Courts, Issues, Politics, States

Liberty Wins: SCOTUS Sides With Colorado Cake Baker

Yet another surprise decision from the Supreme Court yesterday with a 7-2 ruling — yes, two liberals joined the conservative camp — in favor of Colorado cake baker, Jack Phillips.

First, let’s get the facts straight since the left has told a few fibs.

Phillips was not refusing to bake a cake for a customer who happened to be gay. Rather, he refused to take part in a gay wedding, which violated his religious conviction about marriage.

He was otherwise perfectly fine with baking a cake for anyone, regardless of their orientation.

But the left is never content with ‘live and let live’; liberal orthodoxy maintains that we all must agree AND comply…or else.

Thankfully the Supremes disagreed and ruled that toleration is a two-way street.

Folks, we can’t over-estimate how huge this is for religious liberty.

But the fight continues…

Here’s more from Fox News…

The Supreme Court ruled Monday in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, in one of the most closely watched cases of the term.

In a 7-2 decision, the justices set aside a Colorado court ruling against the baker — while stopping short of deciding the broader issue of whether a business can refuse to serve gay and lesbian people. The opinion was penned by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is often the swing justice in tight cases.

The narrow ruling here focused on what the court described as anti-religious bias on the Colorado Civil Rights Commission when it ruled against baker Jack Phillips.

“The Commission’s hostility was inconsistent with the First Amendment’s guarantee that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion,” Kennedy wrote in his majority opinion.


Courts, Politics

Is Justice Kennedy Tipping His Hand on Retirement?

The Supreme Court declined yesterday to take up a controversial case from Arkansas concerning a regulation on the abortion pill.

And the decision could be a huge clue that Justice Kennedy may retire this year. Let’s follow the breadcrumbs.

It only takes four justices on the court to agree to hear a case.

So why did the liberals on the court not agree to hear a case that would restrict abortion?

It’s entirely likely that they see the writing on the wall: Justice Kennedy may not be around much longer to join them as the swing vote for a 5-4 decision in favor of abortion, as he has in the past.

If that interpretation is correct, then Kennedy would need to retire in the next 90 days or so in order for President Trump to get another conservative confirmed by the GOP Senate.

We can hear the Jeopardy music playing now…

Here’s more from Daily Caller…

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday declined to hear a challenge to an Arkansas law that restricts access to so-called medication abortions.

The denial, a moderately surprising result, hints at pending changes to the Court’s present composition.

The law at issue in Monday’s case requires clinics that administer medication abortions to contract with a physician who has hospital admissions privileges. Medication abortions, or RU 486 procedures, allow women to terminate a pregnancy by orally consuming a pill called mifepristone, followed by a second pill called misoprostol a day and a half later. The process is only effective within the first seven weeks of pregnancy.

Continue reading…


Courts, Issues

AZ Supreme Court Nixes In-State Tuition for Dreamers

The fight over Dreamers and DACA is getting hot. We have Congress promising to argue incessantly over a DACA deal.

Meanwhile, migrants in Mexico are still pressing to cross into the U.S. just as the National Guard are massing along the border to receive them.

And now the Supreme Court of Arizona has just handed down a decision to nullify in-state college tuition rates to Dreamers.

If ever you thought the election of Donald Trump would finally solve the illegal immigration question, think again.

It’s now more volatile than ever with the issue being adjudicated in Congress, at the border, likely with the US Supreme Court, and almost certainly in the November election.

Get ready, folks.

Here’s more from AZCentral…

Arizona colleges can’t give in-state tuition to young immigrants covered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled Monday.

The court issued a brief decision order saying justices unanimously agreed with the Arizona Court of Appeals’ ruling that said existing federal and state laws don’t allow the Maricopa Community Colleges to grant in-state tuition rates for DACA recipients.

A full opinion further explaining the court’s ruling will be released by May 14, the order states.

The court released the order Monday to allow Maricopa Community Colleges students and the state to have as much time as possible to plan for those affected by the ruling.

More than 2,000 DACA recipients, commonly referred to as “dreamers,” currently attend community college or a state university in Arizona and pay in-state rates. The ruling will make DACA recipients pay much more to attend these schools, as out-of-state rates are about triple the cost of in-state tuition.


Courts, Issues

Federal Judge: Second Amendment Doesn’t Protect AR-15s

Judicial tyranny is on the roll against the Second Amendment again this week.

A federal judge — a Reagan appointee, no less — ruled that the AR15 is ‘outside the scope’ of the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms clause.

That means states and Congress have the authority to regulate or entirely ban the gun. His reasoning? The AR15 is ‘most useful in military service’ and therefore is negated from constitutional provisions.

Pardon us for saying so, but the entire motivation of the Second Amendment was to protect the right of self-defense against foreign — or domestic — attacks by tyrannical military forces.

The framers weren’t concerned about home invasion or hunting rights.

Here’s more from Hotair…

He’s from Massachusetts. He’s, er, also a Reagan appointee.

The ruling doesn’t matter, though, in this sense. Someday there’ll be another liberal majority on the Supreme Court and that majority will surely declare “assault weapons” outside the bounds of the Second Amendment, whatever happens legally between now and then. You could have a mountain of lower-court rulings holding that the right to bear arms includes assault weapons, you could have umpteen Supreme Court precedents affirming that fact. The next liberal Court will flip over the table because gun rights is one of the litmus-test issues for which the justices will have been selected and appointed. It’ll be a replay of the conservative movement to appoint anti-abortion justices in the name of overturning Roe, but unlike the right’s picks, the left’s won’t choke when they get the opportunity. In fact, never mind assault weapons: The entire line of cases beginning with Heller’s assertion of an individual right to bear arms is going out the window as soon as liberals on the Court have the numbers.

Usually it’s the Supreme Court that acts as a last line of defense against Congress for the right wing. (That’s how it was supposed to work with ObamaCare, anyway. Thanks, John Roberts!) In this case it’ll be Congress that’s the last line of defense against the Court. An assault weapons ban will be constitutional — if Democrats can find the votes in Congress to pass one. No easy trick. In the meantime, though, blue-state bans are constitutional, at least according to blue-state federal courts:

“AR-15s and [large capacity magazines] are most useful in military service, they are beyond the scope of the Second Amendment […] and may be banned,” wrote Massachusetts District Court Judge William Young. The case was first brought in January 2017 by several gun owners, the nonprofit group Gun Owners’ Action League, and gun stores On Target Training and Overwatch Outpost…

Young called Scalia’s majority writing a “tour de force” on the Second Amendment. Critically, Young wrote that Scalia “explained that ‘weapons that are most useful in military service—M-16 rifles and the like’ are not protected under the Second Amendment.”

“The AR-15 and the M16 were designed and manufactured simultaneously for the military and share very similar features and functions,” Young wrote. “Therefore, because the undisputed facts convincingly demonstrate that AR-15s and [large capacity magazines] are most useful in military service, they are beyond the scope of the Second Amendment.”


Courts, Issues

Federal Judge: Govt Must Promote Abortion to Illegal Aliens

Uber-liberal federal Judge Tanya Chutkan — naturally an Obama appointee — ruled last week that illegal aliens have a constitutional right to abortion.

That’s right. An entirely fabricated ‘civil right’ in the Constitution now extends to non-citizens as well.

But wait, it gets worse. Not only do illegal aliens have a right to abort their baby only moments after crossing the border, according to Chutkan, but the federal is also required to inform them of such a ‘right’.

This puts the left is a peculiarly schizophrenic situation.

They want more illegal aliens to be in the country but they also want abortion-on-demand.

Something tells us the illogic of this position won’t bother the illogical left very much.

Expect the Trump administration to appeal.

Here’s more from Redstate…

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan finds that pregnant illegal alien girls in U. S. custody have a constitutional right to an abortion.  Judge Chutkan, appointed to the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. by President Obama, ordered the Trump administration to ordered late Friday to grant pregnant illegal alien girls in U.S. custody unfettered access to abortions.

As we reported previously, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services warned that Chutkan’s ruling could result in the U.S.  becoming a sanctuary for “taxpayer-supported abortions by minors crossing the border illegally.” According to the Washington Times, Judge Chutkan rejected that warning and the government’s solution of suggesting the girls be deported to their home countries, where they would be free to take whatever steps they wanted:

“This court will not sanction any policy or practice that forces vulnerable young women to make such a choice,” Judge Chutkan said, referring to the minor girls in question.


Courts, Issues

Kate Steinle’s Killer Files Suit…Against Trump

So get this: Kate Steinle’s acquitted killer, Jose Garcia-Zarate, the illegal alien who illegally entered the United States and who illegally had possession of a gun and who thwarted legal attempts to deport him multiple times now wants to avail himself of legal protections from our legal system.

That’s right. Apparently, after the Feds filed charges of immigration and weapons violations, Zarate wasn’t very happy.

According to his attorneys, he’s been the victim of vindictive harassment at the hands of the Trump administration.

So he’s filing suit against the DOJ. Justice on parade.

Here’s more from Hotair…

After Kate Steinle’s killer, Jose Garcia-Zarate, was found not guilty of her murder (but guilty on a gun charge and immigration law violations), his hopes for release were quickly quashed. Federal charges of immigration and weapons violations were filed by the Department of Justice and another trial is on the horizon. Or maybe not.

It turns out that the attorneys for Garcia-Zarate feel that his client is being unjustly and vindictively harassed by the feds after having already faced trial. They’re taking two different approaches to this claim, neither of which looks particularly promising.

The illegal immigrant accused in the shooting death of Kate Steinle is charging the federal government with “vindictive prosecution” and collusion with city and state authorities, and using President Trump’s tweets and public statements by him and his attorney general to make his case.

In a filing this week in federal court in San Francisco, lawyers for Jose Garcia-Zarate demanded that the federal government hand over its communications with local law enforcement agencies — the San Francisco police, district attorney’s office and sheriff’s office — to let him prove collusion and double jeopardy. Attorney J. Tony Serra accused Mr. Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions of using his client as a political punching bag and said their words suggest that Mr. Garcia-Zarate is being unjustly prosecuted.

“This case was highly publicized, both locally and nationally,” he wrote in the motion filed in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California.


Big govt, Courts

Kids Taken from Parents Because They Didn’t Allow Easter Bunny

Before you ask, no, this story is not from the Onion.

It comes from the land up north where everything stupid and socialist in America is first tested.

Canadian authorities removed foster kids from their parents’ home after reports of really heinous abuse.

That’s right, according to the commissars at Children’s Aid Society, the home was deemed unfit because the Christian parents refused to respect the kids’ ‘cultural traditions’ when they decided not to pretend the Easter Bunny is real.

No, we’re not kidding.

Thankfully a judge found a deposit of common sense still remaining in Canada and ruled that the parents’ freedom of religion had been violated.

Here’s more from PJ Media…

Proving that Canada is as insane as many of us believe, a foster agency removed children from the home of Christian foster parents because they refused to celebrate Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny. However, proving that some authority figures in Canada still have their wits about them, a judge ruled in favor of the foster parents.

Frances and Derek Baars are members of a conservative Presbyterian denomination that doesn’t celebrate Easter and Christmas. However, the Baars are not so entrenched in their own beliefs as to be tyrants about it. In fact, according to Christianity Today, “When they became foster parents in December 2015, they altered their celebrations to purchase Christmas gifts for the girls and take them to a family gathering as well as a Sunday school program at another church.”

However, Frances Baars went on to say, “We have a strict ‘no lying’ policy, because God is the God of truth who is Truth, and telling kids that the Easter Bunny and Santa are real is lying.”

The fact that the Baars made sure to make their positions about the Easter Bunny and Santa clear during their foster parent training and home visits did not matter. The Children’s Aid Society ” took the children away from the Baars with just a day’s notice, citing the couple’s refusal to respect the girls’ cultural traditions.”


Courts, Politics, States

California Fights to Move Sanctuary Suit to San Fran

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is laughing this week after a motion was filed by California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra to move the DOJ’s sanctuary state lawsuit from Sacramento to San Francisco.

Explaining that the motion ‘makes no sense’, lawyers for the DOJ detailed that Sacramento is the obvious location for the suit since it’s the state capitol.

The only reason, explained Sessions, for CA wanting to move to San Francisco is because the San Fran court is notoriously liberal, having been one of the several courts that issued an injunction on Trump’s travel ban.

Typical California: heads we win, tails you lose.

Here’s more from Breitbart…

The Department of Justice has filed a motion opposing the State of California’s effort to move a lawsuit against its “sanctuary state” laws from a federal district court in Sacramento to one in San Francisco.
As Politico’s Josh Gerstein reported Monday:

In a submission to Sacramento-based U.S. District Court Judge John Mendez on Monday, Justice Department lawyers seemed to ridicule the transfer proposal floated last week by attorneys from the office of state Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

“It is remarkable that the State of California would seek to delay this matter primarily so that it can avoid litigating in its State capital. There is no basis to seriously entertain this request that the case be transferred,” Justice Department lawyers wrote. “California’s wish to defend these challenges in another federal judicial district in San Francisco, where the State capital is not located and where the official Defendants do not reside, makes no sense.”

Lawyers from Justice’s Office of Immigration Litigation called the state’s transfer suggestion “meritless,” despite the fact that attorneys for the state have yet to file a formal motion seeking the transfer. In a scheduling filing last Friday, lawyers from Becerra’s office said a transfer to San Francisco would be warranted because a judge there is already considering a case that involves a federal law seeking to prohibit certain local and state policies from preventing cooperation with immigration authorities.



Courts, Politics

Rep. Heller: Justice Kennedy Is Retiring This Summer

We’ve shared the rumor mill over the possible retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy with its various iterations over the last year.

But this latest issue may be the most salient of all the sources. Nevada Rep. Dean Heller appears to have let the cat out of the bag in a recent speech in which he declared rather matter of factly that Kennedy will retire this summer.

Remember that Kennedy has been the swing vote in a handful of blockbuster decisions going back to Planned Parenthood v. Casey and most recently in the Obergefell decision which effectively legalized gay marriage.

His replacement will almost certainly be a Gorsuch type justice which may finally return the Supreme Court to a solid conservative majority.

And with the Senate possibly flipping control in November, this summer would be in the nick of time.

Here’s more from Hotair…

Is this a prediction or a secret that he wasn’t supposed to spill? On the one hand, rumors have been circulating about Kennedy’s impending retirement. Above the Law flagged one back in December:

A few months ago, I heard an intriguing rumor: Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, the pivotal “swing vote” on the U.S. Supreme Court, would announce his retirement in early 2018. It wouldn’t be effective until the end of the current Term, around late June 2018. But Justice Kennedy was said to be planning on this early announcement to avoid a “Merrick Garland” situation — i.e., to get his successor confirmed well before the 2018 midterm elections. This would also have the added benefit of reducing the likelihood of SCOTUS becoming a big issue in the 2018 midterm elections.

How about private signals, though? Here’s Heller, speaking at an event in Nevada last week:

“Kennedy is going to retire around sometime early summer,” Heller predicted in Las Vegas last week, according to audio of an event he spoke at that was obtained by POLITICO. “Which I’m hoping will get our base a little motivated because right now they’re not very motivated. But I think a new Supreme Court justice will get them motivated.”…

“Mike Lee from Utah is probably on that short list of the next Supreme Court justice in our courts,” Heller said during the Q-and-A session with the J. Reuben Clark Law Society in Las Vegas Friday.


Courts, Issues

Breaking: SCOTUS Passes on DACA Review

Several federal courts have now ruled that the President does not have the power to rescind the DACA program.

The White House has since appealed directly to the Supreme Court in hopes of a short-cut solution to the battle.

But the SCOTUS unanimously opted this week not to take up the matter instead allowing it to be fought out in the lower courts.

That means President Trump and the DOJ will have to fight it out through the appellate process.

The problem is that Trump’s March 5th deadline — next week — will have come and gone long before any decision will be issued from an appeals court.

So, to say the DACA program and DREAMers stuck within it are in limbo is the understatement of the year.

Here’s more from Hotair…

Looks like a gamble by Senate Democrats paid off. The White House hoped to get an expedited Supreme Court hearing for their argument that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is unconstitutional in order to gain enough leverage for a quick settlement. Instead, the top court balked, rejecting the application.

Politico notes one key point:

The Supreme Court declined the request Monday. No justices dissented. The high court could still weigh in later, but the move suggests the justices want to allow one or more appeals courts to take up the question before considering it.

No appellate court has yet to rule on the issues raised by the Trump administration, which boil down to two main contentions. First, the administration argues that the program unconstitutionally violates immigration law under a tortured explanation of prosecutorial discretion, which would argue for an immediate end to DACA and its work permits. Second and more recently, the administration argues that because this program was created by the executive outside of statute, a succeeding executive can choose to end it at any time.