ACSBlog

  • January 12, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Lawrence J. Fox, George W. and Sadella D. Crawford Visiting Lecturer in Law, Yale Law School

    “I’ve just told you he’s guilty.”

    Still ringing through the courtroom as the last day of Robert McCoy’s trial for murder came to a close, were the stinging words, “I’ve just told you he’s guilty.” If those words had been uttered by the prosecutor, the world would have taken little note. But they were the words of Mr. McCoy’s lawyer made over his client’s express objection and protestation of innocence. They represented the ultimate act of client betrayal made by the constitutionally guaranteed defender of Mr. McCoy’s rights, his one true champion, the only participant in the criminal justice system who was constitutionally required to fulfill Mr. McCoy’s wishes so long as the client was competent and they involved no illegal conduct. On January 17, these words will be at the center of discussion at the U.S. Supreme Court, when it hears this extraordinary case, McCoy v. Louisiana.

  • January 12, 2018
    by Lynn Adelman, District Court Judge, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin 
     
    *This piece was originally posted in the fall issue of Dissent

    It is a little-known and disturbing fact that the Supreme Court is in the process of gutting what may be the most important civil rights statute Congress has ever passed. It is particularly distressing that the harm is being done by a largely unanimous court—and that, other than a few legal scholars, no one seems to be paying any attention.

  • January 11, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Alex Kreit, Professor of Law, Thomas Jefferson School of Law

    It’s been one week since Attorney General Sessions rescinded an Obama-era memo that had effectively ended federal prosecutions of state-legal marijuana businesses. Under the new policy, it is up to individual U.S. Attorneys to decide whether to go after people who comply with state marijuana laws. So far, the new Department of Justice policy has not resulted in any arrests or prosecutions.

    Why did Sessions make this move and why did he wait so long to do it? After one week, marijuana policy watchers are still left scratching their heads.

  • January 8, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Erwin Chemerinsky, ACS Board Member, Dean and Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley School of Law

    Presidents and the media long have had contentious relationships, but no president in history has expressed so much antipathy to the press as Donald Trump.  During the presidential campaign, he referred to the press as “dishonest,” “disgusting,” and “scum.”  He mocked the disability of a New York Times reporter, Serge Kovaleski, and repeatedly lashed out at reporters such as Megyn Kelly of Fox News and Katie Tur of NBC.  He threated to sue the New York Times for publishing his income tax return and the women who accused him of sexual harassment.

    As president he has continuing to express this hostility to the media.  The day after his inauguration, on January 21, President Trump, in remarks at the CIA headquarters, said: “I always call them the dishonest media. . .  I have a running war with the media.  They are among the most dishonest human beings on earth.”  Less than a month later, Trump sent a tweet declaring that the nation’s news media “is the enemy of the American people.”  He has declared that “[t]he Fake News Media has never been so wrong or so dirty.”  In another tweet, Trump said, “Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked.”  As a candidate and as president, he has urged changing libel law so that it is easier to sue the press for large amounts of money.

  • January 8, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Terri Gerstein, Leadership in Government Fellow, Open Society Foundations

    Last month, Microsoft announced that it will no longer require employees to bring sexual harassment claims to arbitration. This is welcome news, and a step in the right direction. But this move should be a first step. Microsoft now has the opportunity to lead the business community in eliminating these agreements not just for sexual harassment issues, but altogether. Microsoft could also use its considerable leverage to require its subcontractors to do the same. Meanwhile, federal and state government leaders should take their own actions to stop the harmful consequences of the exploding trend of forced arbitration.