Friday, November 21, 2008

The Teaching Assistant

Hello fellow profs!  The semester is winding down, but it's not over yet!  And, as you will see, there is no shortage of interesting stories to report.

The Executive

First, a brief stop at Guantanamo Bay.  SCOTUSBlog reports that the case managment order that D.C. District Judge Thomas Hogan entered last week is being challenged by the Justice Department.  In other Gitmo news, another district judge ordered that five Bosnia prisoners at the prison by the Bay be released "forthwith."

Second, will the outgoing president use his Article II powers to issue pardons?  In a funny - yet informative - article - Slate lists the possible pardon subjects, their transgressions, and ranks the likelihood of each person's pardon using a scale of one to four "get out of jail free" cards.  (Scooter Libby receives four cards!)  However, Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) argues in a Salon.com posting that even if the President has extensive pardon powers, he should not pardon anyone alledged to be involved in his administration's possible criminality.  The Senator states, "If President Bush were to pardon key individuals involved in the misdeeds of his administration, from warrantless wiretapping to torture to the firing of U.S. attorneys for political reasons, the courts would be unable to address criminality, or pass judgment on the legality of some of the president's worst abuses."   

Third, is Hillary Clinton constitutionally eligible to serve as Secretary of State?  If so, will she be paid the same amount as her predecessor?  The answers are apparently yes and no.   This story is a fun reminder about the minutia of the Constitution.

Equal Protection

The Wall Street Journal reports that equality in the legal workplace still needs some work.  The number of women in large firms tends to dwindle as the partnership year approaches.  Moreover, women in the firms typically earn less than their male counterparts.

The state of New Jersey has settled a claim against the matchmaking/dating site eHarmony.com.  The New Jersey suit argued that eHarmony violated state anti-discrimination laws by failing to provide match-making services to same sex couples.  eHarmony has agreed to provide comparable services, albeit on a different, specialized site.   

On the subject of same sex marriage, the VC reports that the District of Columbia may introduce a bill to legalize same sex unions in the District next year.  Slate has a great Q & A on Prop 8 and other same sex marriage issues.  Also, marriage is not the only equality issue concerning gays and lesbians at this time.  There are many other issues of equality that will be pursued during the Obama administration.

And finally, on the topic of the District and Equal Protection of the "one person, one vote" kind, apparently the President Elect plans to bring back the "Taxation without Representation" license plates for the presidential limo.  The President Elect is apparently a proponent of Congressional voting rights for the District.  I'm sure that's a change everyone in D.C. can beleive in.

See you next week friends!

NLS 

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