On Friday, special prosecutor Michael McCrum secured an indictment of Texas Governor Rick Perry. Perry, whose 2012 campaign is the first abortion Republicans have celebrated in years, is accused of coercion and abusing his office when he threatened to, and subsequently did, revoke funding for the Public Integrity Unit. That unit is charged with rooting out government corruption, and Perry took away its budget because the district attorney in charge of the unit — a Texas Democrat — was convicted of drunk driving and wouldn’t step down. Perry thought she should leave her post because she had lost the public trust over her conviction and not at all because she had been investigating possible corruption related to Perry’s signature project, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.
If you don’t think this is shady and improper, you’re a hyperpartisan for Perry. Entirely obliterating the agency charged with protecting citizens from official corruption because you don’t like the person in charge — for whatever reason — smacks of overreach. Imagine Congress and the President zero-funding the Supreme Court because they wanted one justice to resign. It’s just cockroach hunting with a bazooka.
Still, is it criminal as opposed to just shady? That’s a different question. Law professors weigh in….
On Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit ruled against Matt Sissel, the Iowa artist and entrepreneur who challenged the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate on the grounds that the law violated the U.S. Constitution’s Origination Clause. Article I, § 7, clause 1 requires that “all bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other bills.” Obamacare raises government revenue by billions of dollars, but it was drafted in the Senate. Judge Judith Rogers wrote the opinion in Sissel v. HHS for a panel including two newly minted Obama appointees, Judge Nina Pillard and Judge Robert Wilkins.
This ruling comes in the wake of last week’s dueling decisions in Halbig v. Burwell and King v. Burwell. Another D.C. Circuit panel found that Obamacare subsidies were illegal in the 36 states that refused to set up state healthcare exchanges. On the same day, the Fourth Circuit disagreed. In court battles, Obamacare opponents are winning some and losing some.
I was on a fast-moving segment on HuffPost Live this afternoon called “Legalese It,” where host Mike Sacks runs through a bunch of overlooked legal items from the past week. Since I was on vacation for half of the week, I learned a lot! For instance, did you know that Michigan had an anti-begging statute on the books from the 1920s that was just struck down so they can put a big “Spare Some Change” sign in Detroit?
Okay, that’s not why it was struck down, but still. Also it seems that North Carolina is trying to restrict voting to five white guys chosen at random by Reince Priebus and Obama is now in favor of legislative prayer, as if nobody told him he can’t run for a third term.
Looks like I missed a lot, but that didn’t stop me from talking about it on the web. Specifically, I got to talk about how Eric Holder and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott are now friends when it comes to stopping USAIR and American Airlines from combining to own all the railroads on the Monopoly board…
* I asked Professor Rick Hasen whether or not I should self immolate to prevent the GOP from legally rigging the next election, and he’s telling me to chill out because it’s gonna be okay. [Slate]
* I’ve been trying to find an excuse to link to this. It’s a guy who is blogging about news from 1913 as if it was happening in real time, in this technological environment. Here, we look at some very swift Southern-style justice. [Retro Pundit]
* I must admit, I wanted to pull out my Leonardo DiCaprio coconut drinking goblet to fully enjoy this rich-white-man fight. [Dealbreaker]
* Andrew Shirvell questioned himself for over an hour today in defense of himself from Chris Armstrong’s defamation lawsuit. I’m telling you, life is so much easier when you don’t care about a person’s sexual orientation. [Detroit Free Press]
* Grumpy baby boomer blogs angrily about law and life, a.k.a. my future. [Grumpy Baby Boomer]
* How to dress like a female lawyer from a television show. Funny, I didn’t know “breast implants” were a fashion accessory now. [Levo League]
* The Daily Caller dug up an article Michelle Obama wrote about critical race theory while at Harvard. She makes some pretty good points, especially considering the perspective of a young black person trying to deal with Harvard Law School in 1988. But I suspect the context of the article, the theory, the history, the university, and everything else will be missed by most of the readers of the Daily Caller. [Daily Caller]
* Lat is on a proposed SXSW panel about haw law firms should (and should not) be using Twitter and other social media. I hope firms don’t listen to him, because it’ll make my job easier. [SXSW PanelPicker]
Or, if you prefer, a ruling on marriage equality. We knew this ruling was coming because the Ninth Circuit kindly informed us in advance that its opinion would be issued today: “The Court anticipates filing an opinion tomorrow (Tuesday, February 7) by 10:00 a.m. in Perry v. Brown, case numbers 10-16696 and 11-16577, regarding the constitutionality of Proposition 8 and the denial of a motion to vacate the lower court judgement in the case.”
The Ninth Circuit’s practice of providing advance notice of certain opinion filings is very helpful to those who cover the court. It would be nice if other circuit courts followed the Ninth Circuit’s lead. (Yes, I just typed that sentence.)
* Professor Rick Hasen thinks the Illinois Supreme Court is leaning towards letting Rahm Emanuel back into the race for Mayor of Chicago. Hopefully this means that Emanuel’s lawyer, Kevin Forde, will get his family back really soon. [Election Law Blog]
* Have you ever seen a notary in a bar, drunk, with her notary kit? It’s actually kind of hot. [What About Clients?]
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