Monday, November 17, 2008

Transition Watch!

Yes, dear professors, it is time again to see what is happening in Washington.   This time we will have a "lame duck" and a "new duck" focus.

Lame Duck

While the attention of the nation and the media focuses on President Elect Obama, it's easy to forget that we still have a president in the Oval Office.  The New York reports that in another "Midnight Regulation," the Bush administration proposes rules that will prohibit discriminating against persons who refuse to perform abortions or related services on religious grounds.  The idea is opposed by the EEOC, which believes that current regulations are already strong enough to prevent discrimination in these situations.  The change is also opposed by American Medical Association.

NPR has an audio discussion of the lame duck Congress' plans.  The most significant topic will likely be discussion of the proposed bailout for the "big three" automakers.  The piece also discusses the difficulty inherent in trying to have a productive lame duck session.

New Duck

In the executive branch, there is actual transition to report.  Mr. Gregory Craig, a partner at Williams and Connolly, has been selected to serve as White House Counsel.  Also, apparently someone named Hillary Clinton has been offered a job at the State Department.

The judicial speculation game is back on!  This week, Judge Merrick Garland of the D.C. Circuit is being talked about as a possible nominee.  Moreover, conservatives are hoping that Obama's nominees will be rightward-leaning.

But, of course, for the nomination talk to matter, there must be a vacancy at the Court.  For his part, Justice Stevens quite loudy repudiated the notion that he is preparing to leave the Court in the near future.

Along these lines, according to the LA Times, it appears that the first battle between the Supreme Court and the Obama administration will be fought over the Voting Rights Act.   We'll keep an eye on it.   

Last note:  The Fourth Circuit needs President Elect Obama to fill its vacancies yesterday . . . .

That's all for now.  But of course, we'll be back for more before you can say "January 20!"

NLS   

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