Category: Courts

Federal Judge Orders Mueller To Turn Over Flynn Material

In a surprising move, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ordered Mueller late Wednesday to turn over all of the government’s documents and “memoranda” related to Flynn’s questioning. This follows a Flynn filing that described an effective trap set by agents who encouraged him not to bring a lawyer and left inconsistencies unaddressed in what has been described by critics as a “perjury trap.”  I have practiced in front of Judge Sullivan for years and he is a respected judge who has a keen eye for prosecutorial and investigative abuse.  That does not mean that he will find such abuse here and could ultimately make a finding that nothing improper occurred.  Yet, despite a recommendation of no jail time, Sullivan wants to review the entire record before deciding on the issue.

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Massachusetts Judge Under Investigation For Allegedly Helping Undocumented Immigrant Evade ICE

Facebook (Joseph on right)

Massachusetts District Court Judge Shelley Joseph is under investigation after she was accused of helping an undocumented immigrant, Jose Medina-Perez,  evade an ICE officer at the courthouse.  The Boston Globe is reporting that a federal grand jury is investigating Joseph and some have called for her to be barred from handling criminal cases in the interim. Continue reading “Massachusetts Judge Under Investigation For Allegedly Helping Undocumented Immigrant Evade ICE”

Roberts’ Rebuke of Trump Rings Hollow, Given Justices’ Conduct

Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on the recent public statement issued by Chief Justice John Roberts.  While I am entirely sympathetic with the statement (which is also true) about the unfairness in referring to “Obama judges” ruling against the Trump Administration, the public rebuke only highlighted the glaring disconnect in Roberts’ defense of apolitical courts and his deafening silence over the conduct on his own Court.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Roberts’ Rebuke of Trump Rings Hollow, Given Justices’ Conduct”

Federal Judge Strikes Down Law Criminalizing Female Genital Mutilation

There is an important federalism ruling out of Michigan that will likely rekindle the debate over the continuing inherent powers of the states vis-a-vis the federal government.  Despite the massive expansion of the federal criminal code, most crimes were viewed as state not federal matters in the early days of the Republic.  Now, a federal judge in Michigan has ruled that Congress went beyond its constitutional domain in 1996 in criminalizing female genital mutilation.  The issue is not whether FGM should be criminalized but whether this is a state or a federal matter under the Constitution.  Over half of states (27) have criminalized FGM.  Senior United States District Judge Bernard A. Friedman threw out six of the federal charges against Jumana Nagarwala, who was accused of performing FGM on girls around the age of seven.   Continue reading “Federal Judge Strikes Down Law Criminalizing Female Genital Mutilation”

Canadian Supreme Court To Review Case Of Woman Arrested For Not Holding Handrail

Supreme_Court_of_Canada_-_LogoThere is an interesting case heading to Ottawa before the Supreme Court of Canada.  Bela Kosoian was arrested for failing to hold onto to an escalator handrail at a subway station in Montreal.  The officer maintained that sign encouraging the practice was a binding law and issued a citation after she declined to hold on to the handrail.  In the earlier Court of Appeal decision, Justice Julie Dutil concluded that, even though the officer was mistaken on the law, he still had grounds to arrest her after she dismissed his instructions and failed to give her name.  That highly problematic ruling will now be reviewed. Continue reading “Canadian Supreme Court To Review Case Of Woman Arrested For Not Holding Handrail”

FEDERAL COURT ISSUES ORDER FOR CNN’S JIM ACOSTA TO BE GIVEN ACCESS TO THE WHITE HOUSE BUT . . .

In a victory for the media, Judge Timothy J. Kelly has ruled that CNN’s Jim Acosta must be given back his access to the White House.  However, it is not an entire victory.  As we discussed earlier, the court recognized some basic procedural protections and required the White House to state clearly the grounds for revoking the clearance.  The court expressly said that he has not found a violation of the First Amendment and has not determined that Acosta cannot be eventually barred from the White House.  He wants further information from the White House if it intends to continue to bar Acosta. Continue reading “FEDERAL COURT ISSUES ORDER FOR CNN’S JIM ACOSTA TO BE GIVEN ACCESS TO THE WHITE HOUSE BUT . . .”

CNN Files Challenge To Suspension Of Acosta’s Press Access

A couple of days ago, we discussed the prospect of CNN suing the Trump Administration over the suspension of CNN’s Jim Acosta’s press credentials after a flair up in a former press conference with President Donald Trump and the refusal of Acosta to surrender the microphone.  CNN has now filed its  lawsuit and it is basically the claims that we anticipated with one addition: a claim that the move violated the Administrative Procedure Act.  As I have said from the outset, I strongly oppose the move by the White House, even though I feel that Acosta went too far in the press conference.  However, I still remain a bit more cautious than many commentators on what is being described as a slam dunk of a case. Continue reading “CNN Files Challenge To Suspension Of Acosta’s Press Access”

Turley To Speak On Thursday At National Press Club On Presidential Removal Under The 25th Amendment

pj_site_2I have the pleasure of speaking at the National Press Club on Thursday about the use of the 25th Amendment to remove an American President.  In light of my debate on Monday in Dallas on the standard of impeachment with CNN’s Jeff Toobin, there certainly does seem a theme, or at least a focus, in these events after the midterm elections.  Organized as a a National Press Club Headliners event featured an impressive array of panelists.  The event is entitled “Presidential Jeopardy: Impeachment, Indictment and the 25th Amendment” and will be held on Thursday, November 15, 2018, 10:00-11:00 a.m. at the Bloomberg Room of The National Press Club, 529 14th Street, NW, 13th Floor Continue reading “Turley To Speak On Thursday At National Press Club On Presidential Removal Under The 25th Amendment”

The Prestige: How Trump Could Pull Off The Ultimate Trick in Shutting Down The Mueller Investigation

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on a novel way that President Donald Trump could use the Whitaker appointment to achieve what he has long sought: freezing or even ending the Mueller investigation.  As strange as it may seem, it could actually work if played correctly by the White House.  The White House could theoretically get a court to enjoin the Mueller investigation and keep Mueller frozen in amber until Trump’s final year when impeachment would practically impossible.

Here is the column: Continue reading “The Prestige: How Trump Could Pull Off The Ultimate Trick in Shutting Down The Mueller Investigation”

Federal Court Moves To Protect The Red Wolf Population Against The Federal Government

There was an important victory for the environment this week after Chief Judge Terrence W. Boyle excoriated the Interior Department for its management of the the last red wolf population in the wild.  His decision could well have kept the red wolves from extinction — against the best efforts of the Interior Department to allow landowners to wipe out the only remaining members of this incredible breed of wolves.  The orders of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were a disgrace and utterly disregarded their duty in protecting the environment.  The case is Red Wolf Coalition v. United States, 2018 U.S. Dist. Lexis 188522.  Continue reading “Federal Court Moves To Protect The Red Wolf Population Against The Federal Government”

Interpreting the Fourteenth Amendment: The Long and Convoluted Record on Birthright Citizenship

As with so many constitutional and political disputes, the renewed controversy over the 14th Amendment has both sides claiming degrees of clarity and certainty that belied by a long and convoluted historical record.  I have written and spoken this week about the arguments on both sides of this issue — a debate that has raged for 150 years. Frankly, I believe a court ruling would be welcomed to bring clarity and closure to the issue.  The plain meaning of the 14th Amendment supports unlimited birthright citizenship and that is likely where the courts would come out on the issue. Nevertheless, from the time of ratification, there has been a debate over that interpretation with many Democratic and Republican members arguing for decades that the matter is left to Congress.  For decades, many have held to the belief that either the14th Amendment leaves the matter to Congress or limits the right to birthright citizenship. Continue reading “Interpreting the Fourteenth Amendment: The Long and Convoluted Record on Birthright Citizenship”

Turley and Toobin To Debate Impeachment In Dallas After Midterm Election

images-1The National Constitution Center and the Old Parkland Debate Series has announced that a debate will be held on November 12th between George Washington Professor Jonathan Turley and CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin on impeachment.  The debate will occur a week after the 2018 midterm elections and many have called for the impeachment of both President Donald Trump and Judge Brett Kavanaugh following a Democratic takeover of the United States House of Representatives.  The debate question is: Resolved, the framers designed impeachment as a political, rather than a legal process.  Toobin will argue that the Framers intended impeachment to be a political judgment while Turley will argue that the Framers intended more of a legal judgment. Turley was the last lead counsel in an impeachment trial in the Senate and Toobin previously worked for Independent Counsel Lawrence E. Walsh.

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“Horror Has A Face”: Primordial Politics and the Aftermath of the Kavanaugh Confirmation

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the aftermath of the Kavanaugh confirmation. It is not that there is no winner and loser as much as both Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh are both winners and losers.

It will take time to decide which party will benefit, but there is clearly Brett bump for Republicans going into the midterms.  Yet, the confirmation will also continue to resonate Democratic voters.

Continue reading ““Horror Has A Face”: Primordial Politics and the Aftermath of the Kavanaugh Confirmation”

Merkely Files To Enjoin Kavanaugh Vote

Jeff_Merkley,_115th_official_photoSen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) filed for an injunction in federal court to stop a final vote on Brett Kavanaugh.  The filing claims that the Republican majority is obstructing  his constitutional duty to give advise and consent on nominees.  The filing is entirely and utterly meritless.  It will be dismissed and is unlikely to receive a hearing on the claim.

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Kavanaugh Accuser Goes Public With The Support Of A Polygraph To Support Alleged High School Sexual Assault

download-6For a week, a scandal has grown over an anonymous accusation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.  I previously wrote about the unfairness of this last minute accusation from an unnamed law professor who declined to be named.  Moreover, the underlying letter has been in the possession of Democrats since July.  Now, the mystery is over:  Palo Alto University professor Christine Blasey Ford has come forward to say that she is indeed the accuser of Kavanaugh.  It appears that the earlier leaks and media reports that this was a Stanford law professor were untrue.  She is shown here from her high school yearbook picture.  Notably, her lawyer has said that she passed a polygraph examination that found her account was truthful.

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