On why Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring is unlikely to move up to higher office soon, despite possible vacancies: “experts say keeping the powerful role of Attorney General in Democratic hands is key to the party’s agenda.” Remember when an attorney general was seen as some sort of neutral legal officer? [Washington Post]
I’ve posted previously this year about the growing trend toward disrupting and shouting down political opponents’ rallies and events. It’s worth mentioning that much of the disruption, notably from activists claiming to speak in the name of the group Black Lives Matter, is actually more against political allies than against opponents. On Sunday BLM’s local chapter disrupted Toronto’s annual gay pride celebration — which trustingly had invited BLM to lead the celebration — with a list of demands including no longer allowing law enforcement to have floats in the parade. I’ve compiled a new Storify telling what happened next. More: Jamie Kirchick, L.A. Times.
- Vice presidential candidate Bill Weld, at Libertarian ticket town hall with Gary Johnson: trade war that followed Smoot-Hawley tariff “croaked the world economy.” Points for using “croaked” in a policy debate [CNN transcript]
- Litigator in chief? USA Today deep dive on Donald Trump’s lawsuit involvements including non-payment and tax categories [earlier]
- Lawyers and law firms had given 350 times more to pro-Clinton than pro-Trump efforts as of late May [American Lawyer, graphic] Should a lawyer work for Trump? [Josh Blackman]
- Be warned. “If Congress refuses to act, Hillary will take administrative action” against guns, her campaign vows [J.D. Tuccille]
- Raises interesting constitutional issues whatever one’s views of a #NeverTrump revolt [Washington Examiner]
- Trial lawyer/social conservative slate bid to control Texas GOP goes down in flames. [Texas Tribune, earlier]
When roving bandits appear on the scene, you begin to miss the old stationary bandits: Jonathan Rauch wants to bring back the political Establishment of days past, by revisiting primary and campaign-finance laws that were meant to curb the role of party regulars. [The Atlantic]
Bonus, Terry Teachout: “In a totally polarized political environment, persuasion is no longer possible: we believe what we believe, and nothing matters but class and power. We are well on the way … the gap that separates the two Americas has grown so deep and wide that I find it increasingly difficult to imagine their caring to function as a single nation for very much longer. …The main obstacle that stands in the way of the soft disunion of America is that Red and Blue America are not geographically disjunct, as were the North and South in the Civil War.”
Ira Stoll recalls a verse from Exodus — translated in the New Berkeley Version of the Christian Bible as “Heap no abuse upon judges” — and notes that the temptation to excoriate judges over unwelcome rulings knows no place or era. Ken White at Popehat pens an explainer, “Is there anything unusual about Judge Curiel’s orders in the Trump University case?” Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales kinda-sorta defends the propriety of litigants’ blasting judges, though in a left-handed way (“if I were a litigant who was concerned about the judge’s impartiality, I certainly would not deal with it in a public manner as Trump has, because it demeans the integrity of the judicial office and thus potentially undermines the independence of the judiciary, especially coming from a man who could be president by this time next year.”), drawing a response from Cassandra Robertson via Jonathan Adler. Eugene Volokh examines the no-not-even-close-on-current-evidence case for Curiel’s recusal. Earlier on the controversy here.
Meanwhile, journalists in Detroit have been recalling the story of the flamboyant, litigious, floppy-haired millionaire populist known for his willingness to insult judges and everyone else, who shoved aside the conventional pols to capture a major party nomination. Of course I’m referring to the 1998 run for governor of Michigan of attorney Geoffrey Fieger, a longtime Overlawyered favorite [Deadline Detroit, Zachary Gorchow/Gongwer]
And also relating to this year’s presidential race, I discussed the Libertarians’ ticket of Gary Johnson and Bill Weld and its attractions in an interview with Mona Charen for her Ricochet podcast “Need to Know” with Jay Nordlinger. More here.
“The city of Mesa, Arizona, has threatened suit against a local businessman, Jeremy Whittaker, who is running for city council in opposition to a longtime city employee who enjoys endorsements from several current elected city officials. His offense? His lawn signs and campaign literature include a single-color version of the city’s logo …as a handy way of identifying the office for which he is running.” It has demanded he surrender all his campaign materials bearing the logo, but he’s not planning to give in. [Paul Alan Levy, CL&P via Mike Masnick, TechDirt]
- Disparage at thy peril: three Democratic lawmakers demand FTC investigation of private group that purchased $58,000 in ads disparaging CFPB, a government agency [ABC News] So many politicos targeting their opponents’ speech these days [Barton Hinkle]
- A pattern we’ve seen over the years: promoting himself as outspoken social conservative, trial lawyer running for chairman of Republican Party of Texas [Mark Pulliam, SE Texas Record]
- Some of which goes to union political work: “Philly Pays $1.5 Million to ‘Ghost Teachers'” [Evan Grossman, Pennsylvania Watchdog via Jason Bedrick]
- “However objectionable one might find Trump’s rhetoric, the [event-disrupting] protesters are in the wrong.” [Bill Wyman/Columbia Journalism Review, earlier]
- Hillary Clinton’s connections to Wal-Mart go way back, and hooray for that [Ira Stoll and column]
- I went out canvassing GOP voters in Maryland before the primary. Here’s what they told me. [Ricochet]
In this new “Free Thoughts” podcast from Cato’s Libertarianism.org, Trevor Burrus interviews George Mason University professor Frank Buckley about his recent book, “The Once and Future King: The Rise of Crown Government in America.”
Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan, whose personal injury law firm bids for the distinction of the nation’s largest, has long been active in politics and policy (including the good libertarian cause of legalizing medical marijuana). So there isn’t much that’s newsy about his hosting an April 29 fundraiser for Hillary Clinton headlined by former President Bill Clinton. More noteworthy is that his law firm, per a March 31 announcement, is now welcoming to its practice as of counsel wayward scion Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., the celebrity environmentalist and frothing hothead long associated with the Florida firm of Levin Papantonio. Along with Kennedy, of course, comes metric tons of baggage — on anti-vaccine scaremongering, on hyperbolic crusades against farms, on demands to put his ideological adversaries behind bars, as would-be EPA administrator, and so much more.
P.S. We have often referred to RFK for short in the past as America’s Most Irresponsible Public Figure®. Is it time to retire that nickname in light of the continued rise of other public figures who might justly contend for that title?
Daniel McCall of Liberty Maniacs has put out a parody image in which the likeness of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is lined up as the latest in a row of figures such as Marx, Lenin, and Mao. Yesterday, invoking the campaign’s trademark and copyright interests, a Seattle lawyer named Claire Hawkins “has demanded that McCall stop purveying this image.” It’s the latest in a series of aggressive moves by campaigns and candidates including Hillary Clinton, Ben Carson, and Ron Paul, as well as the Republican National Committee, to assert intellectual property as a reason for taking down works that play on their image in either unfavorable or favorable ways as a means of expression. [Paul Alan Levy, Consumer Law & Policy; Ron Coleman, Likelihood of Confusion]