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Category Archives: Legal Research

Justice Department Independence and White House Control

Wright, Andrew McCanse, Justice Department Independence and White House Control (February 18, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3125848 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3125848 [h/t Joe Hodnicki]

“Problematic relations between the White House and the U.S. Department of Justice stand out amidst the broader tumult of President Donald Trump’s first year in office. With respect to written policy restricting contacts between the White House staff and the Department, the Trump White House has followed the general contours of predecessor administrations. Those policies recognize that White House contacts restrictions vary with the Department’s complex functions, restrict channels of contact, and restrict personnel authorized to make contacts. They also grant limited exceptions where White House-Department contact is required to assist the President in the performance of a constitutional duty and contact would be appropriate from a law enforcement perspective. A number of episodes, however, suggest that the President and senior administration officials have not honored the spirit, and in some cases the letter, of that contacts policy.

One of the frequent criticisms leveled against President Trump is that he disregards many norms and traditions that have been observed by presidential administrations of both parties for decades. Restrictions on White House interference in criminal investigations do not merely protect norms. Rather, those policies also seek to prevent unconstitutional conduct by the President and his political appointees. This Article demonstrates that political interference by the President undertaken in bad faith could violate the Take Care Clause even in the absence of a criminal statute. Obstructive behavior is even worse. Whether or not the President is indictable for the commission of a statutory criminal offense of obstruction of justice during his tenure in office, this Article explains why the President may violate the Take Care Clause independently of criminal offenses.

A principle of political noninterference by the White House in the federal prosecution function in particular matters is consistent with Article II. Neither the Vesting Clause, the President’s position atop the Executive Branch, nor the President’s broader enforcement discretion defeat the anti-interference principles commanded by the Presidential Oath and the Take Care Clause. It is a question that goes to the very concept of Rule of Law itself. However, political processes, rather than justiciable legal proceedings, serve as the presumptive source of Take Care Clause enforcement as to White House-Department relations.”

Dept. of the Interior Interior moves to lift restrictions on hunting bears, wolves using bait and spotlights

AP: “The Trump administration is moving to reverse Obama-era rules barring hunters on some public lands in Alaska from baiting brown bears with bacon and doughnuts and using spotlights to shoot mother black bears and cubs hibernating in their dens. The National Park Service issued a notice Monday of its intent to amend regulations for… Continue Reading

Amazon is selling police departments a real-time facial recognition system

The Verge: “Documents obtained by the ACLU of Northern California have shed new light on Rekognition, Amazon’s little-known facial recognition project. Rekognition is currently used by police in Orlando and Oregon’s Washington County, often using nondisclosure agreements to avoid public disclosure. The result is a powerful real-time facial recognition system that can tap into police… Continue Reading

Supreme Court decision – companies can use arbitration clauses to block employees class action suits

The New York Times: “The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that companies can use arbitration clauses in employment contracts to prohibit workers from banding together to take legal action over workplace issues. The vote was 5 to 4, with the court’s more conservative justices in the majority. The court’s decision could affect some 25 million… Continue Reading

Germany Acts to Tame Facebook, Learning From Its Own History of Hate

The New York Times: A country taps its past as it leads the way on one of the most pressing issues facing modern democracies: how to regulate the world’s biggest social network. “Spread over five floors, hundreds of men and women sit in rows of six scanning their computer screens. All have signed nondisclosure agreements.… Continue Reading

Potential Spy Devices Which Track Cellphones, Intercept Calls Found All Over DC MD VA

NBC News4 I-Team – Washington, DC – “The technology can be as small as a suitcase, placed anywhere at any time, and it’s used to track cell phones and intercept calls. The News4 I-Team found dozens of potential spy devices while driving around Washington, D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia “While you might not be a target… Continue Reading

WaPo – Technology has made the repo man ruthlessly efficient

Washington Post – “Technology has made the repo man ruthlessly efficient, allowing this familiar angel of financial calamity to capitalize on a dark corner of the United States’ strong economy: the soaring number of people falling behind on their car payments.” “…Derek Lewis works for Relentless Recovery, the largest repo company in Ohio and its… Continue Reading

3 new tools to study and counter online disinformation

Indiana University Bloomington: “Researchers at CNetS, IUNI, and the Indiana University Observatory on Social Media have launched upgrades to two tools playing a major role in countering the spread of misinformation online: Hoaxy and Botometer.  A third tool Fakey — an educational game designed to make people smarter news consumers — also launches with the upgrades. Hoaxy is a search engine that… Continue Reading

Public can now search UK government’s entire digital archive

BusinessCloud: “The British government’s entire online presence comprising billions of web pages has been indexed and digitally archived to the cloud for the first time. Manchester tech firm MirrorWeb has devised an all-new indexing to create an accessible, searchable and user-friendly resource for the public. The National Archives’ gigantic 120TB web archive encompasses billions of… Continue Reading

WaPo More than 210,000 students have experienced gun violence at school since Columbine

The wider more accurate statistics and graphics on how gun violence has impacted students in American schools since Columbine [1999]: “The Washington Post has spent the past year determining how many children have been exposed to gun violence during school hours since the Columbine High massacre in 1999. Beyond the dead and wounded, children who… Continue Reading

20 years of the Laws of Cyberspace

20 years of the Laws of Cyberspace – Harvard’s Berkman Klein event celebrates how Lawrence Lessig’s groundbreaking paper provided structure to the Center’s field of study. What if an architecture emerges that permits constant monitoring; an architecture that facilitates the constant tracking of behavior and movement. What if an architecture emerged that would costlessly collect… Continue Reading

New on LLRX – 2018 New Economy Resources and Tools

Via LLRX.com – 2018 New Economy Resources and Tools – This guide by Marcus Zillman provides researchers in multiple disciplines – law, economists, academia, government, corporate, and journalism – the latest, most reliable web resources for discovering sources to meet the multifaceted needs of time sensitive, specific, actionable work product. The global economic landscape is… Continue Reading