Courts

Lindsey Graham: Trump Could Appoint Four Supreme Court Justices

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) made a bold prediction on Fox News this week.

Just before Neil Gorsuch was confirmed to the Supreme Court, the average age of the members was 69.

What’s more, the average age that justices retire is 78. And three of them are near that mark or over it.

That means with three and a half more years of a Republican White House, the likelihood of multiple retirements increases exponentially.

And if the Democrats don’t prevail in 2020, Graham’s prediction — that Trump could appoint three or four justices — will almost certainly play out.

Here’s the kicker: all three of the oldest members are liberal.

Here’s more from Breitbart…

Friday on Fox News Channel’s “America’s Newsroom,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) elaborated on a claim he made earlier in the week to a group in Washington, DC, which was President Donald Trump could appoint as many as four Supreme Court justices during his presidency.

Graham said the Russia was “standing in the way” of Trump getting some of the things completed on his agenda. However, he said the Supreme Court was still very much in play.

“We’ve got one,” Graham said. “We’ve got a couple of conservatives who may decide to step down and let a younger conservative take their job. All I can say is the Supreme Court vacancies that are to come in the next two or three years — maybe there won’t be any, but there could be three or four. So this is a big deal. I was telling those young Republicans that our party needs to deliver on health care. A better way of doing health care is to let your state do it, not Washington, cut your taxes, rebuild your roads and bridges, and give us a strong military. President Trump has a really good agenda.”

Watch…

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Courts

Hawaii Federal Judge Just Undermined the Supreme Court on the Travel Ban

Late last month the Supreme Court agreed to hear the challenge to President Trump’s refugee travel ban.

And in their decision the justices slapped down lower court injunctions by allowing the ban to remain active until the hearing.

They permitted one exception: immediate family members.

But now another Hawaii federal judge decided he knows better than the Supreme Court and expanded their exception to include any family relation.

The problem with that, of course, is many foreign governments in the Middle East don’t have sophisticated social security systems as in the U.S. that could verify family relationship.

Which is just one reason why allowing refugees en-masse from terror-laden countries is so dangerous.

But that apparently is of less concern than assuaging leftist, politically correct police.

So it’s deja vu all over again.

Here’s more from Redstate…

A week ago U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson in Hawaii denied an emergency motion challenging President Donald J. Trump’s so-called travel ban. Hawaii and a local imam sought to have grandparents and other relatives exempt from the executive order, which the Supreme Court allowed to partially be implemented in June.

Yesterday, a week later, Judge Watson decided differently and chose to rule on  the relationship question instead of deferring to the Supreme Court as he said he should just last week.

The emergency  motion, was filed by Hawaii and a local imam challenged the new guidelines issued by the State Department to implement the Supreme Court June 26, 2017 ruling which lifted parts of lower court injunctions blocking Trump’s Executive Order to remain in place. The guidelines revised rules about who will be admitted as refugees or from the six suspect countries targeted in President Trump’s January 27, 2017 Executive Order Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States and the President’s March 6, 2017-revised version of the order, which narrowed the scope of his original order.

The motion, meant to again disrupt President Trump’s executive orders, asked Judge Watson to clarify what the United States Supreme Court meant by a “bona fide” relationship in its ruling last month. Specifically the plaintiff’s wanted the definition bona fide relationship expanded beyond the definition of parents, siblings and spouses established under federal immigration law and previous court rulings to include grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles.

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Courts

9th Circuit Shock: Slaps Down Hawaii Judge on Trump Travel Ban

The liberal San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals delivered a surprise decision in its recent review of an attempt by fellow liberal judge in Hawaii to circumvent the Supreme Court’s reinstatement of Trump’s travel ban.

The Supreme Court argued that the ban will remain in effect until a full hearing except for refugees who have an immediate family relation already in the U.S.

The Hawaii judge moved to broaden that definition to extended family as well. And that’s when the 9th Circuit denied the request to expand the exception.

But, in typical liberal fashion, it just couldn’t help itself from offering instructions on how exactly to get the exception granted.

Which means the circle firing squad among the federal courts will continue through the summer until the Supremes finally decide the case.

Here’s more from Breitbart…

One day after U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson denied the state of Hawaii’s motion to broaden the definition of “bona fide relationship” for refugees and visa applicants affected by Executive Order 13780, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals followed suit.

In its June 26 decision, the Supreme Court let stand the temporary travel and refugee ban contained in that executive order but added that the ban would not apply to refugees and visa applicants with a “bona fide relationship” to an American resident.

The Trump administration quickly defined “bona fide relationship” as parent, child, sibling, spouse or fiance. The state of Hawaii wants a broader definition that would include grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and possibly more distant relations.

Late Friday, the Ninth Circuit said no to Hawaii’s request for an emergency appeal of Judge Watson’s denial, saying it lacked jurisdiction to hear the appeal.

But the liberal judges on the panel could not resist giving Hawaii a road map to get what they want.

The Ninth Circuit ruled that Hawaii should have asked Judge Watson to modify his previous injunction halting the Executive Order on March 15 (partially overturned by the Supreme Court on June 26) instead of asking for him to “clarify” the Supreme Court’s decision.

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Courts

Kennedy Tells Clerks He May Retire Before ’18 Elections

Big news just came out concerning Justice Kennedy’s retirement and hardly anyone noticed.

So far most of the speculation about the timing of Kennedy’s stepping down has come from outside the court.

But now finally Kennedy himself has spoken.

He has reported to incoming court clerks that he is “considering retirement next year” just before the 2018 midterm elections.

This is massive news because it would allow the Republican Senate the opportunity to confirm a replacement before the election and also use it as a means to boost turnout among GOP voters.

Stay tuned…

Here’s more from Election Blog…

Big news hiding in Nina Totenberg’s story on Justice Gorsuch voting 100% with Justice Thomas:

But it is unlikely that Kennedy will remain on the court for the full four years of the Trump presidency. While he long ago hired his law clerks for the coming term, he has not done so for the following term (beginning Oct. 2018), and has let applicants for those positions know he is considering retirement.

Kennedy’s position on the court is more than consequential. In the most hotly contested and closely divided cases, his vote often decides the outcome. With every passing day, it has become more clear that President Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, is probably even more conservative than the justice he replaced, Antonin Scalia.

This would put Justice Kennedy’s retirement right before the 2018 midterms, giving the Republican base reasons to turn out and keep the Senate with a Republican majority (already a strong possibility in 2018).

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Courts

Congressmen Demand RBG Recuse Herself From Travel Ban Case

It’s been a landmark week for the Supreme Court and it’s only Hump Day.

The week began with a victory for the Trump administration, a victory for religious liberty and rumors of a possible retirement by Justice Kennedy. And now comes the escalation of the fight over Trump’s travel ban to be heard in October.

Earlier this month we reported on calls for liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to recuse herself from the case given her very vocal opposition to President Trump.

And with the case scheduled for hearing, those calls are coming directly from dozens of congressmen — 58 to be exact — in a signed letter demanding she recuse.

She likely won’t…then again may just throw her hands up and retire. It’ll be interesting either way.

Stay tuned…

Here’s more from Redstate…

At the beginning of the month, I posted on an interesting articleby Dr. William Jacobson, a Cornell Law professor who runs Legal Insurrection, asking how, given Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s numerous comments critical of President Trump, like speculating she and her husband might move to New Zealand if he were elected, could possibly rule on the Trump “travel ban” executive order. His reasoning is that if the 4th Circuit is permitted to use Trump’s campaign rhetoric to attack a facially legal policy, then the same standard must be used on Ginsburg:

In a case in which Trump’s campaign comments are front and center, how can Ginsburg hear a case in which she has complained publicly about Trump and Trump’s campaign?

This is not a situation where a Justice merely is presumed to have political leanings (don’t they all?), or is affiliated with one political party more than another. Justice Ginsburg has publicly questioned Trump’s credibility, and that credibility is an issue in the case as it presents itself in the 4th Circuit decision from which review is sought.

Now 58 members of the House of Representatives have sent her a letter demanding that she recuse herself from hearing the travel ban case.

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Courts, International, Issues

Triumph: SCOTUS Reinstates Trump Travel Ban Pending Final Decision

President Trump declared victory yesterday after the Supreme Court announced, among a series of landmark decisions, that it had issued a stay on the lower court’s injunction on his travel ban.

In the Court’s announcement it detailed that arguments in the appeal by the Department of Justice will be heard in October, which sets the stage for the epic battle between the ACLU and the Trump administration.

The fact that multiple liberal legal scholars have agreed with the Trump administration will likely hold sway. And what’s more, there’s a decent possibility that a new justice will be onboard for that hearing.

This could be fun.

Here’s more from Breitbart…

The Supreme Court of the United States announced Monday that it will review the lower court injunctions blocking enforcement of President Donald Trump’s executive order barring travel from six Muslim-majority countries.

In a per curiam opinion, the Court partially stayed the injunctions blocking enforcement of executive order 13,780:

We now turn to the preliminary injunctions barring enforcement of the §2(c) entry suspension. We grant the Government’s applications to stay the injunctions, to the extent the injunctions prevent enforcement of §2(c) with respect to foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States. We leave the injunctions entered by the lower courts in place with respect to respondents and those similarly situated, as specified in this opinion.

The Court wrote that the lower court injunctions, even accepting the First Amendment arguments against the order as likely to succeed, went too far:

[T]he injunctions reach much further than that: They also bar enforcement of §2(c) against foreign nationals abroad who have no connection to the United States at all. The equities relied on by the lower courts do not balance the same way in that context. Denying entry to such a foreign national does not burden any American party by reason of that party’s relationship with the foreign national.

The opinion also announced the Court will consolidate the cases from the U.S. Courts of Appeal for the Ninth and Fourth circuit, Trump v. Hawaii and Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project, respectively. Both cases found the executive unenforceable as a likely violation of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment Establishment Clause because the lower courts held it was motivated by an attempt to disfavor Islam.

The Court had requested additional briefing from the parties in both cases earlier this month, signalling they would hear arguments on the case despite the Court going out of its regular term this week. Arguments are expected to be heard when the Court reconvenes in October. Attorney from the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Immigration Law Center are expected to face off against a government team now led by acting Solicitor General Jeffery Wall.

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Courts

Supreme Court to Hear Case of Christian Bakers, Gay Wedding Cake

The Supreme Court is in the news yet again but not just because Justice Kennedy’s rumored retirement may be imminent.

On Monday morning the Court announced it would hear an appeal of a lower court’s decision that Colorado-based Christian bakers’ First Amendment rights were not violated when authorities penalized them for refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding.

With the Court now at full membership with Gorsuch, the decision on this case almost certainly will set a far-reaching precedent given numerous similar cases around the country in which businesses have been forced to set aside their religious convictions in order to accommodate and endorse politically correct, liberal values.

Here’s more from Washington Examiner…

The Supreme Court decided Monday to hear a case involving a Colorado baker’s refusal to design and make a cake for a same-sex marriage.

The baker, Jake Phillips, declined to make the custom cake and said it conflicted with his religious beliefs. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission decided that Phillips’ actions amounted to sexual orientation discrimination under the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act.

The Colorado Court of Appeals said the commission’s ruling did not violate the First Amendment because Phillips’ speech was “conduct compelled by a neutral and generally applicable law,” as attorneys for Phillips noted in their petition to the high court.

In granting Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the Supreme Court will tackle several hot-button issues including gay rights and First Amendment rights.

The case comes from the home state of Justice Neil Gorsuch, who joined the high court in April. The Supreme Court relisted the case several times for consideration, as it may have been waiting for a full nine-justice court to hear the case.

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Courts

Supreme Court: Immigrants Who Lie to Feds Can Lose Citizenship

In what would seem an obvious question, a key court case has made its way through the corridors of the judiciary branch finally to the Supreme Court.

It concerns a Serbian refugee who came to the U.S. and was finally granted citizenship, but afterward it was learned she had lied on her application.

Two federal courts and finally the Supreme Court all agreed: if you lie to federal officials about your reason for immigrating, it is perfectly legal to strip you of your citizenship.

So there you have it, folks. Not everything coming out of DC is all bad. Once in a while things go as they should.

Here’s more from Breitbart…

The Supreme Court on Thursday held that federal law authorizes courts to strip immigrant citizens of their U.S. citizenship if they obtained it as a result of making false statements to the federal government.

Federal law found at 18 U.S.C. § 1425(a) makes it a crime to “knowingly procur[e], contrary to law, the naturalization of any person” to become a U.S. citizen. (“Naturalization” is the legal term for becoming a citizen.) Moreover, a second federal statute, 8 U.S.C. § 1451(e) adds that a foreigner who obtains U.S. citizenship through such a violation will lose that newly granted citizenship.

Divna Maslenjak is a Serb who, along with her husband and two children, sought refugee status in 1998 to flee Bosnia. As part of seeking protected status, she swore under oath that the family feared persecution because her husband evaded military service. They were admitted to the United States in 2000 as refugees.

In 2006, she applied for U.S. citizenship. One question on her application asked if she had ever given “false or misleading information” while applying for immigration benefits. Another asked if she had “lied … to gain entry or admission” in this country. She answered “no” to both and became an American citizen in 2007.

Those answers were false. Her husband had served in the Bosnian Serb Army. A third federal statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1015(a), criminalizes making a false sworn statement during naturalization. The U.S. government argued that her statement violating § 1015(a) also counts as a violation of § 1425(a), which meant she must lose her citizenship under § 1451(e).

A judge on the federal district court accepted that argument and stripped Maslenjak of her citizenship. The Sixth Circuit appeals court affirmed.

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Courts

Rumor Mill: Justice Kennedy Retirement Could Come Next Week

A few weeks ago there was no small amount of speculation about the possibility that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy would announce his retirement this year.

And now that speculation has reached a fevered pitch as the court is near the beginning of its summer recess.

Rumors floating around DC are that he’ll use the break to make an announcement, possibly as early as next week.

If this should happen, virtually all news of scandals, investigations and the like will vanish.

And this could become the biggest fight of them all.

Stay tuned…

Here’s more from the AP…

The Supreme Court enters its final week of work before a long summer hiatus with action expected on the Trump administration’s travel ban and a decision due in a separation of church and state case that arises from a Missouri church playground.

The biggest news of all, though, would be if Justice Anthony Kennedy were to use the court’s last public session on Monday to announce his retirement.

To be sure, Kennedy has given no public sign that he will retire this year and give President Donald Trump his second high court pick in the first months of his administration. Kennedy’s departure would allow conservatives to take firm control of the court.

But Kennedy turns 81 next month and has been on the court for nearly 30 years. Several of his former law clerks have said they think he is contemplating stepping down in the next year or so. Kennedy and his clerks were gathering over the weekend for a reunion that was pushed up a year and helped spark talk he might be leaving the court.

“Soon we’ll know if rumors of Kennedy’s retirement are accurate,” one former Kennedy clerk, George Washington University law professor Orin Kerr, said on Twitter Friday.

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Courts, Issues

SCOTUS Slams Snowflakes in Rare Unanimous Decision

In an astounding 8-0 unanimous decision (Gorsuch did not participate), the Supreme Court of the United States dropped a bomb on snowflakes across the fruited plain who run around crying to anyone who will listen about how offended they are by this or that utterance.

The case in question concerned an Asian rock band called “The Slants” whose application for trademark was denied by the federal government because it is a ‘racial slur’.

But the high court disagreed arguing that the US Patent Office was violating the band’s First Amendment rights.

The decision sends a message to all snowflakes in the country: even high-minded liberal legal experts agree that being offended doesn’t trump the Constitution.

Go cry a river somewhere else.

Here’s more from the Redstate…

This is good news for… sanity.

And here’s the kicker – it came with unanimous support from the Supreme Court.

In an 8 – 0 decision, SCOTUS ruled that the government doesn’t have the right to censor trademarks, just because someone, somewhere, might be offended.

Commonsense and any sort of social interaction proves that there are people who actually seek out things to be offended by.

During those heady Obama years, the outrage culture saw, what we hope, was the pinnacle of its existence. One victim of that nonsensical movement was the Washington Redskins football team.

In 2014, multiple protests were launched against the team’s name by Native Americans, who felt the name and mascot were “offensive” to their heritage.

Lawsuits were launched to deny trademarks to the Redskins, and in June of 2014 the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office revoked around six team trademarks. By August, the team had filed their own countersuit in U.S. District Court, claiming the trademark board was penalizing them, in violation of their First Amendment rights.

This SCOTUS decision may give new life to their case.

The case before the high court involved an Asian rock band named “The Slants.” The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office originally denied the band’s name, saying it was a racial slur that violated the agency’s policy against granting disparaging trademarks.

Justices, though, said that violated the First Amendment.

“Speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend,” Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said in his opinion for the court.

Just as the Washington team had asserted in their 2014 case, trademarks constitute free speech.

And this is the way government is supposed to work. They get out of the way and let ideas compete.

If fans (or non-fans) are really that offended by the name, “Washington Redskins,” they have recourse.

They can protest (peacefully). They can boycott games and licensed products. They can try to convince others that they have a valid point, winning them over to their side.

What they can’t do, as this decision determines, is use the courts as enforcers to push their opinions over someone else’s, or deny the rest of the public the opportunity to make up their own mind.

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