Author Archives: Michael Froomkin

Man Bites Man

It’s an old truism that not only do people resemble their pets but Dogs and Their Owners Share Similar Personality Traits.

Reading the news that President Biden’s dog, Commander, bit Secret Service agents at least 24 times before being exiled from the White House made me wonder in what way the President might be likely to demonstrate aggressive behavior.

And here it is: Biden instructed aides to dial up attacks on Trump’s wild comments and Biden embraces bully pulpit as he escalates fight against Trump and GOP over Russia.  Expect more.

 

Posted in 2024 Election | Leave a comment

“Saving Democracy from the Senate” Published

Published on dead trees at last! David B. Froomkin & A. Michael Froomkin, Saving Democracy from the Senate, 2024 Utah Law Review 397 (2024).

Here’s the abstract:

It should not be surprising that Americans say they are frustrated with their national institutions. Congress, particularly the Senate, responds poorly to the public’s needs and wants because it is increasingly unrepresentative of the electorate. Reform is difficult, however, because each state’s “equal Suffrage” in the Senate is protected by a unique constitutional entrenchment clause. The Entrenchment Clause creates a genuine bar to reform, but that bar is not insurmountable. We first argue that the constitutional proscription on reforming the Senate has been overstated, identifying a range of constitutional reform options that would be permissible despite the Entrenchment Clause. Several of these approaches circumvent the restriction imposed by the Entrenchment Clause by reforming the Senate in ways that do not alter the equal representation of states: disempowering the Senate, abolishing the Senate entirely, or adding at-large nationally elected senators. A different approach involves repealing the Entrenchment Clause and then either passing a second amendment reapportioning the Senate or asking courts to democratize it under the Equal Protection Clause. We then canvass reforms that could move in the direction of democratizing the Senate without constitutional amendment, including admitting new states, breaking up the largest states, and (although we do not advocate it) a new Constitutional Convention. Throughout, we discuss the relative merits and difficulties of each of these options. Reformers and scholars need a clear understanding of the relevant legal frameworks to develop effective strategies. While we recognize that none of these options are easy, we conclude that action to fix the Senate’s democratic deficit is essential— and urgent.

 

Posted in Uncategorized, Writings | Leave a comment

I Know Who Won’t Be A Vice Presidential Candidate

Although in past years handicapping the Veepstakes has been one of my favorite pastimes, I find that this year I don’t much care who Trump’s running mate might turn out to be. I suppose it’s because they vary from quite bad to horrible, or because I think that, barring one of the candidates having a medical crisis, the election will be decided either in court or via Trump’s self-destruction as he says increasingly bizarre things and people start to focus on them.

But that doesn’t stop other people, and Trump added fuel to the flames today by naming six people he thought might be potential running mates. The list included Sen. Tim Scott, who seems like the obvious choice to me, as it offers the tantalizing prospect of peeling off just enough Black votes to move a few swing states.

More bizarrely the list also included Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. That’s bizarre not only because Trump spent so much time belittling him, but because they’re both residents of the State of Florida, and the US Constitution prohibits electors from a state from choosing both a president and a vice president from that same state. (Art II, Cl. 3: “The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves”.) Weirdly, nobody writing about Trump’s statement seems to be mentioning this. But then I think the entire press has pretty much given up on fact checking him anyway.

DeSantis, who attended Harvard Law School and presumably knows much more about the Constitution than Trump does — although probably that’s true of almost everyone — was quick to say he would never be Trump’s Vice President. He made it sound as if this was something of a principled choice, but I think he just knows it could never be, as the risk of a squeaker in which Vice President Harris is reelected when you don’t count Florida’s electoral votes is just too great.

Posted in 2024 Election | 4 Comments

Actual Number of Immunocompromised Americans May be Almost Triple What We Thought

As an immunocompromised person, I thought that this was interesting: The standard line is that under 3% of the U.S. population is immunocompromised either due to disease, to antirejection drugs associated with transplants, or to (frequently cancer) medical treatment.  But Melissa L. Martinson, Jessica Lapham, Prevalence of Immunosuppression Among US Adults (Feb. 15, 2024) suggests that the real number today — due to more immunosuppresive medical treatments? — actually may be over 6.6%:

Of the 29 164 (unweighted) eligible adults, 6.6% (95% CI, 6.2%-6.9%) (weighted) had current immunosuppression based on their reported health conditions, prescriptions, and medical treatments. The weighted prevalence was 4.4% for having an immunosuppressive condition, 3.9% for taking an immunosuppressive medication, and 1.8% for both; the weighted prevalence of having hematological cancer was 0.1%. These categories were not mutually exclusive.

[…]

[U]sing the 2021 NHIS, an estimated 6.6% of US adults had immunosuppression. This rate of immunosuppression was higher than the previous national estimate of 2.7% using the 2013 NHIS,1 yet the patterns in the distribution of immunosuppression by sex, race, and age were similar

It’s still a small minority, but it seems it’s a lot bigger than we thought.

Posted in Science/Medicine | 1 Comment

Proof that I Exist?

Thanks to the kindness of others, I now have my own Wiki page. (Strangely, MiamiLaw doesn’t routinely make them for any of its faculty, which I suppose is consistent with our  ahem, rather quiet media strategy.)

It feels quite petty of me, but I’ve actually been bothered for some time that nothing I did ever prompted anyone to make one; the norm is that you don’t make them for yourself. So I am chuffed about this.

Thank you to the authors!

Posted in Internet, Personal | Leave a comment

It’s Enough to Keep You Awake

Sleeping too little — or too much — associated with poor brain health:

Sleeping too much or too little is associated with changes in the brain that are known to precede and increase the risk of stroke and dementia later in life, a new study suggests.

In one of the largest neuroimaging studies of its kind, researchers at Yale School of Medicine (YSM) examined the brain images of nearly 40,000 asymptomatic middle-aged adults to understand how their sleep habits may impact their brain health.

I’m sure I should sleep more. But I don’t need more to worry about.

Posted in Science/Medicine | Leave a comment