Friday, April 07, 2006

trial advocacy

Today at one PM, my partner and I have our fake trial. As employees of the local DA, we have experience writing memos, but never doing examinations or entering things into evidence. But this has been a fun and nerve-racking class. This is one of the few practical courses I have taken at law school (the other appellate practice).

Tonight, an old high school friend and bridesmaid will be in town and my wife and I are excited to see her. Last night, I had my co-counsel and all our fake witnesses over for dinner and one last shot at trial prep. Most are pretty into it and are going to try to tear up at the appropriate moments (it is a murder trial). Hopefully my partner and I won't be the one's crying...afterall, we are going against the best oralist at this year's Traynor Moot Court Competition (who won the "moot court madness" very un-George Mason-like). His partner is no slouch either...but then again, thanks to all our memo writing practice, we got both graphic photos in and prevented him from excluding all of our hearsay at least until they object during the trial. We shall see how it goes.

By 6 PM tonight though, I will be done with that class (and my teaching in HS class as well) and will have 7 credits more under my belt before I ever take the finals for this semester. And that's a nice feeling.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

the real difference between modern Democrats and Republicans in Congress

When Democratic leaders leave congress, they do so because they lose a narrow election (see Daschle, Folley) or they retire (see Mitchell, Gephardt). In either case, no one questions their ethics, although they might question their ideology.

When Republican leaders leave congress, it is either because they pled guilty to $2.4M in bribes (Cunningham...soon Ney), all their former staffers, friends, and family members have either pled guilty to money laundering, violating tax law, etc. or are under the shaddow of an indictment or looming indictment(DeLay). Or they are so incompetent that they can't run for reelection, or be Majority Leader, or run for president at the same time (and suck at all three) (Frist). Or they lead the charge to impeach a president for lying about an extramarital affair while having their own (Livingstone) or making money off a book deal (Gingrich). Or they get pushed out because they long for the segrationist policies of Strom Thurmond's 1948 presidential campaign (Lott).

The difference between congressional Dems and GOPers are the dimes one takes, and the other doesn't.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Bill's revenge?

Like Montezuma, will Bill Clinton have his revenge? The heart of Utah's 3rd district is centered around Utah County, a place were Sean Hanity goes when he needs an ego-boost, where Bush would hold his phony town hall meetings without screeners, and yet...we have a chance to knockout an encumbent.

"A new Deseret Morning News/KSL-TV poll conducted last week by Dan Jones & Associates finds that Rep. Chris Cannon" has only 36 percent support among his voters. Cannon was one of the many House Impeachment Managers against President Clinton. Bill has made it a personal challenge to beat every impeachment manager, like the curse of King Tut. [all quotes from the Deseret Morning News]

"With nearly two-out-of-three voters saying they don't now support Cannon," I think we have a chance. In 2004, Cannon was challenged from the right on immgration reform (aka Xenophobia) and had a primary challenge, meaning he couldn't get rid of his challenger in the UT GOP convention. This year, the heat on immigration reform is even hotter and the polling in Utah suggests it is in favor of a House style bill, rather than the Senate version or McCain-Kennedy.

This year, he will face two real challengers before he faces a Democrat "former GOP 2nd District U.S. Rep. Merrill Cook, who over the years has spent nearly $4 million on his numerous races, and Utah County water-and-land developer John Jacob, a fellow Republican who says he may well spend $1 million to $1.5 million of his own money on his race."

When Cook lost in the primary in 2000 (and lone UT Democrat Jim Matheson replaced him), he faced two wealthy challengers "and found himself down in the polls, losing 45 percent to 21 percent to the then-Democratic newcomer Jim Matheson." Jim by the way is sitting pretty with 58 percent approval, including 37 percent of the Republican vote, compared to only 27 percent by state Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper his probable challenger. And even though Jim is rather moderate compared to national Democrats, we Utah Democrats are a pragmatic bunch: Jim gets 91 percent of the Democratic vote and 75 percent of the independent vote. And verey importantly, he gets 51 percent of the LDS vote, which is key when you face a guy named LaVar Christensen.

Here's the poll break down for UT-03 and -02

The Senate race is anything but, unfortunately. Orrin Hatch will likely have this seat until he dies or retires (or is appointed to something). But Pete Ashdown is self-funded and netroots savvy (he is a founder of a local ISP). He even has a campaign Wiki. Here's the poll break down: