Friday, November 14, 2008

The Teaching Assistant

Hello colleagues.  Here's this week's edition of the Teaching Assistant.

The Supreme Court heard an interesting argument this week. The legal issue - should federal gun laws be applied to limit gun ownership of those convicted of a misdemeanor assualt or battery occuring in the home, but not a crime of "domestic violence?"   The social issue?  Most states do not have a misdemeanor domestic violence law.   A link to the argument transcript is here.  One highlight from the argument - Justice Scalia's comment that the domestic violence charge in the case was "not that serious an offense."  Criticism of that position can be found here.

On the equal protection front, hate crimes against Latinos are on the rise.  Also, it turns out that workplace flexibility rules gain more acceptance when men, rather than women, take advantage of the benefit. 

Finally, this story proves that Con Law can be both relevant and fun.  What would happen if (God forbid) George Bush, Dick Cheney, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and the Congressional leadership all met some terrible fate at 11:55 a.m. on January 20th?  The answer, according to the Wall Street Journal, is not so simple.  Yes, we have a presidential sucession law, but the problem with the inaugaration scenario is the most of the people that are in line for the presidency will not have been confirmed by the Senate by January 20.  So, in such a situation, assuming that the previous Secretary of State had not resigned, he or she would assume office.  Yes, that would mean President Condoleeza Rice would be in charge.  The problems here are not merely practical.  The WSJ article references noted Con Law Professor Akil Reed Amar's analysis of why the sucession act may be unconstitutional.   So, there are a mulitude of issues.  Of course, the chance that something will happen is very small, but the question is an interesting one.

That's all for now.  See you next week everyone!


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