ARCHIVES -- some recent CLEP newsletters

To:             Teachers of Constitutional Law in high school
From:        Rich Kitchens, Director, Constitutional Law Education Project (CLEP) ( (Email us at:
Sub:          Newsletter #708 (January 6, 2018)  

General Articles, Hints and Reminders:
A focus on writing in every class is key to success in this rural California district [EdSource, 1/4/18]: Over the past three years, the school, which serves about 1,670 students, has seen its scores soar on these tests aligned to the Common Core standards, which high school juniors take each spring.

Millions to Ring in 2018 With Legal Pot, Higher Wages  [CNS, 1.2/29/17]:
usands of legislative fruits of labor born from bargaining and negotiating between lawmakers and lobbyists go into effect across the nation Jan. 1. As usual, significant new 2018 laws addressing topics such as recreational marijuana, immigration and election reform are matched by odd and perhaps trivial bills.

The top 10 legal news stories of 2017 [ABA Journal, 12/29/17]: t’s hard to imagine a year more packed with major legal news than 2017, much of it generated by President Donald Trump’s administration. We may never get used to the frenetic pace. Here are 10 stories—themes, really—that dominated legal news reports.

US Legal News Round Up for Saturday, 6 January 2018 [Jurist, 1/6/18]: The weekly roundup:

I.  Introduction to Law, the Constitution, and the Supreme Court [See TOPICS 1-10 in the 5th edition of Constitutional Law] Some recent articles that are relevant to this unit:

‘I Wish You Bad Luck,’ He Said With Good Intentions [WSJ, 12/31/17]: Chief Justice John Roberts elaborates on this spring’s famous ninth-grade graduation speech

Roberts: Judiciary will review sexual misconduct policies [AP, 12/31/17]:  Chief Justice John Roberts used his annual report on the federal judiciary Sunday to promise a careful evaluation of its sexual misconduct policies and to highlight the work of court employees following the year’s destructive hurricanes.
Judicial Nominations 2017 -- Year in Review [The Vetting Room blog, 1/1/18]:

II. Defining the Political System: Federalism and Checks and Balances [See TOPICS 11-15 in the 5th edition of Constitutional Law] Some recent articles that are relevant to this unit:

3-D Guns May Be Headed to the Supreme Court: An Update [Lawfare blog, 1/5/18]: The Supreme Court is scheduled to consider a cert petition in Defense Distributed v. State Department as part of its conference today. A little over a year ago, I wrote a post for Lawfare detailing the case, which arose out of the federal government’s attempts to regulate the practice of 3-D printing firearms. This post will provide an update on where the case stands now as the Court considers whether it will step in.

\ Will California outmaneuver a new federal cap on tax deductions? [SJ Merc, / CNS 1/2/18]: California Democrats are toying with a brash scheme to skirt a new federal cap on state and local tax deductions: Instead of paying taxes to the Golden State, Californians would be allowed to donate the money to the state’s coffers — and deduct the entire sum from their federal taxes. 

Californians, economics and environmental protection [Capitol Weekly, 1/2/18]: Something that isn’t too surprising for legislators or Gov. Brown as California continues to be on the forefront of environmental policies: A major survey shows strong majority (62 percent) of Californians believe air pollution is a problem in their part of California. 

Blame the Supreme Court for Letting the Feds Target Legal State Pot
:Hit and Run” blog, 1/4/18\: The awful precedents that helped empower Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

California has ample weapons to fight Trump on drilling [AP, 1/4/18]: In the decades since a 1969 oil spill near Santa Barbara tarred sea-life and gave rise to the U.S. environmental movement, politicians and environmental activists have built up ample ways to make it difficult but not impossible for the Trump administration to renew drilling off California’s coast. The Interior Department said Thursday it plans to open most federal waters off the United States to oil leases. 

The American Presidency [TOPIC 15]

Trump’s Justice Department Takes U-Turns on Obama-Era Positions [WSJ, 1/4/18]: The flurry of reversals have potential ramifications on election law, labor practices, immigration and other issues.

Donald Trump Didn’t Want to Be President [NY Mag, 1/3/18\” One year ago: the plan to lose, and the administration’s shocked first days.

Fusion GPS to Congress: Release our testimony [Politico, 1/2/17]: The founders of Fusion GPS took to the pages of the New York Times to push back against Republicans who have attacked the firm over a dossier related to the Trump Russia investigation — and to urge that their testimony be released. 

PolitifactCA: Trump’s False claim Dianne Feinstein said ‘there is no collusion’[PolitiFactCA, 1/2/18]:  Fact-checkers found President Trump’s recent interview in The New York Times chock-full of false and misleading statements. Trump rattled off falsehoods published in the Dec. 28, 2017 article on everything from how many social media followers he has to what’s known about possible collusion between Russia and his presidential campaign.
California Senate Knew Of Sexual Misconduct Claim But Left Young Woman In Lawmaker’s Office, Critics Question HR Competency [CPR, 1/2/18]: The California Senate’s human resources office knew about Sen. Tony Mendoza’s alleged sexual misconduct with a female student Fellow in late September. But instead of immediately placing the lawmaker on leave, or finding a safer place for the young woman — as experts say a properly trained, experienced HR professional might have done — Senate leaders left the Fellow in Mendoza’s office for another six weeks. 

Walters: Uncle Sam gives school reformers a gift [CalMatters, 1/2/18]: A new year brings renewal of hope, it’s said, but it also means renewed political and legal hostilities over the direction of California’s public school system.

Trump To Outline His Blueprint For Military And Foreign Policy NPR, 12/18/17]:  President Trump will set out his national security strategy, stressing strong defense, homeland protection and economic prosperity. It could help guide decisions on defense spending and trade. 

Travel ban case likely to end up before Supreme Court in 2018
[Washington Times, 1/1/18\:  The Supreme Court already has heard major cases on gay and First Amendment rights and police searches, and the justices are likely to add a momentous case about presidential power to their list early in the new year.

White House aides already anxious about 2018 [Politico, 1/1/18]: Senior staff are looking down the pike of a difficult year, from the looming West Wing brain drain and ongoing Russia inquiries to the threat of a Democratic wave in the midterms.

Mullen: Threat of nuclear war with North Korea heightened—Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Sunday that the U.S. is closer to nuclear war with North Korea than ever before, an example of America’s adversaries taking advantage of the “uncertainty” of President Donald Trump’s leadership.

Sessions has indicated that US attorneys should begin prosecution of those who cultivate, distribute or possess marijuana, launder money, or in any other way break national laws prohibiting marijuana. In the memo, the attorney general called marijuana “dangerous” and activity surrounding the drug to be a “serious crime.”

III.    The Political System: Voting and Campaigns [See TOPICS 16-20 in the 5th edition of Constitutional Law] Some recent articles that are relevant to this unit:

Ohio Voter Challenges Election Roll Purge in Supreme Court Clash [Bloomberg, 1318]:  Larry Harmon got a surprise when he went to his Kent, Ohio, polling place for a 2015 local election: He was no longer registered and couldn’t vote. Election officials removed him from the rolls because he hadn’t voted since 2008 and didn’t respond to the notice they say they sent in 2011. The lawsuit he and two interest groups filed against Ohio is now part of a U.S. Supreme Court case that will shape the rights of thousands of

The silver lining of Trump’s “war” on California [SF Chron, 1/5/18]: For left-leaning Californians, there’s a silver lining to the Trump administration’s proposal to reopen the long-protected California coast to offshore oil drilling: They think it could help them win back Congress from the Republicans.

Use it or lose it [The Economist, 1/3/18]: Should voters who don’t vote stay on voter rolls? An Ohio voter-purge case with national implications comes before the Supreme Court.

For Minn. Senator Tina Smith: a Lesser Form of Incumbency [Sabato;s Crystal Ball, 1/4/18]: Appointed senators have worse electoral records than elected ones in both primaries and general elections.

Warren positions herself for potential 2020 run [Politico, 1/2/18]: Elizabeth Warren has spent the past year making a series of below-the-radar moves that would put her in prime  position to run for president in 2020 if she decides to.

The last 2018 election-hacking threat: 9-month wait for government help [Politico, 12/31/17]: States rushing to guard their 2018 elections against hackers may be on a waiting list for up to nine months for the Department of Homeland Security’s most exhaustive security screening, according to government officials familiar with the situation. 

No-name congressmen, mayors and wannabes gun for Trump in 2020 [Politico, 1/1/18]: The rapidly proliferating group of would-be challengers is driven by one question: If Trump can do it, why not me?

Legislation and the Legislative Process (TOPIC 20)

California Legislature’s 2018 Priorities: Addressing Sexual Harassment, Housing, Federal Tax Law [CPR, 1/3/18]: California legislative leaders have finally agreed to address perhaps the most overarching goal of activists pushing to end sexual harassment at the state Capitol: Create a uniform process to handle complaints and investigations. As the Legislature reconvened Wednesday for the 2018 session, Senate and Assembly leaders announced a joint committee that will hold hearings starting later this month.

GOP Obamacare quandary—easy to hate, hard to kill [Politico, 1/2/18]: The repeal debate may fester in 2018 as Republicans split on strategy

IV. Criminal Law and Procedure (4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th amendments) [See TOPICS 21-28 in the 5th edition of Constitutional LawSome recent articles that are relevant to this unit:

Some states put a THC limit on pot-smoking drivers — Here’s why California doesn’t [SF Chron, 12/31/17]: Melanie Brinegar smelled of marijuana, so a Colorado police officer asked her to get out of her vehicle. On the one-legged stand, a routine part of field sobriety tests, she lost her balance after 28 seconds, when she needed to go 30. A drug recognition evaluation that included looking at her vital signs went worse.

lbemarle case over warrantless search for motorcycle is going to U.S. Supreme Court [Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1/2/18]: The high-speed pursuit of a motorcycle that began in Albemarle County 4½ years ago leads this month to the U.S. Supreme Court, whose justices will hear arguments on a search-and-seizure question.

V. 1st Amendment (Speech, Religion, Press and Assembly) [See TOPICS 29-33 in the 5th edition of Constitutional Law] Some recent articles that are relevant to this unit:

Students Identify With 50-Year-Old Supreme Court Case [Nina Totenberg in NPR’s “All Things Considered,” 1/3/18]: They came by subway, and on foot. Two hundred forty middle and high school students from Washington, D.C., public schools. Destination: the federal courthouse at the foot of Capitol Hill. They were there to watch a re-enactment of a landmark Supreme Court case on a subject that is near and dear to their hearts — the First Amendment rights of students. What they learned, among other things, was that history repts itself, even in their young lives.

A Tribute to Ida B. Wells and the Power of the Pen [Newseum, 1/5/18]: Although today many don’t know her name, she was a courageous activist, journalist, and early leader of the Civil Rights Movement. 

Speaking Freely with Adam Liptak [Free Speech Project, 1/3/18]: Historical perspective of the Court discussed with the NY Times Court correspondent.
Lindsay Lohan, Grand Theft Auto V, the First Amendment, and the Right of Publicity [The Volokh Conspiracy, 1/3/18]:  An amicus brief we recently filed in an interesting and important New York high court case.

Supreme Court free speech case could destroy a generation’s rights to life and speech [Washington Times, 1/1/18]:  . Massachusetts has passed a law requiring Alcoholics Anonymous to hang posters at their meetings to advertise where to get alcohol.

Us The Post More Fic tion Than  Fact? [Concurring Opinions, 12/31/17]: “The Post, which opens tonight, is a good movie but bad history. It exaggerates the role of The Washington Postin the success of the publication of the Pentagon Papers and the subsequent Supreme Court case. It downplays the role of the true catalyst in the real life drama: The New York Times. Kay Graham and Ben Bradlee, who were good friends of mine, must be rolling over in their graves laughing at the roles Hollywood has given them.”

VI.    14th Amendment, Discrimination, Privacy, Working, Citizenship & Immigration [See TOPICS 34-41 in the 5th edition of Constitutional Law] Some recent articles that are relevant to this unit:

The Supreme Court’s Quiet Assault on Civil Rights [Dissent, Fall 2017]: It is a little-known and disturbing fact that the Supreme Court is in the process of gutting what may be the most important civil rights statute Congress has ever passed. It is particularly distressing that the harm is being done by a largely unanimous court—and that, other than a few legal scholars, no one seems to be paying any attention.

After #MeToo Comes to the Courts [New Yorker, 1/3/18]:  The #MeToo movement reached the federal judiciary last month. Alex Kozinski, a longtime judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena, Calif., abruptly resigned after some 15 former law clerks and staffers said he had engaged in sexual misconduct. With more 3,000 federal judges spread among 13 circuit courts, there will almost certainly be more cases like Judge Kozinski’s.

2017 SOL Reform Year in Review and How #MeToo Relates to Child Sex Abuse SOLs  [Justia, 1/4/18]: Professor Hamilton reflects on the changes to civil and criminal statutes of limitations (SOLs) for child sex abuse across the United States in 2017, and points out how SOLs relate to the #MeToo movement exposing the breadth and pervasiveness of adult sexual assault and harassment. Hamilton praises the progress made over the past year and but calls upon legislators and politicians at all levels to take additional steps to protect children.

Did the Sexual Revolution Cause the Sexual Misconduct Revealed by #MeToo? [Justia, 1/3/18]: Professor  F. Colb considers the claim by some people that the increase in accusations and occurrences of rape and other sexual misconduct is attributable to the sexual revolution of the late 1960s and mid-1970s. Colb points out that both rape and sexual misconduct existed well before the sexual revolution, and in fact the legal system until very recently either condoned or made it very difficult to prove rape (and categorically excluded the possibility of marital rape). In contrast, the sexual revolution was about liberating consenting adults to have sex with one another and giving women ownership over their own bodies.

Pressuring harassers to quit can end up protecting them [Wash Post, 1/5/18]: When I learned that Judge Alex Kozinski was retiring, after more than a dozen women accused him of inappropriate conduct and sexualized comments, part of me was relieved.



To:       Teachers of Constitutional Law in high school
From:   Rich Kitchens, Director, Constitutional Law Education Project (CLEP) ( (Email us at:
Sub:     Newsletter #707 (December 31, 2017—Happy New Year!
View a DAILY version of this newsletter by visiting our blog:  There we post each day’s articles that eventually makes up this weekly newsletter.
For Rich Kitchens’ legal blog regarding California education law, go to: 

General Articles, Hints and Reminders:

New California Laws Cover Immigration, Marijuana, Education [AP, 12/30/17]: State lawmakers in 2017 passed nearly 900 bills that Gov. Jerry Brown then signed into law. Most of them take effect Monday. The new laws cover topics ranging from the Trump administration’s immigration crackdown, to the state’s new recreational cannabis market, to the price of a college education. ws/2017/12/30/new-california-laws-cover-immigration-marijuana-education/

I. Introduction to Law, the Constitution, and the Supreme Court [See TOPICS 1-10 in the 5th edition of Constitutional Law] Some recent articles that are relevant to this unit:
What was the ‘First’ Appellate Court in the Colonial Americas? [Maryland Appellate blog, 12/27/17]:  With the coming New Year, reflection and reexamination on the past is natural, to understand and fully appreciate the challenges and hopes for the coming year. At least in Maryland, the history of “appeals” has not been the focus of determinate scholarly debate, internally, or in comparison to other jurisdictions.  For example, did you know that appellate courts in the Colonial Americas may have preexisted Thanksgiving, and that the first appellate court continues to be the subject of debate?
The Constitution’s Blooper Reel [NY Times, 12/27/17]:
The most important SCOTUS stories of 2017 [Erwin Chemerinsky in the ABA Journal, 1230/17]: The end of the year inevitably brings lists, such as of best movies and books, so I cannot resist looking back at 2017 and identifying the mΩst important stories concerning the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Clarence Thomas Exception [The Atlantic, 12/23/17]: Anita Hill’s accusations against the Supreme Court nominee launched the first #MeToo moment 26 years ago, but the justice has faced little renewed scrutiny amid the current reconsideration of sexual harassment.

II. Defining the Political System: Federalism and Checks and Balances [See TOPICS 11-15 in the 5th edition of Constitutional Law] Some recent articles that are relevant to this unit:

The New Tax Law Punishes Blue States: Is That Constitutional?  [Justia, 12/27/17\: Professor  Dorf considers whether the new tax law, which disproportionally affects “blue” states as compared to “red” states due to changes to the deductions for state and local taxes (SALT), is unconstitutional. Dorf explains some of the possible arguments against the law but ultimately concludes that due to difficulties of proof, courts probably won’t end up ruling that the SALT deductibility cap violates the First Amendment or a core principle of federalism.

The American Presidency [TOPIC 15]

Trump’s Way: For Trump, a Year of Reinventing the Presidency [NY Times, 1230/17]: In ways that were once unimaginable, President Trump has discarded the conventions and norms established by his predecessors. Will that change the institution permanently? 

Appeals Court Rules Aga inst Latest Travel Ban [NY Times /AP, 12/23/17]:  A federal appeals court panel has ruled that President Donald Trump once again exceeded the scope of his authority with his latest travel ban, but the judges on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals put their decision on hold pending review by the U.S. Supreme Court, meaning the ban involving six majority Muslim countries will remain in effect.


Federal judge partially lifts Trump’s latest refugee restrictions [Politico, 12/23/17]: A federal judge in Seattle partially blocked U.S. President Donald Trump’s newest restrictions on refugee admissions on Saturday, the latest legal defeat for his efforts to curtail immigration and travel to the United States.


12 things we can definitively say the Russia investigation has uncovered so far [Wash Post, 12/23/17]: To review everything we’ve learned about Russia this year, let’s rewind to May. That was a big month President Trump, who fired his FBI director because he thought “this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.” His own administration didn’t see it that way. A few weeks later, the No. 2 at the Justice Department, Rod J. Rosenstein, appointed a special counsel to ramp up the FBI’s existing investigation into “this Russia thing.”

Trump retweets image depicting ‘CNN’ squashed beneath his shoe [Wash Post, 12/24/17]: President Trump on Christmas Eve retweeted a doctored image with the CNN logo imposed on a bloodlike splatter under his shoe, prompting an outcry — with critics deeming the picture and its timing offensive.

III. The Political System: Voting and Campaigns [See TOPICS 16-20 in the 5th edition of Constitutional Law] Some recent articles that are relevant to this unit:

Supreme Court to take up Ohio’s purges of inactive voters [AP, 12/30/17]: Joseph Helle was expecting a different sort of reception when he returned home from Army tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and showed up to vote in his small Ohio town near Lake Erie.His name was missing from the voting rolls in 2011, even though Helle had registered to vote before leaving home at 18 and hadn’t changed his address during his military service.

Black Turnout in Alabama Complicates Debate on Voting Laws [NY Times, 12/24/17]:

5 of 6 candidates for California governor oppose death penalty [SF Chron, 12/26/17]: As the death penalty has gradually lost its once-overwhelming public support, it may have also lost its effectiveness as a wedge issue among office-seekers. And evidence of that is in the race for governor of California in 2018.

In California, harassment scandals roil ruling Democrats [Politico, 12/25/17]: A national reckoning on sexual harassment that got its start in Hollywood is now upending Democratic politics throughout the nation’s most populous state.

The latest 2018 election-hacking threat: 9-month wait for government help [Politico, 12/30/17]: That means some states might not get the service until weeks before the November midterms and may remain unaware of flaws that could allow homegrown cyber vandals or foreign intelligence agencies to target voter registration databases and election offices’ computer networks, the officials said. Russian hackers targeted election systems in at least 21 states in 2016, according to DHS. 

IV. Criminal Law and Procedure (4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th amendments) [See TOPICS 21-28 in the 5th edition of Constitutional LawSome recent articles that are relevant to this unit:

The Big Business of Prisoner Care Packages [The Marshall Project, 12/21/17]: To stop drugs and weapons from entering jails and prisons, many corrections agencies bar family members from mailing packages or bringing them during visits. Those who want to send food, clothing and other gifts to incarcerated relatives — at any time of year — often must go through private vendors.

V. 1st Amendment (Speech, Religion, Press and Assembly) [See TOPICS 29-33 in the 5th edition of Constitutional Law] Some recent articles that are relevant to this unit:

Supreme Court blunders tarnish reputation [Washington Times, 12’27’17]: mericans count on the justices to be nearly infallible, but the Supreme Court this year has made two embarrassing stumbles by kicking the wrong lawyers out of the high court’s bar.

Court rules Calif. high school palyers need not stand for anthem [:LA Times, 12/30/17]:  An Imperial County high school football player must allowed to kneel during the singing of the national anthem and can’t be ordered by his school to stand for the performances, a federal court has ruled.

What the FUCT Supreme Court Victory Means for Free Speech & Street Culture [Highsnobiety, 12/23/17]: “This industry lends itself to inexpensive start-up costs, with little or no qualifications required whatsoever,” writes the late Gary Warnett in the preface of the FUCT book by Rizzoli. “While not everyone will have success, many will have a try at it, suddenly diluting the once potent message behind a graphic-driven product, creating an ever-growing cycle of disposable art-as-fashion-statement, and bringing a constant flow of news business and brands,” he continues.

Academic freedom goes on trial [Wash Post, 12/29/17]: Wisconsin’s Supreme Court can soon right a flagrant wrong stemming from events set in motion in 2014 at Milwaukee’s Marquette University by Cheryl Abbate.

VI. 14th Amendment, Discrimination, Privacy, Working, Citizenship & Immigration [See TOPICS 34-41 in the 5th edition of Constitutional Law] Some recent articles that are relevant to this unit:

Masterpiece Cakeshop: The Slope Is, in Fact, Slippery; [National Review, 12/30/17]:The case forces us to ask how far we want anti-discrimination laws to go.

Battle against sexual misconduct hits Bay Area high school campuses [SJ Merc, 29/29/17]: A month into her freshman year at Los Altos High School, Thara Salim set off with a friend down an empty hallway to pick up a French assignment. On the way back, he suddenly grabbed her wrist, dragged her into a boys bathroom and sexually assaulted her. Salim, 5 feet 1, protesting and resisting, was overpowered. Then she froze, too traumatized to scream.

International Law, Citizenship and Immigration [TOPIC 40-42]

American ISIS Suspect Held in Iraq Has Right to Lawyer, Judge Rules [AP, 122517]: A federal judge ruled Saturday that the U.S. military must provide legal counsel to an American citizen who was picked up months ago on the Syrian battlefield and accused of fighting with Islamic State militants. The unidentified American, who has not been charged, surrendered to U.S.-backed fighters in Syria around Sept. 12 and is curently being held in Iraq as an unlawful enemy combatant.

The Supreme Court’s Travel Ban Off-Ramp [The Atlantic, 12/23/17]:  A federal ruling offers the justices a clever way to reject Trump’s travel ban w hout limiting government power over immigration.


To:       Teachers of Constitutional Law in high school
From:   Rich Kitchens, Director, Constitutional Law Education Project (CLEP) ( (Email us at:
Sub:     Newsletter #706 (December 23, 2017)  

I. Introduction to Law, the Constitution, and the Supreme Court [See TOPICS 1-10 in the 5th edition of Constitutional Law] Some recent articles that are relevant to this unit:

A Brief Glossary for Trump’s Judicial Nominees [The Atlantic, 12/17/17]: What to memorize for the confirmation heari

New Supreme Court cookbook dishes up history, recipes ]AP, 12/17/17]:   At Christmastime, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor would send her colleagues gift-wrapped packages of homemade beef jerky from her family’s cattle ranch in Arizona. Her colleague Ruth Bader Ginsburg pronounced it “veryspic.

Why Judges Matter  [Linda Greenhouse in the NY Times, 12/21/17]:  The great Linda Greenhouse is still the best writer on legal issues.

Trump’s Supreme Court appointee Gorsuch plots rightward course [Reuters, 12/20/17[:  Eight months into his lifetime U.S. Supreme Court appointment, Neil Gorsuch has given every indication through his votes in key cases and remarks from the bench he will be a stalwart of the conservative legal agenda, as President Donald Trump promised.

Why Justice Gorsuch May Have Avoided the Word “Privacy” at the Carpenter Oral Argument [Justia, 12/20/17]: Professor Colb comments on the recent oral argument in Carpenter v. United States, in which the US Supreme Court will consider whether the Fourth Amendment requires the government to obtain a warrant before demanding that a cell phone service provider reveal location data about a target’s phone for a certain period of time. Colb notes that during oral argument, the Court’s newest justice, Justice Neil Gorsuch, conspicuously avoided using the word “privacy”—a choice that Colb suggests reflects his views on substantive due process and the rights that flow from that constitutional principle, such as abortion and physician assistance in dying.

II. Defining the Political System: Federalism and Checks and Balances [See TOPICS 11-15 in the 5th edition of Constitutional Law] Some recent articles that are relevant to this unit:

The Clash of Gun Rights and Federalism [Jurist, 12/18/17]:  For years, liberals and conservatives have argued about how to strike the ideal balance between federal and state authority. While liberals have generally favored expansion of federal power, conservatives have called for states to be given more room to make their own decisions about difficult issues like civil rights, abortion, health care, marriage, and education.

The American Presidency [TOPIC 15]

Trump signs tax bill before leaving for Mar-a-Lago [CNN, 12/22/17]:  The President completes the lefislative process on this bill.

Judge dismisses lawsuit alleging Trump violated Constitution [Wash Post, 12/21/17]: A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Thursday alleging that President Trump violated the Constitution’s emoluments clause because his hotels and restaurants do business with foreign governments while he is in office. 

The battle to lead Trump’s potential impeachment [Politico, 12/18/17]: Reps. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), two longtime members who both hail from power centers of the Democratic Party, are competing to be the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee. That’s the panel that historically holds the keys to the impeachment process.
Trump says he is not considering firing Mueller [Politico, 12/17/17]: “No, I’m not,” Trump told reporters, when asked if he intended to fire Mueller. The president was returning to the White House from a weekend at the Camp David presidential retreat.

III. The Political System: Voting and Campaigns [See TOPICS 16-20 in the 5th edition of Constitutional Law] Some recent articles that are relevant to this unit:

Republicans warn Trump of 2018 bloodbath [Politico, 12/21/17]: A few weeks before Alabama’s special Senate election, President Donald Trump’s handpicked Republican National Committee leader, Ronna Romney McDaniel, delivered a two-page memo to White House chief of staff John Kelly outlining the party’s collapse with female voters.

Legislation and the Legislative Process (TOPIC 20)


Republicans plan mega marketing push to sell unpopular tax plan—Conservative groups are planning a multimillion-dollar effort to sell the GOP’s tax cut law, hoping the American electorate can learn to love the party’s signature — but massively unpopular — legislative achievement.
Labor, Housing, Immigration, and Gun Laws to Take Effect Jan. 1 [KQED, 12/21/17]: It’s not just recreational marijuana. Hundreds of new laws are set to take effect in California in January. Here are some of the most important measures.
Mammoth disaster aid package could languish for weeks [Politico, 12/21/17]: The House bill, which ultimately passed on a 251-169 vote, had help from 69 Democrats, including many from Texas, Florida and California. But the massive assistance package has run into resistance in the Senate, making it nearly impossible for the aid to be delivered by year’s end. 
GOP tax overhaul passes House with help from a dozen California Republicans [SF Chron, 12?19/20]: Despite weeks of consternation from some California House Republicans, a dozen of them joined their colleagues to pass an overhaul of the U.S. tax code Tuesday. Two — Darrell Issa and Dana Rohrabacher — voted against the plan.

Why Corker flipped on the tax bill [Politico, 12/18/17]: The GOP senator says he had nothing to do with a provision that could enrich him personally, as liberal critics allege.
the Legislative Process (TOPIC 20)
GOP faces 5-day scramble to pass tax bill, avoid government shutdown [Washington Post, 12/17/17]: Republicans plan to vote on the tax bill early in the week, leaving them little time to strike a deal with Democrats to authorize funds to keep the government running. 
Another Escalation in the Judicial War [WSJ, 12/17/17’? What will happen when a Senate majority votes in unison against every presidential nominee?

Walters: Universal health care doable for less cost [SSac Bee, 12/17/17]: When the Legislature reconvenes and the campaigns for governor heat up next year, Californians will be hearing a lot – and a lot of hot air – about universal health care. Making California the first state to guarantee health care for every resident has become a touchstone issue – and a divisive one – for the state’s dominant Democrats.

Why Democrats failed to tank tax reform [Politico, 12/16/17]: The tax fight has all the ingredients that helped Democrats kill Obamacare repeal: party unity on Capitol Hill, energized liberal activists and legislation that polls in the toilet. But this time it doesn’t appear to be enough.

Cost of Republicans’ tax cuts likely to be greater than they appear on paper [:S Times, 12/16/17]: On paper, the tax package hammered out Friday carries a price tag of a net $1.5 trillion over 10 years. In reality, the cost in the form of federal deficits is virtually certain to be substantially higher. That’s because of a bit of fiscal gamesmanship. 

Lawmakers’ sex harassment training like ‘4th grade lecture’ [AP, 12/18/17]: When Assembly lawmakers met in November to discuss ways of improving their policies for preventing and responding to sexual harassment, Democratic Assemblyman Ken Cooley had an idea: Ban cellphones from the two-hour harassment training lawmakers must attend.

IV. Criminal Law and Procedure (4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th amendments) [See TOPICS 21-28 in the 5th edition of Constitutional LawSome recent articles that are relevant to this unit:


School district and sheriff investigating suicide of bullying victim; family files claim [LA Times, 12/18/17]: An attorney for the Yucaipa family said that the suicide happened after relentless taunting and name calling, which included Rosalie being told “she had ugly teeth, that she was ugly, a whore, a slut, and had sexually transmitted diseases,” according to a release. Classmates also allegedly circulated a video portraying “what an ugly girl looked like and what a pretty girl looked like and used a picture of Rosalie to portray the ugly girl.” The video was circulated throughout the school and online, her mother said.


Why Texas’ ‘death penalty capital of the world’ stopped executing people [NBC News, 12/16/17]:   Since the Supreme Court legalized capital punishment in 1976, Harris County, Texas, has executed 126 people. That’s more executions than every individual state in the union, barring Texas itself. Harris County’s executions account for 23 percent of the 545 people Texas has executed. On the national level, the state alone is responsible for more than a third of the 1,465 people put to death in the United States since 1976.

V. 1st Amendment (Speech, Religion, Press and Assembly) [See TOPICS 29-33 in the 5th edition of Constitutional Law] Some recent articles that are relevant to this unit:

The Laxy Person’s Guide to Being a Good Citizen fNewseum, 12/21/17]: Here, the “bare minimum” we should all be doing to be fair-minded and well-informed citizens. 

Federal Appeals Court Invalidates Federal Trademark Law Barring Registration of “Scandalous” Marks [Newseum, 12/18/17]: Courts continue to reduce the ability of the government to limit speech because of its perceived offensiveness.

9th Circuit Applies Strict Scrutiny, Upholds Restrictions on Judges, Judicial Candidates  [Newseum, 12/18/17[:The court found that a Montana law that prohibits judicial candidates from using political party endorsements does not violate the First Amendment .

F-Bombs Away! Scandalous Trademarks No Longer Taboo, Court Rules [THR, Esq. blog, 12/17/17]: The fuct clothing brand has opened the door for f-word-related trademarks in a big free speech ruling.

Opinion: There is No Line Between Truth and a Lie [CNS, 12/21/17]: Clichés — that is, political rhetoric — hide truth. All of them do. Take for example the cliché that there’s a line between the truth and a lie. There is no such line.



VI. 14th Amendment, Discrimination, Privacy, Working, Citizenship & Immigration [See TOPICS 34-41 in the 5th edition of Constitutional Law] Some recent articles that are relevant to this unit:

Masterpiece Wedding Cakes: The Context-Dependence of Meaning  [Jirosty, 12/16/17]: Two perpendicular lines: a cross. A church architectural committee asks a sculptor to design one for placement atop the steeple over its new sanctuary. Delighted, he agrees. The KKK admires the craftsmanship provided the church and asks the sculptor for the same design for use during its march in Skokie. Revolted, he declines.

Reflections on America’s Reckoning with Sexual Harassment [Jiustia, 12/19/17]: Professor Grossman reflects on the wave of stories of sexual harassment and assault that have come to light in 2017. Grossman points out that sexual harassment of women, particularly in the workplace, is not a new phenomenon, but the sheer number of women sharing their stories today has emboldened others to come forward, and may even signal a cultural shift to address this pervasive problem. Grossman argues that true change will only come when institutional actors decide to hold themselves accountable for the way women are treated.

There’s More Than One Kind of Workplace Civility; The sexual harassment scandal is changing social norms; Let the new ones respect human variety [Bloomberg, 12/20/17]: The #MeToo  libertarian jurist on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, has stepped down amid allegations that he showed female clerks pornography, made workplace comments about having sex, and on some occasions groped female colleagues.

International Law, Citizenship and Immigration [TOPIC 40-42]

U.N. Rejects U.S. Threat on Jerusalem [CNS, 12/21/17]: Undeterred by threats to its funding, the United Nations voted 128-9 Thursday to denounce America’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.



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