Supreme Court - The Supreme Court will take up abortion and gun cases in its new term while ethics concerns swirl

Nigeria’s opposition candidate appeals election verdict, asks court to declare him winner instead

Associated Press

23-09-19 16:39

Nigeria's main opposition candidate in this year's presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, has appealed a ruling that upheld President Bola Tinubu's victory and has asked the nation's Supreme Court to declare him the winner instead. In the documents filed, Abubakar claimed that the appeals court erred in law by not supporting claims of illegality. This is the first of three expected appeals challenging Tinubu's election victory. Abubakar argued that Nigeria's election commission did not follow due process in announcing the winner and that Tinubu was not qualified to contest for president. The appeal asks the Supreme Court to either declare Abubakar the winner or direct the election commission to conduct a fresh vote.
U.S. case alleging anti-immigrant bias is unconstitutional, SpaceX says

The Globe and Mail

23-09-19 15:38

SpaceX has filed a lawsuit against the US government, claiming that an administrative case accusing the rocket and satellite company of refusing to hire refugees and asylees violates the US Constitution. The lawsuit argues that the administrative judges who hear cases involving employment bias against immigrants are not properly appointed, and that keeping the case out of court deprives SpaceX of its constitutional right to a jury trial. SpaceX also stated that regardless of the merits of the government’s claims, the administrative case is not allowed under the US Constitution. The company will ask the court to block the administrative case from moving forward pending the outcome of its lawsuit.
SpaceX says US case alleging anti-immigrant bias is unconstitutional


23-09-19 15:31

SpaceX has filed a lawsuit against the US government, claiming that an administrative case accusing it of refusing to hire refugees and asylees violates the US Constitution. The lawsuit argues that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) administrative judges who hear cases involving employment bias against immigrants are not properly appointed, and that keeping the case out of court deprives SpaceX of its constitutional right to a jury trial. The DOJ has not yet responded to the lawsuit. In its complaint last month, the DOJ alleged that SpaceX routinely refused to hire people who were not US citizens or green card holders.
Kentucky Supreme Court reviews state’s Republican-drawn legislative, congressional maps

Associated Press

23-09-19 21:31

Kentucky Democrats have taken their lawsuit over Republican-drawn boundaries for state House and congressional districts to the state's highest court. Lawyers for the Democrats argued that the boundaries constituted "extreme partisan gerrymandering" and violated the state constitution. A lower court had ruled that the new maps did not violate the constitution, but that they did amount to "partisan gerrymanders".
West Point sued over using race as an admissions factor in the wake of landmark Supreme Court ruling

The Toronto Star

23-09-19 21:03

West Point, the US Military Academy, has been sued in federal court for using race and ethnicity as factors in its admissions process. The lawsuit has been filed by Students for Fair Admissions, the same group that led the lawsuit which led to the Supreme Court striking down affirmative action in college admissions. The group claims that West Point violates the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution, which contains an equal-protection principle that binds the federal government. West Point has responded to the lawsuit by stating that it does not comment on ongoing investigations.
Randy Hillier back in court seeking location change for convoy protest jury trial

The Globe and Mail

23-09-19 21:00

Former Ontario MPP Randy Hillier is seeking to move his jury trial away from Ottawa for a second time. Hillier’s lawyer argued that widespread opposition against the protest in the capital could lead to an unfair trial. Hillier is facing nine charges in connection with his participation in the early 2022 protests against COVID-19 public-health measures and the federal government. Defence lawyer David Abner said the “political demonization” of the convoy movement in Ottawa, especially by local politicians, “has the effect of potentially tainting the perspective of jurors.” Crown prosecutors argued that there are legal safeguards in place to ensure an impartial jury.
Temple University says acting president JoAnne A. Epps has died after collapsing on stage

Associated Press

23-09-19 20:22

JoAnne A. Epps, the acting president of Temple University, has died at the age of 72. Epps collapsed at a memorial service on Tuesday and was transported to Temple University Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The cause of death is currently unknown. Epps, who had worked at the university for nearly 40 years, was named acting president in April following the resignation of Jason Wingard. She had vowed to focus on enrollment and safety during her tenure. Temple University Provost Gregory Mandel described Epps as “one of the most remarkably compassionate and caring individuals” he had ever known.
West Point sued for considering race in admissions

The Independent

23-09-19 20:05

Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), the group behind the recent lawsuits against affirmative action in higher education, has filed a lawsuit against the United States Military Academy, also known as West Point, on the same grounds. The group claims that West Point is violating the Fifth Amendment by using race as a factor in its admissions process. SFFA argues that West Point should admit cadets based on objective metrics and leadership potential, rather than race. The group also claims that race-based admissions are unconstitutional for all public institutions of higher education, citing its successful lawsuits that led to the Supreme Court's ruling against race-conscious admissions. SFFA has taken this opportunity to litigate the use of affirmative action in military academies, as the Supreme Court's ruling did not specify whether it applied to them. The lawsuit alleges that West Point has strayed from evaluating and admitting cadets based on merit and has made race a significant factor in its admissions process. SFFA aims to eliminate race and ethnicity from college admissions.
New Mexico official orders insurance companies to expand timely access to behavioral health services

Associated Press

23-09-19 23:58

New Mexico’s Superintendent of Insurance, Alice Kane, has ordered health insurance companies to expand access to behavioral health services in response to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s declaration of a public health emergency over gun violence. The order mandates that major medical health insurers cover out-of-network behavioral health services at in-network rates. The move has been met with a public backlash and threats of impeachment from Republican lawmakers.
North Carolina House approves election board takeover ahead of 2024

Associated Press

23-09-19 23:17

North Carolina’s House of Representatives has passed a bill to shift control of the state’s Board of Elections from the governor to legislators. The bill would strip the power of the governor to appoint state election officials and local administrators in all of the state’s 100 counties. The bill, which would likely result in a split between the two major parties and could potentially introduce hundreds of new board members, now needs one more Senate vote before it reaches the desk of Democratic Governor Roy Cooper, who is expected to veto it.
Garland to testify before Congress, with his record in the spotlight

Washington Post

23-09-19 23:01

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland's hands-off approach to some of the Department of Justice's (DOJ) most high-profile investigations has drawn both praise and criticism. Garland's commitment to running a law enforcement agency insulated from political interference has been tested as the DOJ investigates former President Donald Trump, current President Joe Biden, and Biden's son, Hunter Biden. Garland has appointed special counsels to investigate both Trump and Biden, which has led to charges being brought against both, but he has faced criticism from both sides of the political spectrum. Republicans accuse Garland of going too easy on Biden's son, while liberals have accused him of treating Hunter Biden too harshly. Garland has also faced criticism for not being aggressive enough in pursuing Trump and for the pace of the investigation. Garland's defenders argue that he is the right person to navigate the complexities of the current political climate, while his critics argue that his hands-off approach has left the DOJ unprepared to defend itself from attacks from both the right and the left.
Kentucky Supreme Court reviews state's Republican-drawn legislative, congressional maps

The Toronto Star

23-09-19 22:29

The Kentucky Democratic Party has brought lawsuits against several Republican-drawn boundaries in the state's highest court, claiming 'extreme partisan gerrymandering' that violates the state constitution. While a lower court ruled that the new boundaries were not a violation, the Supreme Court will now decide if it has the right to evaluate the maps based on the constitutional requirement for redistricting.
Trump speaks at Iowa rally as Giuliani accused of sex assault on Jan 6

The Independent

23-09-21 09:04

Former President Donald Trump has used his new Truth Social platform to mock Chris Christie over the "beachgate" scandal. Trump shared images of Christie sunbathing on a beach during a state government shutdown in 2017 and called him a "grifter." Trump also urged Republicans to "use the power of the purse" as Congress continues to debate spending bills and potentially faces another government shutdown.

During a rally in Iowa, Trump claimed that he would win “three” presidential elections, once again perpetuating the false claim that he beat President Joe Biden in the 2020 election. On the same day, Donald Trump Jr.'s Twitter account was hacked, with a post falsely claiming that his father was dead and that Trump Jr. was running for president in 2024. Meanwhile, a former aide to Trump’s ex-Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has accused Rudy Giuliani of sexually assaulting her on the day of the January 6 Capitol riot. Giuliani’s adviser has vehemently denied the allegations.

These events highlight the ongoing political battles and controversies surrounding Trump and his allies. Trump continues to assert his dominance within the Republican Party, while facing criticism and legal challenges. The hacking of Trump Jr.'s account adds another layer of intrigue to the mix, and the sexual assault allegation against Giuliani further tarnishes his reputation. As the political landscape continues to evolve, these incidents will likely shape the narratives and dynamics within the Republican Party leading up to the 2024 election.

5 Cases to Watch in Supreme Court’s 2023-24 Term

The Heritage Foundation

23-09-21 07:41

School isn’t the only thing back in session this fall. The Supreme Court will resume hearing cases when its new term begins Oct. 2.

So, what’s on the docket?

If you’d like an in-depth analysis of the cases the high court will hear this term, watch The Heritage Foundation’s annual Supreme Court Preview on Wednesday with former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement and noted Supreme Court advocate Lisa Blatt.

In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at five upcoming cases that the high court will hear:

In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, Congress created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as an independent regulatory agency. Congress gave the bureau broad authority and provided it with a unique funding mechanism outside the normal appropriations process. Instead of receiving congressionally appropriated money each year, the bureau instead receives its funding from the Federal Reserve.

Consequently, several financial service organizations claimed that the funding mechanism for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau violates the Constitution’s appropriations clause.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit agreed and ruled in favor of the challengers. Of course, the government disagreed with this ruling and asked the Supreme Court to review the case, which the Supreme Court agreed to do.

If the Supreme Court agrees with the 5th Circuit, the government contends, “virtually every action [the bureau] has taken in the 12 years since it was created” could be called into question.

But the challengers contend that the Supreme Court must agree with the 5th Circuit because to do otherwise would gut the Constitution’s requirements and allow Congress to create unique, unchecked funding mechanisms that could exist in perpetuity without appropriate—and constitutionally required—accountability.

2. Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo

This case asks the Supreme Court to decide whether courts must defer to an executive branch agency’s fishy interpretation of the laws governing its conduct.

If the high court agrees that no such deference needs to be given, it would be overruling one of its controversial precedents and the much-dreaded Chevron deference (requiring courts to defer to an executive branch agency’s interpretation of an ambiguous statute) no longer would exist.

Here, family-owned fisheries took issue with a regulation promulgated under the auspices of the National Marine Fisheries Service that required them not only to carry a person serving as a monitor on their fishing boats to ensure compliance with federal fishing regulations, but also to pay the salaries of the monitors they carry.

Loper Bright and other fisheries challenged this regulation arguing that the National Marine Fisheries Service lacked the statuary authority to force the fisheries to pay for these government-mandated monitors.

The district court sided with the government, as did the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which applied Chevron deference to defer to the agency’s interpretation that the statute governing its conduct allowed it to take such actions.

Of course, the Supreme Court’s decision in this case will have far-reaching implications across the administrative state. If the court discards the idea that it must defer to an agency’s interpretation of an ambiguous statute, many other programs promulgated by the federal bureaucracy could be ripe for reexamination by the courts.

3. Moore v. United States

Charles and Kathleen Moore invested in an Indian start-up company. However, the Moores never received any distributions from the company, since any funds were always reinvested back into it. Nevertheless, the U.S. government taxed them based on their stake in the company.

The government levied this tax in accordance with the mandatory repatriation tax provision of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This supposedly one-time provision stated that reinvested earnings from certain foreign companies should be considered part of the 2017 income of U.S. taxpayers.

As a result, the Moores went to court on the grounds that the tax was unconstitutional under the 16th Amendment, which authorizes Congress to levy “taxes on incomes . . . without apportionment among the several States.” Essentially, the Moores argued that because they hadn’t realized any income, there could be no income tax levied.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the tax against the Moores’ challenge.

So now, the Supreme Court must decide whether the 16th Amendment allows Congress to tax unrealized sums (profits that people don’t receive) without apportionment among the states.

Depending on how the high court rules in this case, it could have a rippling effect on the U.S. tax code. If the court upholds the tax, this might set the stage for a future “wealth tax.”

4. Securities and Exchange Commission v. Jarkesy

The Securities and Exchange Commission suspected that George Jarkesy and his investment advisers committed fraud. So, the SEC commenced an enforcement action against them through its own in-house administrative law process and ultimately found that they had committed fraud. The agency issued a variety of sanctions.

Jarkesy, however, argued that, among other defects, the SEC’s in-house adjudicative process violated his Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit agreed with Jarkesy. It also held that “Congress unconstitutionally delegated legislative power to the SEC by failing to give the SEC an intelligible principle by which to exercise [its] delegated power” and held that the “statutory removal restrictions” for administrative law judges at the SEC were unconstitutional.

Now, the Supreme Court will review these three holdings. Regardless of what the court decides, it will have major implications for the administrative state.

5. O’Connor-Ratcliff v. Garnier / Lindke v. Freed

Both cases broadly revolve around whether a public official’s use of social media can constitute state action sufficient to establish a constitutional violation, and if so, when.

Specifically, in both cases, a public official blocked individuals from their social media accounts. If they did so in their official capacities, it could be a First Amendment violation. If they did so in their private capacities, it would not be a violation.

In O’Connor-Ratcliff v. Garnier, two school board candidates in California’s Poway Unified School District—Michelle O’Connor-Ratcliff and T.J. Zane—created Facebook and Twitter profiles for their campaigns and posted about issues in the school district. Once they were elected and in office, they added their official titles to their social media pages and continued to post about news related to the school district.

Christopher and Kimberly Garnier are parents of children in the same school district where O’Connor-Ratcliff and Zane got elected to the board of trustees. The Garniers consistently posted comments criticizing the board on social media and did so on O’Connor-Ratcliff and Zane’s pages.

O’Connor-Ratcliff and Zane decided to block the Garniers from their social media pages. As a result, the Garniers sued the two school board members for violating their First Amendment rights.

In Lindke v. Freed, James Freed created a private Facebook profile; however, he became popular and reached Facebook’s threshold for the number of friends he could have, so he had to switch his profile to a public page.

In 2014, Freed became a city manager (a government official) and put his job on his page profile. Freed also posted about the COVID-19 pandemic on his page.

Since anyone could view Freed’s page, Kevin Lindke posted comments there that were critical of Freed’s posts. Freed then blocked Lindke for making those comments.

Lindke sued Freed for violating his First Amendment rights.

The Supreme Court’s decisions in these cases could have far-reaching implications for how public officials and citizens interact on social media.


These are only a few of the cases that the Supreme Court will hear this term.

The court also will weigh in on an important bankruptcy case involving the opioid crisis and the ability of a court to limit the liability for those involved in Harrington v. Purdue Pharma L.P.

And the court will give further clarification to a recent Second Amendment ruling when it addresses whether individuals subject to a restraining order for domestic violence may be prohibited from possessing firearms consistent with the Second Amendment in United States v. Rahimi.

The court also will likely add several more cases to its docket throughout the term, so stay tuned.

This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal

California cracks down on carbon


23-09-21 12:51

California has filed a lawsuit against BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Shell, accusing them of lying about the dangers of climate change and seeking damages for environmental damage. The state has also passed two bills that could force large companies to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions and climate-related vulnerabilities. The two measures are the first of their kind in the US and could have implications beyond California. The lawsuit and the legislation are being seen as significant moments in US climate law.
Brazil’s hinterland now resembles Texas


23-09-21 12:51

Brazil's agricultural boom is leading to a shift in population and economic growth from the coasts to the interior of the country. The agricultural sector, which now accounts for a quarter of GDP, has seen significant growth in recent years due to increased demand from China for soybeans, grains, and meat. This growth has led to an increase in population and job opportunities in rural areas and mid-size towns in the farmbelt region of Brazil. The city of Sinop, in the state of Mato Grosso, is a prime example of this trend, with its population growing by 73% in the past 12 years.

While the agricultural boom has brought economic growth and prosperity to these regions, it also poses challenges for the government. The expansion of farmland is encroaching on the cerrado, Brazil’s second-largest biome after the Amazon, and has environmental and political implications. Farmland owners, who tend to support right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, have been accused of contributing to deforestation and have clashed with indigenous communities and environmental activists. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who was re-elected earlier this year, has tried to balance supporting agri-business with promoting greener practices. However, there is growing concern that the agricultural boom could have long-term negative consequences, such as deforestation, reduced rainfall, and the impacts of climate change.

To ensure the sustainability of Brazil’s agricultural sector, there needs to be a focus on greener practices, such as preserving native vegetation and reducing deforestation. Additionally, improving infrastructure, such as roads and logistics, could boost productivity and profitability for farmers. The government’s support for the agricultural sector will be essential in achieving these goals and ensuring the long-term success of Brazil’s farming industry.

America’s states are trying to set rules for the internet


23-09-21 12:51

A federal judge has temporarily blocked a child-safety law in California, setting up a clash between child safety and free speech. The California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act, which was due to go into effect in July 2024, would have required online platforms to treat children with more sensitivity. The law was modelled on Britain’s Age Appropriate Design Code. Other states have followed in California's footsteps, with Florida and Connecticut drawing up similar bills. The legal pushback is based on free speech grounds, with NetChoice suing Texas and Florida over laws that prevent social media companies from regulating content.
Pakistan's new chief justice aims for order in pre-election chaos

Nikkei Asia

23-09-21 11:09

Qazi Faez Isa, the new Chief Justice of Pakistan, is seen by some as a potential source of stability in a country facing political and economic turmoil. Isa has been hailed as a champion of women's participation, accountability, and the separation of powers. He has already ordered a live broadcast of court proceedings on national TV, a first in Pakistan's history. However, experts warn that there are limits to what one judge can do and that Isa will face pressure from multiple directions. One of the most contentious issues he is expected to address is the timing of the next general election. Imran Khan, the former Prime Minister, has called for early snap polls, while the ruling establishment is believed to prefer delaying the election to improve the economy and weaken support for Khan, who is currently imprisoned on corruption charges. Many hope that Isa will ensure timely elections, but experts believe that he is likely to consider the power dynamics in Pakistan and may not be able to force the government to hold quick elections.
Vancouver Island parents awarded $328K after son killed in crosswalk


23-09-21 11:00

The parents of a teenager who was hit and killed by a driver in British Columbia have been awarded CAD 327,635 ($259,000) in compensation by a court. The parents had sought up to CAD 1,666,806 for the loss of their son, who had been supporting their restaurant and would have continued to do so. The case highlights the challenges of compensating victims of vehicular accidents in the province. Under new rules, families will no longer be eligible for such compensation.
Trump says he always had autoworkers’ backs. Union leaders say his first-term record shows otherwise

Associated Press

23-09-21 17:27

Former President Donald Trump plans to visit striking autoworkers in Detroit next week and speak directly to former and current union members, in an attempt to position himself as an ally of blue-collar workers. However, union leaders have repeatedly rebuffed Trump, saying that his first term was far from worker-friendly and citing unfavorable rulings from the labor board and the US Supreme Court, as well as unfulfilled promises of automotive jobs. Union leaders also point to unfavorable Supreme Court rulings under a conservative majority that grew during Trump’s term. They highlight how the Trump-era board reversed a decision holding employers responsible for labor violations by subcontractors or franchisees, and gave a boost to companies that use contract labor, making organizing harder. Job growth figures in the auto industry during Trump’s presidency contradict his claim that the industry thrived under his watch. The total number of auto manufacturing jobs in Michigan stayed even during Trump’s presidency, and in Ohio the number of auto manufacturing jobs grew by fewer than 2,000.