John McCain

Stephen Mark McDaniel

In prior coverage of Stephen Mark McDaniel, the Mercer Law School graduate accused of murdering his former neighbor and classmate, Lauren Giddings, we alluded to several emails that Stephen McDaniel sent to some of his classmates. Some students found the emails, which reflected McDaniel’s conservative political views, to be strange or disturbing.

Thanks to the kindness of several tipsters, we now have copies of some of the emails sent around Mercer Law by Stephen M. McDaniel. We will now share them with you, so you can judge for yourself whether there is anything in this correspondence that is troubling or problematic….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Collected Writings of Stephen McDaniel”

john_mccain.jpgIn a National Law Journal piece published today, Senator John McCain wrote at length about the law.

McCain said he was committed to three priorities:

I want to concentrate on what would be three important priorities in a McCain administration: keeping the Department of Justice politically neutral, focusing law enforcement programs on addressing important issues of the day and appointing strict constructionist judges.

The Justice department line sounds like another clear break from the policies of George W. Bush, a distinction McCain has been making more and more in the closing days of the campaign:

My first objective would be to ensure that the department is, and remains, above the political fray. The department must function with integrity and effectiveness above all else.

More from McCain after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “McCain Speaks About the Law”

Palin Vogue.JPGA Kansas City woman has sued Sarah Palin, John McCain, and other members of the McCain-Palin campaign in Federal Court. She alleges the Republican ticket has caused her “terror of the heart” over the safety of Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama.

According to the complaint:

Plaintiff Mary Kay Green, pro se, suffered profound despair at the assassinations of her beloved leaders President John. F. Kennedy and U.S. Senator Robert Kennedy and her hero the Reverend Martin Luther King, and suffers terror of the heart, anxiety and grave fear for the life of Presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Barack Obama, and her candidate for President, due to the reckless, intentional and irresponsible speeches, ads and conduct of Governor Sarah Palin, Presidential candidate and U.S. Senator John McCain and his campaign manager Richard “Rick” Davis to which she has been subjected to here in Kansas City, Missouri, and which are beyond “shouting fire in a public theater.

One blogger gives us some backstory on Ms. Mary Kay Green:

According to her personal web site, when not standing up to bullies, Mary Kay Green is “an attorney who — from her senior year in law school — has handled civil rights cases.” She is also the author of several books, including the soon to be released Sundance and Cherokee Moon: A Book about Robert Redford, Movies, Miracles, and Mania, and the appropriately titled Women of Courage. which chronicles the struggles of such women as Joan of Arc, Carrie Nation, and Rosa Parks.

But is this really necessary? I thought Obama was bulletproof. Check out the complaint below.

Mary Kay Green v. McCain-Palin.pdf

Lawsuit says supporter fears for Obama’s life [Kansas City Star]

A Woman Of Courage [Social Services for Feral Children]

political-pictures-ron-paul-crowd-supporters-mainstream-media.jpgWe received just over 1,200 responses to last week’s ATL / Lateral Link survey on politics in the workplace, and two things immediately became apparent.

First, there aren’t that many good political lolcats, so we’ve decided to make do with an lolronpaul (h/t punditkitchen).

Second, now that the general election is in full swing, political discourse is way up at law firms:

  * 86% of respondents reported that they discuss politics in the workplace, which is up from 74% back in February.

  * 92% noted that associates discuss politics (up from 80%).

  * 73% of respondents said that partners discuss politics (up from 64%).

  * 52% noticed that staff members discuss politics too (up from 38%).

But while conversations are up, actual campaigning is about the same:

  * Only 18% of respondents said that fellow associates had tried to convince them to vote for a particular candidate, and 15% said that associates had encouraged them to contribute to a campaign. This is about the same as what we reported in February.

  * Similarly, twelve percent of respondents said that partners had tried to swing their vote, but roughly sixteen percent reported that a partner had solicited a contribution. These, again, are the same numbers we saw in February.

  * About seventeen percent of respondents felt that their firms encouraged them to participate in political events, either for personal satisfaction or as a rainmaking opportunity. Only about 4% of respondents, however, felt the need to conform to any particular view.

Interestingly, only 9% of respondents said their firms were solidly Republican, in contrast to 50% who declared their firms Democrat territory. 24% of respondents said their firms were evenly mixed.

ATL’s readership has a similar liberal bent, with 60% of respondents deciding that Barack Obama won last week’s town hall debate, and 70% declaring that they will be voting for That One in a few weeks. 10% of respondents, however, were able to stay awake thought McCain won the debate, and 25% intend to vote for him.

But some of you would rather choose none of the above. One percent of respondents wrote in that they’ll be voting for Bob Barr, two people still look forward to voting for Hillary Clinton, three people will vote for Ralph Nader, and four people — not shown in the photo above — will be voting for Ron Paul.

Justin Bernold is a Director at Lateral Link, the sponsor of this Associate Life Survey.

don't bother earning money.JPGThe latest analysis of Obama’s and McCain’s tax plans show that both candidates will likely raise the marginal tax rate paid by most Americans:

Senator Obama’s tax plan includes a number of proposals for new or expanded tax benefits that are generally targeted to low- and moderate-income taxpayers. Many of these additions to the “skyline” change taxpayers’ effective marginal tax rates in important ways, lowering or raising them, sometimes significantly. …

Senator McCain’s tax plan also affects marginal rates, but for very different reasons. His tax plan includes only two individual tax proposals and only his health tax credit has a material effect on effective marginal tax rates.

For those of you who slept through Tax, the marginal tax rate is the tax you pay on your last dollar of income. A high marginal tax rate (generally) represents a direct disincentive to making more money.

The marginal tax rate will increase to 50% under Obama’s plan, 40% under McCain’s plan. For the visually inclined, TaxProf Blog has charts that show the effects of both plans — thankfully based on double income homes.

Does anybody still believe anything they hear? After the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Don’t Bother Earning Money”

funny-pictures-cat-makes-political-statement.jpgBack in February, our ATL / Lateral Link survey on politics in the workplace found that 74% of you were discussing politics in the workplace, but less than 3% of you felt any need to conform to a particular political view.

At the time, 20% of respondents said that their fellow associates had tried to convince them to vote for someone, and about 15% said that an associate had asked them to contribute to a campaign.

But those were the days of Hillary and Huckabee.

Now that we’re down to John McCain and That One, what do office politics look like today? Is there more pressure to attend events? Vote a certain way? Make a contribution?

Let’s find out.

Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.

Justin Bernold is a Director at Lateral Link, the sponsor of this Associate Life Survey.

john_mccain.jpgA few weeks ago we pointed out that 95% of law professors that have made a campaign contributions donated their money to Barack Obama. Those professors teach at some of the top law schools in the country.

But what about the 5% of professors that have contributed to John McCain? It has been previously reported that only Northwestern faculty favored McCain over Obama (regional rivalary between Northwestern and the University of Chicago?). Paul Caron over at TaxProf Blog tells us where to find law professors for McCain:

* Pepperdine: 100% ($3,250) to Republicans, 0 to Democrats

* South Texas: 100% ($1,020) to Republicans, 0 to Democrats

* Liberty: 100% ($555) to Republicans, 0 to Democrats

* Faulkner: 100% ($350) to Republicans, 0 to Democrats

* Marquette: 100% ($303) to Republicans, 0 to Democrats

* Oklahoma City: 100% ($255) to Republicans, 0 to Democrats

* Chapman: 100% ($250) to Republicans, 0 to Democrats

* Ohio Northern: 100% ($250) to Republicans, 0 to Democrats

* George Mason: 81.7% ($4,450) to Republicans, 18.3% ($1,000) to Democrats

* Duquesne: 78.9% ($1,500) to Republicans, 21.1% ($400) to Democrats

* St. Louis: 77.3% ($850) to Republicans, 22.7% ($250) to Democrats

* Syracuse: 50.2% ($700) to Republicans, 49.8% ($695) to Democrats

* Alabama: 50.0% ($250) to Republicans, 50.0% ($250) to Democrats

A few tipsters offered an explanation for why the Northwestern faculty favored McCain:

The Northwestern numbers are so skewed to the GOP side because of two profs, Calabresi and McGinnis. The former was my 1L Con Law prof and, despite being incredibly wrong on many issues, is one of the nicest professors I’ve ever had. The latter is moonbat insane.

What about these other schools? Pepperdine professors have contributed more than the maximum individual contribution, so there are at least a couple of McCain supporters out in Malibu. Any idea why the 3-1-0 skews towards McCain?

McCain Law Schools [Tax Prof Blog]

Earlier: Birds That Look Like Law Professors Flock Together

law clerk judicial clerkship Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgSome of you might remember that there is a presidential election going on. Turnout is expected to be high and many voters will be participating for the first time.

However, if you are a federal clerk you had better keep your political opinions to yourself. Free speech does not exist for you. One of our readers pointed out:

I just accepted a position as a federal law clerk for the 2009-10 term. I also have an Obama sticker on my bumper and an Obama sign in my yard. According to Ethics for Federal Judicial Law Clerks (p.20), I would be violating Canon 5 of the Code of Conduct for Judicial Employees if I were currently clerking.

Pretty much. The scope of political activity is curtailed not just by the canons of judicial ethics, but also by the Hatch Act. As a clerk, you are discouraged from giving money, attending events, you’re not even allowed to wear a campaign button to work.

We’re all for judicial impartiality, but making clerks say “I don’t know nothin about birthin’ no babies” seems a bit undemocratic (small “d”) to us. Federal clerks participate in some of the most important decisions about how we live, and we expect them to be able to weigh both sides without passion or prejudice. But a bumper sticker removes the veil of ignorance and reduces clerks to partisan hacks? A legal fiction is one thing, this is a legal farce.

Luckily for new clerks like our reader, this is not a problem for 2009-2010 clerks. They can go nuts until they are “official” federal employees. But current clerks can attest to the exact moment where free speech falls to the illusion of impartiality.

Update: If you’re interested in learning more about clerkships, and if you’ll be in Washington on Saturday, October, 4, this free event may be of interest to you.

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of clerkships

Sarah Palin Alaska Governor Sarah Palin hottie.jpgAccording to the New York Times, John McCain has tapped Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate.
Appeal to disaffected Clinton voters? Trying to lock up the Mike Gravel fan base?
Update: Although Governor Palin is not a lawyer, there have already been several legal issues mentioned with regard to her candidacy. Just last month, her own state legislature opened an investigation into allegations that she tried to get her ex-brother-in-law fired from his state trooper job
Law professor Ann Althouse has already gone on record with a furry opinion about Palin’s credentials.
Without a professional legal background to pontificate on (compare Joe Biden), we here at ATL will continue to scour our sources to bring you the latest on Palin’s positions about the things that matter to lawyers, big and small. Anyone know her views on SCOTUS nominations?
McCain Chooses Palin as Running Mate [New York Times]
Alaska’s Palin Faces Probe [Wall Street Journal]

john_mccain.jpgJohn McCain doesn’t have the interesting gender or diversity points that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have, but he does have some immigrant cred. He was not born in one of the United States of America, and there are “at least three pending cases… challenging McCain’s right to be sworn in as president.”

The Senate is willing to consider him a “natural born citizen” — but the senators’ opinion doesn’t really matter. From the Washington Post:

The Senate has unanimously declared John McCain a natural-born citizen, eligible to be president of the United States.

That is the good news for the presumptive Republican nominee, who was born nearly 72 years ago in a military hospital in the Panama Canal Zone, then under U.S. jurisdiction. The bad news is that the nonbinding Senate resolution passed Wednesday night is simply an opinion that has little bearing on an arcane constitutional debate that has preoccupied legal scholars for many weeks.

That’s right. This decision may not be up to some lawyers turned politicians. It may go to the legal big boys. SCOTUS, baby.

Sarah H. Duggin, an associate law professor at Catholic University who has studied the “natural born” issue in detail, said the question is “not so simple.” While she said McCain would probably prevail in a determined legal challenge to his eligibility to be president, she added that the matter can be fully resolved only by a constitutional amendment or a Supreme Court decision.

This is not the first time this debate has made news. Back in February, we reported on articles in the New York Times and WSJ Law Blog.

We conducted a poll then asking whether you agreed with the statement, “John McCain is a ‘natural-born citizen’ entitled to serve as president.” Since we’re certain that all ATL readers are highly-educated legal scholars and thorough researchers, the 65 percent of you who agreed with the statement must be right. We’ll let SCOTUS know stat.

McCain’s Birth Abroad Stirs Legal Debate [Washington Post]

Earlier: John McCain: A ‘Natural-Born Citizen’?

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