June 18, 2020

Posted by orrinj at 7:12 PM



In a central passage of Roberts's opinion, as he jousts with whether the Trump administration complied with the strictures of how agencies ought to announce major policy rollbacks, the chief looks to two justices from a different era and different persuasions as his, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. and Hugo Black, to more or less make the point that the government is not supposed to be lazy and haphazard with big decisions. "Justice Holmes famously wrote that '[m]en must turn square corners when they deal with the Government,'" he writes. "But it is also true," he added, quoting from Black, "particularly when so much is at stake, that 'the Government should turn square corners in dealing with the people.'"

Roberts is far from a flaming liberal. But he does seem to care about good government--process, rules, the orderly administration of justice. And what binds both last year's census controversy, which was a tangled web of its own, and Thursday's DACA decision, is the Administrative Procedure Act of 1946, a bulwark of federal law that sets up much of the nation's modern bureaucracy. Rules and regulations, to say nothing of a president's policy preferences, rise and fall under it. Roberts goes through some of the principles the law establishes: "The APA sets forth the procedures by which federal agencies are accountable to the public and their actions subject to review by the courts"; it requires "reasoned decisionmaking"; agency decisions can't be "arbitrary" or "capricious." During the Trump years, the statute has been a thorn in the side of his administration in that the losses under it have been massive. According to the Institute for Policy Integrity, the courts have invalidated a vast swath of Trump's agency policies, largely thanks to the 1946 law.

Posted by orrinj at 10:42 AM


Supreme Court rules against Trump's bid to end program shielding 'Dreamer' immigrants (Tucker Higgins, 6/18/20, CNBC)

The 5-4 opinion was authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, a conservative, and joined by the court's four liberals.  Roberts reasoned that the Trump administration's termination of the program was "arbitrary and capricious," in violation of federal law that governs administrative procedure. 

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Perry Mason revival delivers with the case of the enticing origin storyHBO's prequel series sees Matthew Rhys take on the role of the famed Los Angeles defence lawyer. (EMMA FRASER, 6/18/20, Little White Lies)

Set in Los Angeles in 1932, the economy is in crisis, cops are corrupt, and a child kidnapping-gone-wrong dominates the front page - there is a timeliness to aspects of the narrative. Perry Mason (Matthew Rhys) is a world-weary investigator who makes a quick buck from movie studio bosses wanting to control their roster of talent via the threat of scandal - you might not look at dessert in the same way after the first episode.

Divorced and disconnected, he is a World War One veteran who is still haunted by what he saw in battle. Prohibition is still in effect, not that Perry pays much attention to the boundaries set by the law. When he is tasked with uncovering who is behind the headline-grabbing disturbing crime, the pulpy aspects of this story kick into gear. [...]

Taking a step back in time, HBO has clearly splashed the cash on the impressive and immersive sets from the grimy streets of Los Angeles to Perry's rundown former family farm, which now sits in the middle of an airfield. In the second episode, a flashback to the trenches in France is far from subtle but effectively underscores the horror of Perry's combat experience in an impressive action sequence. Veteran TV director Tim Van Patten (Boardwalk Empire, The Sopranos) directed six of the eight episodes, marrying his talents for a big production with intimate scenes of explosive intensity.

A gritty origin story runs the risk of being too dour or self-serious, which Perry Mason avoids in the first two episodes by leaning into the wisecracking dialogue made famous by hardboiled fiction. Reactions to this adaptation might vary depending on how attached you are to the Burr series. Even so, the strong cast led by the magnetic Rhys ensures that even when the conspiracy sags, you will be clamouring to spend more time with this cast beyond finding out whodunnit.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Polls suggest Joe Biden has a shot at winning Texas. How he fares here could reshape the state's politics. (ABBY LIVINGSTON AND ALEX SAMUELS, JUNE 17, 2020, Texas Tribune)

Ever since February 2019, polls have been coming out indicating that former Vice President Joe Biden is competitive with -- sometimes even leading -- President Donald Trump in Texas. A June 3 poll by Quinnipiac University gave Trump a 1-percentage-point lead in the state. A recent FiveThirtyEight roundup of "key battleground state" polls taken since May 1 shows Trump up by an average of 1.5 points here.

Uncle Joe doesn't need to win TX, just tie Donald and the RNC down there, trying to defend a state where losing suggests the party has long term viability problems.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM



Gardner's pact with readers promised that Mason's clients, whatever else they've done, would always be innocent of murder. That way, when the lawyer plays things fast and loose, we can revel in every wild scheme without troubling our consciences one little bit. He explained, "I write to make money, and I write to give the reader sheer fun. People derive moral satisfaction from reading a story in which the innocent victim of fate triumphs over evil. They enjoy the stimulation of an exciting detective story. Most readers are beset with a lot of problems they can't solve. When they try to relax, their minds keep gnawing over these problems and there is no solution. They pick up a mystery story, become completely absorbed in the problem, see the problem worked out to final and just conclusion, turn out the light and go to sleep."

Mason is as much detective as lawyer, but typically the payoff is a courtroom showdown that sees Mason clear his client's name and pull a "J'accuse!" with the guilty party. These justifiably famous showdowns are rich in legal detail, offering an education in American law of the era. Legend has it that Gardner, whose fan base boasted numerous judges and lawyers, only made one mistake in his prolific career, when he allowed the beneficiary of a will to witness it as well.

When he died, in 1970, Erle Stanley Gardner was the best-selling American fiction author of the century. He wrote 100,000 words a month for some fifty years. His New York Times obituary cited sales of more than 170 million books in the US alone, and reported his paperback publisher saying that in the mid 1960s they sold 2,000 Gardner books an hour, eight hours a day, 365 days a year.

From the 1920s on, Gardner produced an avalanche of pulp stories, novellas, cowboy yarns, science fiction, travelogues and several mystery series, on top of the 80 Perry Mason novels that cemented his fame and fortune, and won him fans such as Einstein (reported to be reading a Perry Mason novel on his deathbed), Harry S. Truman, and Pope John XXIII.

Oh, and in 1949, Evelyn Waugh told interviewers that Gardner was America's best writer. People dismissed this as a joke. It wasn't. Writing to Gardner in 1960, Waugh called himself "one of the keenest admirers of your work." People still scoffed, yet when it was put to his widow, Laura, she confirmed that Evelyn had read every book, and pressed them on the entire family.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Conservative activist kicked off plane after refusing to wear mask (Mina Kaji and Lena Camilletti, June 18, 2020, ABC News)

..it's disregard for others,

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Fox News Lawyer Suggests No Reasonable Viewer Would Think Tucker Carlson Is News (COLIN KALMBACHER, Jun 17th, 2020, Law & Crime)

"Would a reasonable viewer be coming here and thinking this is where I'm going to be hearing the news of the day?" Fox News attorney Erin Murphy asked U.S. District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil during a hearing conducted via telephone on Wednesday, according to Law360 reporter Frank G. Runyeon's account of what was said.