Tag: SCOTUS

Breaking: Trump Chooses Gorsuch for SCOTUS

 

President Donald Trump has selected Neil M. Gorsuch to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court. He made the announcement in a live, televised event from the White House that began at 8 p.m. Eastern Time.

Gorsuch prevailed over the other finalists, Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania, and William H. Pryor Jr. of Alabama, and was easily confirmed by the Senate 10 years ago to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Colorado.

In the announcement, Trump said, “Judge Gorsuch has outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, tremendous discipline and has earned bipartisan support…. I only hope that both Democrats and Republicans can come together for once, for the good of the country.”

In Choosing a Justice, Trump Should Focus on Philosophy, not the Confirmation Fight

 

With Trump planning to announce his Supreme Court nominee at 8 pm ET Tuesday, I thought I’d post an excerpt of an LA Times piece. In it, law professor Saikrishna Prakash and I recommend that the President keep the Constitution front and center when choosing:

Pryor is probably the most conservative. He famously called Roe vs. Wade an “abomination” because it discovered a right to abortion in the 14th Amendment’s due process clause. A former Bush administration Department of Justice official, Gorsuch held that the free exercise clause in the 1st Amendment meant that the government couldn’t force Catholic nuns and religious companies to include birth control in their insurance plans. Hardiman, a less prominent conservative, voted against New Jersey’s tight limits on the open carry of firearms.

How should the president make his choice?  It should have nothing to do with how a nominee fits in to Trump’s coterie of friends, family or admirers. A Supreme Court seat is not a bauble to hand out to chums or aides in the manner of a monarch granting titles to faithful servants. Nor should the president care if he hits it off with a candidate. Presidents spend no time with members of the court. George W. Bush reportedly asked one of his potential nominees, J. Harvie Wilkinson III, about his exercise routine. That is simply irrelevant.

Why Pulitzer Winner Michael P. Ramirez Suggests “Clinton Shouldn’t Get a Pass”

 

Should the Trump Administration investigate the Clinton Foundation and Hillary’s emails? Two-time Pulitzer award winning political cartoonist Michael P. Ramirez discusses where Trump should focus his efforts, the Obama scandals, the Supreme Court, Cuba, socialism in America, California, and much more. Michael’s cartoons can be seen daily in over 400 newspapers, some of which are discussed in this interview aboard the Weekly Standard Cruise.

Sailing the Magnanimous Sea

 

At night, Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam’s showroom hosts illusionists, concerto pianists, song and dance acts, and run-of-the-mill cruise entertainment. But it was during the day the real stage action occurred as the “O.N.T.P.’s of the Caribbean” (Original NeverTrump Pirates) sat on panels discussing what historically may have been the craziest election cycle of our lifetimes. The Weekly Standard’s post-election cruise included an impressive collection of conservative writers, editors, pundits, politicos, and a few non-Weekly Standard surprises.

SCOTUS Asks: What Due Process Is Required in Immigration Hearings?

 

Jennings v RodriguezThis past week in Jennings v. Rodriguez, the Supreme Court of the United States waded into an immigration thicket from which there is no easy escape. It is commonplace that many aliens in the United States are subject to deportation for a variety of reasons. Some of these aliens must be detained in the US because they are stateless or because the US does not have a repatriation treaty with their home country. Other persons are detained because they are subject to a criminal record.

In many cases the detentions are extended as aliens play for time in order to obtain evidence to bolster their case for remaining in the US. In a large percentage of cases, the detentions can easily be justified on the grounds that the aliens in question are a flight risk or pose a risk for public safety. In individual cases, it is often hard to know which individuals fall into which categories, so that it is sometimes incumbent to hold individuals in custody for long periods of time until the needed factual records can be assembled.

At some point, the detention of any person runs into challenges under the Due Process Clause to the Fifth Amendment, which imposes some limitation on indefinite detention prior to the resolution of a case. Under current rules, roughly speaking, all persons are entitled by statute to a hearing upon their initial detention and are offered an additional one in the event of material changes in circumstances.

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To quote the lame duck president, “I won — you lost.” If elections have meaning, then they have consequences. The most immediate of those should be enactment of the policies the winning party campaigned for and the people of the nation gave consent to with their votes. There’s only one problem with this: the filibuster. […]

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I voted this morning in Delaware County (PA), county leans red, but goes blue during Presidential elections. I got their right after the polls had opened at 7am. I’ve never waited longer than 5 minutes to vote, today I waited 45 minutes. I’ve never seen a line like that. I was voter number 70 and […]

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg – Politician

 

RBG New RepublicMore than a few eyebrows have been raised recently about the conspicuous entry of another distinguished voice into the maelstrom of the current presidential race. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has taken up herself in a series of interviews and pronouncements to lace into Donald Trump and all but endorse Hillary Clinton as President of the United States. In her discussion with New York Times Supreme Court correspondent Adam Liptak, she sounded just like another partisan political figure opining in the sad state of politics in the United States.

At one level there was nothing surprising in these particular remarks. Anyone who has paid the slightest attention to her work on and off the Court in recent years knows of her diehard liberal views on virtually all these issues. Her denunciations of Donald Trump, her endorsement of Merrick Garland for the open seat on the Supreme Court, her criticism of the Senate to move forward on the nomination, her intense dislike of Heller on the Second Amendment, and of Citizens United on First Amendment protection of corporate speech are all part of the basic liberal playbook to which she subscribes. Only her reference to her late husband Martin Ginsburg that “Now it’s time for us to move to New Zealand,” gives some wry sense of the level of her discontent.

Yet, even if predictable, it is also disquieting. Her current views show a quest for the lime light that is inconsistent, I think, with the effort of a justice of the Supreme Court, no matter how passionate her views, to keep to the judicial role exclusively, so as to avoid even the appearance of bias in her decisions. But anyone who looks at the picture that the New Republic took of her on September 28, 2014 bathed in red, while wearing of judicial robes in a grand room in the Supreme Court building, knows exactly what is going on even before reading the title attached to Jeffrey Rosen’s piece, “Ruth Bader Ginsburg is an American Hero.” Not exactly the title that precedes a detailed dissection of her written opinions.

Supreme Court Rules Against First Amendment

 
stormans

The Stormans family.

The left has won the culture war, and now they’re roaming the countryside shooting the wounded. The Supreme Court quietly endorsed progressives’ mop-up operation by refusing to hear the case of Kevin Stormans who had his life turned upside-down by government bureaucrats in Washington state.

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SCOTUS struck down the Texas state regulations mandating that abortion clinics’ doctors have admitting privileges at local hospitals and are equipped to the same standard as all other outpatient surgical facilities. Apparently lower safety standards improves women’s health treatment and access. Hm. Justice Bryers definitely had an opinion on regulations’ ability to attenuate the activities […]

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You might have noticed in the news today, there is a unanimous decision coming out of SCOTUS. Big deal cases do not often turn out that way, unless of course SCOTUS is throwing out some crazy administration power grab. We are conservatives, & as such assume that defeated power grabs are the least measure of success–we […]

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The Supreme Court upheld the University of Texas affirmative action policy (i.e., the “Sorry Whitey, your better grades don’t count” rule), and who the deciding vote was should shock precisely no one at this point. The vote was 4-3, with Justice Anthony Kennedy writing the majority opinion. Preview Open

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Utah v. Strieff and the Exclusionary Rule

 

shutterstock_258602471I haven’t had time to read the full decision yet, but am very curious to hear what the Ricochetti at large, and those with expertise in law enforcement and criminal law, think of yesterday’s Supreme Court decision. The majority decision (written by Justice Thomas and joined by Roberts, Kennedy, Breyer, and Alito) maintains that evidence from a body search is admissible in court if it’s made upon realization that there the detained party has an outstanding warrant, even if the initial police stop is illegal. As described by Thomas, what happened was:

This case began with an anonymous tip. In December 2006, someone called the South Salt Lake City police’s drug-tip line to report “narcotics activity” at a particular residence. Narcotics detective Douglas Fackrell investigated the tip. Over the course of about a week, Officer Fackrell conducted intermittent surveillance of the home. He observed visitors who left a few minutes after arriving at the house. These visits were sufficiently frequent to raise his suspicion that the occupants were dealing drugs. One of those visitors was respondent Edward Strieff. Officer Fackrell observed Strieff exit the house and walk toward a nearby convenience store. In the store’s parking lot, Officer Fackrell detained Strieff, identified himself, and asked Strieff what he was doing at the residence. As part of the stop, Officer Fackrell requested Strieff ’s identification, and Strieff produced his Utah identification card. Officer Fackrell relayed Strieff’s information to a police dispatcher, who reported that Strieff had an outstanding arrest warrant for a traffic violation. Officer Fackrell then arrested Strieff pursuant to that warrant. When Officer Fackrell searched Strieff incident to the arrest, he discovered a baggie of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

The State charged Strieff with unlawful possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. Strieff moved to suppress the evidence, arguing that the evidence was inadmissible because it was derived from an unlawful investigatory stop. At the suppression hearing, the prosecutor conceded that Officer Fackrell lacked reasonable suspicion for the stop but argued that the evidence should not be suppressed because the existence of a valid arrest warrant attenuated the connection between the unlawful stop and the discovery of the contraband.

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There are many conversations which have occurred and are currently occurring in this forum which center on whether Trump must be supported as the GOP nominee or whether he can never be supported as a candidate for President. Prominent among such discussions is the currently vacant seat on the Supreme Court as well as potential […]

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SCOTUS Decision on Little Sisters of the Poor an Opportunity for White House, Congress

 

Little Sisters of the PoorThe Supreme Court sent the latest challenge to Obamacare — for requiring religious organizations to provide contraceptives as part of the health care insurance offered to employees — back to the lower courts. Expect liberal commentators to complain that the Court’s failure to decide the case is another example of the disaster for the judiciary unless the Senate confirms Merrick Garland as a Justice.

Claims that the Court urgently needs a ninth Justice are silly. In fact, this case highlights why. Our nation has 13 appeals courts, which decide as a final matter more than 95 percent of all federal cases. Obamacare will continue to operate in violation of the Free Exercise Clause, in my opinion, throughout most of the country. In one part of the country, the mandatory contraceptives requirement will not. Conflicts in federal law can often persist for years, if not decades. While our federal system abhors inconsistent interpretation of federal law throughout the country, it can wait until the new President and Congress are seated in 2017.

In fact, the Court’s refusal to delay offers the political branches some much needed breathing room. One thing we know for sure is that the primary pusher of this conflict — President Obama — will exit the political scene in January. The next President, whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, can end this encroachment on the Free Exercise rights of religious organizations by ordering the regulation dropped. Congress can also end the fight by granting religious groups a clear exemption to the law.

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If I understand this report by LifeSite correctly, SCOTUS has kicked the case back down with hope but no guarantee of an acceptable compromise.  The U.S. Supreme Court this morning chose not to make a ruling in Zubik v. Burwell about whether the Obama administration’s controversial HHS mandate violated federal law. [….] Preview Open

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There’s a lot that can still happen but holding everything else equal it looks likely that Trump will win the nomination. This isn’t good news for me because this will be the first time in my life when I would probably not vote for the republican candidate for president. I’ve had philosophical differences with McCain […]

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Misguided Judge Invalidates Wisconsin’s Right-to-Work Law

 

WalkerIn these turbulent times, it is quite amazing how rapidly the fortunes of the political wars can shift, especially on matters of labor law. Earlier this year, the question before the United States Supreme Court in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association was whether teachers had a constitutional First Amendment right to steer clear of mandatory union membership. During the oral argument it was clear that five members of the Supreme Court believed that the association improperly forced unit workers to contribute to a cause in which they did not believe. Four members believed that the traditional accommodation under Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (1977), made it permissible for the state to distinguish between economic matters for which dues had to be paid, and political matters on which union members could opt out. The cases ended, without a decision in a 4 to 4 vote, after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Left standing until another day was the decision in the Ninth Circuit that rejected the First Amendment challenge.

As this matter remains unresolved, a new thunderbolt has come from Dane County, WI where Judge C. William Foust held at the request of three unions that the Wisconsin right-to-work law was unconstitutional because it deprived unions of the property in their own labor without just compensation, “[b]y prohibiting the unions from charging nonmembers who refuse to pay for representation services which unions continue to be obligated to provide by law.”

In reaching this conclusion, Judge Foust first noted that the union was constrained by a duty of fair representation to treat all the workers “without hostility or discrimination,” but what he does not note is that any effort to reach this particular result has proved an abject failure in all cases that do not involve matters of race or sex discrimination. In dealing with economic claims of different workers, be it by seniority or by work classification, there is simply no metric by which anyone can tell whether that duty has been discharged, so that no one who is short-changed can maintain a viable claim.

Between the Lines

 

The GameMost political podcasts with which I am familiar have a well-defined perspective, be it right, left, libertarian, socialist, or whatever. The hosts, the guests, the thoughts, and most of all the audiences hew closely toward some ideological mean about which controversy may take place so long as it does not go beyond the locally prescribed bounds of decency. Our political culture is such that (in podcasts, anyway) the unifying feature of discourse is the existence of the “other”: the ideological enemy which lies far outside of the conflicts we have among ourselves.

Nevertheless, to me, one of the great joys of politics and philosophy are the arguments you have with people you totally disagree with and yet, with whom you share a deep mutual respect. Such experiences help you realize that politics is after all only one of the relatively shallow aspects of the human experience. And a venue like a podcast where it is possible for people to actually complete a thought seems like the perfect place for such battles.

In that spirit, my co-host on the Harvard Lunch Club Political Podcast, Todd Feinburg, and I invited Emily Bazelon (“E-Baz!”), one of the co-hosts of the Slate Political Gabfest, for a bout of right versus left, cowboys versus Indians, freshman semi-formal dance boys versus girls episode of the HLC podcast which we call: “Is Trump Too Stupid to be President?