Tag Archives: courts

Hasty rollout of Trump immigration policy has 'broken' border courts

Hasty rollout of Trump immigration policy has 'broken' border courtsAfter waiting two months in Mexico to press her case for U.S. asylum, the 20-year-old student from Nicaragua arrived at the border near Tijuana three hours before the critical hearing was scheduled to start at 7:30 a.m. “We kept asking what was going on, but they wouldn’t tell us anything,” said Katia, who asked to be identified by her first name only for fear of jeopardizing her immigration case. Bashir Ghazialam, a lawyer paid for by Katia’s aunt in the United States, convinced the judge to reschedule her case because of the transportation snafu.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Tent courts set to open on border for US asylum seekers

Tent courts set to open on border for US asylum seekersThe Trump administration is ready to open a tent court on the border to help handle tens of thousands of cases of asylum seekers forced to wait in Mexico, with hearings held entirely by videoconference. The administration introduced its “Remain in Mexico” policy in San Diego in January and later expanded it to El Paso, but hearings there are conducted inside large buildings with normal courtrooms, and the judge usually appears in person. The policy, assailed by critics for making families and young children wait in violent Mexico border cities, has become a key piece of the U.S. response to a large increase in asylum-seeking families, especially from Central America.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Gerrymandering Is a Cancer State Courts Can't Cure

Gerrymandering Is a Cancer State Courts Can't Cure(Bloomberg Opinion) — It’s great news that the North Carolina Supreme Court struck down partisan gerrymandering under its state constitution. The ability of states to read their own constitutions differently from the federal constitution is part of what make states laboratories for democracy. And no experiment is more dangerous for the future of democracy than highly effective, computer-modeled partisan gerrymandering.But don’t get too excited about the prospect that lots of states will overcome partisan gerrymandering through state judicial action.In practice, a state Supreme Court is only likely to reverse a partisan gerrymander when the state court is controlled by a different party than the one that controls the state legislature. That can happen, as it did in North Carolina. But when it does occur, it mostly comes down to luck.In eight states, Supreme Court justices are actually themselves chosen in partisan elections. One of those is North Carolina.  (Two additional states elect their Supreme Court justices using a combination of partisan and nonpartisan means.) So the fact that a Democratic majority state Supreme Court overturned the Republican legislature’s partisan gerrymandering is mostly a function of the quirky fact that North Carolina had a majority of Supreme Court Democrats at a moment when its legislature and governorship were in the hands of Republicans.Judicial elections aren’t themselves easy to gerrymander, because they are state-wide. But they are susceptible to various kinds of partisan maneuverings. (Only seven states don’t hold any kind of judicial election.) In general, elections tend to connect the justices to the state’s political apparatus. That might make a state Supreme Court controlled by the minority party more likely to overturn a partisan gerrymander by the other side. But it also essentially ensures that a court controlled by the state’s majority party would uphold a gerrymander.In states where the justices are appointed by the governor, rather than elected, it is always possible that the semi-random drift of judicial appointments and life tenure will produce a state Supreme Court majority of a different ideological flavor than that of the party controlling the legislature at a given moment. The same thing has happened in the past on the U.S. Supreme Court. Yet on the whole, a state with a durable partisan majority at the state level is likely to have a state Supreme Court dominated by the same party. Governors tend to pick their own, and in any case they need to get their state judicial picks past state legislatures’ confirmation processes.That means most of the time, state supreme courts won’t be very likely to overturn partisan gerrymanders.The interplay of federal and state constitutions is relevant here. The reason opponents of partisan gerrymandering fought a decades-long battle to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to rule partisan gerrymandering unconstitutional was precisely that they didn’t trust the state courts to solve the problem piecemeal – because state courts so often reflect the configuration of political power at the state level.But the advocates lost in a 5-4 decision this past June, saying that federal courts don’t have the power to hear such cases. Given the current makeup of the Court, that defeat was almost certainly generational.Relying on state supreme courts to do what the U.S. Supreme Court would not do is thus a very distant second-best. The North Carolina victory is at most a consolation prize — and as consolation prizes go, not even a very good one.In the end, the only solution to the problem of gerrymandering is if the voters themselves decide enough is enough. Of course, the whole point of partisan gerrymandering is to make it exceedingly difficult for voters to express their preferences by giving a systematic advantage to the party in power. That’s what makes it such a scourge of democracy.The option that leaves voters is to introduce and pass state level referenda that would impose non-partisan district design on their states. Referenda aren’t looking all that good in these populist days, especially to anyone who is watching the Brexit debacle unfold. But the truth is that Progressive-era reformers introduced the whole idea of the referendum into U.S. politics in order to get around special interests who controlled state legislatures. In the end, only a referendum can allow the people to break a self-interested legislative chokehold.In a democracy, the ultimate salvation lies only with the voters. That’s a painful reality. But it’s better to acknowledge it than to fantasize the state supreme courts will save us from ourselves.To contact the author of this story: Noah Feldman at nfeldman7@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Sarah Green Carmichael at sgreencarmic@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Noah Feldman is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a professor of law at Harvard University and was a clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter. His books include “The Three Lives of James Madison: Genius, Partisan, President.” For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Nunes: The courts are going to have to come in and clean up Fusion GPS

Nunes: The courts are going to have to come in and clean up Fusion GPSHouse Intelligence Committee ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes on his lawsuit against Fusion GPS on 'Hannity.'



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Supreme Court says federal courts cannot strike down partisan gerrymandering

Supreme Court says federal courts cannot strike down partisan gerrymanderingThe 5-4 opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts said federal courts may not intervene to block partisan gerrymandering.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Supreme Court’s Conservative Justices Weigh Scrapping Another Precedent

Supreme Court’s Conservative Justices Weigh Scrapping Another Precedent(Bloomberg) — The U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority may be ready to overturn a longstanding precedent for the third time in recent weeks — perhaps foreshadowing the vulnerability of its rulings on abortion rights.The justices will rule as early as Wednesday on a business-backed bid to overturn decades-old decisions that give federal agencies broad power to say what their regulations mean.The case is one of eight rulings due before the justices’ term ends this week. The court also plans to rule on gerrymandered voting maps and the Trump administration’s bid to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.Another precedent-toppling ruling would extend a pattern that already has liberal justices sounding alarms. They’ve hinted that the five conservative justices may be eyeing the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which legalized abortion nationwide.“Today’s decision can only cause one to wonder which cases the court will overrule next,” dissenting Justice Stephen Breyer wrote last month when the court overruled a 1979 precedent to say that states are immune from private suits in another state’s courts.“Well, that didn’t take long,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote 39 days later when the court overturned part of a 1985 ruling and said people could go directly to federal court to claim that a government regulation unconstitutionally took private property without compensation. “Now one may wonder yet again.”Both of those were 5-4 decisions, with Chief Justice John Roberts and the other Republican appointees — Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — in the majority.Ducking AbortionSo far, the court has largely sidestepped the explosive topic of abortion. In May, the court turned away Indiana’s bid to bar abortions based on a fetus’s race or gender or a risk of genetic disorder — an appeal that could have raised new doubts about Roe. The justices did uphold a separate Indiana law requiring clinics to bury or cremate fetal remains.The court could provide new signals about its intentions on abortion this week. The justices are due to say whether they’ll consider Alabama’s effort to ban the most common method used for women in their second trimester of pregnancy.The court under Roberts has actually overturned precedents at a slower rate than previous courts, says Jonathan Adler, a constitutional law professor at Case Western Reserve School of Law. Before this term started, the Roberts court had issued only 13 rulings that overturned a precedent, according to data from the Government Printing Office, he says.But Roberts, who took his seat in 2005, has never had a conservative majority as reliable as the one he got when the Senate confirmed Kavanaugh to succeed the retired Anthony Kennedy.“It is certainly possible either that the court may become more aggressive going forward or that the cases in which the court reconsiders precedents will have a greater ideological uniformity,” Adler said.Adler is among those urging the court to overturn a 1997 ruling, Auer v. Robbins, that requires judges to defer to a federal agency’s interpretation of its own regulations, as long as its approach is reasonable.Business groups say that ruling, along with a related 1945 decision, leads to onerous and unpredictable rules and leaves companies vulnerable to penalties when an agency shifts its thinking. Defenders of the rulings say they give agencies flexibility to account for changing circumstances.Religion and GerrymandersThe regulation, property-rights and sovereign-immunity cases are among the four appeals this term that squarely asked the justices to topple at least one precedent.The fourth one split the court in an unusual way last week. The court had been asked to overturn a rule that lets states and the federal government file separate criminal charges over the same conduct without violating the Constitution’s ban on double jeopardy.The court refused on a 7-2 vote, reaffirming precedents dating to the middle of the 19th century. Alito’s majority opinion said the case for keeping precedents “grows in proportion to their antiquity.” An unlikely pair of justices — Gorsuch and liberal Ruth Bader Ginsburg — dissented.Three other cases have raised questions about precedents, though less directly. In backing hunting rights in Wyoming for the Crow Indian Tribe, a majority that included the four liberals and Gorsuch said an 1896 ruling had previously been “repudiated.”In ruling last week that a 40-foot cross could remain in a Maryland public intersection as a war memorial, a majority of justices criticized, without overruling, a 1971 decision that set up a three-part test for assessing whether government support for religion goes too far.And the gerrymandering cases could topple a 1986 ruling that said voting maps could be challenged as too partisan, though the justices in that case couldn’t agree on a standard for doing so. Paul Clement, the lawyer defending a Republican-drawn North Carolina congressional map, told Roberts during arguments in March that the court might need to overturn that ruling.‘Jolt to the System’At the center of it all is Roberts, who said in his 2005 Senate confirmation hearing that overruling a precedent is a “jolt to the legal system.” He has tended to take a multi-step approach toward questioning a precedent, signaling concern in a preliminary case before voting to overturn it altogether.“His favorite methodology seems to be to essentially chip away at cases in various steps so that the day that the case is actually overruled it’s really not even news, it’s been coming for a couple of years,” Clement said last month at a symposium co-hosted by the conservative Heritage Foundation and Bradley Foundation.Writing the majority opinion in the property-rights case last week, Roberts said the 1985 Williamson County v. Hamilton Bank ruling relied on “exceptionally ill-founded reasoning,” had been repeatedly criticized by justices over the years and had proven “unworkable in practice.”It’s still too early to judge how Roberts will act toward precedents now that he has a stronger conservative majority, Adler said.“Like a lot of people I’m curious if the chief is going to become more aggressive, but I’m not willing to say that we can be sure of that yet,” said Adler.To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Stohr in Washington at gstohr@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net, Laurie Asséo, John HarneyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Trump courts the Hispanic vote: 'I love immigrants'

Trump courts the Hispanic vote: 'I love immigrants'US President Donald Trump, who officially launched his campaign for re-election this week, pitched himself to Hispanic voters Thursday during an interview with the US Spanish-language network Telemundo. “I love immigrants,” Trump said, when presenter Jose Diaz-Balart asked the president about his administration’s policies on child separation, on the DACA program protecting people brought to the US illegally as children — which the president ended — and on his “zero-tolerance” border plans. “You mean illegal immigrants,” Trump said.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Frustration builds for Boeing Max plane crash families as they fight to have lawsuits heard in US courts

Frustration builds for Boeing Max plane crash families as they fight to have lawsuits heard in US courtsHuman remains and personal belongings were still scattered across the site of the Ethiopian Airlines crash a month after it happened, a relative of one of the victims has claimed.  The London-based relative, whose sister died in the crash, told The Telegraph she was "horrified" to discover "what appeared to be an arm and a fragment of bone" when she visited the spot where 157 people lost their lives in March. She shared photographs showing children's shoes and other personal effects lying uncollected on the ground, taken 28 days after the tragedy, she said.  The relative, who does not want to be identified, also claimed the site wasn't properly secured with gaps in the perimeter allowing people and animals to "freely pass by" where the tragedy took place.  "We're still barely managing to believe what's happened but on top of the tragedy to have also no respect at all to the families and the victims and have those items left on the land… it's outrageous," she said.   The photos shared with The Telegraph show clothes and other personal belongings at the crash site The claims raise serious questions about how the Ethiopian authorities have managed the aftermath of the tragedy and whether the investigation is as thorough as it could be.  Contacted by this newspaper, the Ethiopian embassies in both the UK and the US declined to comment.  The horror has added to a build up of frustration among victims' families following the two recent airline tragedies involving the Boeing 737 Max plane. Victims of Indonesia's Lion Air crash, the first of the two involving the model, have launched legal action against the American aviation manufacturer for the wrongful death of their loved ones.   Among them is Rini Soegiyono, whose younger sister Niar, 39, was killed along with her state prosecutor husband Andri Wiranofa, 41, on the flight on October 29.  Ms Soegiyono, 52, who has been left to raise her nieces, aged just 11 and seven, believes Boeing owes her family and the others taking legal action an explanation for what went wrong.  "The world is also waiting so it is important to know so that it will not happen again. We don’t want any other family to have to go through what we are going through,” she told The Telegraph.  “We screamed, we screamed to the world. We had no experience before, we never thought that it will happen to us, to our family… because at that time, Boeing said that the plane is safe.”   The growing number of Indonesian litigants are now fighting for the right to have their cases heard in US courts, rather than in Indonesia, where victim compensation is likely to be much lower. A decision on whether that right will be granted is imminent.  Divers recovered the black box from the wreckage of the Lion Air plane Credit: Adek Berry/AFP An apology issued earlier this month by Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing’s CEO, for the double tragedy, and his admission that a preliminary investigation into the Ethiopian crash revealed that both incidents involved similar errors in automated flight systems, gave victims’ families renewed hopes for justice.  But Brian Kabateck, a high-profile California-based lawyer working on behalf of a dozen Indonesian families including Ms Soegiyono’s, said that Boeing owes the crash victims “much more than sympathy,” adding: “They deserve their day in a United States courtroom.” Lion Air flight 610 disappeared from the radar screens 12 minutes after take-off and all 189 passengers and crew were lost. Less than five months later, on March 10, a second Boeing 737 Max jet, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, nosedived into a field six minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa leaving no survivors.  Even after the second crash, Boeing insisted that the 737 MAX was safe, and “was willing to continue to gamble with the lives of the flying public” while furiously working behind the scenes on a software fix, Mr Kabateck alleged.  Boeing declined to comment on the current litigation, referring The Telegraph to general public statements on its website.   For the families of the Ethiopian Airlines victims, the ordeal continues as they await reassurances that everything possible has been done to recover the personal belongings of their loved ones. More than 150 people were killed in the Ethiopian Airlines crash Credit: Eduardo Soteras/AFP The relative said she travelled to the crash site on April 7, almost a month after the tragedy, to be put at ease that the site had been thoroughly excavated after seeing pictures of chaotic scenes in the media.  But to her dismay, she claimed the area was not properly secured and victims' belongings had been left unattended and exposed to the elements.  She described the personal horror of flicking through the debris looking for a trace of her sister, a young aid worker.  "I spent almost two hours looking for anything belonging to my sister and that's the last thing I would wish for anybody. I literally searched every single spot to find something pertaining to her," she told The Telegraph.  "We found what we believe to be remains of human bones, which were then handed over to the guards in a military tent, just outside the site of the crash," she said. She added that to her shock the guards simply used a plastic bag lying on the ground to remove them, ignoring the "minimum standards and procedures" typically applied to the scene of a fatal accident. "I'm concerned that for them [the authorities] the search is finished. It is distressing to see that all the items that can mean the world to a suffering family are still on the ground, just waiting to be collected rather than being searched for," she said.   "There's a risk for the families of not retrieving anything from their loved ones' belongings."



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Trump Courts American Jews With Bid to Secure Netanyahu’s Re-Election

Trump Courts American Jews With Bid to Secure Netanyahu’s Re-ElectionTrump has made naked appeals to U.S. Jewish voters to abandon any allegiance to the Democratic Party, calling his opposition anti-Semitic while promoting his unprecedented decisions to expand U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty at the expense of the Palestinians. The president moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem in 2018, recognizing the divided city as Israel’s capital.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Venezuela's Guaido courts Russia; powers divided on Maduro

Venezuela's Guaido courts Russia; powers divided on MaduroGuaido told Reuters he had sent communications to both powers, which are Venezuela’s top foreign creditors and support Maduro in the U.N. Security Council despite worries about the cash-strapped country’s ability to pay. The 35-year-old leader argued that Russia and China’s interests would be best served by switching the side they back in Venezuela, an OPEC member which has the world’s largest oil reserves but is in dire financial straits. “What most suits Russia and China is the country’s stability and a change of government,” Guaido said.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines