Monthly Archives: June 2017


19 kids are shot every day in the United States.

I start from the view that the 2nd Amendment should be interpreted liberally, just like the 1st, 4th, 5th, or any amendment in the Bill of Rights should be. On the other hand, the 2nd Amendment is unique in that it has an explanatory, and thus perhaps limiting clause (“A well-regulated millitia…”), and I am also committed to the view that the Constitution is short enough that we should labor mightily to avoid surplussage. But on the gripping hand, the Supreme Court has made it clear that it cares not about the latter.

Certainly if I were advising a candidate for office today, I would not suggest making gun control a big issue beyond banning assault weapons or the like, as I doubt much narrower limits would stand up in court.

If we want meaningful gun control it would require a constitutional amendment. And I’m not sure I want to open the floodgates to undermining any part of the Bill of Rights, because who knows what would be next.

All that said, shooting 19 kids/day seems a very high price to pay for our liberties, even in a country of 320+ million people.

It puts me in mind of Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” — although this deadly lottery is rigged: “9 out of 10 children who get shot in the United States are between the ages of 12 and 17”; 8 out of 10 are boys; and, more than half of the child gun victims are nonwhite.

Incidentally, of those 19 kids shot per day about 3.5/day die from their wounds. 3.5 per day.

Posted in Law: Constitutional Law | 5 Comments

Trump Lawyer Ethics Update

Further to my post noting that Trump’s personal lawyer Marc E. Kasowitz appeared to be giving legal advice in a jurisdiction where he was not admitted to practice, I now learn that the Campaign for Accountability has filed a bar complaint against Kasowitz in DC; someone else filed a similar complaint in New York, where Kasowitz is admitted.

The Above the Law blog says “it’s unlikely this ends with Marc Kasowitz getting in ethical trouble” but I don’t see why not.  I can see why this wouldn’t necessarily be a big violation, all things considered, so I would be shocked to see a major sanction like a suspension, but I’d also be somewhat surprised if there wasn’t at least a wrist slap somewhere.

Posted in Law: Ethics, Trump | 2 Comments

Economic Impact of LeBron James on Miami


We study the local economic spillovers generated by LeBron James’ presence on a team in the National Basketball Association. Mr. James, the first overall pick of the 2003 NBA draft, spent the first seven seasons of his career at the Cleveland Cavaliers, and then moved to the Miami Heat in 2010, only to return to Cleveland in 2014. Long considered one of the NBA’s superstars, he has received the league’s MVP award four times, won three NBA championships, and been a part of two victorious US teams at the Olympics. We trace the impact a star of Mr. James’ caliber can have on economic activity by analyzing the impact his departures and arrivals had on business activity close to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat stadiums. We find that Mr. James has a statistically and economically significant positive effect on both the number of restaurants and other eating and drinking establishments near the stadium where he is based, and on aggregate employment at those establishments. Specifically, his presence increases the number of such establishments within one mile of the stadium by about 13%, and employment by about 23.5%. These effects are very local, in that they decay rapidly as one moves farther from the stadium.

Taking My Talents to South Beach (And Back) by Daniel Shoag, Harvard Kennedy School & Stan Veuger, American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

Posted in Basketball, Econ & Money, Miami | Leave a comment

In France the Center Didn’t Just Hold — It Crushed

Meanwhile, in France, President Macron’s new party, the LREM, crushed its rivals on both the right and left.

This picture is amazing:

Per the BBC:

Ahead in 400 constituencies out of the 577 that make up France’s National Assembly, the party is heading for a convincing majority far higher than the 289 seats needed to control parliament. That does not even take into account the 100-odd seats where Mr Macron’s centrist MoDem allies are in the lead.

His centrist alliance could control 415 to 455 seats after the second round on 18 June, experts predict.

And many of them are political novices, so this could get interesting.

Posted in Politics: International | Leave a comment

Trump’s Lawyer is not a Member of the DC Bar?

NYT reports on Trump’s personal lawyer Marc E. Kasowitz giving what looks like awfully convenient (for him and for Trump) legal advice to White House staffers that they don’t need to lawyer up. As the NYT explains:

He told aides gathered in one meeting who had asked whether it was time to hire private lawyers that it was not yet necessary, according to another person with direct knowledge.

Such conversations between a private lawyer for the president and the government employees who work for his client are highly unusual, according to veterans of previous administrations.

Previous administrations tried to coordinate the activities of private lawyers before letting them interact with aides. Jane Sherburne, a White House special counsel who managed ethics issues during Mr. Clinton’s first term, said Mr. Kendall was not allowed to meet with White House staff members until “we had gone through a whole exercise of having conversations with employees ourselves, talking to them about whether they wanted to retain their own counsel and telling them they didn’t have to talk to Kendall.”

Under ethics rules, Mr. Kasowitz cannot interview any official who has hired a lawyer without that lawyer’s permission, meaning it would be in his interest if administration aides did not hire their own lawyers, experts said. “It is probably easier for him to represent Trump if he doesn’t have to deal with a bunch of other lawyers,” Ms. Sherburne said, adding that she believed it was inappropriate for Mr. Kasowitz to discourage aides from hiring their own counsel.

Richard Painter, the White House ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush who now teaches at the University of Minnesota’s law school, said that in a worst-case scenario, a staff member might listen to Mr. Kasowitz’s advice and “end up thrown under the bus.”

What the NYT don’t mention, however, is that Kasowitz does not appear to be a member of the DC Bar. At least according to Kasowitz’s homepage at his law firm, Kasowitz is only admitted in New York. I don’t think that is any obstacle to advising the President on matters of federal law, but it might be an issue on advising the staff as to whether they need representation?

Posted in Law: Ethics, Trump | Leave a comment

Straight to the Heart of the Matter

This is a great ad:

It’s produced by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and speaks well for Chairman Chris van Holland.

Spotted via Crooks and Liars, This Ad Will Kill Trumpcare, And Rightly So. A slightly optimistic title given recent machinations in the Senate, but we can only hope…

Posted in Health Care | Leave a comment