So Much Winning

On an Inauguration Day installment of Law Talk, Professors Epstein and Yoo are casting one last glance toward the Obama Administration and taking on the big questions around the dawning of the Trump era.

First, the professors react to President Obama’s clemency for Chelsea Manning — and explore why the Founding Fathers gave the president such sweeping pardon powers anyway. Then, they take the long view: how will history remember the Obama years? (Spoiler alert: neither professor is anticipating Abe Lincoln being bumped off the $5 anytime soon).

Then, as we look toward the future: what should the agenda be for Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department? What should President Trump be looking for in a Solicitor General (and what does a Solicitor General do anyways)? Were the salacious BuzzFeed accusations about Trump grounds for a libel case? And how worried should we be about the tension between President Trump and the intelligence community? All that, plus some riffing on early 19th century American politics and a bold prediction of a nuclear exchange in Central America — just another day in the faculty lounge.

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There are 17 comments.

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  1. Henry Castaigne Member

    “The constitution is a series of imperfect compromises.” How very old-school libertarian. No utopianism in that statement. It’s striking to hear the description of such a revered document put in plain terms.

    • #1
    • January 20, 2017, at 10:24 AM PST
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  2. Texmoor Coolidge

    There’s so much winning in that picture, lol

    • #2
    • January 20, 2017, at 11:22 AM PST
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  3. ToryWarWriter Thatcher

    What was the closing song?

    • #3
    • January 20, 2017, at 1:36 PM PST
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  4. Blue Yeti Admin

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):

    King For A Day by XTC:

    • #4
    • January 20, 2017, at 1:51 PM PST
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  5. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Texmoor (View Comment):
    There’s so much winning in that picture, lol

    Yeah, they could put that picture on a t-shirt to sell at the Ricochet Store.

    • #5
    • January 20, 2017, at 2:34 PM PST
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  6. schubie Member

    Anyone else having trouble with subscribing to Law Talk on iTunes?

    This episode won’t come through and the Subscribe button won’t engage.

    • #6
    • January 20, 2017, at 9:22 PM PST
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  7. RufusRJones Member

    That was excellent.

    Richard on Obama at 22:00 is must listen.

    • #7
    • January 21, 2017, at 4:16 AM PST
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  8. Blue Yeti Admin

    schubie (View Comment):
    Anyone else having trouble with subscribing to Law Talk on iTunes?

    This episode won’t come through and the Subscribe button won’t engage.

    If you’re still having trouble, please write us at [email protected].

    • #8
    • January 21, 2017, at 7:51 AM PST
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  9. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Richard Epstein at 29:01: “But the great mistake about Mr. Trump’s intellectual mindset is that the man is still a mercantilist. He somehow or other believes that if that if you give protection to American firms from competition from abroad we will be better off. He doesn’t seen to understand the simple proposition that if you want to be successful in the export market what you have to do is be successful in the import market, if only to make sure that you get the components for goods that you need to sell overseas. The last thing we need to do is have Mexicans retaliate against us because of the barbaric way in which Trump makes use or treats them.”

    Let’s parse this out.

    Giving protection to American firms from competition? This statement is 180° removed from reality. It is not the foreign corporation Donald Trump has gone to war against. Trump has gone to war with American companies who treat Mexico as the new plantations of cheap labor, those that are using NAFTA to export jobs and import goods whose origin is American designed, American engineered and formerly American produced.

    If you look at the list of automobiles assembled in Mexico and sold in the United States you will find a lot of familiar names: Cadillac, Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, and Japan’s Honda and Nissan. What is absent is a car designed in Mexico by Mexicans, and sold to Mexicans that wish to compete in our market.

    But like much of the establishment we have a mantra that must be repeated, that this is really about trade in goods and not labor. Republican politicians love to tape campaign commercials on the shop floor, telling us that American workers and American companies can compete with anyone in the world and then facilitate job loss.

    • #9
    • January 21, 2017, at 9:02 AM PST
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  10. Henry Castaigne Member

    EJHill (View Comment):
    What is absent is a car designed in Mexico by Mexicans, and sold to Mexicans that wish to compete in our market.

    How is that a bad thing? That means American engineers are getting paid to design cars and selling them to the Mexicans who can afford it. (Thankfully there are more of them nowadays.)

    • #10
    • January 21, 2017, at 10:16 AM PST
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  11. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Henry CastaigneHow is that a bad thing?

    First, it is the classic bait and switch. Selling one thing and delivering another.

    Secondly, it assumes that Ford’s and GM’s first loyalty is to a shareholder who may have only bought their stock this morning instead of to the country and to the communities that have supported them for over a century.

    Thirdly, when tied to the open border dreams of libertarians like Mr. Epstein and the late Obama Administration’s plan to change the demographics where they couldn’t change hearts and minds, it means that the most skilled and most educated Mexicans will stay in Mexico while the least skilled, least educated and least employable will seek refuge in the American welfare state propped up by a tax base that has been shrunk by millions of exported jobs.

    How much would the designing engineers have to be paid so that their taxes can offset the destruction of American communities? Take 95 million adults between 25 and 50 completely out of the workforce, add 6 million who are in part time work because they can not find full time employment and then create an atmosphere of despair, suicide and opiate dependency.

    Oh, and by the way, almost 13% percent of those stuck in minimum wage part time work have at least a bachelor’s degree.

    Alright, now you tell me why it’s such a good thing.

    • #11
    • January 21, 2017, at 10:45 AM PST
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  12. Saint Augustine Member

    Gentlemen, there is another original reason for the pardon power. Locke gives it in the Second Treatise, and (it being The Classical Liberal Constitution) this was surely among the reasons for the power.

    Locke describes it as the power of executive “prerogative,” and it exists for situations where justice requires an exception to a general rule although law otherwise must operate in generalities.

    Modifying Locke’s example:

    Say your house is the second in a row of ten wooden houses built way too close to together; say the first house in the row is on fire; say the roads are all flooded out and the local fire department doesn’t have any helicopters; say I know you’re safely out of the house; and, finally, say I bulldoze it down and shove the rubble out of the way before the fire can spread.

    The law says I can’t bulldoze your house. So, yeah, I broke some laws there–an open and shut case! But I didn’t do anything wrong. And I deserve a pardon.

    • #12
    • January 21, 2017, at 8:11 PM PST
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  13. Saint Augustine Member

    @TroySenik, are we supposed to PM you questions for Law Talk? Is it ok if I do one here?

    Mr. Epstein seems to have followed Justice Holmes’ advice in “The Path of the Law” that a law scholar ought to know economics:

    For the rational study of the law . . . the man of the future is the man of statistics and the master of economics.

    I look forward to a time when . . . we shall spend our energy on a study of the ends sought to be attained and the reasons for desiring them. As a step toward that ideal it seems to me that every lawyer ought to seek an understanding of economics. . . . [W]e are called on to consider and weigh the ends of legislation, the means of attaining them, and the cost.

    It appears that Holmes’ advice is that lawyers know economics so they can know how to tailor the law for economic growth–so they can know what the law ought to do in order to bring about good results.

    Is it possible that Holmes got it backwards, and that he got it backwards because he didn’t know Hayekian economics–that lawyers should know Hayek and Bastiat so they can know what they don’t know and know not to try to use the law to bring about good results?

    • #13
    • January 21, 2017, at 8:28 PM PST
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  14. Ralphie Member

    Obama did laugh about jobs not being shovel ready. I guess that would be as close as it gets to his admitting a mistake.

    • #14
    • January 26, 2017, at 9:51 AM PST
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  15. SeanWood Inactive

    Just started listening to the podcast, and liking them so much that I have been binge-listening to the prior ones. Great stuff! However, in some of the podcasts the address ricochet.com/lawtalk is given, but that results in an error, as does ricochet.com/law talk, while ricochet.com/law-talk takes one to some 2011 comments. Suggest that all three should take one to ricochet.com/series/law-talk, which appears to be the intended destination.

    Also, some of the first episodes return an error when I try to download them in Pocket Casts.

    • #15
    • January 27, 2017, at 8:19 AM PST
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  16. SeanWood Inactive

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    …Is it possible that Holmes got it backwards, and that he got it backwards because he didn’t know Hayekian economics–that lawyers should know Hayek and Bastiat so they can know what they don’t know and know not to try to use the law to bring about good results?

    The law is going to be with us, and it is going to have results, so they might as well be good ones.

    • #16
    • January 27, 2017, at 9:13 AM PST
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  17. Henry Castaigne Member

    EJHill (View Comment):
    Alright, now you tell me why it’s such a good thing.

    You are conflating open borders with free trade. I want America to sell things to Mexico as opposed to encouraging the poorest and least assimilable Latin Americans to come here.

    • #17
    • January 27, 2017, at 3:08 PM PST
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