A good litigator, whether a trial attorney or an appellate attorney, can recognize the weaknesses in his case and be prepared to deal with them. One of the mistakes that some lawyers make is they become so enamored with their case that they believe they cannot lose, and find out the hard way that they were wrong. One of the skills taught in law school is the ability to recognize legal issues in a fact pattern and be able to present arguments on both sides as to how a court should rule.

Since mid-March, the country has been focused on COVID-19. On May 27, 2020, the United States reached the milestone of 100,000 deaths. The health experts were repeatedly advising people of the importance of social distancing and wearing a face mask. There was public shaming of events such as the pool party in the Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, where groups of people congregated in tight quarters. One of the arguments was that it was unfair to others, especially the elderly and healthcare workers, if people are not careful. One TV station would daily display on the screen the number of deaths and COVID cases in the United States and worldwide. The president was getting hammered for his response. He was trying anything he could to get COVID-19 off the front pages. Nothing worked.

There is so much craziness going on in the country, it is hard to know where to begin. On Friday, June 19, Attorney General William Barr put out a press release that the United States Attorney for the Southern District, Geoffrey S. Berman, had resigned. This was news to Berman. He responded to Barr that he wasn’t going anywhere. After a day of dueling emails, Berman agreed to leave on the condition that his deputy be appointed as the interim United States Attorney. Barr and the president have pointed fingers at each other for forcing Berman out. Barr said that the president fired Berman, and Trump said it was Barr’s idea and he had nothing to do with it.

On Sunday, June 14, I took advantage of the nice weather and rode the North and South County and Putnam Country bike trails. The South Trail starts in Yonkers and the Putnam trail ends in Brewster. It is a short drive to get to and there is ample parking along the route. I would recommend the North County and Putnam County parts of the path, since it’s newly paved and has nicer scenery. While I was in the middle of my bike ride, I saw two teenagers walking, one of whom was carrying a sign stating, “Black Lives Matter.” A few hours later in Carmel, New York, I heard the song “Blowin’ in the Wind,” and saw a small group protesting. “Blowin’ in the Wind” was written and sung by Bob Dylan aka Robert Zimmerman in 1963. The song was made famous by Peter, Paul and Mary. It’s the 1960s all over again.

Both Republican and Democratic state governors have seen their approval ratings increase significantly since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, in contrast to the president, who has had a small bump up. Why are the governors’ responses to the virus so popular and why is Trump’s so low?  As Moshe Hill noted in last week’s QJL, Trump has had “his ups and downs” and Cuomo has made mistakes. It is easy to blame the media; namely, they have had favorable coverage toward the governors and negative toward Trump. However, I believe that there are other factors causing this dichotomy. A person should ask themselves how they would have approached the government’s response to the virus. Would they have taken Trump’s approach or the popular governors’ approach in their tone and messaging?