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Akron Law Café

Breaking Up Too-Big-to-Fail

By Stefan Published: July 31, 2011

Proxy Access and the Rule of Law

By Stefan Published: July 28, 2011

Bulwyr-Lytton "Literary" Prize Winners Announced

By Wilson Huhn Published: July 28, 2011

And the winning entry is ...

Dozens of disturbingly hilarious entries are spread across the web like a patient etherized upon a table at the 2011 Bulwyr-Lytton awards site.  One more for good luck, from the "Dishonorable Mention" list, by Basil McConnell of Vancouver, B.C.:

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Herman Cain Apologizes to Muslims

By Wilson Huhn Published: July 28, 2011

After meeting with Muslim leaders at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center in Sterling, Virginia, Herman Cain issued a brief apology for previous statements he had made.

Having criticized Herman Cain for remarks he made stating that he would be hesitant to hire Muslims in his administration and that local communities have the right to block the construction of mosques, it is appropriate to acknowledge that Cain has met with Muslim leaders and apologized.

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NPR's Firing of Juan Williams

By Wilson Huhn Published: July 27, 2011

In October 2010 commentator Juan Williams was fired from NPR for remarks he made about Muslims.  His firing was unjustified.

David Folkenflik, in a story posted at NPR on October 21, 2010 NPR Ends Williams' Contract After Muslim Remarks, reported that NPR fired Williams because of the following comment he made on Bill O'Reilly's program at Fox:

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Breivik Manifesto: "2083: A European Declaration of Independence"

By Wilson Huhn Published: July 26, 2011

Below are links to descriptions and reactions to the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik's 1500-page manifesto, "2083: A European Declaration of Independence."

Camille Mann, CBS News, July 25, 2011, Norway suspect Anders Behring Breivik released manifesto, "A European Declaration of Independence".  Mann describes Breivik's desire to rid Europe of Muslims and his anger towards "multiculturalists" who allowed Muslims to immigrate there.  Mann states:

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Boehner and Reid Plans for Deficit Reduction

By Wilson Huhn Published: July 25, 2011

Included below are links to the competing budget plans being offered today by House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Boehner's plan was posted by Politico.  Reid's is in two parts (here and here) at TwitPic.  Boehner's plan cuts and caps $1 trillion in discretionary spending and would raise the debt limit for only 6 months.  Reid's plan includes $2.7 trillion in spending cuts (mainly from the military) and would raise the debt limit until 2013.  Neither plan contains any tax increases.

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Proxy Access Struck Down

By Stefan Published: July 23, 2011

Ohio Texting Bill

By Lynn Published: July 22, 2011

Ohio House Bill 99 successfully passed the House and is now in the state Senate.

A recent article in the Beacon Journal about texting while driving made me curious about the status of Ohio's bill.  House Bill 99 was introduced in February, passed the House in June and has moved on to the Senate.

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The "Gang of Six" Budget Proposal Compared to Proposal of National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform: The Tax Side of the Ledger

By Wilson Huhn Published: July 20, 2011

The executive summary of the "Gang of Six" proposal roughly tracks the recommendations of the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (Simpson-Bowles).  In this post I compare the two proposals on taxes.

The National Journal has posted an Executive Summary of the "Gang of Six" proposal that President Obama endorsed in remarks yesterday.  Although offering far less detail it appears very similar to the National Commission's recommendations contained in the document "Moment of Truth" that the Commission adopted on December 10, 2010.

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Respect for Marriage Act

By Wilson Huhn Published: July 19, 2011

Jay Carney, President Obama's press secretary, announced today that the President supports the adoption of the Respect for Marriage Act.  This law would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.

The proposed law does not require the states to recognize same-sex marriage.  Instead it requires the federal government to recognize the law of the state where the marriage was entered into.  According to, the proposed Respect for Marriage Act provides:

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau -- Why It's Necessary

By Wilson Huhn Published: July 19, 2011

The Consumer Finance Protection Agency will commence operation Thursday.  This agency will fill a tremendous gap in American law of personal finance.

The Wall Street reform measure ("Dodd-Frank") promises to enhance regulation of banks and investment companies to prevent another collapse of the banking system.  The law will prohibit banks from operating hedge funds or private equity funds, regulate investment vehicles like derivatives, and will prevent future bailouts of financial institutions.  The law also creates the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which will have the authority to regulate consumer operations at large banks and a variety of other consumer financial services companies.

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Anti-Muslim Bigotry on the Rise

By Wilson Huhn Published: July 18, 2011

The Southern Poverty Law Center reports:

The Southern Poverty Law Center has issued a report, Jihad Against Islam, by Robert Steinback, describing a recent increase in anti-Muslim activity in the United States.  The report states:

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The Murfeesboro Mosque, Herman Cain, RLUIPA, and the First Amendment

By Wilson Huhn Published: July 16, 2011

The AP reports Herman Cain opposes planned Tennessee mosque.  In remarks to reporters at a campaign stop at Murfeesboro, Tennessee, Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain voiced opposition to the construction of a mosque in that city.  This matter brings to mind a number of important aspects of freedom of religion.

On July 14, 2011, Eric Shelzig of the AP posted in The Tennessean Cain: Murfreesboro mosque would spread extremism, reporting that Cain made the following comments during a campaign stop in Murfeesboro:

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The United States and 30 Other Countries Recognize Rebels as Legitimate Government of Libya

By Wilson Huhn Published: July 15, 2011

One power that the President of the United States may exercise unilaterally is to recognize (and withdraw recognition from) foreign governments.  The Obama administration has just exercised that power with respect to Libya.

News outlets are reporting that the United States and other countries meeting in Turkey have agreed to recognize the National Transitional Council (NTC) as the legitimate government of Libya.  The immediate consequence of this action is to make it possible for the Obama administration to release up to 30 billion dollars in Libyan property held in the United States to the rebels.  Turkey has called upon the U.S. to do just that.  See CNN, July 15, 2011, U.S. recognizes Libyan rebels; CBC News, July 15, 2011, Gadhafi regime not legitimate, world leaders say; Al Jazeera English, July 15, 2011, US recognises Libyan opposition group: Decision by 32-nation Contact Group expected to free up money for fighters seeking to end Muammar Gaddafi's rulesee February 17 Libya News for updates. 

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Potter a Smash!

By Wilson Huhn Published: July 15, 2011

My wife and I saw Potter 7 Part 2 at midnight last night - terrific!

The two of us were easily the oldest people in the nearly-filled theater.  The crowd consisted almost entirely of twenty-year-olds - loud and boisterous through the previews, then respectfully silent through the film.  The young man next to me was weeping softly near the end as Harry made his choice.  Tons of cheerful applause at the end.

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A Constitutional Analysis of "Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons" (1986)

By Wilson Huhn Published: July 15, 2011

On October 1, 1986 - three months and a day after the United States Supreme Court handed down its decision in Bowers v. Hardwick upholding a Georgia law making homosexuality a crime - the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons instructing Catholic bishops how to respond to homosexuality.  In this post I draw attention to a number of different aspects of the church letter from a constitutional perspective.

Homosexual Conduct Is Evil

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Does a Newspaper Have the Right Under the First Amendment to Hack into Someone's Voice Mail?

By Wilson Huhn Published: July 14, 2011

Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation allegedly hacked into the voice mail accounts of thousands of persons in Great Britain, including the royal family, the victim of a terrorist attack, and a thirteen-year-old girl who was abducted and killed.  It has also been reported that the company may have hacked the phones of 9/11 victims in America while trolling for news.  Would these actions be protected by the First Amendment? 

Devin Brown of CBS News, July 13, 2011, reports in Did News Corp. also hack 9/11 victims' phones?:

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Civil War (7): General Patrick R. Cleburne's Letter on Slavery

By Wilson Huhn Published: July 14, 2011

Pat Cleburne - the Irish-born Confederate general - is one of my favorite figures of the Civil War, emblematic of the highest qualities on both sides of that conflict.  He was heroic not only in battle but in his opposition to slavery, which he expressed in his letter of January 2, 1864.  The southern leadership's reaction to his letter and what happened to Cleburne afterwards illustrates why the Confederacy lost the war.

Like many soldiers in the history of warfare Pat Cleburne was a far better man than the cause he fought for.  Cleburne distinguished himself in battle countless times.  On November 25, 1863, at the northern end of Missionary Ridge Cleburne's single division held off Sherman's six, while thanks to Braxton Bragg's careless deployment and ambiguous orders the remainder of the Confederate Army of Tennessee was unable to maintain its position atop the ridge against roughly equal Union forces.  Cleburne covered the headlong retreat of Bragg's army, then held off vastly superior pursuing forces under Hooker at Ringgold Gap to save it again.  

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Whither on Deficit Reduction?

By Wilson Huhn Published: July 13, 2011

Congress has no choice but to raise the debt limit.  That does not obviate the need to balance the budget.

News outlets are reporting that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is conceding that Congress has no choice but to approve the increase in the debt limit.  He is apparently proposing changing the rules so that the debt limit would automatically increase unless a two-thirds majority of both houses of Congress rejects the increase, thus allowing Republicans to vote against future increases and enabling them to blame any such increases on the Democratic Party.  See Alexander Bolton, The Hill, July 12, 2011 McConnell fallback plan would leave debt-ceiling hikes up to Obama; Brian Beutler, Talking Points Memo, July 12, 2011, The Big Blink? McConnell Proposes Giving Obama Authority To Raise Debt Limit Alone;  David Rogers and Scott Wong, Politico, July 12, 2011, Senate GOP mulls new debt strategy.

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Global Commission on Drug Policy Recommends Decriminalization - U.S. Response - Constitutionality of Drug Laws

By Wilson Huhn Published: July 13, 2011

The United States Office of National Drug Control Policy recommends a shift in resources from interdiction and prohibition of drugs towards treatment and rehabilitation.  Global Commission on Drug Policy recommends complete decriminalization of drug abuse.

In June, 2011, the Global Commission on Drug Policy issued a report proposing an end to the "War on Drugs" and suggesting a dramatically different approach.  The Commission issued the following recommendations:

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DEA Report on Whether to Allow Medicinal Uses of Marijuana

By Wilson Huhn Published: July 12, 2011

The Drug Enforcement Agency recently released a report on marijuana .  The agency recommends that marijuna should continue to be classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, meaning that doctors will continue to be prohibited from prescribing it to patients.

The report is entitled Denial of Petition to Initiate Proceedings to Reschedule Marijuana.  The 2011 findings commence at page 47 (preceded by the 2006 report making the same recommendation).  The report cites hundreds of authorities citing statistics on the extent of marijuana use in the United States, its possible medicinal use, and the harmful effects of the drug.

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What's in a Name?

By Wilson Huhn Published: July 11, 2011

One odd phenomenon in our family among so very many are our names.

My wife and I agonized over choosing names for our children.  We needn't have bothered.  Our oldest son changed their names anyway.

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Expert Advice on Teaching Contracts, Corporate Finance, and Banking Law

By Stefan Published: July 9, 2011

You'll find the relevant links here.

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Under the Constitution May the United States Default on Existing Debt?

By Wilson Huhn Published: July 9, 2011

Some government officials have questioned whether in light of the Fourteenth Amendment Congress may refuse to raise the debt ceiling.  The real question is: "Does the Constitution permit the federal government to default on existing debt?

There has been considerable controversy over whether the Constitution prohibits Congress from refusing to raise the debt ceiling.  See Alicia M. Cohn, at The Hill, Schumer threatens 14th Amendment solution for 'next round' of debt-ceiling talks;  Peter Kasperowicz, The Hill, Graham, Senate Republicans reject 14th Amendment debt-ceiling option

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Thinking About Law School? Akron Law to Hold Open House July 30

By Diana Published: July 8, 2011

Prospective law students can learn about opportunities at Akron Law at an open house from 1 to 3:15 p.m. on Saturday, July 30.

The program will include an admissions and financial aid session; a mock law class; and a student and alumni panel discussion. After the open house, optional guided tours of the law school will be available beginning at 3:15 p.m.

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Arguments for and against ENDA

By Wilson Huhn Published: July 7, 2011

ENDA (the Employment Nondiscrimination Act) is before Congress.  This law would make it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Representatives Barney Frank (D-MA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (D-FL) and 145 other members of the House of Representatives are sponsoring H.R. 1397, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in the House. Senators Jeff Merkely (D-OR) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) and 38 other Senators sponsor S.811, the identical bill in the Senate. The text of the bill is available from OpenCongress here.

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July 4th in American History

By Wilson Huhn Published: July 4, 2011

A date we treasure.

July 4, 1776

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Justice Department Brief in Golinski Case Opposing Defense of Marriage Act

By Wilson Huhn Published: July 3, 2011

On February 23, 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder wrote a letter to John Boehner, Speaker of the House of Representatives, informing him that the President had determined that his administration could no longer in good conscience defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.  The President promised to continue to enforce the Act, but invited the House to assume responsibility for defending the Act in court.  Yesterday the Department of Justice filed a brief in opposition to DOMA in the case of Golinski v. Office of Personnel Management.

Karen Golinski, a staff attorney for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, is married to another woman under the laws of the State of California.  She attempted to enroll her spouse under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan, but her application was rejected because the federal Defense of Marriage Act prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages or extending benefits to these unions.  She thereupon sued the federal Office of Personnel Management, contending that DOMA is unconstitutional under principles of Equal Protection.

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2010-2011 Supreme Court Term: Decision in Arizona Free Enterprise Club's Freedom PAC v. Bennett

By Wilson Huhn Published: July 3, 2011

To no-one's surprise, a majority of the Supreme Court voted to strike down an Arizona law that provided public funds to political candidates matching the amounts raised their opponents.

Last week the Supreme Court released its decision in Arizona Free Enterprise Club's Freedom PAC v. Bennett

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Sixth Circuit Strikes Down Amendment to Michigan Constitution Prohibiting Affirmative Action

By Wilson Huhn Published: July 2, 2011

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has handed down its decision in the case of Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action v. Regents of the University of Michigan.  By a vote of 2-1, a panel of the Court of Appeals struck down Proposal 2 amending the Michigan Constitution insofar as the amendment prohibits state universities from adopting affirmative action admissions programs.

Proposal 2 added the following language to the State Constitution prohibiting affirmative action in public employment, public education, or public contracting:

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