The latest turn in the insane legal challenge to the First Sore Loser’s election defeat got me thinking of one of my favorite professors at Tulane Law School. His name was Luther Love McDougal III and I took two classes from him: International Law and Conflicts of Law.
I did not expect to find Conflicts fascinating but I did because he was such an excellent teacher. Conflicts of Law is all about jurisdictional tangles and Professor McDougal took a puckish pleasure in explaining how to untangle them. He lived in the French Quarter and I ran into him from time-to-time after my parole from law school. He didn’t remember my name when first we met post-law school, but he recalled that I was one of his students and that I had exceptionally bad handwriting. I still have bad dreams involving blue books and blue ink.
Conflicts was one of the few law school classes in which I voluntarily participated because Professor MacDougal’s version of the Socratic Method was not a form of intellectual torture. I learned a lot from him and, more importantly, I retained a lot of information that would have otherwise gone in one ear and out the other after the final exam. That’s the sign of a great teacher.
Professor McDougal suffered a heart attack when I was taking his International Law course. I remember the day the Dean informed us that our prof was on the disabled list and that we’d all be given passing marks in lieu of a letter grade. In typical law student fashion there was outrage about this turn of events. I rose to my feet and said something to the effect of: “What the hell is wrong with you people? Professor McDougal is a good man. He treats us well and deserves the same treatment in return.” My classmates were mostly unmoved, but I felt better. One cannot shame the shameless, after all.
Professor McDougal died in 2004; like all great teachers he made an impact on his students. It’s time to finally explain why I have the wonderfully named Luther Love McDougal on my mind.
The Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is a major buttinski. He’s asked the Supremes to okay a lawsuit that seeks to overturn the election results in Georgia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. It’s a conflicts of law issue. That’s why I thought of Luther Love McDougal: he taught me that the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction in cases between the states.
Everything is bigger in Texas, including the lengths its top attorney will go to to do the anti-democratic bidding of President Trump.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a request with the U.S. Supreme Court that it review a lawsuit challenging the election results in Georgia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan.
Texas is suing those states on the extremely dubious theory that they somehow violated the U.S. Constitution’s Elections Clause in how they handled their elections. It floated allegations — some of them straight-up conspiracy theories — pertaining to the states’ changing their election practices in ways not explicitly authorized by the states’ legislatures.
Texas is asking the justices to block the use of the current results in those states — which Joe Biden won — and to give the legislatures, all Republican-controlled, the opportunity to appoint their own electors to the Electoral College instead.
The U.S. Supreme Court has the power to adjudicate lawsuits between states. But Texas will first need the court’s permission to even formally file the lawsuit, where it is also seeking expedited review.
They pander bigger in Texas as well. This hits President* Pennywise’s sweet spot: his fantasy that the Supremes spearheaded by his nominees will hand him the election. If he thinks 2020 is like 2000, he’s dead wrong. Bush v. Gore was wrongly decided but there was *some* evidence in support of the GOP’s claims. There is *no* evidence in support of Trump’s claims. Paxton’s move is likely to be rejected by SCOTUS in the same peremptory manner that they dismissed a ludicrous attempt by Pennsylvania GOPers to disrupt election results in that state.
The real reason for Ken Paxton’s preposterous attempt to tell other states how to run their elections is spelled: P-A-R-D-O-N. He’s been fighting off Federal charges for years and reckoned that if he stuck his head far enough up Trump’s ass, he might get one of the pardons that the Kaiser of Chaos is considering handing out like stocking stuffers. Hence the new rubric, The Pardon Chronicles, which will only be in use until January 20, 2021.
If Donald Trump knew any history at all, he’d understand that appointing someone to the Supreme Court does not mean that they will back your every move. The unanimous majority in the Nixon-Watergate tapes case included three Nixon appointees: Warren Burger, Harry Blackmun, and Lewis Powell. Tricky was said to be livid that his other appointee, Justice Rehnquist, recused himself from the case.
Ken Paxton may have maneuvered himself into a pardon, but I think it’s time for sanctions against Trumper lawyers for abusing the legal process with specious claims. Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure sanctions misbehavior in Federal court. It should be invoked by a judge in one of these cases. The legal process has been abused; it’s time for the abusers to be abused in return.
That concludes this essay about Luther Love McDougal, conflicts of law, and Ken Paxton’s unpardonable brown nosery that may well be rewarded with a pardon. The election is over. Deal with it.
The post title is a pun on a Little Feat song beloved by Tommy T and me. That’s why they get the last word with this real Texas Twister: