We previously discussed the controversy over a painting by a constituent of Democratic Rep. William Lacy Clay that depicted police as pigs in Ferguson, Missouri. As we discussed, the House had a right to remove the art and eventually did precisely that. However, before that decision from the House, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R., Cal.) took down the painting. Clay called for criminal charges. When the painting was rehung, another Republican member removed it. At the time, Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said “We may just have to kick somebody’s ass and stop them. Then the architect stepped in and barred the hanging of the picture. Now Clay has announced that he will file a lawsuit challenging the actions of the House of Representatives. It is hard to see a strong legal basis for such a challenge. The odds heavily favor the House of Representatives in the action.
By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
What so far has proven to be a long ordeal for two men originally wanting only to be provided with a floral arrangement for this upcoming wedding, and also for florist Barronelle Stutzman who asserts her right to religious freedom by denying this service, has now come to another milestone in Washington.
A unanimous ruling by the Washington Supreme Court, the court denied Stutzman and her business, Arlene’s Flowers, INC’s assertions, ruling:
“…Discrimination based on same-sex marriage constitutes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.” and therefore held that “the conduct for which Stutzman was cited and fined in this case-refusing her commercially marketed wedding floral services to Ingersoll and Freed because theirs would be a same-sex wedding-constitutes sexual orientation discrimination under the WLAD.” (Washington Law Against Discrimination)
Students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have demanded that African-American students be given free tuition and housing because blacks were denied access to college educations for much of our history. They also opposed the use of standardized test scores as a barrier to black students.
President Trump said today that he will sign a new immigration executive order next week and that he would appeal the 9th Circuit Court’s ruling against his travel ban. He further called the Ninth Circuit a court “in chaos” and “turmoil.” I do not see the chaos or the turmoil on the Ninth Circuit, which is the largest circuit in the country. One can certainly disagree with the decision on the executive order, but the panel decision was a good-faith decision of three judges who unanimously ruled against the order on the effort to stay the lower court’s temporary restraining order (TRO). Update: there appears another disconnect between the White House and the DOJ. In today’s filing the DOJ requested that the Nunth Circuit vacate the prior order because the new order will rescind and replace the old order.
It appears that the problem with the Internet in Palau resulted in the deletion of the original post on the decision in Virginia. I did not want to delete any discussion so I am keeping this post. I am in Guam now with better Internet access. Virginia federal district court Judge Leonie Brinkema granted a preliminary injunction which requires a higher showing for the challengers. In that sense, this is an obvious victory but it could also be an opportunity for the Trump Administration. I believe that the Brinkema decision might be the better option for the Administration to appeal given its focus on religious discrimination and its reliance on campaign statements and the bizarre statements of Rudy Giuliani.
By Mike Appleton, Weekend Contributor
“A scheme of government like ours no doubt at times feels the lack of power to act with complete, all-embracing, swiftly moving authority. No doubt a government with distributed authority, subject to be challenged in the courts of law, at least long enough to consider and adjudicate the challenge, labors under restrictions from which other governments are free. It has not been our tradition to envy such governments. In any event, our government was designed to have such restrictions.”
-Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 U.S. 579, 613 (1952)
The decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this week upholding the temporary restraining order against enforcement of Executive Order 13769 produced immediate outrage in the Trump Administration. The President himself characterized the ruling as “disgraceful” and claimed that any subsequent act of terror on our shores would be laid squarely at the feet of the judiciary. Mr. Trump has been variously advised to take the matter to the Supreme Court or ignore the lower court orders entirely. In my view, the wisest option is to return to the drawing board, an idea that is apparently also under consideration.
The anger over the Ninth Circuit’s ruling is misplaced. It is neither warranted by the decision itself nor by the perceived threat to presidential power. The court did not rule on the merits of the plaintiffs’ claims and its continuation of the TRO until completion of an evidentiary hearing in the trial court is not fairly predictive of the final outcome. Moreover, the Administration has not advanced any substantive argument, either in court filings or in public statements, to support the notion that temporarily maintaining current immigration policy creates serious security risks. Indeed, we are still waiting for an explanation of what the phrase “extreme vetting” even means.
Instead of railing against the decision and engaging in personal attacks against judges, the President would be well-advised to read the opinion carefully. It contains several useful lessons for the future of his presidency.
We have been discussing lawyers and professors nailed as drug dealers. Now close to my home, the former mayor of Fairfax City will enter a plea in a meth-for-sex prosecution. R. Scott Silverthorne, 51, is reportedly ready to plead guilty after allegedly offering an undercover officer methamphetamine in exchange for an orgy at a Tysons Corner hotel. Silverthorne told The Washington Post that 2015 was a “terrible year” due to political challenges. 2017 has the makings of a much much worse year.