Constitutional Daily

Founding Principles

The Tenure Paradox - Robot pimp

Slap on the Wrist for "Non-Consensual Sex" - Lampshade, Esq.

Intelligence: The Gathering - Graphic and Gratuitous

Grads are the New Illegals - Robot Pimp

Meet Entitlement Eric - Robot Pimp

Wherein I Solve World Peace - Lampshade, Esq.

A Necessary Delusion - Shadow Hand

Do you even need to shave overhead? - Lawyerlite

LSAT Jenga - Publius Picasso

http://www.constitutionaldaily.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1573:legal-reasoning-redux-5&catid=38:there-and-never-back-again&Itemid=65

Time, Place, and Manner

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Egypt's Little Coup, Part Deux

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The Egyptian military couldn't just wait one more day before removing President Mohamed Morsi. No, they had to do it on July 3rd, rather than waiting until July 4th. Sure, picking that date would have been seen as obvious pandering to the Americans, but you know what Americans respond to more than anything else? Obvious pandering.

Egypt just couldn't wait though, and now $1.5 billion in aid money is on the line. By statute, foreign aid is cut off to countries "whose duly elected leader of government is deposed by decree or military coup." While many members of Congress (and just people with common sense) are demanding that the aid money stop because the military deposed Mohamed Morsi, the Obama administration has held off on calling the revolt a coup under the novel legal theory that they don't have to follow the law if they don't say the magic words. [ForeignPolicy.com]

The law doesn't say that aid is cut off if the President declares there was a coup. That may have been the better way of drafting it, in order to allow some flexibility and recognition that global politics can be unpredictable. But, that's not what the law says. All that matters is if there actually is a coup. The Egyptian ambassador has argued there was not a military coup because the military is not ruling, but that's irrelevant for our laws -- what counts is how the duly elected leader was deposed, not who comes in after him. The military kicked Morsi out, and that is on its face a military coup.

Obama has apparently adopted the Adam Savage philosophy of government:

I reject your reality and substitute my own.

 

Ever heard of "the rule of law, not of men"? That's the exact position being rejected when the government says it's will supersedes the law. It's the rule of Obama, not of law. And that's the exact attitude that got Morsi in trouble in the first place. He was elected in a (relatively) free and open election, and then suspended the government and ruled as a dictator.

Obama hasn't gone quite that far, but it does seem to be the direction our nation is slowly headed in. Every two or four years there will be chants of "elections have consequences," and while that might on its face be a harmless statement, what many people mean is "we won and should get to rule by decree until the next election."

Egypt's turmoil should serve as a reminder that elections are not democracy. Democracy is what you do after the elections. You're elected to the government, not to be the government.

Anyone in DC Want a Free Law Library?

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A law firm located near Dupont Circle in Washington DC is giving away a thousand books from its library. [Click the image below for a link to the ad.]

 

You can get F.2d 500-999 and F. Supp. 2d 294-797 and create for yourself ...well, a very incomplete library that probably won't do you a great deal of good as a lawyer. Except, there is one use we can think of.

Are you a new lawyer in a solo practice or just partnered up with a couple other recent grads? Does your office reflect your meager capital investment? Then consider going down to this guy's office and picking up 200 or more books (200 is the minimum you can take). Then get some inexpensive bookcases and line the walls of your office with some fancy looking books.

Sure your practice doesn't really make use of them and the sets are incomplete, but do you think clients know that? Nope. Clients will just see a whole lot of law books and assume you must know a whole lot of laws, or at least do well enough for your clients to be able to afford all those books. Clients might not know what's in them, and we don't either, but we sure know they cost a lot.

[Alternatively, if you're a law school looking to boost its rank, remember that US News counts the total number of volumes in your library. Here's 1000 free books to help nudge your score up a little bit. There's definitely some schools in DC that could use the help. ...Lookin' at you, American University Washington College of Law.]

Aw, Councilman You're Just Jealous It's the Beastie Boys

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Attention New Yorkers: You've got to fight for your right to par-tay.

Or more specifically, you've got to fight for your right to party at a house with 40 or more people. City Councilman Jumaane Williams is on the war path against "house clubs." Not clubs that play house music -- clubs run out of residential homes. We're obviously not talking about Manhattan here, but Brooklyn or Queens, where someone with a yard can get a bunch of kegs and cheap liquor, sell tickets at the door, and pack their home with a couple hundred party goers. It's essentially the nightclub equivalent of a speakeasy ...except that the whole point of the speakeasy is, you know, the easy part. Keep it quiet so the cops don't come. [CBS NY]

Run down the street screaming when the party's over? That's understandably going to piss off the neighbors, get them to give their city councilman an earful, and then get him cracking down on your parties.

So what exactly is Councilman Williams planning to do?

Require registration of all house parties with at least 40 guests.

And that's got some people understandably upset. The First Amendment grants the freedom of assembly, and that Ninth Amendment penumbra thingy has given us a general right to privacy. In Williams's defense, parties are not required to seek a permit or permission, they merely have to announce to the police that a party is going to take place. But still, that notice is a bit problematic. You know that police are going to roll by your house the night of the party, and they're going to find some cause for entry. Even if no arrests are made, no tickets written, the police showing up is pretty much the end of the party. Hell, telling your guests that you've told the police about the party is enough to make most people avoid the likely hassle.

The constitutional issues aside, New Yorkers have a better reason to be ticked off at Williams -- he sucks at writing ordinances. The problem he wants to fix are residential houses operating for-profit night clubs. The proposed ordinance does nothing on its face to shut those clubs down, it just makes them register with the city. The practical effect may be to shut them down, but when it comes to legislating it's generally best to put the outcome you want within the four corners of the law. And he could have done just that. Why not simply ban private homes from operating certain types of businesses?

Oh, wait. There already are those sorts of rules. They're called "zoning" and New York is pretty serious about its zoning ordinances. It's also pretty serious about its fire codes, and we can't imagine any houses being zoned with a 200 person capacity. There's also some things like noise ordinances and drunk in public laws. Sounds like all he's got is an enforcement problem, and should take it up with the local police precinct. But if the government didn't respond to enforcement problems by passing new laws, well, we wouldn't have nearly so many law.

Fictional Lawyer July Madness

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So... yeah. We've been kinda preoccupied over here the last couple months, and the Fictional Lawyer March Madness has dragged out a bit.

Anyways, July Madness is now a thing, and we promise the poll will close at (or around) the end of the month. Your two contestants are:

Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird, #1 seed in the Serious Lawyer bracket and a perennial favorite.

Ari Gold from Entourage, the #3 seed in the Things You Can Do With a JD (other than practice law) bracket and probably the polar opposite of Mr. Finch, right down to the racial slurs.

Anyways, enjoy the voting. It'll be here all month.

Page 10 of 340

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