Columbia University has reached a settlement in one of its most controversial cases of alleged sexual assault. Paul Nungesser, who was accused of raping a fellow classmate who became known as “mattress girl,” will receive a settlement. Emma Sulkowicz carried around a mattress on campus in protest, even taking the mattress to graduation. She received college credit for the protest as a form of performance art. Nungesser had lost twice over motions of dismissal and was pursuing an appeal
Judge Richard Posner may have just announced his own impending retirement from the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Posner is arguing that federal judges should be subject to a mandatory retirement age of “probably 80.” The legendary jurist and writer is 78 years old. The interview may also add fuel to calls for Supreme Court justices to accept retirement. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 84. Anthony Kennedy is 80. Stephen Breyer is 78.
There are various reports confirming that Justice Anthony Kennedy has told staff that he is seriously thinking of resigning and has notably not selected clerks for the October 2018 term. That raises some intriguing issues, including how such a vacancy would play in the midterm elections when there are 33 seats up for grabs in the United States Senate. The vacancy could be used to rally conservatives and liberals alike. As for Kennedy, it could be the difference between a lasting and short-lived legacy.
By: Cara L. Gallagher, weekend contributor
It was back to the Supreme Court for me this week. An unusually sleepy end of the October 2016 term, except for gossip of a potential retirement (Kennedy, not Ginsburg, this time), came to a dramatic end when the Chief Justice announced in the final minutes of the Court’s last day that they would hear the travel ban/pause cases next term.
There were two clear victories on Monday with this announcement that the Justices would hear the government’s cases defending President Trump’s two executive orders. One was for an imam named Dr. Ismail Elshikh, whose mother-in-law in Syria will now be able to travel to the United States. The other went to John Doe, an anonymous lawful resident who has been trying to get his wife home from Iran. Their victories came in the form of exceptions to the orders which allow their families to be reunited.
The rest of the Court’s 13-page order largely holds onto the spirit of the executive orders issued by the President, with some caveats.
Using the text of the decision, below is what the Supreme Court said in the grant, followed by the potential effects of those decisions, what all this means, and what happens next.
Background and the previous cases
Below is my column in the Hill Newspaper on the Supreme Court order lifting the stay over the Trump immigration order. With the exception of those with bona fide relationships, the Trump Administration has the authority to enforce its travel limitations. As discussed earlier, the order could prove not the next but final chapter of the immigration controversy given the 90 day period set under the Trump order. However, a more immediate issue of concern should be the prior coverage and court decisions leading up to the unanimous order of the Supreme Court.
The victory of the Trump Administration in securing the lifting of much of the injunction on the immigration order consumed much of the analysis yesterday. The Court voted unanimously to lift the injunction for every one except those with “bona fide relationships” in the United States. The latter exception was a bit incongruous with the overall deference to the Executive Branch and led three justices — Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch — to dissent. They would have lifted the ban without exceptions. What was most interesting however was what was not in the order: a hearing date for July. The reason is that it was not requested by the Trump Administration. Given the 90 days expiration of the order, that leads to the question of whether this appeal is a case of “planned obsolescence.”