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Judge Burroughs has made her decision, now let her enforce it

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Customs and Border Protection is just outright ignoring court orders now:

An Iranian student planning to attend Northeastern University was removed from the country overnight Monday in defiance of a court order, his lawyer said, and a federal judge said Monday there was nothing left for the courts to do in the case.

Mohammad Shahab Dehghani Hossein, 24, had been detained by Customs and Border Protection at Logan International Airport since arriving in the US on Sunday. Hossein’s lawyers filed an emergency petition to block his deportation Monday night, and Judge Allison D. Burroughs ordered a 48-hour stay of removal.

But before that hearing took place, Hossein was flown out of the country, one of his lawyers, Susan Church, said in a text message to the Globe Tuesday morning, “In defiance of the order.”

At the scheduled hearing Tuesday morning, Judge Richard Stearns said the case was now moot, since the student was already out of the country.

A lawyer for Hossein asked that he be returned to the US, but the judge said there was little he could do now that the student was gone. “I don’t think they’re going to listen to me,” Stearns said.

I wonder what could give them the idea that they’re above the law?

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diannemharris
6 hours ago
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Can any law enacted under such circumstances be considered democratically structured?

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On MLK Day, let us consider one of the most critical passages in Letter From A Birmingham Jail:

Let us consider a more concrete example of just and unjust laws. An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself. This is difference made legal. By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made legal.

Let me give another explanation. A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law. Who can say that the legislature of Alabama which set up that state’s segregation laws was democratically elected? Throughout Alabama all sorts of devious methods are used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters, and there are some counties in which, even though Negroes constitute a majority of the population, not a single Negro is registered. Can any law enacted under such circumstances be considered democratically structured?

Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.

The contemporary Republican Party is, quite simply, a party devoted to ensuring that more unjust laws in one or both of these senses are passed and/or selectively enforced. This is true from the typical backbencher of a state legislature to the Chief Justice of the United States.

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diannemharris
14 hours ago
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Sole Power

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A few days ago, Senator Marsha Blackburn Tweeted one of the Republican talking points:

As an excuse not to call witnesses, Blackburn says that the “Senate’s job” is to review what the House sends to them from the impeachment inquiry.

The problem: That’s not how the Constitution defines the Senate’s job. It’s also not how the Senate rules define the Senate’s job.

Art. 1, Sec. 3 of the U.S. Constitution states that, “The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments.”

“Sole power” means that nobody else should do the work for the Senate. The word “Try” may be a little trickier. Perhaps that’s the one giving some of the Republican Senators trouble.

Trial (a form of the word “try”) is what happens when a court acts as a fact finder to determine what happened. This is done by examining witnesses and documents. Definition:

Now let’s look at the Senate rules governing impeachment trials. Rule VI states that:

The rules clearly state that the Senate has the power to compel the attendance of witnesses. Now, why would the Senate have the power to subpoena witnesses if all of that was supposed to be done in the House?

Senators like Blackburn are deliberately blurring the distinction between investigation and trials. The House has the sole power of impeachment. From Article I, Sec. 3:

This means the House decides whether it sees fit to impeach the president. But the trial happens in the Senate.

Yesterday Trump released his answer to the Articles of Impeachment. He claimed that his advisors are “absolutely immune” from being compelled to testify:

If the president, in fact, has the authority to refuse to comply with document requests, and if all of his advisors have absolute immunity and can refuse to testify, what the heck are the impeachment and removal provisions doing in the Constitution?

Trump ordered the entire executive branch to refuse to comply with witness and document requests. He also called impeachment a “dangerous attack on the right of the people to choose their president” and an attempt to interfere in the next election:

If “impeachment” is a dangerous attack on elections, why was it included in the Constitution? Did the drafters of the Constitution make a HUGE mistake when they put into the constitution that the president can be impeached and tried? (Of course not. Sen. Blackburn and many of her Republican colleagues are deliberately distorting the Constitution and senate rules.)

Obviously, a trial has no meaning if the person on trial has the absolute right to order witnesses not to testify, and can release only those documents that he chooses to release.

The girl in the front row asked some very tricky questions.

Assume for a moment that the process in the House was rushed and unfair. The solution is to have a not-rushed and fair trial. “They didn’t do their job well, so we won’t do ours at all,” is nonsensical. I get what she’s doing, though.

Sen. Blackburn and her Republican colleagues know that if they call witnesses (like Bolton) it will be harder to lie and cover for Trump.

Our job is to make sure that persuadable voters understand what’s happening. (Don’t try to persuade cult members. You’ll wear out.)

The post Sole Power appeared first on Musing about law, books, and politics.

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diannemharris
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Here’s how Bloomberg could help himself, Democrats and America - The Washington Post

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diannemharris
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acdha
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Washington, DC
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What Adding Luxury Housing Does to Rents Elsewhere

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There’s a fierce argument about housing affordability and supply that’s raging in the urbanist community. The big question: Does building “luxury” (or market rate) housing in wealthy neighborhoods free up more housing for everyone? Advocates in the “Yes In My Backyard” (YIMBY) movement say it does; others are more skeptical.  

The market-rate-skeptic’s view, as captured in Richard Florida’s write-up of a new paper by Andrés Rodríguez-Pose and Michael Storper, paints a picture like this: Allowing new market-rate housing citywide will only result in high-end units in already-expensive neighborhoods. At best, developers may win big as the wealthy enjoy new homes. At worst, it could exacerbate segregation in wealthy neighborhoods and displacement in low-income neighborhoods.

The pro-market-rate position, championed by YIMBYs, is more optimistic: This view would concede that, though it’s true that new market-rate units will be expensive given the current scarcity of housing, new units will ease up demand for existing housing. Through a process known as filtering, this older housing gradually becomes more affordable to middle- and low-income households. This will ultimately mitigate displacement risk in more vulnerable communities.

A new working paper by economist Evan Mast of the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research may help move the ball on this issue. Mast’s work suggests that even expensive new units in wealthy areas help relieve pressure on rents across the market, including in less-affluent neighborhoods. And that process doesn’t need to take years to unfold.

Until now, the argument for filtering has played out in the long run: Given a steady supply of new housing, older homes and apartments gradually grow more affordable, and households of all income levels gradually move into better housing. But many North American cities are in the grips of an urgent affordability crisis right now: Promises based on “the long run” can feel like cold comfort. What about the short run?

Mast looked at 802 new multifamily developments across 12 central cities, from the “Texas doughnuts” of Dallas to luxury high-rises in New York City. Using commercial address data, he found out the moving history of the residents of these new units. The first round of moves are roughly what you might expect: Approximately 70 percent came from nearby neighborhoods with above-average incomes, with the remaining 30 percent moving from below-average neighborhoods. These aren’t exactly inspiring results for activists focused on helping households at the bottom of the market.

But when a household moves into a new unit, they initiate a kind of housing musical chairs by vacating their existing unit. A second household then moves into that unit, in turn vacating a third unit. For each new market-rate building, Mast follows this trail of movers back through six moves, tracking where residents are moving from, a process he calls the migration chain. By the sixth link of this chain, Mast finds that approximately half of the movers are moving out of census tracts with below-median incomes. As many as 20 percent of movers are coming from the poorest tracts in the city.  

These findings suggest that housing markets aren’t nearly as segregated as some might fear, if you work your way down the migration chain far enough. His model suggests that for every 100 luxury units built in wealthier neighborhoods, as many as 48 households in moderate-income neighborhoods are able to move into housing that better suits their needs, vacating an existing unit in the process. Somewhere between 10 and 20 of these households are coming from among the city’s lowest-income neighborhoods, vacating units and reducing demand where housing is most likely to be affordable for working families.

This suggests that even pricey new units could free up a lot of existing housing. Accounting for possibilities like units sitting vacant, out-of-town movers filling the units, or units being used as second homes/pied-a-terres/safe deposit boxes in the sky, Mast’s model still indicates that for every 100 new market-rate units built, approximately 65 equivalent units are created by movers vacating existing units. If the migration chain is as robust as this paper finds it to be, as much as half of theses newly vacated units could be in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. This new supply, combined with less demand, could play a major role in easing pressure on rents in the short run.

No one paper is likely to settle a debate this contentious, but if further research vindicates Mast’s findings, his model could have serious implications for housing policy. For starters, the case against allowing new market-rate housing in high-income neighborhoods would be considerably weakened. And, as Daniel Herriges points out over on Strong Towns, it could also call into question well-meaning policies that suppress the construction of new housing, such as inclusionary zoning.

That doesn’t mean we can expect an end to Great Housing Supply Debate of 2019: It’s clear that deeper issues divide the urbanism community. But in the meantime, we can recognize Mast’s work for what it is: a glimmer of empiricism that helps pierce an increasingly dense fog of ideological theory.

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satadru
3 days ago
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If you haven't seen it yet...
New York, NY
CallMeWilliam
1 day ago
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diannemharris
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mareino
2 days ago
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I'll be the first to admit, a 100-to-65 ratio wouldn't be great for a government investment project. But for private capital that's not even trying to invest in the needs of the working class and poor, this is about as good as it gets.
Washington, District of Columbia

City Of Dallas Shuts Down Business Of Man Who Called Cops Over 100 Times In 20 Months To Deal With Criminals Near His Car Wash

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Let's talk about nuisance abatement laws. These are laws cities can use to shut down businesses that appear to draw more than their fair share of the criminal element.

If you're a fan of asset forfeiture, you'll love nuisance laws. By abdicating their law enforcement responsibilities, cities can have their lower cost cake and eat your property too. It's win-win for cities, who love to use laws like this to effectively seize property from citizens who have the misfortune to operate legitimate businesses in high crime areas.

Here's how it works in Dallas, Texas. The city says business owners must pay for their own security devices and personnel to keep their businesses free of criminals. No business will be compensated for these additional costs. All cops need to do is throw a couple of placards at the business and the city takes it from there. Criminal activity in the area is now the responsibility of businesses in the area. Can't get criminals to get off your property? Too bad. It's the city's property now.

The Dallas police chief has a new tool in her arsenal to force home and business owners to address crime on or near their properties: shame.

On Wednesday, the Dallas City Council passed a "nuisance abatement" ordinance allowing Police Chief U. Renee Hall to identify properties that tolerate criminal activity and try to get the owners to address it.

The new ordinance allows city officials to slap a sign on properties identified as sites of "habitual criminal activity."

The first efforts involve shaming the business owners for things they likely cannot control. This isn't the only step taken, though. The placards are the beginning. If the city feels the business owner isn't doing enough to control crime in the area (surely that's a law enforcement job?), it can shut the business down and keep fining it for anything and everything it can think of until the business owner is insolvent and has to sell the property.

A South Dallas car wash owner has been fighting the city on and off for most of three decades over its application of nuisance laws. The city has already shut down Dale Davenport's car wash. City council members claim Davenport is to blame for the crime that surrounds his business. It also claims he's done next to nothing to solve a problem he didn't create.

Davenport fought back. He demanded the city turn over 911 call records linked to his business in order to show the problem isn't his, but the Dallas Police Department's. After several months of being stonewalled, he has finally obtained the documents he needs to show the city it's not doing all it can to combat crime. Jim Schutze of the Dallas Observer has been following this fight for years and has the details.

After a two-year tooth-and-nail battle with the city, Davenport’s lawyer, Warren Norred, recently forced City Hall to cough up the official record of 911 calls Davenport has been making all along, begging police to come to his place of business.

It's not just a few calls scattered over several months. Davenport called the cops constantly, asking them to come deal with the criminal element that seemed to feel it could just hang out at his place of business. The city says crime is Davenport's fault. The record(s) [PDF] show this is a failure of city agencies, most notably the Dallas PD.

On and on the 911 reports go for 414 single-spaced pages... And that covers only 20 months from 1/5/18 to 9/25/19. Dale Davenport and his father, Freddy Davenport, have been calling the cops to their property for 27 years.

Davenport is suing the city and the hundreds of pages of 911 calls are vital to his litigation. The city wants to take his property, claiming he hasn't fulfilled his obligations as a citizen and business owner. 414 pages of 911 calls says otherwise. Davenport (and his father before him) have been pleading for the city to clean up a crime-infested area filled with drug houses and the criminal element drawn to this area by the (apparently) unchecked drug trade.

The PD's newly-formed Nuisance Abatement Team doesn't appear to have made any impact here, other than posting placards on businesses it believes aren't doing enough to fight the crime the Dallas PD should be fighting. Paying taxes should entitle you to city services, but only thing Dallas wants to give Davenport in exchange for his involuntary contributions is all the blame for the crime that surrounds him.

Fourteen years ago, a state committee investigation [PDF] found Dallas' nuisance laws had been abused severely and regularly.

Sworn testimony before the house committee described specific cases of misuse of the statute by city officials such as:

• Targeting of a few, select businesses in high-crime areas, while ignoring more serious crimes occurring on surrounding properties;
• Directing businesses to hire certain security personnel with the clear suggestion that hiring these select individuals would diminish the city's threatened enforcement of nuisance abatement;
• Parking a large number of police cars in the parking lot of a business owner as a retaliatory act toward that owner, who had challenged the city's nuisance action against him and had testified in court on behalf of an individual who was acquitted of charges for resisting arrest while on the business' property;
• Using calls to police requesting assistance by the business as marks against that business in the city's criteria for evidence of nuisance abatement violations;
• Directing a hotel property owner to run criminal history checks on all guests, which is a possible violation of the guests' civil rights and could potentially subject the business to legal liability; and
• Sanctioning a local car wash owner because marihuana was found in the pants pocket of a person working on the property. It was suggested by the city legal department that the owner needed to conduct random pat-down searches of persons working on the property on a regular basis -- an act prohibited by law even for law enforcement officers.

To sum up:

[T]he committees are gravely concerned that the problems stemming from Dallas' use of the nuisance laws are the result of a unique and incorrect interpretation of those laws by city officials -- wrongly taking the laws to mean that fighting crime is no longer the city's responsibility but has instead now become primarily the responsibility of private citizens and businesses; and that private citizens can be held strictly liable for crimes that take place on or near their property even when they are not involved in that crime, have taken affirmative steps to prevent the crime, are themselves victims of that crime, and have reported the crime, requesting the assistance of law enforcement agencies. Furthermore, the body of evidence available to the committees also strongly suggests that the city uses the nuisance laws to intimidate, promote cronyism, and inappropriately use law enforcement personnel, specifically uniformed police and code enforcement officers, to deliver not-too-subtle messages of coercion and retaliation to legitimate businesses and property owners who refuse to submit to such tactics.

It's 2020. Nothing has changed. The city continues to shrug off its responsibilities and put private business owners in the impossible position of clearing out nearby crime without relying on the law enforcement services the city is supposed to provide to taxpayers. I guess the city believes it's only obligation to business owners like Davenport is to staff 911 call centers. Other than that, they're on their own until the city shuts them down.



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jepler
2 days ago
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@emdeecee
Earth, Sol system, Western spiral arm
diannemharris
2 days ago
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notadoctor
2 days ago
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Oakland, CA
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