Category: Law

Maybe Saul Had This Guy In Mind

By , June 22, 2020 11:38 am

Saul Steinberg was a cartoonist whose work frequently appeared in The New Yorker. My guess is most people know of him because of The New Yorker cover above, dated March 29, 1976. (I’ve always thought it interesting that Utah was one of just four states noted on the map.)

The map came to mind this morning as I was reading a Robert A. George piece in the New York Daily News. In it, George tells the story of a 1983 interview of David Bowie on MTV to illustrate his case that there still is systemic or institutional racism. According to George, “Bowie asks VJ Mark Goodman why the station didn’t play more videos by black artists. Defensively, Goodman tries to explain programming”:

We have to try and do not just what we think New York and Los Angeles will appreciate, but also Poughkeepsie or the Midwest, pick some town in the Midwest that will be scared to death by Prince (who we’re playing) or a string of black faces and black music.

Said who? White fans of Jimi Hendrix, Sly and the Family Stone, and the Four Tops? Fans of Tina Tuner, the Supremes, the Isley Brothers, Shuggie Otis, Buddy Miles, James Brown, and the list goes on? But beyond that, what balderdash is this that Goodman casually blames middle America in order to excuse corporate America’s–corporate rock’s, no less–inability to see anything but it’s own projection on the west side of the Hudson? Kudos to Bowie, by the way.

I’m not sure how far we’ve come since that 1983 interview; far I think, but not far enough. And I’m not sure how far we have to go; not as far as some think, but far enough to require some effort on everyone’s part.

Due Process for Me, But Not for Thee

By , November 19, 2015 7:42 pm

Charles C. W. Cooke, an ex-pat Brit and newly minted citizen of the United States squarely hits the nail that the hammer-headed American public seems to be missing more and more recently. As he writes in the National Review,

As a result, the question here shouldn’t be ‘why does the NRA oppose using this [terrorism watch] list in a civil context?’ but ‘why doesn’t everybody oppose using this list on a civil context?’

Why indeed? Why do so many people fail to see that our constitutionally protected rights to due process are nowhere to be seen in the President’s proposal to deny Second Amendment rights to anyone found on that secret list? The mind boggles.

The Facts Versus The Meme

By , October 4, 2015 9:41 pm

I’ve read more than once, in reaction to the recent tragedy in Oregon, that we need to regulate guns. Of course, we do regulate guns–at the federal and at the state level. If you’re interested, here’s the most recent version of the ATF Federal Firearms Regulations Reference Guide, all 233 pages of laws, regulations, Q&A’s explaining the morass of laws, and more. A full 9 1/2 pages of just the Gun Control Act of 1968 is devoted to Section 922: “Unlawful Acts.” The phrase “It shall be unlawful” is used 22 times in that section, usually leading off long lists of unlawful acts. And that’s just one act. The Guide also contains the National Firearms Act, the Arms Export Control Act, and a section of the law governing the Postal Service as well as four different “Parts” of the Code of Federal Regulations.

And that’s just Federal Law. Each state and many cities have their own laws, many of which are much more restrictive than the Federal Law, which essentially sets the minimum standards. For example, the assault weapons ban is no longer on the federal books. But don’t tell that to California or Connecticut. The NRA provides a handy guide of state law if you’re interested.

Finally, none of this takes into account the fact that it’s crime punishable by imprisonment and even death to kill someone with a firearm. Use a firearm in the commission of a crime, and generally the punishment for the underlying crime is enhanced. Etc. etc. etc.

Could more be done? More laws? More regulations? Reasonable minds differ–and they’re not all on the anti-gun crowd.

A Thumbs Up for Religious Freedom or a Sop Before the Same-Sex Marriage Ruling?

By , June 3, 2015 6:30 pm

I don’t know, but the thought occurred to me Monday.

Water (Law) Source

By , February 20, 2015 2:28 pm

Lately, I’ve become interested, very much so, in water law. Maybe it’s because Utah’s snowpack is at about 70%. Maybe it’s because the amount of water on this earth doesn’t change, but the quality of it does. Whatever the reason, water law has captured my attention. One of my favorite sources of ongoing and accessible information on the subject is the Water Values podcast, a bi-weekly offering by David McGimpsey, an attorney out of Denver.

The podcast eschews legalese in favor of broad coverage of water and water issues, principally via interviews with people who work or write about water, water rights, and the people who use it, whether in industry or in nature. Some fascinating interviews.

Looking for Something to Do?

By , January 20, 2015 2:12 pm

If you are, I suggest the following sites as worthwhile time fillers:

If you’re interested in balanced and very interesting discussions of the Constitution and federal/state relations, the Federalist Society’s website in general and it’s multi-media offerings in particular are a must. They strive to offer a view from both sides of most important legal issues, especially at their various events. I can’t recommend them enough.

Also of constitutional interest, it’s hard to beat Oyez.org, the place to go if you want to actually listen to oral arguments at the Supreme Court. No, you can’t listen to them as they happen, but I’ve seen cases where the recordings were up the same day they happened. And these recordings go waaaaay back, even as far as Roe v. Wade (where you can hear counsel from the state of Texas make a sexist joke) and New York Times v. Sullivan (where you can hear the historical beginnings of our current law of defamation).

Enjoy.

I Have No Tolerance for Zero Tolerance

By , December 31, 2014 8:59 am

Here are 10 reasons why.

Cat Fight: A Statistical Debate over Equal Pay for Women and Sexual Assault

By , November 30, 2014 8:11 pm

The Federalist Society regularly hosts some very interesting and fairly balanced panel discussions of topics related to the Society’s mission “to place a premium on individual liberty, traditional values, and the rule of law.” This past September, the Society put on a panel titled “Passion and Prudence in the Political Process: The Debate Over Federal Civil Rights Policy.”

The panel is interesting for a number of reasons, but I post about it largely because it illustrates so well the problem of “damned statistics.” Not being a statistician myself, I can only express my frustration at the way some people toss about numbers as if the act itself were sufficient to prove their point. For what it’s worth, I think Gail Heriot and Diana Furchtgott-Roth win this encounter hands down, but then, I agree with their side of the issue.

What do you think?

Cross posted at GregoryTaggart.com

LBJ: I Hardly Knew Ye

By , August 29, 2014 9:26 am

I’m reading–well, listening to, anyway–Robert Caro’s Pulitzer prize winning biography of LBJ, a bio he refers to as a study of political power, how to acquire it and how to use it. I’m almost through with the second volume, Means of Ascent. The first volume, Path to Power, which chronicles his life (and his ancestors’s life) up through his years in Congress and his first run at the U.S. Senate–which he lost only because his opponent–literally–bought more votes than he did and then only because Johnson got a little cocky on the day of the election, is an enthralling read. (In case this sentence is a little too complex [a little?], here’s the essence: The first volume is an enthralling read.) The second volume has proved its equal.

Means of Ascent discusses Johnson’s time in the armed services during World War II and his second run for the Senate, an election he literally bought, paid cash for. This comes as no surprise to the reader. At this point in the story, the reader has already read where Johnson stole a student election in college, stole another election for the presidency of an organization of congressional staffers, stole an actual congressional seat, and attempted to steal a Senate seat in a special election.

I’m reminded of a great line from the movie Patton. The great general is facing Rommel in North Africa, and he’s beating him. George C. Scott, as Patton, peers through his binoculars at the unfolding spectacle and says, “Rommel… you magnificent bastard, I read your book!” Methinks more than a few politicians and their operatives have read Caro’s biography of LBJ.

How Important is Religious Freedom?

By , July 21, 2014 2:58 pm

This important.

Panorama Theme by Themocracy