The U.S. Supreme Court Doesn’t Get This

Most people would say yes—it’s a paradigm case. After all, there is a quid pro quo exchange—you do this, I give you that. Does it make a difference if that check goes into the Congressman’s personal pocket, his campaign account, or to an allied Super PAC? Probably not to most people. The Congressman wants to be re-elected, probably more than he wants a Porsche, so either of the latter scenarios certainly provides a thing of value. Now what if an environmental group walks into the same Congressman’s office and says “We’re here to talk to you about the upcoming vote on fracking permits on federal land. Fracking is bad for the environment. As you know we release an environmental scorecard each election year and we’ll be scoring this particular vote. We also endorse candidates and we make those decisions in part based upon a representative’s score. So, we hope you’ll be with us on this vote, Congressman.

Oh, and here’s a list of the other issues we plan to score this year. The quid pro quo is just as explicit—you vote this way, I give you a thing of value (i.e. our endorsement). Some might say so, but most of us would probably say, “no—that’s democracy.” The environmental organization isn’t buying a vote with money, rather it’s organizing people and translating the power of an organized citizenry. In a nutshell, it’s bargaining with votes. So, what’s the difference, in a democracy, between bargaining with money and bargaining with votes? Here’s one thought: the difference is that—at least in theory—everyone has an equal vote to bargain with. Not so financial bargaining power. What offends us about money-for-vote exchanges isn’t the quid pro quo nature of it so much as that this type of bargaining doesn’t take place on a level playing field. After all, it’s only the prospect of contributing substantially more than fellow citizens that raises the prospect of undue influence.

100,000 bribe or campaign contribution, that check probably wouldn’t buy much. The U.S. Supreme Court doesn’t get this. For forty years, multiple generations of justices have shaped and mis-shaped constitutional law, and especially First Amendment doctrine, by (at times willfully) ignoring this basic insight. And, the consequences for our nation have been dire. The striking increase in economic inequality and accompanying decline in class mobility in the United States since the 1970s has been well-documented. The U.S. is now the single most unequal nation in the “developed world” with respect to income, and has fallen behind France and Pakistan, among others, when it comes to economic mobility. The political class is starting to notice, which is heartening even if long overdue. President Obama made a much-publicized speech on economic inequality in December and has signaled his intention to focus much of the remainder of his administration grappling with it. Bill DeBlasio swept to a landslide victory in New York’s mayor’s race on a message about “two New Yorks”.

And, Elizabeth Warren has, of course, become a hero to the progressive left by focusing on kitchen table economic issues. This is important because staggering inequality is no accident of history or inevitable result of global economic forces. This reality raises a profound question. The answer is simple and intuitive, but some pioneering recent political science research has put the details in starker relief than ever before. The bottom line: the wealthy prefer policies that make them even richer (often by stifling mobility and security for those lower down the ladder), and government responds almost exclusively to their preferences. He who pays the piper calls the tune. Differing preferences are hardly surprising. The wealthy, after all, do not live or work like typical members of the general public, so why should they think like the rest of us? This would not be cause for concern if the economic elite’s influence on public policy accorded with their numbers.

Of course, it will shock no one that in fact the wealthy are able to exert disproportionate influence on the political process in the U.S. But the degree of disparity of influence that can be documented in black and white may surprise even some of the most seasoned political observers. In a landmark 2012 study called Affluence and Influence, Princeton political scientist Martin Gilens set out to measure the relationship between Americans’ preferences and actual policy outcomes across the income spectrum. What he found is deeply troubling. Government responsiveness is strongly tilted towards the most affluent among us, and average Americans have staggeringly little impact on policy. Tellingly, when the preferences of the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans conflict with those of the rest of the population, the 10 percent trumps the 90 percent. And, just as the sharpest break in preferences occurs on economic policy, the same goes for responsiveness.

It appears our elected representatives listen to the rich much more than the rest of us when it comes to the role the government should or shouldn’t play in shaping a fair economy. In this light it’s not shocking that Washington has been obsessed with reducing deficits in recent years while the rest of the country has consistently prioritized putting their neighbors back to work. The dominance of the wealthy has been getting worse over time, which suggests that government responsiveness to the wealthy is not a constant (and some would say inevitable) state, but rather is itself responsive to particular policy or economic conditions. ]he patterns of responsiveness found in previous chapters often correspond more closely to a plutocracy than to a democracy.” Strong words from a sober academic, not a talking head or strident activist. Why, exactly, do the wealthy have so much influence? One answer is that wealthier Americans are much more active citizens, as reflected in voter registration and turnout rates, membership in civic organizations, and more.

But, basic math dictates that even large differences in voting rates and other forms of civic participation would not likely, on their own, lead directly to the extreme differential in responsiveness described above—there just aren’t enough rich people. It is when the wealthy make use of their greatest comparative advantage, by breaking out their checkbooks, that they can multiply their influence in virtually unlimited ways. It is the role of money in contemporary American politics that, more than any other single factor, drives government’s differential and undemocratic responsiveness to the wealthy. Simply put, our permissive campaign finance system allows a tiny number of wealthy donors to set the agendas in Washington and state capitols across the country. Roughly speaking, they do this in three ways. First, rich donors act as gatekeepers, determining who runs for office in the first place, long before voters have their say at the polls. Is it a coincidence that we have plenty of lawyers and business owners in Congress, but hardly any teachers or electricians? It helps to have rich friends and associates to get your campaign off the ground. Next, the donor class shapes candidates views as aspiring officeholders spend an inordinate amount of time with a tiny (rich) slice of the country while on the campaign trail (or, more accurately, while in a call room). Consider that 2012 U.S. 1,000, from just 0.04 percent of the population, and you’ll have a sense of exactly who candidates are talking to. 1000 or more,” says Current Common Cause President Miles Rapoport of his 1998 run for Congress.

No doubt, the Supreme Court through its power of judicial review has guarded our rights in various walks of life. The Supreme Court has given momentous decisions. Through, what is called “judicial activism”, the Court has given such rulings as compulsory use of CNG fuel for the use of public transport vehicles in Delhi so that pollution could be brought under control. Similarly , for the protection of lives of people, it has made the use of helmets compulsory for two-wheeler users, and even the pillion riders. The power of judicial review is an important guarantee of the rights of the people. It does not allow any violation of the Constitution. It has given several new interpretations to the Constitutional provisions. Thus, it has protected as well as expanded the Constitution. Earlier, the judiciary , including Supreme Court, entertained litigation only from those parties that were affected directly or indirectly by it.

It heard and decided cases only under its original and appellate jurisdiction. But subsequently , the Court permitted cases on the ground of public interest litigation. It means that even people, who are not directly involved in the case, may bring to the notice of the Court matters of public interest. It is the privilege of the Court to entertain the application for public interest litigation (PIL). The concept of PIL was introduced by Justice P .N. Bhagwati. PIL is important because justice is now easily available to the poor and the weaker sections of society . The Supreme Court on the basis of letters received from journalists, lawyers and social workers and even on the basis of newspaper reports has taken up a number of matters of public interest. Let us take some examples to know how PIL has helped the people to get justice. Under PIL, the rights of under trials held under illegal detention have been restored. The Supreme Court ordered the release of many detenues without trial on the ground of their personal liberty , which could not be curbed due to judicial or bureaucratic inefficiency . The salient feature of Indian Judiciary is that it has a single integrated and unified judicial system. The Supreme Court is the highest court of the country . It consists of a Chief Justice with 25 other judges. The President of India appoints them. Their names are decided upon and recommended by a Collegiums of the Supreme Court judges. They remain in office till the age of 65. They can be removed only through a complicated process The Supreme Court hears cases under its original and appellate jurisdictions. It is guardian of the Constitution and protector of fundamental rights. It acts as a Court of Record and can punish for its contempt.

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Last week I was having lunch with a friend who is Assistant General Counsel for a Fortune 100 company. We were chatting about our lives and families, when he began to ask me about legal outsourcing. Although my involvement in the legal outsourcing industry was not a secret, my friend had shown no previous inclination to discuss the outsourcing of any legal work by his corporate employer. In fact, he had assured me earlier that the General Counsel was unlikely to have any interest. But that, he said, was BEFORE he received a memo one day earlier that no one in the legal department should incur any expense for travel or CLE or and other discretionary matter. The recessionary screws were clearly tightening. 4 billion industry by 2015. Nonetheless, as one managing partner of a top national law firm told me, “The management committee has no appetite for legal outsourcing.” No appetite?

It would be surprising if partners in major law firms, many earning high six figure annual incomes, would have an appetite for anything but the status quo. Why change a good thing for something as uncertain and threateningly perceived as legal outsourcing? 175,000 per year directly out of law school, legal fees must rise. 250,000. Clients of those law firms have always obliged and paid the fare. But, the times are changing as law firm clients become more discerning. 400 hourly billing rate. Other legal assignments require more sophisticated analysis and should not be sent offshore. 400 per hour for a document review that can be competently completed by lawyers in India for a fraction of the cost. The legal profession painfully accepts change. Although Bates v. Arizona, the U.S. Supreme Court case decision permitting lawyers to advertise, was decided in 1977, it took the profession more than a decade to accept the reality of legal advertising. Some still officially reject legal advertising, but almost all law firms now engage in some form of marketing and self-promotion that was unthinkable only 30 years ago. Likewise, sending legal work offshore is gaining in acceptance. In August 2008 the American Bar Association issued an ethics opinion proclaiming the outsourcing trend as “a salutary one for our globalized economy.” Law firm clients are embracing the trend as one borne of reason and necessity. Lawyers, having a duty to act in the best interests of their clients, will, in time, accept selective outsourcing as a process that can be beneficial not only to clients but to the law firms serving them as well.

Last night at midnight EST, the comment period on the BATFE’s Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking closed. My comment was submitted last Saturday so that I wouldn’t forget it in all the hub-bub of the SHOT Show. The Firearms Policy Coalition submitted their comment yesterday (on time). Their release below makes some very good points especially on the costs of implementing such a rule. It is important to bear in mind that if BATFE were to create a ruling banning bump fire or slide fire stocks, they would be making it up out of whole cloth. In other words, they would be assuming extra-constitutional powers that have no basis in either legislation or the rule of law. Furthermore, there is the cost issue. There will be millions spent on enforcing an illegal law as well as untold millions on litigation. The Firearms Policy Coalition is upfront in saying that they will go to Federal court if the BATFE does create a regulation banning or regulating bump fire stocks. That said, I hope that cooler heads will prevail and any further moves towards a new regulation die in infancy. FPC also said that the proposed ban would come at a high price. “All unconstitutional laws are unjust, illegitimate, and offensive to the rule of law—even if they are enacted in response to a very real tragedy.

Andimuthu Raja appeared in Perumbalur, in Tamil Nadu, India. This specific young politician joined up with the DMK party and is a part of the Lok Sabha. Being a part of the fifteenth Lok Sabha and a part of the United Progressive Alliance he was made telecommunications minister for his term at office. He had a number of allegations towards him. He was charged for selling the 2G spectrum at really low estimates and also in a biased ‘first come first serve’ basis rather than a transparent system implemented otherwise. He is considered one of the biggest black money holders within the nation. In modern Indian record, his scam could be the largest scam ever before, that involves greatest amount of losses for the govt. The scam is actually a scam of under-pricing where he allotted 2G spectrums to companies at rates not worthwhile in that case but old rates.

All these old rates were considerably lesser than the prices then and so the cumulative loss to the government was extremely higher. A. Raja had himself signed and offered the spectrum in 2008 at prices of 2001, this under-pricing led to a two hundred crore rupee loss for the United Progressive Alliance government. The allocation policy of A. Raja also came under the scanner. He allocated spectrums with the ‘first-come-first-served’ basis. Normally this kind of govt designations are performed via open auction method. But the truth that he decided for a deceptive and aloof method of allocating the spectrum have brought up claims of him allotting it to selected few for vested interests. All of these vested interests were definitely the financial gains the companies were required to offer to Raja. The CBI submitted an FIR against A. Raja that claims that there is a 200 crore rupee bad deal of which Raja has performed an important role. This scam concerned A. Raja along with a couple of of his aides as well as IPS officers.

All of these IPS officers had been also a significant part of this scam and they were charged and sentenced to jail along with Raja. The CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) and also the Central Bureau of Investigation have got a range of accusations against A. Raja and all of those accusations are being tried with the Supreme Court of India. Raja sumbitted his resignation on the 14th of November the year 2011 although had before resisted resignation stating his innocence. This resignation was an after move as in January his house and office had been raided. This raid was carried out by the CBI, they repossesed computer systems as proof which can be used against A. Raja and his aides in the Supreme Court. The CAG has predicted that Raja could possibly have made three hundred crore through the assumed bribes. A. Raja photos and A. Raja videos had been employed against him in the criminal procedures in the Supreme courts in which he is heard talking to Nira Radia in the tapes. He is hence found guilty on a number of charges, TIME magazine has considered this scam as second on the list of Major ten abuses of political power, next only to the Watergate scandal.

India is an astounding country with varied culture and traditions, sects and religion, language and dialects. Every part of India being different on its behavior in terms of its traditional and folk values somehow tends to connect with each other. People here are physically different but their heart connects with each other. Everything is unique about this great democratic country. Its people, monuments, places, language, dialects, music, dance, food, and climate everything is wonderful about this great nation. It is amazing from great Himalayas to Thar Desert, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. The two extreme K’s of India Kashmir and Kanyakumari tells a story about how vivid is the country. Whether it is the climatic condition or from the cultural perspective India is beautiful in every aspect. India has wide range of places to be visited when it comes to tourism both national and international. Whether it is historical place, sanctuaries, national parks, lakes, tea gardens, backwaters of Kerala or beautiful hill stations.

Most popular tourist places in India include Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Goa, Mysore, Udaipur, Nainital, Pondicherry etc. Visiting these places will make the travelers understand different culture of different states. It will give the travelers the true taste of India. One will understand the actual India and will find him/her dwelling with an Indian heart in Indian soil. Travelers will come across different colors of incredible India. India also known as ‘Bharat’ in Hindi language is a perfect delight for international travelers. This country is a perfect blend of unity in diversity, this is why it is known as incredible India. Tourists who visit India for the first time fall in love with this wonderful nation. India is a country which is known for its relation building makes tourists delighted with its charming characteristics. One experiences the vibrant India when one lands in its capital. Delhi also known as ‘Dilli’ is commonly called as ‘Dilwaalon ki Dilli’ which in English means Delhi belongs to people of heart. Delhi is countries capital and one of the best tourist destinations of India. It houses important buildings like Supreme Court, Rashtrapati Bhavan, and Parliament House. There are other places which are miraculously beautiful in India, Jaipur and Agra is among them. This trip is famous among the travelers it is the complete blend of North-Indian flavor. Jaipur is the known as the pink city and is the capital of the royal state of India that is Rajasthan. Jaipur is known for its beautifully build palaces and temple. Agra which houses the living example of love Taj Mahal is a delight among tourists. All these places win the heart of international travelers in their first visit itself and are perfect for international traveler.

Though any business is profit-oriented, what determines its reputation is its business ethics. Their reputation is usually reflected in its accounting procedures. Even if a business organization follows ethical accounting standards, there is a chance it will face a financial loss due to external factors, such as a decrease in purchase orders, shortage of raw materials, transport problems and so on. These are times when businesses need guidance. This guidance is offered by business lawyers. Unlike injury lawyers or civil and criminal lawyers, who work in courts of law, a great majority of business lawyers work in private firms as legal advisors on consultancy terms, or for the Federal and state government. Business lawyers help businesses grow without any problems with Federal and state rules and regulations. For example, one business lawyer may help a business firm to raise its capital. Another business lawyer may help a commercial firm by letting all employees sign an agreement so as to prevent its employees from starting their own competing businesses using the firm’s trade secrets. Business lawyers are specialized in handling all important aspects of running a good and effective business enterprise on ethical principles. They handle dealer practices, contracts of employment, mergers and acquisitions, securities, shareholder issues, trade secrets, business fraud and all other related issues. Many business lawyers represent the business organization for which they work, in any dispute. Some business lawyers also handle cases for individual employees in business houses, for example in a case when a worker is fired without being paid the compensation that he deserves. Business lawyers in Florida work in specialized areas such as antitrust and trade regulations, business litigation, labor and employment, taxes, workers’ compensation and other related matters. All lawyers working in Florida are obligated to be members of the Florida Bar Association, an official organ of the Supreme Court of Florida. The bar regulates the functioning of all certified lawyers in the state.

45 million lost profits damages award, and remanded back to the district court (opinion by Judge Linn here). The basis for challenging the award was that Akamai’s expert did show a causal connection between the infringement and Akamai’s loss of profits, due to the price disparity between the parties’ products. Limelight originally sold a different, non-infringing service than the one at issue in this case. The lost profit analysis was complicated by the fact that Limelight sold its product for half the price of Akamai’s. This affected Dr. Ugone’s calculations in two ways. First, he assumed that in the but-for world where Limelight did not sell an infringing product, Akamai would sell its product to some of those customers for twice as much as Limelight had. Second, because of the difference in price between Akamai’s product and Limelight’s product, Dr. Ugone assumed that the demand for Akamai’s product would be 25% less than the demand for Limelight’s infringing products. Dr. Ugone explained that, in economics, how a change in price affects a change in demand is described as “elasticity.” The more elastic the demand, the more sensitive it is to change.