I’m sure there will be other contenders for the honor teased in the title, but I’m having a hard time thinking of one. Last night, voters went to the polls throughout the country and made their voices heard through the time-honored practice of waiting six hours in line until 1:30 a.m. As the results trickled in, candidates, elected officials, and pundits tossed out a number of pithy reactions, but one takes the cake.
Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado responded to the state’s passage of a ballot measure legalizing marijuana with this gem:
Don’t break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly.
Now I think Hickenlooper is criminally underselling Bugles, but this is pretty amazing. That’s a sitting United States governor tossing out a rejected line from a Cheech and Chong movie. I love modernity.
But why does Hickenlooper think we should hold on to our munchies?
* Actually, Judge Lamberth, calling a presidential candidate as “a European socialist” constitutes an endorsement — at least at most American law schools. [AP via WSJ Law Blog]
* News you can use: under the “Free File” program, opening tomorrow, the IRS and its private-sector partners will provide free tax preparation and electronic filing services to qualifying taxpayers (AGI of $54,000 or less — sorry, Biglaw denizens). [TaxProf Blog]
* The law school essay question: an unrecognized art form? [PrawfsBlawg]
* Practice pointer: don’t “recreate” correspondence to use as evidence in your case. Dramatic reenactments belong on television, not in court. [Feminist Law Professors]
* We just got called “the Matt Drudge of the legal world.” Our thanks to Neil Squillante for making our day. Now where did we put our animated siren GIF? [TechnoLawyer]
The Drudge Report headline blared, “Michigan Law: Adultery could lead to life in prison!” Fearing that Bill Clinton might be eligible for the death penalty — he’s been on our mind, since we rented Primary Colors yesterday — we clicked through to the underlying article, from the Detroit Free Press.
In a ruling sure to make philandering spouses squirm, Michigan’s second-highest court says that anyone involved in an extramarital fling can be prosecuted for first-degree criminal sexual conduct, a felony punishable by up to life in prison.
“We cannot help but question whether the Legislature actually intended the result we reach here today,” Judge William Murphy wrote in November for a unanimous Court of Appeals panel, “but we are curtailed by the language of the statute from reaching any other conclusion.”
And then the Free Press got catty:
No one expects prosecutors to declare open season on cheating spouses. The ruling is especially awkward for Attorney General Mike Cox…. In November 2005, Cox confessed to an adulterous relationship.
The AG’s office didn’t take kindly to the snark:
Cox’s spokesman, Rusty Hills, bristled at the suggestion that Cox or anyone else in his circumstances could face prosecution.
“To even ask about this borders on the nutty,” Hills told me in a phone interview Saturday. “Nobody connects the attorney general with this — N-O-B-O-D-Y — and anybody who thinks otherwise is hallucinogenic.”
Hills said Sunday that Cox did not want to comment.
Finally, this struck us as strange. When was the last time you heard of a sitting judge discussing an appellate panel’s deliberations with a news outlet, concerning a case that’s still pending in the courts? (The defendant is seeking leave to appeal from the Michigan Supreme Court.)
Chief Court of Appeals Judge William Whitbeck, who signed the opinion along with [Judge William] Murphy and Judge Michael Smolenski, said that Cox’s confessed adultery never came up during their discussions of the case.
“I never thought of it, and I’m confident that it was not something Judge Murphy or Judge Smolenski had in mind,” Whitbeck told me Friday.
But he chuckled uncomfortably when I asked if the hypothetical described in Murphy’s opinion couldn’t be cited as justification for bringing first-degree criminal sexual conduct charges against the attorney general.
Big news in the Duke lacrosse team rape sexual assault and kidnapping case. From ABC News:
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’s office and Mike Nifong’s office were not yet returned.
Smart guy, that Nifong. We wouldn’t want to prosecute this case either.
And from the New York Times:
“Michael B. Nifong, the Durham district attorney, faxed the request to Jim Coman, head of the state attorney general’s special prosecution unit, today, the official said. Mr. Nifong decided he had no choice but to hand off the case because he faces a conflict of interest with ethics charges pending against him for his public comments on the case, the official said….”
“The official said the attorney general’s office was expected to accept the referral. But the fate of the case is uncertain: Many experts wonder if the attorney general or another prosecutor will quickly drop the charges after assessing weaknesses in the credibility of the accuser….”
But Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is probably right:
If RBG were a swing vote on the Supreme Court, a la Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, maybe she’d have a colorable claim to the title of “most powerful woman in America.” But since she isn’t, Pelosi’s only possible competition is Oprah Winfrey. Pelosi ready to make history as new speaker [Washington Times via the amusingly alarmist Drudge Report]
(Yes, politics may lie slightly beyond the legal beat — but not by much. Senatrix Hillary Clinton is, of course, a lawyer by training. And if elected president, she’d probably get to appoint at least two Supreme Court justices. So we think we’ve established an adequate topical nexus for posting this amusing screenshot.) Clinton Reaches Out to Iowa, N.H. Dems [Associated Press via Drudge Report]
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The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
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