Guns / Firearms

Listen closely. Do you hear that sound? That is the sound of gun rights advocates emitting a yawning silence over the death of Michael Brown. An unarmed teen was shot dead in the street, sparking a national controversy. In any other situation like that, the Second Amendment nuts would be telling us that perhaps the victim could have “defended himself” if he had a gun.

In other news, citizens’ constitutional rights are being abridged by state actors. The Second Amendment is there, at least in part, so that ordinary citizens may defend themselves should the state unlawfully abridge constitutional rights… so the story goes. If the Feds were trying to bring medicine into an episode of Doomsday Preppers, gun nuts would be talking about their rights to a well armed militia. In Ferguson, the government is arresting journalists, and not a peep for those who think the Second Amendment is necessary to give citizens the ability to defend their constitutional rights. The Daily Beast called out the NRA today. This is the kind of situation the NRA usually politicizes to full effect….

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Michael Brown, age 18 and a high school graduate, was scheduled to begin college classes on Monday.

He won’t be. He was shot, unarmed with his hands in the air, by police near his apartment on Saturday afternoon. The shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, a mostly black working-class St. Louis suburb of 20,000, has ignited outrage and skepticism of the police’s explanation for the shooting.

As Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, told Steve Giegerich of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the shooting took place as her son was walking to his grandmother’s residence.

One witness, Piaget Crenshaw, gave this account to Giegerich:

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Robin Williams

* “No person, no matter how high, is above the law.” It would seem Chief Judge John Roberts is unfamiliar with many of the attorneys we write about on a daily basis. [Associated Press]

* Considering many Americans can’t name a single justice, whether the high court issues 9-0 or 5-4 opinions likely matters little, but Cass Sunstein has a study on it. [New York Times]

* Judge Mark Fuller (M.D. AL) spent a night in jail this weekend after an alleged domestic violence incident with his wife. He paid $5,000 bond before he was released. Uhh… Roll Tide? [CNN]

* The ABA moved forward with reforms to help students gain clinical and distance-learning opportunities. Alas, being paid for work was too controversial this time. [National Law Journal]

* A woman who was trapped inside a law firm as a gunman opened fire before killing himself is now suing everyone for damages. You’d probably sue, too — it must’ve been terrifying. [Times-Picayune]

* Robin Williams, the beloved actor who recently played a very disgruntled lawyer, RIP. [ABC News]

Former White House press secretary and gun regulation activist James Brady died last week. The coroner has apparently ruled Brady’s death a homicide. Nothing new happened, the coroner is simply saying that the bullet to the head that Brady took 33 years ago killed him. As murders go, this was an extremely long-tailed killing. Crim law professors of the world rejoice: life just delivered your next issue spotter.

But can a death three decades after a shooting open the door to a murder prosecution?

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Dan Markel

More than a week has passed since our last report on the investigation into the killing of Professor Dan Markel, and there has been disturbingly little progress — or at least publicly disclosed progress — in the inquiry. No arrests have been made, and no suspects have been identified.

But we have do have a few small updates, which we will share with you now. One of them is quite disturbing….

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* The NRA’s general counsel was once convicted of murder. What’s the phrase? If you outlaw guns, only general counsel will have guns… [Mother Jones]

* Seattle is looking for people donating skulls to Goodwill. Wow, if Jeffrey Dahmer had only known there was a charitable tax write-off available. [Lowering the Bar]

* “A domestic helper has appeared in court accused of trying to injure her employer by mixing her menstrual blood in a pot of vegetables she was cooking.” Eww. [Legal Juice]

* Can Congress sue the president? Here are multiple takes. [The Volokh Conspiracy / Washington Post]

* As the confirmation of Pamela Harris to the Fourth Circuit reminds us, “that whole nuclear option has really worked out.” So far. [Huffington Post]

* Money magazine is looking to create a ranking of undergraduate schools heavy on outcome-based factors. If you need any hints on how to do it, let us know. [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

* Donald Sterling has lost, which is something he knows a lot about from his years of owning the Clippers. Here’s Mitchell Epner’s review of the ruling and its appealability. [CNBC]

Dan Markel

The investigation into the shocking and tragic murder of Professor Dan Markel continues, as we noted in Morning Docket. The police recently released additional details about the crime — but are withholding certain pieces of information, for strategic reasons.

How much progress has been made in the investigation, and what are the latest developments?

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* “[T]he nation’s last explicit ban of the right to bear arms has bitten the dust.” On Saturday, a federal judge said D.C. couldn’t ban the carrying of guns in public for self-defense. [Legal Times]

* Late on Friday, Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage was tossed by a state judge, making it latest in a string of major legal victories for marriage equality. Congrats, Floridians! [Bloomberg]

* There’s been some new updates in the case of Dan Markel, the young FSU Law professor who was murdered in his own home. We’ll have more on the details police released later today. [CNN]

* “I’ve come to the realization I’d really like to have a paycheck at some point.” Ouch. Law school graduates in Florida are starting to feel the pain of a very tough job market, and they’re not too happy about the situation. [Tampa Bay Times]

* “[T]hey treat us like step children instead of adoptees.” A group of Texas Wesleyan Law graduates have filed a complaint (in vain?) with the ABA in the pursuit of new diplomas from Texas A&M Law. [WFAA 8]

Just try telling him to put out his smokes. Not gonna happen.

* Looming legal battle over the confidentiality agreement at the center of lawsuit over which team John Travolta plays for. [Gawker]

* The fallout from yesterday’s Obamacare Appellageddon continues. The D.C. Circuit and the Fourth Circuit are going to have some awkward parties until this gets resolved. [Federal Regulations Advisor]

* Somebody got confused and thought that Stand Your Ground laws applied to protect black people. [News 4 Jax]

* In Louisiana, a justice of the peace is given public money to hire all their staff and buy all their equipment and pay themselves whatever salary they want out of the remainder. One guy had a very clever idea about how to allocate that money and it set off a legal fight. Oh, and apparently the best job in Louisiana is to be a constable. So now you know. [Times-Picayune]

* Do you know the 12 Rules of Client Service? Are you at least ready to fight over them? [What About Clients?]

* Newark police can’t even come up with constitutional excuses for 75 percent of what they do. [Slate]

* Lululemon figured that patent trolls were onto something and patented its clothing designs and aggressively pursues anyone who dares design a tank top with a built-in bra. Who would ever have thought of such an original idea? [Jezebel]

* The University of California is increasing non-resident enrollment for budget reasons. Law schools presumably follow suit. [TaxProf Blog]

Dan Markel

No major breaks have been announced in the investigation of the tragic death of Professor Dan Markel. Law enforcement authorities have not publicly identified any suspects. Dan’s former wife, Wendi Adelson, is working with the police and is both devastated at his loss and fearful for herself and their children, according to her lawyer. We extend our condolences and sympathies to her and to all of Dan’s family and friends at this time.

Until there are further developments in the case, let’s focus on Dan’s life rather than his death. I shared some of my own memories of Dan yesterday. Here are additional recollections of Dan from around the country….

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