Negligent Entrustment in Pictures

Bushmaster adBushmasters ACRDaniel BardenSandy Hook victimsThese pictures are from an excellent article in The Guardian, which you can find here. Negligent entrustment is one of the legal theories in the case against Remington, the manufacturer and distributor of the military weapon used to slaughter 20 six and seven year olds and six adults who tried to save them. If you are interested in understanding the theory of negligent entrustment, read The Guardian article. Given the history of mass violence in this country, the porous background check laws plus the sad fact that Congress has not already banned the sale of military weapons to the public, it is all too foreseeable that it is simply a matter of time before there will be another mass slaughter of innocents by a deranged or enraged or ideologically motivated killer using one of Bushmaster’s products or one similar to it designed and intended to kill as many people as quickly as possible. To see the language Remington uses to advertise its products, read the article by clicking here. Here is some of the marketing language Remington uses:

We build each Bushmaster rifle with you in mind.

Your purpose is our purpose.

We serve in law enforcement and the military. We win 3-gun and long range rifle shooting events.

When you need to perform under pressure Bushmaster delivers.

Your new rifle is a Bushmaster.

The finest AR platform style rifle in the world.

Ready for anything. Prepared for everything.

Undermining an already vulnerable Supreme Court

Of the three branches of government the Supreme Court is the least powerful and most vulnerable. It, like the rest of the judiciary, is entirely dependent on the Congress for its budget and for the filling of judicial vacancies. Perhaps most importantly it has no means of enforcing its decisions. Rather, it is almost entirely dependent on the belief that its decisions are legitimate and worthy of being obeyed. The Court is supposed to be different from Congress and the Presidency both of which are overtly political institutions subject to the push and pull of power politics and political calculation. Perhaps for that reason, Congress’s approval rating is at an all time low. The push and pull of politics has yield gridlock and partisanship. The public has lost its faith in the Congress. Some have lost their faith in the Presidency. What would happen if the Supreme Court came to be considered as nothing more than an extension of the Congress? Might the Court lose its capacity to earn the public’s respect and willingness to voluntarily comply with it decisions?

I fear that the Republicans’ refusal to hold hearings on the Merrick Garland nomination is another step toward creating the belief that the Court is nothing but an extension of the partisan, gridlocked Congress. Consider, for example, Sen. Charles Grassley’s searing and unwarranted criticism of the Court as reported by MSNBC. Sen. Grassley claims that the Court is purely political and therefore must be brought under the absolute control of Congress, which is why there must be no hearings on the Garland nomination as if Judge Garland were some kind of liberal equivalent of Justice Scalia. The Republicans are in essence arguing that the next Supreme Court nominee must be nominated by a Republican president. They have no faith in the Constitutional process by which the President nominates and the Senate gives its advice and consent. If that process were allowed to unfold as intended, the Senate would almost certainly confirm Judge Garland for he is no radical judge. The Senate has already confirmed him once and by all accounts he is a moderate, careful, humble jurist. The Republicans only have faith in their own power to control the Court. Their attitude and the way they are exercising their power can only lead to the conclusion that the Court is not a court of law but rather a pure extension of partisan political power. Imagine what would happen if the Supreme Court were viewed as nothing more than an annex of Congress. The public’s acceptance of Court decisions would almost surely suffer as would the notion that we are a nation of laws rather than of men and women.

One can only hope that the Republican’s will reverse course, hold hearings on the Garland nomination and confirm him to be the next Justice of the Supreme Court.

 

What is a lawyer? Ted Koskoff’s answers

I was looking up some information on the Koskoff website today and came across the firm’s credo, which appears below. With all the cynicism about lawyers and the legal process that one hears today and with all the changes afoot in the legal profession, it is interesting and inspirational to read Ted Koskoff’s answers to the question, What is a lawyer? I copied the followng from the KK&B website:

What Is a Lawyer?

Our Credo

“(Ted) Koskoff was an immigrant’s son with an immigrant’s faith in the Constitution; he revered the legal process.” — Barry Werth, Damages

A former President of the American Association for Justice, our founder, Theodore I. Koskoff, was widely known for the passion he brought to the practice of law. His inspiring personal view about the lawyer’s contributions to society has become the credo of our law firm.

What Is a Lawyer?

“If you are a lawyer, what are you?

“If you are a lawyer, you stand between the abuse of governmental power and the individual.

“If you are a lawyer, you stand between the abuse of corporate power and the individual.

“If you are a lawyer, you stand between the abuse of judicial power and the individual.

“If you are a lawyer, you are the hair shirt to the smugness and complacency of society, and

“If you are a lawyer, you are helping to mold the rights of individuals for generations to come.”

Theodore I. Koskoff (1913-1987)

Trump and Judicial Appointments (with an aside about Kelo v. City of New London)

On yesterday’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Trump was asked what kind of judges he would appoint. Among other things Trump said:

TRUMP: Well, I can say like any —  if you look at — if you look at some of the judges that we have like on the Supreme Court, Justice Roberts turned out to be a nightmare for conservatives. I mean… you know a judge who is a totally underrated and not spoken is Justice Thomas. I mean,….

A copy of the transcript is available here.

(Trump also discussed the importance of eminent domain, referring specifically to the controversial case of Kelo v. City of New London. Connecticut’s own Wes Horton argued the case on behalf of New London. Thanks to the Oyez Project you can listen to the oral argument here. Using the search tool, you can search for “Horton” and will be taken to the beginning of Mr. Horton’s excellent, successful argument. In his argument, Horton refers to a case in which eminent domain was used to create a limousine parking lot for a Trump casino).