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Category Archives: Courts

A Conservative Group’s Closed-Door ‘Training’ of Judicial Clerks Draws Concern

The New York Times: “The closed-door “training academy” was aimed at a select group: recent law school graduates who had secured prestigious clerkships with federal judges. It was organized by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative group that has played a leading role in moving the courts to the right, and it had some unusual requirements. “Generous donors,” the application materials said, were making “a significant financial investment in each and every attendee.” In exchange, the future law clerks would be required to promise to keep the program’s teaching materials secret and pledge not to use what they learned “for any purpose contrary to the mission or interest of the Heritage Foundation.” The conservative legal movement has made bold moves before, and it has long cultivated law students and young lawyers, partly to ensure a deep bench of potential judicial nominees. The Heritage Foundation, along with the Federalist Society, helped compile the lists of potential Supreme Court nominees from which President Trump chose his two appointees, Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh. The two groups also helped identify many of the scores of Mr. Trump’s appointees to the lower federal courts. But legal experts said the effort by Heritage to train and influence law clerks raised serious ethical questions and could undermine the duties the clerks have to the justice system and to the judges they will serve.

  • “Law clerks are not supposed to be part of a cohort of secretly financed and trained partisans of an organization that describes itself on its own web page as ‘the bastion of the American conservative movement,’” said Pamela S. Karlan, a law professor at Stanford. “The idea that clerks will be trained to elevate the Heritage Foundation’s views, or the views of judges handpicked by the foundation, perverts the very idea of a clerkship.”…

Records Show DHS Ignored Privacy, First Amendment Threats of Media Monitoring Program

“EPIC has obtained records concerning “Media Monitoring Services,” a controversial DHS project to track journalists, news outlets, and social media accounts. The records, released in EPIC’s FOIA lawsuit against the federal agency, reveal that the DHS bypassed the agency’s own privacy officials and ignored the privacy and First Amendment implications of monitoring the coverage by… Continue Reading

The Employer Surveillance State

The Atlantic – The more bosses try to keep track of their workers, the more precious time employees waste trying to evade them. “…In fact, electronic surveillance of employees, through technologies including not just video cameras but also monitoring software, has grown rapidly across all industries. Randolph Lewis, a professor of American Studies at the… Continue Reading

After a year of MeToo, American opinion has shifted

The Economist – After a year of #MeToo, American opinion has shifted against victims – Survey respondents have become more sceptical about sexual harassment: “… #MeToo…resonated most on social media, as millions of women shared their experiences of abuse, intimidation and discrimination. In the past 12 months, the hashtag has been tweeted 18m times according… Continue Reading

Official Corruption Prosecutions Drop Under Trump

“The latest available data from the Justice Department show that federal prosecutions for official corruption have dropped sharply. During the first eleven months of FY 2018 the government reported 340 new official corruption prosecutions. If this activity continues at the same pace, the annual total of prosecutions will be down 23.5% over the past fiscal… Continue Reading

Powerful Women Talk About Power (And Powerlessness)

Cover – New York Magazine: “Women and Power is divided into four chapters that will be published throughout the week. The full list of stories is available here — links will be added as new chapters are published.” CHAPTER 1: NOW Anita Hill Won, Even Though She Lost Lena Waithe Took the Emmy and Ran… Continue Reading

Do Courts Have Inherent Authority to Release Secret Grand Jury Materials?

CRS Legal Sidebar via FAS – Do Courts Have Inherent Authority to Release Secret Grand Jury Materials? Michael A. Foster, Legislative Attorney, October 5, 2018. “The U.S. Constitution requires that any prosecution of a serious federal crime be initiated by “ a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury.” The “[g]rand [j]ury” contemplated by the… Continue Reading

6 Supreme Court cases to keep an eye on this term

MarketPlace: “The U.S. Supreme Court has been in the spotlight in recent weeks over the confirmation of its latest justice, Brett Kavanaugh. Now attention turns to the cases the fully staffed high court will consider this session. For more on what the new makeup of Supreme Court will mean for business and the economy, and… Continue Reading

Publishers Escalate Legal Battle Against ResearchGate

Inside Higher Education: American Chemical Society and Elsevier are again suing academic networking site ResearchGate in an attempt to stop it distributing copyrighted research papers. “ResearchGate, a popular for-profit academic social network that makes it easy to find and download research papers, is facing increasing pressure from publishers to change the way it operates. On… Continue Reading

Chief Justice John Roberts Now Gets To Decide What To Do With His Supreme Court

BuzzFeedNews: “Chief Justice John Roberts has traversed a difficult path leading the Supreme Court since Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016. He has led the court through an extended vacancy, the beginning of the Trump administration, and, just this past week, opened the court’s term for a second time with just eight justices. Now,… Continue Reading

Interruptions at Supreme Court confirmation hearings have been rising since the 1980s

The Conversation: “Depending on who you ask, the American people saw very different things in the riveting testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. To some, Kavanaugh’s behavior was the self-indulgent temper tantrum of an angry and entitled man. To others, it was the understandable – even laudable – reaction… Continue Reading

District Court Says Members of Congress Have Standing to Sue President for Emoluments Violations

Constitutional Law Prof Blog [h/t Joe Hodnicki]: “Judge Emmet G. Sullivan (D.D.C.) ruled today in Blumenthal v. Trump that members of Congress have standing to sue President Trump for violations of the Foreign Emoluments Clause. At the same time, Judge Sullivan declined to rule on the President’s other three arguments for dismissal–that the plaintiffs lack… Continue Reading