Categories
Critters Legal, Laws, and Regs

Feld Entertainment Circus Elephants Finally Find a Home

Take equal parts dealing with Trump as President and then COVID and you have an explanation for why I didn’t notice that there was a piece of outstandingly good news beginning in 2020.

The Feld Entertainment/Ringling Brothers elephants I had written about in the past have finally found a good and loving home in a sanctuary in northern Florida.

For years I followed the animal welfare court cases related to Feld Entertainment’s indifferent and callous care of the elephants in the organization’s famous circus. I had though of writing a book on the longest of the court cases, Animal Welfare Institute (formerly ASPCA) vs. Feld Entertainment. Even today, one of my most popular web pages is a PDF listing incidents with elephants in circuses in North America.

When Kenneth Feld retired the Ringling Brothers Circus, and the circus elephants, they were out of sight out of mind but we all knew their care would continue to be indifferent, their future dismal.

Now, the elephants run free at the White Oak sanctuary, in a lovely home with lakes and forests and they’re no longer chained up for days at a time on cold concrete.

Though Feld Entertainment is attempting to paint themselves in the best light with this move, they sold the elephants to the sanctuary; they did not give the elephants to the sanctuary. I suspect the reason why is equal parts Feld’s daughters telling him to move on and the cost and upkeep of the elephants when Feld Entertainment was hit by COVID losses. Regardless of the underlying reasons behind it all, we can celebrate the fact that Feld no longer has elephants and the elephants, and we, can all move on to something better.

 

Categories
Government Legal, Laws, and Regs

What’s at risk with Kavanaugh’s Appointment

I would like to claim prescience for correctly guessing that Brett Kavanaugh would be the Supreme Court pick, but his choice was fairly obvious. And has been noted in various press publications, Justice Kennedy likely retired now¬† because he knew of Kavanaugh’s pick.

Kavanaugh’s rulings and writings are now being scrutinized, particularly when it comes to decisions that can impact on Roe v. Wade. Unfortunately, we’re so fixated on this one specific case that we’re ignoring the real threat that Kavanaugh’s appointment will be in the court.

Categories
Government Legal, Laws, and Regs

SCOTUS Pick: Kavanaugh’s Advantage

According to media reports, Trump has narrowed his SCOTUS pick to *three people: Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, and Raymond Kethledge.

I suspect that Trump had narrowed his choice even before Kennedy retired. And I also suspect Trump’s short list was communicated to Kennedy, leading Kennedy to feel he could safely retire. After all, two members of the short list clerked with Kennedy; his legacy could continue if either is picked.

Each candidate has attributes that would appeal to Trump, as well as drawbacks. However, I believe that Kavanaugh will end up the pick, because he represents a way to attack Obama’s legacy not just once, but twice.

Categories
Legal, Laws, and Regs

The CFPB Leadership Fight and Silver Linings

Update:

And the Judge ruled in favor of Mulvaney. None of us are surprised. English will, most likely, appeal the ruling. In the meantime, Texas has filed a motion requesting leave to filing a Friend of the Court.

These red state AGs have very little else to do.

First Update:

The judge has asked all parties to appear in court today at 4PM Eastern regarding the motion for a temporary restraining order. We’ll most likely get resolution on the two leader issue at that time.

Earlier:

I have updates on the lawsuit over the temporary leadership of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Last night, a deputy Attorney General filed a legal motion opposing Leandra English’s request for a temporary restraining order. They did so quickly at the urging of the judge, newly installed, Trump-appointed Timothy Kelly.

The Judge is likely to rule today on the motion for the restraining order. Sadly, I don’t hold out a lot of hope that English will prevail.

OK, we’re disappointed. Now, let’s look at the silver lining.

Categories
Legal, Laws, and Regs

The Fight over the CFPB

The Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) resigned last week. Before he left, he appointed Leandra English as Deputy Director, recognizing “that appointing the current chief of staff to the deputy director position would minimize operational disruption and provide for a smooth transition given her operational expertise.”

Later that day, Trump appointed the White House budget director Mick Mulvaney as acting head of the CFPB until he could appoint a permanent director with Senate approval. Last night, English filed a lawsuit challenging the appointment, following up this morning with a request for a restraining order to prevent Mulvaney from stepping into the position.

Dueling legal arguments have been flying on Twitter and in the media about the transition. The White House claims the Federal Vacancies Reform Act (FVRA) applies to the appointment of an acting CFPB Director. This act enables the President to make the appointment.

English and those who support her state that it is the Dodd-Frank law that created the CFPB that has precedence in the appointment. A section of the law states that the deputy Directory shall “serve as acting Director in the absence or unavailability of the Director.”

When Congressional laws create a conflict, the newer law, and the more specific, takes precedence. The Dodd-Frank is both newer and more specific (related specifically to the CFPB rather than all agencies, generally). The White House argument is that the laws aren’t in conflict, they exist parallel to each other, which means that the deputy Director would be acting director only if the President doesn’t choose another.

I’m not a lawyer, but it only requires a modicum of logic and commonsense to realize that Trump’s hasty appointment of Mulvaney was ill-thought and will ultimately be counter-productive.