Common Pleas Court Judge Paula Patrick issued an order on Friday that Mayor Jim Kenney and the city of Philadelphia must remove the plywood box covering a statue of Christopher Columbus. The 144-year-old statue was covered up due to protests that the explorer represents racial injustice and abuse. Other Columbus statues have been destroyed, including one in Baltimore. When asked about that destruction, Speaker Nancy Pelosi shrugged and said “people will do what they do.” For his part, Kenney has announced that his administration will appeal the ruling in an effort to keep Columbus covered from public view. Continue reading “Judge Orders Philadelphia to Remove Plywood Box Covering Columbus Statute”
My column yesterday discussed the increasing trend to treat the failure to use a person’s preferred pronouns (called “misgendering”) a type of hate speech or discriminatory conduct. A new case highlights the free speech problems associated with the trend. In Meriwether v. Hartop, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit handed down a major ruling in favor of Shawnee State University Professor Nicholas Meriwether, who was disciplined for refusing to use a student’s designated pronoun choices.
Rep. IIhan Omar (D., Minn.) lashed out at Hennepin County District Judge Jamie Anderson for blocking a ballot measure that would replace with Minneapolis Police Department with a new department of public safety. Omar alleged that Anderson was part of a “network” working to frustrate “progress.” Underlying this dispute is an interesting question of the court’s role on the ballot question and, while she is wrong in her attack on the court, Omar may have a legitimate objection if the ballot question is blocked despite revisions.
In the law, it is called an admission against interest or an out-of-court statement by a party that, when uttered, is against the party’s pecuniary, proprietary, or penal interests. In politics, it is called just dumb. White House chief of staff Ronald Klain offered a doozy this week when he admitted that the announced use of the authority of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for a vaccine mandate was a mere “work around” of the constitutional limit imposed on the federal government. The problem is that the thing being “worked around” is the Constitution. Courts will now be asked to ignore the admission and uphold a self-admitted evasion of constitutional protections. Continue reading “Admission Against Interest: White House Chief of Staff Admits Vaccine Mandate is a “Work Around” the Constitutional Objections”
Below is my column in The Hill on reaction to the refusal of the Supreme Court to enjoin the Texas abortion law. The order of the Court expressly did not reach the merits and certainly did not, as claimed, overturn Roe v. Wade. The Texas law is not even the greatest threat to Roe. Not only is there a pending case on the docket of the Court that has long been viewed as a serious threat to Roe, but the White House and the House of Representatives are threatening immediate actions that could also create new challenges for pro-choice litigants.
For many waking up yesterday, they must have thought that they had a real Rip Van Winkle of a snoozer for the last 50 years. Across the spectrum, legal experts were declaring the death of Roe v. Wade after the Supreme Court refused to enjoin a Texas anti-abortion law in an emergency filing. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announced that the Supreme Court just “overturned” Roe in the order. The mainstream coverage ranged from the outright death of Roe to its being rendered to a vegetative state. Even more reasoned analysis asked “Is this how Roe v. Wade dies?” The answer is no. This is how legal analysis dies. Continue reading “Supreme Court Rejects Injunction of Texas Abortion Law . . . Media Erupts With Roe Obituaries”
Recently, I was critical of a Washington Post column by University of California-Berkeley Dean Erwin Chemerinsky and Professor Aaron S. Edlin, who argued for a legal challenge of the recall election of Callifornia Gov. Gavin Newsom as unconstitutional. They insisted that the recall election violated the concept of “one person, one vote.” While Chemerinsky and Edlin insisted that the unconstitutionality of the recall election “should not be a close constitutional question,” I argued that most judges would likely agree but come to the opposite conclusion. Apparently, one such judge is United States District Court Judge Michael Fitzgerald who went out of his way to say that this was not a close question before summarily dismissing the Chemerinsky/Edlin theory. Continue reading ““A Matter of Logic and Common Sense”: Federal Court Rejects Chemerinsky Theory on the Unconstitutionality of Newsom Recall”
Last week, a federal court did something that would seem not just counterintuitive but impossible under our legal system: it upheld an agency order despite the clear lack of authority to issue it. The order – to renew a moratorium on evictions – is a constitutional zombie that is neither alive nor dead. Yet it still walks the land. Continue reading “Unconstitutional But Legal? Court Agrees CDC Does Not Have The Authority For Moratorium Before Upholding Moratorium”
Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas delivered a blow to the Biden Administration on Friday by ordering the reinstatement of the Trump-era Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program, also known as the “Remain-in-Mexico” policy. This is only the latest of a string of losses by the Biden Administration in its first six months in court. Continue reading “Federal Judge Reverses Biden Order To Terminate Trump’s Remain-in-Mexico Policy”
Below is my column in the Hill on the shift from reasoned consent to coerced consent in the campaign for vaccinations. The push by the Biden Administration for private companies to enforce mandates and restrictions has increased in the last week. There is a high likelihood of a new round of litigation as pressure builds for new mandates and even lockdowns.
Just before this column ran, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky was asked by Fox host Bret Baier “Are you for mandating a vaccine on a federal level?” She responded “That’s something that I think the administration is looking into.” Later she reversed herself by saying “I was referring to mandates by private institutions and portions of the federal government. There will be no federal mandate.” It was a telling response because she was asked about a federal mandate directly. She now says she meant to say a privately enforced mandates is what they are thinking about. The reversal may be a problematic as the original. It would confirm that the Biden Administration is using private companies as a type of direct surrogate for a public mandate.
According to a new Gallup poll, the Supreme Court has fallen to the lowest point in four years in approval despite a term marked by a long list of unanimous and non-ideological decisions. In perhaps the best evidence that the Court is getting it right, all sides seem equally frustrated with the Court.