Politics

This is a lawmaker? Like, a person who makes laws? This person has no business anywhere near laws that affect women or other human beings.

Jess McIntosh, a spokeswoman for EMILY’s List, a women’s political action committee, commenting on remarks made by New Hampshire Rep. Steve Vaillancourt about Rep. Ann McLane Kuster’s bid for re-election.

(This weekend, Vaillancourt compared Kuster to an unattractive drag queen in a blog post, further wondering, “Does anyone not believe that Congressman Annie Kuster is as ugly as sin? And I hope I haven’t offended sin.” Ouch.)

The latest batch of presidential papers from the Clinton Administration, recently released to the public, contain some fun nuggets for law nerds. We’ve mentioned a few of them already — e.g., the time that a pre-robescent Elena Kagan, then a White House staffer, dropped the f-bomb in a memo to White House counsel Jack Quinn. Another just came to light today: as reported by Tony Mauro, a pre-robescent John Roberts, then in private practice at Hogan & Hartson, came close to representing President Clinton in the U.S. Supreme Court in Clinton v. Jones.

The papers contain other interesting tidbits too — and some are sad rather than salacious. For example, there’s the story of how a brilliant and distinguished circuit judge came thisclose to landing a seat on the Supreme Court, until health problems derailed his nomination….

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* Zombies responsible for tort. It’s like Walking Dead but with more motion practice. [PrawfsBlawg]

* As much as you hate pocket dialing someone, you don’t hate it as much as these people who pocket dialed 911 while making a drug deal. [Legal Juice]

* Ever wonder why AIG seemed to fare much worse under the bailout than the banks? Perhaps that’s because the government used the AIG bailout to play favorites and help out all their banking buddies. [Medium]

* Here’s one out of left field: Oregon’s first lady had a secret marriage to an 18-year-old immigrant 11 years her junior. Was this a “green card marriage” (i.e., a felony)? My home state doesn’t have great luck with political figures and legal trouble. [Willamette Week]

* Is law one of the most profitable industries for private companies? Of course it is. [Inc.]

* Guess what? Spending decades decrying “for’ners” for stealing hard-earned American cash, people consistently believe we spend tons more on foreign aid than we really do. [The Volokh Conspiracy / Washington Post]

* Legendary plaintiffs’ attorney Fred Levin talks about the ongoing effort to demonize plaintiffs lawyers. Video after the jump…. [Mimesis Law]

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Or at least the Washington Post alleges that one Yale Law student loved a hooker. Why is the Washington Post so interested in how a Yale Law student spends his time and money? Well, because that Yale Law student, Jonathan Dach, was working for the White House and hotel logs indicate he brought a woman back to the Colombia hotel where the president was set to stay. The Post claims that Homeland Security later fingered this woman as a prostitute. Hey, he was injecting his business into the local economy!

Anyway, the Post claims the White House covered this all up. Oh, and later promoted him to a job in the State Department. Which job? Policy advisor in the Office of Global Women’s Issues. [Dramatic Chipmunk]

If the idea of bringing prostitutes to hotels while traveling ahead of the president sounds familiar, it’s because the Secret Service did the same thing ON THE SAME TRIP, and the agents involved were pilloried and fired. So guess who’s really pissed off that the White House stuck its neck out for its own while throwing them under the bus?

Sex, corruption, hypocrisy, oh my! And yet, should anyone even care about this? The answer is “yes,” but not for any of the reasons you’ll hear from the nattering nabobs….

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It has been an intense week in the Lone Star State. A rough week to be Texas Department of Health Commissioner David Lakey, to be sure. When either of the words “abortion” or “Ebola” enter local headlines, it’s not a slow news week. Texas headlines have had both.

On Thursday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that the State of Texas can begin implementing controversial parts of HB 2, the law placing new restrictions on the facilities authorized to perform abortions. Though a district court ruled earlier that HB 2 violated some Texas women’s rights by placing an undue burden on their access to abortion, the Fifth Circuit disagreed.

Meanwhile, Texas officials confirmed this week that a man in Dallas is infected with the Ebola virus. Thomas Eric Duncan contracted the deadly disease while in Liberia earlier this month, although his symptoms did not manifest until last week. In Liberia, Duncan reportedly helped care for a neighbor’s daughter who later died of Ebola. A few days later, Duncan boarded flights to Brussels, then Dulles, then Dallas. Nine days after his contact with the infected woman, while visiting Texas, Duncan became ill. And now every person in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex who ate bad sushi this week, or caught a stomach bug, is looking at their symptoms with a whole lot more suspicion and dread than usual. Because this is pretty damned terrifying.

What do abortion and ebola have in common (aside from making David Lakey’s life miserable this week)?

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What’s all the fuss with Trinity Western law school? For those who don’t know, Trinity Western is a private university in British Columbia. Its stated mission is to change lives “through its whole-person, Christ-centred approach to education.”

We don’t have very many religious four-year colleges and universities. Trinity Western is one of the few I can name. The U.S., of course, has a long history of religion-affiliated colleges. The Catholics have Loyola-here and Loyola-there, the Jews have Brandeis and Yeshiva, Muslims have Zaytuna, the Protestants have Bob Jones, etc.

Trinity Western is our country’s Bob Jones. Every student has to sign a long covenant (we’ll call it “The Covenant”) that includes the following promise:

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The View From Up North: Meet Canada’s Most Discriminating Law School”

Eric Holder

Now that Eric Holder has announced his departure as attorney general, talk has turned to who his successor will be — and should be. Early buzz has centered around Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, but there are other compelling candidates as well, including lots of legal luminaries that Above the Law readers will recognize.

Who will be our nation’s next AG? And who should be the next AG? Let’s discuss….

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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

If there was one decision I would overrule, it would be Citizens United. I think the notion that we have all the democracy that money can buy strays so far from what our democracy is supposed to be.

– Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, explaining the reasons why she thinks Citizens United was one of the worst Supreme Court decisions of recent times, after being asked her opinion in a wide-ranging interview with Jeffrey Rosen of the New Republic.

(What do you think is the worst SCOTUS ruling in recent memory? Tell us.)

She’s not a porn star, she’s a law student. We could see where you might be confused by that one.

* Now that we know Eric Holder is resigning, there’s been speculation as to where he’ll go next. The obvious choice is a return to Covington & Burling, but he could still surprise everyone. [National Law Journal]

* “Judicial campaign cash is burning a hole in the Constitution.” State court judges are pumping money into their election campaigns, and some have been left to wonder about its true price. [New York Times]

* Details have emerged as to conditions that must be met for Bingham McCutchen’s proposed merger with Morgan Lewis: partner promises, de-equitizations, and forgivable loans, oh my! [Reuters (sub. req.)]

* In the wake of Dean Makau Mutua’s decision to step down at Buffalo Law, a “deep rift” among faculty has been brought to light. The school’s future doesn’t seem as “bright” as we were once told. [Buffalo News]

* A former law student who was falsely identified as a porn star on the radio had her day in court and pulled out a win. Here’s the money shot: she’s walking away with $1 million in damages. [Kansas City Star]

President Obama formally announced the resignation of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder this week. Filling the position ordinarily poses a political challenge, but installing Holder’s successor will be particularly rancorous. And we have Eric Holder himself to thank for that.

With Congressional midterm elections weeks away, confirmation hearings for a new AG any time soon seemed unlikely at first. However, Senator Patrick Leahy (D – VT), the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced that he intends to urge the confirmation process onward. “Definitely, we should have confirmation hearings as quickly as possible in the Senate,” Leahy told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. Changes to Senate rules allow debate to end over executive and judicial branch nominees (except for nominees for Supreme Court vacancies) with a simple majority vote, rather than a supermajority of 60 votes. At least until the January 2015 session, when the Senate can revisit the rule change, Senators cannot filibuster the vote on Eric Holder’s potential successor. No matter what shifts occur after the upcoming elections, Republicans hold only 45 seats in the Senate until January 2015. So, Democrats acting quickly hold an advantage. However, Democratic senators facing dicey election contests may not be enthusiastic about their party’s push for hearings before the election.

The AG confirmation process opens a new battlefield in the war between supporters of President Obama and his critics. The battle to confirm Eric Holder’s successor promises to be messy. Senate Republicans will treat the process as a referendum on everything President Obama has done — possibly everything his critics suspect he might want to do. Washington politics makes this sort of fight possible. The timing of Holder’s resignation, a few weeks ahead of Congressional midterm elections, makes this plausible. But Eric Holder himself made this battle necessary.

So, how did Holder generate so much bad blood?

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