Category Archive: Politics

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The 9th Circuit and the Immigration Ban

Last week, the Ninth Circuit upheld the lower court’s temporary restraining order on the Trump administration’s travel ban. If you listen to some news outlets, you’ve probably heard this described as an activist decision by politically motivated judges. To those on the other side of the issue, this was a much needed check by the judiciary on a rogue executive. But for all the opinions being bandied about, it is important to understand what the Ninth Circuit’s decision actually did — and didn’t — do.

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What on Earth is an emolument?

Two and a half years into law school, I am still woefully ignorant of the U.S. Constitution. For example, I only recently found out about the Emoluments Clause. Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the Constitution says, “No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” (In case you’re wondering, an emolument is generally defined as compensation for services or from employment or an office). Basically, the Clause is meant to prevent political office-holders from accepting gifts so that they aren’t improperly influenced by outside entities.

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The 2016 election is not over yet.

You might not know this, but there is still a very important political race going on in this country. No, it’s not the race to encourage electors to go rogue and mirror the popular vote, which Hillary Clinton won going away. Barring any unforeseen events — not like any of that kinda stuff has happened in this election! — Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the United States.

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A Brief History of Women Running for President

Although we’re not at First Woman President status yet, every election since 1860 has been taken by a Republican or Democrat. The possibility of Madame President got appreciably closer last night.

Hillary Clinton is not the first or second or even tenth woman to run for president. Let’s take a look at a few of those who laid the groundwork for this moment.

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Controversy is everywhere, even in the staid hallways of law school.

What a time… to be alive… and to be attempting to focus on your LSATs when there are so, so many legal and political firestorms raging in the world today.

Turkey’s democratically-elected government has been overthrown in a violent military coup, but actually nvm; Cleveland has devolved into a veritable trumpster-fire over the course of the GOP Convention; Ted Zodiac Killer Cruz admonished us to “vote our conscience” during an endorsement that was anything but; Michelle Obama’s platitudinous 2008 Convention speech now apparently is the hallmark to which all other FLOTUS speeches should aspire (or plagiarize).

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Melania Trump: Copyright Infringer?

The irony of Melania Trump’s now well-documented plagiarism of Michelle Obama’s 2008 Democratic National Convention speech is plain to see. Without getting too political about it, Donald Trump elbowed his way into national politics as the leader of the birther movement, trumpeting (pun intended) the demonstrably false claim that Barack Obama was not born in the U.S. and therefore ineligible to serve as president. That Mrs. Trump would lift portions of a speech singing the praises of then-Senator Obama in order to sing the praises of Mr. Trump is strange at best.

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Want Your Vote to Count More? Move Next to a Prison.

There are many strange elements to the laws governing America’s prisons, which incarcerate more people (by percentage and raw number) than any other country in the world. One of the less-discussed is how those prison populations affect voting rights.

Electoral districts are drawn using the Census, which counts the prison population as residents of whichever district the prison is in.

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Donald Trump, Defender of Constitutional Provisions Both Real and Imagined

Donald Trump met with Republican members of Congress last week in an effort to assuage any concerns they may have about his candidacy. In this meeting, they asked him if he’d defend Article I of the Constitution (which, of course, is the section of the Constitution that establishes the legislative branch, including Congress).

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Primarily, we’re all screwed.

There were a few primaries last night — some ho-hum affairs that, in their own way, may have sealed the fate of the planet. By that, I mean that Donald Trump is way closer to putting his itty-bitty index finger on the red button that says “nuke” than anybody ought to be comfortable with.

Let’s look at the contests briefly, and then we can talk about where we go from here.

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Who is Merrick Garland? 3 Things You Should Know About Obama’s Longshot Supreme Court Nominee

In the never-ending, poorly acted Kabuki theater that is national politics these days, we’ve seen senator after senator — Republican and Democrat alike — chew the scenery over a replacement for late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Democrats — President Obama included — make the point that the Constitution is pretty clear about what’s supposed to happen when a Supreme Court Justice dies.