All posts by Alex Grass

“Social justice lawyers” won’t save law school

Last Friday, the Dean of Brooklyn Law School, Nicholas Allard, published an op-ed in The Hill that theorized a recent minor uptick in the number of law school applications was due to “the intense interest among many Millennials in issues of social justice and the urge to make a positive difference.”

More specifically, Dean Allard pointed to the hordes of attorneys and law students that packed airport terminals in January to provide counsel to visitors caught up in President Trump’s poorly conceived immigration ban. In the dean’s opinion, these activists inspired new law school applicants “like the generation inspired by Woodward and Bernstein to pursue careers in journalism.”

There are entrenched, systemic problems in legal education — over-valued sticker prices, nearly insurmountable student loan debt, curricular requirements that skimp on teaching real lawyering practices — that guarantee law school is a bad choice for many or most students. Dean Allard is making an emotional appeal, but the truth is that legal education is undergoing permanent changes. These changes mean that fewer students should go to law school, constitutional crisis or not.

Continue reading at Learn Liberty.

It’s The Juristocrats!

There’s a growing phenomenon of wizened robe-wearers treading over more and more ground in the realm of national security, in the realm of sovereignty itself, all while abdicating their duty to protect the actual rights that affect most people on a daily basis. The inability of judges to restrain themselves from those specialized concerns, like the infamous recent Trump immigration order, poses real problems. Who are these judges and the people who support their gavel-leaded absolutism?

It’s the Juristocrats!

Some questions are inherently political. They’re the big picture issues that have no easy answers—was Lincoln right to suspend habeus corpus, should the Brits have bombed Dresden? It’s highly questionable whether those types of questions should be subject to review by a non-expert in an isolated courthouse chamber.

The importance of an independent judiciary isn’t the same as holding judicial supremacy to be of the utmost importance.

The Gulag Aperture: Hollywood Becomes Handmaiden To China’s Communist Party

On New Year’s Day, China Central Television (CCTV) unveiled its newest “soft power” entertainment media venture, whose purpose is to extend China’s global media influence. Chinese President Xi Jinping said that the overriding directive of this new collection of television stations and news agencies will be to “follow the party line and promote ‘positive propaganda as the main theme.’”

The CCTV announcement compounds the growing risk that increased Chinese investment will entice Hollywood into volunteering itself as a propaganda division of the Communist Party of China (CPC). And if these trends continue, the Western world’s outlet for Chinese dissenters will be closed.

China’s film industry has in recent years grown approximately 34% annually and generated $6.8 billion in 2015. While many applaud the very modest political reforms that sometimes complement China’s market liberalization, one should be wary of the country’s iron grip on its entertainment industry.

China’s industry players are inextricably bound to the CPC, as evidenced by the ascent of Wang Jianlin, China’s richest man. Jianlin’s successes are a product of quid pro quo arrangements between himself and the CPC’s top officials. Further, Jianlin is a delegate to the CPC congress and was a high-level advisor in China’s faux legislature from 2008 to 2013. Today, CPC delegate Jianlin can count several American awards shows, including the Golden Globes, the Billboard and American Music Awards, and even AMC Theaters as part of his recently accrued collection.

Continue reading at Forbes.

 

Did Facebook Undermine its Anti-Fake-News Narrative by Enlisting Uber-Partisan David Brock?

After Hillary Clinton’s surprising fall from grace, longtime Clinton loyalist David Brock staged a Democratic Party revival pitch-session in Florida over inauguration weekend. Within a week, the Washington Free Beacon published a copy of a “briefing book” from the Florida retreat, revealing Brock’s claim that his progressive non-profit outlet, Media Matters, was “engaging with Facebook leadership” to offer a solution to the purported fake news epidemic.

If Brock’s boast is true, then it presents a serious problem.

A man with a suspect ethical worldview, Brock has an undeniable knack for “saturating the airwaves” with spin and an equally undeniable handicap when it comes to being politically neutral. He is so virulently partisan that he quit the board of his own government watchdog, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, when Bush-administration ethics lawyer Richard Painter joined.

Simply put, if it’s true that Facebook went to Media Matters to find the antidote for fake news, then it shows that Mark Zuckerberg either doesn’t care that David Brock is an unabashedly biased Democratic operative, doesn’t care that he has admitted to disseminating misinformation, or both.

Continue reading at Townhall.

Dispelling 3 Myths Swirling Around the Sally Yates Controversy

Acting Attorney General Sally Yates did a very smart thing … for her career. In her refusal to enforce President Trump’s immigration ban against a number of dangerous countries—Iran, Sudan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya and Somalia—Yates has rocketed into the progressive political exosphere.

She may hope to someday become Senator Yates.

A number of misconceptions have been swirling around Yates’ controversial memorandum, and President Trump’s subsequent decision to fire her and add Dana J. Boente as the new acting attorney general. Here are a few brief arguments dispelling those mythic notions.

The first myth is that somehow, this Obama appointee has suddenly grown to love our system of checks and balances.

Quite aside from the question of the Trump immigration order’s lawfulness, Yates’ concern is “whether any policy choice embodied in the Executive Order is wise or just.” But it’s neither the duty nor the prerogative of the president’s agents to choose not to enforce a policy based on the wisdom or justness of that policy.

Her insubordination is a revival-in-miniature of the Obama administration’s assault on the separation of powers. Simply put, this is “an act of sabotage” intended to make governance more difficult for the Trump administration, with the added bonus that Yates gets to genuflect in an act of progressive piety. The idea that Yates, an attorney appointed to the Obama Department of Justice, is concerned about presidential overreach is, to be generous, risible.

 Continue reading at Townhall.