The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will have a completed record for its review of the lower court’s stay of the Trump immigration executive order this afternoon. While much has been made of the court declined to issue an immediate stay of the lower court under the earlier emergency motion, the decision was very predictable. The Court instead ordered for an expedited response from the states of Washington and Minnesota. That argument is complete today. What remains is a relatively rare procedural process in seeking to review a temporary restraining order (TRO) before the issuance of a written opinion, let alone a permanent injunction.
President Donald Trump has made his choice for the Supreme Court and it is Tenth Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch, 49. With the selection, President Trump would be submitting a jurist with unassailable credentials and proven intellect. He is also someone with a proven conservative record, though there are a few blind spots for those who want a nominee vaccinated against what conservatives view as the David Souter virus — a creeping condition where a conservative gravitates to the left of the Court with time. Last night, The Hill newspaper ran my column on Gorsuch and his unquestioned qualifications.
By Mike Appleton, Weekend Contributor
“Corporation, n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.”
-Ambrose Bierce, “The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary”
I have frequently criticized media coverage of legal issues. For example, news reports often attribute significance to orders on routine procedural motions that is wholly unwarranted. And even reporters with legal backgrounds are not clear and understandable in their explanation of court rulings to laypersons. So when I came across reports that Treasury Secretary-designate Steven Mnuchin’s bank had filed a mortgage foreclosure action against a 90 year old Florida widow over 27 cents, I was skeptical.
But the story interested me because the subject of the suit resides in Polk County, only an hour’s drive from where I live. In addition, with the advent of electronic filing in court proceedings, I knew that I could access the court files online and review the actual record in the case. I have now done so and have concluded that the stories have been misleading, but not for the reasons one might expect. What has happened to Ms. Ossie Lofton of Lakeland, Florida is worse than what has been reported.
I have previously written that recent disclosures over immunity deals with Clinton aides has seriously undermined the credibility of the FBI investigation into the email scandal and raises legitimate questions over the role of top ranking Justice Department officials in the closing of the investigation without criminal charges. Now a far more serious allegation has surfaced with the release of a FBI “302” that states that State Department Undersecretary for Management Patrick Kennedy proposed a “quid pro quo” to convince the FBI to strip the classification on an email from Hillary Clinton’s server. The FBI agent reported the encounter as an effort to “influence” the FBI in return to giving the Bureau long-sought agent placements overseas. Such an offer is more than a standard inter-agency “horse trade.” If the agent’s account is accurate, it was an effort to influence a criminal investigation to protect a high ranking politician and, additionally, an effort to alter a key piece of evidence. The fact that such an effort would be simply brushed aside by the FBI is shocking in itself and again raises questions over Director James Comey’s pledge to pursue any possible charges with independence and vigor. The FBI and State Department, as discussed below, have insisted that there was nothing untoward in the discussions and there is a difference in factual accounts. That is all the more reason for congressional oversight and investigation in my opinion.
I have long been a critic of the Supreme Court justices engaging in public appearances where they hold forth on contemporary issues and even pending matters before the Court. I have been particularly critical of the late Justice Antonin Scalia and Associated Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who clearly relished appearances before ideologically supportive groups. I have called this trend the “rise of the celebrity justice.” Recently, Justice Ginsburg started another firestorm over public comments where she joked that she would move to New Zealand if Donald Trump is elected. Ginsburg apologized for that latest public controversy, though I discussed in a column how the incident spoke to a much larger problem on the Court. While she express “regret” in that instance, it did not deter Ginsburg in continuing to speak publicly and hold forth on contemporary issues, though she did make a curious distinction on this occasion.
By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor.
A long-overdue measure to compensate persons convicted of violating Germany’s 19th century anti-homosexuality law–since repealed–is to finally arrive. The German government set aside a reported thirty-million euros to be distributed among potentially an estimated fifty-thousand men convicted of homosexuality. The award stems for convictions spanning seventy years since the destruction of the Nazi Government.
by Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor.
There are times when you have to cut ties to a vendor when the arrangement no longer is suitable. Then, there are other times when the insolence and lack of respect is so great that if the internet was not available to vent such consternation we probably would boil over in frustration.
American Airlines won the latter approach by leaving my wife stranded–alone in an airport–lied about there being no accommodations to carry her through the night, and refused any form of compensation for their failure to schedule crew members for the flight, leading to this debacle.
Since it was not in American Airline’s interest to offer a hotel room or at least courtesy voucher for another flight here’s some negative publicity as a parting gift to you.