Rule of Law

Rule of Law

Virginia Governor’s Guide to Free Golf

July 11th, 2015 - 2:46 pm

Thomas Jefferson wrote of his “detestation of the corruption of the English government” and wished for “an ocean of fire between that island and us” to protect America from that aristocratic culture.  Two hundred years later,  Jefferson’s successor as the governor of Virginia had aides trying to score free rounds of golf and hotel rooms.

And now, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the eleven felony convictions of former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell.

McDonnell’s tawdry story of cash and favors (covered here, here and here) saw him receiving cash, clambakes, Ferrari rides, Rolexes and more in exchange for using the governor’s office to open doors in Virginia government for a tobacco-based nutritional supplement whose makers were desperate for credibility without going through the usual routes to credibility.

McDonnell tried to get Virginia government institutions to bless the tobacco pill instead of the manufacturer paying for their own clinical trials.

In exchange, the manufacturer gave McDonnell cash, loans, gifts, golf clubs, golf bags, jets, and more, much more.

Ferrari Joyride

Ferrari Joyride

But it seems McDonnell’s freeloading might have gone well beyond his cash-for-credibility pill scheme.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals opinion reveals that McDonnell’s camp was keen on scoring free golf and hotels… wherever they might find it.

Where they might find it reveals a political insider’s grift: the Virginia Governor’s Guide to Scoring Free Golf.

Enter Adam Zubowsky, McDonnell’s travel aide and eventual son-in-law.

Adam Zubowsky

Adam Zubowsky

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Does Harvard Teach Law Anymore?

June 17th, 2015 - 11:29 am

Harvard is to law what Winchester is to bolt actions.  Powerful, dependable, well engineered and the mark of a serious craft, at least that’s what I was told.

These days, Harvard graduates probably don’t know much about bolt actions, unless they are a member of the Harvard Law School shooting club.  A stroll through the Harvard Law School course catalog also makes you wonder how much they know about the real practice of law.

The course catalog from Harvard Law School hints that the answer might be — not as much as we thought.

The Harvard Law School course catalog frequently reads more like an ideological training academy than it does a program for teaching lawyers how to practice law.

I may be unqualified to opine about Harvard Law considering that I went to a law school in the SEC.  That’s the Southeastern Conference, not the Securities and Exchange Commission.  As such, I spent most of my law school years taking courses that trained future lawyers to practice real law in real American courtrooms: remedies, civil procedure, criminal procedure, legal writing, trusts, evidence, and even more civil procedure.

Six of nine United States Supreme Court justices attended Harvard, so they must be doing something right.  But the course catalog at Harvard reveals a great divide emerging in American legal education.

Is law school about learning to practice law, or fundamental transformation?

Elite universities are graduating lawyers who seem most qualified to engineer fundamental social change, not represent clients in court.  Law schools in most of America still seem to focus on graduating lawyers who know how to practice law.  The course descriptions, below, reveal a different approach to legal education at Harvard.  The political ramifications for the nation should be obvious, especially when so many positions of power are filled with graduates of elite law schools.  That’s not just me saying it, Harvard’s own website boasts of this fundamental transformation:

Harvard Law School recently undertook a sweeping overhaul of its first-year curriculum. The new curriculum reflects legal practice in the 21st century, adding courses in legislation and regulation and international and comparative law to the traditional curriculum of civil procedure, contracts, criminal law, property, and torts. . . . In the second and third years of law school, Harvard students shape their own courses of study, selecting among a wide offering of electives. . . .  Five optional Programs of Study – Law and Government; Law and Social Change; Law and Business; International and Comparative Law; and Law, Science and Technology €”developed by the Law School faculty provide pathways through the upper-level curriculum.

Sorry, but “legislation” doesn’t reflect the “legal practice in the 21st Century.”  I took legislation in law school, and a small fraction of lawyers ever dabble in the area.  Lawyers inside the D.C. Beltway seeking to expand the power of the federal government are one exception.  I’ve sat in courtrooms listening to thousands of docket calls, and never once heard “comparative law” on the menu.  Worse, in most of America, no lawyer has any use for nonsense like “Law and Social Change,” unless politics are on the agenda instead of law.

A classroom blackboard at Harvard Law

Classroom blackboard at Harvard Law

Joel Pollak, a graduate of Harvard Law School and editor at Breitbart News, told me that the shift isn’t always passive, where Harvard law students can hear both sides and peacefully choose.  “Many of the professors who teach the ‘core’ classes are conscientious about fostering debate, open to different perspectives, and able to separate their own political views from their pedagogy. Others, however, seem unable to resist the urge to foist their personal ideological convictions onto their classes, resisting questions from students who disagree.”

And therein lies the danger — law professors with a captive audience of first year students turn law into political ideology, a training academy for the institutional left at an elite law school.  And after the first year of core classes ends, just imagine what happens in these actual classes (detailed below) that are now taught at Harvard Law School:

The Art of Social Change

“We will bring into the classroom as visiting lecturers leaders from the worlds of policy, practice, and academia — people who have themselves operated as successful change agents and who represent different disciplines, career paths, and strategies for change.”

Fidelity in Interpretation

“This seminar will develop a theory of interpretation for the Constituiton [SIC!!!!!] of the United States tied to a particular conception of interpretive fidelity. The aim is Dworkinian — to develop the theory that best explains and justifies our constitutional tradition.”  A screenshot from the Harvard Law catalog, errata included.


Feminist Legal Theory


Prof. Janet Halley

“This course will survey the most important sources of feminist thinking in and around law and law reform, with attention to the ways in which differing feminist ideas have and have not become operationalized as law that actually governs. We will pay attention to the rise and fall of feminist ideas; to competitor theoretical frames and ongoing contests among different feminist worldviews for influence on law; to nonwestern sources of feminist legal thought; and to modes of transmitting feminist ideas from one national, regional, and/or international system to another. A constant theme will be the collaborations among and conflicts between feminist social movements and social movements for emancipation of groups other than women: racial minorities, sexual minorities, immigrants, the poor.”

Law and Psychology: The Emotions

Ironically taught by Professor David Cope:  “Love, jealousy, guilt, anger, fear, greed, compassion, hope, and joy play important roles in the lives of lawyers and those with whom they interact.”

Law and the Political Process

Professor Lani Guinier teaches Law and the Political Process. “Prerequisites: None. Constitutional Law is strongly recommended but is not a prerequisite for this course.”   No surprise in a Guinier-taught course.

Litigating Health Rights: Can Courts Bring More Justice to Health?

“The question of whether courts can not only call for modifying legislation and policies but also enforce affirmative entitlements to care has been answered in many contexts. Yet questions still persist as to when and how litigation can lead to greater equity in health and enhance the functioning and oversight of health systems, rather than distorting priorities and budgets.”

Animal Law

A course, perhaps, about laws surrounding animal-based commodities?  Maybe a survey of useful contractual issues involving agricultural commerce?  Stop it, this is Harvard, not the University of Wyoming!:

Animal Law Prof. Kristen Stilt

Animal Law Prof. Kristen Stilt

“The course will also engage with fundamental questions about animals and the law, such as: Are some animals more deserving of protection than others, and if so, on what basis? What role does culture and belief play in animal law—why are dogs considered pets in the U.S. and food in some parts of the world, for example? Does the status of animals as property pose an insurmountable barrier to increasing protections for animals? What are the advantages and disadvantages of the concepts of “animal rights” and “animal welfare”?

(More course descriptions on next page)

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Rachel Dolezal: No Surprise Here

June 12th, 2015 - 7:03 am

I suspect most Americans who learned the story of race-morphing Rachel Dolezal were shocked.  I wasn’t.  See, I worked at the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department where Dolezal’s type of race-guilt psychosis could be found in diluted degrees.

First, for those who don’t know the story of local NAACP head Rachel Dolezal, it goes like this: young white woman lives life in black costume, sows racial grievance as NAACP official.  As one story put it:

Ruthanne and Larry Dolezal said their daughter has always identified with the African American culture and had black siblings who were adopted. They said she went to school in Mississippi and was part of a primarily African American community.

The Dolezals said Rachel married and later divorced a black man. They said after the divorce in 2004 Rachel began identifying differently. She started claiming to be partially African American and the daughter of bi-racial parents. They said they have noticed her change in physical appearance but do not know how she did so.

If you are shocked by this story, don’t be.  Dolezal had a sort of racial psychosis that you can see in lesser degrees all throughout modern America, particularly in the modern civil rights movement.

NAACP official Rachel Dolezal in costume

NAACP official Rachel Dolezal in costume (l), out of costume (r)

At the Justice Department, I encountered a white Italian who racially identified as a Sioux.  This person adopted the appearance of a native American and racially identified as Indian.  Pictures of Sitting Bull adorned the office.  If there was any Sioux blood, it was a tiny fraction.  But identification with a racial minority group has its privileges, especially at the Civil Rights Division at the DOJ.  This wasn’t the only example.

So when I heard the outlandish story of Rachel Dolezal, it wasn’t so outlandish to me.  The racial left is today built around racial division, race hatred, and racial guilt. It is full of people who see the world through an angry racial lens.

The civil rights movement once held the moral high ground by treating people without regard to skin color.

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I joined Tucker Carlson this weekend to decode Hillary’s election law speech.  In the speech, she supported mandatory voter registration, almost a month-long election day and a variety of measures to erode election integrity.  She was also up to something more malignant involving race. The video:


The New York Times has revealed what some of us already knew: billionaire convicted felon George Soros is bankrolling attacks on election integrity laws in advance of the 2016 election. He is funding efforts to attack laws designed to aid election integrity in Wisconsin, North Carolina, Ohio and perhaps elsewhere, according to the New York Times.

Mr. Soros is prepared to spend $5 million or more on the effort, Mr. Vachon said. Two suits that he is supporting were filed in Ohio and in Wisconsin last month, and he is also funding a case Mr. Elias is involved with in North Carolina.

These lawsuits are attacks on voter ID and other changes made to increase election integrity.  For example, in North Carolina, where same-day voter registration used to exist, over 1,000 unverified voters were permitted to cast a regular ballot in the 2012 election.  As a recent law review article of mine notes:

The problem of ballots being counted without verification of eligibility due to same day registration was so acute in the town of Pembroke, North Carolina, the North Carolina State Board of Elections was forced to order a new election because the outcome was tainted due to same day registration.

Soros is funding a lawsuit attacking North Carolina’s termination of this bad policy.

A number of years ago Media Matters labeled me as “conspiratorial” for noting that Soros is fueling the anti-election integrity effort.

Adams completed his transformation from wannabe whistleblower to right-wing pontificator by using his first official PJM column to cry “Soros,” utilizing the well-worn right-wing shtick of connecting every liberal group or activity they despise back to the alleged manipulations of billionaire philanthropist/super-villain George Soros, as if Soros’ involvement was, ipso facto, evidence of the groups’ sinister intentions.

You have to love that ipso facto part. See, the piece was written by Brian Powell.


Powell’s Media Matters bio says that he is a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Law.  Media Matters is full of lawyers who went to law school and don’t practice law.  Hiring law graduates who will make less at Media Matters than they paid for their law school education seems to be a trend at the Soros-funded blog.  Good career judgment need not apply.


The Obama Justice Department has quietly launched an effort to erode traditional state powers over elections.

In the first instance, Attorney General Loretta Lynch has drafted and sent a bill to Congress which would force state election officials to turn over power to tribal governments to determine the location and number of polling places on Indian reservations in state-run elections.

In the second instance, the DOJ is seeking to erode the power of states to prohibit the mentally incompetent from voting, as long as they express a desire to vote to their caregiver, often a unionized government worker.

In both instances, the Justice Department is acting at the behest of activist groups and undermining powers the Constitution gives to the states.

Given the election results of the last twenty years, it might be surprising to learn that the California constitution says that “no idiot or insane” person shall be entitled to vote. Understand that “idiot” is a legal term used to denote someone who is literally incompetent or incoherent. Other states use the term “imbecile” or the more modern, ‘incompetent.”

While the terms may be anachronisms, the reasons behind the prohibition on voting are as valid today as they were in 1849. Allowing someone who is not competent or aware to vote corrupts elections — and invites the patient to be victimized by someone effectively stealing that patient’s vote.

Under the Qualifications Clause of the Constitution, states are vested with the total power to determine who is eligible to vote, subject to bans on racial discrimination in the 15th Amendment, gender discrimination in the 19th Amendment, payment of poll taxes in the 24th Amendment, or the 18-year-old vote in the 26th Amendment.

The Obama Justice Department, however, has launched an effort against California to erode powers under the Qualifications Clause, claiming that practices disqualifying the incompetent might violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Civil Rights Division has told California it is opening an investigation into how it decides who is incompetent and thus disqualified to vote. The focus of the investigation is on the Los Angeles Superior Court, the entity which decrees incompetence and then often appoints public guardians to oversee the care of those deemed incompetent to take care of themselves and to vote.

The form used by the court touches on whether the patient has dementia, is in a “state of lethargy” or “stupor,” is able to concentrate, recognize familiar faces, is “nonsensical,” “incoherent,” or has hallucinations.

The Disability and Abuse Project sparked the Justice Department action. The project is a function of a Spectrum Institute and the American Association for Single People (AASP), an organization which aggressively opposes the value of marriage and boasts a board member who is an “advanced practitioner in ‘Thought Field Therapy,’” to some, a discredited New Age pseudoscience. The Spectrum Institute/AASP enjoys tax exempt 501(c)(3) status from the IRS.


Though it informed the Spectrum Institute about the action it was taking in California, the DOJ never informed the public. The Justice Department action also comes just in time to bolster support for California Senate Bill 589, which would give those deemed incompetent and put into a conservatorship the right to vote, as long as they express a “desire to participate in the voting process.”

In Los Angeles County, members of public sector unions and the purple-shirted SEIU are responsible for the care of many for whom the Superior Court has appointed a conservator.

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I was on the Kelly File last night discussing the Department of Justice’s action against the Cleveland Police Department.  The video:

“DOJ should have to prove these cases in court.  These agreements make cops spend time doing reports, cops have to go to sensitivity training taught by people contracted by the DOJ. . . .  Places where the DOJ has done this like Los Angeles has resulted in more crime, more lawlessness more mayhem.  But that doesn’t matter to the ideological bureaucrats who are pushing these actions.  They care about an anti-police agenda more than they care about safe streets.  This is part of a broader effort to make cops beholden to Washington D.C. instead of good policing on the streets.

Don’t forget the people who are doing these DOJ reports believe that cops are guilty until proven innocent. A few racists emails does not violate federal law.  Cops are allowed to be racist and as bad as that is it doesn’t violate federal law.  It requires a pattern or practice, which means an ongoing continuing thing.  And the people who write these reports at DOJ have biases against police officers.”



The Justice Department yesterday announced a simultaneous lawsuit and settlement with the Cleveland police department.  The settlement will impose significant federal mandates on the police.  This comes after a Cleveland police officer was acquitted of wrongdoing by a court after the officer shot a suspect at the conclusion of a 100 mph car chase.

The agreement imposes a ten-member “community police commission” who will watch over the police, only three of whom have any law enforcement perspective.  The remaining seven are sure to include individuals either actively involved in the racialist anti-police efforts or one degree of separation from the same.  The agreement imposes a federal monitor, a person likely to make hundreds of thousands of dollars in this role.  The police will have to undergo “bias free policing principle” training.  The Obama Justice Department uses an outfit funded by George Soros and affiliated with former Black Panther (and still communist) Angela Davis to train police about bias.  Any time a Cleveland police officer unholsters his or her weapon, a report must be filed with the federal monitor.

In Los Angeles, a similar DOJ enforcement scheme led crime to spike and police officers to refuse to work on gang units.

Some will say that the Cleveland police department has a pattern or practice of excessive force. After all, a Justice Department report said so!

When Justice Department reports are used to support Justice Department lawsuits it’s important and very relevant to learn the radical backgrounds of the lawyers writing the reports and pushing the lawsuits.  PJ Media has already conducted an extensive investigation into the radical backgrounds of the Justice Department lawyers hired by the Obama administration’s Civil Rights Division.

These radical ideologies of Washington D.C. Justice Department lawyers result in ideologically driven law enforcement.  When lawyers believe the police are part of a racist structure, questionable enforcement actions by those lawyers will result

Worst of all, Cleveland didn’t even make the Justice Department prove their case.  They just rolled over and died.  When targets don’t fight back and force the Justice Department to prove their case in court, the federalist balance of power suffers.  Local governments are supposed to run their own police departments, no matter what the Obama administration wishes the Constitution says to the contrary.

So let’s meet the lawyers who brought the case against Cleveland resulting in federal oversight of the police department.  Excerpts from the PJ Media expose of the Special Litigation Section that brought the case against Cleveland.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta is a former ACLU lawyer.  She most famously said that the Baltimore riots were caused by slavery and Jim Crow laws.  Enough said.



Jack Morse: Mr. Morse comes to the Civil Rights Division straight out of law school, during which time he interned for the ACLU of Georgia’s National Security/Immigrant Rights Project and for the Georgia Innocence Project. He also helped draft reports for the ACLU suggesting that the “287(g) program” (which allows local law enforcement to participate in enforcement of federal immigration laws) contributes to racial profiling and should be eliminated. Anyone still confused by Mr. Morse’s views might peruse his law review article in which he argues that the federal government may not legitimately classify material support of terrorism as a war crime (!) and that the U.S. thus improperly tried Salim Hamdan (OBL’s driver) by military commission. …. It’s nice to know that there are so many advocates of Guantanamo Bay terrorists in the Special Litigation Section.

Rashida Ogletree: The daughter of Obama pal and Harvard Law professor Charles Ogletree, Ms. Ogletree joined the Section after working as a staff attorney at the District of Columbia Public Defender’s Office. Before that, she had interned at the Legal Action Center, which describes itself as “the only non-profit law and policy organization in the United States whose sole mission is to fight discrimination against people with histories of addiction, HIV/AIDS, or criminal records, and to advocate for sound public policies in these areas.” She also participated in the Brennan Center for Public Policy Advocacy Clinic, where she worked on efforts to give voting rights to convicted felons. Leaving no activist stone unturned, she preceded those activities with internships at the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem and the EEOC, as well as a gig as the Education and Enforcement Coordinator for the Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston. And to top it all off, she served as an editor of the “progressive” Review of Law and Social Change at NYU Law School.

Judy Preston was a long time Justice Department employee and is characterized by former DOJ officials as “one of the biggest bleeding hearts” in the entire Division.

Emily Gunston: Ms. Gunston arrived at Justice after working for nearly 10 years as a public defender in Contra Costa County, California. While a law student at Berkeley, she also interned at the Homeless Action Center, a group dedicated to agitating for government entitlement payments.

Naturally nobody on the DOJ has any experience outside of the leftist civil rights echo chamber.  Naturally nobody has any experience in law enforcement.  After all, that doesn’t matter.  What matters is ideological leftists with high-paying jobs in Washington D.C. telling local police departments who to listen to and how to behave.







Jeb Bush’s Hot Tub Time Machine

May 27th, 2015 - 8:25 am

“Is there some kind of retro thing going on?”

– Jacob in Hot Tub Time Machine

Jeb Bush is a candidate stuck in the Republican politics of two decades ago. He seems unaware of the fundamental transformations occurring all around him. It’s Hot Tub Time Machine in the 2016 presidential race.

Consider his latest gaffe posing as outreach — that Republicans should campaign for votes “in the Latino barrios.”

For the unfamiliar, “barrio” is a Spanish term technically meaning neighborhood, but more accurately referring to run-down neighborhoods populated with a mix of Hispanic citizens and aliens, many in the United States illegally.

Republicans should spend money chasing votes in the barrio — if they want to lose. Bush betrays a fundamental ignorance of the changes brought by data-driven campaigning and fueled by empirical racial polarization. He sees the world as it existed in 1995, not as it is now.

The next Republican who wins the White House will win not because they went seeking votes in the barrio, but because they got the votes of blue-collar Reagan Democrats as well as evangelicals. Those two groups delivered victories to Bush’s brother as well as Ronald Reagan. Blue-collar Democrats are turned off by identity politics of the sort Bush advocates.  And no matter how much time and money and energy Bush might waste in the barrio, he’ll never get votes there.

Politics is a game of emotion, culture and power relationships. On all three, Republicans lose in the barrio, and always will.

Bush must not know about Catalist and how the left used data-driven race politics to drive turnout in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. His ignorance might be forgiven, as this new model of campaigning came into existence only after Bush ran his last campaign. When Bush last ran, winning independents determined who won. In 2015, whoever mobilizes their base wins.

Obama won the White House, twice, by using data analytics to allow him to preach to his own choir and ignore the middle. Bush, like a retro-candidate, ridicules “preaching to the choir.”

Today, the left uses deep cultural currents to stoke the emotions of voters. The left uses big data to micro-target base turnout. No lofty rational appeal by candidate Bush visiting the barrio will penetrate this edifice.

Bush should go to a stock car race in Brooklyn or union hall in Allentown before he goes to the barrio. And if you’re a Bush supporter who is perplexed to learn NASCAR races in New York City, you’ve proved my point.

In Brooklyn and Allentown, Bush won’t find much sympathy for his amnesty policies, and that’s the design flaw that will ultimately doom the Bush candidacy. The people Bush needs to win the White House — blue-collar Reagan Democrats — are opposed to Bush’s core brand.

But Bush’s problems go beyond obsolete tactics and unpopular messages, they also include a fundamental failure to understand the modern Left.

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Vanita Gupta, head of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, has told a lawyers group in Colorado that slavery and Jim Crow helped fuel the Ferguson and Baltimore riots.

The last few days have seen a number of fanciful stories with the Obama administration seemingly questioning the authority of local police. I’ve long maintained that the administration is nakedly seeking to federalize policing standards — but get rid of local police? No way, that sounds like something broadcast from a shortwave station in Austin, Texas.

But then up steps Vanita Gupta to lend some credibility to the idea that some want to disband local police and replace police powers with the federal government. Speaking to a group of left-wing lawyers in Colorado, Gupta had this to say:

The conversation in these rooms, however, is not about whether to have police or not but about what kind of policing communities want and deserve.

There is no question that we need police in our communities.

The conversation? What conversation is Gupta hearing that needs to be corrected?  Who brought up the idea we might not need police? Nobody sane, for sure.

Vanita Gupta

Vanita Gupta

If you read the entirety of Gupta’s speech, you’ll get a sense of what is going on in the mind of the anti-police left.   Officials in this administration still think it is rational and acceptable to bring up the name Michael Brown in the context of anything other than a likely felon against whom deadly force was justifiably used. Behold Gupta:

Eric Garner.  Michael Brown.  Tamir Rice.  John Crawford.  Walter Scott. Freddie Gray.

These names and many others have become familiar to us under tragic circumstances in recent months.  Their deaths and those of other unarmed African American men and women in encounters with police officers, have provoked widespread responses across the country and have fueled the Black Lives Matter movement. In communities of color, in particular, the reaction has been stark and sobering.

In the seven months I have been at the Civil Rights Division, I have spent a lot of time with local leaders and community members in cities all across America, including with numerous mothers who have lost their children in officer-involved shootings. The pain, anger, frustration — the lack of trust in the police — is real, and it is profound.

Gupta asks the question that many Americans have already asked and answered:

It’s worth asking, first, how did we get here? And second, what are we going to do about it?

To most law-abiding Americans, the idea of fleeing from the police, or worse, charging at a policeman you have already punched, is simply beyond the realm of possibility.

So how did we get here? Was it a breakdown of values? Perhaps a pervasive tolerance for lawlessness? Of course not.  Says Gupta:

Let’s start with the first question and consider the source of the mistrust. Mistrust can’t be explained away as the kneejerk reaction of the ill-informed or the hyperbolic. It’s in part the product of historical awareness about the role that police have played in enforcing and perpetuating (wait for it! here it comes!slavery, the Black Codes, lynchings and Jim Crow segregation.

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