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TomSlick's Journal
TomSlick's Journal
March 28, 2018

Military to Build "The Wall?"

Trump has suggested using money appropriated to the Department of Defense to fund his wall on the southern border.

I have to admit that federal procurement law is not - and never has been - my area. Nevertheless, my memory from back in my Army JAG days is that money can only be used if it is the "right color of money," that is money appropriated for the specific purpose. Money is specifically appropriated for research and development, operations and maintenance, etc. and can only be spent for that purpose. As a general rule, money cannot be moved from the account of one "color of money" and be spent for another. My understanding is that spending the wrong "color of money," in addition to violating federal statute also violates the "appropriations clause" of the Constitution.

It seems clear to me that the appropriations to DoD were not intended to build Trump's wall. Based on my very shallow understanding of the rules, this cannot be done.

I am curious if any one with a clearer understanding of federal procurement law has an opinion on whether Trump can find a lawful way to use DoD appropriations to build his wall.

March 24, 2018

Photo from Little Rock March For Our Lives

The crowd stretched for six blocks. I haven't seen a crowd estimate - I'd guess a couple thousand anyway.

Herself and I are in there somewhere.


March 24, 2018

Little Rock, Arkansas March

Just back from the March for Our Lives in Little Rock.

Great crowd. The most moving point was before the march actually started. The call went up for students to move to the front. Lines of students started moving forward. We old folks parted and applauded - and fighting tears.

The young people who spoke were simply amazing. It's not just the students in Florida. All these students are amazing and will save us from ourselves.

March 24, 2018

ARKANSANS - ARKANSAWYERS - whichever you prefer.

There are SIX marches in Arkansas for March for Our Lives. Tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of the Jonesboro school shooting. This is real, we need to act.

I got it, we're outnumbered by the gun nuts but it's time to show up and March. Wherever you are in Arkansas, there is a March within driving distance.


March 24, 2018

March for Our Lives - Arkansas additions

According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (don't be confused by the name, a very right-wing paper) reports there six marches planned in Arkansas. As a result of calendar karma, the March is on the twentieth anniversary of the Jonesboro, Arkansas school shooting in which five children were killed and ten wounded.


Try not to read the posted comments. The NRA nuts are eager to respond - not so much normal folks.

March 21, 2018

You have to give Trump credit for one thing.

Between Stormy, the new law suit by Karen McDougal, and the promise of more to come, Trump is making Bill Clinton's escapade seem like small beer.

March 18, 2018

March For Our Lives - Find a March!

OK guys, we need to devote some Saturday time.

Find the nearest March For Our Lives Event - RSVP - and show up. We talk a good fight, now we need to show up.

Go here to find the nearest march:


March 11, 2018

MSNBC is fraught.

Most nights I watch MSNBC and read DU. I couldn't face the evenings without MSNBC.

Herself and I keep a running count most nights of the number of times that some one says "fraught." Does MSNBC pay a bonus for saying "fraught?"

March 10, 2018

NRA Lawsuit against Florida

I have two ideas about the NRA lawsuit against Florida over its gun law signed today. The Complaint can be found at the following link.

Idea One: I think it curious that the NRA brought the lawsuit in its own name. Bringing the lawsuit in the name of the NRA immediately raises a standing issue. The federal courts take standing seriously. There are any number of twenty year old NRA members who would have happily been the name on the lawsuit. Such a person could easily show the necessary "harm" to have standing. I haven't done the research to firmly convince myself that the NRA doesn't have standing but cannot imagine what is gained by sowing that issue in the case.

Idea Two: This idea is more complicated so stay with me before you start flaming. I think the question of whether the State can impose an age limit above majority to purchase a firearm to needs to be resolved by the Supreme Court. I get it, States can and do limit alcohol purchase to twenty-one year old persons but there is no constitutional right to buy alcohol. The Supreme Court has told us in DC v. Heller that the Second Amendment confers a personal right that is subject to reasonable restrictions. What the Heller decision did not do is provide real guidelines to what is a reasonable restriction.

The test for what is a reasonable restriction is whether it is reasonably related to an important State interest. It seems clear to me that protecting society against the dangers presented by immature people buying firearms is an important State interest. The question is going to be whether limiting purchase to adults under twenty-one is reasonably related to that State interest. I think (or maybe just hope) that a Court would find that given the dangerous nature of firearms, that while a twenty-year old is competent to vote, there is a rational relationship in such a State law.

In a challenge to the Florida Statute, one of two things will happen. Either the Court will uphold the statute and we will have some better idea what types of restrictions are permissible after Heller or the Court will strike the statute and we will know that the limits of reasonableness under Heller is very small. I am just not convinced the Supreme Court is going to find this Statute unconstitutional (although I have concerns about how seriously Florida AG Bondi will take the defense of the case) but either way, we need to know the answer to the question. As a result, I am not too upset about the NRA filing the lawsuit.

What I cannot work out is why the NRA would file this lawsuit. Some state is going to pass a far more restrictive statute than the Florida statute. I would expect the NRA to file its first lawsuit against one of these more restrictive statutes in hopes of having a better case before the Supreme Court.

March 6, 2018

Sam Nunberg's a lawyer?

Lawrence just reported that Sam Nunberg is a lawyer - or at least has a law degree. The Google machine confirms.

This is even crazier than I thought!

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Arkansas
Home country: USA
Current location: Arkansas, USA
Member since: Mon May 15, 2017, 08:46 PM
Number of posts: 10,800

About TomSlick

I'm a lawyer primarily representing clients who are being sued. I am a retired Army Judge Advocate. Nothing I post here, including any comments about legal topics, should be construed as legal advice or creating an attorney-client relationship.

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