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Author: Bryan Jacoutot

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Bryan Jacoutot

Bryan is a Georgia attorney practicing law since 2014. He primarily litigates federal and state election law cases on behalf of local and state governments, as well as individual candidate campaigns.

He received his Juris Doctorate from Georgia State University where he also earned a certification in health law from the University's distinguished Center for Law, Health and Society. Bryan earned his undergraduate degree in History from Auburn University.

Follow Bryan on Twitter: @BryanJacoutot

"It also offers a lesson: the world's recent obsession with knighting these quirky kids and holding them up as standard bearers simply because what they do seems complex is not wise. And worse, it's directly contradictory to the original ethos of the space."...

Earlier today, Tomi Lahren had reached a settlement with Glenn Beck and The Blaze in their very public, dueling law suits. While part of the settlement remains confidential, the available information appears to be a fair deal struck for all parties involved, the Dallas Morning News reported:
Tomi Lahren settled her lawsuit Monday with her former boss, Glenn Beck, and his conservative media firm The Blaze. The deal allows the 24-year-old pundit to be freed from her employment contract — which was to expire in September — and pursue new work that competes with The Blaze. She also gets to keep the Facebook page that The Blaze created for her, and on which she has amassed 4.3 million followers.

On April 7th, 2017, after the sudden suspension of production of her show at TheBlaze, Tomi Lahren created a bit of a firestorm in the political world when she abruptly filed suit against her employer and Glenn Beck. The lawsuit alleged Wrongful Termination, Breach of Contract and a number of tort claims, among other things. Not long after the suit was filed, TheBlaze countered with a lawsuit of its own. While many outlets have commented on the circumstances surrounding the dueling lawsuits, few have considered the relative merits of the claims leveled on both sides. In my opinion – operating only on the facts currently available – Tomi Lahren has a tough road to recovery ahead of her.

With increasing frequency, many on the left have taken to declaring the words and actions of President Trump and his supporters to be useful propaganda tools for ISIS. Seemingly a knee-jerk reaction — consistently accompanied by little or no evidence demonstrating its truth — cries of “THIS IS WHAT ISIS WANTS” ring out when the political right embarks on a course of conduct that is less than agreeable to the left. In the past, we’ve seen this charge leveled when Republicans were reluctant to take in more than 10,000 refugees from war torn Syria, when President Trump issued travel restrictions on seven middle eastern countries via Executive Order, and even when Republicans speak in a way that rubs the left the wrong way.

The Supreme Court has made it official that next year, for the first time in its history, it will hear a case involving a transgender person's right to use a bathroom that corresponds with his "gender identity" while at school. To briefly summarize, Gavin Grimm (or GG as he is referred to in court documents) is a transgender male. This means that the sex  at birth was female, but he identifies as male. According to court documents, Grimm “lives all aspects of his life as a boy” but has not had sex reassignment surgery. Prior to the start of his sophomore year of high school, Grimm and his mother informed the Gloucester County School Board that he was a transgender boy. By all accounts the Board was exceedingly accommodating. For about seven weeks (and with his school’s permission), Grimm utilized the boys’ room without incident. Eventually, however, students took note of the fact that Grimm was a transgender boy, and some were less than comfortable with the arrangement.

The upcoming Supreme Court case of King v. Burwell holds much in the balance, including the very financial sustainability of President Obama’s signature law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). If the Supreme Court rules for the plaintiffs, the ability for the law to support itself would almost certainly collapse. At issue in King is the legality of an IRS rule allowing exchanges operated by the federal government to issue tax subsidies to qualified individuals purchasing health insurance through the exchange. This is an incredibly complex issue, and many courts, scholars, and commentators have spent thousands upon thousands (upon thousands) of pages of argument attempting to arrive at the proper conclusion. Ultimately, we must wait until the Supreme Court decides this case at the end of the term to learn the definitive conclusion. The complexity of the law notwithstanding, many commentators remain convinced that any ruling against the government would be one for politics over the law, leading to familiar questions of the “institutional legitimacy” of the Supreme Court should they rule against the government. This is nothing new, especially when it comes to the issue of PPACA. Indeed, in the wake of the 2012 PPACA challenge, a litany of law professors and legal scholars shared in the assessment that striking down PPACA would result in substantial costs “for the Court as institution and for its credibility carrying out its vital national role going forward.”

News recently broke that George Washington University constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley has been tapped as lead counsel by the U.S. House of Representatives in their lawsuit against President Obama. Turley has been on the national legal scene for a number of years, but has been gaining increasing notoriety of late as a result of his Congressional testimonies and media appearances regarding the consolidation of constitutional authority in the Executive Branch. Conservatives have been quick to praise Turley, as his criticisms of the Executive have been directed toward President Obama for the last six years. Turley, however, makes no representation that he is any way politically conservative. Indeed, in his blog post yesterday, he declared quite the opposite.
As many on this blog know, I support national health care and voted for President Obama in his first presidential campaign. However, as I have often stressed before Congress, in the Madisonian system it is as important how you do something as what you do. And, the Executive is barred from usurping the Legislative Branch’s Article I powers, no matter how politically attractive or expedient it is to do so. Unilateral, unchecked Executive action is precisely the danger that the Framers sought to avoid in our constitutional system.
For Turley, this is not an issue of one party against the other. Rather, this is matter of constitutional process. Despite the fact that the decision to sue the President passed along party lines, there are genuine non-partisan concerns about the dangerous evolution of the Legislative-Executive dynamic over the last few decades. Turley went on to add,
This case represents a long-overdue effort by Congress to resolve fundamental Separation of Powers issues. In that sense, it has more to do with constitutional law than health care law. Without judicial review of unconstitutional actions by the Executive, the trend toward a dominant presidential model of government will continue in this country in direct conflict with the original design and guarantees of our Constitution. Our constitutional system as a whole (as well as our political system) would benefit greatly by courts reinforcing the lines of separation between the respective branches.
Turley is, in my opinion, a great choice by House Republicans.

In a recent op-ed for the Daily Beast, Senator Rand Paul became the latest critic of what many see as a long history of Presidential abuse of power stretching back to Richard Nixon. In his piece, entitled "Obama's ISIS war is illegal," Paul made clear his view that the President’s action against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has eclipsed its legality — if there ever was any to begin with — because we have now crossed the 90-day provisional authorization for military force permitted by the War Powers Resolution of 1973. To be sure, it doesn't appear Paul is not advocating for the end of hostilities against the roundly condemned members of ISIS. Rather, he is merely asserting a simple but essential truth about our system of government: Process matters.
I believe the President must come to Congress to begin a war… It must be declared and made valid, or it must be ended. Congress has a duty to act, one way or the other.
While it is true that we live in a time that exposes our nation to swift attacks on a grand scale, this reality does not justify the manner in which President Obama is circumventing the constitutional prerogative of Congress. Indeed, 90 days was ample time for the President to situate a small number of forces on the ground, carry out targeted airstrikes, and prepare a request to Congress to authorize military force. Yet no such request has been submitted. Obama is not the first President to engage in this realm of constitutionally questionable behavior, but the implications of his continued insistence on going it alone in nearly every aspect of his Presidency — foreign and domestic — threatens to undermine the very framework of the nation’s structure of governance.

Remove yourself from the monotonous political rhetoric for just a moment, as difficult as that may be at this point in an election year. Consider a reality that needs no embellishment. Consider a race that stands on its own as a stark choice of great consequence. A story of the longshot. The kind of story that Americans are proud to say can happen here. In a recent Facebook post, Maryland’s Dan Bongino decided the time was now to silence his opponent’s downright fallacious — but all too commonplace — political rhetoric. The kind of rhetoric that, if given enough money, stamps out the potential of great candidates for office.
After a long day of campaigning in the rain I just returned from the grocery store. Diapers are really expensive, as many of you already know.

Why am I telling you about the price of diapers? Because my multimillionaire opponent has spent over $600,000 of his $250,000,000 net worth on television ads attacking me for, get ready for it, a "war on women." I've tried to let it go, but I won't any longer. Does this fake know anything about me? He has no idea how hard my wife and I have to work to pay for little things like diapers for my daughter.

The late September arrival of Ebola-postive Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital has caused many Americans to worry about their personal health in the event of an Ebola outbreak. Right on the heels of that worry, however, is a worry of another kind. What about your personal rights? In particular, what about that most fundamental liberty interest: freedom from confinement. As Professor Eugene Kontorovich noted at The Volokh Conspiracy earlier today, this question has caused the (now released) quarantined nurse to threaten a legal challenge to the constitutionality of her recent confinement in New Jersey. So what are your rights when faced with involuntary quarantine? The answer, while simple, is completely unsatisfying and even a bit concerning: It depends. As a result, the true “answer” is a very nuanced and fact intensive inquiry into each particular case of confinement. Books can be written (and have been) about the legality of involuntary confinement in the face of a public health crisis, but this blog post may serve as highly generalized primer for the curious. To begin, quarantining “separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.” [Emphasis Added]. Note that “quarantine” refers to the confinement of those who are not currently sick, but have been exposed to an infectious disease and may ultimately develop symptoms. “Isolation,” on the other hand, refers to confinement of individuals who are sick.

"A better tomorrow is ahead -- I have absolutely no doubt -- but it's going to require a significant change in how we operate in Washington, D.C."...

“His check only votes once.” That’s what Dan Bongino, congressional candidate in Maryland’s 6th district said of his opponent, who also happens to be the sixth wealthiest member of Congress. In between campaign stops yesterday, I was able to catch up with Bongino on the phone to discuss his progress as we rapidly approach election day in just under two months. Naturally, I first asked him about what is too often the primary driver in politics: Money. Despite the economic disparity between the two candidates, Bongino seemed comfortable with how the finances have played out during the campaign.
He can write himself a check for ten million dollars but it only votes once. We have tens of thousands of donors, many of which are within the district in Maryland… Those are people who I know are not only going to show up, but they’re gonna get 10 friends as well. If you look at individual donors — take out the PAC stuff — we are just wiping the floor with him in fundraising… At one point we even quadrupled what he was bringing in, in individual donations. He’s in a lot of trouble, and he knows it now.
Bongino has drawn national attention to a race that might have been considered a lock for the Democrats had anyone else's name been next the (R) on the ballot. But Bongino, a former Secret Service Agent and NYPD Officer with a background in boxing and mixed-martial arts (MMA), brings a fighter’s mentality to the race, along with a profile that is refreshingly unique when compared with his wealthy Democrat opponent.

I graduated from the Georgia State University College of Law on Friday and, as tends to happen at occasions like this, I found myself reflecting on the years I spent there. As I thought about the many specific instances of triumphs and shortcomings I experienced while in law school, I continually circled to a broader theme that I believe will ultimately have a far more profound impact on my legal career: the respect for intellectual diversity. It may seem like a simple concept, but it is one that has been under attack of late in the very place where it ought to be most protected: American higher education. For example, just in the last few weeks we've highlighted the protest of Condoleezza Rice’s commencement speech at Rutgers University, which ultimately led to her withdrawal, and the anti-Israel Boycott Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement led by the American Studies Association. Invariably, these attacks on intellectual diversity, and others like them, share at least two things in common. They, 1) take place in institutions of higher education and; 2) have the shared goal of shutting down dialogue from what is perceived to be “the opposition.” Receiving my law degree from Georgia State University ensured that I experienced very few of the mind-crippling effects of this kind of nefarious censorship. I can’t be certain whether it's a product of the university itself, or something as simple as its geographic location in the heart of downtown Atlanta. Perhaps it's some combination of the two. Regardless, I am certain there existed a very real sense of diversity of thought at the institution. Like many law schools, the student body population was predominantly left leaning. That said, its southern location meant there were no shortages of conservatives or libertarians on campus, either. This student body make-up was crucial to achieving intellectual diversity, but the ultimate gatekeepers to the concept were the professors. After all, how important is diversity of thought if you can’t make it known in the place where you and your peers are actually doing the learning? While many professors wore their political and philosophical beliefs on their sleeves, the vast majority of professors also offered a classroom environment that welcomed all points of view. In my opinion, as long as you are sure to incorporate the latter, the former is perfectly acceptable.

This horrific story comes on the heels of a 2014 Pew Research Center report that indicated Christians were the religious group most likely to be persecuted worldwide. CNN reported yesterday that Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, a 27 year old Christian Sudanese woman was convicted of apostasy and sentenced to death by a court in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. Ibrahim, who is married, was also convicted of "adultery."
According to the rights group Amnesty International, she was convicted of adultery because her marriage to a Christian man was considered void under Sharia law. She was sentenced to 100 lashes for the second crime.
The story is an example of the extreme religious intolerance Christians are facing in many countries throughout the world, although Sudan's basic human rights violations have been noted by the State Department to be particularly egregious.

Nebraska and West Virginia held their respective primaries last night. In Nebraska, Ben Sasse defeated a broad Republican field and secured the nomination for the general election. Interestingly, although Sasse outpaced his nearest rival by more than 25% of the vote, he still came in just shy of a majority. That said, Nebraska doesn't require a majority to avoid a runoff, so Sasse can now focus his efforts on his Democrat opponent, Dave Domina. In West Virginia, Republicans thrusted Rep. Shelley Moore Capito into the Senate general election to replace retiring Senator Jay Rockefeller where he has served since 1985 following the end of his stint as the Governor of West Virginia. In November, Capito will face off against Natalie Tennant, West Virginia's Secretary of State. As Mary Katharine Ham pointed out, this sets the stage for an all-female Senate battle. The eventual winner will be the first woman Senator out of West Virginia and, right now, Capito holds the edge.
Capito leads by double digits, and would be the first Republican senator since the ’50s from this quirky, rural, conservative state where a conservative Democratic Party retains a huge registration advantage and many state and national offices. The winner of the race would take retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s seat.