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Archive for September 2008

The Laws of John Law

As luck would have it, as world financial markets careen from crisis to bailout and back to crisis again, I have been reading Millionaire, The Philanderer, Gambler, and Duelist Who Invented Modern Finance, by Janet Gleeson. Though a bit short of being a gripping read, the story itself is fascinating, and resonates strongly these days.…

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Speech or Debate Clause Madness

Two current members of Congress are under indictment yet serving the public good in the midst of our current financial/governmental meltdown. Republican Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska and Democratic Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana both face corruption charges while they sit in Congress and run for re-election. Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AL)…

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Impeachment, Romanian Style

As I wrap up the manuscript for my book on the impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson — the projected publication date is next May or June — I also think about the impeachment process followed by that exemplar of constitutional regularity, Romania! After my cycling trip through Eastern Europe this summer, I ran into the…

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Collision Course

This week promises an historic collision between Congress and the Executive Branch over the scope of executive privilege — the judge-made doctrine that some consultations with the President are so sensitive that no party can compel their public disclosure. The confrontation arises in the congressional investigation of the firing in 2006 of eight U.S. Attorneys…

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The Palin Vice Presidency?

The choice of Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska as the Republican candidate for Vice President has prompted many to dig up an interview with the governor this summer in which she plaintively asks, “What does a VP do?” Funny she should ask. During the Summer of 1787, the delegates to the Philadelphia Convention did not…

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