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Archive of entries posted on February 2009

Can the Illinois Legislature Change the Date of the Special Election to Replace Senator Burris?

As noted in the previous post, Lisa Madigan, the Attorney General of Illinois, issued this opinion dated February 25, 2009 regarding the proposal to set a date for an earlier special election to fill the vacant Senate seat of Barack Obama, the seat currently filled on a temporary basis by Roland Burris.  She concludes that [...]

When Does Senator Burris’s Term End?

Lisa Madigan, the Attorney General of Illinois, has issued this opinion regarding the proposal to set a date for an earlier special election to fill the vacant Senate seat of Barack Obama, the seat currently filled on a temporary basis by Roland Burris.  (Hat tip to Rick Hasen’s Election Law Blog and this post on [...]

What Would Johnsen Do On the DC Voting Rights Act?

            Dawn Johnsen, the President’s nominee to head the Office of Legal Counsel, has been highly critical of OLC’s performance during the last administration.  For example, she has accused John Yoo of “devis[ing] bogus constitutional arguments for outlandishly expansive presidential power” and has characterized Yoo’s defense of his own legal reasoning as “not merely false, but [...]

Jefferson’s Cert Petition on Speech or Debate

          Former Congressman William Jefferson is seeking a writ of certiorari on the question of “whether the indictment of a Member of Congress, although facially valid, should be dismissed when evidence privileged under the Speech or Debate Clause was used in the grand jury to obtain the indictment.”   Jefferson contends that the Fourth Circuit erred [...]

What to Do About Senator Burris?

Roland Burris, the junior Senator from Illinois, has a problem.  Actually, he has many problems.  After being appointed to the U.S. Senate by then-Governor Rod Blagojevich, Burris testified about the circumstances of his appointment before the Illinois legislature, which was considering Blagojevich’s impeachment for, among other things, attempting to sell that very same Senate seat.  [...]

Renzi Loses a Round on Speech or Debate

           On Feb. 13, the Magistrate Judge in the Renzi case issued a significant order denying Renzi’s motion to (a) hold a Kastigar-type hearing to determine whether the Government used protected Speech or Debate material during the course of Renzi’s prosecution and (b) disqualify the prosecution team because it has been exposed to such protected [...]

More on Section 3 of the Ethics EO

Laura Rozen at Foreign Policy has an interesting article about the impact of the Ethics Executive Order on individuals who have lobbied for public interest groups.  It highlights the arbitrary and unfair impact of Section 3, which applies only to those registered under the Lobbying Disclosure Act.  As one source quoted in the article notes:  [...]

Senator Gregg’s Recusal

         Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH), nominated by President Obama to be Secretary of Commerce, has announced that he will not be voting on the stimulus bill or other legislation while his nomination is pending.  This decision has been criticized, as the linked article suggests: “Gregg’s decision to recuse himself from voting is bound to raise [...]

It Depends on the Meaning of the Word “Specific”

Section 3 of the Ethics Executive Order would appear to establish a broad ban on former lobbyists participating in any “specific issue area” on which they lobbied during the two years before being appointed to the Obama Administration.  The Lobbying Disclosure Act, 2 U.S.C. §1604(b)(2)(A), requires that lobbying reports contain “a list of the specific [...]

Section 2 of the Ethics Executive Order

             Section 2 of the Ethics Executive Order requires all appointees of the Obama Administration, not merely those who were former lobbyists, to execute the following pledge: “I will not for a period of 2 years from the date of my appointment participate in any particular matter involving specific parties that is directly and [...]