Tag Archives: LEGAL SYSTEM

Does the Roberts’ Court Respect Rule of Law?

There is no arguing that the far-right wing of the Republican Party has kidnapped that party as well as any respect for the “rule of law” in the US Supreme Court. Under the leadership of radical Senate Republicans such as Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham, today’s 5-4 Court majority is as ideologically out of step with Constitutional norms and precedent as with any time in my life.

Obviously I’m not the only one who feels this. Just this past week a long time member of the Supreme Court Bar, Judge James Dannenberg, submitted his resignation along with a strongly worded letter of condemnation of Chief Justice John Roberts and the conservative majority.

Dannenberg’s letter is a document that should be read and understood by every American adult. For the complete text, CLICK HERE. 

Who Killed El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz?

You may have difficulty pronouncing El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. You may have difficulty spelling El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. You may have never even heard the name, El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. But you could say it, spell it, and you likely have heard the name. El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz was more commonly known as Malcolm X and on this day, February 21, 1965, Malcolm X was shot to death at the Audubon Ballroom in NYC.

I would have been 23 years old and living in California. The civil rights movement was going on all around me and I, like so many white Americans, was struggling to understand what it all meant.  Also, like so many whites I accepted the idea that Malcolm was a violent person and belonged to a violent religion that was led by a violent and dictatorial leader, Elijah Muhammad. I also assumed that Malcolm had died as he had lived, violently, and got what he deserved.

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Why hasn’t it rained IRS fire on the Trumps?

I never watch any of the political commentary shows unless they’ve been pre-recorded. I have to have the option to fast forward through the speculative bullshit. I especially have to have Rachel Maddow on fast forward when she gets into one of her tell the same story five-times phases.

Last evening, however, I watched the entire first half of Rachel without hitting the FF button once. She did an excellent job of summarizing the money trail left behind by Trump as he’s worked his way into power and the presidency.

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Where was Dershowitz when Hitler Needed Him?

Alan Dershowitz

Alan Dershowitz is a well-known attorney who is currently representing Trump in his Senate impeachment trial. Though he is now trying to walk back one of his arguments, he and other Trump attornies have put forward the argument that the president can do anything he wishes and cannot be held accountable for it because he’s the president and doesn’t have time to deal with doing bad things. In fact, they have an appeal of their argument waiting for a decision by the SCOTUS.

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The Supreme Court – Some History & Thoughts!

Neither political party can claim total innocence when it comes to manipulating an ideological balance on the US Supreme Court. But as Robert Reich points out in the concluding video, maybe neither has put as much effort into structuring the Court of its dreams than today’s Republican Party.

As Mitch McConnel has shown, he is willing to do anything Senate leadership position lets him get away with to avoid permitting a moderate or liberal jurist gaining a seat on the Court; Merrick Garland would be the perfect example.

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Trying to Understand The US Constitution

I doubt most Americans have read the Constitution and of those who have, they are unaware of what lay beyond the brief and mostly skeletal document. This article from NPR was written to try to provide some of the thinking that went into the document and maybe clear up some of the misconceptions that surround it. In my view, this, or something like it should be required reading for citizenship.


What is the president actually allowed to do under the U.S. Constitution?

It’s a question that’s come up from time to time at NPR, and when it does, we’ve turned to experts such as Kim Wehle, now a law professor and CBS News legal commentator. Now, she’s written a book about it. It’s called How to Read the Constitution — and Why.

Wehle says that all the debates around the constitutionality of various Trump administration policies inspired her to write the book. She says she originally had a contract to write a book for an academic audience but found herself writing for laypeople.

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I Don’t Need a Mueller Report, I Have a TV

When news of the Mueller report being released came out on Friday there was great speculation about what it will tell. Many people are disappointed that it wasn’t accompanied by further indictments. Bill Maher made the remark that he wasn’t concerned about what the report doesn’t reveal, he has a TV set. Well, so do I.

By paying close attention to over two years of investigative broadcast and written journalism we all know, whether we’re willing to accept it, what Meuller found out. We all know that his investigation into Trump and his people produced thirty-seven indictments and every single one of them in some way involves a Russian. We know Trump’s closest friends and associates have either been in jail, are in jail, or will be going to jail. We know that others are awaiting sentencing, a couple are still providing information for ongoing investigations and another has taken the fifth to avoid admitting to complicity, We also know that a major contributor is being protected in the embassy of a South American nation.

I also know that every part of Trump world remains under investigation by state and federal agencies, His charity has been forced to close due to fraudulent practices, he inherited over $400 million from his father that is likey rift with tax problems that will attract the attention of the IRS and state tax agencies. I know that several Democratically controlled US House committees are digging deep into his most private life. I know that his daughter and son in law are subjets of improperly receiving intelligence clearances and communicating government business via unimproved methods.

I know that his continued involvement in his businesses is being attacked as violations of the emolument clause of the US Constitution and that Trump has been sued by at least two states for such infractions. And, I know that he remains listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in a campaign violation case.

Furthermore, I know that Trump has little to no respect for the rule of law. That he has no regard for separation of powers and believes the rest of government exists to serve his purposes. I know that every time he utters a lie or distortion of truth fact checkers at the Washington Post make note of it and thus far he has lied to the American people approaching 10,000 times since taking office on January 20, 2017.

As of this afternoon, Sunday, March 24, 2019, I know that Attorney General Barr’s report to Congress appears to exonerate Trump from working with the Russians to manipulate the 2016 election but that the question of whether he worked to obstruct the Meuller investigation remains an open question.

From my TV, and my Google Machine, I know all of this and much more. Unfortunately, I know that all of this is far from over and that Trump and his loyalists will engage America in a never-ending civil war of rants and tweets trying to win their claim that it has all been a fake news witch hunt sponsored by some nefarious group called the deep state.

Most unfortunate is that I know those who have wet their whistle from the cup of Trump Kool-Aid will never accept the evidence uncovered by that army of dedicated legitimate investigative journalists who seek the truth, regardless of who their spotlights sign on.

Riker’s Island v. Roger Stone – Not so Equal!

I was listening to a conversation about justice in America. It was mentioned that Roger Stone, given his wealth and connections, walked into his arraignment and walked out a free man awaiting trial. His bail of $250,000 was set, he reached in his pocket, paid it, and walked out the door.

Riker’s Island is a jail that sits on an island in NY’s East River. It is not a prison, it is a facility where those charged, like Stone, are sent if they are unable to meet their bail. It can hold 15,000 inmates and is the 2nd largest jail/prison in America. Most of those in Riker’s have not been tried but are awaiting trial. They could be locked up for months and in the meantime, unlike Stone, end up with their jobs gone, their cars repossessed, their family’s destitute, children put in foster care, etc. They will probably suffer complete financial collapse even before their guilt or innocence is determined.

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Justice Isn’t Blind, It Just Wears Blinders!

Back in the 1960s, there was a local farmer that got caught up in a check-kiting scheme. Before it was all over he had been charged with multiple felonies, several bank officials had their careers ruined, several banks either failed or came close and the farmer that started it all, to my knowledge never spent a day in jail.

That the farmer had got off scot-free the same newspaper published a below the centerfold story about a poor white woman who had written an insufficient check for a few dollars and had been sentenced to a lengthy jail term.

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Patterson v. Board of Education of Greenfield, 1886

I originally published this as part of Black History Month in February 2009. I’ve since forgotten the source but thought it interesting enough to reprise for the 2019 event. While many may know of the Patterson family’s association with early transportation they may not be aware of their helping to change the laws regarding education in Ohio.


State of Ohio on relation of C. R. Patterson vs. The Board of Education of the Incorporated Village of Greenfield, Ohio, and W. G. Moler as Superintendent

Much has been written about the Patterson family and their work in the carriage and automobile business. Here is little-known information about the Pattersons. It shows the importance that C. R. placed on education and how Frederick came to be the businessman that he was.

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Is Muller Taking Too Much Time?

A couple of days ago I was in a discussion with a person who contended that the Muller special investigation should be ended because it hasn’t resulted in any evidence of wrongdoing. This claimed, in spite of a couple dozen indictments and several guilty pleas.

The Muller investigation began on May 17, 2017, so it is not yet two-years-old. How does that compare to other special prosecutor investigations? I did a little Googling and came up with the following:

  • The Samuel Pierce influence peddling during the first Bush presidency took almost 8 1/2 years.
  • The Whitewater Investigation during the Clinton administration took about 7 years.
  • The Henry Cisnero perjury investigation of the Clinton era went on for 9 years.
  • It took 3 years to conclude the Valerie Plame investigation during the G.W.B. years.

So, in light of these (and there are more), Muller is advancing relatively fast. The claim that there’s no evidence of wrongdoing is bogus. Given the number of indictments and guilty pleas, plus Muller’s ability to contain leaks simply means none of us really knows what evidence exists. We can make no judgments until the prosecutor says he’s finished and issues his report.

To think otherwise is simply to admit you’re accepting the word of paid mouthpieces like Rudi Guiliani.

Calling All Moderates

I was thinking about the retirement of Associate Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and what effect it could have on America’s future. Even though Kennedy was a conservative he often acted as the swing vote in a Court of four liberals and four conservatives. If Trump appoints a conservative the Court would five-four conservative and America’s resent could revert to America’s past along with its future being very uncertain.

A five-four Court could put the hopes of continued social and economic equality on hold for a generation, or more. So, the question is, how can a minority of Democrats in the US Senate protect a balance on the Court. The only viable answer is for the Senate to find the courage to only confirm a moderate or centrist nominee.

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American justice isn’t blind, but it can be visually impaired.

On last night’s news there was a story about a convicted felon, a black woman, who mistakenly thought she was permitted to vote in last year’s election. She found out later that Texas felons lose their right to vote and she had unwittingly broken a law. This past week a Texas court sentenced her to five years in prison. As a follow-up NBC cited several examples in which the felon was a man and got off with probation and/or a small fine.

This story reminded me of something that took place around Greenfield back in the 1960s. I was living in California at the time so I only knew what was in the local papers my parents sent me on occasion.  It’s also been so long ago I don’t remember all the details.

That said, the story basically involved an area farmer who got involved in a check kiting scheme and before it was over the total dollar amount exceeded a million dollars and several area bank officials got more than a knuckle cracking.

When it was finally settled my parents sent me the local paper and the lead story stated that the farmer ended up walking out the door a free man. The irony was, immediately following this story was a short story about a local woman who was found guilty of writing a bad check and she sentenced to jail.

These are just a couple more examples of American justice not being totally blind. Too often justice turns its blind eye away from women and minorities.

Stinking Turds & Being Guilty

Midnight Express was a powerful film released in 1978. The story was about an American being arrested in Turkey where the onus was on him to prove his innocence. The exposure of the Turkish legal and prison systems was so great it almost destroyed that nation’s tourist industry.

Most Americans strongly support the idea that the burden of proof lies with the government. That a person is innocent until proven guilty. Turkey is one of several nations where the opposite exists.

While I’ve always supported this basic premise I may be changing. Frequently TV cops and lawyers justify incarcerating someone by arguing,  “well they may not have done this crime but they’ve done enough other things.” I so believe that Donald J. Trump and members of his family are so guilty of plural crimes I find myself increasingly willing to turn away from this innocent crap. There seems to be so many stinking turds in the Trump closets that somehow one had to be placed there by someone named Trump.

To paraphrase a familiar phrase, “Lock ’em Up!”

In Defense of the Courts

Martha Minow, left, and Robert Post, right.

Came across this must read today and just felt I had to share it. The deans of Harvard and Yale law schools put their heads together and wrote an editorial in opposition to Trump’s anti-democratic attacks on the judicial branch. The following appeared February 13, 1017 on Law.Com.

“The deans of Yale Law School and Harvard Law School have joined the growing chorus of lawyers publicly condemning President Donald Trump’s attacks on the judiciary.

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