Jonathan B. Wilson

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Jonathan Wilson is an Atlanta attorney with more than 19 years of experience guiding growing private and public companies.  He currently serves as the outside general counsel of several companies and is the former general counsel of (NASDAQ: WWWW) and EasyLink Services (NASDAQ: ESIC).  He is also the founding chair of the Renewable Energy Committee of the American Bar Association's Public Utility Section.

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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

May the Senate Refuse to Seat Blago's Appointment?
Law professor Brian Kalt questions whether the Senate may refuse to seatGovernor Blagojovich's appointment of Roland Burristo take the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama.  An interesting debate is developing in the comments to his post.

The debate centers on Article I, Section 3, which generally empowers the states to prescribe the manner in which they elect their senators, subject to such rules as Congress may establish and Article I, Section 5 which states in part:

"Each House shall be the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members . . ."

Assuming that the Governor's appointment was lawful under the laws of the State of Illinois, the Senate would have no authority to refuse to seat the Governor's appointment unless Article I, Section 5 could be read to allow the Senate to "judge . . . the elections . . . and qualifications" of that appointment. 

Professor Kalt's post cites Powell v. McCormack for the conclusion that the Senate's ability to judge the elections and qualifications of its members are limited to the three constitutional qualifications (age, residency and citizenship) set forth in the Constitution.

Unless the Supreme Court is interested in overturning that precedent, I see little leeway for the Senate in refusing to seat the Governor's appointment.  The position taken by the Senate leadership, that it would refuse to seat the Governor's appointment, appears to be on a collision course with the courts.
8:31 am est 

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Turning the Tide on Global Warming
Has the tide turned in the public's perception that the globe's climate is warming and that the cause is man-made?

As the article notes, unusually cold temperatures in 2008 has un-done any net increase in temperatures for the past decade.  And, when governments were just about ready to start spending in search of a global warming "solution" worldwide recession has eliminated both the political will and the financial ability to do so.
5:00 pm est 

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

God is a Problem, Sources Say
Vincent Carroll's op-ed does an excellent job at pulling apart the media's double-standards when covering Christianity. 
6:35 am est 

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Class Action Fairness Act /Analyzing the Data on the Number of Class Actions Filed

An ongoing study of the Class Action Fairness Act is yielding some interesting results.  Among the prelmiinary conclusions:

1. More class actions are being filed in federal court (which was an expected results); but

2. It is not clear how many fewer clases are being filed in state court.

The writer's analysis:

"The final word is not in, but it seems unlikely that the predicted revolution happened. Here's a back of the envelope calculation to put this into perspective. We don't know how many class actions there are in the state courts. But a 2000 RAND study estimated that about 40% of all class actions filed in the United States are filed in or removed to the federal courts. In the three pre-CAFA years in our study period, the average number of federal class actions (combining diversity and federal question jurisdiction) was about 3000. Assuming that the number of state class actions was 1.5 times larger (60% of the whole), that yields a rough estimate of 4500 state class actions in each of those three years, and a total of 7500 class actions per year. If CAFA had shifted an additional one-third of the state class actions into the federal courts, then, we should have observed an increase of about 1500 new class actions in the federal courts per year. Our results suggest a much more meager impact-more like 300-400 additional diversity cases in the post-CAFA years. Even taking the estimate at the upper end of the range, that would suggest that CAFA shifted about 9% of state class actions into the federal courts. Meaningful, perhaps (see below), but hardly revolutionary."

There is a logical flaw in this reasoning however.  The writer knows that there are "300-400" more federal class actions and posits that this means that fewer cases are being filed in federal court than if all of the expected state court class actions had shifted.

This conclusion ignores the possibility that some class actions are not being filed in state court as a result of CAFA and that those same cases are also not being pursued in federal court either. 

7:17 am est 

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sweet Home Georgia
Some good news for the Peach State.  According to a new survey that compares the cost of higher education against the expected earnings of its graduates, the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech are among the top five schools in the U.S., beating out Harvard and most of the Ivy Leage.  On the list of the top 5 schools, UGA was number one. 
6:38 am est 

Friday, December 5, 2008

Good News from Iraq
With the Dow losing 40% of its value, world credit markets lurching to a halt and the U.S. government bailing out just about every major U.S. industry, you might forgive some of us for missing it, but there is good news in Iraq

As Charles Krauthammer reports, the Iraqi parliament has ratified strategic and military cooperation agreements with the United States.

The agreements, which had been in the works for almost a year, contemplate the eventual departure of all U.S. troops (by the end of 2011) The upshot is that the agreements cement in place a framework for cooperation between the U.S. and Iraq, marking the strategic turnaround of that country from rogue state to broken state to developing U.S. ally.

Much work remains to be done and many will remain divided over the wisdom of how Iraqi reconstruction was handled, but this is the beginning of the end of that chapter in history. 
7:23 am est 

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Jonathan B. Wilson is an Atlanta attorney at the law firm of Taylor English Duma LLP.  Jonathan B. Wilson provides legal advice to investors, companies and business executives involving corporate law, securities law, SEC matters, intellectual property, website and Internet legal issues, start-ups, limited liability companies, partnerships, 1934 Act matters, outsourcing, strategic alliance agreements, contracts, and other matters of importance to growing private and publicly-traded companies.