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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Legal"

Radicalization: 82% of Dems now say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, up almost 20 points since 2007

Westlake Legal Group p-2 Radicalization: 82% of Dems now say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, up almost 20 points since 2007 wade The Blog roe Radical Pro-Life pro-choice poll pew Legal chappelle Abortion

An eye-popping trend from Pew, destined to spark a new argument between pro-lifers and pro-choicers about cause and effect.

That is, are lefties radicalizing in defense of abortion rights because righties are becoming more radical in trying to restrict those rights, as with “heartbeat laws”?

Or have righties become more radical in trying to restrict abortion rights because lefty politicians keep growing more absolutist about abortion on demand, even in the third trimester?

Westlake Legal Group 5-3 Radicalization: 82% of Dems now say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, up almost 20 points since 2007 wade The Blog roe Radical Pro-Life pro-choice poll pew Legal chappelle Abortion

Pro-choicers will point to the recent upswing in that trend line and lay it at Trump’s feet. How can you blame us for becoming more extreme, they’ll say, when we have a president who may have just assembled a five-vote Supreme Court majority for overturning Roe? It’s only natural that one side’s gains in the abortion war will ignite a backlash in the opposing side. Case in point: This same poll shows opposition to overturning Roe surging to 69 percent in December 2016, a month after Trump’s election, despite barely budging between 2003 (62 percent) and 2013 (63 percent). The out-party inevitably adopts a siege mentality.

And yet … the same phenomenon doesn’t seem to have happened with Republicans during the Obama era. There were minor fluctuations here and there but the share of GOPers who think abortion should be legal in all or most cases is about the same as it was at the end of Dubya’s presidency. So maybe there’s more to the Democratic shift than some quasi-organic partisan backlash cycle.

Another question shows a further asymmetry between the parties. Although conservative Republicans are solidly pro-life, moderate Republicans are actually fairly firmly pro-choice. The GOP skews right overall on abortion because conservatives outnumber moderates but there’s a genuine division within the party. There’s no similar division among Democratic factions:

Westlake Legal Group abortion-3 Radicalization: 82% of Dems now say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, up almost 20 points since 2007 wade The Blog roe Radical Pro-Life pro-choice poll pew Legal chappelle Abortion

A different question shows that no less than 70 percent of moderate Republicans oppose overturning Roe versus 61 percent of conservatives who support overturning it. Combine Republican ambivalence about abortion with Democratic unanimity in favor and we’ve reached a modern high in the number of Americans overall who think abortion should be legal in all or most cases — 61 percent.

Imagine what the “siege mentality” numbers will look like if Trump ends up replacing Ginsburg or Breyer on the Court after all. In lieu of an exit question, here’s a choice bit from Dave Chappelle’s new stand-up special on Netflix that veers from pro-life to extremely pro-choice back to pro-life again in less than two minutes. Lots of profanity so take care if you’re listening at work or around the little ones.

The post Radicalization: 82% of Dems now say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, up almost 20 points since 2007 appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group p-2-300x153 Radicalization: 82% of Dems now say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, up almost 20 points since 2007 wade The Blog roe Radical Pro-Life pro-choice poll pew Legal chappelle Abortion   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Not Funny: Babylon Bee Hires Legal Representation to Defend Against ‘Snopes’ Libel

Westlake Legal Group bb-620x252 Not Funny: Babylon Bee Hires Legal Representation to Defend Against ‘Snopes’ Libel Snopes Legal Front Page Stories Fact Check demonitizing Culture Babylon Bee

The Babylon Bee often makes light of their ongoing “feud” with Snopes – the political “fact-checking” website. After Snopes hilariously fact-checked the satirical site, BB was forced to go on the defensive a bit. Being labeled as “fake news” on Facebook these days can drastically affect an outlet’s income. We here at Redstate are not without our struggles in that same vein.

However, after repeated characterizations from Snopes as “false” or “fake” news the comedic blog has been (unbelievably) forced to hire legal representation. Given the climate of social media and the demonetization of many conservative and right-of-center voices, this seems like a ridiculous but necessary step to take. The Bee issued a statement explaining why they feel forced to defend themselves against such insanity.

Westlake Legal Group bb1-620x715 Not Funny: Babylon Bee Hires Legal Representation to Defend Against ‘Snopes’ Libel Snopes Legal Front Page Stories Fact Check demonitizing Culture Babylon Bee

Westlake Legal Group bb2-620x426 Not Funny: Babylon Bee Hires Legal Representation to Defend Against ‘Snopes’ Libel Snopes Legal Front Page Stories Fact Check demonitizing Culture Babylon Bee

No news on when Snopes will start fact-checking The Daily Show.

The post Not Funny: Babylon Bee Hires Legal Representation to Defend Against ‘Snopes’ Libel appeared first on RedState.

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New, perfectly legal college scam: Rich parents giving up guardianship of their children to qualify them for financial aid

Westlake Legal Group c-5 New, perfectly legal college scam: Rich parents giving up guardianship of their children to qualify them for financial aid The Blog scholarships scam rich Legal guardianship Guardian financial aid college

For some reason it’s the petty corruption of stories like this and the Lori Loughlin one, involving fatcats rigging the college process for their kids, that brings out my inner populist more so than the grand-scale corruption that the rich routinely engage in. You want to buy off federal regulators to protect your business’s bottom line? Eh, whatever. That’s something elite cretins in every society do.

You want to run a scam to get your kid a discount admission to university when poorer families are desperate for aid? Then we should turn you and your spawn into hot dogs.

Partly that’s me being parochial. Many of us know firsthand the financial burden of paying for school whereas influence peddling on Capitol Hill doesn’t reach us as directly. But it’s also partly the sense that the playing field should be a bit more equal for kids, at least. There’s so much time for the rich to game various systems to their advantage once they’re adults! At least give the teens from schlubby middle-class families a fighting chance.

Anyway, fire up the grill. It’s hot-dog time.

Parents are giving up legal guardianship of their children during their junior or senior year in high school to someone else — a friend, aunt, cousin or grandparent. The guardianship status then allows the students to declare themselves financially independent of their families so they can qualify for federal, state and university aid, a ProPublica Illinois investigation found…

ProPublica Illinois found more than 40 guardianship cases fitting this profile filed between January 2018 and June 2019 in the Chicago suburbs of Lake County alone. The parents involved in these cases include lawyers, a doctor and an assistant schools superintendent, as well as insurance and real estate agents. A number of the children are high-achieving scholars, athletes and musicians who attend or have been accepted to a range of universities…

In Illinois last year, about 82,000 students who were eligible for the [Monetary Award Program] grant, up to about $5,000, did not receive it because there wasn’t enough money. The grant is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

In other words, if you’re in the not-so-sweet spot between middle class, where your kid qualifies for aid, and quite rich, where the cost of education is of no consequence, you’re better off effectively emancipating them so that they can feed from the same trough of grant money as students in more dire need of financial help. The Journal looked at one case:

One Chicago-area woman told The Wall Street Journal that she transferred guardianship of her then 17-year-old daughter to her business partner last year. While her household income is greater than $250,000 a year, she said, she and her husband have spent about $600,000 putting several older children through college and have no equity in their home, which is valued at about $1.2 million, according to the property website Zillow. She said she has little cash on hand and little saved for her daughter’s education…

Today, her daughter attends a private college on the West Coast which costs $65,000 in annual tuition, she said. The daughter received a $27,000 merit scholarship and an additional $20,000 in need-based aid, including a federal Pell grant, which she won’t have to pay back. The daughter is responsible for $18,000 a year, which her grandparents pay, the woman said.

Once the guardianship was established, the daughter’s household income for federal financial aid purposes was a scant $4,200. And really, what else could the family in this case do?

What’s that, you say? They could have sent their daughter to a state school instead? Well … yeah, I suppose they could have.

Or they could have asked each of their children to attend state schools so that there’d be money left over to pay the youngest’s tuition? I guess they could have done that too.

Or they could have sold their million-dollar home years ago in anticipation of another round of tuition, downsized to a smaller place, and applied the monthly savings in housing costs to a 529 account?

Also an option, I reckon.

The Department of Ed is reportedly looking at tightening the rule for guardianships so that students who continue to receive financial support from their parents after a guardianship has been granted would be treated as still belonging to their parents’ household for financial aid purposes. That’s good, but I wonder how easy it would be to skirt it. In one case described by Pro Publica, the guardianship lasted for just a month; presumably it’d be easy for some of these families to gift their kid with, say, six months’ of living expenses before a short-term guardianship so that no support needs to be provided afterwards.

Unanswered exit questions: Are these cases only happening in and around Chicago, which is the focus of the two pieces quoted above, or is it a national phenomenon? Should the feds be able to recover grant money awarded pursuant to a fraudulent guardianship?

The post New, perfectly legal college scam: Rich parents giving up guardianship of their children to qualify them for financial aid appeared first on Hot Air.

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AG Bill Barr Says He’s Found a Way to Get the Citizenship Question on the Census

Westlake Legal Group census-questionnaire-620x317 AG Bill Barr Says He’s Found a Way to Get the Citizenship Question on the Census Supreme Court Politics Path Foward Logical Legal Front Page Stories Front Page executive order donald trump Citizenship Question census bill barr attorney general administration

FILE – This March 23, 2018 file photo shows an envelope containing a 2018 census letter mailed to a resident in Providence, R.I., as part of the nation’s only test run of the 2020 Census. A Trump administration plan to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census has prompted legal challenges from many Democratic-led states. But not a single Republican attorney general has sued _ not even from states with large immigrant populations. (AP Photo/Michelle R. Smith)

After what appeared to be pending defeat on the issue of asking about citizenship status on the coming census, things have begun to turn.

The Supreme Court affirmed the authority of Trump’s administration to include the question. A quick end to the saga was foiled by Justice Roberts though, who joined with the liberal faction to slap it down on administrative grounds.

Despite the court signaling to Trump that he could win the war after losing the battle, the timeline left things in doubt because printing needed to start soon on the actual forms. After his own DOJ confirmed the matter was being dropped, the President rightly changed his mind at the eleventh hour and decided this was a fight worth having.

That led to a change in the team of lawyers running the process and the entry of a man who has a knack for outfoxing his opponents.

Enter Attorney General Bill Barr, who now says he’s found a path forward.

In a visit to South Carolina today, U.S. Attorney General William Barr said to expect the administration will present a legal path work-around that will allow a question on citizenship to be added to the 2020 Census.

Speaking to reporters after visiting a federal prison, Barr said “I think over the next day or two you’ll see what approach we’re taking and I think it does provide a pathway for getting the question on the Census.”

What that path is he won’t say just yet, but we should know tomorrow what he’s proposing.

Some have speculated that there’s an executive order coming that could bypass some of the requirements of the administration procedures act. Other’s have said it’s as simple as just being upfront about the most logical reason to include the question and re-submitting to the lower court. Namely, that the constitution pretty clearly did not intend for non-taxed illegal aliens to count toward the apportionment of Congressional members and that it’s necessary to find out numbers on citizens, legal residents (who would count toward apportionment), and illegal aliens.

While the media thinks that’s a taboo thing to for the administration to say, the polling doesn’t back that up, as I covered earlier today (read the full write up on new polling that shows Trump winning on major issues).

The President, either via his own decision making or listening to the wrong people, made a strategic mistake early on in this process. There was no need to try to craft an explanation that helped prevent jimmy rustling in New York’s news rooms. A more direct path was always the best way. The vast majority of the American people support asking about citizenship (or residency) on the census and realize that it’s perfectly acceptable to do so as a check on apportionment to states with purposely bloated illegal populations.

Bill Barr isn’t typically one to make false promises and I suspect he’ll deliver here. Expect lots of teeth gnashing hysteria no matter what.

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The post AG Bill Barr Says He’s Found a Way to Get the Citizenship Question on the Census appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group 300e3a-300x146 AG Bill Barr Says He’s Found a Way to Get the Citizenship Question on the Census Supreme Court Politics Path Foward Logical Legal Front Page Stories Front Page executive order donald trump Citizenship Question census bill barr attorney general administration   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Lori Loughlin’s coming defense: I didn’t know bribery was illegal

Westlake Legal Group lori-loughlins-coming-defense-i-didnt-know-bribery-was-illegal Lori Loughlin’s coming defense: I didn’t know bribery was illegal USC The Blog plea mossimo Lori Loughlin Legal giannulli defense bribery

Westlake Legal Group ll-2 Lori Loughlin’s coming defense: I didn’t know bribery was illegal USC The Blog plea mossimo Lori Loughlin Legal giannulli defense bribery

“I didn’t know that what I was doing was a crime” feels very on-brand for 2019 and the age of Trump.

Or, better yet, “I didn’t know that cheating was wrong.”

There were rumors last week that Loughlin and her husband were planning to plead ignorance, insisting that they never formed the intent necessary for a conviction in a case like this, but those rumors seem firmer today per reports in TMZ and People. As absurd as the defense sounds, it has a certain appeal. What’s the difference between rich trash making an exorbitant “gift” to a university and then finding their child’s been admitted “on the merits” and Loughlin and her husband handing fat envelopes to athletics officials to get her kids in on the pretense of joining the crew team?

Our sources say … lawyers for Lori and Mossimo Giannulli didn’t take a plea early on because they believe they have a solid defense on several fronts. First, ringleader Rick Singer did not tell them how he would use the $500k to get their daughters into the school. Fact … they were aware Rick Singer wanted pics of the girls on a rowing machine, but they say that doesn’t mean they knew the end game.

It’s true … knowledge and intent are key elements to proving bribery, and we’re told Lori and Mossimo’s lawyers are making that a centerpiece of their defense … their only intent is to generally get their daughters into USC by using a “facilitator” who got hundreds of other students into colleges…

And, we’re told, they have a more basic defense … colleges have horse-traded with relatives of prospective students for decades … e.g., fund the wing of a school building and your child will miraculously get accepted. It’s not only been tolerated by many schools … it’s aggressively encouraged by some of the schools, and parents know it.

“I get how it looks on paper,” said a source to People. Certainly they’re guilty of being “naive.” But…

“You read the complaint and they look like criminal masterminds,” the source tells PEOPLE. “But they really didn’t know the legalities of what was going on. They’re not lawyers and they’re not experts. They were parents who simply wanted to make sure that their daughters got into a good school.”…

“Calling in favors, donating money to the alumni association, hiring consultants. Those are all things that parents do,” says the source. “And so they gave money to this consultant, not entirely knowing everything that was going to be done. When it all fell apart, nobody was as surprised as they were that they were in trouble.”

The source continues, “She never intended to break any laws, and if she did, it was inadvertent.”

It’s true, they gave the bulk of their $500,000 to Rick Singer for his “foundation,” possibly not knowing how he’d spread it around or even whether he intended to keep it for himself as his fixer fee. But they didn’t give him the whole $500K. According to paragraphs 201, 202, and 212 of the federal affidavit, Loughlin’s husband sent two checks, each for $50,000, directly to Donna Heinel, the senior women’s associate athletic director at USC. What did they think that money was for? It’s one thing to make a “gift” to the university, a nonprofit, in the full light of day, another to start cutting checks to individuals who coincidentally would be perfectly positioned to get your kid admitted under the false pretense of joining the crew team. Another strange coincidence: Both of the checks sent to Heinel were sent within days or weeks of her securing provisional admission for the Giannulli girls as student-athletes.

And remember, according to the feds, the Giannullis provided Singer with photos of both of their daughters posing on ergometers. It’s impossible to believe they didn’t know that a fraud was being perpetrated to get the girls admitted, if the facts in the affidavit are true. Their defense, I take it, is that all schemes in which the rich make “donations” to schools in return for their children being admitted are a sort of fraud — that is, it’s not that they didn’t realize what they were doing is shady, it’s that they didn’t realize it was illegal. Consider the state of the law, though, if that defense were successful in this case. Rich parents everywhere could start openly bribing key personnel at American universities to get their kids in and so long as the word “bribery” or “illegal” was never used, they could claim ignorance and avoid criminal liability. “I never heard of the Lori Loughlin prosecution,” they could say. “I didn’t realize admissions payola was actually against the law.”

If you haven’t read the affidavit, incidentally, know that the feds used Singer in a sting on both Mossimo Giannulli and Lori Loughlin long after the girls were admitted to USC to try to prove that they knew the $500,000 they paid was illicit. Singer, now cooperating with the feds and acting at their behest, told Giannulli in October 2018 that his foundation was being audited but “of course, I’m not gonna say anything about your payments going to Donna Heinel at USC to get the girls into USC, through crew.” To which Giannulli replied, “Sure.” Singer continued, “I just want to make sure [our] stories are the same,” that “your $400K was paid to our foundation to help underserved kids.” Giannulli: “Uh, perfect.” How this guy didn’t realize at that point, as Singer weirdly recited all the pertinent facts of their joint fraud, that he wasn’t being set up is beyond me.

Singer spoke with Loughlin a month later pitching her the same story about an IRS audit of the foundation:

Westlake Legal Group b-20 Lori Loughlin’s coming defense: I didn’t know bribery was illegal USC The Blog plea mossimo Lori Loughlin Legal giannulli defense bribery

Presumably Loughlin will point to the fact that Singer used the word “donations” instead of “bribes.” Plainly, though, she and her husband knew that a false story involving athletics was used to get the girls into USC. And plainly, they knew that 100 grand was sent to someone in the athletics department at USC. As Ed noted yesterday, another USC athletics official, Laura Janke, who allegedly created the false athletic profiles of Loughlin’s daughters to get them admitted via the crew team, is also now cooperating with the feds and presumably willing to share anything she knows about the Giannullis’ intricate knowledge of this plot. Realistically it’s laughable that they didn’t realize what they were doing was bribery. What they’re going to have to argue is that they sincerely believed that bribery, at least when it comes to college admissions, just isn’t illegal.

Exit question: Are mom and dad going to end up turning on each other here? “Lori is taking Mossimo’s advice. She thinks she did nothing wrong,” said a source to Us magazine. “Her husband presented this to her like it wasn’t an illegal thing she was doing.”

The post Lori Loughlin’s coming defense: I didn’t know bribery was illegal appeared first on Hot Air.

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Report: Trump told DHS official he’d pardon him if he got into legal trouble for blocking immigrants from entering

Westlake Legal Group report-trump-told-dhs-official-hed-pardon-him-if-he-got-into-legal-trouble-for-blocking-immigrants-from-entering Report: Trump told DHS official he’d pardon him if he got into legal trouble for blocking immigrants from entering Trump The Blog mcaleenan Legal immigration homeland security DHS close border

Westlake Legal Group t-8 Report: Trump told DHS official he’d pardon him if he got into legal trouble for blocking immigrants from entering Trump The Blog mcaleenan Legal immigration homeland security DHS close border

Old impeachment theory: The House is going to impeach Trump over Russiagate.
Current impeachment theory. The House is going to impeach Trump over whatever’s hiding in his tax returns.
Coming impeachment theory: The House is going to impeach Trump for inducing lawbreaking by his own cabinet.

Between this and the reports last week of Trump encouraging border agents to ignore the courts if they’re told to continue admitting asylum-seekers, we’re destined for House hearings on whether he’s breaching his duty to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” Imagine how excited acting DHS secretary Kevin McAleenan must be about not only inheriting a department that’s facing a crisis at the border without any permanent appointee in its top three positions but maybe soon having to testify before the House about whether the president tried to get him to break the law.

During President Donald Trump’s visit to the border at Calexico, California, a week ago, where he told border agents to block asylum seekers from entering the US contrary to US law, the President also told the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, Kevin McAleenan, that if he were sent to jail as a result of blocking those migrants from entering the US, the President would grant him a pardon, senior administration officials tell CNN…

It was not clear if the comment was a joke; the official was not given any further context on the exchange.

Right, the defense will be that Trump was joking, but (a) the border agents whom he told to ignore the courts allegedly took him seriously enough that they asked their supervisors what they should do and (b) the “joke” defense was stronger before he confirmed that he really is thinking of dropping illegals off in blue districts despite the objections of ICE lawyers. Also, note that CNN cites “senior administration officials” — plural — for its scoop. More than one person heard what he said and no one seems to have clearly understood him to be kidding.

The NYT is also reporting this afternoon that Trump offered McAleenan a preemptive pardon for actions taken at the border, citing three sources. One of those people agreed that it was unclear if Trump was joking but noted that his comment “alarmed officials at the Department of Homeland Security who were told of it.” According to the Times, Trump also asked McAleenan to close the southwestern border, a step which he seemed to have abandoned a week ago when the possibility of him cutting off cross-border access to El Paso freaked out Texas politicians of all stripes, including Ted Cruz and John Cornyn. An interesting tidbit:

Ms. Nielsen had earlier refused to carry through with Mr. Trump’s desire to close the border, telling him it was illegal. But the president encouraged Mr. McAleenan to disregard Ms. Nielsen and enforce the move himself. Two days later, Ms. Nielsen submitted her resignation under pressure from Mr. Trump, and the president appointed Mr. McAleenan acting secretary of homeland security…

Mr. Trump’s desire to close the border, despite the legal impediments, was a factor in the forced resignation of Ms. Nielsen. It was one of a number of instances in which Ms. Nielsen believed she was being asked to engage in conduct that violated laws, according to several people with knowledge of those discussions.

The Times sure does seem to have a lot of insight into Kirstjen Nielsen’s thinking! I wonder if the ex-secretary, eager to rehabilitate her image in official Washington for her post-Trump career, has decided to begin leaking to the press about Trump’s most dubious requests of Homeland Security officials. If there are in fact House hearings into whether Trump is encouraging DHS officials to break the law, she seems likely to end up as the star witness. Keeping her on as secretary would have made it easier for Trump to assert executive privilege over the things she says to Congress and obviously would have given Nielsen an incentive not to say anything in testimony that might alienate her boss. As a now ex-secretary whose future lies in distancing herself from Trump, those incentives are … different.

How would the pardon even work in the case of an ongoing process like, say, refusing to interview an asylum-seeker who arrives at a port of entry contra federal law? Could a single pardon immunize McAleenan or border agents for recurring lawbreaking? Could it immunize them prospectively for future lawbreaking? Or would Trump and the DOJ end up in some absurd game in which McAleenan is charged, pardoned, then breaks the same law again, is charged again, pardoned again, etc? Either way, Trump’s impulse to work around federal law with pardons is of a piece with his other dubious moves lately, per Jonathan Last:

It’s true that upon taking office, Donald Trump found that the weight of our system of government did constrain him from acting out his every wish. But Trump has slowly learned to get around these built-in safety measures. That’s why he fired Jeff Sessions and replaced him with a more compliant attorney general. It’s why he declared an extra-constitutional state of emergency to grab funding for his wall. It’s why he first tried to bully his Fed chairman and is now trying to circumvent him by stacking the board with loyalists. It’s why he’s slowly turning over senior positions and refusing to restock them with permanent, Senate-confirmed hires.

Even if you were inclined to hope for the best in a Trump presidency, the guardrails look a lot more wobbly than they did three years ago.

Yep. Senate Republicans are clearly getting tired of it too, although that risks creating a vicious circle in which Trump tries to act unilaterally, the Senate GOP rebukes him, and Trump comes away concluding the only way to get what he wants is to act even more boldly and dubiously unilaterally. McConnell’s caucus really, really doesn’t want a confrontation with him but it may be unavoidable.

The post Report: Trump told DHS official he’d pardon him if he got into legal trouble for blocking immigrants from entering appeared first on Hot Air.

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