Media Appearance: Elections and Courts with Kendall Coffey

Attorney Kendall Coffey discusses topical issues related to issues before the courts and legal ramifications of elections.

Kendall Coffey on The Lars Larson Show – March 9th, 2017

Posted on Mar 21, 2017 in Media Appearance: Elections and Courts with Kendall Coffey

Kendall Coffey is a founding Partner at Coffey Burlington, PL, former U.S. Attorney, and frequent guest legal analyst on international television networks. He is also an adjunct professor at University of Miami School of Law. Kendall Coffey joined the Lars Larson Show on March 9th, 2017 to discuss the recent lawsuits against President Trump’s Executive Order restricting travel from six Muslim-majority countries. Lars Larson: Mr. Coffey, thanks a lot for joining us again. Tell me what you think of these lawsuits and if they will find any traction in the federal courts. Kendall Coffey: Well, I think it’s going to be so much tougher this time. The basic theme of the lawsuit seems to be, “Well, this is just another version of the original executive order that was found invalid.” If it looks like a duck, walk likes a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s, after all, a duck. As people read this, they’ll see that in legal terms, at least, it’s a bird of a different feather. It’s more thoughtfully drafted. It clearly avoids the major legal pitfalls of the original executive order, which was, you will recall, a statement prohibiting green card holders from the 7 countries. This problem was something that I think most analysts thought would be very difficult to overcome in the original order. This order is not only thoughtful in the way it’s drafted, but it explains some of the concerns of each of the 6 remaining countries that are subject to this. Just to put in context, what the executive order focuses on, it states that there is a need to deal with countries where we don’t trust their informational processes to tell us who is coming to this country from their countries. It’s very specific about that. It says that it requires a process by the major agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security, to see if these countries can correct their current informational concerns, and at the same time, it calls upon Homeland Security and other agencies to examine the information we’re receiving from all the other countries to make sure that we go through a delivered process and see if there are other countries as well as the 6 that are not giving us reliable information about their citizens when their citizens try to come to this country. I don’t think that, fairly read, this document is subjected to a strong legal challenge, but the challenges continue, and I certainly won’t predict what may happen. Could there be a federal district court that rules for the challengers? Maybe. But I think if this gets to an appeals court, they’re going to have to look at this document and apply the many decisions of the Supreme Court, which says, basically, that the president has the right to do this order in the name of national security. Lars Larson: Shouldn’t...

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Forced Voting and the Constitution

Posted on Jun 16, 2015 in Media Appearance: Elections and Courts with Kendall Coffey

Forced Voting and the Constitution

  Transcript: Obama: In Australia and some other countries there is mandatory voting. It would be transformative if everybody voted. That would counteract money more than anything. If everybody voted, then it would completely change the political map in this country.   Steve Malzberg: You mean fundamentally change the political map? Welcome back folks, Kendall Coffey, a partner at Coffey & Burlington LLC, former U.S. attorney, author of Spinning the Law is going to spin the law with us a little bit. Kendall: a lot of talk about the fact that the president has suggested mandatory voting…what would have to happen for that to happen?   Kendall Coffey: Well, I think Steve, you’d probably have to amend the United States constitution. I mean, voting is a fundamental right just like the right of religion is a fundamental right. But also, I think having a fundamental right means you have a fundamental right to choose not to participate. One of the reasons people don’t vote, and there are a varied number of reasons and we’d all prefer a much higher level of voting, is that they are alienated from the system and they are in a way expressing their disenchantment with what is happening in the government by not registering and not voting. So, in effect, to put some sort of legal gun to their head and to say “you gotta vote anyway” I think would be a violation of the constitution as it currently exists.   Could you change the constitution? Yeah, and then we could have a long conversation about whether that’s a good idea to force somebody to do what they don’t want to do is really a spectacular privilege in a democracy. If somebody doesn’t want to avail themselves to this great privilege and this great society then that’s their prerogative.   Malzberg: Do you agree with Judge Andrew Napolitano who said it’s a totalitarian idea?   Coffey: Well, it’s certainly not consistent with the liberty and freedom we have. Again, we’ve had a number of court cases that have stated that you have the right to practice your religion, but you also have a right not to practice a religion. So whether we agree with that or not, it is in our constitutional fabric. So, to move closer in a direction that adds things that you have to do, especially something like you have to vote, I think it’s not only unconstitutional but I think it would be a mistake.”   Malzberg: Okay, let’s move on to the Eric Garner case. A judge yesterday denied the request to release the grand jury testimony, all the details from the grand jury, and when I hear this reported it’s shock, it’s almost as if “Oh, boy they really do want to cover this thing up” when the fact of the matter is, as the judge stated somewhere...

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