Category Archives: Judiciary

Trump nominates Kavanaugh to Supreme Court

It has been nearly 25 years since Brett Kavanaugh arrived at the Supreme Court as a law clerk for Justice Anthony Kennedy. A few years later, Kavanaugh was back at the court as an advocate, arguing (unsuccessfully) that Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel for the Whitewater investigation, should have access to notes taken by a lawyer for former White House counsel Vince Foster in a conversation with his client shortly before Foster committed suicide. Kavanaugh could return to the Supreme Court in the fall, this time as a justice: Tonight President Donald Trump nominated Kavanaugh to fill the vacancy that will be created on the court when Kennedy retires on July 31. If, as is widely expected (and Republicans hope), Kavanaugh proves to be more conservative than his former boss, the Supreme Court could shift further to the right on a variety of high-profile issues, ranging from reproductive rights to affirmative action. Photo by Mark Walsh Trump’s nomination of Kavanaugh….. To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

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350. Magical thinking

In the Davis v. Washington decision of a couple years ago (see post 127), Justice Scalias opinion for the Supreme Court contained a footnote explaining that suppression of evidence under the sixth amendment has no deterrent effect on police officers:.. To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

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Review of “The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels” by Jon Meacham

Jon Meacham is a respected historian and author. He wrote American Lion (about Andrew Jackson); Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power; Destiny and Power (about George H. W. Bush); and many historical monographs. He appears regularly on CNN television to instruct Americans about the ways in which Donald J. Trump is a really bad president. His latest book, The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels, tells the story of other historical moments in which vicious, hateful forces (like the Ku Klux Klan) have contended with inclusive, liberal movements (such as for civil rights) and leaders (FDR, Truman, and Lyndon Johnson) for defining what America is and should be. The “Better Angels” of the title were first identified by Abraham Lincoln in his first inaugural address, when he pleaded with southern whites to listen to those angels. They didn’t. After the ensuing Civil War, a decade of “Reconstruction” featured a backlash in the South that….. To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

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Know Your ABCs!

When it all comes together . . .In re Bourbeau Custom Homes, Inc., 2017 VT 51By Eric FanningIn Vermont, unemployment benefits are funded through a system of payroll taxes. Our state’s Unemployment Compensation law requires employers to pay taxes on wages paid to their employees. Following an audit conducted by the Department of Labor, Bourbeau Custom Homes, Inc. was assessed just over $7,000 for unpaid unemployment taxes on wages paid to nine people, five of whom are at issue here. Bourbeau says that these people aren’t “employees” within the definition of the law, and so the company should not have been liable for said taxes. In many situations, this isn’t a hard issue to resolve. If you’re a Regular Joe with a 9-to-5 job, of course you’re considered an employee of Company X. Company X has to pay taxes on Regular Joe’s wages—which go to the Unemployment Compensation Fund. But alas, it is rarely the “easy”….. To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

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Academic highlight: Nelson, Gibson and Fontana on the public’s support for the Supreme Court

Do Americans continue to support the Supreme Court in the face of frequent criticism, including hostile tweets by the president of the United States? That question is particularly important on the eve of yet another confirmation battle and at the end of a term filled with high-profile cases. A recent NYU Law Review Symposium hosted by the Brennan Center for Justice gathered a group of experts to examine the public’s support for the Supreme Court in the face of frequent attacks. In their contribution, Professors Michael Nelson and James Gibson surveyed a random sample of Americans to determine whether criticism erodes the Supreme Court’s legitimacy and Americans’ support of that institution. Their findings confirmed previous studies showing that the public’s support for the court is strong, and that it dips more when the court is criticized as politicized rather than for making errors of law. To their surprise, however, they found that the public’s….. To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

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