Transcript of OA322: Blackouts, Taxes & House Rules

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[Show Introduction]

Thomas:         Hello and welcome to Opening Arguments, this is episode 322.  I’m your host Thomas Smith, that over there is Andrew Torrez.  How you doin’, Andrew?

Andrew:         I am fantastic, Thomas!  You know, one of the things that I love the most about my recording studio, which is located in my basement, is that it is served by electricity. So apropos of nothing, how are you doing?

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OA322: Blackouts, Taxes & House Rules

Today’s episode breaks down the recent news relating to (1) legal efforts to subpoena Donald Trump’s taxes, (2) the latest kerfuffle over the standing House rules and whether the impeachment inquiry is “unconstitutional” and “illegal” (it isn’t), with a bonus (3) rant about PG&E’s blackouts — excuse me, “public safety power shutoff events” in Northern California. Phew!

We begin with a discussion surrounding PG&E’s decision to shut off power for up to five days, affecting potentially two million people. These blackouts will have a tremendous economic and social cost — and may cost lives, as well. Why are they happening? What’s the law? Can we do anything about it? Listen and find out!

Then, it’s time for a deep dive into breaking legal news this week. You may have heard that a court ordered the release of Trump’s tax returns, and then that order was immediately appealed and blocked. What does it all mean and why? We dive deeply into this issue, and on the way you’ll learn about Younger abstention, § 1983 cases, and much, much more!

After that, it’s time for a look at the latest goalpost-moving excuse by the Republicans, this time the honestly-not-very-good argument that the impeachment inquiry is “illegal” unless authorized by the entire House of Representatives. Find out why this just isn’t so.

Then, it’s time for a follow-up #T3BE to last week’s child-on-thin-ice. This time, we want to know: can her parents sue the day care? Listen and find out!

Upcoming 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. Don’t forget Opening Arguments LIVE in Los Angeles, CA on October 12, 2019. Here is the link!!
  2. The “de-energization events” are authorized, at least implicitly, by Section 451 of the California Public Utilities Code, as further interpreted by recent rules. PG&E, of course, is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
  3. The anti-injunction act is 22 U.S.C. § 2283 , and you can brush up on Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971) while you’re at it.
  4. We discussed the OLC memos in Episode 290, and then again in Episode 300.
  5. You should definitely read Judge Marrero’s order, even though it’s been appealed to the Second Circuit.
  6. Here are the standing House Rules (check out pp. 322-323), and the 2015 CRS report referenced during the show.

-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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OA302: #DemocracyRIP

Today’s episode is all about democracy — from the Russian efforts to de-legitimize a Clinton victory in 2016 with the #DemocracyRIP hashtag and media storm to those very same tactics being employed right now in 2019. Is a new California law requiring a presidential candidate to disclose his or her tax returns the answer? Listen and find out!

We begin with the release of the (Republican) Senate Intelligence Committee Report, Vol. I, which details the extent of the Russian government’s activities to infiltrate U.S. elections in 2016, including de-legitimatizing an expected Hillary Clinton victory with social media storming (and the #DemocracyRIP hashtag). It’s truly terrifying. And then we move from that report to something that looks to be in exactly the same vein after the second night of the Democratic primary debate. Coincidence or conspiracy? You decide!

After that, it’s time for a deep dive into California Bill SB27 which requires Presidential (and gubernatorial) candidates to disclose their tax returns. Find out what the media has mis-reported, what this bill actually does, why Andrew Was Wrong, and where the future is headed for mandatory disclosure requirements.

Then, we tackle another potential conspiracy theory — this time, that the California State Bar secretly leaked bar exam questions to certain elite law schools. Is it true? (Not really.)

After all that, it’s time for a brand new #T3BE on regulations regarding pasteurized beer. Will Thomas break his losing streak?

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. Don’t forget that there are just 3 tickets remaining for Opening Arguments Live in New York on August 10, 2019! Click here to get your tickets before they’re gone!
  2. Here’s a link to the (heavily redacted) Vol. I of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on Russian interference in U.S. elections.
  3. This is the actual evidence related to #KamalaHarrisDestroyed, including (a) the Hill article and (b) the February 2nd, 2019 NBC News story.
  4. Click here to read California SB27.
  5. This is the ABA Journal article on the California bar, and this is the letter sent out to CA law school deans.

-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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OA267: Originalism and the Eighth Amendment (Bucklew v. Precythe)

Today’s breaking news episode takes an in-depth look at Bucklew v. Precythe, a recent Supreme Court decision that lays bare the “originalist” view of the Eighth Amendment.  Is it as bad as you think it is?  (Yes.)

We begin, however, with a look at Texas v. U.S. and the recent news that the Trump administration “changed its mind” and “will no longer defend” the Affordable Care Act.  What does that mean?  Listen and find out!

Then, it’s time for our deep dive into Bucklew v. Precythe, the Supreme Court’s analysis of how the 8th Amendment applies in capital punishment cases.

After that, we go back to Yodel Mountain for some updates on the congressional investigations, including the Congressional request for Trump’s tax returns and an EPIC FOIA request.

And if all that isn’t enough for you, well, we end, as always, with a brand new Thomas Takes the Bar Exam Question #121 involving the constitutionality of Presidential executive orders.  As always, remember to follow our Twitter feed (@Openargs) and like our Facebook Page so that you too can play along with #TTTBE!

Appearances

Thomas was just a guest on the Cognitive Dissonance podcast; go check it out!  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. Wikipedia entry on sodium thiopental can be found here.
2. Glossip v. Gross (2015)
3. Supreme Court’s opinion in Bucklew v. Precythe (Apr. 1, 2019)
4. 8th Circuit’s opinion below in Bucklew
5. Congressional letter requesting Trump’s taxes
6. Bonus! Zuckerman amicus brief in the ACA litigation.

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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