ChrisWeigant.com

Archive of Articles in the "The Bill of Rights" Category

Jeff Sessions Brings Back Highway Robbery

[ Posted Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 – 17:17 PDT ]

That headline sounds like hyperbole or a metaphor, but sadly it is quite literal. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is bringing back a program which steals money and other valuables from people -- often while they're traveling -- and then refuses to give it back unless the victim sues to get it back in federal court. The costs of bringing a federal case often are more than the value of the property stolen, or "seized" as Sessions would put it. This all takes place even though the victim is never charged with any crime. Meaning the only crime here is the highway robbery by the government, even if they pretty it up with the name "asset forfeiture."

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Friday Talking Points [440] -- Liar, Liar!

[ Posted Friday, June 9th, 2017 – 17:20 PDT ]

President Donald Trump and former F.B.I. chief James Comey engaged this week in an extended game of "Liar, liar!" Or, more properly: "Liar!" "No, you're a liar!" Yes, it was "Super Bowl" week in Washington, folks!

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Off With Her Head!

[ Posted Wednesday, May 31st, 2017 – 17:17 PDT ]

So, comedienne Kathy Griffin's head appears to be on the chopping block. That's a metaphor, of course, and as of now it is even inaccurate, since CNN has already parted ways with Griffin (she co-hosted their New Year's Eve show with Anderson Cooper, one of the most bizarre television matchups since Al Franken and Arianna Huffington appeared "in bed" together, doing their version of election coverage in 1996). Since CNN's announcement, the proper metaphor becomes: "Kathy Griffin axed by CNN." Or, perhaps: "her head has already rolled." These aren't really political metaphors, they're instead business-related. Speaking of getting "axed" rather than getting fired is merely poetic hyperbole, and who among us hasn't ever used the "heads are going to roll" or "on the chopping block" line ourselves? Does this kind of conflation cross a moral or ethical line? Or is it merely what used to be called "gallows humor" -- attempting to make light of the worst of situations?

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Trump's Exhausting First Road Trip

[ Posted Monday, May 22nd, 2017 – 16:41 PDT ]

President Donald Trump has only just begun his first road trip outside the United States, and he's already "exhausted," according to one of his own advisors. This may or may not be true, since anything either Trump or any of his spokespeople say at this point has to be taken with a grain of salt -- especially considering the "exhausted" comment was given as an excuse for a Trump gaffe (more on that in a bit). But this week's calendar for Trump seems to have been constructed on the theme of: "Any Trump campaign promises left unbroken? Well, let's see how many we can break in a single week!"

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Muslim Travel Ban Legal Fight Is Almost Irrelevant

[ Posted Monday, May 8th, 2017 – 16:21 PDT ]

Today, arguments were heard by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals over President Donald Trump's revised travel ban on a handful of Muslim countries. Next week, the Ninth Circuit will chime in as well. But we're fast approaching the point where the entire argument becomes irrelevant, to both sides.

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In Support Of Coulter's Right To Speak

[ Posted Wednesday, April 26th, 2017 – 16:21 PDT ]

Decades ago, a group of American Nazis wanted to hold a march, complete with swastikas and all the rest of the Nazi regalia. The city they wanted to march in turned their request down. The Nazis fought in court, and they were aided in doing so by the American Civil Liberties Union. That's what an unshakable commitment to the First Amendment means -- defending those with whom you do not agree. Which is why I support Ann Coulter's right to speak at the University of California, Berkeley. I certainly don't agree with a single word that comes out of the woman's mouth, but I have to defend her right to spew her bile in a venue supported by my tax dollars.

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California Considers Historic "Weed Sanctuary" Status

[ Posted Wednesday, April 19th, 2017 – 17:52 PDT ]

A bill has been introduced in California's state legislature which would prevent the state's law enforcement officers (and any other state resources) from being used to: "investigate, detain, detect, report, or arrest a person for marijuana activity that is authorized by law in the State of California." The bill is based on a similar bill which would declare California a "sanctuary state" for undocumented immigrants. Either one would be the first of its kind on a statewide level. The marijuana sanctuary bill (AB 1578) would send a clear signal to both Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the state is not going to take part in any new federal War On Weed. It just passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee by a vote of 5 to 2.

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Judicial Jottings

[ Posted Tuesday, February 7th, 2017 – 18:56 PST ]

I had fully intended to write another column postulating that our president and a few of his advisors are nothing short of blithering idiots (you know, the usual thing), but then I got hooked into the modern world of technology and instead sat through the entire hour-long oral arguments hearing in Washington v. Trump, which turned out to be fascinating. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals helpfully live-streamed the audio of a conference call where the lawyers from the Trump administration and the state of Washington made their case to a three-judge panel, on the merits of the temporary restraining order that a district judge in Washington issued that shut down President Trump's executive order banning people from seven countries from entering the United States. So any citizen could, in effect, sit in the courtroom and hear the cases made. I have to admit a certain level of wonky awe that this is the world we live in -- where such things are not just possible, but are now routine.

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Friday Talking Points [414] -- Special Election Edition

[ Posted Friday, November 4th, 2016 – 17:06 PDT ]

However, regular readers of this column are going to have to wait yet another week for a standard Friday Talking Points offering. This week we are throwing out our format entirely, and instead providing an explanation of who we're voting for, followed by a call for reform in an effort to inject a possible silver lining to what promises to be a very contentious Election Day (no matter who wins). Yes, there will be optimism at the end of this column, specifically provided for people who are tired of the apocalyptic tone of the final pre-election week. So there's that to look forward to.

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Friday Talking Points [403] -- GOP Anti-Trump Rants

[ Posted Friday, August 12th, 2016 – 16:56 PDT ]

This column has always loved a good rant. Most of the time, we provide our own rant at the end of the column, on a subject too big to be contained in talking points. This week, we provide a number of rants from Republicans about their very own party's presidential nominee. Yes, it's only August and the Republican Party is coming apart at the seams. Which, of course, makes for great summertime reading for all!

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