and the Struggle for Historical Memory | ACS:

by Mark Tushnet, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

*May 17 is the 60th Anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court opinion, Brown v. Board of Education. This post is part of an ACSblog symposium noting the landmark decision and exploring the ongoing inequalities in our society.
The issue before the Supreme Court in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School Dist. No. 1 was whether it was constitutionally permissible for a school district to use race as a basis for assigning public school students to schools for the purposes of achieving a greater degree of racial integration than would otherwise have occurred under, for example, a program assigning children to the school nearest their homes. As Chief Justice Roberts wrote in an opinion joined by three of his colleagues, an important “debate” in the case was over “which side is more faithful to the heritage” of Brown v. Board of Education. That debate is part of what historians have called the struggle for historical memory.

According to the Chief Justice, “the position of the plaintiffs in Brown was spelled out in their brief and could not have been clearer: ‘[T]he Fourteenth Amendment prevents states from according differential treatment to American children in the basis of their color or race.’” What, he asked, “do the racial classifications at issue here do, if not accord differential treatment on the basis of race?” And, he quoted Robert Carter, who in arguing the case for the NAACP, said, “no State has any authority … to use race as a factor in affording educational opportunities among its citizens.” Chief Justice Warren had written that a school board has to “determin[e] admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis.” What, Roberts again asked, “do the racial classifications do in these cases, if not determine admission to a public school on a racial basis?”

Justice Stephen Breyer called his dissent in PICS the opinion he has felt most deeply about. For him, “Brown held out a promise…. It was the promise of true racial equality – not as a matter of fine words on paper, but as a matter of everyday life in the Nation’s cities and schools.” Alluding to the Little Rock school crisis of 1957-58, he said, “attitudes towards race in this Nation have changed dramatically.” Parents in Seattle and Louisville “want their children to attend schools with children of different races.” They made a “modest request” that the Court “not … take from their hands the instruments they have used to rid their schools of racial segregation.” The nation had “not yet realized the promise of Brown,” and Roberts’s “position … would break that promise.” Breyer noted in his oral presentation of his dissent that the dissent was “twice as long as any I have written before,” and ended by quoting the dissent’s final line: “This is a decision that the Court and the Nation will come to regret.”

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Marx Hubbard responds to Cardinal Müller's LCWR comments | National Catholic Reporter

I think I have to conceded that Cardinal Muller has a a point about LCWR.  The defender of Doctrine has a right to say that this sort of Catholic New Age-ism is unorthodox.  Gnostic, as he wrote. - GWC
Marx Hubbard responds to Cardinal Müller's LCWR comments | National Catholic Reporter:
by Barbara Marx Hubbard

I am grateful to Cardinal Gerhard Müller for raising concerns about conscious evolution and its relationship to Catholic teaching. I hope his focus on this issue will stimulate many, both within the Catholic church and outside it, to deepen human understanding of conscious evolution and how we might advance our own evolutionary action for the good of the whole of Earth life.
I am not a Catholic nor a theologian, yet I have been deeply inspired to help develop the meaning of conscious evolution through my studies of Teilhard de Chardin, Ilia Delio, John Haught, Beatrice Bruteau, Fr. Thomas Berry, David Richo, Diarmuid O'Murchu, and others. And of course, from the New Testament itself.
Now, meeting with so many women religious through LCWR, I see conscious evolution in action. They have been evolving the church and the world for hundreds of years through deep gospel living, a mystical presencing, faithfulness in serving unmet needs, solidarity with Earth, building community as "whole-makers," risk-taking for the sake of the mission, genius for cooperative self-governance and decision making, and above all bringing love and hope for the future into the lives of millions.
For me, the most vital source of meaning of conscious evolution is the Catholic understanding of God and Christ as the source of evolution, as its driving force as well as its direction. As Ilia Delio puts it, we experience in evolution the Emergent Christ and God Ahead.
Curious what you're missing? Request asample issue of NCR.
Through science, research, technology communications and virtually every other area of human activity, we are weaving a delicate membrane of consciousness, what Teilhard called the "noosphere" or the thinking layer of Earth that is embracing and drawing into itself the entire planet. It will infuse the whole of humanity with a feeling of relationship and resonance. He called this potential experience "the Christification of the Earth."

'via Blog this'

The problem with Thomas Piketty: “Capital” destroys right-wing lies, but there’s one solution it forgets -

The problem with Thomas Piketty: “Capital” destroys right-wing lies, but there’s one solution it forgets -
by Thomas Frank
Thomas Piketty’s biggest blind spot is that he has virtually nothing to say about labor unions. He starts Chapter 1 of “Capital” with an anecdote about a bloody strike in South Africa and he returns to that same tragic episode at the very end of the book, but in between he addresses the matter almost not at all. Piketty talks a good game about democracy, but like other economists who have made inequality their subject, he prefers solutions that are handed down from the lofty heights of expertise.
The best remedy for inequality, however, is the one that comes up from below. Economists may not think very highly of those hardened people in SEIU t-shirts—some of them smoke too much, some are suspicious of “free trade,” some of them (gasp!) didn’t go to college—but the fact remains that in nearly every particular they represent the obvious and just about the only social force on the ground in America that might bend the inequality curve the other way.
It is not a coincidence that labor’s rise in the 1930s happened at the same time as the One Percent’s fall from grace, nor is it a coincidence that labor’s long decline has been almost a mirror image of the One Percent’s recovery of its nineteenth-century heaven. These things happened the way they did because labor’s most basic function is to turn the bright light of democratic scrutiny on economic power. When labor is strong, our composers write things like “Fanfare for the Common Man” and blue-collar workers buy cars and boats and snowmobiles. When labor is weak, we bow down before “job creators” and McMansions sprout like mushrooms after a rainstorm.

'via Blog this'

Our Second Black President?

As the attacks on Hillary Clinton accelerate it prompts memories of the old days - and how vicious, relentless, and nearly successful was the attempt to discredit, and finally impeach Bill Clinton.  Josh Marshall takes us back - gwc
Our Second Black President?:
Perhaps a generation has faded memories. And there is a sizable portion of the electorate - notably, one of President Obama's key constituencies - which lacks a living memory of just what went down in the '90s. But suffice it to say that if Republicans have gone batshit crazy on President Obama, it's pretty hard to distinguish the intensity of the crazy from what happened with President Clinton. Bribery, multiple murders, rapes, defections to Russia, endless would be "-gates" rising and falling like bubbles in the international economy before settling down as penny stock scandals with a permanent home at the American Spectator. There was no end of the Crazy. And much of it was aggrieved and intense in ways that today we'd find very familiar.
'via Blog this'

Time to face facts: Pope Francis agrees with the doctrinal assessment of LCWR | National Catholic Reporter

Conservative Catholic commentators have always emphasized the doctrinal timidity of Pope Francis's statements.  Appointing the right hand man of Joseph Ratzinger (later Benedict) to be the Doctrinal whip was something that encouraged them greatly.  hey have gotten their reward with his denunciation as soft-headed heretics of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.  - gwc

Time to face facts: Pope Francis agrees with the doctrinal assessment of LCWR | National Catholic Reporter
by Jamie Manson

In May 9, 2013, I wrote the following headline: "For LCWR, the more the papacy changes, the more it stays the same."
One year later, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, sadly, has confirmed my suspicions. 
I wrote the headline after the head of the doctrinal congregation, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, announced that the newly elected pope had affirmed the findings of the doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.
At that point, Francis' papacy had barely hit the two-month mark. Many saw hopeful signs that the Vatican would soon undergo substantive changes and that the whole LCWR debacle would fade into distant memory.
Some even posited that Francis was barely aware of what Müller was doing. Once the new pope got up to speed, many commentators said, he would put a stop to the scrutiny of the nuns. He'd probably get rid of Müller altogether once he started his curial cleanup.
Curious what you're missing? Request asample issue of NCR.

Instead, Francis not only kept Müller in his job, he elevated him to cardinal.

Senate GOP Plan Would Cause Millions to Lose Health Coverage or Block Them From Gaining It in the Future // CBPP

Senators Burr, Hatch and Coburn promise to dismantle the
Affordable Care Act.  They'll delete the affordable part.
Off the Charts Blog | Center on Budget and Policy Priorities | Senate GOP Plan Would Cause Millions to Lose Health Coverage or Block Them From Gaining It in the Future:
by Edwin Park

Health reform opponents like Senator Richard Burr (R – NC) have repeatedly attacked the Affordable Care Act (ACA) over the past year by pointing to insurers that cancelled existing, non-ACA-compliant individual market health plans.  Yet, a health plan that Senator Burr and fellow Senate Republicans Tom Coburn (OK) and Orrin Hatch (UT) outlined in January would disrupt existing coverage far more.
As we explain in a new paper, their plan would likely cause millions who now have coverage through Medicaid, the new insurance marketplaces, and their jobs to lose it, while blocking millions more who are expected to obtain health insurance under health reform from gaining it in the future.
The Burr-Coburn-Hatch plan would repeal all of health reform except for certain Medicare provisions.  In its place, it would convert much of Medicaid into block grants and create a new tax credit for people to buy health insurance primarily in the individual market.  The plan has large gaps and lacks many essential details but, based on the public information available, it likely would:
  • Add substantially to the ranks of the uninsured and the underinsured by causing millions of people to lose their existing coverage and by making (or leaving) coverage unaffordable for many people of limited means through changes that would cause their premiums, co-payments, and other out-of-pocket charges to climb significantly;
  • Lead to states facing large shortfalls in federal Medicaid funding that could cause many low-income beneficiaries to become uninsured and go without needed care; and
  • Eliminate or significantly weaken health reform’s consumer protections and market reforms, especially for people with pre-existing conditions.
The Burr-Coburn-Hatch plan claims to ensure affordable health care for patients as an alternative to, and replacement for, the ACA.  In reality, it would make coverage less affordable, add substantially to the ranks of the uninsured, and move the United States backward, toward the poorly functioning individual market that existed before health reform.
Clichere to read the full paper.
'via Blog this'

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Federal judicial appointments still lag , despite filibuster reform

Despite the limitation of the filibuster, and consequent progress in filling vacant federal judgeship, progress is too slow. During GHWB's presidency, most judicial nominees were confirmed 2 weeks after committee approval. Now it's more like 2-5 months .Embedded image permalink

Learning Mandarin - it's not just for kids

I am pleased to announce that I took and passed the HSK Level 3 Chinese proficiency test (600 characters).  I am now studying for Level 4 (1200 characters).  I've been plugging away at Chinese for the past decade.  I have some accomplishments. (I was the first to publish English translations of the first and second drafts  of the new Chinese tort law later enacted.  That work has been used by scholars writing about development of Chinese law, and enabled me to aid plaintiffs in Wultz v. Bank of China who alleged that loose practices at the Bank of China helped finance the terrorists who bombed a Jerusalem cafe.  And it has enabled me to develop bilingual slides for my lectures last year comparing oil sill compensation in the U.S. and China.  But fluency and literacy have a long way to go.  So I decided to try to make measurable progress by taking the HSK test of Chinese language proficiency.

The HSK is organized by Hanban which explains: 
The new HSK is an international standardized exam that tests and rates Chinese language proficiency. It assesses non-native Chinese speakers’ abilities in using the Chinese language in their daily, academic and professional lives. HSK consists of six levels, namely the HSK (level I), HSK (level II), HSK (level III), HSK (level IV), HSK (level V), and HSK (level VI).Test takers who are able to pass the HSK (Level III) can communicate in Chinese at a basic level in their daily, academic and professional lives. They can manage most communication in Chinese when travelling in China.Test takers who are able to pass the HSK (Level IV) can converse in Chinese on a wide range of topics and are able to communicate fluently with native Chinese speakers.Test takers who are able to pass the HSK (Level V) can read Chinese newspapers and magazines, enjoy Chinese films and plays, and give a full-length speech in Chinese.Test takers who are able to pass the HSK (Level VI) can easily comprehend written and spoken information in Chinese and can effectively express themselves in Chinese, both orally and on paper.
Obviously I have a long way to go.  But I can affirm that you don't have to be young to start learning Chinese.  It requires persistence, no doubt.  But it is a revelation as the language,uterly impenetrable at first, opens up to you step by step.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Faculty Lounge: 2013 Law School Employment By Quartile - Moody's Methodology

The Faculty Lounge: 2013 Law School Employment By Quartile - Moody's Methodology:
by Dan Filler
Using Moody's methodology of calculating law school employment percentages for 2013, set out here, this is the first quartile of schools.  For efficiency, I copied the name as used by the ABA, and ran out the portion employed per Excel's default. (The list is after the jump...)


'via Blog this'

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Ratio Juris: The Imperialist and Scientistic Pretensions…or The Secret and Not-So-Secret Sins, of Economics

Patrick O'Donnell uses the occasion of a review by Thomas Frank of Thomas Picketty's new book Capital in the Twenty-first Century.  He takes the opportunity to bash the pretensions of economists.  It reminds me of the problems of statistical measures in epidemiology and debates about how to make reasonable inferences of causation of disease.  This was a central concern of mine in the pre-Daubert and the post-Dabubert era.  There defense attorneys for drug companies took a kind of Popperian (nothing can be proven) stance.  Probabilities are predictions and cannot be used to prove causation was the argument.  I took that on in a 1995 essay that I still like: Against the Odds - Proving Causation of Disease with Epdemiological Evidence.  - gwc

Ratio Juris: The Imperialist and Scientistic Pretensions…or The Secret and Not-So-Secret Sins, of Economics:
by Patrick O'Donnell
Quoting Deirdre MCloskey:
“It is not difficult to explain to outsiders what is so dramatically, insanely, sinfully wrong with the two leading methods in high-level economics, qualitative theorems and statistical significance. It is very difficult to explain it to insiders, because the insiders cannot believe that methods in which they have been elaborately trained and which are used by people they admire most are simply unscientific nonsense, having literally nothing to do with whatever actual scientific contribution (and I repeat, it is considerable) that economics makes to the understanding of society. So they simply can’t grasp arguments that are plain to people not socialized in economics.”
'via Blog this'