The Supreme Court handed down a stinging defeat for the Trump Administration in a unanimous decision in Maslenjak v. United States, where the Administration sought to strip an immigrant of U.S. citizenship over a false statement made on an immigration form. In a decision by Justice Elena Kagan, the justices declared that the government could not strip citizenship from Divna Maslenjak because she falsely stated that her husband had not served in the Bosnian Serb army in the 1990s. Notably, the Obama Administration had taken the same hard position in the case and the Trump Administration continued that position on the appeal.
I have the honor of participating this year in the special program benefiting the widely respected Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. Since 1994, the Mock Trial Series has been held to bring Supreme Court justices and members of the bar to join in a fun night in which Shakespeare figures are tried by leading members of the bar. This year, the three Weird Sisters from Macbeth will be in the dock. The bench will consist of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Stephen G. Breyer, Judge David S. Tatel, Judge Sri Srinivasan, and Judge Patricia A. Millett, United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The court marshal will be Pamela Talkin, of the Supreme Court of the United States. As the jurists deliberate the fate of the three sisters, I will take the stage with attorney Abbe Lowell to discuss the recent conviction of Michele Parker for encouraging the suicide of Conrad Roy III.
I had the honor of attending the investiture of Neil Gorsuch yesterday. It was an event steeped in history and the Court’s version of pomp and circumstance. I actually love the Court’s staid and understated style at such moments. The investiture is short and dignified in the courtroom with the reading of his his commission and Gorsuch taking his chair among the nine. President Donald Trump and the First Lady were present as were as array of dignitaries. The investiture was followed by a reception that was incredibly elegant with the justices in my favorite rooms in the Supreme Court with the famous portraits of prior Chief Justices. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein presented the commission to the Court which was read by the Supreme Court Clerk. There was a notable sound of whispers when the commission from Trump mentioned that Gorsuch was entitle to all of the “emoluments” of his office.
One can certainly understand if the media is a tad confused. This week, Presidential Counselor Kellyanne Conway chided media for taking President Donald Trump’s tweets so seriously and denied that tweets are one of his preferred methods of communication. Shortly thereafter White House press secretary Sean Spicer reminded media that Trump’s tweets are “official statements” and thus serious articulations of policy.
Below is my column in The Hill Newspaper on the impact of President Donald Trump’s latest tweets on the pending motion and appeal before the United States Supreme Court. My view expressed in the column is apparently shared by George Conway, the husband of Trump Adviser Kellyanne Conway. He tweeted “These tweets may make some people feel better, but they certainly won’t help (the Office of the Solicitor General) get 5 votes in SCOTUS, which is what actually matters. Sad.” Conway was once believed in line for a position as Assistant Attorney General. He has now decided to stay in private practice. Continue reading
Below is my column on the unfolding future of the Supreme Court after the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch and the elimination of filibusters in the selection of Supreme Court nominees. For years, commentators have been discussing the timing of the retirement of our older justices, including Justice Ginsburg. There was rising concern when Ginsburg decided to stay on the Court past the midterm mark of the second Obama term. Those concerns have now been magnified and realized with the Trump election and filibuster elimination. Of course, the same concerns are raised by the possible retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, the swing vote on the current Court. New rumors have arisen this week about Kennedy. However, of all of the older justices, it is replacement of Ginsburg that could produce the most profound changes for the country.
This morning I will testify at the confirmation hearing on the nomination of the Hon. Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court. The hearing will commence around 9 am at the hearing room of Hart 216. Ironically, it is the same room that I litigated much of the Porteous impeachment case before final arguments before the 100 Senators on the Senate floor. Below is my written testimony. Continue reading