In politically charged case, appeals court hears Affordable Care Act challenge

Photo Credit:Annie Flanagan for The New York Times as published in their report on 7/9/19.

Photo Credit: Annie Flanagan for The New York Times as published in their report on 7/9/19.

The fate of the Affordable Care Act — commonly known as ObamaCare — rests with a federal appeals court, in a judicial standoff that could affect the 2020 presidential election.

The New York Times reports, “A panel of federal appeals court judges on Tuesday sounded likely to uphold a lower-court ruling that a central provision of the Affordable Care Act — the requirement that most people have health insurance — is unconstitutional. But it was harder to discern how the court might come down on a much bigger question: whether the rest of the sprawling health law must fall if the insurance mandate does.”

Yet as the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ponders a ruling, the lawsuit could affect next year’s presidential election, The Hill.com reports.

“The lawsuit has proved to be a headache for congressional Republicans seeking to turn the page on their efforts to repeal ObamaCare after the issue helped Democrats win back the House in last year’s midterm elections,” The Hill.com reports.

“If the case makes it to the Supreme Court, the decision would likely be handed down in June 2020, dropping a bomb in the center of the presidential election.”

The health care law has weathered legal challenges since the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the mandate in 2012.

“If the mandate is indeed unconstitutional, the next question is whether the rest of the Affordable Care Act can function without it. In December,” The New York Times reports. “Judge Reed O’Connor of the Federal District Court in Fort Worth said it could not and declared that the entire law must fall.”

Court rebukes President Trump for blocking followers on Twitter

Photo Credit: Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times as reported in The New York Times on 7/9/19.

Photo Credit: Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times as reported in The New York Times on 7/9/19.

How the First Amendment functions in the social media age gained further clarity this week when a federal appeals court ruled that President Trump violated the Constitution by blocking people from following his Twitter account.

“Because Mr. Trump uses Twitter to conduct government business, he cannot exclude some Americans from reading his posts — and engaging in conversations in the replies to them — because he does not like their views, a three-judge panel on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in New York, ruled unanimously,” The New York Times reports.

Tuesday’s ruling may be appealed.

“Mr. Trump’s legal team argued, among other things, that he operated the account merely in a personal capacity, and so had the right to block whomever he wanted for any reason — including because users annoyed him by criticizing or mocking him,” The New York Times reports.

“Courts have increasingly been grappling with how to apply the First Amendment, written in the 18th century, to the social-media era,” The Times continues. “In 2017, for example, the Supreme Court unanimously struck down a North Carolina law that had made it a crime for registered sex offenders to use websites like Facebook.”

Apple Supreme Court ruling opens doors for more legal action against tech giants

Photo Credit: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg as reported by the Washington Post.

Photo Credit: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg as reported by the Washington Post.

The Supreme Court ruled today that consumers could proceed with a large antitrust class action lawsuit against Apple.  

The New York Times reports that the justices decided “that the plaintiffs should be allowed to try to prove that the technology giant had used monopoly power to raise the prices of iPhone apps.”

The report explains, “Apple charges a 30 percent commission to software developers who sell their products through its App Store, bars developers from selling their apps elsewhere and plays a role in setting prices by requiring them to end in 99 cents.”

According to the Washington Post, “The 5-4 decision could spell serious repercussions for one of Apple’s most lucrative lines of business, and open the door for similar legal action targeting other tech giants in Silicon Valley.”

Arbitration gains currency after Supreme Court decision

unnamed-4Employees trying to take companies to court face more likelihood of arbitration based on a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, The Recorder at law.com reports.

A string of U.S. Supreme Court decisions favoring arbitration contracts, including the recent split decision in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, changed the landscape of workplace litigation, the site notes.

“Claims of persistent sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace, fast-food workers shorted on pay and gig economy contractors fighting for employee status have all been routed to arbitration in decisions citing Epic,” The Recorder notes.

“[Epic] changes the dynamics in a profound way,” Gerald Maatman, a partner at Seyfarth Shaw in Chicago told The Recorder. “It’s one of the most important decisions from the Supreme Court that impacts workplace issues.”

“In collaboration with San Francisco-based legal research company Casetext, The Recorder affiliate The National Law Journal analyzed 92 decisions from U.S. courts of appeal and federal district courts that cited Epic in the seven months between when it was handed down last May and the end of 2018,” the article notes. “Among those cases, 10 circuit court and 49 district court decisions centered on arbitration and dealt with workplace claims — and the majority either compelled arbitration or revived it as a live issue.”

‘Dreamers’ could see fate resolved by Supremes

Photo Credit: Julián Aguilar/The Texas Tribune as reported in The Texas Tribune on 7/31/18.

Photo Credit: Julián Aguilar/The Texas Tribune as reported in The Texas Tribune on 7/31/18.

The future of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, will become clearer as federal courts wrestle with the Obama-era initiative to shield young immigrants from deportation. And the U.S. Supreme Court may end the controversy once and for all.

The Washington Post reports that on Friday, Aug. 17, U.S. District Judge John D. Bates ruled that the Trump administration must continue processing renewals but that the administration can halt new applications for “Dreamers” while DACA is under appeal.

“Bates is one of the federal judges presiding over four different lawsuits aimed at maintaining or eliminating DACA, which was created by executive order by President Barack Obama and then ended by President Trump,” the Post reports.

The Texas Tribune notes that on Aug. 8, federal District Judge Andrew Hanen was scheduled to hear the state’s request for a halt to the program preliminarily “while the issue meanders its way through the federal court system.”

The fate of DACA could ”end up in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court,” the Texas Tribune reports. “In June, the Department of Justice asked Hanen to delay a possible injunction ‘so the United States can seek stays of all the DACA injunctions in the respective courts of appeals and the Supreme Court,’” the Tribune notes.

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