19 states ask Supreme Court to rein in EPA powers over coal plants

West Virginia and 18 other states are asking the Supreme Court to review the scope of the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory authority over greenhouse gases after an appeals court struck down a Trump-era rule months ago on carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants. “The case, if granted, would be the biggest climate question to reach the Supreme Court in more than a decade,” according to Bloomberg Law. In Massachusetts v. EPA (2007), the Supreme Court gave the agency the power to regulate greenhouse gases. The Jan. 19 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit was a victory for … Continue reading 19 states ask Supreme Court to rein in EPA powers over coal plants

Supreme Court sides with illegal alien in dispute over deportation process

The Supreme Court rejected the federal government’s effort to move forward with the deportation of a failed refugee claimant who argued he shouldn’t be removed from the United States because official paperwork was incomplete. When the case was argued on Nov. 9, 2020, the Trump administration favored deportation in this instance. Up to 4,000 immigrants every year are reportedly eligible to receive “cancellation of removal” to avoid splitting up families. The government’s loss may make it more difficult to deport some illegal aliens. The 6–3 vote in Niz-Chavez v. Garland, court file 19-863, evenly divided the court’s six-member conservative bloc. An immigration judge, … Continue reading Supreme Court sides with illegal alien in dispute over deportation process

Biden administration urges Supreme Court to allow schools to censor student expression online

The Biden administration and a Pennsylvania school district urged a skeptical Supreme Court to let school districts suppress free speech by students on social media if they deem it potentially disruptive to school operations. The case, Mahanoy Area School District … Continue reading Biden administration urges Supreme Court to allow schools to censor student expression online

Illegal alien with felony DUI can’t argue deportation was invalid, Supreme Court told

A defendant charged with illegally reentering the United States after being deported isn’t automatically entitled to argue the removal was invalid even if he was removed for a crime that was subsequently deemed not to be a removable offense, the Supreme Court heard. The case, United States v. Palomar-Santiago, court file 20-437, was heard April 27. The Biden administration, which inherited the case from the Trump administration, was represented in the 50-minute telephonic hearing by Erica L. Ross from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The respondent, Refugio Palomar-Santiago, was represented by Bradley N. Garcia. Immigration law enforcement was a … Continue reading Illegal alien with felony DUI can’t argue deportation was invalid, Supreme Court told

California law forcing charities to identify donors is unconstitutional, Supreme Court hears

The Supreme Court seems sympathetic to arguments by two conservative charities that a California law requiring charities to hand over the names of their donors violates the First Amendment. The case, Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta, court file 19-251, and a companion case, Thomas More Law Center v. Bonta, court file 19-255, were heard together April 26. Rob Bonta, a Democrat, was sworn in on April 23 as California’s attorney general. The court allotted 70 minutes for oral argument; the hearing actually ran 104 minutes. The petitioner groups were represented by Derek L. Shaffer. The respondent, California, was represented by California Deputy Solicitor General Aimee … Continue reading California law forcing charities to identify donors is unconstitutional, Supreme Court hears

ACLU asks Supreme Court to rule on warrantless searches of travelers’ digital devices

The Supreme Court has been asked to take on the issue of whether the federal government may search the smartphones and laptop computers of travelers at the U.S. border without a warrant or any suspicion of wrongdoing. The number of electronic device searches at the border rose in 2016 and grew throughout former President Donald Trump’s time in office. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers carried out upwards of 30,000 electronic device searches in fiscal 2018, over three times the number from fiscal 2015, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and the ACLU of Massachusetts, … Continue reading ACLU asks Supreme Court to rule on warrantless searches of travelers’ digital devices

Texas sues Biden for ignoring COVID-19 rules at southern border

Texas has filed a fresh federal lawsuit against President Joe Biden, arguing his policies violate federal law and are encouraging an influx of illegal aliens infected with the CCP virus, the pathogen that causes COVID-19, which jeopardizes public health and the burgeoning economic recovery. The new legal proceeding, the seventh filed by Texas against the Biden administration since the president’s inauguration, seeks a return to Trump-era border policies. “President Biden’s outright disregard of the public health crisis in Texas by welcoming and encouraging mass gatherings of illegal aliens is hypocritical and dangerous,” Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, said in a statement. “This reckless … Continue reading Texas sues Biden for ignoring COVID-19 rules at southern border

Supreme Court rules against teen murderer

The Supreme Court ruled 6–3 against Brett Jones, 31, a man convicted of committing murder when he was 15, rejecting his argument that the court should impose new restrictions on the power of states to sentence juveniles to life imprisonment without parole. In its ruling, the high court determined that his sentence doesn’t violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. Jones had argued that two Supreme Court decisions on mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juvenile defendants required the sentencing judge to explicitly find that rehabilitation was impossible in his case before imposing life without parole. The Supreme Court disagreed, determining … Continue reading Supreme Court rules against teen murderer

Democrats demand Justice Barrett recuse herself from campaign donations case

Three Democratic lawmakers are demanding that Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett recuse herself from an upcoming high-profile donor privacy case because one of the litigants spent money in support of her confirmation to the nation’s highest court. Nominated by then-President Donald Trump, the constitutionalist-conservative Barrett was confirmed by the U.S. Senate just before Election Day 2020. She replaced the liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Sept. 18, 2020. The case, Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Rodriquez, and a companion case, Thomas More Law Center v. Rodriquez, have been consolidated and will be heard together by the court on April … Continue reading Democrats demand Justice Barrett recuse herself from campaign donations case

Uphold gun conviction even though the law changed, Biden administration urges Supreme Court

The Biden administration urged the Supreme Court to uphold the felon-in-possession gun conviction of a man even though a high court ruling after the conviction added an additional element to the crime. The case is United States v. Gary, court file 20-444. … Continue reading Uphold gun conviction even though the law changed, Biden administration urges Supreme Court

Temporary Protected Status holders from El Salvador urge Supreme Court to let them apply for green cards

The Supreme Court heard arguments from the Biden administration that Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders from troubled countries shouldn’t be allowed to upgrade to lawful permanent resident status from inside the United States. The case, Sanchez v. Mayorkas, court file 20-315, comes at a time when the federal government finds itself overwhelmed by a rush of would-be immigrants flooding the nation’s border with Mexico, a situation President Joe Biden finally labeled a “crisis” on April 17. Biden said that situation prevents him from raising the refugee quota at this time. A ruling in favor of the petitioners could allow thousands of TPS … Continue reading Temporary Protected Status holders from El Salvador urge Supreme Court to let them apply for green cards

Hawaii supreme court ends pandemic-related early prisoner release

As state and local governments across the United States ease pandemic-related restrictions, the Supreme Court of the State of Hawaii has decided to end a program that allowed for the release of low-level inmates early in hopes of controlling the spread of COVID-19 in the Aloha State’s detention facilities. The three-page ruling ending judicial oversight of the jails came on April 16. The vote was 4–1. The order also ended the temporary prohibition on judges imposing bail on defendants charged with certain low-level offenses. Concerned about a viral breakout at Oahu Community Correctional Center, the Office of the Public Defender filed a … Continue reading Hawaii supreme court ends pandemic-related early prisoner release

Don’t accept legal challenge to all-male military draft, DOJ urges Supreme Court

The Biden administration is urging the Supreme Court not to take up a petition asking the court to strike down as unconstitutional a law that authorizes military conscription solely for men. The Trump administration defended the current system in the lower courts. President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice (DOJ) obtained two deadline extensions before filing its response. The case is National Coalition for Men v. Selective Service System, court file 20-928. In 1981, the Supreme Court ruled 6–3 in Rostker v. Goldberg that the Military Selective Service Act, under which men, but not women, are required to register for the … Continue reading Don’t accept legal challenge to all-male military draft, DOJ urges Supreme Court

Arkansas asks Supreme Court to review appeals court ruling against law banning Down Syndrome abortions

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge asked the Supreme Court to review a decision by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals that struck down a state law blocking abortionists from terminating a pregnancy solely because the unborn child has Down syndrome. Rutledge, a Republican, is challenging the appeals court’s finding that the U.S. Constitution guarantees a right to selectively abort unborn children with Down syndrome. Rutledge announced the filing April 13, the same day as the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals narrowly reversed a lower court’s injunction blocking a similar Ohio statute that forbids abortions to be carried out because of fetal Down syndrome. The Ohio law, … Continue reading Arkansas asks Supreme Court to review appeals court ruling against law banning Down Syndrome abortions

Texas Supreme Court tosses contempt order against anti-lockdown activist

The Supreme Court of Texas threw out a contempt-of-court order against a small-business owner who was jailed last year for refusing to shutter her business to comply with pandemic-related restrictions. The temporary restraining order that Dallas salon owner Shelley Luther was said … Continue reading Texas Supreme Court tosses contempt order against anti-lockdown activist

Supreme Court refuses stay in Mississippi schools case

The Supreme Court has refused to put on hold a decision by a federal court in Mississippi that found the state’s public education system provided inadequate education to the state’s black children. The case is Reeves v. Williams, court file 20A126. The application to recall and stay the mandate of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit was presented to Justice Samuel Alito, who then referred the matter to the full Supreme Court. The Supreme Court turned down the emergency application on April 8, saying it is too early for it to act because the trial court is still dealing … Continue reading Supreme Court refuses stay in Mississippi schools case

After Black Lives Matter protests, police lethal force decreases: Study

Places where Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests occurred from 2014 to 2019 experienced a decrease in lethal use of force by police but an overall increase in murders, according to an upcoming soon-to-be peer-reviewed academic study. The study from the University of Massachusetts–Amherst may bolster the so-called Ferguson Effect hypothesis, which holds that police officers are reluctant to do their jobs and follow proper police procedure when dealing with blacks because they fear their actions will be characterized as examples of race-driven police brutality. Ferguson, Missouri, was the site of prolonged violent protests in 2014 after Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man, … Continue reading After Black Lives Matter protests, police lethal force decreases: Study

State employee brings RICO suit against public sector union

An Oregon state government employee is suing a labor union under racketeering laws over its refusal to grant her request to opt out of paying dues, claiming the union engaged in a pattern of fraudulent activity that victimized her and other union members. Staci Trees of Bend, Oregon, who works for the Oregon Department of Transportation, was required to either sign a union membership card or pay an agency fee to Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 503 when she was first hired in 2009. But in June 2018, the Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. AFSCME, disrupting how public-sector unions finance their … Continue reading State employee brings RICO suit against public sector union

Supreme Court asks Biden administration to weigh in on Waterfront Commission dispute

The Supreme Court directed the Biden administration to share its views on whether New Jersey should be allowed to withdraw from a powerful bistate commission that monitors corruption at the storied Port of New York and New Jersey, a signal that it may soon decide to hear the commission’s appeal from a lower court. The case is Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor v. Murphy, court file 20-772. The commission won at trial, foiling, at least temporarily, New Jersey’s move to exit from the commission, but that decision was reversed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit. The Waterfront Commission is “a … Continue reading Supreme Court asks Biden administration to weigh in on Waterfront Commission dispute