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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Courts

Judicial Tyranny: 9th Circuit Rules Against Trump Travel Ban

We’re utterly shocked to report that the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court injunction on President Trump’s travel ban.

Recall that the White House issued a second version of the ban designed to address objections from federal courts against the first ban.

Nevertheless, the second ban was blocked by courts in Maryland and Hawaii.

A three-judge panel from the notoriously liberal 9th Circuit agreed with the Hawaii federal judge.

This leaves the injunction from the Maryland court — which has already been appealed to the Supreme Court — as the final battle over the travel ban.

No news yet on whether Justice Ginsburg will recuse herself after displays of rampant anti-Trumpism.

Here’s more from Fox News…

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday ruled in part against President Trump’s so-called travel ban, upholding an injunction that prevents the administration from enforcing a suspension on travel from six mostly Muslim countries.

“We conclude that the President, in issuing the Executive Order, exceeded the scope of the authority delegated to him by Congress,” the opinion said.

The ruling Monday from a unanimous three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals deals the administration another legal defeat as the Supreme Court considers a separate case on the issue.

The judges say the president violated U.S. immigration law by discriminating against people based on their nationality and that Trump failed to show their entry into the country would hurt American interests.

They didn’t rule on whether the travel ban violated the Constitution’s ban on the government officially favoring or disfavoring any religion.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia also ruled against the travel ban May 25. The administration has appealed that ruling to the Supreme Court.

Earlier Monday, lawyers for Hawaii also told the Supreme Court that letting the Trump administration enforce the ban would “thrust the country back into the chaos and confusion” that resulted when the policy was first announced in January.

The state urged the justices to deny the administration plea to reinstate the policy after lower courts blocked it. The high court is considering the administration’s request and could act before the justices wind up their work at the end of June.

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Courts

Will Justice Ginsburg Recuse Herself From The Trump Travel Ban Case?

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a liberal’s liberal.

In fact, when predicting how the court will decide any given case, Ginsburg is nearly always counted as a guaranteed liberal vote.

But it’s not enough that the 84-year-old justice routinely falls asleep in court proceedings and other official roles, she’s made her bias about Donald Trump very clear.

Prior to the election, she publicly contemplated moving to New Zealand if he were to win.

So now many are asking the obvious question: shouldn’t she recuse herself in the travel ban case over her anti-Trump bias?

Here’s more from Redstate…

The US Department of Justice has appealed the 4th Circuit’s decision on Trump’s executive order restricting travel to the US from a handful of failed states and terror sponsors to the Supreme Court. What, if anything, the Supreme Court will do is unknown. To a lay person–that would be me–it would be incredible if the Supreme Court would not hear a case that invalidates the long-standing ability of the executive in regards to national security, but with the grotesque politicization of the federal judiciary, who knows. We are well past the era in which the courts deferred to either of the political branches on much of anything.

The crux of the decision revolved not around the propriety of the executive order but on the 4th Circuit’s disapproval of President Trump’s personal aesthetic. He was critical of allowing Muslims to immigrate and therefore he acted in bad faith by requiring enhanced screening of a population likely to be terrorists but which happened to be predominately Muslim. They didn’t like him so his order was illegal even though the same order would undoubtedly be legal under a different president.

If statements at some point in the past are considered evidence, then Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has an insurmountable problem. I’m going to borrow heavily from Professor William A. Jacobson a Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Securities Law Clinic at Cornell Law School and the proprietor of Legal Insurrection.

. . . . .

Jacobson asks some hard questions about Justice Ginsburg’s suitability to rule on the travel ban when she, herself, has expressed very definitive views on Trump and his presidency.

  • “He is a faker,” she said of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, going point by point, as if presenting a legal brief.
  • Asked what if Trump won the presidency, Ginsburg said: “I don’t want to think about that possibility, but if it should be, then everything is up for grabs.”
  • “I can’t imagine what this place would be — I can’t imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president. For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be — I don’t even want to contemplate that.
    Referring to something she thought her late husband, tax lawyer Martin Ginsburg, would have said, she said: “Now it’s time for us to move to New Zealand.”

All of these show she has ruled out fairly ruling on anything involving Trump and her outspokenness has been sufficient to have newspaper editorials (New York Times, Washington Post) disapprove of her political commentary.

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Courts, Issues

Supreme Court Expedites Trump’s Petition on Executive Order Case

Late in the week news broke that the Trump administration filed a late night request that the Supreme Court move quickly to hear the appeal of a lower court’s decision to uphold the block on the president’s travel ban.

And to much surprise the court agreed to expedite the case for a hearing which means the ACLU — representing the plaintiffs — have just over a week to respond to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ request for a stay on the 4th Circuit Court’s block of the order.

The final battle is building up and the first major test of the Gorsuch court is coming very soon.

Here’s more from Breitbart…

The Supreme Court took the rare step on Friday of expediting consideration of a major case, rapidly accelerating the schedule for reviewing the Fourth Circuit’s blocking of President Donald Trump’s travel ban executive order.

President Trump issued Executive Order 13780 (EO) on March 6, Section 2(c) of which temporarily restricted travel from six Muslim-majority countries associated with terrorism while the United States developed new vetting procedures to keep the nation safe.

Immigration activists sued, along with several immigrants and their families. A liberal federal district judge in Maryland granted a preliminary injunction blocking Section 2(c) of the EO. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit then affirmed the trial court’s injunction in a 10-3 decision, ruling that the EO violated the Constitution’s Establishment Clause, and taking the almost unheard-of step of all the court’s judges hearing the case, instead of sending it to a three-judge panel.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a petition for review at the Supreme Court on Thursday. Under the Court’s rules, a response from the plaintiffs would be due July 3. By that time the Court would be on recess for the summer, meaning that the justices would vote at the Court’s annual pre-Term conference, which will take place on September 25, on whether to take the case. That would typically mean hearing arguments in December or January, with a final decision coming down in early or mid-2018.

Acting Solicitor General Jeff Wall at DOJ also asked Chief Justice John Roberts (who supervises the Fourth Circuit) to stay the appellate court’s decision until the justices can decide the matter.

On Friday, the Supreme Court rapidly expedited everything. The ACLU—which represents the plaintiffs—have been ordered to file their response by 3:00 p.m. on Monday, June 12. The ACLU lawyers must also respond to DOJ’s application for a stay by that time.

The Court could conceivably then vote immediately on whether to take the case, or anytime shortly thereafter. Under a normal briefing schedule, the Court would then hear arguments in October, and issue a decision by the end of 2017.

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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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