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The beltway certainly has their collective panties in a bunch over the “storming” of the Capitol building last week. Talk of “sedition” and “insurrection” abounds. It used to be, before Trump, that charges of sedition and insurrection were discredited. We quote from the landmark first amendment case, New York Times v. Sullivan: Although the Sedition Act was never tested in this Court,[16] the attack upon its validity has carried the day in the…
Today we have this weird situation where the votes of the “electoral college” are counted – or not – in a joint session of Congress with Vice President Pence presiding and counting, or maybe not counting, maybe someone else does. We don’t know. Apparently this has all been fertile territory for political conflict before, since Article II, section 1 of the constitution prescribes some fairly detailed procedures for this whole thing, and then that didn’t…
You’ve got to hand it to the late Justice Rehnquist. He was quite an influence on the SCOTUS and led the pendulum swing back from indulging those no good dirty criminals in our justice system, a trend that supposedly occurred in the 1960’s under the “Warren Court”. Which brings us to “harmless error”. It’s a sensible enough concept that some constitutional errors don’t affect the outcome – which in criminal cases is almost always a…
In political science world, that is the most important job the courts have: to signal to the rabble that despite their own travails, all is well. This is thought to foster social stability. Social stability is the most important political value. The truth, of course, is the opposite, as it so often is when the axioms of political science are analyzed. The courts are there to scrutinize the status quo, not to rationalize it. In…
It was a divided SCOTUS, but the dissenters didn’t even say why they were dissenting. In other words, why bother? We have to correct ourselves. We noted this case back in November and erroneously reported that it did not involve the death penalty. We were wrong. We regret the error. Well, maybe the poor schmuck wasn’t on death row, but if he wasn’t the only reason would be that the 9th circuit ordered him off…
Somehow, there were no serious problems with lawyers upholding the rule of law until some colleagues began representing Donald Trump. This thesis is actually advanced seriously in this article from Yahoo News. The obligatory and MSM ubiquitous phrase “baseless allegations of systemic voter fraud” appears in the article, of course. And the point? Lawyers advancing such claims should be “disciplined”. We are currently reviewing evidence in a case where a prosecutor advanced a truly “baseless”…
That’s a word that shouldn’t be used in thoughtful writing. Unless you don’t mind being accused of polemics, instead of thoughtful, reasoned argument. So check out the article from National Review, and we quote briefly: Plainly, … the complaint [Texas] has filed is a political document that has no prospect of being taken seriously as a set of legal claims. The author, one Andrew McCarthy, goes on to preemptively accuse the TX attorney general…
So Texas and a number of other states, including Alabama and Louisiana, have sued the “swing states” regarding the presidential election. In the SCOTUS. This could get interesting. The argument – and it’s a good argument – is that they followed the federal proscriptions of Article II of the constitution and that the swing states did not, and that they elected Trump and the swing states went the other way, electing Biden, and that their…
There is evidence. And then there is “reasoning” about the evidence. In the modern era (20th and 21st centuries) people do not reason well, mainly because they do not have faith in the Reason. Like Hume, they regard the Reason as an artifice of self-justification and nothing more. We have described this state of affairs before. Review if you wish here and here. And maybe here. We are not taking Trump’s side…
It was probably not a Good Thing that the United States elected Donald Trump president in 2016. We here at LoS have maintained that he is not an appropriate head of state for a number of reasons, the primary one being a violation of the sense of decorum proper to the office: in peace time (what’s that?) POTUS is supposed to be a largely ceremonial position, and it’s hard to project dignity when you are…