Judge Merrick Garland

March 16, 2016

Justice Antonin Scalia died on February 13, 2016. On March 16, 32 days later, President Barack Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland to replace him. Judge Garland is the Chief Judge of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He has been a judge on the DC Circuit since 1997.

Judge Garland is a highly distinguished jurist. He enjoys bipartisan support and affection, on his Court and in the United States Senate. In particular, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) like him very much. Here’s what Senator Hatch said on Friday, March 11: “[He] could easily name Merrick Garland, who is a fine man.” He also said, once, that there was no question about Judge Garland being

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President Obama’s Foreign Policy

March 12, 2016

On Friday, March 11, I read a “can’t put it down” 20,000-word article by Jeffrey Goldberg for The Atlantic: The Obama Doctrine. Mr. Goldberg, a fine writer who focuses on the Middle East, got four substantial interviews with the president in the past few months, on top of many prior conversations.

The piece is a tour de force. And anyone who reads it within the context of the foreign policy debates in the 2016 presidential campaigns—or, for that matter, taking into consideration how the candidates focus on domestic issues—will rue February 27, 1951, the day on which the Minnesota State Legislature ratified the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, barring the election of a president for a

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State of the Union – Additional Thoughts 2

January 16, 2016

I promised additional thoughts about last week’s State of the Union address. My thoughts relate to how poorly our country thinks deeply at the intersection of law and progress. (I got close to this subject in Law: It Doesn’t Serve Our Interests on December 21 of last year.)

President Obama touched on several issues when he addressed the first of his four big questions: how do we give everyone a fair shot at opportunity and security in this new economy? He mentioned early education and post-secondary education He talked about Social Security, Medicare and retirement, and he even brought up the Affordable Care Act. And he promised an effort to get rid of outdated regulations. Alas, the president did not

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State of the Union – Additional Thoughts 1

January 14, 2016

I’m doubling back to the State of the Union address with some additional thoughts. They fall broadly into two categories. First up is the whole Do Something thing. (The second issue will follow, tomorrow.)

The Do Something issue arises with respect to ISIL / Daesh, Syria, and the Middle East generally. Kind critics claim the president has not done enough, and the slope gets steep as the Rs join in. I like the following words as well as any in the SOTU address, but many are not persuaded that we’re doing enough / anything:

If you doubt America’s commitment — or mine — to see that justice is done [regarding terrorists], ask Osama bin Laden. Ask

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Cry, the Beloved Country

January 9, 2016

Cry, the Beloved Country came into my mind earlier this morning, less because of the story it tells about pre-apartheid South Africa, and far more because it so aptly describes my country.

To say we live in interesting times does an extraordinary injustice to the phrase “interesting times.” “End times” fits the bill far better. I have been sentient for 14 presidential campaigns—Goldwater – Johnson in 1964 through the present embarrassment, and I’ve never seen a campaign come close to disgracing our nation as badly as this one has.

The leading candidate in the Republican Party held a rally in Vermont. Leave aside for a moment the utter vacuousness of the words coming out the man’s mouth, and the fact

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Executive Orders

January 5, 2016

There’ll be a hubbub about executive action / orders by the time you’re reading this post. That arrogant, pompous wimp of a POTUS we have right now—does anyone else wonder how President Obama can be, at one and the same time, a king and a dictator and a skinny, wimpy dude who doesn’t have the cojones to stand up to anyone—will issue an Executive Order regarding guns in America later today.

From my perspective the Executive Order—a highlights sheet has already been posted—will do little, and ought to bring forth little controversy. Others will surely disagree. Here, and because it’s Law Day at MRW, I want to focus on the basis for presidential authority to act.

Executive Orders have been

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The Ghost of Governor Ann Richards

November 5, 2015

Y’all remember Ann Richards, right? She was the Governor of Texas from 1991 to 1995. In 1994, running for reelection against the older, dumber son of former President George H.W. Bush, she lost, giving us W aka Shrub.

In 1988, Ms. Richards—then Texas State Treasurer—gave the Keynote Address at the Democratic National Convention. Best line? “Poor George[H.W. Bush], he can’t help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.”

Did the line she uttered in 1988 matter in 1994. No one knows for sure? But daddies are pop’lar in Texas, and nobody likes a wiseass.

Governor Richards died in 2006. Her legacy was directness, wit, and W. (Oh, her firstborn child is Cecile Richards,

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More Thoughts About the Iran Deal

April 4, 2015

I’m not finished! The Washington Post’s Friday editorial, Obama’s Iran deal falls far short of his own goals, prompted some additional thoughts.

The editorial takes issue with the Iran nuclear deal because, in 2012, President Obama set certain markers which this deal does not reach. Truth be told, the observations in the editorial are measured, and there should be a debate about the deal. That said, it’s simply silly to complain about the deal because the United States did not get everything it wanted.

A major part of my law practice involves negotiating. Some of it gets pretty mundane, right down to where we’re going for lunch. Then, though, there is stuff that matters, like how much a case

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47 Again – The Letter to Iran

March 13, 2015

Remember 47? in case you don’t, Fact-checking Romney’s “47 Percent” Comment by Lucy Madison for CBS on September 25, 2012 will refresh your memory.

I mention 47 because the number is back in the news, brought to you again by the Rs. On Monday, March 9, Senator Tom Cotton (Rep.-Ark.) authored a letter to the Iranian government about the nuclear proliferation deal being negotiated between Iran, the U.S., and five other nations. Here’s the letter, signed by Senator Cotton and, you guessed it, 46 other Republican senators. If one more or less senator’s signature was on the letter, my theme would have been blown!

Numbers, theme, and kidding aside, the conduct at issue should shock anyone who

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Selma: The Speech

March 8, 2015

Yesterday in Selma President Barack Obama gave an extraordinary speech about America, exceptional in its accomplishments and its promise, yet still lacking. Here’s the transcript and the video.

Selma is a place, for sure, but it’s known most for two events. There was a Civil War battle which took place only days before the end of the war. (The 150th anniversary comes on April 1, 2015.) And there were the marches.

The first Selma to Montgomery march happened on Sunday, March 7, 1965, 50 years ago yesterday. Blacks—Negroes back then—and whites marched for voting rights. State troopers and others beat 600 of them. Right here in America, with television cameras rolling tape.

Two more marches occurred,

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