Kopf: Two Questions About Crying

This short and narrow post is about the tears that Lawrence VanDyke, Donald Trump’s nominee for a seat on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, shed when confronted with a letter he had received the evening before his confirmation hearing. In essence, the letter from the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary said he was a nasty and mean-spirited bigot when it came to gay (“LGBTQ”) people.

Before the Senate Judiciary Committee, this man, who stands six-foot-seven or so tall and who is an avid hunter and gun enthusiast, cried in front of the cameras, the Senators, the press and his family when asked about the letter and the assertion of bigotry. As a reminder, here is a video clip: Continue reading

Short Take: The Tears of a Clown

When did crying at Senate confirmation hearings become a thing? First Kavanagh did it. Now VanDyke. They teared up. They couldn’t speak. They cried. In front of the Senate committee, their family and the American people. They cried.

Put aside your feelings about Kav and/or VanDyke; this isn’t about them. Not even a little bit. Let’s call the judicial nominee Smith who, after being confronted with deeply awful accusations (whether real or not) cries before the TV cameras in the committee chamber.

There is an odd sensibility that men showing emotion is a good thing and worthy of being de-stigmatized. Why shouldn’t men cry? The image of the stoic male is now toxic. People reveal their frailties, their humanity, whether mental illness or alcoholism, for example, and tell their darkest personal secrets, and people gush their thoughts and prayers. Continue reading

The Doctor Is . . . Out

Regardless of your economic prowess, and no one doubts that you know voodoo economics better than anyone, or your certainty that your personal vision of morality demands that those who work hard and save should pay for those in need, whether their student debt, subway fares, and certainly medical care no matter how radical, extreme or costly, in perpetuity, what about Donald?

Yeah I’m not sure you are gonna find as many people as you think to do what it takes to get into medical school and through residency for 120k a year. Not when statistically the people who get into medical school are the top students in the country and most could get into anything else they wanted to.

We go to medical school become we love to the profession and love taking care of patients. But it’s really hard and stressful work. Patients die when we make wrong decisions. It keeps you up at night. We are willing to pay pro athletes millions but you want to pay the person who holds your life in his or her hands 120k. Interesting.

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Barry The Boomer

Barack Obama used to be black. Now he’s a boomer because he just doesn’t get it.

There is, of course, a generation gap between Millennials and their elders, Baby Boomers and, to a lesser extent, Gen X. After all, young people suffer from the same hubris as they always have, certain they know everything and similarly certain that anyone who doesn’t share their passionately unassailable views is wrong, if not downright evil. Welcome to the club, Barry. Continue reading

Seaton: Helpful Hints for Happy Halloweens

By the time you read this Halloween will be over and we’ll be headed toward Thanksgiving. It’s a shame, really. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, a night where the ghouls, ghosts, and things that go bump in the night get a chance to party. Fortunately, there’s always next year, and I’m in a giving mood, so today’s Friday Funny are some tips to enhance your Halloween 2020 experience.

  1. First, disregard any “news” article warning parents of adults slipping THC laced candy to kids on Halloween. That stuff is expensive, adults pay good money for it, and odds are if they’ve got it they’re not sharing. Especially not with kids.
  2. Another baseless fear is that of teen vandals out to egg cars or roll houses with toilet paper. American teens would much rather spend their time and energy playing Fortnite on their iToys than committing acts of vandalism. If you’re really scared, don’t call the cops. Defend your castle like a fucking adult. I’ve personally found bear traps, motion activated security systems, and a lifelike replica of Pennywise the Clown works for me. Continue reading

Short Take: Call Me Maybe?

There is nothing to stop you from calling your adversary on the telephone. There is nothing to stop your opposing counsel from not taking your call. There is nothing to stop you from alerting the court that you attempted to contact your adversary but he neither took the call nor returned the call. And whatever flows from this scenario is up to the court.

But what if your adversary has rules?

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Screaming “Due Process” Doesn’t Make It So

Painful as it may be to say this, Alexandra Brodsky isn’t entirely wrong.

The men* mourn due process. Last week, Harvey Weinstein attended a “speakeasy for artists,” where, as he should have expected, a comedian pointed out that #MeToo’s top villain was in the audience. Two other performers directly confronted the Hollywood producer, who awaits a rape trial. Their comments were, a Weinstein rep decried, “an example of how the public is trying to squash due process.” Some of the critics later reported they were escorted out of the club without any kind of process of their own. One, Zoe Stuckless, recalled: “This guy was leading me out the stairs, just repeating ‘due process, due process’ to me.”

While there are some serious doubts any of this happened as Brodsky claims, not because they didn’t happen but because Brodsky lacks the cred to believe her in the absence of better proof, and she is, as one would expect, disingenuous in her spin, as the “due process” connection exists as Weinstein is universally reviled and treated as guilty despite not having been convicted of anything, the point remains. Hating him, even without conviction, isn’t a denial of due process. Continue reading

A Convenient Lie At Arraignment

When Mouhamed Thiam finally stood before the arraignment judge, charged with an A misdemeanor for possession of oxy and a B misdemeanor for open possession of weed, he had one goal. Get out of that courtroom and onto the street. In the trenches, this is usually the prime directive, the goal defendants want to achieve, and it’s the lawyer’s job to make it happen if possible.

But is it wrong? Maybe. Especially if you’re a scholar or think tank pundit or activist. But guess what? The defendant who just spent the last 24+ hours in lockup awaiting arraignment doesn’t give a shit about your theories, your scholarship, your saving the world. He wants to get out of the cuffs and into his own bed.

Thiam copped a plea to the oxy and got time served, which means he walked out the back door to freedom. Except the oxy charge was what lawyer call “imperfect,” because probable cause could not be made out by a cop’s observation, based on his “experience and training.” Weed can. A pill, however, is just a pill. What’s in the pill requires a lab report. There was no lab. Continue reading

When The ABA’s Letter Is Just A Plain Ol’ Lie

At Volokh Conspiracy, Josh Blackman proposes a radical solution.

Going forward these interrogations should be treated as hostile depositions. A court reporter and videographer should be present, as well as private retained counsel to push back on unfounded accusations.

The letter from the ABA’s standing committee on the federal judiciary found Ninth Circuit nominee Lawrence VanDyke “not qualified.”

Some interviewees raised concerns about whether Mr. VanDyke would be fair to persons who are gay, lesbian, or otherwise part of the LGBTQ community. Mr. VanDyke would not say affirmatively that he would be fair to any litigant before him, notably members of the LGBTQ community.

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Sorkin To His Choir: Blame Facebook And Free Speech

It’s one thing for Aaron Sorkin to alter probably the most important American novel ever written so he could put on a play of woke tropes that would have made Harper Lee cry if it didn’t kill her. But he’s now putting his not-insignificant skill at manipulating the unwary toward undermining the First Amendment in the name of his “truth.”

By the gimmick of a faux open letter to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, published in the New York Times, Sorkin spins a curiously hypocritical yarn.

It was hard not to feel the irony while I was reading excerpts from your recent speech at Georgetown University, in which you defended — on free speech grounds — Facebook’s practice of posting demonstrably false ads from political candidates. I admire your deep belief in free speech. I get a lot of use out of the First Amendment. Most important, it’s a bedrock of our democracy and it needs to be kept strong.

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