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In the Courts

Judges Explain Why They Are Knocking Down Enviro Attempts To Sue Oil Companies Into Oblivion

Activist-led attempts to hold the government and oil companies responsible for climate change through the court system are hitting a brick wall as judges argue such efforts are unlikely to gain traction. A panel of judges knocked down a lawsuit on Jan. 17 in which a large group of young people sued the Trump administration for not doing more to ...

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Supreme Court To Decide On ‘Faithless Elector’ Bans, Obamacare Contraception Mandate

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The Supreme Court took up two high profile disputes Friday as it rounds out its docket for the 2019-2020 term, agreeing to decide on the Trump administration’s bid to enforce exemptions from the Obamacare contraception mandate for religious dissenters, and whether state laws punishing “faithless” presidential electors are unconstitutional. The latter case will be decided just months before the 2020 ...

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9th Circuit Court Of Appeals Deals Brutal Blow To Teens Who Sued Trump Over Climate Change

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The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California ruled Friday that children do not have standing to sue the Trump administration and the federal government for not adequately addressing climate change. Climate policy comes under the purview of Congress and the president, not the court system, the U.S. Court of Appeals decided in a split decision. Attorneys for the teenagers ...

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Clinton-Appointed Judge Blocks Trump’s Executive Order On Refugee Resettlement

A federal judge in Maryland ruled on Wednesday to stop President Donald Trump’s executive order allowing states and localities to choose whether they wish to accept refugees. Peter Messitte, a judge on the Maryland District Court, issued a temporary injunction against the Trump administration’s order giving states and counties the option to decline refugees on an annual basis. In his ...

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Supreme Court Turns To Internet Meme For Help In Age Bias Case

Though few institutions in public life are as removed from internet meme culture as the U.S. Supreme Court, a cutting rejoinder popular in social media made an appearance during a Wednesday case about an age discrimination statute. Chief Justice John Roberts wondered if the phrase “OK, boomer,” popular among young people as a dig at Baby Boomers, might be enough ...

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Supreme Court Justices Appear Skeptical Of ‘Bridgegate’ Corruption Convictions

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Members of the Supreme Court appeared skeptical Tuesday that onetime aides to former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie committed a federal crime when they reallocated traffic lanes on the George Washington Bridge to punish a political rival. Though the outcome was far from certain, a number of justices seemed to think that prosecutors abused federal anti-corruption statutes to obtain indictments ...

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Supreme Court Rejects Appeal Of Michelle Carter, Convicted For Encouraging Boyfriend’s Suicide

US Supreme Court

The Supreme Court declined Monday to hear the appeal of Michelle Carter, the Massachusetts woman convicted of manslaughter in connection with her boyfriend’s 2014 suicide. A state court said that Carter engaged in a “systematic campaign of coercion” that culminated in Conrad Roy’s suicide. Carter counters that the contested speech is protected by the First Amendment. Carter’s conviction set off ...

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‘Fast And Furious’ Gunmen Who Killed US Border Patrol Agent Is Sentenced To Life In Prison

One of the Mexican gunmen who killed a U.S. Border Patrol agent, consequently sparking the Obama administration’s “Fast and Furious” scandal, was sentenced to life in prison. U.S. District Judge David C. Bury on Wednesday sentenced Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes to life in federal prison for first-degree murder. The sentencing follows Osorio-Arellanes’ involvement in a 2010 border shootout between Mexican gunmen and U.S. ...

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Supreme Court Orders Fast Response In Obamacare Challenge

US Supreme Court

The Supreme Court ordered the Trump administration and a coalition of red states to respond by Friday to a petition asking the justices to immediately take up a challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Setting the case on an expedited timeline ensures the justices can hear the case during the current term if they so choose. A coalition of ...

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Florida Judge Blocks Release Of Jeffrey Epstein Grand Jury Files

A Florida judge on Tuesday blocked a request for grand-jury records from Jeffrey Epstein’s 2006 indictment, saying there’s not a “scintilla” of evidence to suggest that corruption led to the financier’s sweetheart plea deal in 2008. The request came from special prosecutors appointed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis tasked with investigating “irregularities” surrounding the plea deal Epstein cut with prosecutors ...

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First Amendment Challenge To Mandatory Membership, Bar Fees Reaches Supreme Court

US Supreme Court

Approximately 30 states require lawyers to join a bar association and pay membership fees in order to practice law. Two lawyers are challenging that regime on First Amendment grounds. The plaintiffs say the Supreme Court’s 2018 decision barring mandatory “agency fee” payments to public sector unions forecloses the integrated bar regime.  The dispute is one of several testing the reach ...

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Roberts Urges Judges To Promote Public Confidence, As Divisive Supreme Court Term Looms

Chief Justice John Roberts lamented that misinformation is flourishing online and urged judges to conduct their work in a manner that promotes public faith in fair and impartial judging in his annual year-end report on the federal judiciary. The report pressed judges to be at the vanguard of civic education in their formal work and in their other activities. “In ...

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Sarah Palin Seeks NYT Advertising Revenue As Libel Lawsuit Heads Toward Trial

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin filed a new complaint in her libel lawsuit against The New York Times, after the paper published an editorial that falsely linked Palin to the 2011 shooting of former Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords. The new filing, which proceeds a jury trial that will begin in June, seeks financial damages as well as any advertising revenues ...

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Quick Decision In McGahn Subpoena Case Will Trap Courts In Political Power Contest, DOJ Warns

The Department of Justice (DOJ) warned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that a swift ruling on a House committee’s subpoena to former White House counsel Don McGahn could amount to improper judicial interference with impeachment proceedings. In a Monday legal filing, DOJ lawyers said the dispute bears on the second impeachment article the House adopted against ...

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