Manhattan Contrarian Short Notes

In something I haven't done before, here are a few short notes for the day:

  • At the top of my home page, there is a link for "Articles."  I haven't posted anything in that section for a while, but I did post an article this past weekend.  It's a longer piece than the usual blog post, and it is not about current events.  The subject is the changing scene in New York Harbor over the past century and a half.  Lots of pictures.  Also, in another Manhattan Contrarian first, it features a musical performance -- in which I am one of the performers!   This is a link to the article.  Please check it out.
  • On Thursday this week, June 18, the Federalist Society is holding a conference in Washington, D.C. at the Mayflower Hotel called the annual Executive Branch Review.  I will be there.  If you can be in Washington, it should be a very interesting event.  Here is a link for more information.
  • In news of the SEC trying to support the unsupportable, here is the latest, as reported by Law360:  A company called Timbervest LLC and several of its executives are appealing an August 2014 decision of an SEC Administrative Law Judge named Cameron Elliot, who ordered them to disgorge some $1.9 million that the firm had made on sales of land that the judge found were "conflicted."  The appeal, of course, is to the Commission itself, otherwise known as Judge Elliot's bosses.  The Commission then asked Judge Elliot to put in an affidavit attesting to his impartiality.  Really?  Law360 reports that on Friday Judge Elliot declined.  Did it not even occur to these Commissioners that they were putting the guy in an impossible position?  Now, perhaps the good judge thought that his best approach to try to preserve some semblance of impartiality was to refuse to respond, but of course there is now the implication that he thought that claiming under oath to be impartial would put him in a position of perjury.  Good job, SEC!  The Law360 article also refers to the May 6 Wall Street Journal article that reported how one of the SEC ALJs, Lillian McEwen, once "came under fire" from Chief ALJ Brenda Murray, who "questioned [McEwen's] loyalty" when she ruled too often in favor of defendants.  Really, SEC, I have a good definition for you of the word "impartiality" as applied to somebody who purports to be a federal judge.  It means "appointed by the President, confirmed by the Senate, and serving for life with salary protected against diminution."  Everything else is not impartial.  And if that's the constitutional definition of impartiality, which it is, then Judge Elliot was absolutely right that swearing he was impartial would be perjury.  Whatever it is that these Timbervest guys may have done, it is not remotely in the category of heinousness as what you SEC Commissioners and ALJs are doing by purporting to exercise powers over Americans not granted by the Constitution.