ACSBlog

  • May 11, 2018

    by Deborah Pearlstein, Professor of Law Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

    At Wednesday’s hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee considering her nomination to be CIA Director, Gina Haspel talked a lot about “leadership lessons” – lessons not only reflecting the knowledge and experience she plainly has, but presumably the deeper insights and judgment one gains after trying and failing, as we all inevitably do, to do the right thing at the critical time. The great disappointment of Haspel’s testimony was in how evident it became that she seems to have learned the wrong ones.

    Even before the Wednesday hearing, Haspel’s nomination was opposed by scores of retired military leaders, and an equal number of America’s ambassadors and diplomats; there are likewise many individuals in our intelligence community who cite the same reasons as Haspel’s opponents for thinking America should never go down the torture road again. Our torture program violated the law, endangered our troops, empowered terrorist recruiters, imperiled essential counterterrorism cooperation with our most stalwart allies, did lasting physical and psychological harm both to the prisoners we tortured and the men and women we demanded torture them, and compromised our most basic values as a country. As John McCain put it back it 2005: “"It's not about who they are. It's about who we are." These lessons were hard won indeed.

  • May 11, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Barbara McQuade, Professor from Practice, University of Michigan Law School, and former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan

    The assault on Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein should alarm all of us. In an opinion piece yesterday, Rich Lowry calls for Rosenstein’s firing. Rod Rosenstein Jumps the Shark, May 2, 2018. 

    Rosenstein has been an admirable defender of the rule of law as President Trump has tried to turn the Department of Justice into his personal law firm. 

    Because of the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Rosenstein has been serving as the acting Attorney General for the Russia probe. Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller special counsel and continues to supervise his investigation into links between Russia and the Trump campaign to interfere in the presidential election. 

  • May 11, 2018

    by Hina Shah, Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Women’s Employment Rights Clinic at Golden Gate University School of Law

    Last week, the California Supreme Court issued a unanimous 82-page decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court  that settled a question of law that had not been previously decided: what is the proper legal standard in determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor under California’s wage and hour laws.

    Joining 14 other jurisdictions, the California Supreme Court adopted the ABC standard to determine the worker’s classification under the “suffer or permit” language of California’s wage and hour regulations, called wage orders. A worker is presumed to be an employee unless the company can establish that (a) the worker is free from control and direction over performance of the work, both under the contract and in fact; and (b) the work provided is outside the usual course of business for which the work is performed; and (c) the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation or business. Failure to prove any one of these factors will be fatal to being classified as an independent contractor.

  • May 8, 2018

    by Derek W. Black, Professor of Law, University of South Carolina 

    *This piece was originally published on The Conversation

    Teacher strikes are generating a healthy focus on how far public education funding has fallen over the past decade. The full explanation, however, goes beyond basic funding cuts. It involves systematic advantages in terms of funding, students and teachers for charter schools and voucher programs as compared to traditional public schools. Increasing public teacher salaries may end the current protests, but speaking as an expert in education law and policy, I believe it won’t touch the new normal in which public education is no longer many states’ first priority.

    My forthcoming research shows that, from funding and management practices to teacher and student policies, states are giving charter schools and private schools a better deal than public schools. These better deals have fueled enormous growth in charter schools and voucher programsthat is now nearly impossible to unwind.

  • May 7, 2018

    by Caroline Fredrickson, President, ACS

    The Senate majority is rushing to fill the courts with unqualified and highly ideological nominees, and destroying long observed bipartisan norms along the way. We have the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announcing that he will continue to rush these nominees through as long as he possibly can regardless of anyone’s concerns or election outcome. This is the same man who declared his greatest moment was the day that he told President Obama he refused to give any consideration to a U.S. Supreme Court nominee, denying a hearing for 11 months arguing that the people should have a say. Rank hypocrisy doesn’t even cover it.