What’s most likely to bring down Trump? We ask Cal’s experts

Robert Cole, Jesse Choper, and Charles Weisselberg quoted by California Magazine, June 22, 2017


“Even if Trump is impeached and removed from office, you end up with President Pence,” says Cole, “and most Democrats would probably not consider that an improvement. … The Democrats should be concentrating on 2018, identifying the districts where they have a chance, and developing a positive program that engages voters. Simply being against Trump isn’t enough.”


“In fact, the only thing I see so far that could tip the scale would be if substantial evidence emerged showing he knew the Russians were working to influence the election in his favor,” says Choper. “That could either force him to resign or convince the House to impeach and the Senate to convict. Other than that—it just seems unlikely to me.”


“There has been considerable debate about whether a sitting president can be charged with criminal offenses,” says Weisselberg. “Many argue the Constitution implicitly provides impeachment as the sole process for removing a serving president. However, a president who resigns or is removed from office can then be criminally prosecuted.”

Justice Alito’s misleading claim about sex offender rearrests

Ira Ellman quoted by The Washington Post, June 21, 2017

Ira Ellman …  wrote a detailed examination of the 80 percent figure. He wrote: “The label ‘sex offender’ triggers fear, and disgust as well. Both responses breed beliefs that do not yield easily to facts. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has fed the fear. It’s become the ‘go to’ source that courts and politicians rely upon for ‘facts’ about sex offender recidivism rates that aren’t true.”

Congressional Democrats to file emoluments lawsuit against Trump

Erwin Chemerinsky quoted by The Washington Post, June 14, 2017

“When the president refuses to reveal which benefits he is receiving — much less obtain congressional consent before accepting them — he robs these members of their ability to perform their constitutional role,” Chemerinsky said. “Congressional lawmakers . . . have a duty to preserve the constitutional order in the only way they can: by asking the courts to make the President obey the law.”

Trump administration files Hail Mary appeal to derail youth climate lawsuit

Erwin Chemerinsky quoted by Think Progress, June 13, 2017

“Mandamus of this sort is truly extraordinary and rarely granted,” Erwin Chemerinsky, a constitutional law expert and soon-to-be dean of Berkeley Law, told ThinkProgress via email. “The strong presumption in federal courts, reaffirmed by the Supreme Court as recently as yesterday, is that appellate courts don’t get involved until the trial court proceedings are completed.”

SCOTUS ruling helps resale market

Tejas Narechania quoted by ABC10, June 8, 2017

“Companies might, instead of selling things outright, they’ll only license them to you, or they’ll make you sign contracts with the purchases that limit what you can do in the resale market,” he said.

Privacy vs. Security: Experts debate merits of each in tech-rich world

Catherine Crump and John Yoo quoted in Government Technology, June 7, 2017

“The problem with that is you cannot build a backdoor that works only for the U.S. government, good guys or other people with good motives,” Crump argued. “If you build it for them, encryption will be weakened for everyone.”

“It’s possible that a consequence of more encryption might actually be more security for our country. I just don’t see why Apple gets to decide that for the United States,” Yoo said. “I think if that is really a consequence of increasing encryption, then our government, who we elect and send to Washington, should make that call.”

Ending the stigma and prosecution of self-administered abortions

Jill Adams and Farah Diaz-Tello quoted by Truthout, June 7, 2017

Adams: “Courts reviewing such prosecutions have generally sided with people who end their own pregnancies. But even though abortion itself is legal, and the US Supreme Court has never authorized arrest for abortion, those who end their own pregnancies may risk unjustified arrest and imprisonment under laws that limit abortion provision to licensed health care workers and that criminalize self-induced abortion.”

Diaz-Tello: “Pregnant women who have lost or ended a pregnancy are treated differently from other people in nearly every medical context. In no other medical context is someone threatened with jail for administering their own medical care. In no medical context would it be acceptable for someone to be subjected to a bedside interrogation with no attorney present as it happened in several of these cases.”

Sonoma County drops juvenile justice fees

Stephanie Campos-Bui quoted by The Press Democrat, June 6, 2017

Sonoma County is “moving in the right direction with a good group of counties now who have all decided to look at this issue and decided it’s not worth it given the impact on families,” said one of the researchers, Stephanie Campos-Bui, who is pushing state lawmakers to support the bill.