Like many liberals I have great, if not boundless, faith in our constitution. There’s been a copy in my briefcase for 45 years. It’s on my smartphone and tablet home screens, frequently consulted and read in its entirety many times, including several during my current gig teaching con law at the New Paltz campus of New York’s State University. In all those readings I’ve never noticed any reference to the popular vote in the selection of POTUS. My first full review of the constitution was in 1968, getting ready to vote for the first time and also preparing to speak with 4th and 5th graders at Williamstown Elementary on School Street in Williamstown, Mass. The school had asked the Poli Sci department at Williams to [...]
Welcome to Hopelessly Liberal, a blog going live this day of Trump + 7. Your blogger is an old fashioned liberal, having never deserted its shores for Progressive Land (sounds like a spaghetti sauce factory) or other euphemistic kingdoms. The title “Hopelessly Liberal” is borrowed from my son, who used it in his successful campaign for student council some years back at Riverdale Country School and from Al D’Amato who used it, also successfully, to defeat Bob Abrams in their 1992 U.S. senatorial contest. Mea culpa, as the Abrams campaign’s issues director, I influenced him to run on liberal policies, including universal single-payer health insurance. By 1992 “liberal” had already become a term of derision for many on the right and far left. Wimpy liberals [...]
In Priceless, author and lead counsel Lloyd Constantine relates the dramatic account of backroom strategizing and courtroom conniving during the high-stakes litigation. Constantine, who led the team representing the plaintiffs, vividly describes how the case pitted retailers against credit card companies, and pries the lid off dodgy debit card practices. The plaintiffs, including Wal-Mart, Sears Roebuck, The Limited, Safeway, and a class of five million stores, pitted their financial futures against Visa and Mastercard in this war between giants.
In November 2006, Eliot Spitzer was on top of the political world, having won the New York Governorship by the greatest margin ever—far outdistancing his predecessors Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt. Sixteen months later, in March 2008, Spitzer resigned from the governorship during a brief public appearance, and “Client No. 9” entered our vernacular. It was a story imbued with exquisite irony, and it made news around the world. Journal of the Plague Year is an intimate account of 61 hours, from the moment on March 9, 2008, when Lloyd Constantine, senior advisor to Spitzer, received a phone call from Spitzer revealing facts the entire world would learn the next morning, until Spitzer’s March 12 news conference. It is also an inside account of the 16 tumultuous months of Spitzer’s administration that preceded the resignation.
Given the trajectory of the presidential primary races preceding New York’s ballot April 19 and the results of the six primaries April 26 and May 3, it is clear that for once New York’s vote was pivotal and likely decisive for both parties. Prior to New York, Bernie Sanders had won eight of the nine immediately previous contests and Ted Cruz had significantly eroded Donald Trump’s delegate lead through outright primary victories in state delegation fights. New York stopped the Cruz ascent and paved the way for six additional Trump wins, driving Cruz and John Kasich from the Republican race. In the Democratic contest, Sanders gamely battles on, but New York all but obliterated his path to nomination. […]
President’s court choice shows he still lacks jugular instinct President Barack Obama has nominated Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court and fill the seat of the late Antonin Scalia. This pick shows one thing the president has learned from more than seven years of Republican obstructionism, and, sadly, what he hasn’t. […]
Consider Justice Antonin Scalia’s biases and opinions before honoring jurist The passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia raises the distinct possibility, bordering on certainty, that his admirers soon will propose honoring the conservative legal icon by naming a courthouse or other legal structure or institution in his memory. It is debatable whether names like Woodrow Wilson’s should be removed from Princeton University structures today, because of his racist yet mainstream policies a century ago. But it would clearly be unwise to honor the memory of the late Scalia with any object or institution intended to last longer than a weekend. […]
Clinton has a tendency to want all sides of an issue to work in her favor Recently resurrected controversy over Hillary Clinton’s 1975 legal defense of a rape suspect is but one volley of distant thunder that will steadily intensify and dominate the debate through Election Day 2016 if she runs for president, as expected. […]
High court rules Monroe County town can start meetings with prayer A sharply divided Supreme Court (5-4) recently decided that the New York town of Greece could continue its practice of beginning monthly public town board meetings with pervasively Christian prayer. The majority and dissenting opinions included personal invective among the “brethren,” creating tension only slightly relieved by the absurd concurring opinion of Justice Clarence Thomas. He sided with the majority but separately wrote that New York, and any state, could constitutionally establish an official religion but the United States was “probably” prohibited from doing that. […]
Your privacy, and the expectation that it is secure, took a massive hit April 29. It came from state and federal prosecutors arguing Riley v. California before the U.S. Supreme Court. In the Riley case, California’s solicitor general and a deputy U.S. solicitor general argued that, when someone is arrested, even for a minor offense like failing to buckle up, the police must be free to search, without warrant, through the entire contents of a smartphone, tablet or laptop in the pocket, backpack, briefcase or vehicle of the suspect. […]