McCloud Bros.

posts by Joshua

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Did the Kansas Supreme Court meet over Zoom to “discuss church gatherings”? No. No, it did not.

This morning, the Kansas Supreme Court heard oral argument via videoconference in Kelly v. Legislative Coordinating Council. In Kelly, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly is challenging the Legislative Coordinating Council’s (LCC) attempt to overturn her recent order limiting all gatherings in the state, including most religious gatherings, to no more than 10 people.

The Twitter News headline for the story claimed that the hearing was held to “discuss church gatherings,” and many people took that claim at face value. But it’s wrong.

The Legal History of Kansas Crossing: Kansas Penn Gaming I

In Part I of this series, I discussed the enactment of the Kansas Expanded Lottery Act (KELA) and the constitutional challenge brought against it. Even before the Kansas Supreme Court rebuffed that challenge, developers were submitting bids to build and operate one of the four KELA casinos. In the southeast gaming zone, Kansas Penn Gaming, a subsidiary of Penn National Gaming (Penn), was the sole applicant and was awarded the contract.

Yet, KPG never built a casino in southeast Kansas. What happened?

The Legal History of Kansas Crossing: KELA & the Kansas Constitution

On May 5, the Kansas Supreme Court released its opinion in Board of County Commissioners of the County of Cherokee v. Kansas Racing & Gaming Commission (PDF). That case involved the political wrangling that led to the opening of Kansas Crossing Casino & Hotel on the outskirts of Pittsburg, Kansas earlier this year. Kansas Crossing opened a decade after the state first authorized the establishment of a casino in Southeast Kansas through the Kansas Expanded Lottery Act (KELA).

What took so long?

The Case Against the FAA's Drone-Registration Rule Isn't as Straightforward as it Looks

Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued its opinion in the case of Taylor v. Huerta (PDF). In Taylor, a drone hobbyist (Taylor) asked the D.C. Circuit to overturn the FAA Registration Rule (PDF). The court agreed with Taylor that the rule violated the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, and so struck the rule down "to the extent it applies to model aircraft." Though the court opined that "[s]tatutory interpretation does not get much simpler" than in this case, there is something unusual about how it went about that process.

Is the Equal Rights Amendment Still Viable in 2017? (Part 1)

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was sent to the states for ratification in 1972. The Amendment provided that "[e]quality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged . . . on account of sex." A time limit in the preamble to the amendment gave states seven years to ratify the ERA. In 1978, Congress extended that deadline by three years. When the deadline came around in 1982, only 35 of the 38 states needed had ratified the Amendment (the last in 1977), and five of those had voted to rescind their ratifications. Given this history, is the ERA still open to ratification in 2017?

The 13 Most Popular Constitutional Amendments of 2017 (Among Members of Congress)

While completing my list of joint resolutions under the Congressional Review Act, I ran across about 50 joint resolutions introduced in the 115th Congress that propose to amend the U.S. Constitution. I decided to sort through them to find the 10 most popular proposals. I calculated popularity by figuring the percentage of the House of Representatives' or Senate's membership that cosponsored each joint resolution. Because of ties, I ended up with 13 resolutions instead of just 10. You can keep the change and find brief summaries of each below.

Rules for Legislators: Put Your Laws Online and Annotate Them

State and federal law governs all of us. But sometimes, figuring out what the law says isn't easy. That's why people pay lawyers lots of money to do it for them. Lawyers, in turn, spend lots of money on research materials that organize the sources of law--statutes, court decisions, regulations, and so on--and help explain them. But the law governs us whether we know what it says or not. Accordingly, governments should make it easy to access the law, in whatever form it takes. Unfortunately, some states seem to have the exact opposite idea.

How the Confirmation Vote for Neil Gorsuch Strengthens the Biden Rule

On February 13, 2016, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died in his sleep. Within hours of the news being released, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that the choice of Scalia's successor should be left to the next president. Accordingly, the Senate refused to so much as hold a hearing on President Barack Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland. Senate Republicans quickly began calling their position the Biden Rule, after a speech that then-Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) made on the Senate floor in 1992. Republicans' treatment of Garland, as well as Democrats' treatment of Scalia's ultimate successor, Neil Gorsuch, lend support to the case made by Biden that Supreme Court nominations should not be considered during a presidential election year.

Live Blog: The Gorsuch Cloture Vote in the Senate (Ended)

Starting at 9:00 AM (Central) on April 6, 2017, Jeffrey and I live blogged the Gorsuch cloture vote in the Senate. As we expected, Senate Republicans used a technique commonly referred to as the nuclear option to break a Democratic filibuster. For background, here are three posts that Jeffrey and I wrote on this subject:

Congressional Review Act: Joint Resolutions in the 115th Congress

Last month, I wrote a series of posts on the Congressional Review Act. At that time, I wrote that the Act had already been used to overturn three rules promulgated late in the administration of President Barack Obama. Since then, 11 other rules have been overturned under the CRA. While dozens more resolutions have been introduced in the House and Senate, the Senate Action Period has now expired. While the remaining joint resolutions could still be enacted, they will be subject to the normal rules in the Senate, making their passage much more difficult. This post lists every CRA joint resolution that has been introduced in the 115th Congress targeting rules promulgated in the last six(ish) months of President Obama's administration.

The Nuclear Option: How Senate Republicans May Follow Democrats’ Lead to Confirm Neil Gorsuch

Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee held confirmation hearings for President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch. At the conclusion of the hearings, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) announced that he would support a filibuster against the Supreme Court nominee. This raised the question whether Republicans would use the so-called nuclear option to eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations to confirm Gorsuch. If so, they would be following in the footsteps of former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who in 2013 used the nuclear option to eliminate the filibuster for all nominations other than to the Supreme Court.

WordPress vs. Blogger: Which is Better for a New Blog?

When we launched a few weeks ago, we had to choose where to host it. While there are many blogging platforms available, we focused on two options: WordPress vs. Blogger. Blogger is free to use and let us sign in with our normal Google accounts. On the other hand, WordPress has better themes and is generally more customizable. Initially, we chose to use Blogger. We recognized that the platform was limited, but it seemed adequate for the needs of a new blog like ours. While I still think that's true, I quickly tired of the limitations after we began testing a WordPress version of the site about a week ago. After considering the pros and cons of each, the four of us agreed to migrate to WordPress. That's the version of the site you're looking at now. Below, I list the factors that we considered in making that decision.