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Archive for the ‘Ryan T. Darby’ Category

Congress is considering a media shield law to protect journalists from being compelled to testify in court about their sources. Unfortunately, Sen. Dianne Feinstein believes only paid reporters are journalists. The good news is her proposed amendment doesn’t do what she thinks it does.

Sen. Feinstein’s belief demonstrates her ignorance of the role of citizen journalists (such as bloggers) in the modern dissemination of news. The emergence of the Internet as a low-cost publishing platform has exponentially increased the number of government watchdogs, and society is much better for it.

Lee Burdick—Mayor Bob Filner’s current Chief of Staff—has asserted attorney-client privilege and the attorney work-product doctrine to reject the City Attorney’s demands for documents related to the sexual misconduct allegations against the mayor. However, her theory is based upon questionable legal footing and is unlikely to succeed.

The Superior Court has issued a tentative ruling upholding the hotel tax increase used to finance the convention center expansion. Here’s a quick breakdown of the ruling for a lay audience:

First of all, Judge Prager’s ruling is not set in stone. A judge issues a tentative ruling on a motion based upon the arguments filed by the parties, and it contains his likely ruling. However, the parties may still attempt to persuade the judge to change his mind at the motion hearing, which in this case is calendared for March 13, 2013, at 10 a.m.

Lawyers sometimes encounter strange, and occasionally belligerent clients; it just comes with the territory. But Mayor Bob Filner clearly takes the cake, as we witnessed in his unhinged confrontation with City Attorney Jan Goldsmith.

Long story short: Filner revealed his demands in his hotel-tax squabble to the media; Goldsmith learned about these demands from the media, rather than Filner; so Goldsmith shared his thoughts on the legality of that demand with the media. And, Filner reacted by interrupting Goldsmith’s press conference with a temper tantrum.

A group of Thomas Jefferson alumni have sued the local law school because they couldn’t find a legal job after graduation. It’s a patently frivolous lawsuit, as I’ve already pointed out. And a deeper investigation shows it’s even more ridiculous than I originally thought: it turns out the lead plaintiff accepted a full-time attorney position, and then changed her mind.

As it turns out, the lead plaintiff initially accepted the full-time position, but then changed her mind because the firm declined to pay her annual Bar dues (about $400 a year) and required her to attend a one-month job training in another city, according to a brief filed by the law school.

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Ensuring Ballot Integrity in 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012
posted by Ryan T. Darby

A transparent election process is critical to our democratic process, so it was very encouraging to see San Diego Registrar Deborah Seiler discuss this process at this month’s Republican Central Committee meeting.

Ms. Seiler—in an appropriate and non-partisan manner—explained to the audience the role of the Registrar of Voters, its various administrative processes, its efforts to maintain a clean voter roll, and its encouragement of third-party oversight. Even strident party activists often don’t fully understand the Registrar’s operations, so I thought Ms. Seiler’s presentation was practical and instructive. Therefore, like other Rostra pundits before me, I would like to thank and congratulate Ms. Seiler for her efforts.

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Why Roberts Got It Wrong

Thursday, June 28, 2012
posted by Ryan T. Darby

The Supreme Court just delivered its landmark opinion in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (aka, the Obamacare case). The Court’s opinion—penned by Chief Justice John Roberts—found that the Commerce Clause does not validate the individual mandate, and that it is a penalty for purposes of standing…but it is constitutional as a tax (rather than a penalty) under the Taxation Clause.

The Court’s decision is based on shaky logic, and here’s a quick explanation why:

(1) Roberts initially provides compelling reasons why the individual mandate is actually a penalty, rather than a tax:

The Case for the Pendleton Crosses

Wednesday, January 4, 2012
posted by Ryan T. Darby

The Union-Tribune reported last week that atheist groups are complaining about a pair of crosses in Camp Pendleton serving as a memorial to fallen soldiers. The Pentagon will decide whether the memorial may remain, and litigation is highly likely if it does.

Such a lawsuit would misconstrue the meaning of the Establishment Clause, which provides that government “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Here are some facts relevant to such a lawsuit:

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Occupy San Diego has really been a blessing for those of us who enjoy fascinating—albeit degenerate—distractions.

Today I was walking to my office when I saw two (count them, two) protestors posted on the corner of 5th and B, in front of the Wells Fargo building. They were waving their signs at oncoming traffic…and, for whatever reason, they sought validation from me as I approached. (Boy, did they pick the wrong guy.)

One of them said, “Nice suit. It’s not 1 percent, is it?”

Oops

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) announced that her campaign war chest was “wiped out” by treasurer Kinde Durkee. Ms. Durkee faces federal charges for allegedly plundering hundreds of thousands—if not millions—of dollars from Democratic candidates throughout California.

Oddly enough, Sen. Feinstein does not know how much money Ms. Durkee stole from her. Why not? Because, according to Politico.com:

Feinstein said she and her campaign staff have been unable to access all their bank records at this point because Durkee alone controlled access to the account, which has made it difficult for them to assess how much money is gone.

San Diego County Registrar Deborah Seiler’s well intentioned proposal to remove central committee elections from primary ballots would centralize political power in the hands of party insiders, and ultimately undermine the power of the average voter to select candidates for the general election.

I have interacted with Ms. Seiler in the past while monitoring the ballot counting process, so I can attest that she operates the Registrar in a professional and transparent manner. I am certain she is acting in good faith, and she raises a valid point that the current system subsidizes internal party elections.

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