“”If the goal of HB2319 is to prevent interference with law enforcement activities, the Court fails to see how the presence of a person recording a video near an officer interferes with the officer’s activities,” Tuchi wrote in his order issuing a temporary injunction against the law.”
“multiple federal appeals courts have upheld the right to film police as a core First Amendment activity.”
“Former President Donald Trump’s reaction to the 2020 election arguably violated several federal and state laws. But any effort to prosecute him for those alleged violations would face the possibly insurmountable challenge of proving criminal intent.
Given Trump’s long history of embracing self-flattering assertions at odds with reality, it seems plausible that he sincerely believed, despite all the countervailing evidence, that the election was subverted by systematic fraud. If so, his various efforts to prevent Joe Biden from taking office would have been, from his perspective, attempts to correct a grievous wrong rather than attempts to illegally obstruct the peaceful transfer of power.
The select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot showed that people close to Trump recognized who had actually won the election and tried to dissuade him from embracing wild conspiracy theories to the contrary. But that testimony did not conclusively prove that Trump privately agreed with those advisers even while publicly promoting the stolen-election fantasy. A recent ruling by a federal judge in California supplies further evidence to support that interpretation, suggesting that Trump knowingly submitted false claims about election fraud in Georgia as part of a federal lawsuit.”
“Carter ruled that the crime-fraud exception applies to four emails related to Trump and Eastman’s “knowing misrepresentation of voter fraud numbers in Georgia when seeking to overturn the election results in federal court.” Carter says the emails indicate that Trump made those claims even though he knew they had been discredited.
In a state lawsuit filed on December 4, 2021, Carter notes, “President Trump and his attorneys alleged…that Fulton County improperly counted a number of votes,” including “10,315 deceased people, 2,560 felons, and 2,423 unregistered voters.” When they decided to file a federal lawsuit challenging the election results, Trump and his lawyers “discussed incorporating by reference the voter fraud numbers alleged in the state petition.” But in a December 30 email, Eastman “relayed ‘concerns’ from President Trump’s team ‘about including specific numbers in the paragraph dealing with felons, deceased, moved, etc.'”
The next day, Eastman elaborated on those concerns: “Although the President signed a verification for [the state court filing] back on Dec. 1, he has since been made aware that some of the allegations (and evidence proffered by the experts) has been inaccurate. For him to sign a new verification with that knowledge (and incorporation by reference) would not be accurate.”
Trump apparently was unfazed. “President Trump and his attorneys ultimately filed the complaint with the same inaccurate numbers without rectifying, clarifying, or otherwise changing them,” Carter writes. “President Trump, moreover, signed a verification swearing under oath that the incorporated, inaccurate numbers ‘are true and correct’ or ‘believed to be true and correct’ to the best of his knowledge and belief.”
In other words, Carter says, “the emails show that President Trump knew that the specific numbers of voter fraud were wrong but continued to tout those numbers, both in court and to the public.” The emails therefore “are sufficiently related to and in furtherance of a conspiracy to defraud the United States.””
“Walgreens fills prescriptions. It is not in the business of drug enforcement. If some of the prescriptions filled by Walgreens were written by dirty doctors or went to people who abused them, it is not on individual pharmacists to figure that out.
Expecting pharmacists to be drug cops, too, ensures that more pharmacies will be hesitant to fill legitimate prescriptions, leaving patients in the lurch. It also threatens to worsen America’s pharmacist shortage.
In a number of recent cases, pharmacies and pharmacists have been sued for not filling prescriptions. including opioid prescriptions. It seems we’ve put them in a classic damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.”
“To sum it up: Walgreens filled prescriptions for a legal substance, but because some people went on to distribute or use the drugs in ways the government has forbidden, the company has to pay the government huge sums of money. Meanwhile, the inability of people to get prescription painkillers has given way to reliance on much more dangerous substances, like fentanyl, from which many more people are dying of overdoses. People keep taking opioids, and the government keeps making it harder for them to do so safely.”
“the Supreme Court handed down a brief, 5-4 decision that effectively places Drew Tipton, a Trump-appointed federal trial judge in Texas, in charge of many of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) decisions about which immigrants to target.
The decision was largely along party lines, except that Justice Amy Coney Barrett joined the Court’s three Democratic appointees.
The decision in United States v. Texas is temporary, but the upshot of this decision is that Tipton will effectively wield much of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’s authority over how ICE officers prioritize their time for as much as an entire year — and that’s assuming that the Biden administration ultimately prevails when the Court reconsiders this case next winter.
At issue in this case is a perfectly standard decision Mayorkas made last September. Federal law provides that the secretary of homeland security “shall be responsible” for “establishing national immigration enforcement policies and priorities.” Pursuant to this authority, Mayorkas issued a memo to ICE’s acting director, informing him that the agency should prioritize enforcement efforts against undocumented or otherwise removable immigrants who “pose a threat to national security, public safety, and border security and thus threaten America’s well-being.”
Then-secretaries of homeland security issued similar memos setting enforcement priorities in 2000, 2005, 2010, 2011, 2014, and 2017.
Not long after Mayorkas handed down his memo, however, the Republican attorneys general of Texas and Louisiana went to Tipton, a Trump judge with a history of handing down legally dubious decisions halting Biden administration immigration policies, asking Tipton to invalidate Mayorkas’s memo. Tipton obliged, and an especially conservative panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit allowed Tipton’s order to remain in effect.
DOJ asked the Supreme Court to stay Tipton’s decision, temporarily restoring an elected administration’s control over federal law enforcement while this case proceeds. But the Court just refused. And it did so without explanation.”
“In a market society, economists Milton and Rose Friedman wrote in 1979, “the consumer is protected from being exploited by one seller by the existence of another seller from whom he can buy and who is eager to sell to him.” In theory, if one company adopts “woke” branding that offends its customers, then the market will deliver those customers into the waiting arms of a competitor.
Yet, rather than waiting for the hand of the market to deliver an invisible spanking to “woke” corporations, speaker after speaker at the Federalist Society’s convention called for a central planner to intervene. ”
“State secrets privilege, as the doctrine is known, has a long and sketchy history, evolving from bad official behavior after a 1948 plane crash that killed several civilian observers. When the observers’ widows sued in United States v. Reynolds, the government argued that information about the plane was too super-secret to be revealed in court. The Supreme Court agreed that some things are too sensitive to be used in legal proceedings and gave the executive branch a free pass to invoke the phrase “national security” as a shield against accountability.
“Decades later, declassified documents revealed that the flight had no national security import at all and that Air Force officials had perjured themselves when they told the Court otherwise,” Reason’s Matt Welch observed in 2006. “In the meantime, the ruling provided the framework for executive privilege, which the Bush administration has been trying to expand.”
Not just the Bush administration appreciated state secrets privilege, of course; all presidents enjoy the ability to act without consequence. That’s how we end up all these years later with the question of whether the state secrets privilege is so broad that it can protect federal agents from the need to square spying on Americans with the protections afforded by the Constitution.”
“the government isn’t arguing just that some information is too sensitive for the public, but also that it should be kept from judges’ eyes. That would leave people with no recourse at all when federal agencies invoke the magic phrase “national security” to block lawsuits alleging rights violations.”
“Almost immediately after President Joe Biden took office, his administration started to roll back his predecessor Donald Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, which required many asylum seekers who arrive at the United States’ southern border to stay in Mexico while they await a hearing on their asylum claim.”
” however, a Trump-appointed judge to a federal court in Texas effectively ordered the federal government to reinstate this Trump-era policy — which is officially known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) — permanently. Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk’s opinion in Texas v. Biden makes the implausible argument that a federal immigration law enacted by Congress in 1996 makes the Remain in Mexico policy mandatory, unless the federal government detains every asylum seeker who is not sent back to Mexico.
Trump’s Remain in Mexico policy was not implemented until early 2019. So the upshot of Kacsmaryk’s opinion is that the federal government was in violation of this 1996 statute for half of the Clinton administration, the entire George W. Bush administration, the entire Obama administration, and most of the Trump administration.
In reality, that 1996 federal law is part of a web of statutes and constitutional doctrines giving immigration officials multiple options when an asylum seeker arrives at the US-Mexico border. One provision of federal immigration law provides that most of these asylum seekers “shall be detained” while they await a hearing.”
“Kacsmaryk’s decision, moreover, is expected to be appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, one of the most conservative courts in the country — and then potentially to a Supreme Court where Republican appointees have a 6-3 supermajority.
So, while Kacsmaryk’s opinion is wrong on the law, there is no guarantee that it will be reversed by a higher court.”
“Kacsmaryk is one of many Trump appointees to the federal bench who appears to have been chosen largely due to his unusually conservative political views. Prior to becoming a judge, Kacsmaryk was deputy general counsel for the First Liberty Institute, a firm that largely litigates on behalf of causes of the religious right. In his past writings, he labeled being transgender a “mental disorder” and claimed that gay people are “disordered.”
As recently as 2015, Kacsmaryk published an article denouncing a “Sexual Revolution” that “sought public affirmation of the lie that the human person is an autonomous blob of Silly Putty unconstrained by nature or biology, and that marriage, sexuality, gender identity, and even the unborn child must yield to the erotic desires of liberated adults.”
He’s also the third conservative federal judge in Texas to strike down an immigration policy supported by the Biden administration.”
“The Supreme Court’s decisions are supposed to give federal officials a great deal of discretion to shape immigration policy — and to afford mercy to individual immigrants. As the Court explained in Arizona v. United States (2012) “a principal feature of the removal system is the broad discretion exercised by immigration officials.”
But judges like Kacsmaryk, Tipton, and Hanen appear eager to strip the Biden administration of that discretion. With a 6-3 conservative Supreme Court overseeing the judiciary, these judges may very well get away with it.”
“It appears likely, moreover, that the GOP-controlled judiciary will be a thorn in Biden’s side. Trump-appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch, for example, is already laying the groundwork to strip federal agencies of much of their power to regulate after Biden takes office, and Gorsuch almost certainly has the five votes he needs to make this happen.
The Republican Party dominates the federal judiciary in no small part due to six years of work by outgoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. When Justice Antonin Scalia died nearly a year before President Barack Obama left office, McConnell announced almost immediately that Obama’s Supreme Court nominee would get the cold shoulder from a Republican Senate. When Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died shortly before the 2020 election, McConnell ensured that her conservative replacement, Amy Coney Barrett, would be confirmed just days before the nation voted to cast Trump out of office.
During the final two years of Obama’s presidency — the only two years of his presidency that Republicans controlled the Senate — McConnell imposed a near-total blockade on new appointments to the federal courts of appeals (often referred to as “circuit” judges). The result was that now-outgoing President Donald Trump got to fill nearly all of the judicial vacancies that came open during his presidency, plus nearly all of the appellate court seats Obama should have filled in his final two years.
Although Obama served for twice as long as Trump, there are currently 53 active circuit judges appointed by Trump and only 50 appointed by Obama. (Obama’s judicial confirmations also got off to a fairly slow start, though they picked up considerably once the Senate changed its rules in 2013 to make it easier to confirm judges.)”
“Hand-picked by politicians, some magistrates were found to have accepted bribes, stolen money, flubbed trials, trampled over constitutional protections and mishandled even the most basic elements of criminal cases.
And though they handle hundreds of thousands of misdemeanor and civil cases every year, roughly three-quarters of the state’s magistrates have never practiced law in their life, the investigation found.”
“The investigation found that a flaw in the application process removed a requirement for magistrates to disclose if they have been disciplined for misconduct by the state’s judicial watchdog. A dozen sitting judges with prior ethics offenses skated through their last reappointment, no questions asked, the investigation found.”
“Magistrates are the busiest judges in the state. They sit in judgment on cases involving petty thefts, drunken driving, domestic violence, assaults and disorderly conduct. They also issue arrest warrants, set bail, preside over trials and conduct preliminary hearings to assess if there is sufficient probable cause to support felony charges such as murder, rape and robbery.
Yet the news organizations’ investigation found that most magistrates are not lawyers and could not represent someone in a court of law — yet they preside over them.
Davis has stressed that the state must bolster its legal qualifications for all magistrates. Though he has not proposed details, he would at least increase their mandatory legal training from the current minimum of 57 1/2 hours.
By comparison, South Carolina is stricter with its barbers: Their training school mandates 1,500 hours.”