I didn’t go to Eric Holder’s big speech at the ABA annual meeting on Monday. I kind of halfheartedly tried to go, but there were a lot of people who wanted to see Holder say something they could’ve read about online hours earlier.
If the ABA had invited Secretary of Education Arne Duncan over to speak about the horrendous abuse of federal funds by purveyors of higher education, I’d have smashed my way in. But in the crush of people trying to get a look at the Attorney General trying to dismantle a big part of the United States “War On Drugs,” I was reminded that regulating legal education is a small part of what the ABA does — and a part that isn’t of great institutional importance to the organization. The ABA wants a seat at the policy table when it comes to big sexy issues of justice and legal services. Preventing member institutions from price-gouging young people doesn’t get its logo splashed across all the major news networks.
So, Eric Holder delivered a big policy address. And later, by which point I was on a plane, Hillary Clinton spoke about how she’ll be speaking about other things as she doesn’t run for president just yet. Holder! Hillary! Marvel at the ABA’s relevance in national policy debates!
Except, they’re not relevant. Holder did make an important speech on Monday, and he couldn’t have found a more supportive group for his take-down of mandatory minimums had he been speaking to potheads in Golden Gate Park. But really, the ABA isn’t going to be any more helpful when it comes to actually convincing Congress than a meeting of the 4:20 club…
The committee voted 10-8 to approve Millett’s nomination. Take a guess what all the voters had in common? Yes, the 10 Democrats voted “Aye” and the 8 Republicans voted “Nay.” Yet even while voting her down, the Republicans went out of their way to note that Millett was qualified for the post, but opposed her on the bogus argument Senator Grassley has been pushing that the D.C. Circuit is “underworked.”
During the hearings, Senator Grassley cited two anonymous letters, presumably from D.C. Circuit judges, to support his stance. Sounding very “Secret Plan to End the Vietnam War,” the anonymous poll felt very unscientific and shady.
Now we’ve got a hold of the secret survey Grassley sent judges. It’s as entertaining as his Tweets…
Last month, we reported on the mounting evidence that NYU, both the university as a whole and the law school specifically, employed a number of charitable organizations to provide faculty and staff with what can be safely called sweetheart deals on real estate and loans.
The investigation is a little unfortunate, given that it arises from a political witch hunt directed by Senator Chuck Grassley against Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. But a Senate investigation is a Senate investigation and NYU needs to suck it up and comply.
But, according to Grassley, NYU has ever so politely given him the finger…
This site has a reputation for suggesting that law schools run students into debt and pocket the cash while providing less and less to their students. (I don’t have the time to find one story, but here’s every story Elie has ever written.) We have articles on increasing debt. We have features on the salaries of law school professors.
Some call the business model of law schools a scandal.
But you can’t really have a scandal without Senate investigations uncovering secret slush funds, right?
The appellate court facing the most complex workload in the country is also tiny and overworked. Only the First Circuit has fewer active slots, and with three vacancies, the D.C. Circuit has fewer judges than its sibling courts with 11 active judges.
So it should come as no surprise that some senators are actively trying to shrink the D.C. Circuit.
The crux of their beef is that actually filling the three vacancies on the court would constitute court packing, because no one on the Hill has bothered to pick up an AP U.S. History textbook and figure out what “court packing” means.
But when you strip away the partisan stupidity and actually look at the numbers, there’s a really good argument in favor of “court packing” because this Circuit could use an extra judge or two…
* On this episode of Supreme Court Retirement Watch, we learn that for whatever reason, Justice Breyer is “having the time of his life,” and so once again, all eyes are upon Justice Ginsburg. Maybe in 2015, folks. [The Hill]
* How unusual that a federal judge would see a confirmation in less than three months. If only Chuck Grassley owed favors to all of the nominees. Congratulations to Jane Kelly, now of the Eighth Circuit. [Legal Times]
* Thanks to an unprecedented ruling from Judge Dolly Gee, mentally disabled immigrants facing deportation will receive government-paid legal representation. New law school clinics, assemble! [New York Times]
* “Among the things the ABA is working on, this may be the most important.” Too bad the Task Force on the Future of Education seems to suffer from too many cooks in kitchen. [National Law Journal]
* Another one bites the dust: Team Strauss/Anziska’s lawsuit against Brooklyn Law School over its allegedly phony employment statistics has been dismissed. Sad trombone. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]
* Justin Teixeira, one of the Berkeley law students accused in the Las Vegas bird beheading, waived an evidentiary hearing so the media couldn’t squawk about video images they’d see. [Crimesider / CBS News]
Given the events of this week, it’s important for us to understand the gaps and loopholes in our immigration system. While we don’t yet know the immigration status of people who have terrorized the communities in Massachusetts, when we find out it will help shed light on the weaknesses of our system.
How can individuals evade authority and plan such attacks on our soil? How can we beef up security checks on people who wish to enter the United States? How do we ensure that people who wish to do us harm are not eligible for benefits under the immigration laws, including this new bill before us?
Forget the vast right-wing conspiracy. Forget the secret Communists hiding out in America. Over the weekend, the New York Times unleashed a massive article blowing the lid off the scariest conspiracy of them all: the secret Food and Drug Administration surveillance conspiracy.
Apparently, the FDA has been spying on some of its scientists, seeking out “enemies” of the agency, reading scientists’ private correspondence with everyone from journalists to attorneys to Barack Obama, taking screenshots of their personal computers, and more. The agency is facing accusations of privacy and whistleblower violations, and the scandal is so absurd that one senator has called the FDA the Gestapo.
SOPA is getting pwned. Yesterday, all the uber players with their epic gear hopped on Vent and raided the SOPA base, and now the newbie Congress people who sponsored the law are running scared. As we mentioned in Morning Docket, the sponsors of the Stop Online Piracy Act have “renounced” their law. The New York Times reports that Senators and Congresspeople are abandoning this thing like it was a campaign promise.
Google, Wikipedia, Reddit, all of the big internet corporations flexed their muscles — and oh, by the way, this is what it looks like when corporations use speech for speech, as opposed to pretending that anonymous corporate campaign contributions magically count as speech.
In the wake of this victory, here’s a question: Is this what we want? Yesterday, the internet used its power for good (though I fear the movie industry will strike back by making you watch full-length Kevin James movies before you can download the next Batman preview). But what if in the future “the internet” wants something bad, something that is more than the mere protection of freedom?
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