Recently in Politics Category
1. To begin with, the law applies to a public servant's misusing property that is in his "custody or possession." What property was in the governor's custody or possession?
2. Beyond this, how does vetoing the appropriation qualify as "misuse," in the sense of "dealing with" the $7.5 million "contrary to an agreement under which defendant held such property or contrary to the oath of office he took as a public servant"?
3. Is the prosecution's theory that vetoes of appropriations are criminal if they are not seen as "faithful execut[ion of] the duties of the office of Governor" -- though deciding whether or not to "approv[e]" a bill is itself part of the duties of that office? Or is it that such vetoes are criminal if they do not "to the best of [the Governor's] ability preserve, protect, and defend the [federal and state] Constitution and law. ###
Prof. Volokh's longer and more detailed analysis is here.
Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz calls himself a "liberal Democrat who would never vote for Rick Perry," but he's still "outraged" over the Texas governor's indictment Friday on charges of abuse of power and coercion.The charges are politically motivated and an example of a "dangerous" trend of courts being used to affect the ballot box and politics, he told Newsmax on Saturday."Everybody, liberal or conservative, should stand against this indictment," Dershowitz said. "If you don't like how Rick Perry uses his office, don't vote for him....Dershowitz also told Newsmax Perry was well within his rights when he vetoed the money for Lehmberg's office, as he "saw a drunk serving as DA" who "shouldn't be enforcing criminal law."Dershowitz believes Perry will be acquitted, and the indictment will become an embarrassment to those involved.
I disagree with Prof. Dershowitz in one respect. Perry will never be acquitted, because the indictment will never get to a jury.
[L]et's not move on before taking in the proximate cause of political dispute, the conduct of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, who ironically runs the "public integrity section" of the DA's office while obviously having no public integrity whatsoever. If you have 15 minutes of leisure and a strong threshold against disgust, take in these two videos of Ms. Lehmberg in action, first in her DUI stop (where her blood-alcohol level was .23), and then, even better, her appalling jailhouse behavior.
With the president and a line-up of his usual antagonists behind the same bill, the momentum for sentencing reform could be unstoppable. The result will be one of the biggest surprises of all the years of the Obama presidency -- a bipartisan success in passing new laws to reduce the nation's prison population.
Remember Jimmy Carter? He was only President for one term in what seems like ages ago. Yet he caused enormous and long-lasting damage through his judicial nominations. It was on his watch that the Ninth Circuit became the jurisprudential disaster area that it remains to this day. All three of the judges on the three-judge district court in the Plata prisoner release fiasco were Carter appointees. Thank God he didn't get any Supreme Court appointments.
Until last November, Republicans were filibustering President Obama's worst nominees, a tactic they deplored when President Bush was making the nominations. Then Majority Leader Harry Reid invoked the "nuclear option," a move he denounced as a travesty when President Bush was making the nominations.
Kamen and Itkowitz note that "the clock is not looking favorable" for the eight district court nominees pending on the Senate floor. Hopefully, the 114th Congress will have a Republican majority in the Senate and on the Judiciary Committee, with Charles Grassley in the chair, and fringe nominees can be blocked with a simple majority vote or not even make it out of committee.
How do you prove intent? It's usually clear from the circumstances that an act is intentional.
Intent matters in politics as well. Aaron Blake at the WaPo's political blog, The Fix, is incredulous of Montana Sen. John Walsh's claim of accidental plagiarism at the Army War College.
It also takes a pretty big suspension of disbelief to think that Walsh lifted those passages without ill intent. Proving someone's intent is always difficult, but believing that this was anything other than an attempt to cheat takes some logical leaps that are pretty hard to make.We will be addressing intent in a Supreme Court case on threats in the coming term, Elonis v. United States.
Update: Bill's later post asks whether plagiarism can be a crime. Could be. "Any commissioned officer, cadet, or midshipman who is convicted of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman shall be punished as a court-martial may direct." 10 U.S.C. § 933; see also Parker v. Levy, 417 U.S. 733 (1974). The military is different. Funny the statute still says "gentleman." We've had women officers for a long, long time.
On July 15, I noted that the NBC/Marist Poll had Hickenlooper ahead 49-43. Conventional political wisdom is that an incumbent is in trouble if early polls show less than a majority, even if leading the opponent.
Two polls since then have come out 43-44 and 44-43, Quinnipiac and PPP respectively. I generally dislike the term "statistical dead heat" in political poll reporting, but it fits here. That's a dead heat.
Dan Frosch has this story in the WSJ:
Republicans have tried to cast Mr. Hickenlooper as indecisive, noting his move last year to delay the execution of a convicted murderer, Nathan Dunlap, over concerns about the death penalty's morality. Mr. Hickenlooper didn't grant Mr. Dunlap clemency either, instead issuing a "temporary reprieve."