Results matching “richard blumenthal”

Supreme Court Ethics Act of 2013 - PointOfLaw Forum

Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) have demagogically proposed imposing regulatory rules on Supreme Court justices, criticizing them for attending Federalist Society events. They should perhaps read the Constitution. [Blackman via me]

As Connecticut's attorney general, Richard Blumenthal used to be able to get his shot of publicity by filing populist, anti-business lawsuits. Now as a junior member of the U.S. Senate, he's forced to seek publicity in other ways, introducing outrageous charges of possible criminality in his campaign against the oil industry. From The Hill, "Grand jury floated to probe gas prices":

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) on Sunday called for an aggressive federal probe - including a possible grand jury - into whether rising gasoline prices stem from illegal manipulation of energy markets....

Blumenthal, Connecticut's former attorney general, said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that federal officials need to play hardball.

"I commend and applaud the president for focusing on this issue but I think there really needs to be an investigation involving, for example, subpoenas and compulsory process which I used as attorney general in similar investigations. There needs to be very possibly a grand jury to uncover the potential wrongdoing," said Blumenthal, who was elected to the Senate last year.

Blumenthal is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and you would expect Chairman Patrick Leahy to hold hearings to attack "Big Oil" soon enough.

The political posturing that historically accompanies rising gas prices has gotten even more twisted this year than in the past. Last week President Obama announced that Attorney General Eric Holder would lead a task force, as described in his Saturday radio address, "with just one job: rooting out cases of fraud or manipulation in the oil markets that might affect gas prices, including any illegal activity by traders and speculators." Holder touted his effort at the White House blog and promoted it at the dispassionately named web site, StopFraud.gov.

Why turn to the Department of Justice when the Federal Trade Commission already has the expertise in investigating oil pricing and speculation? A reasonable conclusion is that the White House wants a political document with pre-ordained conclusion, because factual studies have previously disproved allegations of speculation. Here's what the FTC concluded in its study of pricing in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, a report released in May 2006.

In its investigation, the FTC found no instances of illegal market manipulation that led to higher prices during the relevant time periods but found 15 examples of pricing at the refining, wholesale, or retail level that fit the relevant legislation's definition of evidence of "price gouging." Other factors such as regional or local market trends, however, appeared to explain these firms' prices in nearly all cases. Further, the report reiterated the FTC's position that federal gasoline price gouging legislation, in addition to being difficult to enforce, could cause more problems for consumers than it solves, and that competitive market forces should be allowed to determine the price of gasoline drivers pay at the pump.

A separate study in 2008 by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission found that financial trading had not driven price moves in the oil market. (See Wall Street Journal editorial, Sept. 15, 2008, "See You Later, Speculator.")

The Blog of the Legal Times reports that the new members of the Senate Judiciary Committee will be Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT).

The Competitive Enterprise Institute last year identified Blumenthal as the second worst attorney general in the country. According to the report by CEI's Hans Bader, "The Nation's Worst State Attorneys General":

A left-wing ideologue who has used the power of his office to spread largesse to cronies, Blumenthal was rated the nation's worst attorney general in our
January 2007 ratings. Blumenthal has not gotten any better since then, but the competition for worst AG seems to have gotten fiercer.

Blumenthal helped mastermind the multistate tobacco agreement that turned attorneys general into national lawmakers, threws off hundreds of millions of dollars to the trial lawyers, and helped spread the abuses of state-hired contingency fee lawyers. As AG, Blumenthal also launched the Connecticut v. American Electric Power suit that seeks to create national climate change and emissions policy by distorting federal public nuisance law.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is already burdened by one activist, anti-business former AG from New England, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). Now there's two. Well, as we always say, maybe they can do less harm in the Senate than as state attorneys general.

As for Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), a Tea Party favorite, he's already coming under attack for his constitutional views. (See Think Progress, "GOP Puts Guy Who Thinks Federal Child Labor Laws Are Unconstitutional On Senate Judiciary Committee .") Daniel Foster at National Review Online comments: "This is going to be good. Lee's a J.D. from Brigham Young and twice clerked for Samuel Alito, once on the Third Circuit and again on the Supreme Court. He also killed at the Federalist Society last year."

The Salt Lake Tribune has more, "Lee to join Hatch on Judiciary Committee. " A waiver of Republican Conference rules was required to seat two Senators from the same state on the panel, Ed Whelan reports.


Rounding up the attorneys general and AGs-to-be - PointOfLaw Forum

With Kamala Harris now victorious in the California attorney general election (see below), Democrats nationwide can mark the state AG races as one area where they didn't do awfully on election night. Republicans won five AG seats from Democrats, four in solidly GOP states (Arizona, Georgia, Kansas and Oklahoma), as well as the competitive state of Ohio, where former U.S. Senator Mike DeWine defeated the incumbent appointee, Richard Cordray. But, as Governing.com reported:

Democrats staved off worse results by retaining six of their endangered seats, four of them in the Democratic stronghold of the Northeast. The Democrats retained AG slots in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island -- all of these but Massachusetts were open seats -- while also retaining seats held by endangered incumbents in more marginal states, Iowa and Nevada.

Post-election Democrats will still maintain the edge in elective state attorneys general, 22 out of the 43 positions. (See also WSJ Law Blog, "On Its Big Night, GOP Picks Up Attorney General Seats As Well.")

The National Association of Attorneys General has a list of election winners from Nov. 3. The NAAG's new AG orientation starts Monday in Phoenix, with the rest of the group's winter meeting following Nov. 30 to Dec. 2. In other developments:

On Election Day, some politics - PointOfLaw Forum

Control of the Michigan Supreme Court has swung back to the Republicans with the election of Judge Mary Beth Kelly and incumbent Justice Robert Young, who withstood ugly and dishonest personal attacks.

In Illinois, Justice Thomas Kilbride has exceeded the 60 percent margin to retain his seat on the Supreme Court. From The Chicago Tribune, "Supreme Court judge wins retention against business-backed push." Democratic Party, unions, trial lawyers far outspent business interests to keep justice on the court who helped overturn states' med-mal caps in Lebron v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has been elected Senator in Connecticut. Well, he'll probably do less damage to the business and legal climate with a single vote in the Senate than he did as AG.

Also in Connecticut, former state Democratic Party Chairman George Jepsen has declared victory in the race to replace Blumenthal as AG.

In New York, AG Andrew Cuomo is elected governor, declaring "The mandate tonight is to clean up Albany." The race to succeed him as attorney general is close.

UPDATE (2:30 a.m.): Schneiderman wins over Staten Island prosecutor Dan Donovan. Schneiderman campaigned in the Democratic primary as the most "progressive" candidate. Yeah ...

UPDATE (12:30 p.m. Wednesday): From Dan Pero at The American Courthouse:

In Iowa, in a push-back against judicial arrogance, voters dumped three sitting Supreme Court justices who were up for retention - the first time in history that any justice lost a retention election.  Voter outrage erupted when an activist court overstepped its authority by overturning the legislature's ban on gay marriage and forcing the state to grant marriage licenses to gay couples.

Pero, a critic of merit selection, wraps up the court races and concludes, "Elections a Big Victory for Judicial Accountability."

On the day before the elections, some politics - PointOfLaw Forum

The most competitive statewide race in New York is for attorney general between state Sen. Eric Schneiderman, a Manhattan/Bronx Democrat, and Staten Island prosecutor Dan Donovan, the Republican. The Wall Street Journal's Deal Journal blog reports, "And the Next Mortal Threat to Wall Street Is....":

One candidate in Tuesday's election is a state senator who pledges to keep close tabs on Wall Street's bad apples - in other words, a successor to Andrew Cuomo and Eliot Spitzer, who used lawsuits against financial firms as a cudgel for financial reform. On the other side is a Staten Island district attorney who says New York's attorney general should "promote fair markets and not bring cases simply to get headlines."

In Connecticut, the candidates for attorney general to succeed Richard Blumenthal are Martha Dean, the Republican, and George Jepsen, a former legislator state Democratic Party chairman. The Day summarizes the race under this screaming headline, "Dean, Jepsen differ on issues in AG race":

[Jepsen] said he would have sued the tobacco companies for lying about the health dangers of smoking and for pitching their products to children, an action that is bringing billions to Connecticut. He said he supports Blumenthal's suit against the coal-burning plants in the Midwest, which curbed air pollution drifting to the state, as well as Blumenthal's actions against social networking sites to curb sexual predators.

Dean said she would not have supported those suits, and saw the tobacco suit as particularly egregious, saying it was a scheme concocted by trial lawyers and AGs around the country who brought "tobacco to its knees without a judge hearing the case."


In "Power Player," Baltimore Magazine does a flattering profile of Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, getting people accustomed to the idea that he'll be a great governor after Martin O'Malley finishes his second term. Gansler's running unopposed this year for AG.

Around the web, October 29 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • After the leak of this Larry Tribe letter, we perhaps know who bad-mouthed Sonia Sotomayor to Jeff Rosen. The bad-mouthing of Justices Breyer and Kennedy (and smear of Diane Wood) are also in there. Don't miss the last-paragraph flattery. Above the Law unusually ignores the juicy story. [Whelan @ NRO; more; more]
  • State attorneys general demand that banks be more lenient with mortgage foreclosures, sue banks for being too lenient. [Jenkins @ WSJ via Stoll]
  • Credit scores are handy ways to predict job performance in hiring. So the EEOC is naturally against it. [OL]
  • New York state retroactively rewrites every mortgage in the state to forbid one-way fee-shifting. [NYLJ]
  • Happy birthday, Drug and Device Law Blog! [Abnormal Use]
  • Elizabeth Warren doing end-around Dodd-Frank procedures, checks and balances. [Freire @ Examiner]
  • Obama administration expected to shift to regulatory process after mid-term losses in granting trial-lawyer earmarks that expand liability. [WSJ]
  • A must-read article and book on the counterproductiveness of humanitarian aid: "If you use enough violence, aid will arrive, and if you use even more violence, even more aid will arrive." [New Yorker ($); The Crisis Caravan]
  • An entertaining polemic from a master of the art against Richard Blumenthal, but his Senate-race lead appears insurmountable. [Coulter]
  • I'm shocked, shocked, to find Paul Krugman being intellectually dishonest. [Cafe Hayek]

George Will does not think much of Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, running for the U.S. Senate against wrestling impresaria Linda McMahon. In today's column, Will provides telling examples of Blumenthal's penchant for falsehood.

On MSNBC he intimated that he would not take "special interest" or PAC money, promising fundraising "from ordinary citizens." But he flew to Vancouver, British Columbia, for a PAC fundraising event for him and 11 other Democratic Senate candidates. Blumenthal said it was not for Harry Reid. Hartford Courant columnist Kevin Rennie reports that the invitation to the event and documents filed with the Federal Election Commission say Reid was among the beneficiaries. Blumenthal says it was an opportunity to discuss problems "affecting ordinary people." Rennie says the top ticket price was $43,200.

Oh, to be George Will's editor. The fundraiser that Blumenthal flew took place at the annual convention of the American Association for Justice, most definitely not "ordinary citizens." More like a special interest, but in any case, a connection that needed to be made.

Attendance at the fundraiser quickly became a point of attack in the Senate races in Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, and elsewhere.

Around the web, October 13 - PointOfLaw Forum

Support my man, Blumenthal, despite his bad lawyering - PointOfLaw Forum

President Obama travels to Stamford, Conn., today to campaign for Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who's running for the U.S. Senate.

Wonder if either one will refer to Connecticut v. American Electric Power, the Blumenthal-led suit that claimed electric utilities created a public nuisance through their greenhouse gas emissions. Last September the Second Circuit found for the states, and Blumenthal touts the case on his campaign site as an example of his "standing up to polluters."

But the Obama Administration wants the Second Circuit's ruling thrown out, which is to say, wants Blumenthal to lose. In a brief filed by the Solicitor General on behalf of the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Administration called for the Supreme Court to vacate the circuit court's ruling and remand the case for further proceedings. (More on the brief from Jonathan Adler at Volokh.)

The President and AG will avoid mentioning the dispute, no doubt, but wouldn't a frank acknowledgment be refreshing? "Vote for my friend, Richard Blumenthal! He's wrong on the law, and my Administration is fighting him in the Supreme Court, but otherwise, he's OK by me."

UPDATE (Friday): Nope. President Obama made no mention of the litigation. He gave a populist address, Blumenthal standing up for the little guy, with a heavy dose of class warfare. To wit:

Now, Connecticut, let's face it, this decision in this election should be a no-brainer. (Laughter.) Right? (Applause.) I mean, it should be. Should be a no-brainer. Here you've got a man who's been fighting for the people of Connecticut since the day he walked into the attorney general's office. He's got the record to prove it. He's taken on the tobacco industry and helped stop those companies from targeting our kids. He's taken on utility companies to try to beat back electricity rate increases and skyrocketing costs of heating oil. He's taken on the auto industry to help keep family dealerships open that have been around for almost a century.

Copland on climate-change suits - PointOfLaw Forum

MI's Jim Copland is in today's Investor's Business Daily discussing Attorney General Richard Blumenthal's attempt to hijack national environmental policy on carbon.

Another activist AG bites the dust - PointOfLaw Forum

Hans Bader of the Competitive Enterprise Institute recently released a report, "The Nation's Worst State Attorneys General," identifying the six worst AG abusers of the rule of law. The list:

1. Jerry Brown, California
2. Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut
3. Drew Edmondson, Oklahoma
4. Patrick Lynch, Rhode Island
5. Darrell McGraw, West Virginia
6. William Sorrell, Vermont

On July 15, Patrick Lynch dropped out of the Democratic race for the gubernatorial nomination in Rhode Island, no doubt anticipating the CEI dissection of his career.

On Tuesday, after 16 years as Oklahoma's AG, Drew Edmondson lost the Democratic nomination for governor, barely edged out by Lt. Gov. Jari Askins.

It's a good start, Hans!

UPDATE (1:45 p.m.): The Wall Street Journal examines Mississippi AG Jim Hood at length today as he again attempts to exploit the "plaintiffs bar-attorney general nexus," to bring BP oil spill litigation into state courts. It's a nicely thorough editorial, "Mississippi Justice on Email." But not a top six offender? Well, he'd make the top ten, Bader reports.


Saletan on Blumenthal: then and now - PointOfLaw Forum

At Slate, William Saletan compares the current defenses raised by Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), regarding his 'Nam-gate truth-fudging, with the candidate's earlier, far-less-forgiving standard for companies while he was earning his reputation as the worst attorney general in America.

A New York Times blockbuster could have dramatic implications for the activist attorney general's career, which seemed Senate-bound.

Around the web, April 6 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • "Maybe He Should Avoid Britain for a While": some lawyers eye assertions of "universal jurisdiction" to arrest Pope in abuse furor [Ku/Opinio Juris and more; Rick Esenberg on statutes of limitations and more]
  • "Appeal Confirms Rejection of Asbestos Bankruptcy Plan as Collusive and In Bad Faith" [Hartley]
  • State AGs as HIPAA police: Connecticut's Richard Blumenthal goes after a hospital over privacy lapse [HIPAA Blog]
  • "In Utah, Stopping Speculative Suits Based on Global Warming" [ShopFloor and update]
  • More high-dollar verdicts in suits alleging bullying [Fox/Jottings and more]
  • "Such a strange theory [in Illinois] -- that the legislature can't set limits on damages" -- Ted Olson [sub-only WSJ]

Richard Blumenthal on plant closings - PointOfLaw Forum

Free to depart? Not in Connecticut: the state's AG has waged an aggressive legal battle against one of the state's largest employers, Pratt & Whitney, over its plans to move jobs to Singapore, Japan and other parts of the United States. No doubt there are votes to be gained in the short term by making the state a business mousetrap, but you do wonder whether employers will think twice about selecting the state as a location for a major new facility in the future. [AvStop]


Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna announced yesterday that he would join in a multi-state (eleven and counting) suit by States challenging the recently passed health care bill on constitutional grounds arguing that the law's requirement that everyone purchase health insurance is an unconstitutional expansion of the federal government's authority in violation of the 10th Amendment and the Commerce Clause. McKenna argues that the U.S. Attorney General is unlikely to raise any of these constitutional infirmities and that that job of raising these constitutional questions thus falls to the states. His announcement triggered Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire to announce that she would launch her own legal challenge arguing that the state attorney general does not represent the state in making such claims. McKenna responded that he is a separately elected constitutional officer under the state constitution.

Those of us with long memories may recall that way back when, when the state AG's, with then-Washington state AG Gregoire in the forefront, decided to bring a multi-state lawsuit against the tobacco industry, a similar state constitutional stand-off in Mississippi led to its Republican governor suing Mississippi's Democratic AG Michael Moore arguing that the Chief Executive of the State had to authorize any such suit both as a matter of state constitutional law and the requirements of the applicable federal law.

Both the passage of the legislation and the suits contemplated by the eleven states prompted this careful press release by Connecticut Attorney General and current U.S. Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal, who praised the historic legislation, but carefully noted that "most of the federal health care legislative provisions will not take effect for several years, providing time to review and improve the law, if necessary." Blumenthal, with his finger in the wind, deftly added, "I have received no official request from an authorized state official to challenge federal health care legislation -- but we will review such a request if we receive it."

Both Republican supporters of such state suits and Democratic opponents thereof are likely to stumble over their own past positions, with Democrats hard pressed to say that these eleven states have no business regulating national policy matters, and the Republicans facing claims that they are now a bunch of activist state AGs overstepping their powers. And did Gregoire or Blumenthal ever take the position that they required permission from the governor to bring the host of state AG regulation through litigation actions for which they have received such public notoriety and press acclaim?

The health care bill, and challenges thereto, is likely to engender both state and federal constitutional lawsuits that could tie up the courts and enrich countless attorneys for years. If there is one lesson to be learned from this, it is that any legislation that promises to drag such litigious mischief in its wake, is usually a bad idea to begin with.

From The New Haven Register's report on a debate between the two Democratic candidates for U.S. Senator from Connecticut, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and Merrick Alpert, a businessman and former U.S. Air Force officer.

[Alpert] said that Connecticut has lost jobs in Blumenthal's 20 years in office and asked, "How many jobs have your lawsuits created?"

Blumenthal shot back, "Our lawsuits, our legal actions actually create jobs because businesses actually welcome competition and a level playing field. What they really want is fair enforcement."

According to the CNBC's annual report on "Top States for Business," Connecticut ranked 47th among states in the cost of doing business.

The Register also reported on the Republican candidates' debate, "U.S. Senate candidates strike similar themes, little discord."

(Hat tip: Jim Geraghty, who cracks, "By this standard, John Edwards was a fantastic jobs creator.")

New from Washington Legal Foundation:

A number of U.S. states, either through laws or enforcement actions, frustrate auto insurers' ability to share truthful information with policyholders about repair shop options. Orrin L. Harrison III and J. Carl Cecere Jr. of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP explain the constitutional flaws inherent in such state policies in a new WLF Legal Backgrounder, "Anti-Steering" Insurance Laws: State Censorship Of Consumer Information Treads On First Amendment Rights.

Among their other ill effects, the laws can make it harder for policyholders to steer clear of overpriced or otherwise dubious repair shops. Among those pushing for tougher enforcement of the laws: Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

Around the web, February 25 - PointOfLaw Forum

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