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Robert E. Lee

December 10, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

Robert E. Lee was a well-born Confederate general who led the South’s attempt at secession during the Civil War. He challenged Union forces during the war’s bloodiest battles, including Antietam and Gettysburg, before surrendering to Union General Ulysses S. Grant in 1865 at Appomattox Court House in Virginia, marking the end of the devastating conflict that nearly split the United States.

Robert E. Lee (TV-PG; 2:27)

Who Was Robert E. Lee?

Lee was born in Stratford Hall, a plantation in Virginia, on January 19, 1807, to a wealthy and socially prominent family. His mother, Anne Hill Carter, also grew up on a plantation and his father, Colonel Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee, was descended from colonists and become a Revolutionary War leader and three-term governor of Virginia.

But the family hit hard times when Lee’s father made a series of bad investments that left him in debtors’ prison. He fled to the West Indies and died in 1818 while trying to return to Virginia when Lee was barely a teen.

With little money for his education, the Lee went to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point for a military education. He graduated second in his class in 1829 — and the following month he would lose his mother.

Robert E. Lee’s Children

After graduation, Lee’s military career quickly took off as he chose a position with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

A year later, he began courting a childhood connection, Mary Custis Washington. Given his father’s diminished reputation, Lee had to propose twice to win approval to wed Mary, the great-granddaughter of Martha Washington and the step-great-granddaughter of President George Washington.

The pair married in 1831; Lee and his wife would have seven children, including three sons — George, William and Robert — who followed him into the military to fight for the Confederate States during the Civil War.

As the couple were establishing their family, Lee frequently travelled with the military on engineer projects. He first distinguished himself in battle during the Mexican-American War under General Winfield Scott in the battles of Veracruz, Churubusco, and Chapultepec. Scott once declared that Lee was “the very best soldier that I ever saw in the …read more

Source: HISTORY

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11 Key People Who Shaped George Washington's Life

December 10, 2019 in History

By Christopher Klein

A who’s who of the important figures in the first American president’s life and career.

Eulogized by Henry Lee as “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen,” George Washington stood preeminent among the pantheon of American Founding Fathers. At his home Mount Vernon, on the battlefield and in the presidency, Washington crossed paths with many others who shaped his life. This is the cast of characters—friend and foe alike—who influenced the development of Washington the man, Washington the general and Washington the president.

Washington the Man

MARTHA WASHINGTON

Following the sudden death of her wealthy husband, Daniel Custis, in 1757, 26-year-old Martha Dandridge Custis became perhaps Virginia’s richest and most eligible widow. Among the suitors who came calling at her mansion, dubbed the “White House,” was young Virginia militia officer George Washington. Washington biographer Ron Chernow writes that the future American president “courted Martha with the crisp efficiency of a military man laying down a well-planned siege.” The pair, who wed in January 1759, had no children together but raised Martha’s son and daughter (Jacky and Patsy) from her first marriage. While Martha’s initial appeal may have been more economic than romantic—Washington described her as “an agreeable partner” shortly after they wed—the union grew into one of the most admired marriages in American history. At Washington’s side in winter quarters for nearly half of the Revolutionary War and then as First Lady, Martha provided financial security, emotional support and much-needed stability amid a swirl of turbulent historical events.

READ MORE: Why Martha Washington Was the Ultimate Military Spouse

SALLY FAIRFAX


George Washington dancing the minuet with Sally Fairfax at the Carlyle House, 1755.

“The world has no business to know the object of my love, declared in this manner to you when I want to conceal it,” Washington wrote weeks before his wedding. The letter wasn’t sent to Martha Custis, however, but to Sally Fairfax, the wife of one of his best friends and patrons. Described as an intelligent, “dark-eyed beauty,” Fairfax lived in a neighboring estate four miles downstream of Mount Vernon and married into Virginia’s largest landowning family. It’s unknown if romance actually blossomed between the two—and Fairfax is said to have cut off correspondence with Washington after his engagement to Custis—but a friendship ultimately endured. Fairfax and her husband were frequent …read more

Source: HISTORY

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What the Democrats Left Out

December 10, 2019 in Economics

By Josh Blackman

Josh Blackman

Today the House Judiciary Committee announced two articles of impeachment. The first article alleges that President Donald Trump abused his power by asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to publicly announce investigations into one of his political opponents, Joe Biden, and into a “discredited theory” that Ukraine, not Russia, had interfered in the most recent presidential election. The second article charges that President Trump obstructed Congress by refusing to comply with impeachment-related subpoenas. In opting for these two offenses—and in excluding three others that had all been plausible—House Democrats have narrowed their charges to the allegations that are the easiest to see, if you see the world, and this presidency, as they do.

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What didn’t make the cut? First, Congress chose not to include articles of impeachment based on the foreign and domestic emoluments clauses. Democratic members of Congress have long alleged that President Trump is illegally profiting from his business entities that cater to foreign and state governments. Indeed, more than 200 members of Congress have sued the president in federal court, arguing that his conduct is unconstitutional. (I have filed a series of amicus briefs arguing that Trump’s conduct amounts to poor policy, but is lawful.) Yet, the House has not even held a hearing on these once obscure provisions of the Constitution. It would have been very difficult to make the case for impeachment based on a nonexistent record.

Second, Congress chose not to include articles of impeachment based on allegations in the Mueller report. For nearly two years, the special counsel titillated the Beltway with the prospect of potentially impeachable conduct. Robert Mueller’s voluminous report dispelled allegations of Russian collusion, but strongly hinted that President Trump engaged in obstruction of justice—that the President used his official power to stymie the investigation. Attorney General Bill Barr disagreed, and independently concluded that there was no criminal activity worth charging.

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The Crossfire Hurricane Report’s Inconvenient Findings

December 10, 2019 in Economics

By Julian Sanchez

Julian Sanchez

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s long-awaited report on the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation is finally out, and notwithstanding furious efforts from all quarters to claim otherwise, it fails to neatly validate anyone’s favored political narrative. Contra the hopes of Donald Trump’s more ardent admirers, it fails to turn up anything resembling a Deep State cabal within the FBI plotting against the president, or deliberate abuse of surveillance authorities for political ends. Yet it also paints a bleak picture of the Bureau’s vaunted vetting process for warrant applications under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), documenting a host of material omissions or misrepresentations in the government’s case for wiretapping erstwhile Trump campaign advisor Carter Page, whose privacy was invaded for nearly a year on disturbingly thin grounds. Though it does not describe an investigation motivated by political bias, it is a textbook account of confirmation bias that should raise disturbing questions about the adequacy of the FISA process—and not just in this investigation.

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The heart of the Horowitz report deals with the Carter Page FISA application, and documents a progression that ought to sound familiar to anyone who’s studied the history of the intelligence community: An investigation begins with a kernel of reasonable suspicion, and facts are marshaled to support a theory. As it gathers momentum, those initial suspicions congeal into assumptions. New information that fits the original theory is added to pile of evidence—while a growing body of contradictory of information is overlooked. It’s possible to read the Horowitz report and think that the initial 90-day wiretap of Page was justified, but far harder to rationalize intrusive surveillance that carried on for nearly a year, through three separate renewals, even as evidence mounted that should have undermined the basis for the warrant.

As the report recounts, “Crossfire Hurricane”—the FBI’s codename for its probe of potential links between Russia’s election interference operation and the 2016 Trump presidential campaign—originated in the summer of 2016 with a tip from the Australian government (a “friendly foreign government” in the report): Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos had been drunkenly repeating an academic acquaintance’s startling assertion that the Russian government had thousands of potentially damaging e-mails related to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. The intelligence community was already seeing the outlines of an unprecedentedly brazen, multi-pronged effort to …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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A “Hardening Look” Review for the IRS

December 10, 2019 in Economics

By William Yeatman

William Yeatman

Welcome back to Ninth Circuit Review-Reviewed, your monthly recap of administrative law before arguably “the second most important court in the land.” Let’s get straight to last month’s cases.

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Altera Part I: IRS Becoming Less Exceptional in Admin Law

“IRS exceptionalism” continues its slow bleed.

For reasons that escape me, the White House and federal courts historically have treated the IRS differently than other executive branch agencies when it comes to administrative law and regulatory process. But that’s changing.

For example, the IRS no longer escapes OIRA review, as it had since the 1980s. Last year, the OMB won a power struggle with the Treasury Department; now, IRS rules are subject to the same White House regulatory review process that other executive branch agencies must undergo.

Judicial review, too, is becoming more “normal” for the IRS, as the agency increasingly becomes beholden to the same administrative law doctrines that courts long have employed in reviewing other agencies. Let’s call it “hardening look review.”

The latest sign is the Ninth Circuit’s denial last month of an en banc rehearing in Altera v. Commissioner.

Altera is a big deal for tax administration” writes Professor Kristin Hickman, because “even as individual judges in the Altera litigation have disagreed over how administrative law doctrines apply in the case, no judge has questioned whether those doctrines apply in the tax context.” According to Prof. Hickman, “[t]hat would not have been true ten years ago.”

It’s a fascinating case, with big implications for both the economy and, of course, administrative law. For more, I highly recommend Prof. Hickman’s blog, and also coverage at TaxProf Blog.

Altera Part II: Judge Milan Smith Rings Death Knell for Auer

Administrative law doctrines develop in lower courts within the “markers” set from above by the Supreme Court. Accordingly, this blog has been paying close attention to the fate of the Court’s schizoid opinion in Kisor v. Wilkie.

On the one hand, Justice Kagan’s plurality opinion upheld the Auer doctrine, which requires courts to give binding judicial respect to an agency’s reasonable interpretations of regulatory ambiguities. On the other, her opinion “reinforced” and “expanded on” the doctrine’s limits, so much so that Justice Gorsuch claimed that Auer deference emerges “enfeebled” and “maimed.”

So, which is it? Did Kisor affirm or enfeeble Auer deference? Some scholars claim that the doctrine lives. Others, including me, argue that Kisor effectively killed Auer deference by imposing so …read more

Source: OP-EDS