Heidi Li Feldman Profile picture
law professor, philosopher, progressive; tweets are not specific legal advice nor a substitute for representation by a member of the practicing bar
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10 Feb
This point, made by @RepRaskin and highlighted by @jentaub in her excellent live-tweet-thread, merits some unpacking for those who are not federal constitutional law experts. Raskin is referencing the “take care” clause in Art. II, sec. 3 of the U.S. Constitution. 1/
The “take care” clause is at the very heart of executive power and executive responsibility in U.S. governance. Take care clauses predate the U.S. Constitution, defining executive power in early state constitutions in Pennsylvania and New York. 2/
These clauses assign to the executive the power and duty to faithfully executive the laws of the land. Other branches of government may make and interpret laws but they do not have either the power or the responsibility to execute them according to their letter and spirit. 3/
Read 7 tweets
7 Feb
I don’t know who will end up with the label “Republican Party,” but most current officeholders operating under it have been championing voter suppression, white supremacy, and legal subordination of women since before Trump. 1/
The Republican alliance between white supremacists and the very wealthy dates back to the mid-twentieth century; the addition of misogynist religious zealots dates to the 1970s. 2/
The Reagan years cemented the GOP identity that people like Liz Cheney and Mitch McConnell have been comfortable with for decades. Every step of the way, the GOP has absorbed voters and interest groups once regarded as fringe players uninterested in democratic pluralism. 3/
Read 10 tweets
4 Feb
It takes guts to truly face hard truths. But facing them is the only way to protect oneself going forward. This is why I keep reminding people that the Republican Party is beyond repair. 1/
The Republican Party’s internal structures, at the state and federal level, are dominated by people actively opposed to democratic pluralism, rule of law, and U.S. constitutionalism. 2/
Once a political party refuses to drop its support for a leader, in this case Donald Trump, who constantly and consistently betrayed the country throughout his time in office that party cannot be salvaged as a player in U.S. constitutional democracy. 3/
Read 8 tweets
13 Jan
Let me be clear: there are numerous lawyers from the Trump era who epitomize the ethical ideals that should animate the entire profession. A renewed attention to legal ethics in no way negates these attorneys’ work. 1/
I’m thinking of @SallyQYates, @carriecordero, @NormEisen, @marceelias - people who, throughout the past 4 years, reorganized their professional lives to use law protect the rule of law. 2/
Lawyers like @MeghanPaulas @karahstein who have labored on behalf of constitutional progressivism, keeping it alive and growing. 3/
Read 6 tweets
12 Jan
It is not too early to begin articulating the ethical canons the U.S. legal profession must commit itself to in the aftermath of Trump. 1/
After Watergate, the legal profession had to strengthen the line between lawyers and their own clients, when those clients used lawyers' services to act illegally. Now, the legal profession must strengthen the connection between lawyers and truth. 2/
Lawyers must explicitly commit to bolstering evidence based political and legal discourse, not only by refusing to peddle lies themselves but refusing services to clients who traffic in poisonous falsehoods. 3/
Read 4 tweets
10 Jan
U.S. has a history of appeasing traitors, seditionists, those who disregard the Constitution. We are where we are today because we abandoned Reconstruction, allowing the Confederacy a legacy happily embraced by Trump, McConnell, and those who carried its flag on 1/6/2020. 1/
The lawless will always take advantage of fearful conciliation. They must be penalized and all their efforts to revive their cause staunchly refused. 2/
We will not even begin to redress the ever-present misogyny that brought us Trump as President if we allow him and his supporters to play the victim while they continue to subvert the rule of law. 3/
Read 7 tweets
3 Dec 20
It feels like we are stuck, enduring Trump’s lame duck stint while dealing with cumulative effects of a needlessly unchecked pandemic. We have to dig deep within ourselves to do what we can to bear in these last seven weeks of an evil executive branch. 1/
For those with promising state and local electeds, maybe contact yours and find out how you can boost good government in your area. 2/
Read one good biography or history book that can help you think creatively about political, social, or cultural measures that can remedy government failures. 3/
Read 6 tweets
2 Dec 20
I agree. For better or worse, the Constitution allows corrupt Presidential pardons. But there are safeguards against these happening. 1/
Best way to block corrupt pardons: don’t elect people inclined to exercise the pardon power corruptly. Also, demand Congress members who will impeach and convict Presidents of unconstitutional conduct that is also corrupt. 2/
Trump was violating his oath of office from the moment he took it. He was accepting unconstitutional emoluments and should have been impeached, tried, and removed from office because of it. 3/
Read 5 tweets
10 Nov 20
Don’t be naive. McConnell and Barr are not trying to soothe Trump’s feelings. They want him to remain in power and they want the Senate to remain controlled by Republicans. Those are their goals and as with their other goals they will abandon norms and laws to realize them. 1/
The only deterrents to men like Barr, McConnell, and Trump is the personal cost of taking any given step to stay in power. Going to jail or being unable to support themselves financially are the only operable disincentives. So ... 2/
...we have to protect the results of the Presidential race and fight for free and fair runoffs in GA in such a way that the only workable counterefforts by Barr, McConnell, and Trump would be likely to land them in jail (as they have too much money to fear destitution). 3/
Read 7 tweets
9 Nov 20
I have watched before certain old white men used to getting their way and willing to do anything, sacrifice anybody, to get it. 1/
Never underestimate the force of their desperation, the depths of their self-involvement. 2/
Their own power is all they care about, because they depend on it to get their way and to be confident they will get their way. 3/
Read 5 tweets
14 Oct 20
Relatively early in this awful, awful Trump administration I helped organize, attended, spoke at a protest here in DC. Good-sized crowd, strong local Indivisble presence, interesting assortment of speakers. 1/
Walking home, I phoned my husband to remark on how people, including myself, faced with a political disaster, were learning new forms and habits of collective action, and seeing that was giving me hope. 2/
Here are some photos from that rally, which was protesting Trump’s Muslim ban, if I recall correctly. 3/ ImageImageImageImage
Read 6 tweets
13 Oct 20
As I have stated repeatedly, my objection to Barrett is her willingness to accept nomination from a President expressly counting on her to keep him in power and her willingness to participate in events that seriously jeopardize others’ health for her own advancement. 1/
In fact, I think it may be legitimate for Supreme Court justices to be activists, even sometimes overruling precedents. 2/
But do not jive me by painting Barrett as somebody unlikely to explicitly overrule Roe or limit it into nothingness. (Oped in NYT making this case this morning. nytimes.com/2020/10/12/opi…) 3/
Read 7 tweets
13 Oct 20
Concerned about universities acting like public health approaches that don't include air refreshment in buildings are going to be safe enough for resuming instruction and residence on campus for next semester. 1/
I watched as universities over the summer had to face the fact that they could not have even the most minimal use of campus without extensive, frequent testing and contact tracing, measures. 2/
Just as universities thought they could reopen without such testing and tracing, they now think they can operate in the winter months so long as they have done this, along with masking and cleaning. 3/
Read 5 tweets
12 Oct 20
I had real reservations about efforts to expand the Supreme Court, right up to the moment when Trump and McConnell said they are rushing through Barrett’s nomination and confirmation to ensure a 5th vote to keep Trump in power. 1/
With a president and senate majority leader expressly putting somebody on it to throw the election, the Supreme Court cannot enjoy legitimacy in its current composition and structure. 2/
Even if Biden wins and Dems control the Senate, I don’t see them impeaching Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and, assuming she’s confirmed, Barrett, which would be one way to restore legitimacy to the court. So expanding the number of justices is the most realizable fix. 3/
Read 7 tweets
10 Oct 20
I’m deliberately breaking a thread and picking it up here because as I wrote tweet 7, quoted below, I realized it pinpoints the basis for the specific egregiousness of Trump and Graham holding gatherings in the middle of a surging pandemic. 1/
In addition to their shocking selfishness, holding rallies and hearings without taking basic health precautions, electeds like Trump and Graham are revealing they have no place in any legitimate government. They are attacking our common project at its most basic level. 2/
Trump and Graham are perverting their offices. They don’t just disagree on methods for protecting our health, they are actively willing to sacrifice the health of Americans with whom they are in direct contact to serve their own agendas. 3/
Read 6 tweets
10 Oct 20
With Trump packing people together at the White House and Graham planning to hold indoor hearings while refusing to get tested, time to spell out specifically what makes their behavior deplorable. 1/
There is an incurable, highly contagious disease spreading in most areas of the country. It takes vigilance and self-discipline to live comparatively safely in the face of this natural disaster. 2/
It takes even more individual effort to live comparatively safely in this pandemic precisely because of the political failure to lead collective action that would have made it easier. 3/
Read 8 tweets
9 Oct 20
In all the coverage of the plot to harm Whitmer and Trump’s influence, I haven’t seen enough attention paid to the plotters’ and Trump’s misogyny. 1/
Misogyny is so baked into our culture it can easily blend in. This needs to change if we are to fight it. 2/
Small but telling detail in coverage of plot to harm Whitmer. Plotters referred to her as “tyrant b—ch.” Press has been quoting b-word without treating it as an unacceptably misogynist epithet. It should be treated just like the n-word. 3/
Read 10 tweets
4 Oct 20
Amy Coney Barrett has already disqualified herself as a legitimate member of federal judiciary. I don’t know how a competent U.S. lawyer justifies nomination to SCOTUS from President who explicitly made it clear he depends on her vote, rather than ours, to keep him in power. 1/
But now, Barrett really seems to me to be unethical outside of the legal context. She allowed events in her honor to be held on terms that directly risked the lives not only of guests but of ordinary people who work at the WH, eg cleaners, cooks, etc. 2/
Like anybody who hasn’t yet accepted a job being offered, Barrett had leverage when she agreed to attend events surrounding her nomination. She could have said she would not participate unless all sensible health precautions taken. 3/
Read 6 tweets
4 Oct 20
With almost every day bringing a whole new level of crazy, I’m struck by the ever increasing camaraderie I observe among those working to save our country from authoritarianism, duplicity, and incompetence. 1/
We are shook but we are together. We are fundraising, we are sharing ideas and expertise, we are cheering each other on and consoling one another. 2/
I draw great comfort from knowing I am not at all alone in the fight to bring our country back toward rule of law, generosity, equality, fairness. 3/
Read 7 tweets
3 Oct 20
When case numbers in South Bend go up and contact tracing reveals that Notre Dame president and faculty who attended DC Barrett event are proximate cause, those sickened may have tort claims against the attendees. 1/
In some circumstances it would be very hard to prove that certain others proximately caused anybody else’s COVID-19, but … 2/
… in an environment where folks are sharply mandated to mask and social distance, the odds that those who flouted these precautions in DC will be the actual, most legally significant cause of new cases may well be quite high. 3/
Read 9 tweets
2 Oct 20
Because Covid-19 in older people often presents as confusion, Trump’s infection poses a challenge for those around him charged with invoking the 25th Amendment in the event of his disability. 1/
As I discussed on @cspanwj in 2018, assessing whether somebody like Trump is confused is going to be a real challenge given his baseline. See minute 27:24. c-span.org/video/?451129-… 2/
The VP plays a key role in triggering 25th Amendment, yet VPs don’t want to seem like they are rushing to push aside Presidents. 3/
Read 5 tweets