Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump’

The FBI and S.D.N.Y. raid a lawyer’s office

On the legalities of the raid on Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen, a good place to start is with Ken White’s for the New York Times (his earlier blog post). Also: “Lawyers should be reminding people, pundits and groundlings alike, that this is an extreme measure, a dangerous measure, that may be necessary” but should not be the occasion of glee [Scott Greenfield]

Meanwhile, the New York Times has managed to discover the worst argument.

April 11 roundup

  • For best effect, read it aloud: “Do YOU appear in the form of water droplets? Are YOU found on grass and windows in the morning? If so you MAY be dew condensation.” [Andy Ryan]
  • “Bezos could get out of Trump’s kitchen by telling the editors and reporters at his newspaper to shut up about the President.” [John Samples]
  • Wave of ADA web-accessibility suits hit banks: “N.Y. lawyers sue 40-plus companies on behalf of blind man in a month” [Justin Stoltzfus, Legal NewsLine] More: Jonathan Berr, CBS MoneyWatch;
  • “Law schools should not continue hiring faculty with little to no practical experience, little to no record of scholarship, and little to no teaching experience. ” [Allen Mendenhall, Law and Liberty]
  • U.K.: “Couple claiming compensation for food poisoning exposed by holiday selfies” [Zoe Drewett, Metro]
  • Federal judge: “every indication” that prominent Philadelphia personal injury firm “essentially rented out its name in exchange for referral fees” [ABA Journal]

“Ligonier woman’s lawsuit blames Trump House for pre-election wreck”

Pennsylvania: “A Ligonier woman claims a car crash less than two weeks before the 2016 presidential election was caused by the likeness of Donald Trump.” Trump House, a residence painted by its owner in flag colors and bearing a 12-foot-high cutout likeness of the 45th President, has become a local attraction and the lawsuit says another driver was distracted by it and struck the plaintiff’s Honda Civic. Plaintiff Kellie Roadman “claims property owner Leslie Baum Rossi was negligent for failing to properly mark the driveway and not receiving a permit from PennDOT…. The driver of the second car was not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.” [Rich Chodolofsky, PennLive]

When can states impose their own conditions on presidential candidates’ ballot access?

My letter to the editor at the Frederick News-Post:

I have myself been critical of President Donald Trump’s refusal to divulge his tax returns, but the bill advanced in the Maryland Senate purporting to make that a requirement for the next presidential ballot in Maryland is partisanship at its most inane. [Sponsors] are here attempting to (1) impose a new qualification on presidential candidates not found in either the U.S. constitution or federal law; (2) do so by means of denying ballot access in their own state, which means by restricting the choices of their own electorate; and (3) do so with the open aim of opposing a single particular candidate.

We may pause for a moment to imagine how this sort of stunt could be pulled by other partisans against other candidates, should it catch on.

No wonder California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) vetoed a similar bill because of the obvious constitutional concerns.

Related: in U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton (1994), a Supreme Court divided 5-4 held that Arkansas could not add to the qualifications for election to Congress enumerated in the Constitution by disqualifying candidates who had already served a set number of terms in office; it also specifically rejected the view that a restriction on ballot access does not act as a bar to office because it leaves open the possibility of running as a write-in.

Note also that the Arizona legislature in 2011, under the influence of “birther” sentiment, passed a measure requiring presidential candidates to provide proof of citizenship in order to get on the state’s ballot. Although natural born citizenship unlike the release of tax returns is of course a genuine constitutional prerequisite for serving as president, the interference with the appropriate distribution of federal-state power, as well as the intent to target one particular candidate, namely birther target and incumbent President Obama, was evident enough that conservative Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed the measure.

Cutting project red tape

I have favorable words in this Fox News special report for the Trump administration’s push to streamline infrastructure permitting. Currently, even relatively straightforward projects can get stalled for years; states and cities have helped show the way with one-stop permitting, “concierge” service, shorter decision deadlines, and rules that reduce handles for litigation. Philip K. Howard’s Common Good organization, which has been working on this issue for years, likes the push too.

“Trump proposes biggest civil service change in 40 years”

This could be major: President Trump may be set to propose the biggest civil service changes in 40 years, with goals of flushing underperformers in the federal workforce and boosting pay-for-performance. “Trump is using the VA Accountability Act, which gave the Secretary of Veterans Affairs greater authority to fire and discipline workers, as a model. The White House says that law has resulted in the dismissal of 1,470 employees, the suspension of 443, demotions for 83 others last year.” The head of the American Federation of Government Employees charged that Trump was “interested in political revenge by firing people” and that his proposal “wipes out due process rights for employees.” Currently 99.7% of federal employees get the satisfactory rating (“fully successful”) needed to qualify for stepwise pay increases as well as cost-of-living. [Gregory Korte, USA Today] My City Journal take on the perennial challenge of civil service reform, back when, is here.

State of the Union address 2018 live-tweets

I live-tweeted President Trump’s address last night (text) and here are some highlights:

More on family leave here.

Attorney rebuffs Trump’s Fire and Fury cease-and-desist

Recommended: Attorney Elizabeth McNamara of Davis Wright Tremaine, a law firm known for its media defense practice, wrote this three-page letter on behalf of publisher Henry Holt and author Michael Wolff responding to Donald Trump’s letter demanding that it not publish Wolff’s book Fire and Fury (“My clients do not intend to cease publication, no such retraction will occur, and no apology is warranted.”). How strong are the President’s claims based on contractual non-disclosure and non-disparagement clauses? David Post has a few things to say about that [Volokh Conspiracy] As for Mr. Trump’s possible defamation claims, American courts will not ordinarily enjoin a defamatory publication unless the fact of defamation has been proven at trial, so any remedy he may have will need to be after-the-fact in any case. “The suggestion that Donald Trump would actually follow through on this latest of his many legal threats, much less win…. is the hootworthy part.” [Lowering the Bar]

Addressing a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the President once again called for changing libel laws to make it easier for plaintiffs to win, although libel is a matter of state rather than federal law [Gregory Korte and David Jackson, USA Today] Irony watch, from last month: “Trump’s statements ‘too vague, subjective, and lacking in precise meaning’ to be libelous,” in suit by political strategist who was the target of future President’s tweets in February 2016 [Eugene Volokh] “Trump has been filing and threatening lawsuits to shut up critics and adversaries over the whole course of his career,” I noted in this space last year. “Mr. Trump’s supporters should also keep in mind that one day they too will want to criticize a public official without being punished for doing so.” [John Samples, Cato]