This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Comments here or emails to me at abulsme@abulsme.com are encouraged... or follow me on Twitter as @abulsme.

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February 2004
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Presidental Succession Issues

I’ve always liked looking at the details of things such as the succession laws, electoral college procedures, and things like that. Because often times we think so much about how things NORMALLY work, that we forget that what really happens in extreme situations is not determined the way one might guess if one didn’t know, but instead by all sorts of arcane details that just never normally come into play in a way that makes a difference. The two articles below talk about some of the currently exisiting “holes” in the rules for what happens when there is death or disability in the Presidential or Vice-Presidental slots. Very interesting stuff.

Constitutional Accidents Waiting To Happen – Again
(Akhil Amar and Vikram Amar, FindLaw)

America cannot always prevent tragedy, but America often can, with relative ease, minimize the constitutional damage resulting from political assassins and the like. Yet the country’s current legal framework is notably flawed – a series of constitutional accidents waiting to happen, and in some cases waiting to happen again… we shall briefly catalogue some of the problems that can occur, and some simple nonpartisan solutions that lawmakers should adopt now – before tragedy strikes again. In future columns, we will offer more details; today we paint the big picture of continued constitutional unpreparedness.

(via OxBlog)

And also pointed to by OxBlog, even more in an earlier article by the same folks and some discussion in the New York Times of similar issues for the Congress.

Poor Little Penguins

Penguins Take Precipitous Fall From the Top
(Joe Lapointe, New York Times)

Twice the Stanley Cup champions, in 1991 and 1992, the Penguins are caught in hockey’s perfect storm. They have a low budget, the National Hockey League’s oldest arena, poor attendance and the worst record among the 30 teams. On this night against the Lightning, most of the scattered customers sat quietly, as if frozen. Even the beer stand behind the center-ice seats was closed.

I don’t follow sports. I don’t follow hockey. I don’t follow the Pens. But I do remember with fondness back in 91 and 92, my friends Chad, Al and Ivan, and perhaps others, sitting in my apartment sometimes to watch the Pens playoff games. I would sit behind my computer and pretend not to watch because sports was beneath me and all, but I watched, and watching Mario do his tricks was indeed fun, even if I had no conception of the rules of the game at all. It even prompted me to watch a few more Pens playoff games in later years, and even go to one in person a couple years ago with Rebecca and Chris. It was fun. I enjoyed it. I saw Mario do his thing, although not quite as nice as in 91 and 92, and they lost.

Anyway… shame to see this kind of story about them. Sniff. Oh well! Now I’ll go back to knowing absolutley nothing about this sort of thing for the next year. Just happened to stumble on the article. :-)

Cheney and Scalia Sitting in a Tree

I don’t have too much to say other than this really should be a straightforward issue here. There is obviously a personal relationship of some sort here, what with the hunting and flying around on Air Force 2, and Scalia should remove himself from the case. Even if it isn’t technically required, not doing so does not look good, and he should do it as a simple matter of his own integrity, and that of the court.

Scalia Was Cheney Hunt Trip Guest; Ethics Concern Grows
(David G. Savage and Richard A. Serrano, LA Times on Yahoo)

The revelation cast further doubts about whether Scalia can be an impartial judge in Cheney’s upcoming case before the Supreme Court, legal ethics experts said. The hunting trip took place just weeks after the high court agreed to take up Cheney’s bid to keep secret the details of his energy policy task force.