The Massachusetts attorney general is now running for governor of the state after losing a Senate run three and a half years ago, so this makes a good occasion to revamp a 2010 post slightly so as to remind readers of Coakley’s central role in the Amirault travesty of justice, described so well by Dorothy Rabinowitz here. Earlier on the Amirault case here and here; on Coakley’s prosecutorial record here. More: John Stossel and (via Memeorandum): Bronwyn’s Harbor, No Quarter (citing views of Jeralyn Merritt/TalkLeft); Dan McLaughlin, RedState; Dan Riehl (Woodward, Souza cases). Yet more: on Coakley’s offer to a deal to one defendant on condition that the experienced defense counsel handling the deal agree not to represent a second defendant in future, see Scott Greenfield (characterizing the move as “a deliberate effort to undermine the constitutional right to counsel”), Kenneth Anderson/Volokh, and John Steele/Legal Ethics Forum. In 2010 we wondered whether Coakley’s Senate-race nosedive under critical public and press scrutiny amounted to the first time a Massachusetts prosecutor had paid a price for being wrong in the Amirault episode.
The Massachusetts attorney general and Senate candidate poses as the guardian of justice and civil liberties. Dorothy Rabinowitz knows better (earlier on the Amirault case here and here; on Coakley’s prosecutorial record here).
More (via Memeorandum): Bronwyn’s Harbor, No Quarter (citing views of Jeralyn Merritt/TalkLeft and Arthur Leonard); Dan McLaughlin, RedState; Dan Riehl (Woodward, Souza cases). Yet more: on Coakley’s offer to a deal to one defendant on condition that the experienced defense counsel handling the deal agree not to represent a second defendant in future, see Scott Greenfield (characterizing the move as “a deliberate effort to undermine the constitutional right to counsel”), Kenneth Anderson/Volokh, and John Steele/Legal Ethics Forum.
Trial lawyer and inveterate Litigation Lobby booster Bruce Braley lost his Iowa senate bid (“He comes across as arrogant, and I think it’s because he is,” said an unnamed Democratic official.) Sen. Mark Pryor, chief Senate handler of the awful CPSIA law, lost big.
Massachusetts voters again rejected Martha Coakley, whose prosecutorial decisions we have found so hard to square with the interests of justice. The Wisconsin Blue Fist school of thought, which sees organized government employees as the natural and truly legitimate governing class, met with a rebuff from voters not only in Wisconsin itself but in neighboring Illinois (where Gov. Quinn, of Harris v. Quinn fame, went down to defeat) and elsewhere. Colorado voters rejected GMO labeling, while a similar Oregon bill was trailing narrowly this morning but not with enough votes to call.
California voters rejected Prop 46, to raise MICRA medical liability limits, require database use and impose drug testing of doctors, by a 67-33 margin, and also rejected Prop 45, intensifying insurance regulation, by a 60-40 margin (earlier).
I’ve written a lot at my Free State Notes blog about the governor’s race in my own state of Maryland, and unlike most others was not surprised at Larry Hogan’s stunning upset victory. The politics category there includes my letter to Washington Post-reading independents and moderates about why they should feel comfortable electing Hogan as a balance to the state’s heavily Democratic legislature, as well as my parody song about what I thought a revealing gaffe by Hogan’s opponent, Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown.
- Weekly Standard runs my parody song about the local governor’s race, “Show Me the Way to Frederickstown, or, Lost in Maryland“; Update: Here’s Lauren Weiner’s rendition, to the tune of “Sweet Betsy from Pike.” Freelance writer Lauren Weiner has lived in Baltimore since 1992. [improved YouTube link with video]
- Also on Maryland governor’s race: it’s not every day a GOP challenger blames a Democratic incumbent for issuing too few pardons [Radley Balko; more on clemency]
- Harry Reid forces are latest to demagogue Stand Your Ground laws and role of American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), but Glenn Kessler calls them on it with Four Pinocchios [Washington Post “Fact Checker”]
- Enough non-citizens vote illegally “that their participation can change the outcome of close races.” [Jesse Richman and David Earnest, Washington Post Monkey Cage; a response]
- State attorney general offices are now politicized and targets of lobbying, and why should we be surprised at that given all the power they’ve grabbed for themselves as business regulators in recent years? [David Boaz, Cato] Hot state-AG races this year include Wisconsin, Nevada, New Mexico, Arkansas [John Fund]
- Two views on Alabama proposed Amendment One, curbing use of foreign law: Paul Horwitz (adds nothing to Alabama constitution not already there), Quin Hillyer (insurance against bad judicial decisionmaking);
- More about the Greg Abbott tree-fall settlement called into question by opponent Wendy Davis [Hugh Kelly, TLR, earlier]
- Long Island legislator withdraws from State Senate race after charges of high-dollar law-firm misconduct [Newsday]
- Defaulted mortgages: “Coakley lawsuit has ties to key backer’s interests” [Boston Globe via Funnell] Flashback: Radley Balko in 2010 on Martha Coakley’s awful prosecutorial record (up to that point) [Politico; related, Harvey Silverglate on prosecutors who run for higher office; earlier]
- California may lead in number of arrested lawmaker scandals but jealous New York vows to catch up [NYDN]
- Will voters in hotly contested Massachusetts primary remember Martha Coakley’s central role in the Amirault travesty of justice?
- “State of unions: Illinois’ big unionized workforce has become a big campaign issue” [Peoria Journal Star] Teachers’ union top priority: unseat GOP governors [Politico]
- In which I’m quoted saying relatively favorable things about left-leaning New York gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout (though “enjoyed interacting with” is a long way from “would consider voting for”) [Capital New York]
- Meet the trial-lawyer-driven group behind the Rick Perry indictment [Texas Tribune; more of what’s up in Texas]
- Senate incumbents Reid, Pryor, and Durbin and hopeful Bruce Braley among recipients of asbestos law firm money [MCR, Legal NewsLine] Key trial lawyer ally Durbin has slipped in polls [Chicago Sun-Times]
- Montana Democrats’ candidate for U.S. Senate looking a little Wobbly [Lachlan Markay, Free Beacon; A. Barton Hinkle, Richmond Times-Dispatch; #wobblydem]
- On Oklahoma ballot: grossly overbroad measure to ban use of foreign law [Atlantic Wire, Transplanted Lawyer, earlier Volokh]
- Michigan race: “Dems cross the line with bigoted Supreme Court ad” [Stephen Henderson, Freep; earlier on attacks on Justice Robert Young]
- Jacob Sullum is another non-fan of Andrew Cuomo’s record;
- What was the exact nature of that Vancouver fundraiser so many Senate hopefuls attended? Carter Wood wishes he could add a footnote to an already strong column by George Will on the Linda McMahon-Richard Blumenthal Senate race in Connecticut;
- Speaking of which, Will’s latest election roundup column is just out, while Nate Silver at the NYT’s Five Thirty Eight blog offers an outstanding hour-by-hour election-night guide;
- Iowa poll shows former AAJ/ATLA president Roxanne Conlin, of SomePeopleJustNeedToBeSued.com fame, trailing far behind in bid to unseat Sen. Chuck Grassley [WHO-TV via Carter Wood’s PoL election roundup;
- Trial lawyers pour cash into California insurance commissioner race [CJAC]
- Latest effort by New York Times to lionize activist AGs as “next Eliot Spitzers” recalls earlier Times pieces written to same formula, in the most amusing of which it lionized as the next Spitzer Ohio’s since-disgraced Marc Dann. Yet (the shaky electoral performance of such Times favorites as Massachusetts’ Martha Coakley aside) there’s reason to suspect voters this year will return a roster of AGs that’s less inclined toward business-bashing, not more [Jack Fowler at NRO].
- Government a threat to liberty? Doesn’t just depend on whether “our” team’s in charge [Gene Healy, Examiner]
The Boston Globe reports that plaintiff’s securities law firms have become cash cows for Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley and Treasurer Timothy Cahill, who oversee the pension funds that strike representation deals with the lawyers. “Spokeswomen for Cahill and Coakley said the contributions played no part in the selection of the law firms, which were chosen in a competitive process five years ago.”
The “grandstanding” Connecticut attorney general, notes Mike Masnick at TechDirt, is now publicly decrying Craigslist for turning a profit from sex ads. Why is it turning a profit? Well, the ads used to be free, but Craigslist started charging fees after Blumenthal himself (with fellow AGs) demanded that it do so, the idea being that a credit card trail would scare off some illegal users and make it easier for police to crack down on others.
Blumenthal, a longstanding bete noire of this site, is now running for the U.S. Senate seat held by the departing Chris Dodd. More: New York Times on his Senate bid (rough start, “Martha Coakley in pants”).
Didn’t realize the newsman had covered the story (quite a while back, it would appear from the look and feel of the video):