In the wake of the 2016 election, there has been a great deal of speculation about whether and how President-elect Trump will put the promises of his campaign into place. As we consider those questions in individual areas, it is useful to start with a basic civics refresher on the authority of the President. We all know the President isn’t all-powerful, and that there are “checks and balances” in the system. But what are these limitations, and are they substantial enough to stop President-elect Trump from doing the things his campaign promised?Read more
A couple of years ago, we blogged on the ever-growing topic of cell phone privacy in the age of the smart phone and, specifically, whether the police can search a phone without a warrant after its owner has been arrested. The Supreme Court had recently decided Riley v. California, which established that police cannot look through a phone without a warrant just because its owner was arrested. Riley, however, was not the end of the story. New questions about the extent of access that law enforcement can obtain into a personal cell phone arise constantly, due to our society’s ubiquitous use of smart phones and the enormous amount of private data (along with potential information about their owners’ whereabouts, activities, and contacts) they contain. We know from Riley that the police can’t confiscate your phone and look at whatever they want just because they arrested you. But that hasn’t stopped investigators from confiscating phones, nor from looking for the information contained in them. Now they just have to get a warrant first, right? Well, it turns out, it’s not that simple.Read more
Recently, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) was involved in its first federal jury trial against a municipal entity, the City of Miami, or an officer of a municipality, the former budget director of the City of Miami - Michael Boudreaux. Statement on Jury’s Verdict in Trial of the City of Miami and Michael Boudreaux, SEC public statement, September 14, 2016. The jury found that the City of Miami and Michael Boudreaux “had committed securities fraud in connection with their disclosures concerning the deteriorating financial condition of the City during 2007 and 2008 and in three separate offerings of municipal securities in 2009.” Id. In light of the SEC’s recent pattern of imposing monetary penalties on municipal entities and/or their employees, officers, and governing members for various securities law violations (see this previous post) and the SEC’s ongoing Municipalities Continuing Disclosure Cooperation Initiative (see this previous post) under which 72 municipal issuers have been charged as of the date of this writing, this most recent civil enforcement action signals that the SEC is willing to continue to break boundaries when enforcing the securities laws against municipal entities and their employees, officers, and governing members.Read more
After months of aggressive and contentious campaigning and bitterly contested debates, the presidential election of 2016 is finally upon us. And even though Election Day is not until next Tuesday, November 8, 2016, many voters across the country have already or will this week cast early or absentee votes. The availability and method of early voting depends on state law, but the majority of states allow for it in some form. Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia allow for early in-person voting, and all states and the District of Columbia allow for some form of absentee voting by mail (though some require would-be absentee voters to provide a justification for it). A handful (Colorado, Washington, and Oregon) even mail ballots to every eligible voter, allowing anyone who wishes to cast their vote from home by mail.Read more
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