New Illinois Condo/HOA Ombudsperson Law

I worked with State Rep. Elaine Nekritz on this law, which has been signed by Governor Quinn. Here is the full text:

SFR Investments v. US Bank

This is the Nevada Supreme Court case that ruled as follows:

"NRS 116.3116 gives a homeowners' association (HOA) a

superpriority lien on an individual homeowner's property for up to nine

months of unpaid HOA dues. With limited exceptions, this lien is "prior to

all other liens and encumbrances" on the homeowner's property, even a

first deed of trust recorded before the dues became delinquent. NRS

116.3116(2). We must decide whether this is a true priority lien such that

its foreclosure extinguishes a first deed of trust on the property and, if so,

whether it can be foreclosed nonjudicially. We answer both questions in

the affirmative and therefore reverse."

Best example of bad condo governance ever?

OK, there are many contenders for that honor, but this one is in line for the championship.

Feds to release info on surveillance court

Can the Republican Party win back young voters? Here's somebody who says "no."

GOP can't win back young voters
"There's a section in report superficially about policy, but that's just it – it's superficial. The recommendations revolve around how to talk about policy, not engineer it."

As we discussed yesterday...

US Intelligence agencies getting data directly from ISPs

"The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track foreign targets, according to a top-secret document obtained by The Washington Post."

And this is in addition to the revelations about Verizon:
NSA collecting phone info from Verizon
"The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America's largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April. The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an "ongoing, daily basis" to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries."

New Pages Set Up for POLS 359, Spring 2013

I have set up five new pages at the top of the list to your left. Go to the pages and add material by editing and saving the page. Do not delete anything!

January 27, 2013 Poris v. Lake Holiday POA

Here you can find the opinion in this case.

October 21, 2012: New page for POLS 353 simulation of Fisher v. University of Texas

On the left side of this page is the main panel, and at the top of that panel you will see a link to the Fisher v. Texas page that I created for you to collect and share information on the case and the justices. You can read the page without joining the wiki, but to fully participate by editing the page, you need to join the wiki. I sent everybody an invitation.
UPDATE: To POLS 353 students: The only page you should be working on is the one headed 1 - POLS 353 Fisher v. U. of TX. The other pages are for other courses and other people.

June 14, 2012: New Jersey Supreme Court: HOA violated owner's constitutional rights

The New Jersey Supreme Court, in a monster decision, just held that the Mazdabrook Commons HOA violated an owner's free speech rights under the New Jersey State Constitution by banning political lawn signs. This is a correction from the mistake that court made in the Twin Rivers case on which I was the expert for the New Jersey ACLU. This is huge victory for owners in New Jersey, and now people in other states need to start working on the same arguments. Here is the decision:

March 29, 2012

The Trayvon Martin main page is up, and you can go directly there and sign in. Be sure to join the wiki first by clicking the link at the top of the page.

People, please! After joining the wiki, click this link to go to the Trayvon Martin main page, where the topics are listed, and PICK A TOPIC BY EDITING THE PAGE TO PUT YOUR NAME UNDER THE TOPIC OF YOUR CHOICE. Look at what Wyatt Berkover did if you don't understand what I mean. THEN, after picking a topic, you can go to the page for that topic and begin adding things. DO NOT DELETE anything on any page.

April 4, 2011

If you had any trouble downloading the Gunther article on court-stripping as one student did, you can get it right here:

March 31, 2011

For the Citizens United folks, check out the oral arguments that were just held this week in McComish v. Bennett, a major campaign law case. It may give you some material for your papers.

March 29, 2011

Note this very interesting article on whether Justice Kennedy will strike down the individual mandate: Inside the Mind of Justice Kennedy
About the author: Frank J. Colucci is an associate professor of political science at Purdue University-Calumet and author of Justice Kennedy's Jurisprudence: The Full and Necessary Meaning of Liberty..

March 25, 2011

Rep. Anthony Weiner thinks that the USSC will void Obamacare.

March 8, 2011

Here's a new theory of jurisprudence for you: Computational Law

March 6, 2011

This article summarizes and links to a scholarly article by 7th Circuit Justice (and Law and Economics founder) Richard Posner and law prof William Landes that ranks the justices of the USSC on a liberal-conservative scale. Main finding:
Their conclusion: "Four of the five most conservative justices to serve on the Supreme Court since Franklin Roosevelt, including Roberts and Alito, are currently sitting on the bench today."

And here is the paper: Table 3 ranks all the justices on the conservatism-liberalism scale. It is located at pp. 46-47 of the article and I think you should review the article's main finding, and especially Table 3. There is a lot of talk about the ideological posture of the court and its members. This chart makes it clear just how far to the right the current USSC majority really is. This shows up in the Citizens United decision, which overruled a decision concurred in by Rehnquist in 1990, with new CJ Roberts voting to overturn the position taken by his conservative predecessor, Rehnquist.

February 24, 2011

The summary of Carter and Burke is here.

Here are the groups for our research projects. Those who were absent on 2/24 need to email me ASAP and tell me where you want to go. I am closing birthright citizenship at 6. You can choose any of the other four.:
birthright citizenzhip
AEP v. Connecticut
Citizens United
Delta Smelt

Keith Atterberry
Nick Gaseor
Lauren Mesa
Phil Sherlock
Cynthia Bryant
Lizbeth Barajas
Wyatt Berkover
Alia Matariyeh
Joe Metzger
Fuad Rafidi
Maritza Rodriguez
Blanca Aguiniga
Tommy Barnett
Danny Bloom
Luciano Da Ros
Katie Baker
Atticus Aguirre
Matt Bentel
Marcie Reynolds
Nick Blaul
Paul Geske
Jose Ponce
Brittany Ryan

January 6, 2011

Welcome to all students of POLS 451. This wiki is part of your course, and all of you are or will be subscribed to it. This is a shared resource that we will use to accumulate information on the case studies we will be doing in the later part of the course.

December 16, 2010

When the Citizens United v. FCC decision came down from the USSC, there was a huge outcry from the President and others about how corporations would take over the electoral process. Did they? Check out this post from The Monkey Cage, a political science blog:

"Some commentators feared that the Citizens United decision would lead to a flood of advertising by independent groups. This did not appear to happen. In U.S. Senate races, the fraction of advertisements between September 1 and October 20, 2010, that were sponsored by independent groups, as opposed to candidates or political parties, was no greater in 2010 than in 2008 (see here ). In U.S. House races, this fraction did increase, from 8% in 2008 to 14% in 2010, but even then advertisements from independent groups were still a very small fraction of the total. It is difficult to determine whether these advertisements had any impact on specific races."

Read the whole post yourself and see what you think.

December 12, 2010

The health care reform law (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) was declared unconstitutional by U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson in the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. He says the part of the act that requires all individuals to purchase health insurance, one way or another, or pay a fine, exceeds the powers of Congress to regulate interstate commerce. The New York Times story is here. The full opinion by Judge Hudson is here.
The Act does not contain a severability clause stating that if one part of the Act is declared unconstitutional, the rest of the Act remains in force. That means opponents will argue that the entire law is void if any part of it is declared unconstitutional.

December 12, 2010

Are Batman and Superman state actors, so that the crooks they catch should be able to assert constitutional defenses, such as unlawful search and seizure?

December 12, 2010

Here is a great blog post by Professor Orin Kerr on the way people confound the current state of constitutional law with what they think it should be. Here's part of it--a great hypothetical dialogue between a lawyer and a theorist:

"Lawyer: I think Law X is constitutional.
Theorist: You are wrong. Law X is unconstitutional.
Lawyer: But the Supreme Court’s cases are clear here, and they establish that the law is constitutional.
Theorist: Those Supreme Court cases are wrong. When the Constitution is applied properly, Law X is unconstitutional.
Lawyer: I realize you don’t like the Supreme Court’s cases. But you’re just saying that you think Law X should be unconstitutional based on your personal theory of how the Constitution should be read. You’re making a normative claim and presenting it as a descriptive claim.
Theorist: No, I am not making a normative claim about what I want the Constitution to be. I am merely following the Constitution. The Constitution clearly indicates that Law X is unconstitutional. Setting aside all the cases, what do you think the Constitution is on this issue?
Lawyer: If you’re asking me to interpret the Constitution without any cases, you seem to want me to be a constitutional theorist. But I am not a constitutional theorist, so I don’t know how the Constitution should be read if we imagined there were no cases.
Theorist: I am amazed that you think you know what is constitutional, and yet you have no inkling what the Constitution is. All you know is what judges have said about it."

As Kerr observes, this looks like a philosophical disagreement, but it is really just a semantic difference. The lawyer defines constitutionality based upon the state of the existing judicial interpretations. The theorist defines constitutionality in terms of what he or she think the constitution should say. But the fact is that both of them acknowledge the fact of USSC interpretations, and both probably have their own ideas of how some of those cases should have been decided differently. They are just arguing about what the words "constitutional" and "unconstitutional" mean.

November 7, 2010

Here we go with POLS 353, Fall 2010, setting up a simulation of Perry v. Schwarzenegger. If you found your way here, congratulations. Now just check out the menu to your left and go to the POLS 353F10 Mail Page, and go from there.

June 28, 2010: McDonald v. City of Chicago decided

The USSC ruled that the Second Amendment applies to the states by virtue of being incorporated into the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. That means that on remand to the 7th Circuit the Chicago handgun ban is certain to be struck down. It is virtually identical to the one the USSC declared unconstitutional in DC v. Heller, a decision that now applies to the states.
McDonald opinion here

For 3/18/10:

I am creating three new pages where each group will create a references list for their topic. This way when you turn in your papers there will be a core list that each of you can add to for your own individual paper.

I would like each member of the group to contribute at least five and preferable more references to their group's list before class starts on 3/18. The list will be done according to the Chicago Manual of Style. Here are some examples of what that looks like:

For a book: If you are referencing page 65 of a book by Wendy Doniger, in the text of the paper you would have a parenthetical reference that looks like this: (Doniger 1999, 65). That work would be listed on the Reference page like this:
Doniger, Wendy. Splitting the Difference. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999.
For an article: If you want to cite John Smith's article, in the text you would have: (Smith 1998). That article would be listed on the References page like this:
Smith, John Maynard. “The Origin of Altruism.” Nature 393 (1998): 639–40In this case, the reference is to volume 393 and pages 639 through 640.
For an internet citation, do it like this. If you cite the Evanston Public Library Board of Trustees web site, do it like this in the text: (Evanston Public Library Board of Trustees). You would cite the specific hyperlink this way:
Evanston Public Library Board of Trustees. “Evanston Public Library Strategic Plan, 2000–2010: A Decade of Outreach.” Evanston Public Library. (accessed June 1, 2005).
See the link I placed above to the Manual for any other questions you have.

For 3/11:

Each group will present a discussion of how the two models of courts and social change apply to their case. That would be the Constrained Court Model (Rosenberg), and the Dynamic Court Model (O'Brien and most political science scholars). And take a look at the new page I created for an article about the crashing and burning of Alan Gura's privileges and immunities clause argument.

For 3/4:

Each group will give a detailed, careful, and balanced presentation of the legal dispute in your case or cases. That means both sides' legal arguments, in detail. The McDonald case will have been argued by then (it is 3/2) and you should be fully informed on what took place. See the SCOTUSBLOG wiki on the McDonald case for the best update.
And here is the SCOTUSBLOG wiki for the Kiyemba v. Obama case. Don't miss this for updates.
For the Chinese Exclusion cases, the two most important cases are Chae Chan Ping v. US and US v. Wong Kim Ark. Both are uploaded to this site. You will find them on the page called "Chinese Exclusion Cases," in bold face a little way down the page.
Please contact me if you have any problems!
See you Thursday.

For 2/18/10:

Be prepared to break out into your groups to talk about coordinating your efforts in the coming week. Next week, 2/25, each group will give all of us a 15 minute presentation on your topic and take questions on it from everybody else. Key issues for that presentation will be:
  • What is the public policy issue area you are dealing with?
  • What is the history of the problem? That is, briefly how did the problem or policy develop?
  • What are or were the alternative policies that were or could have been considered?
  • What is the role of law and courts in dealing with the issues
  • How would you characterize the theories of jurisprudence that are, were, or may be involved, and how would different theories inform the discussion? (Evan, 2/17)

2/14/10: The groups:

Here's the way it breaks down:
  • Chinese exclusion: Mahdis Azimi, Megan Calcaterra, Lesliefaye (Leslie) Goggins, Nesreen Said, Yuri Artashkin
  • Kiyemba v. Obama: Peter Andrianakos, Christian Gutierrez, Ashley Mohan, Nellie Sires, Cherie Thompson
  • McDonald v. City of Chicago: Katarina Karac, Michael Mencarini, Kyle Colonna, Maurice Charles

2/14/10: Practice page

I made a practice page for you to play around with. Do whatever you want there in order to learn how the page editor panel works. Also, please CREATE MORE PAGES. I just made one for each case to get you started. Just make sure that you title the new pages property--so if it is a page about the Kiyemba case, make sure it has Kiyemba in the title somewhere, and that the rest of the title lets people know what it is about.

2/12/10: renamed pages

I renamed the Chicago gun case "McDonald v. City of Chicago," and the Innocent Guantanamo Detainees case "Kiyemba v. Bush" for the sake of making it easier to identify things.

2/7/10: please sign up

The time has come for all POLS 451 students to join this wiki so we can get going on the case studies. Please join--ask to become a member, using whatever email address you want. It doesn't have to be your uic netid because this is a non-uic site. I will approve your request and presto, you will be part of our little electronic learning community.

Welcome to Evan McKenzie's Law and Politics Wiki

I set up this wiki for the students in my Political Science 451 course on Law and Public Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. It is a semi-private wiki because anybody can see it, but only members can edit the pages. The membership is limited to me and to the students in my courses.
If you have never used a wiki before, try clicking the pages on the left. You will see for each page there is a set of tabs at the top for "discussions." You can also "comment" at the bottom of pages.
Everybody can edit every page, and there is a record of who did what, and when. That way we can make this wiki a group collaborative project.
I have set up pages for several major topics. You can start your own pages, but please do not do so unless there is no page on that topic. In other words, if there is already a page for "Marbury v. Madison," don't start another page on it, unless you want to do something special, such as "John Marshall's role in Marbury v. Madison," or "The election of 1800 and Marbury v. Madison."