The Supreme Court has invalidated a North Carolina statute making it a felony for a registered sex offender “to access a commercial social networking Web site where the sex offender knows that the site permits minor children to become members or to create or maintain personal Web pages.” Law professor Stuart Benjamin examines the First Amendment in a time of changing phenomena such as cyberspace.Read More in The Washington Post
“In terms of the law of executive privilege, it belongs to the president, and he has not asserted it. General Sessions sought to preserve the president’s ability to assert it, but that is not how it works,” says law professor Lisa Kern Griffin. “… The president could have instructed him not to answer any questions about their conversations because of executive privilege. That, apparently, did not happen, and no privilege was asserted.”Read More in Vox
Investigators looking into whether Trump’s team worked with Russia to win the White House could go down a path defined by other showdowns, where there’s little history beyond Watergate or Monica Lewinsky to guide them. “A set of two precedents is not a big set of precedents,” says law professor Samuel Buell. “You also have to say whatever the Trump story ends up being, it’s probably going to be something else.”Read More in Politico
“People have to pay attention to redistricting and to line drawing and to the way that districts are constructed, and they ought to demand fairness from their legislators,” says law professor Guy-Uriel Charles, founding director of the Duke Law Center on Law, Race and Politics.Read More in The Progressive Pulse
If Attorney General Jeff Sessions cites executive privilege to avoid answering certain questions Tuesday before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, there are other options. “The committee can negotiate with the administration to get answers to narrower or different questions or to get answers in a closed session,” says law professor Lisa Kern Griffin. “If they do not come to any agreement, of course the matter could be litigated. The Supreme Court case that describes the scope of executive privilege arose from a similar dispute concerning the Nixon tapes.”Read More on CNN
Law professor Samuel Buell says testimony last week from former FBI Director James Comey provided enough information to lead the special investigator in the Russia election meddling probe to “take a very hard look” at possible obstruction of justice committed by President Trump.Watch More on MSNBC
If one believes James B. Comey’s account of his encounters with President Trump, it could present a prosecutable case of obstruction of justice, several former prosecutors said Thursday. But they also cautioned that little is normal about this situation. “We have examples all the time in criminal law of people saying things only slightly subtly, where everyone understands what is meant — ‘Nice pair of legs you got there; shame if something happened to them,’” says law professor Samuel Buell.
Law professor Samuel Buell says Comey’s testimony “greatly sharpened the focus” on questions surrounding the obstruction of justice controversy that now sits on President Trump’s doorstep. “All the other events lend emphasis, meaning and context to that event but that event is the real issue,” he says of Trump’s Feb. 14 Oval Office meeting during which the president allegedly pulled Comey aside and suggested the FBI director should “let this go” concerning the Flynn probe.Read More in Politico
An assertion that the president fired the FBI director to obstruct an investigation “makes more sense if he was trying to protect himself,” says law professor Lisa Kern Griffin. “In the context of the improper private meeting, (Trump’s) previous requests for loyalty, and then the subsequent termination of Director Comey, this conversation looks closer to obstruction than it did before (Thursday’s) testimony.”
Read More in the San Francisco Chronicle
Fired FBI Director James Comey’s testimony Thursday before a Senate panel offered near certainty that President Trump is under investigation for obstruction of justice, says a Duke law professor. “The hearing greatly sharpened the focus of this matter onto whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice when he isolated FBI Director Comey after a White House meeting and pressured him to drop an active criminal investigation for no proper purpose,” says law professor Samuel Buell.
The question is whether Trump sought to use the weight of his office to stifle a criminal investigation to protect a friend, or to protect himself, over and above the national interest. “I think the most important thing that’s going to happen is we’re going to get a sense of the feel and flavor of the conversations that took place, at least some of them, between the president and Comey,” says law professor Samuel Buell.