All posts by lawpod

OA53: Did Jeff Sessions Perjure Himself & Other Trump-Related Stories

In today’s episode, we take a look at a recent claim being made by Sen. Al Franken and others that Attorney General Jeff Sessions perjured himself during his confirmation hearings.

First, we begin with an examination of some legal issues in the news related to the Trump administration.  What does it mean that the ABA rated Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch “well qualified,” and does that mean Andrew is rethinking his opinions to the contrary in Episode 40 and Episode 49?  (No.)  We also delve into a discussion of the recent (non-)story regarding the release of Donald Trump’s 2005 form 1040, as well as the recent decisions by U.S. District Courts in Hawaii and Maryland to issue temporary restraining orders blocking Trump’s Revised Executive Order (“Muslim Ban”).

In the main segment, we break down exactly what Sessions said and whether it meets the technical requirements for perjury.

Next, we answer a question from patron Anthoni Fortier, who asks us what “cert” is and why Andrew keeps saying it.

Finally, we end with the answer to Thomas Takes the Bar Exam question #15 about eyewitness identification.   Remember that TTTBE issues a new question every Friday, followed by the answer on next Tuesday’s show.  Don’t forget to play along by following our Twitter feed (@Openargs) and/or our Facebook Page and quoting the Tweet or Facebook Post that announces this episode along with your guess and reason(s)!

Recent Appearances:

None.  Have us on your podcast, radio or TV show, or interview us!

Show Notes & Links

  1. This is the full text of the Hawaii decision enjoining the Revised Executive Order.
  2. If you missed it, you’ll want to check out OA Episode #43, in which we first discussed the 9th Circuit’s Opinion that we revisit in this episode.
  3. This is the full text of President Trump’s revised Executive Order (“Muslim Ban”).
  4. And this is the decision in Church of Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah, 508 U.S. 520 (1993), which Andrew continues to think is the touchstone for whether Trump’s Revised EO violates the First Amendment.
  5. Here is the full text of 18 U.S.C. § 1001, the federal perjury statute.
  6. This is a timeline maintained by the Washington Post of Sessions’s relevant conduct.
  7. This is the tweet from John Harwood confirming that Russian officials did discuss the election with Jeff Sessions.
  8. And here is an article in the National Review arguing to the contrary (largely on the grounds of ‘intent’).

Support us on Patreon at:  patreon.com/law

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And email us at openarguments@gmail.com



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OA52: Thomas Knows Words! Thomas Has The Best Words!

In today’s episode, we look at some legal terms that our patrons asked us to define.  In a twist, however, the guys switch chairs and Andrew asks the questions while Thomas tries to offer legal definitions.  How did that work out?   Listen and find out!

We begin, however, with a listener question from Rachel Doty, who — in keeping with this episode’s theme — asks us to define “Alford plea.”

Then, based on a suggestion from patron Marie Kent, we ask Thomas to define as many legal terms as he can in half an hour.  We think this would make an awesome game show, so if any of our listeners are TV producers, please give us a call.

Next, we take a look at a listener who recommended a Facebook post from an immigration attorney, and the guys discuss the concept of “illegal” immigration.

Finally, we end with a brand new Thomas Takes the Bar Exam question #15 that asks whether eyewitness testimony can be tainted by viewing the suspect in police custody.  Remember that TTTBE issues a new question every Friday, followed by the answer on next Tuesday’s show.  Don’t forget to play along by following our Twitter feed (@Openargs) and/or our Facebook Page and quoting the Tweet or Facebook Post that announces this episode along with your guess and reason(s)!

Recent Appearances:

None.  Have us on your podcast, radio or TV show, or interview us!

Show Notes & Links

  1. Check out Marie’s podcast, My Book of Mormon, by clicking here.
  2. This is the Facebook post from immigration lawyer Lily Axelrod that we discuss during the show.
  3. The one section of the US Code that Andrew found that uses the term “illegal alien” is 8 USC § 1365(b), which is very different from the colloquial use of the term.

Support us on Patreon at:  patreon.com/law

Follow us on Twitter:  @Openargs

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/openargs/

And email us at openarguments@gmail.com



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OA51: The Grimm Reality About Transgender Bathrooms

In today’s episode, we take a look at the recent Supreme Court decision to rescind its grant of certiorari in the 4th Circuit opinion of Grimm v. Gloucester County School District.  What happened, and what does this mean for transgender rights?

First, we begin with an examination of the Trump administration’s revised Executive Order (sometimes called the “Muslim Ban”) restricting entry from now six Muslim-majority nations. As you may recall, we first addressed this issue back in Opening Arguments episode #43.  Does this revised order comply with the law and solve the problems outlined by the 9th Circuit, or is it still “obviously unconstitutional,” as many news sources claim?  You’ll know better than the New York Times soon enough!

In our main segment, we look at Title IX’s prohibition on “sex” discrimination and discuss whether it applies to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity while walking through the somewhat unique procedural history of the Grimm decision.

Next, we evaluate whether former President Obama would be likely to prevail in a lawsuit for defamation against President Trump for the claim that Obama “wiretapped Trump Towers” prior to the election.  Is this Bat Boy??

Finally, we end with the answer to Thomas Takes the Bar Exam question #14 about IIED.  Remember that TTTBE issues a new question every Friday, followed by the answer on next Tuesday’s show.  Don’t forget to play along by following our Twitter feed (@Openargs) and/or our Facebook Page and quoting the Tweet or Facebook Post that announces this episode along with your guess and reason(s)!

Recent Appearances:

Andrew was a guest on The Gaytheist Manifesto podcast, discussing the history of Title IX.

Show Notes & Links

  1. If you missed it, you’ll want to check out OA Episode #43, in which we first discussed the 9th Circuit’s Opinion that we revisit in this episode.
  2. This is the full text of President Trump’s revised Executive Order (“Muslim Ban”).
  3. According to this Guardian article, Hawaii has already sued to block the Revised EO.
  4. This is the decision in Church of Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah, 508 U.S. 520 (1993), which is the touchstone for whether Trump’s Revised EO violates the First Amendment.
  5. Click here to read the (overconfident) New York Times article, “Don’t Be Fooled” that asserts that the Revised EO is blatantly unconstitutional.
  6. This is the text of 20 U.S.C. § 1681 (“Title IX”).
  7. This is the memorandum issued by the Obama DOJ providing guidance as to how to interpret Title IX.
  8. And click here for the 4th Circuit’s now-vacated opinion in Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board that we discuss during the show.

Support us on Patreon at:  patreon.com/law

Follow us on Twitter:  @Openargs

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/openargs/

And email us at openarguments@gmail.com



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OA50: Obama’s Fiduciary Rule (With Guest Ben Offit)

In today’s episode, we take a look at a rule first proposed by President Obama’s Department of Labor in 2016 that would require financial advisers to abide by a “fiduciary” duty with their clients.  What does that mean?  Listen and find out!

We begin with a relevant note about the status of the rule, which is due to be implemented in 60 days.

Next, in our main segment, we take a look at the implications of the Fiduciary Rule by consulting an expert; in this case, certified financial planner Ben Offit, CFP® who has a somewhat novel take on this enhanced obligation.  He breaks down what the proposed rule means for you and the financial professionals you might hire.

After the main segment, we turn to a petition that has been garnering significant attention on the Internet:  #ReVote2017.  What is it?  Is it really pending before the Supreme Court, and what does that mean?

Finally, we end with a brand new Thomas Takes the Bar Exam question #14 regarding the tort of the intentional infliction of emotional distress.  Remember that TTTBE issues a new question every Friday, followed by the answer on next Tuesday’s show.  Don’t forget to play along by following our Twitter feed (@Openargs) and/or our Facebook Page and quoting the Tweet or Facebook Post that announces this episode along with your guess and reason(s)!

Show Notes & Links

  1. To find out more about Ben Offit, CFP® and his services, you can visit his firm, Clear Path Advisory, or email Ben at ben@clearpathadvisory.com.
  2. This is the announcement that the Fiduciary Rule has been postponed for 60 days.
  3. You can also check out the text of the Fiduciary Rule itself.
  4. This is the hilarious petition for writ of mandamus filed by the #ReVote 2017 petitioners.
  5. And this is the docket entry for their petition, which is currently pending before the Court and will be denied on March 17, 2017, one week from today.

Support us on Patreon at:  patreon.com/law

Follow us on Twitter:  @Openargs

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OA49: Why Originalists Don’t Belong on the Supreme Court

In today’s episode, we take a long look at the judicial philosophy of “originalism” made popular by former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and advocated by his would-be replacement.

First, we begin with a question from Jodi, who asks Andrew for his opinion of LegalZoom and other law-in-a-box services.  Andrew gets a little emotional in his response….

Next, we break down originalism as a form of jurisprudence and examine why it is (1) internally incoherent and contradictory; (2) dangerous and unconstrained; and (3) contrary to the fundamental purpose of the judiciary.  Andrew’s argument is that originalists do not belong on the Supreme Court.  Period.

Finally, we end with the answer to Thomas Takes the Bar Exam question #13 about hearsay.  Remember that TTTBE issues a new question every Friday, followed by the answer on next Tuesday’s show.  Don’t forget to play along by following our Twitter feed (@Openargs) and/or our Facebook Page and quoting the Tweet or Facebook Post that announces this episode along with your guess and reason(s)!

Recent Appearances:

Andrew was a panel guest on The Thinking Atheist episode “Donald Trump’s America,” which you can listen to by clicking right here.

Show Notes & Links

  1. Here are Andrew’s two blog posts — one about Legal Zoom and one about downloading contracts off the internet.  His law firm site is here.
  2. This Huffington Post piece quotes Scalia’s 2008 interview with Nina Totenberg about the Eighth Amendment not prohibiting 18th-century forms of torture.
  3. Here’s a link to the full text of the Federalist Papers.
  4. Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803).
  5. United States v. Carolene Products, 304 U.S. 144 (1938).
  6. Scalia’s dissent in Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304, 347-48 (2002) and opinion in Printz v. United States, 521 U.S. 898 (1997) are where he makes fun of citations to international law.
  7. Harmelin v. Michigan, 501 U.S. 957 (1991) is the infamous decision in which Scalia declared that the Eighth Amendment only bars punishments that are both “cruel” and “unusual in the Constitutional sense.”

Support us on Patreon at:  patreon.com/law

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And email us at openarguments@gmail.com

 

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OA48: Three Cases You Care About – Planned Parenthood, Gay Florists, and Litigious Quacks

Today’s episode is a little bit different than our usual format; today, we take a look at three cases that our listeners have asked about on Twitter and Facebook.

First up is an order entered by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas enjoining the state of Texas (and nitwit Attorney General Ken Paxton) from disqualifying Planned Parenthood as an authorized Medicaid service provider on the basis of fake videos.

Next, we tackle a recent ruling by the Washington Supreme Court applying that state’s anti-discrimination law to a florist that decided she couldn’t sell wedding flowers if the participants were gay.  Is this really the worst violation of individual freedom in the history of Western Civilization?

Third, we look at the recent victory in the 11th Circuit by our colleague Dr. Steven Novella of the Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe Podcast, and discuss what the ruling means for (say) podcasters who get sued for libel.

Finally, we end with a brand new Thomas Takes the Bar Exam question #13 regarding hearsay.  Remember that TTTBE issues a new question every Friday, followed by the answer on next Tuesday’s show.  Don’t forget to play along by following our Twitter feed (@Openargs) and/or our Facebook Page and quoting the Tweet or Facebook Post that announces this episode along with your guess and reason(s)!

Recent Appearances:

Thomas was interviewed by Conatus News about the development of the atheist community on the internet, including the role played by his other podcast, Serious Inquiries Only.

Andrew was a guest panelist on an episode of The Thinking Atheist show, “Donald Trump’s America.”

Show Notes & Links

  1. This is the W.D. Texas order restraining the state from blocking Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood.
  2. Here is a link to Washington’s anti-discrimination law.
  3. Click here to read David French’s hilariously over-the-top description of this case in the right-wing garbage mag, the National Review.
  4. This is the 11th Circuit’s ruling in Tobinick v. Novella.
  5. Click here to check out Dr. Novella’s podcast, the Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe.

Support us on Patreon at:  patreon.com/law

Follow us on Twitter:  @Openargs

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/openargs/

And email us at openarguments@gmail.com

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OA47: Is This The Gun Control Case That Could Overrule DC v. Heller?

In today’s episode, we take a look at the just-decided case of Kolbe v. Hogan out of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  Is this case as big a deal as people are saying it is?

We begin, however, with a preliminary question from patron Alice Ashton, who asks about the controversial flavor-of-the-week, recently deplatformed Milo Yiannopolous.  Does knowing about a crime and not reporting it make you an accessory after the fact?  Find out!

Next, we break down Kolbe v. Hogan and explain whether this recent decision lives up to the hype (and why)!

After our main segment, we answer another patron question, this one from Derek Timp, who has some questions about the separation of church and state.

Finally, we end with the answer to Thomas Takes the Bar Exam question #12 about that criminal squirrel-feeder.  Remember that TTTBE issues a new question every Friday, followed by the answer on next Tuesday’s show.  Don’t forget to play along by following our Twitter feed (@Openargs) and/or our Facebook Page and quoting the Tweet or Facebook Post that announces this episode along with your guess and reason(s)!

Recent Appearances:

Andrew was a panel guest on The Thinking Atheist episode “Donald Trump’s America,” which you can listen to by clicking right here.

Also, Seth Andrews, host of the Thinking Atheist, has just released his “Secular State of the Union” address which you can listen to right here.

Show Notes & Links

  1. Thomas did a fabulous, full-length episode of Serious Inquiries Only about Milo; you should give that a listen.
  2. Alice’s question referenced a post and attached video on the Joe.My.God. website which you can see here.
  3. This is the text of the Kolbe v. Hogan decision.
  4. And here is DC v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008).
  5. Here’s a brief rundown of clergy serving in Congress.

Support us on Patreon at:  patreon.com/law

Follow us on Twitter:  @Openargs

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/openargs/

And email us at openarguments@gmail.com



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OA46: What Could Donald Trump’s Tax Returns Tell Us? (With Guest Tony Di Fatta) – Part 2

Today’s episode concludes our two-part look at one of your most requested questions:  what might be in Donald Trump’s taxes!

We begin, however, with a listener criticism from Peter Crinklaw, who thinks Andrew gave short shrift to the policy argument for educational vouchers.

Next, we conclude our two-part interview Tony Di Fatta, a practicing CPA, to take a deep-dive into all the things we might — and might not — find in the event that Donald Trump’s taxes are ever disclosed.  All of this is meant to shed some light on the question:  should Democrats be focused on finding out what’s in Trump’s taxes?

After our main segment, we tackle another listener question; this one from our top patron Zabby, who wants to know about the recently-passed Jacksonville, Florida Human Rights Ordinance.

Finally, we end with a brand new Thomas Takes the Bar Exam question #12 regarding witness credibility.  Remember that TTTBE issues a new question every Friday, followed by the answer on next Tuesday’s show.  Don’t forget to play along by following our Twitter feed (@Openargs) and/or our Facebook Page and quoting the Tweet or Facebook Post that announces this episode along with your guess and reason(s)!

Recent Appearances:

Thomas was interviewed by Conatus News about the development of the atheist community on the internet, including the role played by his other podcast, Serious Inquiries Only.

Andrew was a guest on the David Pakman show; you can watch the 14-minute video interview here.

Andrew was also a guest on the Biskeptical Podcast, episode #19, with Trav Mamone and Morgan Stringer, discussing free speech and Milo Yiannopolous.

Hall of Fame Patron Charone Frankel started her own legal comedy podcast, Habeas Humor.  Go check it out.

Show Notes & Links

  1. This is the economist survey regarding vouchers mentioned by Peter.
  2. To find out more about Tony, click here for his website, or give him a call at (443) 791-5726.
  3. This is a link to Donald Trump’s 2016 financial disclosures.
  4. Here’s the hilarious Onion article, “You People Made Me Give Up My Peanut Farm!
  5. This is the text of the Jacksonville HRO.

Support us on Patreon at:  patreon.com/law

Follow us on Twitter:  @Openargs

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/openargs/

And email us at openarguments@gmail.com



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OA45: What Could Donald Trump’s Tax Returns Tell Us? (With Guest Tony Di Fatta) – Part 1

In today’s episode, we take a look at one of your most requested questions:  what might be in Donald Trump’s taxes!

We begin, however, with a preliminary question from Jim Sabatowski, who asks us what’s the big deal with Trump’s tax returns, anyway?  Is there a good reason to think we can get information that’s necessary to evaluate a candidate?

Next, we give you part one of our two-part interview Tony Di Fatta, a practicing CPA, to take a deep-dive into all the things we might — and might not — find in the event that Donald Trump’s taxes are ever disclosed.  All of this is meant to shed some light on the question:  should Democrats be focused on finding out what’s in Trump’s taxes?

After our main segment, we inaugurate a new segment about how close President Trump is to impeachment with a question about 18 USC § 1001 and the prohibition against making false statements. With a bonus reference to The Price Is Right!

Finally, we end with the answer to Thomas Takes the Bar Exam question #11 about the best evidence rule.  Remember that TTTBE issues a new question every Friday, followed by the answer on next Tuesday’s show.  Don’t forget to play along by following our Twitter feed (@Openargs) and/or our Facebook Page and quoting the Tweet or Facebook Post that announces this episode along with your guess and reason(s)!

Recent Appearances:

Thomas was interviewed by Conatus News about the development of the atheist community on the internet, including the role played by his other podcast, Serious Inquiries Only.

Andrew was a guest on the David Pakman show; you can watch the 14-minute video interview here.

Andrew was also a guest on the Biskeptical Podcast, episode #19, with Trav Mamone and Morgan Stringer, discussing free speech and Milo Yiannopolous.

Show Notes & Links

  1. To find out more about Tony, click here for his website, or give him a call at (443) 791-5726.
  2. This is a link to Donald Trump’s 2016 financial disclosures.
  3. Here’s the hilarious Onion article, “You People Made Me Give Up My Peanut Farm!
  4. This is the text of 18 USC § 1001.

Support us on Patreon at:  patreon.com/law

Follow us on Twitter:  @Openargs

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/openargs/

And email us at openarguments@gmail.com



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OA44: All About Arbitration

In today’s episode, we take a look at arbitration, an increasingly popular device being used to take disputes out of the courtroom.  What might arbitration mean for you?  Listen and find out!

We begin, however, with a question from patron Faye Reppas, who asks about HR 2802, the so-called “First Amendment Defense Act.”

Next, in our main segment, we take a look at the implications of arbitration — particularly in the employment context, where your employer may have inserted a mandatory arbitration clause in your employment agreement.  What does arbitration do?  Can you be compelled to do it?  We break it all down for you.

After our main segment, we tackle another listener question; this one from Eric Walls about corporate personhood.

Finally, we end with a brand new Thomas Takes the Bar Exam question #11 regarding the testimony of a plaintiff who’s had surgical sponges accidentally left inside of her (a surprisingly common occurrence).  Remember that TTTBE issues a new question every Friday, followed by the answer on next Tuesday’s show.  Don’t forget to play along by following our Twitter feed (@Openargs) and/or our Facebook Page and quoting the Tweet or Facebook Post that announces this episode along with your guess and reason(s)!

Show Notes & Links

  1. This is the text of the proposed HR 2802, the First Amendment Defense Act.
  2. Andrew wrote two articles on arbitration for his firm blog:  you can read Part 1 and Part 2 for more in-depth analysis.
  3. Here’s a link to the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. § 1 et seq.
  4. Here is a link to Andrew’s appearance on the David Pakman show.

Support us on Patreon at:  patreon.com/law

Follow us on Twitter:  @Openargs

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