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The Law Is My Ass

The legal news of the moment, from Supreme Court decisions to legislative activity, to legal issues in the public consciousness - presented and discussed by highly experienced and thoughtful attorneys, law professors, and humorists.
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Now displaying: Category: law
Dec 17, 2017

It's Episode 48 - our last Law My Ass episode of 2018, and IT'S ALSO THE LAST EPISODE EVER! AAAAAAAHHHH! But don't fear - we'll be back next year with a new and improved and rebranded legal podcast that will be basically indistinguishable from The Law Is My Ass, except that it will be called Keep It Legal! instead. For the Law My Ass series finale, Sid Skyped in from London, our guest Lena Zwarensteyn Skyped in from Washington DC, and along the way we answered a few questions, including:

  • What was the Supreme Court up to this week? (Hint: not much)
  • What was Judge Kozinski up to this week? (Hint: too much)
  • Is the long-fought Fitbit-Jawbone war finally reaching an armistice? (Hint: signs point to yes)
  • Is Betsy DeVos's Department of Education doing anything at all? (Hint: signs point to no)
  • Can you get counterfeit Mercedes Benz hubcaps from Amazon? (Hint: Mercedes says you can and it is NOT happy about it!)
  • Is Brett Tally going to be a judge? (Hint: it's not looking good for him)
  • Is the DOJ hunting witches? (Hint: Rod Rosenstein denies it)
  • Does Trump's DOJ believe that climate change might be catastrophic? (Hint: it doesn't matter, because it thinks that there's no right to a habitable environment)
  • Open Internet, AKA "net neutrality" - are we all doomed? (Hint: not yet!)

All that and more on our final episode of all time ever until we come back and do more of it next year under a different name. It's been an exciting and educational year of podcasting - we want sincerely to thank all of our listeners for joining us on this journey, listening, giving feedback, sending questions, and most of all just for caring about the laws that affect us all; you folks are the best. Thank you! And until next year, Keep It Legal!™ 

Dec 3, 2017

In this the 46th episode of The Law Is My Ass, Sid and Joe cover all the usual topics, including but not limited to

  • Is the podcast changing its name? (Hint: YES! In 2018)
  • Does Joe steal all of Sid's lines? (Hint: Apparently)
  • Is Michael Flynn going to bring down the Trump administration? (Hint: it's too soon to say)
  • Can Trump stop himself from Tweeting? (Hint: what do you think?)
  • Should Jose Zarate have been convicted of murder (Hint: no)
  • Are brown people dangerous (Hint: most, we assume, are good people -- much like people of all other colors)
  • Does the Bureau of Land Management take good care of its guns? (Hint: apparently not at all)
  • Does Neal Katyal sometimes represent bad guys? (Hint: yup!)
  • Does the Supreme Court's hearing room have good natural light? (Hint: Jaime says "absolutely!")
  • Is the Supreme Court going to protect your cell cite location data? (Hint: we all guess yes)
  • What percentage of internet bots are good? (Hint: exactly 26%)
  • Can Jaime drop an F-bomb? (Hint: yes)

All that and a great listener question! So check out Episode 46 now while you can, before we rebrand the entire operation. And keep it legal!

Nov 19, 2017

In today's 45th episode of The Law Is My Ass, Sid and Joe wind through the regular features of the podcast, along with a great interview of Lena Zwarensteyn of the American Constitution Society, and along the way try to answer, inter alia, the following:

  • Has Joe finally figured out how to use the compressor in GarageBand? (Hint: signs point to yes)
  • Has the Trump administration lost any cases in the Ninth Circuit this week? (Hint: check out the new DACA litigation update segment! But yes)
  • Are the President's tweets official government records? (Hint: the DOJ says "yes")
  • What's up at the Supreme Court (Hint: the three women justices are trying to prevent unfair executions)
  • Are the Badgers undefeated? (Hint: we didn't talk about that, but the answer is "YES! And they'd better be included in the playoffs if they stay that way!)
  • Can you bare your breasts as a political protest? (Hint: one would assume so, but apparently not in Chicago)
  • What about the elephants? (Hint: according the the administration's official regulatory publication - Twitter - the elephants got a temporary reprieve)
  • Are New Balance shoes made in the US? (Hint: New Balance says it doesn't matter)
  • Are blue slips dead? (Hint: for district court judges, apparently yes)
  • Is Trump trying to stack the courts? (Hint: duh)
  • Is the ABA's rating committee biased? (Hint: only one person thinks so)
  • Should Al Franken resign? (Hint: reasonable minds may differ)

All that and three great listener questions - give it all a good listen, and keep it legal!

Nov 12, 2017

This week Sid and Joe go guest-free to bring you all the latest in the Travel Ban update, Supreme Court Roundup, Random Legal News, a Listener Question - and the podcast's newest feature: "Objection!" Along the way, they answer the following:

  • Does the podcast now have one episode for every president of the United States (Hint: depends whether you count Trump)
  • What's up with the Travel Ban 3.0 appeals (Hint: oral arguments in a month)
  • What's the Supreme Court been up to (Hint: Three opinions, two oral arguments, and an upcoming case featuring podcast guest Jamie Lee Williams!)
  • What's a bed bug bite worth? (Hint: around $50,000)
  • Is Cal. Rule of Prof. Conduct 5-110(d) > Brady? (Hint: yes!)
  • How can you revive the long-expired statutes of limitations on your sexual misconduct? (Hint: call someone a liar)
  • Can you be prosecuted for laughing at Jeff Sessions? (Hint: can - yes; will - no)
  • Is "opioid overdose" hard to say quickly? (Hint: seems to be)
  • Should federal district judge nominees have some litigation experience? (Hint: we would hope so - but apparently not)
  • What's up with Colin Kaepernick's NFL "collusion" grievance? (Hint: listen and find out!)

All that and more - so turn on, tune in, and keep it legal!

Nov 4, 2017

In the 43rd episode of The Law Is My Ass, Sid and Joe have a terrific conversation with former prosecutor Vernon Grigg III about the significance and implications of the indictments and plea deal that were unsealed this last Monday in the Robert Mueller investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election. Along the way the answer the following questions on everybody's minds:

  • Did the Ninth Circuit specifically schedule the oral argument in the current travel ban appeal just to mess with Sid's law school final exams? (Hint: signs point to yes)
  • Has the Fourth Circuit decided to get in on that action yet? (Answer: finally, yes!)
  • The Supreme Court heard oral argument in four cases last week - any of them interesting? (Hint: nah)
  • Is the Notorious RGB retiring any time soon? (Hint: that'd be an emphatic "no")
  • As between the lawyers and the city of Los Angeles, who wins? (Hint: starts with an "L" ends with an "S" . . .)
  • Should I continue to buy Bosch tools and appliances? (Hint: Bosch is going to need all the revenue it can get)
  • How's Trump's military transgender policy going? (Hint: enjoined)
  • Are the charges against Manafort and Gates just cotton candy? (Hint: no)
  • Should Jeff Sessions be concerned (Hint: hard to say, but he probably renewed his prescription for antacids last week)
  • Is there more to come from Mueller? (Hint: sure looks that way)
  • Does the POTUS have any mechanism to shit this whole thing down? (Hint: several, but no good ones)

All that and more - give us a listen! Send your listener questions for next week to lawmyass@gmail.com, and in the meantime - keep it legal!™ 

Oct 28, 2017

In this the 42nd Episode of The Law Is My Ass, Sid and Joe round up the Supreme Court's week, the new developments in the Travel Ban Litigation at the Ninth Circuit, and interview mediator extraordinaire Cathy Yanni about mediation. Along the way, they answer some questions:

  • Is standard of review interesting? (Hint: No, but it's important)
  • Is travel ban 2.0 moot? (Hint: it's now officially the mootest)
  • Does the FBI protect its informants from murder (Hint: the dead ones don't think so)
  • Can climate forecasting software be used to do DNA matching? (Hint: ProPublica has its doubts)
  • Did the Senate sell us all out to the big banks last week? (Hint: that's an unqualified "yes")
  • Does Betsy DeVos hate disabled children? (Hint: signs point to yes)
  • Is the Mueller investigation producing some fruit? (Hint: late summer melons, perhaps)
  • Is mediation good or bad? (Hint: on balance, good)

All that and a great listener question about corporate First Amendment rights in the post-Hobby Lobby era! Give it a listen, and keep it legal!™ 

Oct 8, 2017

In this the exciting FORTIETH episode of The Law Is My Ass, immigration expert Shawn Matloob joins us for our weekly Travel Ban Litigation Update, and to talk about all things immigration, including DACA. Along the way we try to answer the following questions:

  • What podcast co-host as the greatest ability to make the most inappropriate joke at the most inappropriate time? (Hint: stars with an S, ends with a D, and I is in the middle)
  • Does Justice Ginsburg hate Justice Gorsuch? (Hint: well, he's no Antonin Scalia, but probably not)
  • How's it looking for Gill v. Whitford? (Hint: good?)
  • What about employees with class claims (Hint: less so)
  • What about public sector labor unions (Hint: on life support)
  • Does all the important litigation originate in Wisconsin? (Hint: no but it does seem that way sometimes)
  • Is it wise to to send a picture of your genitals to an underage girl? (Hint: definitely not in Indiana)
  • Is it was to plant drugs on someone you hate and then call the cops (Hint: not if you leave your DNA on them)
  • What is Love, anyway? (Hint: the FDA says it's "intervening material")

All that and a listener question to boot! Tune in, check it out, and keep it legal! Also, listen twice because we're off next week ;)

Sep 30, 2017

In this exciting 39th Episode we talk about the legalities of the current protests and demonstrations by NFL players, coaches, and owners, and along the way we also answer the following questions (among others):

  • Can Lingerie League football players be disciplined for pre-game protests? (Hint: most definitely);
  • Can your local high school's football players be disciplined for pre-game protest (Hint: less likely);
  • Can NFL players be disciplined for pre-game protests? (Hint: unlikely, but not because of the First Amendment);
  • Can women drive in Saudi Arabia (Hint: not yet - but soon!);
  • Are the Supreme Court travel ban appeals going to be dismissed as moot? (Hint: signs point to maybe);
  • Is Andrew going to be a great attorney some day? (Hint: the jury is still out);
  • Is ICE trying to prevent immigration detainees from obtaining legal representation (Hint: all signed point to yes);
  • What the heck is the Jones Act (Hint: OSHA for the Ocean!)

All that and more! Listen in, subscribe, send your listener questions to lawmyass@gmail.com, and above all, keep it legal!

Sep 23, 2017

In this the 38th episode of The Law Is My Ass, Sid and Joe interview podcast-regular and benefits expert Eric Schillinger about the Graham-Cassidy bill that the Senate is considering RIGHT NOW as it's likely last effort to repeal Obamacare in this fiscal year. What does it mean, and how would it affect you? Listen and find out! And as if that weren't enough, we tackle the following pressing legal questions:

  • Is there another way to look at the Second Amendment? (Hint: yes)
  • Do Californian's have to stop force feeding their geese again? (Hint: yes, but abusing chickens, cattle and pigs is still allowed)
  • Is Equifax in deep doo-doo? (Hint: you know the answer)
  • Is Wells-Fargo trying to pull a fast one? (Hint: guess)
  • Is Taylor Swift going down for copyright infringement? (Hint: Joe votes no, Sid votes yes, and Eric abstains)
  • Can Jeff Sessions punish cities that don't want immigration officers storming into their jails? (Hint: courts say "no"!)
  • What web giant has the funniest in-house IP attorneys? (Hint: starts with N, ends with x, and has an "etfli" in the middle)

All that and more in this week's shorter-than-usual episode of The Law Is My Ass. Tune in, and keep it legal!

 

Sep 16, 2017

In this the 37th (!) episode of The Law Is My Ass, and along with exciting special guest Amy Bach of advocacy organization United Policyholders (check out their website right here: http://uphelp.org) talk about last week's Supreme Court foray back into the travel ban litigation, and take on the following pressing questions:

  • Are strippers properly classified as independent contractors (Hint: probably not);
  • Is Equifax about to drown in litigation (Hint: all signs point to yes);
  • Is Google a sexist employer (Hint: some employees are saying so!);
  • Is President Trump's pardon of Sheriff Arpaio constitutional (Hint: some say no!);
  • How many insurance companies does it take to pay a homeowners hurricane claim (Hint: it's a trick question! There's no insurance!);

All that and listener questions in today's exciting installment of The Law Is My Ass!

Jul 22, 2017

We have some some very exciting news about our next two episodes (Hint: we will be interviewing a sitting Ninth Circuit judge for the August 5 episode # 32!!!)

Once we get that out of the way, this week we cover the developments in the ongoing travel ban litigation that the mainstream press has hardly covered at all (both the Ninth Circuit and the Supreme Court issued important clarifying and procedural decisions last week). But unlike the rest of the media, we bring you up to speed! We also answer pressing questions like "Is it legal to make mouthwash on an antifreeze machine?" (Hint: unlikely); "Is Harley Davidson still going to buy me a new stove?" (Hint: no, Jeff Sessions let them off the hook); "Can the government seize my assets without proving I did anything wrong?" (Hint: Jeff Sessions thinks it's a great idea, but Justice Clarence Thomas is skeptical); can the President pardon himself? (Hint: most likely yes, but even that might not protect him and we'll explore that in depth next week with our guest co-host and former prosecutor Vernon Grigg!).

Then we have our FIFTH guest interview with Eric Schillinger about the substance and procedure of the Senate's efforts to repeal the ACA (aka "Obamacare") - and conclude that the proposals are getting wackier every day.

Finally a listener question that points out just how complicated it can be to destroy the government from the inside out.

Thanks for listening and keep it legal!

Jul 16, 2017

The administration is back to losing motions and filing appeals about its travel bans, the latest occurring one day before the precast. Sid and Joe bring you up to speed in their weekly "Travel Ban Litigation Update"  In the Random Legal News of the Week with Sid and Joe, your hosts talk about bar exams, skeevy law professors, skeevier judges. racist AirBnB hosts, litigious UBER drivers, more lawsuits against the President, and answer the question "Is laughing, alone, a criminal offense when you direct it at Jeff Sessions" (hint: apparently it is not).

But the star of this week's episode is intellectual property law expert Chris Holland, who talked about the ins and outs of pants, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, noncompetes, the "right of publicity," fair use, parody, and answered some fascinating questions like "Can a blogger annotate and repost home photos downloaded from the internet?" (Hint: maybe); can the Kardashians market TuPac t-shirts without TuPac's estate's permission? (Hint: almost certainly not); Can we trademark "The Law Is My Ass" (Hint: yes, but it still wouldn't be worth anything); how do you spell "incontestability" (Hint: we just did); can you drive a Lexis or do legal research in a Lexus (Hint: unlikely).

All that and listener questions - so tune in, and keep it legal!

Jul 8, 2017

In this the 28th Episode of The Law Is My Ass, Sid and Joe talk about a recent dissent from cert denial filed by Justices Thomas and Gorsuch that gives a pretty good sense of where they lie on gun rights. They debut a new theme song for the Random Legal News of the Week, in which they answer "does EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt want to poison your kids?" (Hint: quite possibly); "can you bilk investors *and* concertgoers out of millions of dollars to put on a bogus music festival and then drive your Maserati into the sunset?" (Hint: it would seem not); "do plaintiffs win all the time?" (Hint: emphatically no; and "isn't what Volkswagen did with their emissions cheating criminal?" (Hint: it sure looks that way).

Then they talk to podcast regular Eric Schillinger about the state of the Senate's efforts to repeal the ACA (aka Obamacare), who benefits, who loses, and why.

All that, and one of the best listener questions the podcast has ever had! Give it a listen, and keep it legal!

Jul 1, 2017

On this the 27th episode (!) "Independence" edition of The Law Is My Ass, Sid and Joe correct some of the deficiencies in news coverage about the Supreme Court's decision in the travel ban litigation, cover the other five Supreme Court cases decided this week, talk about religious freedom and the first amendment, and then . . . a terrific interview with U.C. Hastings Professor David Takacs about environmental law and regulation, with a good breakdown of the Paris Climate Accord and what it means that the US "pulled out." So, was this week's Supreme Court decision in the travel bad case a big win for the President? (Hint: no.) Is it legal for border agents to shoot kids standing on Mexican soil? (Hint: maybe not.) Can churches resurface their playgrounds using public funds? (Hint: apparently so.) Is Justice Gorsuch making friends at his new job? (Hint: perhaps two!) Is the Senate still trying to take your health care away? (Hint: probably, but tune in next week to be sure.) And can the Trump administration destroy the environment? (Hint: depends.)

All that and some great listener questions about extortion, Zillow, McMansions, and the doctrine of fair use. Check it out, and keep it legal! Happy fourth of July!

Jun 25, 2017

In this the 26th episode of The Law Is My Ass, Sid and Joe break down the week's TWELVE new Supreme Court decisions, have a great discussion (only moderately impacted by a lousy Skype signal) with podcast-regular Lena Zwarensteyn about pending judicial appointments, answer listener questions, and along the way provide valuable insight into pressing issues like "Does Sid have a comedy album available and is it charting?" (Hint: yes, and yes); "Can a Green Bay Packers fan sue the Chicago Bears organization for being jerks?" (Hint: probably not, and that alone is wronger than wrong!); "Did a progressive Asian-American rock band just accidentally help the Washington NFL franchise continue to insult native Americans?" (Hint: you know it!); and "Is there anything normal about how President Trump is appointing judges to their lifetime gigs on the bench?" (Hint: not much).

Check it out - we hope you enjoy it. And in all events: keep it legal!

Jun 10, 2017

In a heavy news week, we had six (count 'em: SIX) newsworthy actions by the Supreme Court, drug criminals, criminal attorneys, attorneys who represent criminals, attorneys who become nuns, boyfriends who kill ex-girlfriends and frame junk yard owners for their crimes only to have it all made into a Netflix documentary, and as if that weren't all enough ...

We also have a fabulous interview with former prosecutor Vernon Grigg who helps us answer the questions on everybody's mind: has the President obstructed justice (Hint: probably not yet, provably speaking); is James Comey some kind of sneaky genius (hint: all signs point to yes); is James Comey a good employee (hint: probably not); do Senate hearings sometimes resemble scenes from the movie Fargo (hint: indubitably); and for the first time in months, NO TRAVEL BAN LITIGATION UPDATE! Because nothing happened.

Give it a listen, send your questions to lawmyass@gmail.com, and keep it legal! 

Jun 4, 2017

In this the twenty-third episode of The Law Is My Ass, Sid and Joe march through some of the more interesting legislation and litigation of the week, including a thorough discussion of all four of the week's mostly-almost-unanimous Supreme Court decisions. Then we have a great interview with Sachin Chheda of the Fair Elections Project to talk about partisan gerrymandering and the status of the Wisconsin gerrymandering suit now in front of the Supreme Court, in which they answer just how rigged do electoral districts have to be in order to be illegal (hint: 7%); would a stay tell us anything about the court's views on the merits (hint: probably not); and who will we blame for the Packers' shortcomings now that we don't have Olivia Munn to kick around anymore (hint: probably the fans). All that and a great listener question! Give it a listen, and keep it legal!

May 28, 2017

Sid and Joe review the week's three Supreme Court decisions (only one of which amounts to much),  the Fourth Circuit's 200-page decision holding that the Trump administration travel ban is unconstitutional and illegal, Joe interviews Supreme Court litigator Doug Geyser about last week's most significant Supreme Court case (Midland Funding v. Johnson), and the dubious bulk debt industry generally; beyond that, Sid and Joe answer your listener questions, including whether or not Justice Thomas has turned over a new leaf on race by ruling against North Carolina in this week's gerrymandering case (hint: probably not); whether Justice Gorsuch's desire for an oral argument in this week's summary affirmance of a campaign finance decision means that he hates all campaign finance laws (hint: probably not); and whether Mike Flynn's decision to take the Fifth and refuse to testify to congress about Russia means that the investigation is over (hint: not by a long shot).

Give it a listen, and keep it legal!

May 6, 2017

We had four (count 'em - FOUR!) listener questions this week [thank everybody!] - but the real highlight of Episode 19 is the third (THIRD!) visit to the podcast by benefits expert Eric Schillinger to talk about the House's successful passage of the bill called the "AHCA" (aka TrumpCare) last week, what it does, what it doesn't do, and whether it's likely ever to become a law. All that, plus the Puerto Rico Bankruptcy, an update on new Supreme Court decisions, and the status of the 9th Circuit travel ban appeal.

Apr 15, 2017

Today Civil Rights attorney Stan Davis returns for a conversation about whether United Airlines is liable to Dr. David Dao for the violent way that the Doctor was deplaned in Chicago last Sunday. Stan, Joe, and Sid also talk about education policy, beef jerky, bond fraud, the patent troll that sued the EFF, the state of Hawai'i's  bid to have the Ninth Circuit hear the travel ban appeal en banc, and a listener question about Donald Trump's tax returns.

Join us for this exciting episode of The Law Is My Ass - and keep it legal!

Apr 8, 2017

This week Mike Pence got a smack down from the US District Court, the Ninth Circuit scheduled a hearing on the administration's appeal of the Hawai'i injunction against the travel ban, Sid dropped an F-bomb, and we had two in depth interviews:

  • Eric Schillinger was live again to talk about the substance and the mechanics of the AHCA (aka "Trump Care"), and the next legislative steps we might expect; and
  • Lena Zwarensteyn joined Joe once again to debrief the activities last week in the Senate that led to the final approval of President Trump's nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court (he's a Justice now, if you hadn't heard).

All that and more legal news and listener question(s). Check it out and keep it legal!

Apr 2, 2017

This week Sid and Joe give their regular weekly update on the

  • travel ban litigation (hint - it's back at the Ninth Circuit!);
  • the week's biggest Supreme Court decisions;
  • developments in the Trump University fraud class action settlement;
  • Congress's interesting decision to eliminate all privacy protections for internet browsing data;
  • and Michael Flynn's oddly public request for immunity in exchange for his testimony

And is if all that weren't enough, featured guest expert, Bankruptcy specialist Greg Rougeau talks Sid and Joe through Chapters 7, 9, 11 and 13 of the Bankruptcy code, and explains the apocryphal tale of "The Red Bench."

All that and a shout out to our first official sponsor, Green Light Jerky!

Don't miss it! And keep it Legal!

Mar 25, 2017

This week Sid and Joe update you on the ongoing travel ban litigation; congressional efforts to allow internet providers to buy, sell, and share all your internet usage data (one wonders whether US Senators ever look at porn on the internet . . .); the Supreme Court's new IDEA ruling (reversing an opinion of 10th Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch), and on the eve of the Neil Gorsuch Supreme Court confirmation vote (or filibuster, as the case may be) we interview Lena Zwarensteyn of the American Constitutional Society in Washington DC about judicial nominations and confirmations; and we tackle listener questions about treason, contempt, and comedy. 

All that and more on this, the 14th episode of The Law Is My Ass. Keep it Legal!

Mar 18, 2017

It's Lucky 13 at The Law Is My Ass! Sid is back from spring break for this long but edifying romp through the mechanics of class action litigation. Along the way, there's a legislative alert (H.R. 895 - please oppose it!), an update on the travel ban litigation in Maryland, Hawai'i, Washington, the Ninth Circuit, and beyond, and Joe and Sid point out a little tidbit from President Trump's 2005 tax return that Rachel Maddow seems to have missed.

Give it a listen - and keep it legal!

Mar 12, 2017

Special guest cohost, San Francisco comedy legend (according to W. Kamau Bell!) Nato Green joined Joe to engage guest attorney Michael Nelson in a deep dive into the policy, practice, politics and law of unions and labor organizing. Along the way, they also drank some bourbon, discussed the new Trump administration travel policy, spontaneously combusting lawyer trousers, recommended reading for those interested in labor history, and Nato dropped an F-bomb (hence the "explicit" rating this week).

All that and interesting listener questions about jerky sponsorship, Korean impeachment, and gays in the workplace.

Also, after we stopped recording, Nato recommended another book - it's called Strike for America by Micah Uetricht. We'd send you to Amazon, but their labor practices aren't all that great . . .

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