November 7th, 2010 by John T. Reed
Copyright 2010 by John T. Reed All rights reserved
There is no doubt in my mind that Barack and his wife would not have gotten into either their Ivy League colleges—Columbia and Princeton respectively—and their law school—Harvard—without affirmative action. Michelle is so dumb she blurted out her guidance counselor’s telling her to forget each school. Barack is not dumb enough to do that, but neither is he dumb enough to release his SAT scores and college or law school GPAs.
In view of the fact that neither one of them distinguished themselves or even lasted in the legal profession, I have wondered if they did not both flunk out of Harvard Law School, except for being allowed to graduate solely because of their skin color—and in Barack’s case, getting elected to president (not editor) of the Harvard Law Review.
Similarly, he taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School for 12 years and both his hiring and his continuing in that position appear to be strictly the result of his half-black skin color.
Why do I say this? The guy does not appear to know the first thing about either law or constitutional law.
For example, the photo in Peggy Noonan’s 6/19/10 column in the Wall Street Journal show Obama making his oval office desk speech on the BP oil spill and quotes him saying “from the very beginning of the crisis, the federal government has been in charge of the” BP oil cleanup effort.
Let BP off the hook
Well, that let’s BP off the hook for any bad or improper decisions or execution of the cleanup effort. BP can say, “The U.S. government made all the decisions. They were in charge from ’Day One.’ You want to sue someone about botching the cleanup? Sue the U.S. government. They were in charge from Day One. Oh, yeah, and don’t forget the U.S. government has sovereign immunity from all such suits. Have a nice day.”
I and others like Fox News’ Judge Andrew Napolitano have said Obama had no right to ask BP to set up a $20 billion fund to pay claims. Obama says the fund is independent. He means independent of BP. It’s not independent of Obama. He is putting his “Pay Czar” in charge of it.
Senator Byrd (D-WV) says all Obama’s czars are unconstitutional. I agree.
The Constitution says you cannot deprive any person of property—like $20 billion—without due process of law. (Fifth Amendment) And the courts have said the word “person” also refers to corporations.
BP cannot pay the $20 billion legally
Since Obama cannot legally demand the $20 billion, BP cannot give it to him or his “independent” “Pay Czar.” That $20 billion belongs to BP shareholders, and depending on events, to BP bondholders. BP executives are required by British and U.S. law to spend BP money in accordance with pertinent laws. They have no discretion to shell out $20 billion of BP shareholders’s money to some independent guy who gets to spend it however he wants.
BP should pay claims that they legally owe, including settling them out of court because it’s cheaper to do so. But BP has a legal obligation to BP shareholders to examine each claim and make sure it is legitimate and not exaggerated with regard to the amount. No doubt tens of thousands of totally fraudulent or exaggerated claims will be filed.
One of the companies that blows up big buildings sent neighbors a warning about a forthcoming blast in their neighborhood explaining how they could file claims if their property suffered any damage. Sure enough, after the scheduled blast, hundreds came forth with their claims. There was just one problem. The blast had been postponed a week and had not yet happened. The company duly accepted all the claims then used them to deny subsequent after-the-blast-really-happened claims for the same damage from the same people.
Approved drilling method
That same Wall Street Journal had a top of the front page cover story headlined BP relied on cheaper wells. It said the well that exploded was the long-string type which is cheaper and riskier than the alternative liners type. It also said that BP has used the cheaper long-string type more often than other drillers.
Interesting, but legally perhaps irrelevant. Why? As BP exec Tony Hayward said to Congress, BP was required to get its plans for drilling the Deepwater Horizon well approved in advance by the U.S. Minerals Management Service. BP told USMMS they were going to use the long-string method and USMMS put their stamp of approval on that plan.
So there should be no lawsuits or criminal prosecutions against BP based on the decision to use long string. That was the USMMS’ decision, not BP’s. So sue the U.S. government. Oh, wait. There’s that sovereign immunity issue again.
Was Obama involved in the decision to allow long-string at Deepwater Horizon? I think not, but his people including some he appointed had the ability to approve or rescind approval of the long-string method. They did not.
Once again, the U.S. government appears to have let BP off the hook by meddling where they know little or nothing about the subject matter.
Am I saying BP has no legal liability? Not yet. The issue is were there other decisions they made that the U.S. government did not approve or decisions that violated law or the details of a government approval? If so, were those decisions germane to the spill and resulting damage. It is possible BP misbehaved in technical ways that did not cause or exacerbate the spill. In which case they get whatever the standard fine is, no liability for the cleanup or damage.
If the government were not approving BP’s drilling methods and not “in charge” of everything BP did, ordinary common law standards of care would apply. BP’s decisions on drilling method and other details would be compared to industry best practices for the particular well as revealed by expert witnesses at trial. The judge or jury would then decide whether what BP did or failed to do was negligent and, if so, assess damages.
But that has now been bollixed up by Barack Obama and his political appointee subordinates constantly claiming to be in total charge and command for political spin reasons. If the federal government is calling all the shots, BP must not be so you cannot sue BP for calling the wrong shots. Same is true of whatever details of he drilling that were in the application that Obama’s appointees either approved or failed to rescind.
It is possible, and indeed, likely, that most of the damage was caused by the use of the government approved long-string method and by failure to accept assistance offered by foreign countries, failure to approve sand berm construction, stopping cleanup to check for life jackets and fire extinguishers, and all that federal government bureaucratic nonsense.
In other words, it may be that federal involvement prior to drilling and after the spill, some of it required by prior law, but most gratuitously added by Obama’s look-like-we’re-in-charge play-acting, will result in BP getting off the hook, or substantially off the hook, legally for damage they would have had to pay for had common law and common sense applied.
Not the first
Since “Day One” of Obama’s administration, the day he swore to uphold the constitution—twice, he has been behaving in unconstitutional and otherwise illegal ways. Obamacare is unconstitutional. TARP money has not been spent in accordance with the law that created it—either by Bush or Obama. Obama has more Czars than any other president. Senator Byrd says they are unconstitutional because they have not been approved by the Senate. Secured creditors in the GM and Chrysler bailouts were unconstitutionally stripped of their legal rights so Obama could give money to the UAW union. Obama said empathy was a criterion for a Supreme Court judge meaning bias toward the poor in violation of the Supreme Court oath which says rich and poor will be treated alike. He refuses to enforce U.S. immmigration laws.
Under Bush and Obama, the government has become the owner of a number of private businesses including GM, Chrysler, AIG, banks, Sallie Mae, FNMA, and FHLMC. This is unconstitutional and illegal. There is no law that allows the U.S. government to invest taxpayer money in equity ownership of private businesses.
Obama’s radio interview in which he denounced the constitution
Much talk about the constitution sucking because it does not allow redistribution of wealth. Unbelievable.
Either Obama does not know the law, in spite of having a diploma and law review presidency from Harvard Law School, or his familiarity with the law has caused him to have utter contempt for it. Either way, he neither plans to abide by, or enforce, our laws or constitution.