Trump Ponders Next Steps After Court Nixes Immigration Order

Several prominent legal experts are encouraging President Donald Trump to withdraw his current order and redraft it. | AP Photo

Several prominent legal experts are encouraging President Donald Trump to withdraw his current order and redraft it. | AP Photo

The D.C.-based Politico newspaper is outlining what options President Trump’s team has after the California-based 9th Circuit appeals court nixed his travel order this week. Politico said the Trump group was “… licking their wounds following a stinging appeals court defeat, President Donald Trump’s aides went into triage mode Friday as they consider options for salvaging his contested travel ban executive order.”

The story notes that “… Trump rarely backs down from a fight, but there were initial signs that the White House might not proceed as originally expected with an emergency application to the Supreme Court. Legal experts said it was doubtful Trump could muster what he’d need to get immediate relief there: the votes of five justices on the high court, which remains shorthanded with only eight justices. A 4-4 deadlock would leave the ruling suspending enforcement of Trump’s ban in place.”

See the story here: Trump team mulls next steps on travel ban order

Yikes: ‘RBG’ Speaks Her Mind On Trump, May Disqualify Herself

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her Supreme Court chambers in Washington in July 2014. (Cliff Owen/AP)

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her Supreme Court chambers in Washington in July 2014. (Cliff Owen/AP)

It turns out that Donald Trump is not alone in speaking his mind and worrying even his biggest fans. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in a New York Times interview, made it pretty clear she can’t imagine a United States under a President Trump. She even joked about moving to New Zealand, although to be fair she was quoting her late husband – but the sentiment was pretty clear.

That’s a problem, say legal scholars. There’s a reason that justices are seldom vocal in the political arena. If Mr. Trump is anxious about having a judge with Mexican heritage on his civil case, can you imagine him with a justice who has made her view so clear? Aaron Blake, writing for the Washington Post, notes that Ginsburg “…. goes to a place justices almost never do – and perhaps never have – for some very good reasons.”

The report cites some pretty strong voices saying this was a mistake. Like this: “Louis Virelli is a Stetson University law professor who just wrote a book on Supreme Court recusals, titled ‘Disqualifying the High Court. He said that ‘public comments like the ones that Justice Ginsburg made could be seen as grounds for her to recuse herself from cases involving a future Trump administration. I don’t necessarily think she would be required to do that, and I certainly don’t believe that she would in every instance, but it could invite challenges to her impartiality based on her public comments.'”

Read the story and gauge the fallout here: In bashing Donald Trump, some say Ruth Bader Ginsburg just crossed a very important line

“Equally Divided Court” (Sorta) Leaves Obama’s Deportation Executive Order In Limbo

Questions will persist on whether President Obama superceded his authority by creating by executive order the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program designed to defer deportation for millions of immigrants.

Today, the Huffington Post reports the Supremes affirmed a lower court ruling that blocked the program stating simply, “The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided court.” While immigration advocates may lament the loss, the order itself rings hollow given the Administration’s renewed call last month to seek out and deport Border Kids escaping gang and drug cartel violence from Central America.

Irrespective of where one stands on the immigration reform debate, the fact is that the question of executive power was left unanswered because now even the judicial branch has been brought to a standstill.

Magazine Explains Why All Those Educations Cases Happen

See you in court. (Monica Almeida, Pool/AP Photo)

See you in court. (Monica Almeida, Pool/AP Photo)

U.S. News and World Report has a new opinion piece from Andrew Rotherham, a cofounder and partner at the non-profit Bellwether Education Partners, about why so much of education reform ends up in the courtroom. After outlining several high-profile cases, he explains that “… on the courthouse steps you can say pretty much whatever you want. Inside the courtroom, there are rules and process. Clever and fiery sound bites from a press conference will get you in trouble in front of a judge. If the evidence is on your side, the courtroom is often more fertile ground than the political arena.”

He also notes that “… it’s remarkable how many issues that are generally settled in terms of the research evidence remain incredibly live political debates. Courtrooms mitigate the problem.”

It’s a really solid good “think piece” and you can find it here.

Supreme Court’s Immigration Case Sparking Nationwide Protests

 Protesters opposed to President Obama's executive actions on DACA and DAPA rally in front of San Bernardino City Hall.  (Herald News photo by Alejandro Cano)


Protesters opposed to President Obama’s executive actions on DACA and DAPA rally in front of San Bernardino City Hall. (Herald News photo by Alejandro Cano)

It’s a long way from Washington, D.C., to the Inland Empire section of California near Los Angeles. But immigration activists there are taking to streets, along with other demonstrations across the United States, to encourage the U.S. Supreme Court to side with President Obama over his sweeping immigration reforms.

The Fontana Herald-News backgrounded that “… the Supreme Court on April 18 began hearing oral arguments on President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration that would shield more than 4 million undocumented residents from deportation. Five out of eight votes are needed for the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) to go forward; however, the Court seemed divided 4-4 along conservative and liberal lines.”

Five out of eight votes are needed for the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) to go forward; however, the Court seemed divided 4-4 along conservative and liberal lines. Transcripts from oral arguments indicated that while Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito worried about the language of Obama’s decrees, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted the humanitarian side of the actions.

The Herald-News says that “… the division could be seen in the streets of the nation, including the Inland Empire, where two opposing groups rallied in Riverside and San Bernardino that day.”
Read the solidly reported story here: http://www.fontanaheraldnews.com/news/supreme-court-hears-oral-arguments-on-immigration-case-protesters-rally/article_e51d93c6-073b-11e6-8f1d-377d69ce8da9.html

Supreme Court Vacancy Is Tip Of Judicial Backlog Crisis

Photo Credit, Kansas City Star report, 4/12/16

Photo Credit, Kansas City Star report, 4/12/16

McClatchy’s news service has an explainer piece about the rationing of federal judicial appointments. It begins with an 82-year-old judge, the longest-serving in Idaho history, hoping to retire with his replacement on the way. The tone of the story is “good luck with that” as it outlines more than 80 vacancies created by the stalemate in Washington; some 50 nominees await U.S. Senate action.

The report explains that “… while the Senate remains at loggerheads over how to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, that dispute is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to judicial fights on Capitol Hill… the Senate on Monday approved a new federal judge for Tennessee, but, meanwhile, 85 other vacancies remained, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. North Carolina has had one court vacancy since 2005.

A couple of points from the piece:

— Idaho is now one of 34 jurisdictions facing a “judicial emergency,” with the number of cases overwhelming the number of judges, according to the Judicial Conference of the United States, a group of judges that advises Congress.
— “All over the country, you’ve got senior judges in their 80s, sometimes in their 90s, who are still working because they just don’t want to leave the other judges with even more work to do,” said Paul Gordon, senior legislative counsel for the liberal advocacy group People For the American Way. “It’s a bad situation.”

It’s a shocking story. Read it here via the Kansas City Star: Idaho joins long wait list as Senate fails to act on judicial nominees

Supreme Court Backs Colorado, Nixes Neighboring State’s Lawsuit

The U.S. Supreme Court this week handed pro-marijuana states a 6-2 victory against litigation from neighboring non-marijuana states. Nebraska and Oklahoma argued that Colorado’s law violates the federal Controlled Substances Act, which treats marijuana as a dangerous drug and forbids its sale or use. They urged the Supreme Court to take up the issue as an “original” matter and declare that Colorado’s law was preempted by the federal drug laws.

The Los Angeles Times explains that “… usually, the high court hears appeals from lower-court rulings. But on rare occasions, the justices are called upon to decide disputes between states. Typically, however, these ‘original’ suits involve disagreements over boundaries or the use of river water that flows from one state to another.

The Times also noted that “… the suit brought by Nebraska and Oklahoma also implicitly challenged the Obama administration for its refusal to intervene more directly in Colorado.
Since California’s voters in 1996 authorized medical use of marijuana, 22 other states have adopted similar measures. Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska went further and allowed for the production and sale of marijuana for recreational use.”

“The state of Colorado authorizes, oversees, protects and profits from a sprawling $100-million-per-month marijuana growing, processing and retailing organization that exported thousands of pounds of marijuana to some 36 states in 2014,” the states argued. “If this entity were based south of our border, the federal government would prosecute it as a drug cartel.”

Read the Times report here:
Supreme Court rejects challenge to Colorado marijuana law from other states

In Kentucky, Clerk Pits Supreme Court Against Supreme Being

What happens if a public official simply refuses for follow a Supreme Court ruling? In Kentucky, we’re about to find out as a clerk, an elected position in the Bluegrass State, says she’s answering to a higher authority – God. Others are noting contempt: “She’s certainly in contempt of court by any definition of the term, so the District Court has an array of sanctions it can resort to, to deal with that,” said Daniel J. Canon, a lawyer for some of the same-sex couples seeking licenses. “It can levy civil or criminal sanctions against her, and we had hoped that it would not come down to that.”
 
It’s all taking place in a college town, Morehead, which is home to Morehead State University.

Trangender Issues Loom As New Court-Case Frontier

The Sacramento Bee newspaper has a detailed report about why transgender issues will become the next battle now that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided that same-sex couples have a right to marry. From school policy to federal funding, including civil court actions, the impacts will be many.
 
The Bee reports that “… LGBT leaders, following their successful effort to legalize same-sex marriage across the country, say expanding transgender rights is the next boundary in the culture wars. Last month, a coalition of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organizations formed to fight the ballot proposal to nullify the bathroom law, calling it a ‘recipe for harassment.'”
 

Civil Court Watchers Turn Attention To Kansas

 
In what is shaping up as an historic political showdown, civil court watchers are looking toward Kansas. That’s where Gov. Sam Brownback is, in effect, saying that if a state court strikes down a 2014 law that removed some judicial powers, he will halt court funding.
 
The New York Times explains that “… the 2014 law took the authority to appoint chief judges for the district courts away from the Supreme Court and gave it to the district courts themselves. It also deprived the state’s highest court of the right to set district court budgets. Critics said the law was an attempt by Mr. Brownback, a Republican, to stack the district courts with judges who may be more favorable to his policies.”
 
It’s getting uglier by the day. Check out the NYT coverage here.