Arizona Republic Editorial: Just say ‘no’ to Medical Marijuana

Arizona Republic:  “Arizona’s medical-marijuana initiative is a bad idea wrapped in a cloak of compassion.  The sales pitch is that pot should be legally available to relieve the suffering of severely ill patients. But the medical argument, whatever its merits, is a smokescreen.”

By |September 26th, 2010|General|0 Comments

Arizona Voters to Vote on Medical Marijuana

ABC 15 TV:  “Now backers of a measure that goes before Arizona voters on Nov. 2 hope they’ve worked out all the kinks and that Arizonans will legalize marijuana for patients dealing with severe and persistent pain.”

By |September 25th, 2010|General|0 Comments

The $364 Million Word: Lawyer Admits to Changing One Word in McCourts’ Post Nuptial Agreement but Its a Biggee

Frank McCourt, who bought the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team in 2004 for $355 million and his soon to be ex-wife Jamie McCourt signed a post nuptial agreement that is now the subject of litigation in their acrimonious divorce.  According to a story in Forbes on April 7, 2010, the Dodges are worth $727 million.  When the McCourts signed their post nuptial agreement in which they agreed on how to divide their property in a divorce, the document said that the Dodgers was community property owned equally by each spouse.

After the parties signed the document Los Angeles Times reports that  “[Attorney Larry] Silverstein changed the word ‘exclusive’ to ‘inclusive’ to indicate the Dodgers were Frank’s sole property and not subject to California community property law.”  The lawyer admitted in court testimony that he changed the word without the prior knowledge or consent of either party.  Can you spell M A L P R A C T I C E!

The court must decide if the post nuptial agreement should contain the word “inclusive” or the word “exclusive.”  The answer is worth $364 million or $182 million for the two letters “in” vs. “ex.”

See “Dodgers Owner McCourt’s Wife Didn’t Want to Co-Own Team, Lawyer Testifies” and “Mediation scheduled in McCourt divorce case.”

By |September 25th, 2010|Litigation (Non-Arizona)|0 Comments

Bias Led to ‘Gutting’ of New Black Panthers Case, Justice Official Says

Washington Post:  “A veteran Justice Department lawyer accused his agency Friday of being unwilling to pursue racial discrimination cases on behalf of white voters, turning what had been a lower-level controversy into an escalating political headache for the Obama administration.”

See “Voting Rights Official Calls Dismissal of Black Panther Case a ‘Travesty of Justice’,” “Time for Change: Gov’t Must Address Lawlessness Uncovered by Christopher Coates” and “Prosecutor alleges Department of Justice bias.”

By |September 25th, 2010|Government Helping Us - Not, US Law|0 Comments

Bankrupt Phoenix Spends Taxpayer Money It Doesn’t Have to Build a Skate Park that Excludes Bikes

From the we don’t have the money and the debt isn’t ours so we can spend other people’s money go deeper into debt department.  “A new urban skate park has been approved for Margaret T. Hance Park near downtown Phoenix but it won’t allow bike riders.”  I’ll give the city fathers the benefit of the doubt and assume that the city powers believe that a very large percentage of the city’s residents of all ages will be bringing their boards and in-lines to the park to hang with their homies and praise the wisdom of the city’s leaders – Not!  Notice that the story does not mention how much money the city will pay.

What I fear is that a city that spends money like there is no tomorrow and without regard to whether it has the money will create the ultimate money pit – light rail.  Oh yeah.  I forgot.  Phoenix already did that.

By |September 25th, 2010|Government Spending, Phoenix Follies & Light Rail|0 Comments

Muslims File Record Number of Job Bias Claims

New York Times:  “At a time of growing tensions involving Muslims in the United States, a record number of Muslim workers are complaining of employment discrimination, from co-workers calling them “terrorist” or “Osama” to employers barring them from wearing head scarves or taking prayer breaks.”

By |September 25th, 2010|Litigation (Non-Arizona), US Law|0 Comments

The High Cost of College

Megan McArdle:  “Laura asks a question that’s on a lot of minds these days: ‘I’m certain that college (though not many graduate programs) do lead to higher lifetime salaries. However, costs have gotten out of control. Why have tuition rates gone up so much? How does a six figure student loan burden affect a person’s future?'”

By |September 24th, 2010|Law School Reality|0 Comments

Goldwater Institute Sues Coconino County Recorder Owens for Preventing People Who Wore Tea Party Shirts from Voting

Goldwater Institute:  Wickberg vs. Owens –  “On Sept. 20, 2010, the Goldwater Institute filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Flagstaff resident Diane Wickberg to defend her right to vote at her polling place while wearing a T-shirt for the Flagstaff Tea Party. Poll workers have twice threatened to block Mrs. Wickberg from voting unless she removed or covered her T-shirt. The lawsuit says the actions of Coconino County and County Recorder Candace D. Owens violate Mrs. Wickberg’s constitutional rights and put her at risk of being arrested.”

Read the complaint filed with the district court and the Arizona Republic story called “Flagstaff grandmother’s ‘tea party’ shirt spurs lawsuit.”

By |September 24th, 2010|Arizona Litigation|0 Comments

Commandeering the People: Why the Individual Health Insurance Mandate is Unconstitutional

Georgetown law Professor Randy E. Barnett has written a scholarly article called “Commandeering the People: Why the Individual Health Insurance Mandate is Unconstitutional.”  Here’s the abstract:

The “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” includes what is called an “individual responsibility requirement” or mandate that all persons buy health insurance from a private company and a separate “penalty” enforcing this requirement. In this paper, I do not critique the individual mandate on originalist grounds. Instead, I explain why the individual mandate is unconstitutional under the existing doctrine by which the Supreme Court construes the Commerce and Necessary and Proper Clauses and the tax power. There are three principal claims.

First (Part II), since the New Deal, the Supreme Court has developed a doctrine allowing the regulation of wholly intrastate activity: the substantial effects doctrine. Although commonly conceived as a Commerce Clause doctrine, from its inception this doctrine has been grounded in the Necessary and Proper Clause. In the 1990s, the Supreme Court developed a judicially administrable test for whether it is “necessary” for Congress to reach intrastate activity that substantially affects interstate commerce: the distinction between economic and noneconomic intrastate activity. Because the individual mandate fails to satisfy the requirements of this test as understood under existing doctrine, it exceeds the power granted to Congress by the Commerce and Necessary and Proper Clauses as currently construed by the Supreme Court. The mandate also fails to satisfy an alternative to the substantial effects doctrine that was proposed by Justice Scalia in a concurring opinion.

Second (Part III), because the “individual responsibility requirement” purports to be a regulation of commerce and cannot possibly be construed as a tax, it is not justified under the tax power of Congress; and, if the “requirement” or mandate is an unconstitutional regulation, there is nothing for the “penalty” to enforce. Neither is the penalty, considered apart from the regulatory requirement, a tax under current doctrine.

Third (Part IV), the Supreme Court should not further expand Congress’s power beyond existing doctrine to allow it to mandate that individuals engage in economic activity by entering into contracts with private companies. Such economic mandates are directly analogous to the commandeering of the states that the Supreme Court has held to be an improper exercise of the commerce power. The very few mandates that are imposed on the people pertain to their fundamental duties as citizens of the United States, such as the duty to defend the country or to pay for its operation. A newfound congressional power to impose economic mandates to facilitate the regulation of interstate commerce would fundamentally alter the relationship of citizen and state by unconstitutionally commandeering the people.

In Part V, I conclude with a “realist” assessment of likelihood that the Supreme Court will actually find the mandate to be unconstitutional.

By |September 24th, 2010|Obamacare, US Law|0 Comments

Recent Law School Grad Who Can’t Find a Job Asks President Obama ‘Is the American Dream Dead for Me?’

At a town hall meeting held on September 20, 2010, a 30-year-old law school graduate told President Obama that he cannot find a job and is not able to pay the interest on his student loans so a mortgage and a family are not possible either.   The well-dressed young man said that he was inspired by Obama during his campaign for President.  He said:

“That inspiration is dying away. I really want to know is the American dream dead?”

It was an excellent question that deserved a serious answer, but alas, the President did what politicians do when asked a hard question – he punted.  Obama said:

““Absolutely not. … There is not a country in the world that would want to change places with us,  We are still the country that billions of people in the world look to and aspire to.”

Watch the video to hear what the aspiring lawyer thought about Obama’s answer.

For more stories on this sad topic, see:

By |September 23rd, 2010|Law School Reality, Videos|0 Comments