We previously discussed the controversy over a painting by a constituent of Democratic Rep. William Lacy Clay that depicted police as pigs in Ferguson, Missouri. As we discussed, the House had a right to remove the art and eventually did precisely that. However, before that decision from the House, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R., Cal.) took down the painting. Clay called for criminal charges. When the painting was rehung, another Republican member removed it. At the time, Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said “We may just have to kick somebody’s ass and stop them. Then the architect stepped in and barred the hanging of the picture. Now Clay has announced that he will file a lawsuit challenging the actions of the House of Representatives. It is hard to see the legal basis for such a challenge. The odds heavily favor the House of Representatives in the action.
Iran is again showing the world the face of religious extremism. Previously, we discussed how chess officials were under fire for cooperating in the championship in Iran, which imposes dress codes and religious restrictions on visitors (particularly women). Now Iran has barred Dorsa Derakhshani, 18, from competing at the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival 2017, because she appeared without an Islamic head scarf. Her brother, Borna Derakhshani, 15, was the banned for playing against an Israeli opponent. This follows a horrific account of a girl beaten by religious police for simply wearing jeans with holes in them. The brother and sister were also barred from the national team for their transgressions.
Word on the street is that the Trump Administration is prepared to issue a new executive order on immigration. While I have maintained that the law favors President Trump on this issue and I have been critical of the decision by the Ninth Circuit, I have also maintained that the original executive order was poorly written, poorly executed, and poorly defended. A second executive order could reset the litigation and cut away a key (and in my view questionable) component of the Ninth Circuit opinion in expressly exempting green card holders. The new order reportedly does precisely what many of us have suggested while keeping the majority of the prior order. By retaining the same countries and imposing the same conditions, the new order would protect the Administration politically from allegations that the President has backtracked. It would also leave the core basis for challenges on the merits of such travel limitations. I will be speaking on Capitol Hill on Tuesday about the President’s executive order authority at the US Capitol Visitors Center at noon.
Much of law can be dry and mundane. However, there are moments when the law reaches a transcendent truth. There was the acceptance of war crimes in the Nuremberg trials. The recognition that separate is not equal in Brown. This week another milestone has been reached with a decision by Judge Mark Barnett of the United States Court of International Trade. Barnett has ruled that Snuggies are blankets and not apparel. The case is Allstar Mktg. Grp., LLC v. United States , Ct. Int’l Trade, 13-00395, 2/10/17.
If you said wedding crasher, you would be literally correct. In what may be the alleged worst maid of honor in history, Amanda Willis not only almost ran into the best man but allegedly tore up the wedding of her former best friend Jennifer Jones. I emphasize former.
By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
What so far has proven to be a long ordeal for two men originally wanting only to be provided with a floral arrangement for this upcoming wedding, and also for florist Barronelle Stutzman who asserts her right to religious freedom by denying this service, has now come to another milestone in Washington.
A unanimous ruling by the Washington Supreme Court, the court denied Stutzman and her business, Arlene’s Flowers, INC’s assertions, ruling:
“…Discrimination based on same-sex marriage constitutes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.” and therefore held that “the conduct for which Stutzman was cited and fined in this case-refusing her commercially marketed wedding floral services to Ingersoll and Freed because theirs would be a same-sex wedding-constitutes sexual orientation discrimination under the WLAD.” (Washington Law Against Discrimination)
My trip to the islands over the last two weeks included a major bonus for me in addition to the military history, hiking, great foods, and great friends. The visit to Hawaii means that I have now visited all 50 states. Indeed, I have now hit most of the territories with the exception of American Samoa (which is long over due for a constitutional lecture).