Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on the late addition of the Louisiana abortion case to an already impactful Supreme Court docket. The most interesting aspect of June Medical however may be what it will ultimately say about the doctrine of Stare Decisis and the respect for precedent.
U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in New York has rejected the effort of President Donald Trump to block a subpoena of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., for his tax returns. As I noted when the action was filed, the position of the President that he cannot be subject to any criminal process of any kind while in office is extreme and unsupportable in the Constitution. The full opinion is below.
In another extreme and dubious argument in court, President Donald Trump has gone to court against to block Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance from gaining access to his tax returns. The President’s resistance to disclosing his taxes is now legendary, including differing excuses. However, this 20-page filing contains a particularly disconcerting argument that Trump cannot be criminally investigated while he is in office. It is an argument that has little support in either the text of the Constitution or cases dealing with Article II.
Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on the recent allegations published by the New York Times against Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Despite the drafting of an impeachment resolution, the Democratic leadership has signaled that it has no intention of moving forward with an investigation. Instead it has been the New York Times that have been on the defensive over omissions from the column. Nevertheless, most of the Democratic candidates for president have called for Kavanaugh’s impeachment.
Below is my column in The Hill on the recent filings in federal court by the Justice Department opposing the effort of the House Judiciary Committee in seeking grand jury material redacted from the Mueller Report. The Justice Department is relying on the comments of Speaker Nancy Pelosi in arguing that there is no real impeachment investigation proceeding in the House.
The Supreme Court handed The Trump Administration a major win yesterday by lifting all injunctions on the new Trump asylum policy being enforced. That policy could result in a drastic reduction of asylum claims along the Southern Border since anyone who passes through another country like Mexico would have to first seek asylum in that country. The ruling is also a strong rebuke to the lower courts, particularly United States District Court Judge Jon Tigar in San Francisco who issued multiple orders to try to impose a national injunction.
I have previously written about the rise of shaming punishments in the United States in both blogs (here and here and here and here and here) and columns (here and here). We can now add Cascade County District Judge Greg Pinski in Montana who crafted his own flavor of justice by requiring Ryan Patrick Morris, 28, and Troy Allan Nelson, 33, to wear signs reading “I am a liar. I am not a veteran. I stole valor. I have dishonored all veterans.” As always, such punishments are hugely popular with people but they are also, in my view, high damaging to the legal system.
Below is my Hill column on the news that Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had additional cancer treatment. I have previously written about “Ginsburg’s gamble” in refusing to resign during the Obama Administration. Already over 80, some encouraged her to leave the Court to allow Obama to pick her successor — and to safeguard dozens of cases impacting the lives of millions. The recurrence of her cancer treatment exposes not only the risks of that decision but also the absence of any way for the Court to deal with potential incapacities.
Notably, Justice Thomas could face the same questions. Long rumored to be considering retirement, a defeat by Donald Trump could hand his seat to a liberal justice and endanger a number of conservative holdings.
There is an interesting defamation case out of the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. Professor Derrick Evans is suing Huffington Post for a September 2018 story on U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and partying at Georgetown Prep school. The article alleged that Evans committed drug offenses in scoring drugs for friends, particularly cocaine. The most extraordinary — and potentially defamatory — claim was that Evans and his friend Douglas Kennedy not only regularly bought and distributed cocaine but supplied the cocaine in April 1984 that killed Douglas’ brother, David.
As many know I am often a staunch critic of Washington’s child protective services and a system that at times has shown itself to be rife with incompetence, vindictiveness, and laziness. For the past several years hardly a six month time period elapses without news of yet another major debacle occurring that shatters the life of a child or family member and results in millions of dollars paid out by the state in damages.
But the latest spell in my view goes beyond the usual bureaucratic blundering and crosses a line into what many would consider to be corruption.
This morning I have the great honor of delivering a keynote address before the Federal Bar Conference in Anchorage, Alaska. The conference is being held at the Hotel Captain Cook and I will be speaking at 9:00 am on the foundations and evolution of both free speech and the free press in America.
In one of the most bizarre sentencing decisions in recent memory, visiting Judge Anthony Viviano sentenced Brian Kozlowski, 46, to just 60 days for a crime warranting 180 months. Kozlowski’s ex-wife suspected he was poisoning her and caught him on camera spiking her coffee. She was lucky but nearly not as lucky as he was in getting this ridiculously low sentence for a 12-year felony. Vivano said that he gave him the low sentence because Kozlowski showed some remorse.
I have written previously about the often frivolous lawsuits brought by Democratic leaders that not only threaten to create bad precedent but undermine legitimate claims against President Donald Trump. One such meritless action was filed by the Democratic National Committee, an action that came perilously close to crossing the line of Rule 11 on meritless or vexatious actions. Judge John Koeltl, a Clinton appointee, was scathing in dismissing the action against key members of the Trump Administration and Wikileaks as “entirely divorced” from the facts.