May 31, 2011
Millions of Millionaires, with 2/5th of the World's Wealth
According to a description in the WSJ, Boston Consulting Group estimates that there are 12 million millionnaires in the world, holding some 39% of the world's wealth.
May 22, 2011
An Unfair Attack on Goodwin Liu
Many have criticized the Republicans in the Senate for their refusal to allow Associate Dean Goodwin Liu to be considered for a nomination to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. (See especially Professor Geoffrey Stone’s analysis.)
The charges against him often revolve around a few quotes from his earlier statements. The Wall Street Journal writes, for example:
On Mr. Alito, [Professor Liu] was nastier: "Judge Alito's record envisions an America where police may shoot and kill an unarmed boy to stop him from running away with a stolen purse," Mr. Liu said in written testimony. Charming stuff. Mr. Liu has since kinda-sorta suggested contrition by saying his statements were perhaps "unduly harsh and provocative," but he isn't disowning the legal analysis.
The fact is that Dean Liu made this statement after reviewing a memo written by now-Justice Alito in 1984. That memo provided a foundation for the characterization.
Here is an excerpt from Dean Liu’s testimony to the Senate in 2006:
Judge Alito has looked skeptically upon government power in some cases involving free speech and religious liberty. But in his record as a whole, those decisions are exceptions to a disturbing pattern of deference toward the use of government power against individuals. Perhaps the most troubling aspect of this pattern is Judge Alito's cramped reading of the Fourth Amendment's prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures, a vital safeguard that grew directly out of colonial resistance to abuses by the Crown. In his career, Judge Alito has never taken a position more receptive to individual privacy or security than the position taken by his colleagues on the same panel.
A. POLICE USE OF EXCESSIVE FORCE
The Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable seizures prohibits police from using excessive force in an arrest, detention, or investigatory stop. Judge Alito has taken a very narrow view of what constitutes excessive force, beginning with the fifteen-page Justice Department memorandum he wrote in 1984 concluding that the use of deadly force against a fleeing unarmed suspect does not violate the Fourth Amendment.
The memorandum examined a case in which Memphis police officers in 1974, responding to a burglary complaint, arrived at a house, heard a door slam, and saw someone running across the backyard. The suspect reached a fence, at which point an officer called out "police, halt." When the suspect began to climb the fence, the officer shot him in the back of the head, killing him. The suspect, Edward Garner, was an eighth-grader, fifteen years old, 5'4" tall, 100 to 110 pounds, and black. Police found a purse and $10 taken from the house on his body. It was undisputed that the officer believed Garner was unarmed. The sole justification offered for the killing was to prevent escape.
As the Los Angeles Times reports, the Supreme Court ruled in 1985, by a vote of 6 to 3 against the view that now Justice Alito preferred:
"I think the shooting [in this case] can be justified as reasonable," Alito wrote in a 1984 memo to Justice Department officials.
... A year later, however, the Supreme Court used the same case to set a firm national rule against the routine use of "deadly force" against fleeing suspects who pose no danger.
"It is not better that all felony suspects die than that they escape," wrote Justice Byron White for a 6-3 majority in Tennessee vs. Garner. "Where the suspect poses no immediate threat to the officer and no threat to others, the harm resulting from failing to apprehend him does not justify the use of deadly force to do so."
The 4th Amendment forbids "unreasonable searches and seizures" by the government, and the high court said that killing an unarmed suspect who was subject to arrest amounted to an "unreasonable seizure."
Said White: "A police officer may not seize an unarmed, nondangerous suspect by shooting him dead."
May 10, 2011
Fred Korematsu's Lawyer Now Federal District Court Judge
Federal Magistrate Judge Ed Chen, who worked on Fred Korematsu's coram nobis team, has been confirmed by the United States Senate to an Article III Judgeship in the Northern District of California Federal District Court. Judge Chen now becomes only the second Asian American ever to serve as a federal district court judge in the Northern District of California, after the appointment of Judge Lucy Koh last year.