Oh yeah, that "rule of law" thing ...
After 2 years of lambasting the Bush administration about its supposed failure to adhere to the rule of law, it takes a military judge to remind our new President that he too must adhere to it. You may remember that the new commander-in-chief issued a request (which is, essentially an order) that the military commissions process be frozen for 120 days to allow time for the new administration to study the process. 
Defending Torture? Condoning it as well?
An interesting turn of events:In Democratic legal circles, no attorney has been more pilloried than former Bush Justice Department official John Yoo, chief author of the so-called torture memos that Barack Obama last week sought to nullify.But now President Obama’s incoming crew of lawyers has a new and somewhat awkward job: defending Yoo in federal court.
 
Obama Supreme Court Picks
Although it’s awfully early to start this sort of prognostication, Tom Goldstein ponders who might be in the Supreme Court pipeline for Pres. Obama:In my opinion, if there is an appointment this summer — which principally means that some otherwise serious candidates will not yet have had the time to be appointed to a court of appeals and deve
 
FISA Appeals Court Releases Ruling
In a rare ruling, the intelligence appeals court found that the federal government was within constitutional bounds with respect to warrantless surveillance:The court decision, made in August 2008 by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, came in an unclassified, redacted form.The decision marks the first time since the
 
Lord Help you if your kid’s name is Dick Cheney Smith
The names are awful, but still, unless freedom of speech has been repealed, what’s up in NJ?State authorities have removed Adolf Hilter Campbell and his two sisters from their parents’ home in Holland Township, township police Chief David Van Gilson said today. I don’t know if you remember the story
 
Obeying the law? It’s For The "Little People"
This may come as a surprise to Obama supporters, but I’m not sure why:Timothy Geithner didn’t pay Social Security and Medicare taxes for several years while he worked for the International Monetary Fund, and he employed an immigrant housekeeper who briefly lacked proper work papers.Those issues, and a series of other tax matters, caused the postponem
 
Who needs a jury?
Ah, land of my ancestry, what is happening to you?A yob accused of robbing a driving instructor walked free from court after a judge ruled his alleged victim was ’too believable’ to give evidence.Mother-of-two Denise Dawson, 36, was praised for being ’honest, utterly d
 
The Law of Unintended Consequences - Part MMCLXV
Watch this video report closely. Note how the shop owner, who was all for "increased regulation", suddenly discovers that it’s not so cool when it is a) stupid and b) negatively affects her business: 
ODS Setback
The sufferers of Obama Derangement Syndrome were dealt a setback by the Supreme Court this morning.The Supreme Court has turned down an emergency appeal from a New Jersey man who says President-elect Barack Obama is ineligible to be president because he was a British subject at birth.The court did not comment on its or
 
Clinton, "emoluments" and Sec of State
MichaelW brought you the Constitutional question yesterday. Today, the "fix" shows up:But she’s not the first member of Congress to run into the problem, and there have been fixes before.William Saxbe, a Republican senator from Ohio, faced the same problem when President Richa
 
Clinton Appointment Unconstitutional
Amidst the hullabaloo surrounding Barack Obama’s tapping of Senator Hillary Clinton for the post of Secretary of State a particularly important bit of information has been lost. Namely, the Constitution.No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil O
 
Heartless
I admonished the AV people at the Republican Convention for not playing "Barracuda" last night after Palin’s speech. Tonight they get it right, only to be met with a cease and desist letter:Ann and Nancy Wilson are pissed at the Rep
 
Los Angeles "Big-Box" Insanity Follow Up
Getting anything done in the construction and development business is usually a nightmare. Typically, the larger the project, the more hoops to jump through of increasing complexity and expense. One of the favorite hoops for planning commissions everywhere is to require the builder to pay for road reconstruction or expansion, including the installation of traffic lights and highway on-ramps. Such requirements are not necessarily unreasonable, especially when a large project will i
 
It’s for The Children
In a noble effort to protect the children of California from...something...a unamimous Assembly approved AB 534. Assuming this bill becomes a law, the children of California will no longer have to worry about the...uh...thing that the legislature is outlawing.SECTION 1. Section 273i is added to the Penal Code, to read: 273i. (
 
Jury Nullification
An excellent discussion of jury nullification going on at The Volokh Conspiracy. Drop in if you have a minute and read the comments.
 
More Anti-"Big Box Store" Nonsense
This time it appears to be pretty clearly a taking under the Fifth Amendment:Big-box, home-improvement stores in Los Angeles will have to set aside space for day laborers under an ordinance passed by the City Council on Wednesday.When the ordinance takes effect — the mayor has to sign it, and most city laws take effect 30 days afterward — it will apply to stores such as The Home Depot tha
 
Is Accountable America Blatantly Violating The Law? (Updated x2)
While these sorts of cases are rarely 100% clear, given the group’s admissions in the NYT, it sure looks to me like the liberal group is in direct and knowing violation of 18 U.S. Code § 241:If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, th
 
D.C. Rejects Heller’s Gun Permit Application
Unbelievable:Dick Heller is the man who brought the lawsuit against the District’s 32-year-old ban on handguns. He was among the first in line Thursday morning to apply for a handgun permit.But when he tried to register his semi-automatic weapon, he says he was rejected. He says his gun has seven bullet clip. Heller says the City Council legislation allows weapons w
 
Foley v. Mansker: Settled
The case of former San Diego Charger Steve Foley against the city of Coronado and officer Aaron Mansker is over. This week, the trial abruptly ended, and a sealed settlement was announced.Except, not so fast on that whole "sealed" thing. California law makes sealing a settlement between a public entity and another party extremely difficult, if not impos
 
Score one for the 1st Amendment
And a resounding whack at McCain-Feingold. In all our excitement about Heller, we sort of looked past this case which challenged a law which imposed special rules in races with candidates who finance their own campaigns:The law was a response to Supreme Court rulings that forbid limits on the am
 
Thoughts on Heller ...
From the SCOTUS blog, speaking of the Supreme Court’s majority opinion:It does remove all doubt — and there has been doubt about this for years — that the Amendment means that there is an individual right to have a pistol to keep in one’s own home, in operating condition, for purposes of “confrontation” — warding off intruders, or perhaps, aggressive family members.It also seems to mean (though this is only implicit) that there is, for t
 
Heller Affirmed! (updated)
By only a 5-4 vote, but affirmed nevertheless. Justics Scalia, writing for the majority, declares explicitly that the Second Amendment secures an individual right to keep and bear arms for lawful purposes, unconnected with any service in a militia.I have to go to work now, But I’m sure I’ll have more later tonight, when the actual opinion becomes available for reading.UPDATE [McQ]:Meanwhile, the
 
Opening Arguments in the Foley Case
The opening arguments were held today in the case of Steve Foley’s suit against the City of Coronado and Coronado police officer Aaron Mansker. The defense laid out the following argments:Coronado police Officer Aaron Mansker knew he was careless and in violation of police training standards the morning he shot former Chargers linebacker Steve Foley,
 
Police Get...Helpful
Well, we’ve finally arrived at a point where something must me done about police who have attitudes like this.A Lakeville man says he feels violated after two police officers woke him up at 3 a.m. to tell him his door was unlocked.Their surprise visit was part of a public service campaign to remind residents to secure their homes to prevent thefts. Usually, officers just leav
 
It is getting bizarre in Canada
First we have "hate speech" taking precedence over free speech. And now we have at least one court deciding that it has the right to overrule a father’s discipline:An appeal will be filed in a Montreal court after a Quebec judge overruled a father who
 
So, Obama was a "Constitutional Law Professor", huh?
Barack Obama, while doing a fundraiser in 2007 claimed, "I was a constitutional law professor, which means unlike the current president I actually respect the Constitution..."Yet this constitutional law professor establishes the following as his criteria for
 
Foley vs. Mansker
Several months ago, I wrote about the shooting of San Diego Chargers player Steve Foley by off-duty Coronado patrolman Aaron Mansker. To briefly recap: [O]ff-duty Coronado police officer Aaron Mansker (a 23 year-old officer who started with Coronado PD in August of 2005), was driving in San Diego on State Route 163, in his privately-owned vehicle, wearing civilian clothes. He clai
 
Take it to the Supreme Court
From The Moderate Voice:An undercurrent of many foreign press articles about the U.S. election is the unfairness of the fact that while American policies dramatically affect people outside of the United States, those very people are unable to directly influence those we elect.Or said another way,
 
Go, Read ...
Michael W has his first installment about the SCOTUS ruling concerning the Gitmo detainees up at A Second Hand Conjecture:The recent Supreme Court case involving Guantanomo Bay (GITMO) detainees and writs of habeas corpus promises to be one of the most significant opinions for decades to come. Not because it grants foreign citizens t
 
The Supreme Court, Detainees, Habeas and Gitmo (update)
I’ve read everything I can read on the 5-4 Supreme Court decision concerning the Gitmo detainees. I could regurgitate it all here but, frankly, that wouldn’t be particularly useful. I’m sure you too have read all you can if you’re interested in the case.Essentially it leaves me undecided and here’s why: I understand the argument
 
TX Supremes: Send Sect’s Children Home
After the appellate division ruled last week that the Children taken from the polygamist sect at the YFZ Ranch in Texas should be sent home, the TX CPS appealed to the Texas Supreme Court. apparently, the CPS didn’t get a friendly hearing from the Supremes.Child Protective Services should not h
 
Texas court overrules CPS
A Texas appeals court says that the state’s Child Protective Services jumped the gun when they took the FLDS children from their parents:The ruling asserted that the state’s child protection agency acted hastily in removing the children from the Yearning for Zion ranch in April and did not make a reasonable effort
 
Texas Child Protective Services v. 1st Amendment
CPS, apparently, will dictate the terms necessary to reunite mothers and children from the FLDS:Abandoning their religion and husbands may be the only way that FLDS mothers will be reunited with their children. Texas official issued new rules, Thursday, that dictate what the mothers will have to do before the stat
 
SCOTUS upholds IN voter ID law
Nancy Pelosi’s statement concerning the SCOTUS decision which upholds laws requiring picture identification for voters:“The Supreme Court’s decision is disappointing. The Court’s decision today places obstacles to the fundamental rights of American citizens—especially the poor, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities—to participate in the electoral process.
 
Every problem must have a government solution
This lawmaker offers one to curb "online bullying". Kentucky Representative Tim Couch filed a bill this week to make anonymous posting online illegal.The bill would require anyone who contributes to a website to register their real name, address and e-mail
 
Judge says no to Marine recruit
I’ve gotten a few emails concerning this story. Here’s the gist:Shawn Sage long dreamed of joining the military, and watching "Full Metal Jacket" last year really sold him on becoming a Marine.But last fall, a Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner dashed the foster teen’s hopes of early enlistment for Marine sniper duty, plus a potential $10,0
 
California Home Schooling
The time has come for us to have another nasty public disagreement among the QandO bloggers. I am referring to McQ’s post on In re Rachel L.First, as a matter of judicial precedent, the Supreme Court held in 1925 in Pierce v. Society of Sisters (268 U.S. 510) that parental rights do not incl
 
Pride. Integrity. Guts.
This must be more of that increasing police professionalism that Justice Scalia’s always on about.
 
Federal Jury Service
As I mentioned Tuesday, I’ve been serving this week on a criminal jury in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of California. You may remember that, a few months ago, I did jury duty for the California Superior Court for San Diego County. There were some interesting differences in the two experiences—not least of which was that I was actually on the jury—as Juror #1, no less.
 
10 year old faces felony charges
The story:School officials say the Ocala 5th grader had brought a piece of steak for her lunch, and had brought a steak knife. According to the report, a couple of teachers took the utensil and called authorities, who arrested the girl and took her to the county’s juvenile assessment center."She did not use it inappropriately. She did not threaten anyone with it. She
 
CIA destroys evidence, rule of law II
To update Jon’s earlier post from today, it now appears that the CIA’s intention to destroy the tapes were briefed to key congressional leaders...in 2003, two years before the actual destruction.Rep. Jane Harman of California, then the senior Democrat on the House Intelligenc
 
Hate crimes: "English" is now a race?
Holy crap, Batman:A grandfather has been given a prison sentence for racial harassment after calling a Welsh woman "English".Mick Forsythe used the term during an argument over a scratched car in his Welsh home town.He called the vehicle’s owner, Lorna Steele, an "English bitch".She and her husband took gr
 
The Heirs of J. Edgar Hoover
Who says illegal immigrants aren’t willing to work hard and show extraordinary amounts of ingenuity? Certainly not the FBI.Nada Nadim Prouty, a 37-year-old Lebanese national and resident of Vienna, Va., pleaded guilty today in the Eastern District of Michigan to charges of fraudulently obtaining U.S. citizenship, which she later used to gain employment at the FBI and CIA; accessing a federa
 
The over the hill gang
OK it isn’t a gang, but it is a pretty interesting story (and it’s Friday):A 70-year-old man has been charged with grand theft after police watched him siphon off more than 900 gallons of gasoline from underground storage tanks at two gas stations, the Polk County authorities said Wednesday.Deputies witnessed Hobert Gibson steal gasoline from two stations Tuesday, but
 
Jena Six Bell back in Jail
The cause celeb for the revived ’civil rights’ movement (also known as the "keep Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson employed and in front of the cameras" movement) has been sentenced to 18 months in jail for violating probation. Mychal Bell was ordered to jail for violating his probation concerning 2 counts of simple battery and 2 counts of criminal destruction of property with the attack on Justin Barker,  
The Obsession with Clarence Thomas
Of course the obsession rests mostly with the left. Thomas, as you might imagine, just isn’t appreciative enough of everything they’ve tried to do for blacks. That’s because he’s actually a conservative and opposed to affirmative action. Both of those, according to some intellectual lightweights on the left prone to stereotyping, makes him (and any black that description fits) "self-loathing".Frank Rich  
Big Pay Day in McD Hoax Call Case
Another indication being terminally gullible (dare I say "stupid") is worth big bucks:A jury awarded $5.5 million in damages Friday to a woman who said she was forced to strip in a McDonald’s back office at the behest of a caller posing as a police officer.Remember this? Hoax caller convinces woman he’s a police officer whil
 
Duke 3 file case that could be groundbreaking
Taking advantage of a perfect storm of incompetence and mendacity, the Duke 3 just filed a "sweeping lawsuit" against Durham.Going well beyond simple monetary damages, the lawsuit demands changes in a long list of procedures:The complaint also seeks changes to the photo identification lineups that helped secure indictments against Seligmann and his teammates, David Evans and Collin Finnerty.
 
Jesse MacBeth: I always like a good ending
And today we have one:A Washington man, whose claims to have slaughtered civilians as a U.S. Army Ranger in Iraq were seen by millions on YouTube, admitted in federal court in Seattle today that he was a fake and a liar.Jesse Adam Macbeth, 23, pleaded guilty to charges he faked his war record."He was in the Army for 40 days before he was kic
 
Mukasey to be tapped for AG?
That’s the word from the WSJ: President Bush is expected to nominate former federal judge Michael Mukasey for attorney general, say lawyers close to the White House — a move that could avoid a fight with Congress but spark friction with disaffected conservatives.An announcement could come as soon as today, officials s
 
Stupid Criminal Tricks
Sometimes you just have to wonder:A man robbing a bank demanded the money by writing a note on one of his own checks, authorities say.Not surprisingly, he was caught soon afterward.Forest Kelly Bissonnette, 27, apparently tried to cover his name on the check, then handed the note to a teller Sept. 5 at the Bank of the West in Englewood, according to
 
Just disgusting ...
6 whites have been arrested in West Virginia for assaulting a black woman:Besides being sexually assaulted, the woman was stabbed four times in the left leg and beaten, Porter said. Her eyes were black and blue. The wounds were inflicted at least a week ago, deputies said.The woman was forced to eat rat and dog feces and drink from a toilet, a
 
You know, I just have to ask ...
Why in the world was a guy who’d skipped bail once allowed to have bail again?[Norman] Hsu pleaded no contest in 1991 to a felony count of grand theft, admitting he’d defrauded investors of $1 million after falsely claiming to have contracts to purchase and sell latex gloves.He was facing up to three years when he sk
 
The "Petraeus Report" (updated)
The short answer is "there is no such thing". Let me explain. In the past few weeks we’ve heard that the White House won’t let Petraeus speak. Then we’ve heard that he’ll only provide input to the September 15th Benchmark report, and the White House will then spin that.I had the opportunity today to talk with a DoD Legislative Affairs expert who went over the law itself. The law is the Supplemental Appropr
 
What a load of road apples
Dale destroyed the Martin Lewis "open letter" to General Pace requesting Pace "relive the president of his command" without even breaking a sweat. It is an absurd notion and anyone with even a modicum of intelligence and knowledge of the Constitution knows that. Obviously Martin Lewis, how
 
This isn’t Bush Derangement Syndrome...It’s Complete Insanity
Well, we’ve all known—since 2000, really—that a lot of people don’t like George W. Bush. And we’ve all known that a lot of people on the Left fundamentally doubt the president’s competence and legitimacy. But this goes far beyond that. This is a seriously written bit of complete insanity. And worse.
 
OK, lawyers out there, explain this to me, please ...
Seriously, this particular ruling just seems tortured:While unauthorized entry into the United States is illegal, being in the country after having entered illegally is not necessarily a crime, according to a new ruling by the Kansas Court of Appeals.In a Barton County case, a three-judge panel issued an opinion Friday that a judge could not deny probation and order
 
Fleecing the Golden Arches?
You know a lot of people have food allergies. They are a serious and can sometimes be a deadly problem. My daughter-in-law has a very bad allergy to mushrooms. Peanuts is another which can be deadly for some. Obviously the person with the allergy has to be careful when they order food to ensure the restaurant is aware of the problem and takes the requested steps in preparation when asked to do so to ensure the allergy sufferer is accommodated.
 
"We all need to heal" Translation: "Please Don’t Send Me to Jail"
Mike Nifong finally came out and accepted what most of the rest of the world figured out almost a year ago. He gave a complete apology to his Duke victims, and said there is "no credible evidence" a crime was committed.OK, good so far. Too bad it was done under pressure of further punishment, but at least it&r
 
Rachel Corrie’s parents try to sue Caterpillar ... again
I’m sure most of you, being the sorts who follow stories like hers, know who Rachel Corrie is. Apparently her parents, not satisfied with the explanation that Corrie put herself in a position in which the accident which killed her was bound to happen, are again attempting to cash
 
Haditha
I wonder what Jack Murtha will have to say about this:An investigating officer has recommended dismissing murder charges against a U.S. Marine accused in the slayings of three Iraqi men in a squad action that killed 24 civilians in the town of Haditha, according to a report.The government’s theory that Lance Cpl. Justin L. Sharratt had executed the three men wa
 
Always read past the 2nd paragraph
From Fox News: A discrimination lawsuit filed by a Muslim Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee who was not allowed to renew his contract with the chain because of a refusal to sell pork products can proceed, a U.S. appeals court ruled Tuesday.The decision reversed an Illinois federal court judge’s 2004 ruling that rejected Walid Elkhatib’s argument that Dunkin
 
Hate crime laws have no business in a just legal system
From the Chicago Tribune:The Tribune carried an interesting story recently about a particularly heinous double murder in Knoxville, Tenn. The two young victims, who were kidnapped, raped and killed, were white. The three men and a woman who stand charged with the crime are black.The stor
 
To the left: get over it, will you?
The BDS addled among the left are still frothing over the Libby commutation. They’re now taking Democratic Congressman Bob Wexler’s attempt at censure (a "non-binding resolution simply expresses the sense of the House that Bush acted improperly and does not carry any other penalty.") to task and, of course, pushing for the usual instead:If it was a quid pro qu
 
Difficult Terrorists make Bad Laws
I would not support a Federal Law allowing people to deliver swift kicks to the crotches of presumed terrorists. And yet, while I would support keeping said violence illegal as a matter of standard policy, I don’t think anybody would argue that such a standard policy would lead to  
Why did Fitzgerald pursue Libby so strenuously, especially when he knew the leaker’s identity?
As I noted in an earlier post, we haven’t paid much attention to le affair Libby simply because there were other things going on that were much more interesting and, frankly, it was covered wall-to-wall in the blogosphere. That and the fact that I didn’t see it as much more than a tempest in a teapot.But, since the commutation of the sentence, I’ve been doing a little reading. One of the more under reported aspects of this particular c
 
Conyers to investigate the US Constitution
I have no particular opinion on the Scooter Libby commutation, but I’m pretty sure that conducting a Congressional investigation into it is absurd...[House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (Mich.)] ... was expected to move swiftly to conduct hearings on the commutation, congressional sources said. Rep. Conyers might beg
 
The Libby thing
As you know, QandO has, for the most part, avoided the Libby/Wilson/Plame thing. Frankly I think it is mostly a political tempest in a teapot.Two points: No I don’t think President Bush abused his office. If you don’t want Presidents to have the power to pardon or commute, amend the Constitution. Otherwise, get over it.Point two: While it i
 
Goodbye, Guantanamo?
The Supreme Court, in a bit of a surprise move, granted cert on the DC Circuit court cases that essentially stripped Guantanamo bay detainees of access to the Federal Courts for habeas corpus petitions. In April, the Court declined to the review the cases on procedural grounds, but now has accepted the cases for review in the next term, which begins on 1 Octobe
 
Turnabout is Fair Play
More and more, police departments are videotaping traffic stops and everything else. They don’t have a problem with videotaping.Unless, of course, it’s a citizen videotaping them.Last month, Brian Kelly of Carlisle, Pa., was riding with a friend when the car he was in was pulled over by a local police officer. Kelly, an amateur videographer, had his vide
 
Nifong going to jail? I’d be surprised.
The Duke 3 have filed a motion for criminal contempt charges to be leveled against Mike Nifong. Theoretically Nifong could go to jail for this. I’d be pleasantly surprised if that happened; I certainly don’t expect it. I suspect that a fine is not out of the question, though. Since I’m not a lawyer (yea!) I’m not really an expert on what this motion means or why
 
Nifong disbarred
Well nice try Nifong ... but your resignation didn’t avert the official punishment you so richly deserved: A disciplinary committee says North Carolina prosecutor Mike Nifong will be disbarred for his handling of the Duke University lacrosse rape case."This matter has been a fiasco. There’s no doubt about it," said committee chairman F. Lane Wi
 
Nifong tries the modified limited hangout
Just out from the New York Times, via Instapundit, Mike Nifong, the DA in the Duke non-rape case, has resigned. Durham County district attorney Michael B. Nifong said today he plans to resign his job, after admitting that he had “crossed the line” of ethical standards in some of
 
How about a little context in the Hilton Case?
I have to say I am amazed at the number of those out there that are now arguing that Paris Hilton was unfairly treated because of the length of her sentence.One in particular is Gerry Rivers (er, Geraldo Rivera) who is all over the place claiming it was only a DWI and no one is put in jail for a DWI unless they injure someone.Well it wasn’t just for a DWI. Or just for driving on a suspended license. Let’s  
Our guy Jesse Macbeth
Jesse MacBeth is back in the news:A Tacoma man who claimed he participated in war crimes in Iraq and to have earned a Purple Heart as an Army soldier pleaded guilty in federal court in Seattle on Thursday to making false statements about his military status.Jesse A. Macbeth, 23, formally of Phoenix, faces up to five years in prison and
 
And justice for all ... (update)
Just not the same level of "justice" depending on who you are, apparently:Paris Hilton has been released from jail after serving three days, TMZ.com reports.The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department called a hastily scheduled news conference early Thursday morning outside the Century Regional Detention Facility to answer rep
 
Something for you Lawyers
Recently, I posted two items about my jury duty service(Post 1, Post 2). Today, I received a call from a reporter at the Tampa Tribune who wanted to interview me for a story he’s writing on bloggers doing jury duty.In the course of the interview, his questioned raised a point in my mind I wanted to
 
New York Time’s editorial nonsense
In an editorial entitled "Injustice 5, Justice 4", the NYT says:The Supreme Court struck a blow for discrimination this week by stripping a key civil rights law of much of its potency. The majority opinion, by Justice Samuel Alito, forced an unreasonable reading on the law, and tossed aside longstanding precedents to rule in favor of
 
I Don’t Get It
You can always count on the USAF to serve swift justice when the "crime" concerns someone’s naughty bits. For instance:A Spangdahlem-based airman was sentenced Monday to four months confinement for her part in a sexual act with two other airmen.Airman 1st Class Ashley N. Rains pleaded guilty at a court-martial to two indecent acts char
 
Are they terrorists?
Interesting question for you to hash out. First a definition:Terrorism is "an offense that is calculated to influence or affect the conduct of government by intimidation or coercion, or to retaliate against government conduct; and is a violation of several different offense categories, among which is arson."So, given that def
 
Anatomy of a bad law
Yesterday, in a fit of pure pandering, the House passed a bill which outlaws ’price gouging’.Never mind the fact that expert after expert (and no, not experts with the American Petroleum Institute) point out the pricing problem is "structural" and has to do with tightening supply due to increased demand (you know, like China?) and stagnan
 
It Couldn’t Happen to a nicer guy
Jesse Macbeth, the famous "former Army Ranger" and "Iraq War veteran" is in the news again.A man who tried to position himself as a leader of the anti-war movement by claiming to have participated in war crimes while serving in Iraq is facing federal charges of falsifying his record.Jesse Adam Macbeth, 23, formerly of Phoenix, garnered much attention
 
If the polls say it, we must have it
First, consider this:A substantial majority of the American public favors the expansion of federal hate crime legislation to include crimes against people based on their gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed such legislation, which is now being considered by the Senate. Republicans, conservatives, and religious America
 
Jury Nullification
I moved this out of my jury service post immediately below, because i wanted to address it separately, rather than have it lost as a digression of the main post, and give you a chance to comment on it separately.The lawyers really don’t like jury nullification. Everybody—the judge, prosecutor, and defense—kept hammering home the point that we have to apply the law as the judge explains it. The idea that you could have a runaway jury se
 
No Jury Service for Me
Well, that didn’t take long. The jury has been picked, and I’m not on it, so I can go back and print my notes from the last two days. NOTE: All of the names below are pseudonyms.15 May/12:05: It’s a murder trial, People v. Herrera. The judge greeted us, gave us a brief orientation about the  
Jury Duty! Yeah!
Today is my first day of Jury duty. Maybe my last day, too, but, since I can serve on a jury for a fairly long time without hardship, I’m probably a good candidate for having to do so. So, I thought it might be interesting to record my experiences as the day (days?) go on. 07:30: So, here I am at the San Diego County courthouse, bright and early. Problem number one: No wi-fi connection. Why would they have it? Why? S
 
OJ, the Steakhouse and the upcoming law suit
So how do you think this will play out?The owner of an upscale steakhouse in Louisville said he asked O.J. Simpson to leave his restaurant the night before the Kentucky Derby because he is sickened by the attention Simpson still attracts."I didn’t want to serve him because of my convictions of what he’s done to those fam
 
The Duke non-rape case becomes even more clear
When attorney general Ray Cooper dropped all charges against the three Duke lacrosse players, he explicitly called them innocent. This week, he released a report in which he minces no words. This case was a travesty from the beginning, and Cooper lays that out clearly. The report makes a number of points about the accuser’s ever-changing accounts, saying she “changed her story on so many important issues as
 
In Iran, the self-appointed "morality police" have the power to summarily kill
What a lovely place to have to live:The Iranian Supreme Court has overturned the murder convictions of six members of a prestigious state militia who killed five people they considered “morally corrupt.”Three lower court rulings found all the men guilty of murder. Their cases had been appeal
 
Supreme Court upholds Partial Birth Abortion ban
This should stir the feminist side of the blogosphere from the somnolence brought on by the decision by the NC AG to drop all charges against the Duke 3:The Supreme Court Wednesday upheld a controversial law banning a specific abortion procedure critics call "partial birth," a ruling that could portend enormous social, legal, and political implications for the divisive
 
Still Playing "Let’s Pretend" in Durham
The other shoe has officially dropped. Dale posted yesterday that it was likely that today would see the rape charges against the Duke 3 were dropped, and indeed they were. Some of us have long expected that, for reasons that
 
Not with a bang, but with a whimper
The Duke Rape case is no more.The office of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper will announce that he is dismissing all charges against three Duke Lacrosse players, ABC News has learned from sources close to the case.No surprise, really. Now we’ll see what happens in the Mike Nifong ethics Case.
 
Federal Porn law struck down
I’m with the ACLU on this one:A federal judge on Thursday dealt another blow to government efforts to control Internet pornography, striking down a 1998 U.S. law that makes it a crime for commercial Web site operators to let children access "harmful" material.In the ruling, the judge said parents can protect their children through software filter
 
Do you really want your Supreme Court Justices citing foreign law?
A shocking ruling in a German court. Got that? German. Not Saudi. Not Iranian. German.The set up. The couple is of Morrocan origin living in Germany. He allegedly beats her and threatens her life routinely. She files for divorce, and asks that it be expedited (apparently there is a one year waiting period in Germany). Judge rejected the expedited divorce:
 
The Flying Imams: An attempt at legal intimidation
Of course anyone with even a modicum of intelligence knew this was coming:The "flying imams’ " federal lawsuit, filed this week in Minneapolis, has made headlines around the country. The imams are demanding unspecified damages from US Airways and the Metropolitan Airports Commission, both with deep pockets.Call it the new American sport, but whenever there is t
 
Plamegate: The Denouement
So, Scooter Libby’s looking at doing a quarter in a Federal pen. I honestly don’t know whether to yawn, say "screw ’im", or be disgusted at the prosecutor’s overzealousness in bringing this case to trial. A bit of all three I guess. This actually brings a lot of things to mind, which I want to address in no particular order.First, I
 
Libby "guilty"
Uh, Libby’s going to jail:Former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby has been found guilty on four of five counts in his perjury and obstruction of justice trial.Libby, 56, faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and a fine of $1 million.Libby was convicted of obstruction of justice, making a false statement and two counts of pe
 
Welcome to Politics 101 (selective amnesia)
One of the more amusing things to watch is the perpetual outrage that various partisans express when their ox is being gored, while ignoring similar "gorings" when it happens to their opponents.For instance, Jonathan Singer of MyDD on the firing of 8 prosecutors:I know I should not have been surprised by reports of political pressure being applied to prosecutors
 
No-Knock Warrants under review by GA Legislature
In a word: good. You remember the death of 89 year old Kathryn Johnston in Atlanta who, thinking her home was being broken into, attempted to defend herself and was shot dead by police during a no-knock storming of the house. A subsequent investigation found that narcotics officers had lied about the situation to obtain the warrant. Finally, a group
 
Sometimes you have to wonder if "common sense" is that common anymore
Justin Rood reports on "The Blotter" that "a jury awarded nearly $5 million to a worker at a top secret research laboratory who was fired after trying to catch foreign hackers stealing sensitive information from U.S. computers."When you read that, you have to wonder why someone who was looking out for the nation and their company by trying to catch hackers
 
Mudflap "porno" still legal in AZ
In today’s United States, attempts at legislative stupidity aren’t the domain of any single political party:It’s still going to be legal in Arizona for trucks to have splash guards with racist terms and silhouettes of naked women.The state House on Thursday rejected a Democratic amendment that would have banned splash guards with images that are "o
 
Things that make you go "hmmmm..."
Such as the controversy over this T-Mobile tower:T-Mobile Central is suing the city of Olathe to allow a 60-foot tower to be built next to a church.The Gathering Place Pentecostal Holiness Church agreed to allow the cell phone company to erect the pole, as long as T-Mobile added a beam that made the tower look like a cross.But city planners objected to the p
 
Sometimes "justice" is just absurd
Florida is where this bit of lunacy took place. From CNET news:What: Teenagers taking risque photos of themselves are prosecuted for violating child pornography laws.When: Florida state appeals court rules on January 19.Outcome: A 2-1 majority upholds conviction on grounds
 
FISA and the NSA Surveillance Program
Lance, over at SHC has requested my input on the Administration’s climb-down on the NSA surveillance program. He is wondering what I think after more reflection, and the suggestion by Orin Kerr that the Administration turned the program over to the FISC due to the newly authorized use of anticipatory warrants.I think
 
The most dangerous man in America (UPDATED)
This is simply stunning "logic":Responding to questions from Sen. Arlen Specter at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Jan. 18, [Attorney General Roberto] Gonzales argued that the Constitution doesn’t explicitly bestow habeas corpus rights; it merely says when the so-called Great Writ can be suspended.“There is no expressed grant of habeas in the Consti
 
NSA Wiretaps aren’t necessary, after all
Today saw a huge climb-down by the Bush Administration over the NSA warrantless wiretaps.The Bush administration has agreed to shift course and let a secret but independent panel of federal judges oversee the government’s controversial domestic spying program.The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court will have final say in approving wire
 
Special Circumstances
The code of Silence has broken on the killing of 88 (or 92) year-old Kathryn Johnston in Atlanta (Previously blogged here and
 
Nifong wants out and Karla Holloway resigns
And good riddance to both of them. First Nifong:District Attorney Mike Nifong has requested that he have himself removed from prosecuting the Duke Lacrosse rape investigation, ABC News has learned.A source close to the investigation said Nifong sent a letter to North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper asking his office to assume responsibility of the case. Calls to the Attorney General&rsq
 
The Duke Rape Accusation v5.0
The woman who claims to have been raped by three Duke lacrosse players has changed her story again. This time she was raped by two players, saying that Reade Seligmann didn’t assault her. Among other changed [sic] in her account, the accuser now says the alleged assault happened earlier in th
 
For heaven sake, get a freakin’ warrant
This is, if true as written, simply unacceptable:President Bush has quietly claimed sweeping new powers to open Americans’ mail without a judge’s warrant, the Daily News has learned.The President asserted his new authority when he signed a postal reform bill into law on Dec. 20. Bush then issued a "signing statement" that declared his right to op
 
WaPo Punches Out on Nifong
The editors of the Washington Post have called for Mike Nifong to drop all charges in the Duke case...and for further ethics proceeding to be filed against him.It’s been clear for months that Mr. Nifong’s case — to the extent he has a case — is riddled with flaws that raise serious questions about his motives
 
Cory Maye, the denouement
Perhaps the best response I can offer to Joseph Rago’s recent indiscriminate blog-bashing is to point to Radley Balko. From highlighting the absurdities of an overweening government to police malfeasance, his blogging stands among the best the blogosphere has to offer. But nothing else has been as worthy as his work on the wretched miscarriage of justice th
 
The Brilliance of Mike Nifong
Apparently, the Bar Association of North Carolina is not impressed with the brilliance of Durham County prosecutor Mike Nifong. Or, alternatively, they are far too impressed, depending on your point of view.The N.C. State Bar is seeking to discipline Durham County District Attorney Michael Nifong for pre-trial statements he made to the media about the criminal investigation
 
Nifong to drop 1st degree rape charges
The Nifong follies continue as the prosecutor moves to dismiss 1st degree rape charges against 3 Duke lacrosse players. Get load of this:According to the dismissal form, investigator Linwood Wilson interviewed the accuser on Thursday.“The victim in th
 
Good news on the free speech front
The first shot has been taken at the foundation of the anti First Amendment law, McCain-Feingold:A federal court on Thursday loosened restrictions on corporations, unions and other special interest groups that run political advertising in peak election season.The 2-1 ruling said groups may mention candidates by name in commercials as long as the
 
Sandy Berger Update
Thanks to a freedom of information request, we now have more information about how Sandy Berger stole classified documents from the National Archives.The report from the inspector-general for the National Archives, Paul Brachfeld, said Mr. Berger executed the cloak-and-dagger maneuver in October 2003 while taking a break from reviewing Clinton-era documents in connection with the work of the
 
Mike Nifong: From Prosecutor to Prosecuted?
A new op/ed piece in the Raleigh-Durham News Observer switches sides on DA Mike Nifong’s handling of the Duke "rape" case.Whether the defendants in the Duke lacrosse case are guilty or innocent, Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong should disqualify himself, or be disqualified, from the case.On Friday, Nifong’s own witness essentially accused him of bre
 
The "roving bug" in your cellphone
Maybe we should all come to understand that whatever you have that can download stuff can also be compromised. Your cellphone for instance. We’re all aware that cellphones can be tapped. But did you know they can also be used to eavesdrop on you?The FBI converted the Nextel cellphones of two alleged New York mobsters into "roving bugs" —- m
 
Reparations denied
At least by the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals:A federal appeals court in Chicago has rejected most claims by slave descendants for reparations from some of the nation’s biggest insurers, banks and transportation companies. The three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court ruling that slave des
 
Forced diversity is no diversity at all
As far as I’m concerned one of the more hideous examples of judicial activism is affirmative action. Why do I believe it to be judicial activism? Read Joe Klein’s paragraph first:Affirmative action was never a very elegant solution to the problem of racial injustice. In fact, Gewirtz—who clerked for the civil rights legend Justice Thurgood Mars
 
More on the Atlanta Drug Raid
You know, the one in which an 88 year old woman was killed?It was Fabian Sheats’ third felony drug arrest in four months. But on the afternoon of Nov. 21, according to a police report, he was looking to curry favor, so he told officers they could find a kilogram of cocaine in a house at 933 Neal Street N.W.That encounter led police to
 
The militarization of the Police
This is a favorite topic of Radley Balko, but today Glenn Reynolds talks about the growing threat of police militarization in, of all places, Popular Mechanics:Soldiers and police are supposed to be different. Soldiers are aimed at enemies from outside the country. They are train
 
The biggest threat to our rights is not al Qaeda
It seems absurd to have to write about something which you feel should be obvious to everyone. The War on Drugs is a war on liberty and that simple truth is demonstrated almost daily on the streets and in homes around our nation.This isn’t an attempt to say drugs are good or that drugs should be sold to children or that we should happily give over
 
Atlanta Shooting: Based on a lie?
Well, this is a fine kettle of fish. Remember the 92 year-old woman shot last week by Atlanta PD detectives (all three of whom she winged, as well)?The confidential informant upon whose statements and undercover buy the no-knock search warrant was based, has told the APD IA unit that not only did he
 
How many more have to die?
Via Radley Balko, I learn that three brave Atlanta police officers have been wounded in a gunfight with an armed, suspected drug dealer, who was also killed: Three Atlanta police officers were shot and wounded and an elderly woman killed at a house in northwest Atlanta Tuesday night.The woma
 
This is Sharia
I read an article a week or so ago by a woman, a western woman, who related how wearing a veil was actually liberating. In fact, as I recall, she said she never felt more free. I’m not sure I followed her reasoning, but I do remember he claim that Islamic women weren’t, in fact, 2nd class citizens but every bit as equal as men.My only thought at the time was "yeah, try driving a car in Saudi Arabia". Or voting. But that aside, with the vei
 
This is Congressional oversight?
Amazing:Investigations led by a Republican lawyer named Stuart W. Bowen Jr. in Iraq have sent American occupation officials to jail on bribery and conspiracy charges, exposed disastrously poor construction work by well-connected companies like Halliburton and Parsons, and discovered that the military did
 
From the Al Qaeda Playbook
A little indicator of what opening the US court system to foreign terror suspects and unlawful enemy combatants would promise:Lawyers for alleged al Qaeda operative Jose Padilla have asked a Florida judge to dismiss the terrorism case against him, saying he was tortured and force-fed psychedelic drugs while held at a U.S. military brig for more than 3-1/2 years.
 
(UPDATED) Does this make any sense to anyone?
In the Duke Rape case: The district attorney prosecuting three Duke lacrosse players accused of raping a woman at a team party said during a court hearing Friday that he still hasn’t interviewed the accuser about the facts of the case."I’ve had conversations with (the accuser) about how she’s doing. I’ve had conversations with (the accuse
 
Scalia on the court’s new philosophy about the Constitution
In the title I use the word "new" in a relative sense. And, though few will find it surprising, Justice Scalia doesn’t like the "new" philosophy: Deeply controversial issues like abortion and suicide rights have nothing to do with the Constitution, and unelected judges too often choose to find new rights at the expense of the dem
 
The Tribunal Controversy
I’m not a lawyer (and don’t play one on TV) so I have a tendency to avoid the technical legal issues of most rulings and findings until I’ve read all I can read which satisfies me that I have, at least, an inkling of an understanding of the legal arguments which surround certain issues.I’m still not satisfied I’ve met that criteria concerning the new "tribunal law" but still would like to discuss it and hear other opinions.
 
Congress to Supremes: Drop Dead! (Updated)
A few weeks ago, when the Military Commissions bill was being debated, all of the focus was on torture. everyone was trying to figure out what, exactly, would be allowed when questioning GWOT detainees. Could we slap them around a bit, or were we limited to caressing their cheeks while gazing longingly into their eyes?Now, that was important debate to have, and we appear to have settled it in a manner acceptable to everyone.But what no one w
 
Government morality
Other than method, tell me the difference between these two events.This:In the sharpest attempt yet to curb Internet gambling by Americans, the U.S. House of Representatives voted today to ban financial payments to offshore casinos.On a vote of 317-93, lawmakers approved legislation that would force banks and credit card companies to
 
Enron Exec goes to jail, Jon Carroll loses bet
Two and a half years ago, I thought I’d caught San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll on the losing end of a bet. In January of 2002, Carroll wrote:I am putting up $100 right here, payable to Doctors Without Borders; I am betting that not a single Enron executive will spend a day in jail. Not
 
Interesting question
Asked concerning the possibility that at sometime in the future, Sharia law may be proposed to replace the Constitution in the Netherlands: “If a situation could arise where a majority could agree to shred a constitution in favor of religious law – and one from the Middle Ages at that - than doesn’t a democracy have an obligation to devise mechanism whereby
 
Just how progressive are progressives really?
Remember when "progressives" saw the introduction of initiatives and referendums as a positive thing?The Initiative and Referendum Institute, which is affiliated with the University of Southern California School of Law, notes that the I&R movement of the early 20th century was spawned by progressives who shared a Jeffersonian belief in the basi
 
Walking the walk
John Aravosis is upset (perhaps correctly) that Republicans leaders did not notify authorities as soon as they heard about Rep. Foley’s email conversations: "Next time someone tells you one of your friends is soliciting sex with a minor, do something about it."Yes. Somebody should definitely ask why people who heard about
 
McCain: Exclusion of ’extreme measures’
John McCain has come out with a very specific list of those measures which will be banned under the new guidelines under which the CIA will operate:Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) named three measures that he said would no longer be allowed under a provision barring techniques that cause serious mental or physical suffering by U.S. detainees: extreme s
 
Cory Maye - A Microcosm of What’s Wrong with Policing
The Cory Maye case is reprised over at Reason’s web site by Radley Balko. As a former police officer myself, with more than a decade of experience, I can tell you that this case highlights a serious concern with the way policing—and prosecuting—is done in America. The highly aggressive raid that killed Jones and put Maye on death row is not at
 
(UPDATED) Institutionalizing immorality
It looks like the Bush administration got what it wanted out of the short-lived Republican rebellion. The compromise, concerning "interrogation techniques" can be found here [pdf]. A good comparison of what was proposed by McCain, et. al., Bush and the final l
 
Cory Maye Update
Radley Balko reports:Cory Maye will not sleep on death row tonight. Nor, for that matter, any night for the foreseeable future.At the conclusion of the hearing today, Judge Michael Eubanks ruled on two of the defense team’s battery of arguments. Both rulings from the bench tonight dealt with Rhonda Cooper’s competence. Judge Eubanks found that Ms. Cooper was competent for the trial, but incompetent for the
 
Nurse Strangles (Hired) Intruder II
You may remember the story McQ highlighted several days ago about the woman who choked to death a man who was in her home armed with a hammer. Well, there’s more to the story. The estranged husband of a woman who strangled an intruder with her bare hands last week has been a
 
Steve Foley v. Aaron Mansker
I’m not a big sports fan, but I have taken an interest in Steve Foley of the San Diego Chargers. In case you hadn’t heard, Mr. Foley is out for the season, due to gunshot wounds. I’m uninterested in the sports angle, but as a resident of North County San Diego, I am interested in the law enforcement aspects.Based on the facts released toda
 
Nurse strangles intruder - in self-defense
In the wake of Dale’s post about the right of self-defense comes this story out of Oregon:A nurse returning from work discovered an intruder armed with a hammer in her home and strangled him with her bare hands, police said.Susan Kuhnhausen, 51, ran to a neighbor’s house af
 
The Right to Self-Defense
The editors of the Las Vegas Review Journal note that a number of states have passed "stand your ground" laws that allow the victims of violent crime to meet force from criminal perpetrators with force.The measure says any person "has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she rea
 
I’d say "Lack of Knowledge"
A perfect example of the common lack of understanding of the original Federal system of government, is exhibited by commenter "Platypus" to McQ’s original post. Platypus’ comments require a detailed analysis. Let’s take it bit by bit.I can’t believe people would try to spin something as simple as adding up to two. Tim is correct; each state had two senators before,
 
An ossified Constitution or a lack of knowledge?
In discussing the "ossified nature of our Consitutional system", David Bell shares the following with us:I do share, though, Levinson’s frustration at the incredibly ossified nature of our constitutional system, supported by mindless reverence for founding fathers who understood their imperfections far better than we do, and who mostly never imagined the system they designed
 
What did Fitzgerald know, and when did he know it?
In an apparent response to my recent post on the Plame deal, an emailer sent this missive to all three of us:At an Oct. 28 press conference announcing Libby’s indictment, Fitzgerald claimed that "in fact, Mr. Libby was the first official known to have told a reporter when he talked to Judith Miller in June of 2003 about Valerie Wilson."Yet, Fitzgerald lied, guys! Bec
 
A story that thankfully again drops off the radar screen ... again
It was bizarre when it happened and this latest installment was just as bizarre. Apparently everyone but Boulder CO DA Mary Lacy could see this coming. I mean, the guy, John Mark Karr, is really easy to dislike, but come on, from the beginning he was spouting nonsense. Or so it seemed to me. The media frenzy was incredible, tiresome an
 
Conflict of interest? You be the "judge"
Seems Judge Ann Diggs Taylor is Secretary and a trustee for CFSEM (Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan).Seems the CFSEM made a recent grant of $45,000 over two years to the ACLU of Michigan. Seems the ACLU was the plaintiff in the recent lawsuit decided in the plaintiff’s favor by Diggs Taylor.Conflict of interest?Judicial Watch (via  
Because I’m a Judge, and I Say So!
The editors of the Washington Post aren’t impressed by the "judicial reasoning" that US District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor used to strike down the NSA surveillance program.Judge Taylor’s opinion is certainly long on throat-clearing sound bites. "There are no hereditary Kings in America and no powers no
 
The Press is not above the law
Jonathan Adler reports...The federal government may prosecute private citizens who illegally receive and retransmit classified information, held federal district court Judge T.S. Ellis III yesterday in United States v. Rosen. With the judge-issued caveat that "violation of the statute must be both knowing and willful", this seems to me like a
 
Veto, sign or do nothing Mr. President
Have to go with Specter here: A Republican who has led the fight against President Bush’s signing statements said Monday that he would soon have a bill ready allowing Congress to sue the president.“We will submit legislation to the United States Senate which will … authorize the Congress to undertake judicial review of those signing statements with the view to having the president’s acts
 
Plame, Wilson, Sue Cheney et al.
This should be interesting. ABC News reports:The CIA officer whose identity was leaked to reporters sued Vice President Dick Cheney, his former top aide and presidential adviser Karl Rove on Thursday, accusing them and other White House officials of conspiring to destroy her career.In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Valerie Plame and her husband, Jo
 
The Grinch’s Fitzmas
Well since Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald let the side down in Plame-gate, they’ve had to settle for second best: a Plame-Wilson lawsuit against Cheney and poor old Scooter Libby. Baseball Crank has a few thoughts on it over at Red State.After you’re done reading, leave your comments here (don’t want you littering elsewhere, after all. We’re nothing if n
 
The US reverses itself on treatment of Detainees
Politically this is a smart move:The White House confirmed on Tuesday that the Pentagon had decided, in a major policy shift, that all detainees held in US military custody around the world are entitled to protection under the Geneva Conventions.The FT has learned that Gordon England, deputy defence secretary, sent a memo to senior defence officials an
 
Court: Jefferson search constitutional
Not that we had any doubt here but this is sure to see Sensenbrenner and Hastart apoplectic:A federal judge has ruled that an FBI raid in May on Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson’s Capitol Hill offices was constitutional, saying, "There was no impermissible intrusion on the legislature."The search of
 
Reviewing Hamdan
Now that a few days have passed, and I have had the time to review the decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (No. 05-184), two things about the case leap out at me.Before I detail those two things, let me say that, in the main, I agree with the central holding of Hamdan, which is that the congress should, by law, detail explicitly the procedures that must be followed
 
GA and NY Courts uphold bans on gay marriage
One of the dominant arguments for a federal Constitutional amendment for a ban on gay marriage has been that the attempts to do so by the people of several states through amendment of their state’s Constitution has been blocked by the courts through various means.Of course here at QandO, I believe I speak for all of us when I say we believe this is something which should be settled at a state level (if I’ve misspoken, my pards will le
 
The legal perils of peacekeeping failure
In a recent post I pointed to a sentence handed down to a convicted war criminal by a UN war crimes tribunal in Amsterdam. 2 years for standing by and not stopping those under his command from torturing and murdering at least 6 Serbians.Well apparently the  
New Orleans looters get 15 years
In sentencing 3 looters who had taken beer, wine and liquor during Hurricane Katrina, the judge said he was sending a message:The judge said he wanted to send a message that looting would not be tolerated when he gave the maximum sentence to Coralnelle Little, 36, Rhonda McGowen, 42, and Paul C. Pearson, 36, all of Kenner.A jury convicted the trio May 2 on a por
 
SCOTUS rejects military tribunals for Gitmo internees
Breaking.Good summary at the SCOTUS blog.The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that Congress did not take away the Court’s authority to rule on the military commissions’ validity, and then went ahead to rule that President Bush did not have authority to set up the tribunals at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and found the commissions illegal unde
 
Freedom of speech and the flag
As we all know, Congress is attempting to pass an amendment which would prohibit any form of flag desecration.The Supreme Court has repeatedly declared unconstitutional all previous attempts by Congress to pass laws against flag desecration on the grounds of free speech. Thus the reason for attempting a Constitutional amendment.I c
 
Rove: No indictment
I’m sure this will come as a complete surprise to Truthout.org and be an intense dissappointment to many on the left:The prosecutor in the C.I.A. leak case on Monday advised Karl Rove, the senior White House adviser, that he wou
 
Congress: Think they’ll get the message?
I doubt it:In the rift between Congress and the Justice Department, Americans side overwhelmingly with law enforcement: Regardless of precedent and the separation of powers, 86 percent say the FBI should be allowed to search a Congress member’s office if it has a warrant.That view is broadly bipartisan, this ABC News poll finds, ranging from 78 percent among Democrats to 94 p
 
Why outing Jesse Macbeth was important
This isn’t so much about Jesse Macbeth as it is about the importance of outing people like Jesse Macbeth.We just observed Memorial Day, where we say thanks to those who’ve sacrified their lives in military service to their country. And we say thank you on Veteran’s Day, to those living veterans who’ve served their country. Another thing we do as thanks for their service is provide benefits for service connected i
 
Supreme Court: No 1st Amendment protection for Whistleblowers
Sure to have a chilling effect?A divided Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that government whistleblowers have no First Amendment protection for comments involving their jobs.The justices ruled 5-4 against Richard Ceballos, a supervisor in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, who claimed that he had been subject to retaliation for a memo that
 
Jefferson Search: Frist gets it right
As ineffective, in most cases, as I feel Senator Bill Frist has been has the Senate Majority Leader, he got this one exactly right:In a break with his counterparts in the House, the Senate’s leader said Sunday the FBI was within its right to search the office of a congressman under investigation in a bribery case."No House memb
 
More FBI agents required to investigate political corruption
The Jefferson raid may only be the tip of the iceberg according to The Hill. And then there’s the on-again-off-again Hastert story. Bottom line - the FBI sees a reason to beef up its staff investigating campaign f
 
Karl Rove goes down in flames tomorrow! Maybe
According to a report from Wayne Madsen, whom I have never before in my life heard of, Karl Rove’s indictment is coming tomorrow.WMR can report tonight on more details concerning the confusing reports regarding Karl Rove and Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald from last Friday. WMR can confirm that the appearance of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales before the Grand Jury at the US Federa
 
RIAA v. XM
The Recording Industry Association of America—which, for my money, is one of the most irksome industry groups in the country—has now targeted XM Satellite Radio for a lawsuit.The Recording Industry Association of America is at it again, but this time, instead of suing individuals who download songs illegally from file-sharing networks, the music-industry bulldog is going after XM Satellite Radio.The RIAA, in the suit filed this wee
 
"Boyfriend" source of DNA in Duke Rape case
Michael Nifong has won reelection, the DNA has been confirmed, twice, as not originating with the 2 Duke lacrosse players, and now, it appears, the source has been identified as the woman’s "boyfriend":The second round of DNA test results in the Duke University rape investigation show "no conclusive match’’ to any lacrosse players, defense attorneys s
 
Rove: Indictment Imminent?
That’s what "Truthout" is reporting (via Joe Gandelman at "The Moderate Voice")Within the last week, Karl Rove told President Bush and Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, as well as a few other high level administration officials, that he will be indicted in the CIA leak case and will immediately resi
 
Meanwhile at Duke, 2nd DNA tests show no link
This case just gets screwier and screwier:A second round of DNA testing in the Duke University lacrosse rape case came back with the same result as the first — no conclusive match to any member of the team, defense attorneys said Friday.Attorney Joseph Cheshire, who represents a team captain who has not been c
 
Moussaoui asks for new trial
Wow, who knew you could get a fair trial in the US?Well apparently not Zacarias Moussaoui, until, of course, he was sentenced to life without parole to be served underground in a Colorado super maximum security prison. Or so he claims.Now suddenly Mr. Defiant, who laughed at despondent relatives of those killed on 9/11, is interes
 
Vaccines and Victims: limiting liability for Pharmaceutical companies
Harry Reid issued a statement concerning the White House pandemic flu plan. It’s the usual mix of faint praise and "we can do it better" rhetoric one has come to expect from the left side of the isle. But one paragraph struck me as worth discussing:"Finally, we need to make protecting the American people - not special interests - our highest priority. To accomplish t
 
Moussaoui punishment verdict
Don’t forget this is the verdict in the punishment phase of the Moussaoui trial. He was already found guilty of the charges brought against him.Al-Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui will spend the rest of his life in a maximum security prison for his role in the Sept. 11 attacks after a federal jury rejected the government’s four-
 
Sami Al-Arian’s "Martyrdom"
Former USF professor Sami al-Arian was a figure of some controversy several months ago. He was accused of terrorist affiliations, an accusation he vehemently denied. He then followed the usual course of claiming that he was a victim of prejudice, was being punished for exercising his free speech rights, wah, wah, wah. The usual drill.And his federal trial was a fiasco, and ended in a mistrial when the jury deadlocked on several of the charges, although
 
Duke Rape Case
I’ve refrained from commenting on the accusations of a stripper that she was raped by members of the Duke lacrosse team during a party.Sometimes it’s just best to sit back and watch a story develop. And this story has developed along pretty predictable lines given the fact that the players were white and the ’victim’ was black. So why am I using scare quotes around the word ’victim’?Well if you’ve re
 
This Term’s Kelo
This term, the Supreme Court will rule in perhaps the most important case since Kelo. The case is Hudson v. Michigan, and at stake is the legality of no-knock warrants. Radley Balko provides a roundup.As the name indicates, a "no-knock" raid occurs when police forcibly enter a private residence without
 
Padilla: SCOTUS refuses to hear case
The story claims a "significant victory" has been won by the Bush administration concerning its ability to hold those classified as "enemy combatants" indefinitely, even those who are US citizens captured on US soil:The justices voted 6-3 not to review the case of Jose Padilla, one of the most high-profile cases testing the administration’s anti-terrorism powers
 
SCOTUS: Warrants necessary if one occupant objects
I find nothing to object too concerning the court’s ruling in this case.The justices ruled 5-3 that police without a warrant cannot search a house when one resident agrees but another says no.In fact, I don’t see why this even required a ruling.If the police show up at your home, a home in which two of you live,
 
Equal Rights for All
Don Surber writes that men should also have abortion rights. This echoes an LA Times piece by Meghan Daum from last year, in which she writes:[A]lthough women are able to take control of their futures by choosing fr
 
Bush asks for line item veto
The president who has never vetoed a single bill is asking for the power to veto specific items within bills sent to him:President Bush plans to send proposed legislation to Congress on Monday that would allow him to control spending by vetoing specific items in larger bills, a Bush administration official said.My question is why would the Supreme Court find a new
 
Military on campus OK says SCOTUS
And it seems those who oppose it will have difficulty blaming the decision on the "conservative court". In an 8-0 decision, the court ruled that college campuses must allow military recruiters on campus if they accept federal funding:The justices unanimously upheld a government policy of threatening to cut off federal funds, in some cases hundreds of mill
 
Suing the "King of all Media"
Well, the first big legal controversy between terrestrial radio and satellite radio has been launched. At the center of the controversy is long-time CBS—and now Sirius—broadcaster Howard Stern.CBS Radio jolted shock jock Howard Stern and Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. on Tuesday with a $218-million lawsuit that alleged Stern mi
 
Contemplating a dangerous paradigm shift
Last week a lot of people were remarking on the fact that Bill Bennett and Alan Deshowitz were agreeing on something. That something had to do with the belief held by both that the press was failing us in both its duties and responsibilities. I can’t say I disagree, having made that point
 
And your point is?
Bruce Ramsay’s op/ed piece on Wal-Mart in the Seattle Times begins with a quote from a couple of Democratic politicians in Washington state:Wal-Mart has been shifting its health-care costs to taxpayers, said state Rep. Steve Conway, D-Tacoma. "I think taxpayers should be outraged.""It’s corporate welfare," said state Sen. Jeanne
 
By order of the state
An interesting development in an attempted California execution:The execution of a California man was delayed for at least 15 hours after two court-appointed anaesthesiologists walked off the job over ethical concerns.Michael Morales, whose attorney had recruited former Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr to back his bid for clemency
 
Rape a lesser offense in Italy if you’re not a virgin
Amazing what passes for reason in some regions of the world. This, from supposedly "enlightened" Italy:Sexually abusing a teenager is less serious a crime if the girl is not a virgin, Italy’s higher court said on Friday in a controversial ruling that immediately drew a barrage of criticism.The court ruled in favor of a man in his forties, i
 
Cory Maye is not Forgotten
The blogosphere often picks up an issue of the week, runs with it, then drops it like a hot potato. But there are certain issues that shouldn’t be forgotten, and that people need to keep being reminded of. One of these issues is the death sentence for Cory Maye, a man who was woken up oin the middle of the night by police serving a no-knock warrant on his neighbor, a drug dealer. Mr. Maye, unfortunately for one of the police officers, was an armed, law-abidi
 
Sweet Home Alabama
Where the legislators are so dense:Keg parties at fraternities and many other places would be outlawed under a bill passed 30-0 Tuesday by the state Senate.If the bill becomes law, people could drink draft beer only at a bar, restaurant, private club or other retail establishment licensed for beer sales by the state Alcoholic
 
Assisted suicide law found to be Constitutional
Calling Dr. Kevorkian. In a 6-3 decision today, the Supreme Court upheld Oregon’s assisted suicide law. Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia and Thomas dissented.Remember this is the nation’s only physician-assisted suicide bill.Right off the top, and given the precedent of Roe v. Wade, I don’t see how the co
 
Do Justice
Dale Franks recently related the "story of Judge Learned Hand and Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes" wherein "Judge Hand ran towards Holmes’ carriage and shouted, ’Do justice, Sir! Do justice!’ to which Judge Holmes replied, "That is not my job, sir. My job is to apply the law." It’s a telling story, illustrating the fine distinction between views of the judiciary — i.e., wise solon, or
 
Alito Hearings, Wednesday Edition
Some observations from today’s Alito hearings.Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) is concerned. He’s very, very concerned. He has a whole list of cases where Judge Alito has ruled for powerful institutions over individuals...some of whom are...black. Why, he wonders doesn’t Judge Alito rule in favor of Sen. Durbin’s preferred groups instead of businesses or the government.Well,
 
Bush and the AUMF: Creeping Power
I must both agree and disagree with Dale’s post on the implications of the AUMF. On the one hand, I absolutely agree that Congress has abdicated its oversight responsibilities and "through the [AUMF], given the Bush Administration, and, really, any administration that follows, too much of a wartime mandate." I’ve written previously on the need to  
Larry Fowlkes
UPDATE: Welcome to QandO and please read to the bottom of this post. I hope you’ll consider contacting Governor Warner and spreading the word about Larry Fowlkes. This is a rather unambiguous case of injustice, but one that can still be rectified. Sadly, almost a month after Radley Balko first picked up the story of Cory Maye, it seems the media has not elected to report
 
Warrantless Wiretaps III
David Tell, writing for the Editors of the Weekly Standard, looks beyond the legal issues, to talk about the pragmatic issues with foreign intelligence wiretaps and FISA. Set aside, for the moment, all the broad and complicated questions of law at issue here, and consider just the factual record as it’s been revealed in any number of au
 
More on the NSA Wiretaps
I note today that the reasoning in my previous post on the NSA wiretaps is receiving some support from unexpected quarters, from people who I don’t think can be considered shills for the Bush Administration. John Schmidt served under President Clinton from 1994 to 1997 as the associate attorney general of the United States. U of Chicago Law Professor Cass Sunstein is one of the country’s premier
 
Courting Disaster?
Dick Morris wonders if the position taken by the majority of Dems on the Patriot Act might not come back to haunt them when the subject of how serious they are about national security emerges in the next presidential election (or in ’06 for that matter):Anyone who wonders whether the Democratic Party in general and Sen. Hillary Clinton in particular are really toug
 
Those Warrantless Wiretaps
Much uproar has followed the revelation that the NSA has been spying on American citizens, sans warrants, and some of that uproar has appeared on this blog.Jon Henke:Naturally, many people will jump to defend the administration, pointing out that, you know, terrorists and evildoers and national security and what’re you, some kind of traitor who wants another