Importing Illegals

     Well, no wonder we have an immigration problem – the government is importing illegals from Mexico.
     On the very last day of 2008, the U. S. Justice Department issued a press release proudly announcing that Mexico was sending us 10 criminals – none of whom were U. S. citizens – for trial on drug charges.
     I assume so that we could deport them.
     Said the release: “The extradition of these 10 defendants brings the total number of extraditions from Mexico to the United States to 95 for 2008, the highest yearly number of extraditions from Mexico to date, surpassing last year’s record number of 83.”
     You’d think that keeping them in Mexico – where they’d been arrested – might be a tad more sensible.
     Maybe it has something to do with the balance of trade.
     
     REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS. I keep telling you: you need to read appellate opinions to find the most interesting issues of the day.
     This week’s example comes from a U. S. Tax Court ruling called Magdalin v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue. The issue is: is it sex discrimination to allow women to deduct the costs of childbirth on their tax returns but not let men who pay for egg donors and “gestational carriers” — neither of whom are related to the men — to deduct those payments?
     After all, both expenditures result in the production of children for the taxpayer. Are they all that different?
     Well, according to the IRS and the Tax Court, “he cannot deduct those expenses because he has no medical condition or defect to which those expenses relate and because they did not affect a structure or function of his body.”
     But they could be a business expense if he’s breeding them to produce workers for his company.
     Expect another Tax Court ruling involving this guy very soon.
     
     LAST WORDS. Best last line of an appellate ruling that I’ve seen recently: “This case is finito.
     You can’t say it any better than that. More cases should end that way.
     The line, in case you’re wondering, is from a U. S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit ruling called Mirfashi v. Fleet Mortgage Corporation in which Judge Richard Posner points out two-thirds of the basic problem with class actions that I’ve been nagging all of you about for decades:
     “The lawyers for the class could not concede the utter worthlessness of their claim because they wanted an award of attorneys’ fee. The lawyers for (the defendant) were reluctant to argue the utter worthlessness of the claim because they were able to negotiate a settlement that cost their client virtually nothing – provided they did not take such a strong stand that it jeopardized the class lawyers’ shot at a generous award of attorneys’ fees.”
     Attorney fees, of course, are the primary purpose of any litigation.
     Now, regular readers (if any of you can be called regular), what is the third part of the problem? Come on. You know this.
     Yep. The judges who rubberstamp the settlements that don’t do anything for the plaintiff class because it’s way too much trouble not to. (And, indeed, it is way too much trouble not to. I don’t blame them a bit.)
     This column is finito.

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