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Archive of entries posted on June 2013

House Counsel and the Congressional “Client”

At the June 28 meeting of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, a question arose about the role of House Counsel in providing legal advice to COGR and its members. Chairman Issa had requested and received a House Counsel opinion on whether Lois Lerner waived her Fifth Amendment privilege by making an exculpatory [...]

Cert Granted on Three Recess Appointments Questions

The Supreme Court granted cert today in the Noel Canning case, as pretty much everyone expected. Cert was granted as to the two questions raised by the government, (1) whether the President can make recess appointments during so-called “intra-session recesses” and (2) whether the vacancy must arise during the recess for the President to exercise [...]

The Senate’s Legal Basis for Muzzling Former Staffers

According to this story, Vicki Divoll, former counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has been barred by SSCI from discussing in the media (specifically Talking Points Memo) certain non-classified information relating to the committee’s oversight of intelligence programs. Divoll gave an interview to TPM regarding the congressional role in intelligence oversight and submitted [...]

Will the New Jersey Special Senate Election Survive Judicial Review?

Update: the answer to this question is apparently yes, as the New Jersey Supreme Court has declined to hear the challenge. A three-judge panel of the New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division has issued this opinion rejecting a legal challenge to Governor Christie’s writ of election setting an October 16, 2013 date for the special election [...]

“We are pleased that the jury acquitted Mr. Renzi on 15 counts”

Former Congressman Rick Renzi’s attorney, who is responsible for the quote above, is obviously a glass-half-full type of person. As it happens, Renzi was also convicted on the other 17 of the 32 counts against him (so the glass was not quite half full). You can read the verdict form here. The linked Washington Post [...]

An Unwarranted Attack on the House and the Ethics Committee

In an oddly speaking complaint, Representative Charlie Rangel, represented by New York attorney Jay Goldberg, has filed suit in federal court against the Speaker, the Clerk and several former members and staff of the House Ethics Committee, including Zoe Lofgren, the former Democratic chair, and Jo Bonner, the former Republican ranking member. Cutting through the [...]

Dueling Speech or Debate Privileges in the Renzi Case

National Journal had an article last week regarding the Speech or Debate waiver issue in the Renzi case (hat tip: Rick Hasen), which we discussed awhile back. Another interesting Speech or Debate issue is raised in this motion by the House General Counsel on behalf of Kevin Messner, a non-party witness. Messner served at different [...]

New Jersey’s Vacant Expression

Note to self- do not make casual observations about state statutes you know nothing about. Because it turns out that the New Jersey election law I cited in my last post is only one of two (or, who knows, maybe more) provisions that the New Jersey legislature, in its wisdom, has seen fit to enact [...]

Frank Lautenberg, RIP

Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, the last World War II veteran serving in the Senate, passed away today at the age of 89. New Jersey law provides: 19:3-26. Vacancies in United States senate; election to fill; temporary appointment by governor. 19:3-26. If a vacancy shall happen in the representation of this State in the [...]