Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Righteous Indignation, our new column for conservative-minded lawyers.
You probably saw this week’s topic coming. Until the folks at One First Street start tossing Elie and me some fresh meat to tussle over, my indignation — righteous as it is — must be directed elsewhere. Unless EM wants to argue that, when SCOTUS decided that Pelkey’s claim was not preempted by federal law in Dan’s City Used Cars, Inc. v. Pelkey, the Nine were, like, racist or something. (Query: what race is Dan? Where was the supplemental briefing?!)
So. The IRS’s targeting of conservative groups applying for 501(c)(4) status. I couldn’t not talk about this scandal, right?
Truly, I kept avoiding devoting this week’s column to the IRS abuses. Seriously.
For one thing, I was not initially so scandalized by this supposed scandal, though I was appropriately dismayed. Second, this story is still developing. So, I hereby reserve my right to be feverishly pissed off later….
* New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg commissioned a report on SDNY Judge Shira Scheindlin in advance of her ruling on the NYPD’s controversial “hey, you’re black, come get a pat down” “stop-and-frisk” policy. According to the report, Judge Scheindlin is biased because she ruled against the NYPD in search and seizure cases 60% of the time. An alternative read is that the NYPD is really bad at following the Constitution. Occam’s Razor strikes again. [New York Daily News]
* STRIKE!: Legal Services NYC walked off the job this morning after rejecting new contract offers. [New York Law Journal]
* Pentagon Papers lawyer James C. Goodale thinks President Obama, whose administration seized phone records of journos, is worse than President Nixon, who tried to charge the New York Times for conspiracy to commit espionage. Because hyperbole is the awesomest thing in the world! [New York Observer]
* Tennessee law grad and judicial affairs director fired amid allegations she hooked up with Tennessee basketball player Trae Golden. [MStars News]
* After revelations earlier that Arkansas wasn’t “buying American” and instead getting its death penalty drugs from the UK, the pharmaceutical company announced it would cut off the supply, joining a number of drug companies that are practically slowing executions around the country by limiting supply. [YubaNet]
* After the post, check out the Biglaw firm using 4square way too much…
Dear Republicans who are multi-orgasmic over this IRS scandal, just skip this article. Skip the comments. We get it: “OBAMA… had the GOVERNMENT… like, DO STUFF… which PROVES that taxes are bad!!!” Click over to Red State and bathe in the echo chamber. Here, the adults need to have a talk.
My question for the lawyers is this: how are we supposed to check the validity of groups asking for 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status? I mean, let’s look at this “scandal” in the way the justice system will look at it, without all the partisan accusations:
Group asks for 501(c)(4) status.
Group has anti-government message in its very name.
Group doesn’t apply for 527 status as a political organization because???
IRS asks questions to figure out if these groups are really “social welfare” organizations.
I’m open to the possibility that the IRS did something wrong. I’d just like somebody to tell me what the hell they were supposed to do? Just rubber stamp it? Because if that’s true, I certainly think this website is concerned about the “social welfare” and would like to be tax-exempt.
Maybe we should ask the woman in charge of the IRS Exempt Organization Division if we can get tax-exempt status? She’s actually getting an honorary tribute at a law school this weekend…
I don’t want to give a lot of burn to this story today, because sadly it is not news when a “Republican” Supreme Court justice takes a shot at the president of the United States. Conservative justices are just allowed to say crappy things about the president — this president — with everybody just accepting their partiality without calling for recusals. And depending on who gets to write what in Fisher, we’re going to have another opportunity to talk about Clarence Thomas’s ongoing jihad against black people in America who are not like him.
But we do have to at least mention Thomas’s latest slam at black people. As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, Justice Thomas suggested that Obama only got to be president because he was a black man who said things “approved” by the media and elites.
Funny, I’d think that talking about his long dong silver would be exactly the kind of thing elites expected to hear from a black man.
What’s really happening is that Thomas continues to think that people hate him because he’s a black conservative, when really people hate him because he’s a black a**hole…
* It’s springtime, and the nation’s highest court is getting ready to drop some of its biggest decisions yet. If Tolkien had written this, Justice Kennedy would be the one to bear the One Vote. [UPI]
* But for SCOTUS to maintain legitimacy in the eyes of the people, its justices must do battle against a “modern-day tsunami of special interests.” How well are they doing? [National Law Journal]
* To answer that question, let’s look at their record. Political labels aside, thus far, the Roberts court has shaped up to be “the most pro-business court since the mid-1930s.” [New York Times]
* Meanwhile, Justice Thomas has been busy taking shots at President Obama, noting that he always knew the first black president had to be pre-screened by “the elites” and “the media.” [Mother Jones]
* Sometimes even federal prosecutors are willing to take pity upon rich old white men: Mel Weiss, formerly of Milberg LLP, won’t be returning to jail after his foray into DUI territory. [Am Law Daily]
* “Chevron can afford to litigate this case ‘until hell freezes over.’ But [Steven] Donziger can’t.” As it turns out, clients who can’t pay their bills are problematic for John Keker of Keker & Van Nest. [Reuters]
Earlier this week, President Barack Obama reiterated his interest in shutting down the prison at Guantanamo Bay: “I’ve asked my team to review everything that’s currently being done in Guantanamo, everything that we can do administratively, and I’m going to reengage with Congress to try to make the case that this is not in the best interests of the American people.”
President Obama isn’t alone in being troubled by goings-on at Guantanamo. This morning I attended an interesting panel discussion where a retired admiral, the former Judge Advocate General of the Navy, spoke out in favor of closing Gitmo….
Ed. note: This is the second installment of Righteous Indignation, our new column for conservative-minded lawyers.
In Pennsylvania earlier this week, the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell drew to a close. Gosnell, a West Philadelphia abortion doctor, is accused of murdering four children who were allegedly born alive after Gosnell’s efforts to abort them. The jury now considers four counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of the children, along with one count of third-degree murder for the death of Karnamaya Mongar, a Bhutanese refugee to whom Gosnell allegedly gave a lethal overdose of Demerol. He also faces twenty-three counts of performing illegal late-term abortions. If convicted of first-degree murder, Gosnell faces the death penalty.
Trial witnesses, including clinic workers, offered gruesome testimony. Some of the allegations: the lethal drug Gosnell injected into the babies in utero failed to stop their hearts, and they emerged from their mothers’ birth canals breathing, wriggling, even crying; Gosnell then “snipped” the backs of the babies’ necks with scissors, severing their spinal cords; and Gosnell joked about the size of the “fetuses” whose spinal cords he cut, including a baby who he said was big enough “to walk me home.”
A mother of another of Gosnell’s alleged victims reportedly delivered her baby into a toilet while waiting for Dr. Gosnell. A clinic worker testified that the child made swimming motions in the toilet bowl before another employee snipped the child’s neck. Prosecutors dubbed Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society clinic a “House of Horrors”….
Late last week, Time magazine released the Time 100, its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. This year, even more lawyers were present on the list than in last year’s troop, and many of them are considered household names.
Although lawyers now represent about 14 percent of this list, only a handful of them were recognized for their work in the legal profession. Some of the representative career alternatives for attorneys on this list include leaders of the free world, fashion icons, and arbiters of athletic fairness.
So which legal eagles soared into the Time 100, and were there any repeat honorees? Let’s find out….
* President Obama apologized to Kamala Harris after referring to her as the “best-looking attorney general in the country.” We’re guessing the First Lady was none too pleased with her husband’s behavior. [New York Times]
* If you’re unemployed (or were the victim of a recent layoff), try to keep your head up, because there’s still hope for you. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the legal sector added 2,000 jobs last month. [Am Law Daily]
* The 10 percent vacancy rate on the nation’s federal courts is unacceptable and the New York Times is ON IT. Perhaps D.C. Circuit hopeful Sri Srinivasan will have some luck at this week’s judicial confirmation hearing. [New York Times]
* Shine bright like A. Diamond: Howrey’s bankruptcy trustee is still trying to get “unfinished business” settlements from several Biglaw firms, but managed to secure funds from ALAS. [Capital Business / Washington Post]
* Contrary to what law deans tell you in the op-ed pages, if you want to work as a real lawyer, it actually matters where you go to law school. We’ll probably have more on this later today. [National Law Journal]
The thousands of NYU faithful crowding Washington Square park last night unleashed a torrent of cheers upon seeing plumes of white smoke arising from Furman Hall, signaling the selection of a new dean for the School of Law.
The hiring comes after former Dean Ricky Revesz announced that he was stepping down from the post he held for the last 11 years (though Revesz will remain on faculty at NYU, sort of a Dean Emeritus).
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