Courts

Supreme Court Rejects Appeal to Reinstate North Carolina Voter ID Law

The fight over whether voters should be required by law to present a photo ID when exercising their most basic democratic right continued this week.

The Supreme Court rejected an appeal by North Carolina after a lower court ruled a voter ID law unconstitutional — similar to the Texas law — because it allegedly acts as voter suppression for minorities.

Still unanswered by liberals is why it’s acceptable to require IDs for welfare checks, cigarette and beer purchases, and checking out library books but not to vote for President of the United States.

Clearly the fight for conservative dominance — and common sense — in the Supreme Court will require another Trump appointment.

Here’s more from Fox News…

North Carolina’s tough voter identification law was dealt what could be a fatal blow on Monday, as the Supreme Court rejected an appeal to reinstate the policy.

Advocates of the law said it was meant to preserve the integrity of elections and counter voter fraud. But critics said it unfairly singled out black voters.

The justices on Monday left in place a lower court ruling citing such alleged discrimination. That ruling struck down the law’s photo ID requirement and reduction in early voting.

The decision comes just days after President Trump ordered a a review of voter fraud allegations.

In the North Carolina case, the situation was complicated when Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein tried to withdraw the appeal, which was first filed when Republican Pat McCrory was governor.

Chief Justice John Roberts said the political situation created uncertainty over who is authorized to seek review of the lower court ruling.

The dispute is similar to the court fight over Texas’ voter ID law, also struck down as racially discriminatory.

Republicans in both states moved to enact new voting measures after the Supreme Court in 2013 struck down a provision of the federal Voting Rights Act that had required them to get advance approval before changing laws dealing with elections.

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Courts

Governor of Iowa Signs Abortion Ban then Court Immediately Blocks

Conservative Iowa Governor Terry Branstad made good on his promise to sign a bill from the legislature that would ban abortions after 20 weeks.

And given that medical science can now detect brainwaves and a heartbeat within days, one would think 5 months is a no-brainer.

But not for the pro-death libs at Planned Parenthood (and their friends at the ACLU).

The twin towers of leftist feminism filed a suit and a judge granted a block on the law which also mandates a three-day waiting period before obtaining an abortion.

Apparently the life of the child isn’t worth a second thought.

This one may end up in the Supreme Court.

Here’s more from Redstate…

On Friday, Governor Terry Branstad of Iowa signed a 20 week abortion ban into law.

The legislation was a huge step for a state which has long leaned to the Left on the abortion issue. The measure also included a waiting period for those seeking an abortion, as Live Action News reports.

Senate File 471, which passed the Iowa House and Senate last month, bans abortions at 20 weeks and implements a three-day waiting period before women can undergo abortions. It does not allow exceptions for rape and incest; however, it does permit abortions in cases when a mother’s life or health is at risk.

“After a years-long battle to gain a pro-life Senate, Iowa finally succeeded in passing life-saving legislation that bans painful late-term abortions,” said Jenifer Bowen, president of Life Right Action, in a statement.

However, the victory was short-lived as lawyers from Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the country, and the ACLU filed to stop the new measure from going into effect. Planned Parenthood operates 12 location in Iowa, and lawyers demanded a halt to the law’s implementation because of the many death appointments already on PP calendars.

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Courts

Trump Payback: ‘Absolutely’ Looking at Breaking Up 9th Circuit Court

President Trump may be close to proposing a strategy to avoid a constitutional crisis between the executive and judicial branches, and quite appropriately it entails exercising a much-neglected power given to the Congress: drawing jurisdictions for federal courts.

Among the powers given to the legislative branch is determining states over which the 13 circuit courts preside.

The 9th Circuit Court is easily the most liberal.

However, Congress can divide its power, then Trump can appoint new, conservative judges.

But he only has two years to pull the trigger before the mid-term elections.

Will he do it?

Here’s more from Washington Examiner…

President Trump said Wednesday that he has “absolutely” considered proposals that would split up the 9th Circuit, where judges have blocked two of his executive actions.

“Absolutely, I have,” Trump said of considering 9th circuit breakup proposals during a far-ranging interview with the Washington Examiner at the White House on Wednesday. “There are many people that want to break up the 9th Circuit. It’s outrageous.”

“Everybody immediately runs to the 9th Circuit. And we have a big country. We have lots of other locations. But they immediately run to the 9th Circuit. Because they know that’s like, semi-automatic,” Trump said.

His comments came one day after U.S. District Judge William Orrick temporarily blocked Trump’s efforts to withhold funds from any municipality that refuses to cooperate with immigration enforcement officers. Orrick, based in San Francisco, argued that Trump had overstepped his authority in January when he directed the Justice Department to put immigration-related conditions on grants for so-called “sanctuary cities” that may not be directly related to law enforcement.

Other judges on the court halted two different versions of an executive action aimed at tightening vetting requirements for immigrants from Middle Eastern countries, because both actions called for a temporary suspension of some immigration from several predominantly Muslim countries.

“The language could not be any clearer. I mean, the language on the ban, it reads so easy that a reasonably good student in the first grade will fully understand it. And they don’t even mention the words in their rejection on the ban,” Trump said of his travel ban. “And the same thing with this [sanctuary city decision]. I mean, when you have people that are being enabled to commit crime. And in San Francisco, when you look at Kate Steinle, being shot and here is the court, you know, right in that same general area. And when you look at a Kate Steinle, when you look at so many other things.”

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Courts

Judge Who Blocked Sanctuary City Order Is Obama Bundler

New revelations are out today concerning the judge who issued the block on President Trump’s order to refuse federal funds to sanctuary cities.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, William Orrick III was a bundler for Barack Obama raising roughly a quarter million for the campaign.

Then he was quickly rewarded with an appointment as federal circuit judge.

And now he’s ‘giving back’.

But Trump tweeted yesterday, “See in the Supreme Court.”

This battle will get big quickly and test the new Gorsuch court.

Here’s more from American Mirror…

Barack Obama’s army continues to stymie Donald Trump.

On Tuesday, a California blocked Trump’s executive order withholding federal funds from cities that ignore immigration laws.

Fox News reported:

The ruling from U.S. District Judge William Orrick III in San Francisco said that Trump’s order targeted broad categories of federal funding for sanctuary governments, and that plaintiffs challenging the order were likely to succeed in proving it unconstitutional. 

The decision will block the measure for now, while the federal lawsuit works its way through the courts. 

Trump slammed the ruling, noting on Twitter the Ninth Circuit has “a terrible record of being overturned,” and said the court amounted to “judge shopping.”

Trump may have a point.

Orrick, the so-called shopped judge, raised “at least” $200,000 for Barack Obama’s first campaign for president in 2008, according to Public Citizen.

He raised another $30,800 for “committees supporting Barack Obama.”

Orrick’s work paid off.

In 2012, Orrick was nominated by President Obama to be a United States District Judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. He was confirmed in 2013.

Orrick based his ruling in part on Trump’s and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ “public comments,” according to Fox News, and arguments filed with court.

“Federal funding that bears no meaningful relationship to immigration enforcement cannot be threatened merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration enforcement strategy of which the president disapproves,” the Obama bundler declared.

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Courts

Developing: Trump May Have Another Supreme Court Pick ‘Very Soon’

Amid all the hubbub about Justice Gorsuch in recent weeks, a plain fact has missed the rumor mill, until this week.

President Trump and Justice Anthony Kennedy are quite chummy and their children are friends.

That reality might explain the rampant rumors in recent days about an impending announcement — perhaps as soon as this summer — of the retirement of Justice Kennedy, now 80.

According to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, “I would expect a resignation this summer.”

Get ready for SCOTUS War, Part 2.

Here’s more from Redstate…

Rumors have been piling up around the nation’s capital that president Trump will be able to nominate another Supreme Court vacancy this year.

Back in February, Sen. Ted Cruz said the “odds are very good” that at least one justice would be retiring from the bench.

Many are starting to assume that Justice Anthony Kennedy, who will be 81 this summer, is eyeing retirement. As such, it would give Trump the opportunity to nominate another phenomenal, and much younger, conservative judge to sit on the bench for decades.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, stirred the pot this week when he indicated he thinks the rumors may be true.

“I would expect a resignation this summer,” he said Tuesday at an event in Muscatine, Iowa.

Grassley wouldn’t mention any names in particular as far as which justice may be retiring, but he did mention where his successor would come from.

A person would likely be nominated from the same list from which recently appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch was chosen, Grassley said, most of whom he said are well-qualified.

“I don’t know about racial and ethnic divisions, but there’s some very good females on there that would make good Supreme Court Justices as well,” he said.

Kennedy is the second oldest justice serving on the bench, and he may be eyeing his opportunity to step down with Republicans controlling both Congress and the White House.

It was Justice Kennedy who swore in judge Neil Gorsuch last week as the court’s newest associate justice.

If the rumors are true and Trump is able to nominate at least one more justice to the Supreme Court, not only would that be a very big win for his administration, it would also be huge in the eyes of Republicans and the American people.

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Courts

Supreme Court Retirement Talk Focuses on Pivotal Justice Kennedy

Now that Justice Neil Gorsuch is officially sworn into the Supreme Court to return the bench to a full nine seats, talk of whom among the current justices will be first to retire is increasing in Washington.

And most of that talk is centered on Justice Anthony Kennedy who is 80 and not in particularly great health. Rumors are increasing that he is planning to leave after this year’s court term or possibly next year.

Either way, a Trump appointment could finally swing the court solidly to the conservative side and make it the most conservative court since FDR was elected president.

Here’s more from Bloomberg…

Justice Anthony Kennedy reclaimed his position as the man in the middle of the U.S. Supreme Court when he swore in Neil Gorsuch, his former law clerk, as the newest justice.

The question is whether Kennedy wants to keep that pivotal role in close decisions for longer than a few more months.

Long before Gorsuch took his oath of office Monday, speculation was swirling that Kennedy might retire at the end of the term. President Donald Trump’s aides are preparing for the prospect of a new nomination while liberals brace for what could be a seismic shift on the court.

Kennedy, 80, has been the court’s primary pivot point since 2006, generally aligning with the four conservatives on campaign finance and voting rights and with the four liberals on gay rights. By selecting Kennedy’s successor, Trump could finally create the five-member majority that legal conservatives have envisioned for decades — one that might overturn long-standing precedents including the 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion-rights ruling.

“Kennedy leaving and being replaced by a Trump pick will almost certainly move the court to the right and perhaps make the court the most conservative court we have had since the 1930s,” said Neal Devins, a William & Mary Law School professor who is co-writing a book on the court and its partisan divisions.

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Courts

Sen. Rand Paul: Would an Originalist Unilaterally Bomb Syria?

Sen. Rand Paul is on the rampage against President Trump’s attack on Syria last week.

In an exclusive column for Breitbart, Paul argues that it’s a little hypocritical for Republicans to overwhelmingly support Neil Gorsuch as a constitutional originalist fit for the Supreme Court and then at the same time support a unilateral military attack that was not constitutionally sanctioned by Congress.

It’s a compelling argument that could end up splitting the GOP over support for Trump’s tough military stance.

Here’s more from Breitbart…

Today, I cast the 51st vote to confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. It is a vote I am proud of, and I hope to remain proud of for decades to come.

Republicans fought hard to confirm Justice Gorsuch, and with good reason. The reason many of them gave the full strength of their support was because they believed Justice Gorsuch would follow the Constitution – adhering to the original text and meaning.  He is from a group of legal scholars who consider themselves “Originalists.”

While many Republicans fawned over this quality, they displayed  remarkable cognitive dissonance when it came to applying it to a very public event the very day they approved the Gorsuch nomination.

You see, too many of my colleagues have forgotten what it means to be an “Originalist” on the matter of going to war.

Our Founding Fathers found this to be one of the most important discussions at the time, and they were quite concerned about giving the power to declare war to the President. They were concerned an executive with that kind of power could choose to rule like a King.

Before sending our young men and women into battle, we should have a thoughtful and honest discussion about the ramifications, authorization, and motivations for war.

That could be done if we were all Originalists; not just for the court, but for our legislative duties as well.

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Courts

Trump Likely Considering Future Supreme Court Picks

Now that the battle over the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch is officially over, the word on the hill is that President Trump is already setting his sites on more nominees.

Among the other justices on the Court are several octogenarians, all of whom are liberal.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer could easily retire or worse in the next four years.

Trump is rumored to be prepping his short list for an immediate nomination should one of them step aside.

Here’s more from Newsmax…

With a Supreme Court that’s collectively the oldest on record, the real possibility exists that President Donald Trump could name more justices during his presidency, reported Fox News Saturday. 

Congress just saw a contentious fight as Republicans and Democrats debated the nomination of Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s pick to fill the vacancy that had been open following the death of Antonin Scalia just over a year ago. Just hours after Scalia’s death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced there would be no discussion of Merrick Garland, former President Barack Obama’s nominee to fill the vacancy.

While still a candidate, Trump in August predicted the next president could appoint as many as five justices during their tenure, which could change the court for decades. Future vacancies in the Supreme Court could arise as justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg, 84, Anthony Kennedy, 80, and Stephen Breyer, 78, ponder their future.

Republicans in the Senate were forced to use the nuclear option to confirm Gorsuch, widely considered to be a sterling pick for the position. Future nominees could undergo even more public scrutiny as Democrats consider the results that could come from an even more conservative Supreme Court.

“Imagine if in a year or so Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, or Kennedy leave the Court,” Rick Hasen, a professor at the University of California at Irvine, wrote on Election Law Blog.

“Then things get MUCH worse from the point of view of progressives. Then Roberts becomes the swing voter and there goes affirmative action, abortion rights, etc. If you think things with the Supreme Court are bad for progressive now they can get much, much worse.”

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Courts

It’s Official: Senate Confirms Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court

After a week of drama both on and off the Senate floor, Republicans prevailed over Democrat attempts to railroad Judge Neil Gorsuch.

After the filibuster was shut down abruptly by a rule change on Thursday, the vote on Gorsuch was given a green light.

This morning the formal vote to confirm Gorsuch was held, resulting in a 54-45 split with three Democrats crossing over to join Republicans in the majority.

Gorsuch will be sworn in next week, which will restore the Court to a full nine justices.

Here’s more from Breitbart…

The Senate voted just before noon Friday to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Nation’s highest bench.

The vote, originally set for Friday evening, was moved up to the morning after Democrats agreed to waive part of the final debate period. Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s pick to replace conservative anchor of the Court, Justice Antonin Scalia, was confirmed by a vote of 54-45, with Democrats Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) joining a unanimous Republican Caucus.

Judge Gorsuch’s nomination process was among the most contentious in American history. After assembling the pledges of 41 Senate Democrats to iniate the first partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) sought to prevent a vote of the full Senate. This set up a showdown over Senate cloture rules that resulted Thursday in Republicans invoking the “constitutional option” and abolishing the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees.

The partisan animosity of the nomination continued into the vote. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), representing Gorsuch’s home state, voted against his fellow Coloradan. He had previously sought to chart a middle path, voting at least to allow a vote of the full Senate before the constitutional option was used.

Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) took to the floor immediately after confirmation to thank his staff for their work throughout the momentous proceedings.

The Senate moved on to invoke cloture on President Trump’s pick for Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein.

Gorsuch is now expected to be formally sworn in on Monday and will join his eight fellow justices in an investiture ceremony to be held later this month.

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Courts

Senate GOP Pulls the Trigger: ‘Nuclear Option’ Sets Up Gorsuch Vote

In a dramatic turn of events on the Senate floor today, Democrats opened up with an attempted filibuster before the GOP moved to invoke cloture and then to a vote on Neil Gorsuch.

As expected, there weren’t enough votes for cloture, so the GOP made good on threats to change Senate rules lowering the bar for cloture votes on judicial nominees.

The historic change in rules guarantees approval for Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, which will have major ripple effects for decades to come.

It also likely greases the skids should President Trump have an opportunity to fill a second seat on the Court.

Here’s more from Breitbart…

Senate Republicans used the “constitutional option” to change longstanding cloture rules around 12:30pm Thursday, clearing the way for Judge Neil Gorsuch to receive a vote of the full Senate on his confirmation to the Supreme Court.

Republicans resorted to the party-line 52-48 vote after weeks of wrangling over Gorsuch’s nomination in which Senate Democrats threatened the first partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee in American history. After the Democrats assembled the forty-one votes needed to prevent the end of debate under current rules, the constitutional option allowing cloture on a simple majority became the only remaining path to placing Gorsuch on the Court.

Vice-President Mike Pence, who would have been needed to break a tie should any two Republicans have voted to maintain the 60-vote cloture rule, was not present for the vote, indicating Republican confidence their entire caucus would agree to the change.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) moved for a point of order after his first attempt to invoke cloture failed with only 55 votes. From the podium, he cited the need to “restore Senate norms” in light of the Democrats’ “unprecedented partisan filibuster” of a Supreme Court nominee.

McConnell invoked the precedent of Senate Democrats’ own change to same simple majority cloture rule for all presidential nominees but those to the Supreme Court in 2013 in calling for an override of the Senate chair’s determination sixty votes were needed for cloture. That appeal passed on a party-line 52-48 vote.

 

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