Break Out the Popcorn

Hoo boy:

A federal district judge has told the accounting firm Mazars it will need to turn over Donald Trump’s accounting records from before he was President to the Democratic-controlled House Oversight Committee.

In a 41-page opinion, Judge Amit Mehta of the DC District Court dealt a significant blow to the White House as he rejected Trump’s attempt to block the committee’s subpoena, asserting that Congress is well within its authority to investigate the President.

You kind of have to read the opinion (I uploaded it hereMehta-Order-20190520) because it is a doozy, opening with a quote from James Buchanan in which he was also pissy about being investigated, and then systmatically dismantling Team Trump’s arguments. It’s a fun read.






134 replies
  1. 1
    la caterina says:

    Thanks for the link! Now let’s hope they don’t get a stay at the circuit court.

  2. 2
    Kent says:

    There are just too many of these cases happening simultaneously. SCOTUS is eventually going to have to rule on one of them. It will come down to Roberts I suspect.

  3. 3

    I fully expect the DOJ to issue an opinion that none of this matters. Trump can do what he wants. Then Trump says, “Nyah, nyah, make me.”

  4. 4
    NotMax says:

    Tomorrow’s tweets today.

    “Judge” Mehta is a doody-head.

  5. 5
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Good! Our courts are holding up well against Trump’s lawlessness. At least so far.

  6. 6
    la caterina says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: That won’t have any effect on this particular subpoena, which has to be complied with by the accounting firm. Congress can fine them out of existence if they don’t comply. Unless the circuit court or the Supremes intervene.

  7. 7
    Mary G says:

    I started reading it, and whoo, boy. Good. I clicked on your link before I finished reading your post, and I was wondering where Twitler got a lawyer who can write. He’s the reincarnation of James Buchanan, except you always lose a bit off the quality when copies are made.

    Soon the Supremes will get it and Roberts will let us know if we still live in a democracy or not.

  8. 8
    Mike in NC says:

    Currently there are 29 investigations into the tawdry affairs of Fat Bastard and his henchmen. Bring on a few more!

  9. 9
    Ruckus says:

    I’ve gotten through page 12. IANAL. I still say that unless the USSC just takes a flyer, the committee is getting the records. So far everything is laid out so that no one would be able to say the judge has not crossed all the Ts and dotted all the Is. I can’t imagine the rest of it isn’t laid out the same way.

  10. 10
    la caterina says:

    @Ruckus: IAAL and I concur. Well written, meticulously laid out opinion. As we should expect from a federal judge. Roberts will have to go way out on a limb to reverse this.

  11. 11
    Cacti says:

    @Ruckus:

    About the only way Congress doesn’t get those records is if the right wing SCOTUS partisans pull more Bush v. Gore type shenanigans where they find in Trump’s favor, but the ruling should never be used as precedent ever, because reasons.

    Sadly, such an outcome is entirely possible.

  12. 12
    Baud says:

    It helps that all the precedents support the House here.

  13. 13
    Immanentize says:

    @Baud:

    It helps that all the precedents support the House here.

    Because, you know, the Constitution.

  14. 14

    @Cacti:
    I don’t think the right wing of the USSC will bother with Bush v. Gore type excuses for not using their rulings as precedent. They’ll just rule whichever way serves their purposes of the moment and not give a damn about consistency or precedent.

  15. 15

    @Immanentize: One would hope so.

    The WH declaration that McCahn has immunity because he worked somewhere near Trump has depressed me no end. I’ll probably feel better tomorrow

  16. 16
    Baud says:

    @Immanentize:

    Roberts:

    The Framers, the Framers of the Constitution have given unto you these three…

    [drops one of the tablets] 

    Oy! Two! Two branches of government for all to obey!

  17. 17
    JPL says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: Since McGahn has already testified, executive privilege appears to be weak, but republicans will cheer anyway. They are cowards.

  18. 18
    joel hanes says:

    @Baud:

    It helps that all the precedents support the House here.

    All the precedents supported leaving the preclearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act in force, too.
    The Republican hacks of the Roberts Court ignore stare decisis when it suits their purposes to do so.

    http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblo.....omplacency

  19. 19
    TenguPhule says:

    @la caterina:

    Roberts will have to go way out on a limb to reverse this.

    Roberts: “Historic evidence that black people have been denied the right to vote Congress has a duty to investigate the Executive Branch, no longer matter in light of the recent change in public sentiment that there is no more racism Presidents answer to nobody.”

  20. 20
    Baud says:

    @joel hanes:

    This is a district court judge. They are more likely to care about precedents.

  21. 21
    Immanentize says:

    @Baud: I love me some Mel!

  22. 22
    TenguPhule says:

    @Roger Moore:Ain’t that the truth.

  23. 23
    joel hanes says:

    @Baud:

    I trust Mehta.

    But this is going to SCOTUS with a bullet.
    Trump will pull out all the stops.

  24. 24
    TenguPhule says:

    @Baud:

    This is a district court judge. They are more likely to care about precedents.

    Which is why McConnell spent a great deal of effort to stuff Federalist Fascists in at the Appeal and Supreme levels.

  25. 25
    Immanentize says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: @JPL:

    I’m bringing this up from a former deadish thread to make you feel better, I hope:

    the big huge sleight of hand here is referring to McGahn as “Counsel to the President.”. He is most decidedly NOT that. He WAS “White House Counsel.”.

    The difference is really important. OLC is suggesting that there is some absolute privilege between the President and McGahn, but Courts have always held that is not true because “White House Counsel’s” client is the Executive Branch writ large and over time. His client is one part of Government, not the President(s) he might serve at any given moment in time

    Think of it like Corporate Counsel. They don’t represent the President of Coca Cola, but rather the Corporate entity. If the President does something against the Corporate interest, like sexually assault employees (Steve Wynn), the lawyer for Wynn Resorts Inc. has no attorney/client privilege vis a vis the Pres/CEO.

    But by trying to call McGahn the “Counsel to the President,” OLC is faking an attorney/client relationship that simply cannot exist.

  26. 26
    Baud says:

    @Immanentize:

    Are they claiming Attorney Client privilege or executive privilege?

  27. 27
    Immanentize says:

    @joel hanes: I think SCOTUS really got the voting rights act wrong — and were disingenuous doing it. But, be honest, the VRA is one of the most intrusive acts of Congress ever. Ever! But Congress, IMO, had the right and even the duty to regulate voting.

    That said, It is way different to strike down a power move by Congress against States than messing with the structural balance of powers between the 3 branches. And the Supremes know it. That is why this is really different than previous bad decisions (and I put Heller in that category as well).

  28. 28
    TenguPhule says:

    @Immanentize:

    And the Supremes know it.

    Present your evidence, counsellor.

  29. 29
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Ruckus:

    USSC

    It’s SCOTUS, not USSC, like POTUS, which is not USP.

    Thank you for attention to this matter. Please govern yourself accordingly.

  30. 30
    Lapassionara says:

    @la caterina: Let’s hope. If the Distrct Court Judge denied the stay, it will take some doing for the Appellate Court to grant an emergency stay. It may do so, but it will have to be quick, as otherwise, the firm will have to start to comply.

  31. 31
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Roger Moore:

    USSC

    It’s SCOTUS, not USSC, like POTUS, which is not USP.

    Thank you for attention to this matter. Please govern yourself accordingly.

  32. 32
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Baud: por que no los dos?

    That’s the level of sophistication of their legal arguments.

  33. 33

    @Immanentize: I choose to rely on your faith in the legal system. Thank you.

  34. 34
    Baud says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    Probably threw in priest-penitent for good measure.

  35. 35
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Immanentize: I’m counsel for a large, international, Atlanta-based company, albeit one that doesn’t sell fizzy water, and I would throw our CEO under the bus in a heartbeat! And I like the guy. But, you know, integrity and shit.

  36. 36
    Keith P. says:

    OT, but how about that pair on Kris Kobach?

    Access to a government jet 24 hours a day. An office in the West Wing, plus guaranteed weekends off for family time. And an assurance of being made secretary of homeland security by November.

    Those were among a list of 10 conditions that Kris Kobach, the former Kansas secretary of state, has given to the White House if he is to become the administration’s “immigration czar,”

    He basically asked to explicitly have permission for everything that Scott Pruitt got fired for. I’m kind of surprised “And a $30,000 dining room table, too” isn’t in there.

  37. 37
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Immanentize:

    between the 3 branches

    Among the 3 branches.

    Am I the only pedant on duty tonight?

  38. 38
    Mnemosyne says:

    @joel hanes:

    Butbutbut telling people in 2016 that they were putting the courts in jeopardy for decades to come was blackmail! We couldn’t know that Trump would do that! 🤬

    (Obviously not directed at you personally!)

  39. 39
    Baud says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    I thought it was betwixt.

  40. 40
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Immanentize: apropos of nothing, you seem awfully chill for a law professor. All of mine were type A maniacs. What dose of Prozac are you on?

  41. 41
    Immanentize says:

    @Baud: it looks like attorney client privilege — but it is even broader.

    They are NOT asserting executive privilege which is real, but narrow. They are saying that, as “Counsel to the President” McGahn has no legal obligation to obey the subpoena. That sounds like a full on privilege.

    Just a note on testimonial privilege: there are two types. In the normal type, a person may claim for themselves a privilege to prevent their testimony. The current classic example is the spousal privilege — now, in almost all jurisdictions, a spouse can still refuse to testify against a spouse, but it is the person testifying who has the privilege. In plain terms, a wife may decide not to testify against a husband, but the husband cannot prevent a spouse from testifying.

    The second type is where both people in the privilege and therefore someone else can prevent someone from testifying. These are more rare — priest/penitant, lawyer/client, and some newer statutory ones like client/psychiatrist or drug counselor. In those situations, the person who might be testified against can claim the privilege and prevent the testimony. Or, the one asked to testify, whether the other person cares or not, can decide not to testify. Lawyers and priests usually do this.

    I’ve read the OLC memo and they are trying to create some kind of new half-breed privilege where the President does not claim executive privilege (very narrow type two) but suggests a new type one/two privilege based on the position of McGahn as “Counsel to the President” that has always been rejected by courts. They say, we won’t prevent his testimony, but law cannot compel it. That sounds exactly like lawyer/client privilege.

  42. 42
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Baud: I’m a 21st century pedant, but I respect 17th century pedants as well

  43. 43
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Immanentize: I hope you billed for all that. Or, better yet, had one of your students write it!

  44. 44
    Mary G says:

    @Steve in the ATL: So my calling them the Supremes is OK?

  45. 45
    joel hanes says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Subtext to almost every political comment I’ve made since Gorsuch was nominated.

  46. 46
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Mary G: yes, and you can refer to appellate courts as “the Chiffons”

  47. 47
    Lapassionara says:

    @Steve in the ATL: No, but you type faster than I do.

  48. 48
    chris says:

    How about some (maybe) good legal news. Georgia DAs are refusing to prosecute women when the new heartbeat law comes in to effect. Can they really do that?

  49. 49
    Immanentize says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Present your evidence, counsellor.

    NLRB v. Canning

  50. 50
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Lapassionara: [fist bump]

  51. 51
    Ksmiami says:

    @Steve in the ATL: cnn? Home Depot? Sorry whatever your company I’m boycotting all corporate entities from Georgia

  52. 52
    banditqueen says:

    McGahn won’t testify tomorrow:

    As a private citizen no longer in the government, McGahn is not necessarily bound by the White House directive, or the OLC memo, to refuse to comply with the subpoena. In a letter to the committee obtained by The Washington Post, McGahn’s lawyer, William A. Burck, said the former counsel would not testify.
    “Mr. McGahn remains obligated to maintain the status quo and will respect the President’s instruction,” Burck wrote.

    [my bold]
    Those loyalty oaths are not worth defying if you’re a repub for some reason–I hope they’ll be forced to explain all this under oath soon.

  53. 53
    Emerald says:

    @TenguPhule: I read on Twitter–perhaps it’s wrong–that the judge in charge of the appeals court that will hear all of these appeals is some guy named Merrick Garland.

    Rulings like this is the reason I completely support that Pelosi wants to take the few weeks necessary to follow the law. Because yeah, this is all going to SCOTUS, but even this SCOTUS is going to have to literally declare that this nation no longer follows the Law in order to overturn these decisions. They won’t.

  54. 54
    Immanentize says:

    @Steve in the ATL:
    As you should!
    I tell students that if they find themselves in your position, and a whistle blower comes in to explain all the hideous things they have witnessed, have a pre-written third party representation explanation taped to their desk.

  55. 55
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Immanentize: perhaps I’m cynical, but I don’t believe this USSC, I mean SCOTUS, feels constrained by its own opinions any more that it has been constrained by stare decisis , especially when its own prior opinion was limiting the power of a negro President

  56. 56
    eemom says:

    @Immanentize:

    But, be honest, the VRA is one of the most intrusive acts of Congress ever. Ever! But Congress, IMO, had the right and even the duty to regulate voting.

    Uh, I’m not getting how those two statements are consistent with each other?

    Whatever it is you teach, I hope it isn’t legal writing.

  57. 57
    TenguPhule says:

    Pelosi’s leadership team rebels on impeachment, presses her to begin an inquiry

    Members of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s own leadership team confronted her in a contentious Monday night meeting and argued that it was time to begin an impeachment inquiry into Trump, according to multiple people in the room.

    At least five members of Pelosi’s leadership team — four who also sit on the House Judiciary Committee with jurisdiction over impeachment — pressed Pelosi to allow the panel to start the inquiry, which they argued would help investigators attain documents and testimony Trump has blocked.

    Pelosi, according to people in the room, pushed back on the idea with senior leaders, including House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.).

  58. 58
    Immanentize says:

    @Steve in the ATL: sooorrrry!

  59. 59

    @Steve in the ATL:

    But, you know, integrity and shit.

    Who are you and what did you do with Steve in the ATL?

  60. 60
    jl says:

    @banditqueen: IANAL. but I’ve always thought that McGahn didn’t defy Trump because Trump ordered him to do ‘crazy shit’, but because Trump ordered him to do ‘crazy shit’ that would put him in big legal trouble.

  61. 61
    Ruckus says:

    @Steve in the ATL:
    I’m not writing a brief so pleased to be fucking off.

  62. 62
    joel hanes says:

    @Immanentize:

    NLRB v. Canning

    2014.
    Justice Breyer wrote the opinion of the Court, joined by Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan.

    So Kennedy was the swing vote on a 5/4 split.
    Somehow I don’t find that very reassuring.

    Kennedy is no longer with us, and Kavanaugh is no Kennedy.

  63. 63
    TenguPhule says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    and I would throw our CEO under the bus in a heartbeat! And I like the guy.

    I presume if you didn’t like him you’d throw him under two buses?

  64. 64
    Immanentize says:

    @Steve in the ATL:
    Proximity to death does it.

    As one of my friends, who I worked for as an intern, then became a hootie Hoo HLS Prof. once said :. “I try to save my outrage for lying cops and racist judges.”

  65. 65
    Immanentize says:

    @Steve in the ATL:
    If so, the District Courts are: The Runaways.

  66. 66
    TenguPhule says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    Am I the only pedant on duty tonight?

    Sadly, no.

  67. 67
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @eemom: those statements are not inconsistent. I thought you went to Yale—you’re sounding more like a Harvard person tonight.

  68. 68
    Mike in DC says:

    The best thing SCOTUS could do is deny cert to the first few petitions off of these. It would speed up the whole process immensely. Now, in the event that SCOTUS rules in favor of Congress, via denial of cert or, months later, a 5(or more) judge majority, there’s still the question as to whether Trump will finally comply. If not, then what happens? Impeachment is more than justified at that point, the only question is whether the Senate Republican caucus is willing to neuter its own prerogatives out of party loyalty to a guy who might not even be president much longer.

  69. 69
    TenguPhule says:

    @Emerald:

    but even this SCOTUS is going to have to literally declare that this nation no longer follows the Law in order to overturn these decisions. They won’t.

    They will.

  70. 70
    eemom says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    I don’t believe this USSC, I mean SCOTUS, feels constrained by its own opinions any more that it has been constrained by stare decisis , especially when its own prior opinion was limiting the power of a negro President

    Further to sloppy writing, Sir Pedant, it’s not “this Supreme Court.” It’s 5 out of 9 and sometimes only 4 out of 9 thereof. And it’s an oversimplification either way.

  71. 71
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Immanentize: I thought that might be the case. I dropped from type A to A- after some of that stuff.

  72. 72
    James E Powell says:

    I’m willing to bet a reasonably priced dinner for two that the supreme court will shut that shit down. That is Trump’s court and no one should ever doubt it.

  73. 73
    raven says:

    Oh cool, a bunch of lawyers arguing.

  74. 74
    Eolirin says:

    @joel hanes: It was a unanimous ruling…

  75. 75
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @raven: yeah, you’re regretting quitting drinking right about now!

  76. 76
    eemom says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    The consistency eludes me….though to be fair, that may be due to the incoherence.

  77. 77
    raven says:

    @Steve in the ATL: It takes about 10 minutes around people drinking to dispel that.

  78. 78

    There was a ruling that went our way, why not let it play it out before declaring it a victory for the despot in the WH. This obsession with predicting preemptive defeat, I will never understand.

  79. 79
    Mary G says:

    @raven: Ditto.

  80. 80
    TenguPhule says:

    @Mike in DC:

    there’s still the question as to whether Trump will finally comply. If not, then what happens?

    We waste a few more months in court while Republicans point and laugh at us.

  81. 81
    Immanentize says:

    @eemom: And I pray your clients didn’t suffer from your inability to understand tensions.

  82. 82
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @eemom: the Roberts Court is the Roberts Court, and if the five right wing lunatics agree on an opinion that is contrary to all prior precedent and black letter law, that bullshit opinion becomes the law of the land, so my phrasing was just fine.

  83. 83
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @eemom: I don’t like to say things that are so bad that they can’t be taken back. In that spirit, I’m sorry I called you a Harvard person.

  84. 84
    Eolirin says:

    @eemom: Something can be intrusive, in the sense that it places significant restrictions on a third party, and also be just, right, and within the recognized powers of the the party being intrusive. There’s no conflict.

  85. 85
    joel hanes says:

    @Eolirin:

    Apparently I cannot read with comprehension.
    Thanks for correcting my very public blunder, and as IANAL, I’ll now stifle.

  86. 86
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Immanentize: ah, memories. Tension was the overarching theme of 1L classes.

    Not good memories, mind you….

  87. 87
    banditqueen says:

    @jl: I’m not sure if McGahn is laughing about handcuffs the way the orange schmuck’s esteemed AG did, but I suppose the-no-longer-tr**p-WH attorney McGahn will be held in contempt for his obedience tomorrow–& may share a few laughs with the always-trumpers including the AG. ‘paging John Dean’

  88. 88
    raven says:

    @Steve in the ATL: We went to a birthday gig last night with a live band and people singing “one hit wonders” mostly from the late 80’s and early 90’s. Most of the people were in their 40’s and, despite it not being my music, was really funny. Oh Ricky you so fine, oh Ricky. . .

  89. 89
    eemom says:

    @raven:

    I’m not arguing with what they’re saying; in the case of Imm, because I don’t even understand what it is.

    It’s just that the one thing any lawyer worth their shit is supposed to know how to do is state things clearly and not throw out careless exaggerations. (ok, two things)

  90. 90
    Jackie says:

    OT: Fox cut away from Trump’s rally – running behind, too boring, etc etc.😂🤣😂

  91. 91
    Immanentize says:

    @joel hanes:
    It is NOT a 5-4 decision. It is 9-0 with a Concurrence by Scalia et al.

    You know what concurrence means? It means agree in the outcome. No dissents. Scalia’s concurrence would have restricted Presidential power MORE than the majority did.

  92. 92
    TenguPhule says:

    @schrodingers_cat (HectoringBully):

    There was a ruling that went our way, why not let it play it out before declaring it a victory for the despot in the WH.

    We had a ruling our way about migrant children.

    Guess what, the Internment camps got BIGGER and Trump and company have suffered no consequences from it.

    A court decision without an effective enforcement is just words on paper. But it seems Congressional Democrats still need to figure this out. So yeah, some of us are fucking upset that shit is falling apart while our best legal non-violent hope decides to continue to play by the Marquess of Queensberry rules

  93. 93
    raven says:

    Driftwood: (Looking at Fiorello/audience.) Well I wouldn’t know about that. I haven’t been in Canada in years. (Pointing to Fiorello’s contract.) Go ahead and read it!

    Fiorello: (Running his hand over the paper.) What does it say?

    Driftwood: Well go on and read it!

    Fiorello: Alright, you read it.

    Driftwood: Alright, I’ll read it to you! Can you hear?

    Fiorello: I haven’t heard anything yet. Did you say anything?

    Driftwood: Well I haven’t said anything worth hearing.

    Fiorello: Well, that’s why I didn’t hear anything.

    Driftwood: Well, that’s why I didn’t say anything!

    Fiorello: Can YOU read?!?

    Driftwood: I can read but I can’t see it. Don’t seem to have it in focus here. (Moving the contract closer to and further from his face.) If my arms were a little longer I could read it…You haven’t got a baboon in your pocket have you? Ah. Now I’ve got it. Now pay particular attention to this first section because it’s most important. It says, “The party of the first part shall be known in this contract as the party of the first part.” How do you like that? That’s pretty neat, eh?

    Fiorello: No. It’s no good.

    Driftwood: What’s the matter with it?

    Fiorello: I don’t know, let’s hear it again.

    Driftwood: Says, “The party of the first part shall be known in this contract as the party of the first part.”

    Fiorello: Sounds a little better this time.

    Driftwood: Well, it grows on you…Would you like to hear it once more?

    Fiorello: Ah…Just the first part.

    Driftwood: What do you mean, the party of the first part?

    Fiorello: No. The first part of the party of the first part.

    Driftwood: Alright it says the umm…”The first part of the party of the first part shall be known in this contract as the first part of the party of the first part, shall be known in this contract…LOOK…why should we quarrel about a thing like this. We’ll take it right out eh? (Tears off sections of contract.)

    Fiorello: Ha ha, it’s too long anyhow! (rip rip) Now what do we got left?

    Driftwood: Well, I’ve got about a foot and a half. Now it says, “The party of the second part shall be know in this contract as the party of the second part.”

    Fiorello: Well I don’t know about that.

    Driftwood: NOW what’s the matter?

    Fiorello: I don’t like the second party either.

    Driftwood: Well you should have been at the first party, we didn’t get home till around four in the morning…I was blind for three days.

    Fiorello: Ay…Look, why can’t the first part of the second party be the second part of the first party? Thena you got something!

    Driftwood: Well look…ah…Rather than go through all that again, what do you say? (Tears off another section.)

    Fiorello: Fine.

    Driftwood: Now…ah…Now I’ve got something here you’re bound to like. You’ll be crazy about it.

    Fiorello: No, I don’t like it.

    Driftwood: You don’t like what?

    Fiorello: Whatever it is, I don’t like it.

    Driftwood: Well let’s not break up an old friendship over a thing like that! Ready?

    Fiorello: Okay. (rip) Now the next part I don’t think you’re gonna like.

    Driftwood: Well your word’s good enough for me…Now then, is my word good enough for you?

    Fiorello: I should say not.

    Driftwood: Well that takes out two more clauses. (rip) Now the party of the eighth part…

    Fiorello: No. Nooo. (rip)

    Driftwood: No? The party of the ninth…

    Fiorello: No, that’s no good too. (rip) Hey, how is it my contract is skinnier than yours?

    Driftwood: I dunno, you musta been out on a tear last night. But anyhow we’re all set now, aren’t we?

    Fiorello: Ah, sure.

    Driftwood: Now just eh…(hands Fiorello a pen) Put your name right down there and then the deal is eh…Then the deal is legal.

    Fiorello: Eh, I forgot to tell you. I can’t write.

    Driftwood: (shaking the pen) Well that’s okay, there’s no ink in the pen anyhow. But listen, it’s a contract, isn’t it?

    Fiorello: Oh sure. You bet.

    Driftwood: We’ve got a contract, no matter how small it is!

    Fiorello: Hey wait, wait! What does this say here? This thing here?

    Driftwood: Oh that. Oh that’s the usual clause…that’s in every contract. That just says…eh…it says…eh…”If any of the parties participating in this contract are shown not to be in their right mind, the entire agreement is automatically nullified.”

    Fiorello: Well, I don’t know…

    Driftwood: It’s alright, that’s in every contract! That’s what they call a “sanity clause.”

    Fiorello: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha…you can’t fool me. There ain’t no sanity clause!

    Driftwood: (Giving up all hope of a successful conversation, takes off carnation and hands it to Fiorello.) Well you win the white carnation!

  94. 94
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @Patricia Kayden: All the speakers at the law school graduation yesterday hammered on the rule of law and the unsustainably of democracy if it is not respected. The Chief Justice of Puerto Rico’s Supreme Court – the main speaker – was particularly eloquent.

  95. 95
    Aleta says:

    @Baud: Thanks for explaining bc I was worrying about that.

  96. 96
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @eemom:

    It’s just that the one thing any lawyer worth their shit is supposed to know how to do

    That would be billing in six minute increments

  97. 97
    raven says:

    @eemom: My dear, if you think I’m actually reading any of this tripe you are sadly mistaken

  98. 98
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @raven: did you do “Rico Suave”?

  99. 99
    gene108 says:

    @Immanentize:

    From what I read, the OLC is not going with attorney client privilege.

    They are saying, McGahn, like any other person, who closely advises the President cannot be forced to divulge what he told, because of some rule, where close advice given to a President is some right to privacy between the President and his advisors.

    Not sure, if this is a clear distinction or a distinction, without a difference

  100. 100
    Immanentize says:

    @Gelfling 545: congrats on your daughter (right?) And you and your family. Truly a big effin deal.

    ETA. I am a Clinical Prof. And I am so proud of all students who work in the Clinics anywhere. And I have a few good friends in the program at Buff.

  101. 101
    TenguPhule says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    That would be billing in six minute increments

    Not five minute increments?

  102. 102
    Raven says:

    @Steve in the ATL: I didn’t “do” anything but sit on a stool and try to get my fishing injured foot to heal. I had only heard “What’s Going On” by Four Non Blondes in passing but the young ladies who belted it out really got the crowd going.

  103. 103
    joel hanes says:

    @Immanentize:

    Yes, eolirin already schooled me.

    I acknowledge that I am a damned fool for opining on stuff I know know nothing about, and will STFU while hoping to learn a little from the conversation of those who do know something.

    Thanks for not letting my mistake stand unrebutted.

  104. 104
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @TenguPhule: heresy! It’s called “six minute hell” for a reason.

  105. 105
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @joel hanes:

    I acknowledge that I am a damned fool for opining on stuff I know know nothing about, and will STFU while hoping to learn a little from the conversation of those who do know something.

    Dude, this is the *internet*

  106. 106
    NotMax says:

    @raven

    B-J meet-ups excepted.

    ;)

  107. 107
    Immanentize says:

    @gene108:

    because of some rule, where close advice given to a President is some right to privacy between the President and his advisors.

    There is no such rule. That’s what I was trying to explain. They are making up shit.

  108. 108
    TenguPhule says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Even better, this is BalloonJuice.

  109. 109
    joel hanes says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    this is the *internet*

    A game that can be played multiple ways.

  110. 110
    eemom says:

    @Eolirin:

    By that ridiculous logic all civil rights legislation is “intrusive” — as is the 14th amendment itself, with its “No state shall….”

  111. 111
    Aleta says:

    @Immanentize: Thanks for explaining that one too. And those other things. : )

  112. 112
    Steve in the ATL says:

    People sitting near me in the airport are eating food from the Varsity. I’m curious—can you guys smell the grease too?

  113. 113
    Raven says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Whaddya have?

  114. 114
    raven says:

    @Aleta: What’s up with the pups?

  115. 115
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Raven: FO and nekkid dog walking!

  116. 116
    eemom says:

    I’m so old I remember when we billed in quarter hour increments.

  117. 117
    Mainmata says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: That’s not a thing. DOJ cannot issue a judicial ruling.

  118. 118
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @Immanentize: Thanks. Yup. That’s my girl. It seems to be a really good program. One connection of the family went into it as a libertarian and emerged a committed democratic socialist after his clinical practice. They are strong on law as public service.
    Considering that there was a time when we weren’t sure she was actually going to graduate from high school, she’s done herself proud.

  119. 119
    Emerald says:

    @TenguPhule: If that’s true then we are already an autocracy. If the Supreme Court of the United States refuses to uphold the Law and the Constitution, then what’s the point of any of this?

    That indeed may be the case, of course, but I’m pretty sure that John Roberts at least won’t want his legacy to be the man who overruled the Constitution.

    That’s the reason to be absolutely sure that the Law is so clear it cannot be overruled. It does take a few weeks, however, to get these results in the courts.

  120. 120
    Immanentize says:

    @Gelfling 545:
    And you proud as well. Such a great accomplishment.

  121. 121
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Currently there are 29 investigations into the tawdry affairs of Fat Bastard and his henchmen.

    Shit. I’m surprised it’s not closer to 290.

  122. 122
    Kent says:

    @chris:

    How about some (maybe) good legal news. Georgia DAs are refusing to prosecute women when the new heartbeat law comes in to effect. Can they really do that?

    That’s not good legal news. DAs have tremendous discretion about whether or not to bring a case to trial. That’s what makes these sort of largely unenforced laws so pernicious. Most Georgia DAs will likely be happy to look the other way when the “right” sort of people run afoul of new abortion laws. However they can still use their discretion to invoke the “wrath of god” on any unsympathetic women that they want to throw the book at. Druggies, young women of color, radical feminist college agitators, etc. Just like how drug laws get enforced based on whether you are rich and white or poor and black

  123. 123
    NotMax says:

    Most interesting to this non-lawyer was the judge referencing legislating in the aftermath of Teapot Dome. Which was the impetus for codifying and assuring the ability of certain Congressional chairs to request – and receive – tax returns.

  124. 124
    Chris Johnson says:

    It’s not about rules or logic or any of that.

    It’s about ‘would letting this guy get off, undermine the power of the Supreme Court’.

    They’ll do all manner of horrible shit. But the bridge too far is ‘rendering themselves a puppet Court that only answers to Donald Trump’. That would be asking too much. Bring other court cases and they’ll do terrible things, but I think the Supreme Court will resist doing things that directly undermine the authority of the courts.

    IANAL, of course, but this seems to register on a deeper level. Our system is set up the way it is for a reason. It’s an incentive for branches of government, even WHEN corrupt, to not want to completely roll over for other branches of government.

  125. 125
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Kent: Sherry Boston and Paul Howard are black.

  126. 126
    Aleta says:

    @Immanentize: These days I say to myself, “The house is on fire and you’re spending time xying? Grab what you most value and don’t let go.”

  127. 127
    Immanentize says:

    @Aleta:
    That would be my son and our cat.

  128. 128
    Aleta says:

    @raven: The friends in charge emailed tonight a simple thanks for the offer, we’ll be in touch. A lot going on. (And the pup here next to me is doing fantastic. Back taking charge again, trotting, licking feet, 11 days after surgery.)

  129. 129
    Aleta says:

    @Immanentize: hope you all have a wonderful new season in the sun

  130. 130
    Wapiti says:

    @Steve in the ATL: I can’t smell the grease, but my jaw reflexively clamped shut at the mention of the place. And I was last there about… 35 years ago?

  131. 131
    chris says:

    @Kent: Ah, I did wonder about that, thanks.

  132. 132
    catclub says:

    @TenguPhule:

    help investigators attain documents

    obtain

  133. 133
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @raven: And that’s when the murders began.

  134. 134
    billcinsd says:

    @Immanentize: Didn’t the Bush Administration do a similar thing with Cheney’s Oil Task Force — trying to keep the participants secret because if their participation were to be known future task forces would not get as good of recommendations

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