SharksWithLasers -- Seth Cooper

A CUTTING-EDGE BLOG FOR THE WORLD OF THE 21st CENTURY, Currently operated by Seth L. Cooper, a 27 year-old attorney in Seattle (sethlcooper at comcast dot net)

Saturday, June 04, 2005

NOTHIN' LIKE A COLD BEER AND A COMEDY MOVIE TO CALM THE NERVES. Today I have the honor and good fortune of being the Best Man in the wedding of a long-time friend. Oh-gotta go. Time to rock...

(North Seattle--Green Lake, WA)

Friday, June 03, 2005

COOP MENTION IN MAG. In one of the more thrilling moments of my young career, I am quoted in the Harvard Political Review's 2005 "The Politics of Sex" cover-story issue. No, I didn't make the cover--lost out to a sexy blonde girl--but I was mentioned in an article concerning federalism and public education.

I just received the printed edition in the mail. Yet, after a brief scan of the website, I didn't find the article. While I am quoted correctly, the policy position I was advocating was misconstrued by the way it was framed in the article. Oh well.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

IN THE END, DEEP THROAT MYSTERY DOESN'T DELIVER. Greg Piper (via The Smoking Room) encapsulates the sentiment surrounding the recently revealed identity of Watergate-informant Deep Throat:

Worst Revelation Ever.

No kidding. Since I was little I can remember my dad talking about what a big, BIG story it would be when the secret identity of the man who had helped bring down the Nixon White House would be revealed. Its like a lousy letdown ending to a film with a promising start and buildup. Oh well, there's always the next high-drama political scandal...

(Downtown Seattle, WA)

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

TAKING THE PARAMETERS OF CONGRESSIONAL SPENDING POWER SERIOUSLY. At The Remedy, Professor John Eastman notes a recent concurring opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas in the Cutter v. Wilkinson (2005) case--concerning the constitutional limits of congressional spending power. In Cutter, the U.S. Supreme Court majority upheld the constitutionality of the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) under the First Amendment's (anti-)Establishment Clause. But Justice Thomas's important concurrence brings to light a much-neglected constitutional issue of a different sort.

Justice Thomas makes mention of the lingering question as to the constitutionality of the RLUIPA pursuant to Congress' spending power--as well as the constitutionality of the conditions placed upon the states for receipt of federal funds. As Justice Thomas acknowledged in footnote two of his concurrence, he did agree with the majority's decision not to take up the spending power issue. But the judicial recognition of the constitutional issue is of real significance--certainly enough significance to cause some screeching voices on legal academia's left wing to have a cow. (MOOO!) Expect some silly law review articles discussing this concurring opinion in sky-is-falling sort of terminology.

Most law students hear about the political battles in our nation's young history concerning the scope of the powers of Congress to spend--with the stricter Jeffersonian/Madisonian on one side and more expansive Hamiltonian view on the other. Unfortunately, it's arguable that the proponents of political process federalism (who deny that there are judicially enforceable limits to the exercise of the enumerated powers of Congress), have streched the Hamiltonian view so far as to be unrecognizable from its historical underpinnings.

But as Prof. Eastman & Co. point out in the Center for Constitutional jurisprudence's amicus curiae brief to the Court in Cutter, even the Hamiltonian notion of the spending power involved SOME sort of intrinsic limits. Prof. Eastman has previously written an interesting article in an issue of The Chapman Law Review about judicially enforceable constitutional limits upon the spending power. Those ideas feature prominently in the amicus brief.

It was during my own time in law school that I first came across Eastman's spending clause work. In fact, I myself was a student of Prof. David Engdahl--an outstanding constitutional scholar who has written an authoritative and widely-cited article in a 1994 issue of The Duke Law Journal about the origins and history of federal spending power. If I'm not mistaken, the article is simply called "The Spending Power."

There were likely some nuanced differences in the respective views of Profs. Eastman and Engdahl. Yet, regardless of the fact that I haven't devoted enough study to come to a definitive position concerning the scope of the Hamiltonian view of the spending power (which I find far more plausible than the Jeffersonian/Madisonian view), this latest acknowledgement of the spending power issue by Justice Thomas is intriguing and exciting. Congratulations are in order to Prof. Eastman in this regard.

(North Seattle--Green Lake, WA)
WISE WORDS OF THE DAY. Compliments of Dr. Thomas Sowell:

Runaway extrapolations are the last refuge of hysteria mongers when confronted with facts that demolish their lies. Think about it: The temperature has risen about 10 degrees since this morning. If you extrapolate that, we will all be burned to a crisp before the end of the month. Extrapolations prove nothing.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)