OA287: Down the Hatch (Act)?

Today’s Rapid Response Friday covers all of the breaking developments this week, including a ruling from the Wisconsin Supreme Court, the latest news out of the House of Representatives, and the Office of Special Counsel’s latest request that Donald Trump should fire Kellyanne Conway for “flagrant” serial violations of the Hatch Act. What does all that mean? Listen and find out!

We begin by revisiting the state of Wisconsin, where Republicans in gerrymandered-safe seats in the state legislature stripped power away from the incoming Democratic Governor and Attorney General. A trial court issued an injunction preventing that law from going into effect, and just two days ago, the state Supreme Court finally ruled on that injunction. How did that go? (You know the drill.)

Then, we move into the main segment, in which we discuss all of the developments related to the census question we last discussed in Episode 286. Learn about one respondent’s petition for limited remand, the White House’s assertion of executive privilege, and then what’s next from the Democratic House.

After all that, it’s time to climb Yodel Mountain. Learn exactly who Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn hired once he fired Covington & Burlington Coat Factory, and what that (probably) means. And then, it’s time to learn allllll about the Hatch Act, and why a loyal Trump supporter thinks it means it’s time to fire Kellyanne Conway.

Then, it’s time for Thomas Takes the Bar Exam. This time, Thomas tackles a tricky question about a government agency that hires a private collector to purchase antiques. Can the state charge sales tax? Listen and find out!

Appearances

None! If you’d like to have either of us as a guest on your show, drop us an email at openarguments@gmail.com.

Show Notes & Links

1. We last discussed the census in Episode 286.
2. Click here to read the NYIC petition for limited remand.
3. This is HR 430, which is the full House vote to allow the Judiciary Committee to sue to enforce the McGahn and Barr subpoenas.
4. And here is the roll call vote.
5. The Hatch Act is 5 U.S.C. § 7323.
6. The Hatch Act was upheld in United States Civil Service Comm’n et al. v. Nat’l Ass’n of Letter Carriers, AFL-CIO, et al., 413 U.S. 548 (1973).
7. Finally, click here to read the OSC Conway letter.

-Support us on Patreon at:  patreon.com/law

-Follow us on Twitter:  @Openargs

-Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/openargs/, and don’t forget the OA Facebook Community!

-For show-related questions, check out the Opening Arguments Wiki, which now has its own Twitter feed!  @oawiki

-And finally, remember that you can email us at openarguments@gmail.com!





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OA286: The Census and Disenfranchisement

Today’s episode takes a deep dive into recent developments following the death of Republican operative Thomas Hofeller — the architect of the REDMAP — that may impact the census question case currently pending before the Supreme Court, Department of Commerce v. New York.

First, however, we begin with an Andrew Was Wrong about the 2006 midterm elections and the Pension Protection Act. That was, in fact, a Democratic wave year — but the PPA was passed in August, nearly five months before that new Democratic congress was seated. Oops.

Then it’s time to delve into the strange files of Thomas Hofeller, the architect of REDMAP — you know, the gerrymandering strategy and software that turned Republican minorities into majorities in states like Wisconsin and tiny Republican majorities into one-sided dominance in states like North Carolina. Want to know his plan for helping “Non-Hispanic Whites?” Of course you do!

We break down exactly how this development may affect Dep’t of Commerce v. New York, which has already been briefed and argued before the Supreme Court, and the interesting strategy that the respondents used to make SCOTUS aware of what Hofeller was up to.

After all that, it’s time for the answer to Thomas (and the Entire Puzzle in a Thunderstorm Crew) Takes the Bar Exam #129 involving comparative negligence, joint and several liability, and intra-family liability in connection with a car accident. Did you get it right? Remember you can play along every Friday by sharing our show on social media using the hashtag #TTTBE.

Appearances

Andrew was just a guest on Episode 98 of the Skepticrat breaking down everyone’s second-favorite Democratic 2020 Presidential contenders; you won’t want to miss it! And if you’d like to have either of us as a guest on your show, drop us an email at openarguments@gmail.com.

Show Notes & Links

  1. We first covered the citizenship question on Episode 232
  2. You can access the briefs filed in Department of Commerce v. New York: Here
  3. This is the letter filed by respondents and copied to the Supreme Court setting forth the new evidence relating to Hofeller.
  4. And, in the interests of balance, here’s the response filed by the government.
  5. And finally, here’s the ruling and scheduling order from Judge Furman in the District Court case (No. 18-2921) setting forth the time to brief and seek discovery regarding potential sanctions on the government witnesses.

-Follow us on Twitter:  @Openargs

-Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/openargs/, and don’t forget the OA Facebook Community!

-For show-related questions, check out the Opening Arguments Wiki, which now has its own Twitter feed!  @oawiki

-And finally, remember that you can email us at openarguments@gmail.com!





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OA285: Tulsi Gabbard & Michael Flynn

Today’s instant-breaking episode takes a look at the significance of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s decision to fire his lawyers, Andrew’s buddies over at Covington & Burling. Oh, and we also take a semi-deep-dive into President Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on “all goods” imported from Mexico. What does it all mean? Listen and find out!

We begin, however, with a slight preview of next week’s show, which will break down the impending tariffs on goods imported from Mexico. How is this like (or unlike) Trump’s decision to impose steel tariffs on China? You’ll have to listen and find out!

Then, it’s time for the main segment in which we learn that Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn has fired his lawyers at Covington & Burling? What does that mean? Only time will tell.

For the “C” segment, we break down the upcoming DNC debate, who’s qualified, and what legal remedies some of the “loser” candidates might have.

After all that, it’s time for #TTTBE involving torts, contributory negligence, and joint and several liability.

Appearances

None! If you’d like to have either of us as a guest on your show, drop us an email at openarguments@gmail.com.

Show Notes & Links

  1. We first discussed Trump’s tariffs on China in episode 162
  2. Trump’s statement on Mexican tariffs is here
  3. The prior authority relied upon by Trump is the IEEPA, 50 U.S.C. § 1702
  4. Click here to read a CNBC piece on the likelihood of a trade war.
  5. You can read Vol I. and Vol. II of the Mueller in searchable PDF.
  6. Here’s the evidence C&B was fired.
  7. Here are the DNC rules and you can check out “Bernie Sanders’s” failed lawsuit here.

-Support us on Patreon at:  patreon.com/law

-Follow us on Twitter:  @Openargs

-Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/openargs/, and don’t forget the OA Facebook Community!

-For show-related questions, check out the Opening Arguments Wiki, which now has its own Twitter feed!  @oawiki

-And finally, remember that you can email us at openarguments@gmail.com!





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OA284: Drain the Swamp, Starring Gordon Hartogensis

Today’s episode is a tragedy in three acts, bringing together three seemingly-unrelated stories: (1) understanding the looming crisis at the Pension Benefits ordonuarantee Corporation; (2) figuring out who Gordon Hartogensis is and why he’s about to gain control over potentially hundreds of billions of dollars in assets; and finally, (3) putting together all the pieces to see how President Trump has acted to protect his crony, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, from potential criminal and civil liability in connection with his management of Sears. Strap in; it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

We begin in Act I, in which the guys break down the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), its creation, the Pension Benefits Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), and the developments over the last 45 years that have pushed the PBGC to the brink of collapse.

Act II, then, takes over with the recently-appointed International Man of Mystery, Gordon Hartogensis, to lead the PBGC. Who is this guy, and what has he done to inspire confidence that he can right the ship? Listen and find out!

Act III weaves these stories together with the ongoing civil lawsuit by Sears against Steven Mnuchin and his buddy Eddie Lampert, who are alleged to have looted Sears’s assets, driving it into bankruptcy. You’ll never guess who bought those assets in bankruptcy… or, perhaps you’ll instantly guess who did.

After all that, it’s time for the answer to Thomas Takes the Bar Exam #128 involving a crazy fast-food heist involving an imaginary sniper and the drive-thru lane. Did you get it right??

Appearances

None! If you’d like to have either of us as a guest on your show, drop us an email at openarguments@gmail.com.

Show Notes & Links

  1. Check out ERISA, 29 U.S.C. §§ 1001 et seq.
  2. You can also read the text and a breakdown of the key provisions of the PPA, which passed the Senate 93-5.
  3. For a sad laugh, check out the PBGC’s own scant “Who the hell is Gordon Hartogensis?” page. The first person to break this story was Politico’s Ian Kullgren, who wrote this article.
  4. We first covered the Sears/Lampert/Mnuchin story back in Episode 273, and you can read the Warren/Ocasio-Cortez letter here.

-Support us on Patreon at:  patreon.com/law

-Follow us on Twitter:  @Openargs

-Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/openargs/, and don’t forget the OA Facebook Community!

-For show-related questions, check out the Opening Arguments Wiki, which now has its own Twitter feed!  @oawiki

-And finally, remember that you can email us at openarguments@gmail.com!





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OA283: Mueller Speaks! (& Clarence Thomas Pens a Nonsensical Concurrence)

Today’s episode breaks down the statement made this week by Robert Mueller in connection with his report and investigation. Is it a good sign? Is it a bad sign? Is it both? Listen and find out!

We begin, however, with a bit of housekeeping, including a recommendation that you check out Episode 194 of Serious Inquiries Only (featuring Eli Bosnick!) for the official OA answer to all things milkshaking. We also preview a bit of next week’s show, which involves revisiting Eddie Lampert, Steve Mnuchin, and the alleged looting of Sears. Is it worse than you think? (It’s always worse than you think.)

Next, we check in on four Supreme Court orders that relate to gerrymandering. Is that worse than you think? (It’s always worse than you think.)

After all that, we’re not even halfway done! Our main segment breaks down the Supreme Court’s brief, two-page per curiam order in Box v. Planned Parenthood… and the sprawling, nonsensical 20-page concurrence written by Clarence Thomas that literally repeats David Barton-level falsehoods. You’ll be angry, but you won’t want to miss it.

Then, it’s time to Yodel! We carefully break down Robert Mueller’s statement regarding his investigation and what it means for the future. In so doing, we also analyze Mueller’s claims regarding the now-infamous 2000 OLC memo as to whether a sitting president can be indicted.

After all that, it’s time for an all-new Thomas Takes The Bar Exam #128 involving a crazy criminal effort to steal money from a fast-food drive-through by pretending to have a sniper… look, you’ll just have to listen and play along, okay?!?

Appearances

None! If you’d like to have either of us as a guest on your show, drop us an email at openarguments@gmail.com.

Show Notes & Links

  1. For the correct take on milkshaking, check out Serious Inquiries Only Episode 194 with Eli Bosnick.
  2. We first covered the alleged looting of Sears by Eddie Lampert and Steve Mnuchin in Episode 273 and that was picked up by our friends Elizabeth Warren and AOC.
  3. These are the four orders the Supreme Court granted in gerrymandering cases:
    A. HOUSEHOLDER, LARRY, ET AL. V. A. PHILIP RANDOLPH INST., ET AL.
    B. CHABOT, STEVE, ET AL. V. A. PHILIP RANDOLPH INST., ET AL
    C. MICHIGAN SENATE, ET AL. V. LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS, ET AL.
    D. CHATFIELD, LEE, ET AL. V. LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS, ET AL.
  4. Click here to read the Supreme Court’s Opinion in Box v. Planned Parenthood
  5. Click here for the peer-reviewed research showing that Sanger was not a eugenicist; and here for the article showing she wasn’t a racist.
  6. This is a transcript of Robert Mueller’s testimony and this is the 2000 OLC Memo.

Support us on Patreon at:  patreon.com/law

-Follow us on Twitter:  @Openargs

-Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/openargs/, and don’t forget the OA Facebook Community!

-For show-related questions, check out the Opening Arguments Wiki, which now has its own Twitter feed!  @oawiki

-And finally, remember that you can email us at openarguments@gmail.com!





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OA282: OREO (& The Real HUD Scandal)

Lost in the (justifiable) concern over Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson’s apparent lack of understanding of REOs, OREO, and just about anything pertinent to his job is a recently-proposed HUD rule that would deliberately reverse an Obama-era regulation requiring nondiscrimination in the provision of services to the homeless based on gender identity. Is it as bad as you think? (Yes.)

First, however, we begin with an Andrew Was Wrong and a bit more discussion on abortion, including the difference between Plan B and the oral abortifacient RU-486, and the difference between a zygote and a blastocyst.

After that, it’s time for our deep dive into Secretary Carson’s laughable testimony… and the real issue hiding beneath the surface, which involves crafting a religious exception to the Equality Rule of 2016.

Then, it’s time to debut Optimist Prime(TM) vs. Negatron(TM) on impeachment. Find out why Andrew thinks the tide is turning and Thomas… doesn’t. Where do you wind up? Listen and find out!

Then, it’s time for the answer to an all-new Thomas Takes the Bar Exam #127 — a dreaded real property question about a man who tries to convey his property to an overseas nephew before dying.  Can Thomas get it right??  Listen and find out!

Appearances

None! If you’d like to have either of us as a guest on your show, drop us an email at openarguments@gmail.com.

Show Notes & Links

  1. We first discussed the rise of state-level constitutional protections to the right to choose back in Episode 276. and analyzed Georgia HB 481 and Alabama HB 314 in Episode 280.
  2. You can read HUD proposed rule FR-6152 (currently RIN 2506-AC53) for yourself.





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OA281: Follow the Money! (Analyzing Judge Mehta’s Order)

Today’s episode breaks down Judge Mehta’s recent order in the Trump v. Mazars litigation, which is parallel to the Deutsche Bank lawsuit we discussed on last week’s show. Why is this ruling significant, how does it accelerate the House’s efforts to uncover crucial financial documents, and what does this mean for the future of the Trump Presidency? Listen and find out!

We begin, however, with a look at some late-breaking news from Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who have requested information from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin related to his tenure at Sears (that we discussed in Episode 273) and whether that conduct continued during his time working for the Trump administration.

Then, it’s time for the main segment, in which we discuss Judge Mehta’s order, what it means for the future of the Trump investigations (and for future presidential administrations!), as well as deal with skeptical questions about the potential timeframe. Learn how the Congressional Democrats maneuvered to get this case fast-tracked so as to avoid endless delays — and listen to Andrew’s possibly-surprising prediction about what he thinks the Supreme Court won’t do to protect Trump!

After all that, it’s time for a brand new Thomas Takes the Bar Exam #127… and yes, it’s another dreaded real property question. Worse, it’s a hard one — in which the question gives you the answer but asks for the best reason why. Find out what happens when someone conveys property and dies while the gift recipient is overseas serving in the military. And if you’d like to play along with #TTTBE, just share out this episode on social media for a chance to be next week’s winner!

Appearances

Andrew was a guest on the most recent episode of Pod Therapy, discussing the “Goldwater Rule,” and Thomas was a guest on Episode 196 of God Awful Movies, “Alien Intrusion: Unmasking a Deception.” If you’d like to have either of us as a guest on your show, drop us an email at openarguments@gmail.com.

Show Notes & Links

1.  This is the link to the Warren/AOC letter to Mnuchin

2.  We most recently discussed the Congressional subpoenas into Trump’s finances in Episode 279.

3.  Text of Judge Mehta’s order in the Mazars case.

4.  This is the New York Times story about the Deutsche Bank whistleblower; and for an in-depth discussion of SARs reports, check out Carla McCadden in Episode 174.

5.  This is the report that some lenders have already provided documents to the House, and we discussed the Wells Fargo penalties in Episode 146 and 169.

Support us on Patreon at:  patreon.com/law

Follow us on Twitter:  @Openargs

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

Don’t forget the OA Facebook Community!

For show-related questions, check out the Opening Arguments Wiki, which now has its own Twitter feed!  @oawiki

And email us at openarguments@gmail.com





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OA280: Abortion Rights Under Assault

Today’s episode takes an in-depth look at the recent abortion bans passed in Georgia and Alabama, breaking down exactly what these laws say (and don’t say!) to help you sort through the panic from the actual news. It’s not always a pleasant trip, but it’s a journey worth taking to figure out exactly what’s at stake.

We begin, however, with a listener question about abortion — and specifically, about whether the federal government can preemptively prevent the states from doing the kinds of things we talked about back in Episode 276. Find out why Andrew thinks the conservative Supreme Court isn’t likely to uphold the constitutionality of a federal law prohibiting states from recognizing abortion rights.

After that, it’s time for a deep dive in to the very confusing Georgia statute , HB 481. Exactly what does this bill do (and not do), and how scared should you be? Listen and find out.

And if that’s not enough, we also walk you through the more straightforward (but still terrifying) Alabama statute, HB 314. Is it true that the bill fails to exempt rape victims? (Yes.) Is there anything to mitigate how awful this bill is? (Sort of.)

After all that, it’s time to find out the answer to TTTBE #126 about a man who shoots a would-be assailant three times, including once after the assailant is lying on the ground and whimpering. What kind of crime could this be? Listen and find out!

Appearances

None! If you’d like to have either of us as a guest on your show, drop us an email at openarguments@gmail.com.

Show Notes & Links

  1. We first discussed the rise of state-level constitutional protections to the right to choose back in Episode 276.
  2. You can check out Georgia HB 481 and Alabama HB 314 to read these bills for yourself.




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OA279: Deutsche Wanna Loan?

Today’s episode breaks down everything you need to know about the pending Trump v. Deutsche Bank lawsuit over the pending Congressional subpoenas for Donald Trump’s (and Don Jr.’s, and Eric’s, and Ivanka’s, and the Trump Organization’s) financial records. Why is Trump suing Deutsche Bank, and what’s going to happen? Find out why Andrew is still optimistic!

We begin, however, with the breaking news that Trump has pardoned Conrad Black. Who is he? Should this be a scandal? (Yes.) Will it be? (No.) And is Conrad Black a gigantic racist? (Guess.)

Then, it’s time for the main segment about Trump v. Deutsche Bank. We talk about the unique legal standard in the Second Circuit that gives the Trump legal team a legitimate thread by which to argue for their injunction preventing Deutsche Bank from disclosing Trump’s financial records to the House Committee.

Then, it’s time to answer a listener question from Rob Bate about conspiracy, obstruction, and the Mueller Report.

After all that, it’s time for a brand-new Thomas Takes The Bar Exam #126 involving whether shooting a would-be assailant who has broken off her attack is homicide, and if so, what kind.

Appearances

None! If you’d like to have either of us as a guest on your show, drop us an email at openarguments@gmail.com.

Show Notes & Links

  1. Here’s a link to Conrad Black’s disgusting “Who Was Really At Fault In Charlottesville?” essay.
  2. Check out the Wikipedia entry on Michael McFaul.
  3. And his testimony to the House Intelligence Committee.
  4. Here are the Trump v. Deutsche Bank documents
    -The Complaint
    -Trump’s Motion for a Preliminary Injunction
    -Deutsche Bank’s statement
    -The House Committee’s Opposition
    -Trump’s reply memorandum
  5. We cited Citigroup Global Markets, Inc. v. VCG Special Opportunities Master Fund Ltd., 598 F.3d 30 (2010) for the proposition that the 2nd Circuit recognizes an alternative test.
  6. And, of course, credit for the fabulous “Deutsche Wanna Loan?” goes to our friends at Mueller, She Wrote

Support us on Patreon at:  patreon.com/law

Follow us on Twitter:  @Openargs

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

Don’t forget the OA Facebook Community!

For show-related questions, check out the Opening Arguments Wiki, which now has its own Twitter feed!  @oawiki

And email us at openarguments@gmail.com





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OA278: The Founding Myth (w/guest Andrew Seidel)

Today’s episode features a long-form interview with one of our favorite recurring guests, Andrew Seidel of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. He’s on to discuss his just-released book, The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism is Un-American.

Because Andrew, Andrew, and Thomas could easily talk for a full hour (and then some)… why, that’s exactly what they do. We hold Andrew Seidel’s feet to the fire on the threat that Christian Nationalism poses to the U.S. judicial system, including an in-depth discussion of the future of the Establishment Clause. And if you haven’t heard of “Project Blitz,” you will after this interview. You don’t want to miss it!

After all that, it’s time for the answer to Thomas (& Andrew) Take the Bar Exam Question #125 on the admissibility of prior bad acts evidence. Can the prosecutor introduce evidence of the “Ol’ Switcheroo” on cross-examination? Listen and find out!

Appearances

Andrew was just a guest on Episode 194 of God Awful Movies, reviewing the Law’d Awful Movie “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer.” And if you’d like to have either of us as a guest on your show, drop us an email at openarguments@gmail.com.

Show Notes & Links

  1. Check out the news about Matt Gaetz’s investigation in the Tampa Bay Times.
  2. If you love old-timey law review articles, this University of Pennsylvania Law Review one about Congress’s inherent sanctions power from 1925 is pretty fun! Or, if you’d rather something from this millennium, check out the 2007 Chafetz article we discuss on the show.
  3. The crime Bill Barr has committed is a violation of 2 U.S.C. § 192.
  4. We discuss how this exact same scenario has already played out before in Committee on the Judiciary v. Miers, 558 F.Supp.2d 53 (2008).
  5. AAG Boyd cited this 1982 Reagan memo, but conveniently forgot to cite this 1984 OLC opinion that definitively shows he’s full of it.
  6. Finally, we first discussed the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Russian interference written by Sen. Burr back in Episode 190.

Support us on Patreon at:  patreon.com/law

Follow us on Twitter:  @Openargs

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

Don’t forget the OA Facebook Community!

For show-related questions, check out the Opening Arguments Wiki, which now has its own Twitter feed!  @oawiki

And email us at openarguments@gmail.com





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