Trump’s hiring problem is getting better – but his administration is still thin

Anne O’Connell quoted by CNBC, June 30, 2017

O’Connell adds that deregulation — a key plank of the Trump agenda — could be hindered by a lack of officials at executive branch agencies. Agencies looking to repeal regulations as directed by Trump need to undertake a notice and comment process during rulemaking, something that could be hurt by fewer appointees.

California politicians’ gun control moves hit by 2 setbacks

Franklin Zimring quoted by ABC News, June 30, 2017

Politicians of both political parties wind up passing “emotionally symbolic but operationally quite modest” proposals, he said. “That’s exactly where California is,” Zimring said. “And from the standpoint of political symbolism, having a fight on the implementation is a plus for the people who passed the law, not a minus.”

A new adventure and a heavy heart

Erwin Chemerinsky writes for The Orange County Register, June 29, 2017

There always has been a sense of fragility in being part of creating something new. Yet, as I leave UCI Law School, I realize that it no longer is fragile. It is firmly established as a top law school, with a superb faculty and staff and great students. I am especially proud of its commitment to public service.

Where to plug in? Lack of charging options is a big barrier to electric car adoption in California

Ethan Elkind quoted by KPCC-FM, June 29, 2017

Now, the question of where to charge is a bigger issue, especially for the 40 percent of Californians who live in multi-unit apartment buildings, said Ethan Elkind. … Many of them don’t have a dedicated parking spot, which makes it difficult to charge an electric car at home. “It’s really telling that 80 percent of electric vehicle drivers live in a single-family home,” Elkind said.

When the cops don’t kill you

Franklin Zimring quoted by, June 29, 2017

According to Franklin Zimring … law enforcement agencies “almost always” recommend criminal charges against survivors of police shootings, he wrote in an email. Zimring couldn’t point to “a systematic study” showing the pattern, but agreed with Katz that cops and prosecutors have financial and political incentives to “threaten pretty severe penalties to push back on civil damages.”

Controversial Supreme Court decisions change public opinion – in part because the media mostly report on them uncritically

Katerina Linos co-writes for The Washington Post, June 28, 2017

Unlike presidents or members of Congress, justices do not speak directly to the public. … Therefore, the messages used by media, and television news in particular, have tremendous ability to shape how Americans respond to the Supreme Court. And media outlets tend to be far more deferential in reporting on court decisions than when reporting on Congress or the presidency. They often treat a court decision as the final word, rather than the beginning of a debate.

As ‘fake news’ flies, UC Berkeley students verify and document

Alexa Koenig quoted by East Bay Times, June 27, 2017

In the last decade or so, there’s been a proliferation of smartphones, said Alexa Koenig, executive director of Berkeley’s Human Rights Center and co-manager of the school’s investigations lab. That lets everyone be a human rights investigator but it also creates space for lots of misinformation and a need for what has come to be known as digital verification.

Trump’s ‘emoluments’ defense argues he can violate the Constitution with impunity. That can’t be right

Erwin Chemerinsky writes for Los Angeles Times, June 26, 2017

Three different lawsuits have been filed against President Trump. … Trump’s position is that the federal courts can hear none of these suits because no one has “standing” to sue him for these constitutional violations. But that can’t be right: It cannot be that the president can violate the Constitution with impunity and no court has the authority to hold him accountable.

Will Supreme Court retirement bring ‘Kennedy Court’ to an end?

Erwin Chemerinsky writes for The Sacramento Bee, June 26, 2017

Neil Gorsuch replacing Antonin Scalia largely restored the court’s ideological balance to what it was before Scalia’s death. But President Trump replacing Kennedy with a conservative in the Gorsuch or Scalia mold will create the most conservative court that there has been since the mid-1930s.