January 2018

  • January 22, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Caroline Fredrickson

    For judicial nominations, 2018 began much the way 2017 ended. Rushed and reckless sum up the confirmation process.    

    Look at the pace with which the Senate is confirming nominees. Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, last week jammed through the Senate Judiciary Committee 17 of Trump’s judicial nominations. As Sen. Christopher Coons, D-Del., a committee member, noted on an ACS briefing call, the rocket docket is now the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

  • January 22, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Peter Dreier, Dr. E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics and chair of the Urban & Environmental Policy Department, Occidental College

    *This piece was originally posted on American Prospect.

    There’s a scene in last year’s documentary by Lilly Rivlin, Heather Booth: Changing the World, in which Heather and Paul Booth discuss how they met at an anti-war sit-in at the University of Chicago’s administration building in 1966.

    “The sit-in lasted several days and nights. We got to know each other very well,” Paul recalled. “By the end of the week I was ready to propose marriage and I did.” Married the following year, they spent a lifetime together as key organizers and activists in every social justice movement of the past half-century.

  • January 22, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Julie A. Werner-Simon, is a former federal prosecutor  

    *Reprinted with permission of LA Daily Journal, 1-10-18

    When a new pope is selected by the assemblage of cardinals at the Vatican, the papal conclave releases white smoke into the sky. There are no smoke signals at the U.S. Supreme Court, but if one had a good sense of smell on Monday, the scent of cake appeared to be wafting from the neoclassical edifice at 1 First Street. The Supreme Court rejected two petitions challenging the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ upholding of a Mississippi law that permits businesses, religious organizations and government employees (as well as other organizations and individuals) to refuse service to gay people, to people who identify with a gender other than that with which they were born, as well as people of any gender who have sexual relations outside of marriage. Barber v. Bryant, 17-547 and Campaign for Southern Equality v.  Bryant, 17-642. 

  • January 19, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer, Microsoft

    *This piece was originally posted on Microsoft On the Issues

    Something extraordinary happened in Washington, D.C., yesterday.

    Members of Congress took the same position as members of the European Parliament. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce approvingly quoted a statement by the European Commission. Business groups and big companies agreed with consumer and privacy advocates. Faculty from Harvard joined with professors from Princeton. Professors from Duke joined rivals from the University of North Carolina, while those at Berkeley sided with Stanford. And Fox News agreed with the American Civil Liberties Union.

  • January 17, 2018
    Guest Post

    By Steven D. Schwinn, Professor of Law, the John Marshall Law School

    Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon invoked a breathtakingly broad version of executive privilege on behalf of the President at yesterday's closed-door House Intelligence Committee hearing. But at the same time, he reportedly maintains (apparently along with the White House) that the same executive privilege won't prevent him from sharing information with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who has subpoenaed Bannon.

    What gives? Neither Bannon nor the White House has said. But let's try to sort some of this out.

    Start here: The Supreme Court, in its seminal case United States v. Nixon, said that certain communications between the President and his or her advisors may be privileged. While this "executive privilege" is nowhere in the Constitution, the Court said that it derives from the President's Article II powers and separation-of-powers principles.