Kendall Coffey on Steve Malzberg 11.22.13

Kendall Coffey Spinning the Law

Kendall Coffey Spinning the Law
Kendall Coffey Spinning the Law

Kendall Coffey is considered an expert on the 1999 high profile case of Elian Gonzalez, found after a shipwreck off the coast of Florida while crossing to Cuba.  Elian Gonzalez is discussed at length in Spinning the Law by Kendall Coffey.

“I actually at some point became one of the lead lawyers and argued some of the key issues, so I was very involved in the case. We represented Elian and his U.S. relatives and literally did battle against two governments at the same time: the government of Fidel Castro and the government of the United States. The government of Clinton and Janet Reno, were in this case, aligned with the Cuban government.”

Elian Gonzalez is in the news, talking about his ordeal. He says it made a lifetime impact on him and his violation of rights. He is on the side of the Cuban government.

“He was very happy to be in the United States when he was here. Of course he wanted his father to be with him, but he was very happy to be here at the time. We predicted at the time that he would become a trophy of the Castro regime, and that he would be indoctrinated and be fed a script of whatever the regime wanted him to say.  You and listeners can decide whether that prediction has come to pass. With respect to his mother, which is someone who we all feel very strongly about, she sacrificed her life to bring her son to freedom.  Many have lost their lives to come here and it’s a reminder of how incredibly lucky we are to live in the United States, because 90% of the rest of the world would give most anything to be here where you and I walk and breathe and enjoy life everyday.”

The Supreme Court voted 5-4 this week to leave Texas abortion law in effect.  Kendall Coffey explained that the abortion lobby is very calculated about how to push their agenda forward.

“We talked previously on this show about the anti abortion strategies with respect to the judicial development have been very thoughtful.  Planning and looking down the road, counting votes in terms of the Supreme Court, and not simply saying that Roe Vs. Wade is a terrible decision and to please over rule it, but picking very specific points to advance their cause.  Five to four sounds like a close vote, it could be momentous.  Normally, when a court says five to four, we’re going to leave the law in place on something like this, it suggests that five justices may be prepared to uphold the Texas law on this significant issue.  If that’s the case, this ruling which may have looked procedural although it will affect many people in Texas, this ruling could be of dramatic importance.”

Eric Holder wanted to appeal a contempt verdict form congress. Holder was denied the right to withhold documents from the Department of Justice in relation to the fast and furious case.  A judge refused Holder’s request.  Kendall Coffey predicted the documents will be released in the proceedings to come.

“The committee of oversight and government reform in the house of representatives really brought a lawsuit against Eric Holder to enforce its subpoenas for documents which were of course, opposed by the Department of Justice.  Holder and DOJ moved to dismiss, and that motion was denied.  Then they said, one- this case is very significant, two- we think we have a good probability of winning this issue on appeal. They are asking the court to simply allow them to block it.  That request was denied, which means there will be no appeal for now and that Holder and DOJ are going to have to respond to the lawsuit. That means there are going to be some very interesting issues and access to documents in the coming months.”

The judge noted that the ruling on whether the documents have been improperly withheld is still in limbo.

“The issue really is that she has not ruled on whether to documents need to be handed over.  She has only ruled that Eric Holder is subject to a lawsuit in federal court over the issue.  If and or when the lawsuit is decided, for example if there is an issue of contempt, there could be with respect to the documents that are ordered to be turned over.  Between now and then we could see some fascinating developments.”

Discussing George Zimmerman, who was arrested for domestic violence last week. Does this change the verdict that was adjudicated in Florida?

“Of course. The case is over. There may be speculation that these instances of domestic violence and especially this second one. There are questions of whether this proves that George Zimmerman is a bad person. And the answer is not in our system.  He was acquitted. Whatever anyone thinks of the verdict last summer, our system has to respect the jury process.  As for these instances, well he’s a controversial person but what about the presumption of innocence? Why don’t we let the process play out?  If he is in fact guilty, his attorneys may seek a resolution with prosecutors, but as of now, the details aren’t crystalized, the facts haven’t all come out yet, but let’s let this play out before we reach any conclusions.”

The Supreme Court of Ohio said that school was justified for firing a teacher for keeping religious books and a poster of a president praying.

Prayer at School“If you look at current law, it may make sense.  There was a justice on the Supreme Court who basically lost his job because he had the Ten Commandments on the courthouse wall. So under the current law, this probably is an accurate picture of what the Supreme Court has done through now, which is protecting his right to a personal bible but saying that if you are ordered by a superior to take down other religious displays and disobey that, then you are being insubordinate at your peril.  I think that is accurately describing the law today, but there could be some developments in the coming years.”

Follow Kendal Coffey on Pinterest or Twitter.