Skip to main content Skip to navigation
CAS in the Media Arts and Sciences Media Headlines

Law experts chime in on first criminal conviction of a president in U.S. history

When news broke Thursday that the first president in U.S. history was convicted of a crime, animated responses rang out from politicians and legal experts all across Washington state.

University of Washington Law Professor Jessica West said in an interview, “It’s a good and strong system. They had a chance to present their testimony. Mr. Trump could have testified if he wanted to. There were lots of protections in place.”

Cornell Clayton, professor of political science and director of the Thomas S. Foley Institute of Public Policy and Public Service at Washington State University, agreed with West in saying he was not shocked by the jury’s verdict in the trial.

“It wasn’t surprising for those who had followed the trial, given how the evidence came in,” Clayton said, adding that the defense “didn’t provide any sort of alternative narrative to rebut the prosecutors’ case.”

Clayton said the verdict may have more of an impact on the institution of the presidency in the long run than it does on the 2024 election.

“I think, historically, it’s extremely important that for the first time we have a president who’s been convicted, criminally convicted, and that will change the way we think about the presidency,” he said, comparing the trial’s outcome to President Richard Nixon’s resignation in 1974.

Read the full story:
The Spokesman-Review
Yahoo! News

Federal Law Makes Weed Research Complicated

Scientists want to understand how commercially available cannabis products affect users. They have to get creative to research it legally.

Dr. Carrie Cuttler, an associate professor at Washington State University and the director of its Health and Cognition Lab, has watched research participants use cannabis over Zoom for some of her studies. Her lab has investigated links between cannabis and creativity, as well as the drug’s effects on cognition, mental health, and stress. She developed her research methods with Washington State authorities, and created a procedure where she watches participants use cannabis remotely. “I just observe a legal act,” she says.

Cuttler says the Zoom method lets her avoid illegal entanglement with a Schedule I drug, but a drawback is she’s unable to take the physiological measurements, like blood draws or heart rate, that the mobile laboratory enables.

Read the full story:

Christians Supplied Medieval Pagans With Horses for Sacrifice

Pagans in northern Europe’s Baltic region imported horses from neighboring Christian countries during the late medieval period to sacrifice in funeral rituals, a study has revealed.

The research, published in the journal Science Advances, analysed the teeth of horses buried in the cemeteries of these communities and discovered that the pagans sourced at least some of the animals from newly Christianized Scandinavia across the Baltic Sea.

This challenges the traditional archaeological consensus that pagan Baltic tribes exclusively sacrificed horses from local breeds, while also casting light on the complex relationship these groups had with Christian communities.

“Our results prove that horses were crossing the Baltic Sea on ships, a level of mobility not previously recognized archaeologically,” the study authors wrote.

“Given the unexpected prevalence of mares, we believe the prestige of the animal, coming from afar was a more important factor in why they were chosen for this rite,” study lead author Katherine French—formerly of Cardiff University’s School of History, Archaeology and Religion, now based at Washington State University—said in a press release.

Read the full story:
Archaeo Histories

Candidate wants to use the national guard to solve homelessness

Republican candidate for governor Semi Bird wants to use the Washington National Guard to solve homelessness. The legality of that idea is an open question according to legal scholars.

Bird’s campaign website says that if he is elected governor he will declare a state of emergency and deploy the national guard…under Article 3, Section 8 of the Washington state constitution].

University of Washington law school professor Hugh Spitzer, a leading state constitution scholar, thinks it is unlikely Bird could actually make such a move.

Cornel Clayton, a Washington State University political science professor and the director of the Thomas S. Foley Institute of Public Policy and Public Service, expressed similar skepticism.

“My initial reaction is that this is not what that clause in the constitution was intended for.  Rather, it contemplates calling up the national guard during an emergency,” Clayton said.

Read the full story:

THC lingers in breastmilk with no clear peak point

New mothers who like to smoke marijuana might wind up exposing their babies to THC through their own breast milk, a new study says.

THC, the intoxicating compound in cannabis, dissolves in the fats contained in human milk, researchers found. Mother’s milk produced by weed users always had detectable amounts of THC, even when the mothers had abstained for 12 hours, results show.

“Breastfeeding parents need to be aware that if they use cannabis, their infants are likely consuming cannabinoids via the milk they produce, and we do not know whether this has any effect on the developing infant,” lead researcher Courtney Meehan, a biological anthropologist at Washington State University, said in a news release.

Guidelines for new mothers say to wait at least two hours after drinking alcohol before breastfeeding. There are no similar guidelines for cannabis…there’s no consistent time when a weed user can expect the THC concentrations in their breast milk to peak and then decline.

For participants who used cannabis just once during the study, THC in breast milk peaked between 30 minutes and 2.5 hours after use before declining.

Read the full story:
US News
Science Daily
Yahoo! News
Lab Roots
Science Alert
The Sacramento Bee
The Spokesman-Review