On John Yoo

Ken AshfordBush & Co., Constitution, Courts/Law, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

Never in my life have I witnessed such incredible incompetence in a constitutional scholar. I am referring to John Yoo, Bush’s legal advisor on torture and detainee policy, and his gloriously boneheaded op-ed in the New York Times. Yoo makes this wildly absurd claim: [T]he founders intended that wrongheaded or obsolete legislation and judicial decisions would be checked by presidential … Read More

The Worst Defense Ever Raised In Court

Ken AshfordCourts/Law, Crime, Godstuff, Sex/Morality/Family ValuesLeave a Comment

A pedophile believes that his "right" to molest physically and mentally handicapped boys is protected because it stems from his religious belief: Phillip Distasio, who said he is the leader of a church called Arcadian Fields Ministries, represented himself at his pretrial hearing Wednesday. He is charged with 74 counts including rape, pandering obscenity to minors and corrupting another with … Read More

New York Court Says “No” To Gay Marriages

Ken AshfordConstitution, Courts/Law, Sex/Morality/Family ValuesLeave a Comment

What the NY Court actually did was kick the issue over to the Legislature: First, the Legislature could rationally decide that, for the welfare of children, it is more important to promote stability, and to avoid instability, in opposite-sex than in same-sex relationships. Heterosexual intercourse has a natural tendency to lead to the birth of children; homosexual intercourse does not. … Read More


Ken AshfordCampaign Finance Reform, Courts/Law, Crime, Environment & Global Warming & Energy, Supreme Court, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

Lot of things coming from the Supreme Court today.  I’ll combine it all here: (1)  In Hudson v. Michigan, a recent controversial decision involving the "knock & announce" tactics of police raids, Scalia apparently "twisted the words" of an eminent criminolgist to reach his conclusion.  The criminiologist complains here. (2)  SCOTUS announced today that it will hear a case about … Read More

Professor Volokh’s Criminal Law Question

Ken AshfordCourts/Law, CrimeLeave a Comment

Professor Volokh posted a question that he is giving to his Criminal Law class: Bert and Ernie are walking down the street from the local bar, when they see their old nemesis the Count. Drunk and a little paranoid, they conclude that the Count is trying to kill them, so they decide to kill him to prevent that from happening; … Read More

Judicial Da Vinci Code Cracked

Ken AshfordCourts/LawLeave a Comment

A London judge, who ruled in the copyright infringement case involving Dan Brown’s "The Da Vinci Code", stuck an encoded message of his own within his 71-page judgment (in favor of Brown). The code has been cracked. RELATED:  Judges are not averse to being humorous.  This website catalogues some of the more interesting/weird/humorous works from those who sit on the … Read More

Lying To SCOTUS — Not A Good Idea

Ken AshfordCongress, Courts/Law, Supreme Court, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

The full story is here; I’ll just give the funny bits. Today, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case of Rumsfled v. Hamdan.  At issue in the case is whether a provision in last year’s Detainee Treatment Act ("DTA") effectively strips the Court of jurisdiction to hear Hamdan’s case.  The Government contends that it does. In support of … Read More

Orin Kerr’s Got A Blog

Ken AshfordCourts/LawLeave a Comment

Volokh Conspiracy contributor Orin Kerr (GW Law Professor) is starting his own blog, focussing primarily on legal issues. I don’t always agree with him, but there’s no doubt he’s a smart dude.   We’ll keep an eye on him.

Legal Justification For NSA Wiretaps

Ken AshfordConstitution, Courts/Law, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

One of the best pieces in the blogosphere examining the legal landscape of the NSA wiretapping comes from Orin Kerr, law professor at George Washington University, on the right-leaning law blog, The Volokh Conspiracy. Kerr begins: Was the secret NSA surveillance program legal? Was it constitutional? Did it violate federal statutory law? It turns out these are hard questions, but … Read More

Stupid Lawsuit Of The Day

Ken AshfordCourts/LawLeave a Comment

D’oh: A Russian lawyer plans to take his case against The Simpsons to the European Court of Human Rights. It comes after a Moscow Court rejected Igor Smykov’s appeal to have the show banned from Russian TV. Mrr Smykov wanted to have the cartoon series taken off the air in Russia, or at least shown at a later time, claiming … Read More

Down in ‘Bama

Ken AshfordCourts/LawLeave a Comment

Judge Roy Moore, the former Alabama Supreme Court judge who defied federal court orders to remove the Ten Commandments from the Alabama Supreme Courthouse (so he was removed himself), is now running for Alabama governor. Garnering less attention in the election to fill his spot in the Alabama Supreme Court.  Here’s the Republican candidate: Tom Parker, Republican candidate for the … Read More

Constance Baker Motley, 1921-2005

Ken AshfordCourts/LawLeave a Comment

From the NY Times: Constance Baker Motley, a civil rights lawyer who fought nearly every important civil rights case for two decades and then became the first black woman to serve as a federal judge, died yesterday at NYU Downtown Hospital in Manhattan. She was 84. The cause was congestive heart failure, said Isolde Motley, her daughter-in-law. Judge Motley was … Read More

Unfurl Those Flags: Newdow’s Back!

Ken AshfordConstitution, Courts/LawLeave a Comment

Michael Newdow is back in the news.  You may remember him as the guy who challenged the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance, arguing that it compelled his daughter to invoke a religious incantation ("under God").  Even though he won in the lower courts, he ultimately lost in the Supreme Court, but only on the issue of standing (since he … Read More

Freedom – Registration Required

Ken AshfordCourts/LawLeave a Comment

Apparently without any sense of irony, the Pentagon informs us that anyone attending this weekend’s 9/11 "Freedom Walk", a commemorative march to public memorial spaces throughout D.C., must be registered.  "Interlopers" will be arrested.  Boy.