Archive for the ‘Courts’ Category

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 9.27.01 AMThere was an unscripted moment for President Barack Obama yesterday that might make Justice Department lawyers defending the recent unilateral changes to immigration laws a bit uneasy. The President was faced with an understandably annoying problem of hecklers who interrupted his speech demanding an end to deportations of anyone. The President responded with a clearly justified admonishment that they should let him speak, but he added in obvious frustration “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law.” That is what the Administration lawyers have striven to deny. They are insisting that this was not a change in law (which is a legislative act) but the exercise of discretion allowed under the law.

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150px-Wells_Fargo_Bank_svg

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw) Weekend Contributor

Since the Great Recession officially started in December of 2007, millions of people have lost their homes to foreclosures.  It turns out that many of those foreclosures may have been fraudulent or in violation of foreclosure laws. According to the Southern Essex County, Massachusetts Register of Deeds, John O’Brien, a forensic audit of his recording files suggests that at least 75% of the mortgage assignments were invalid.

“My registry is a crime scene as evidenced by this forensic examination. The Audit makes the finding that this was not only a MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems) problem, but a scheme also perpetuated by MERS shareholder banks such Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan and others. I am stunned and appalled by the fact that America’s biggest banks have played fast and loose with people’s biggest asset – their homes. This is disgusting, and this is criminal.” Nation of Change (more…)

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800px-Capitol_Building_Full_ViewToday, we filed our complaint United States House of Representatives v. Burwell (Case 1:14-cv-01967), in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The House’s complaint contains eight counts concerning constitutional and statutory violations of law related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). There are a myriad of unilateral amendments to this Act, ordered by President Obama’s Administration, which could be the subject of a challenge, and there are a number of changes that are already being litigated, including King v. Burwell, which has been accepted by the Supreme Court for review. The House’s complaint, however, focuses on the Administration’s usurpation not only of the House’s Article I legislative authority, but also of the defining “power of purse.” Both of these powers were placed exclusively in Article I by the Framers of our Constitution. These constitutional and statutory claims are highly illustrative of the current conflict between the branches over the basic principles of the separation of powers. The House’s complaint seeks to reaffirm the clear constitutional lines of separation between the branches – a doctrine that is the very foundation of our constitutional system of government. To put it simply, the complaint focuses on the means rather than ends. The complaint is posted below.

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800px-Capitol_Building_Full_ViewAs many on this blog are aware, I have previously testified, written, and litigated in opposition to the rise of executive power and the countervailing decline in congressional power in our tripartite system. I have also spent years encouraging Congress, under both Democratic and Republican presidents, to more actively defend its authority, including seeking judicial review in separation of powers conflicts. For that reason, it may come as little surprise this morning that I have agreed to represent the United States House of Representatives in its challenge of unilateral, unconstitutional actions taken by the Obama Administration with respect to implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It is an honor to represent the institution in this historic lawsuit and to work with the talented staff of the House General Counsel’s Office. As in the past, this posting is meant to be transparent about my representation as well as my need to be circumspect about my comments in the future on related stories. (more…)

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US Trustee Program

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw) Weekend Contributor

In the past, I have written about the Big Banks continued unlawful actions that only result in “slap on the wrist fines” that in many cases are passed on to the shareholders and/or used as a tax deduction. It seems that Wall Street and the Banksters have not learned a thing.  Or have they?

The latest wrinkle in Banksters taking advantage of American citizens is noted in a Crooks and Liars report which detailed an investigation into several Big Banks and their alleged refusal to honor the orders of Bankruptcy judges across the country. Of course, the “usual suspects” have been named in the latest investigations.  (more…)

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100px-Seal_of_Fort_Lauderdale,_Florida

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Weekend Contributor

Did you know that somewhere in America, it is illegal to feed the homeless in public?  It can’t be true can it?  It is true in Fort Lauderdale, Florida after the recent passage of an ordinance by the city council.  The real scary part of that news is that Fort Lauderdale is not alone in taking this anti-compassionate stance!

“Over 30 cities across the nation have outlawed or are considering criminalizing the provision of food to homeless people. According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, over 20 cities have devised laws against giving food to homeless people since January 2013.” Nation of Change

While I can understand this stance if these cities are adding health guidelines to make such feeding attempts safer, I am shocked that over 30 cities have outlawed it or are considering outlawing the practice of giving food to the hungry and homeless.  Are public picnics next on the hit list? (more…)

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By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

scales_of_justiceThe Washington Supreme Court ruled it is a violation of Due Process to require a rape defendant to prove lack of consent in rape trials, shifting the burden to the state. The opinion reverses decades old practices of the courts and by extensions investigators of such crimes to include elements showing lack of consent that were previously assumed based on the statements and evidence of alleged victims.

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