On Friday, the Supreme Court denied a Nevada church's emergency application for injunctive relief to allow the church to operate beyond the limit placed on them by Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak. The church was challenging the Governor's Directive 021 which allows large groups at restaurants, bars, casinos, gyms, bowling alleys, indoor amusement parks, water parks, and pools as long as they remain at a 50% fire-code capacity limit. However, places of worship are limited to a 50-person limit regardless of the available facilities or precautions taken. The church alleges that the Governor's directive violates the Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses of the First Amendment. While the Court's denial of the church's application was a single sentence long, the 4 dissenting Justices wrote 3 separate dissents totaling 24 pages expressing their concerns over the Governor's blatant disregard for religious Nevadans' Constitutional rights.Read more
One of the hallmarks of the Trump Administration has been placing judges on the federal bench. As of June, President Trump had his 200th federal judicial nominee confirmed by the Senate. Notably President Trump has appointed two justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. One of the most lasting effects of these appointments has been the strengthening of religious liberty which has been under attack over the past several decades. In this past year’s term alone, the Court handed down 3 major victories for religious liberty in Espinoza v. Montana Dept. of Revenue, Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru, and Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania.Read more
Today’s decisions by the Supreme Court were a mixed bag. First, any way you look at it, Chief Justice Robert’s decision in June Medical Services v. Russo is hard to reconcile with his dissent in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt. From SCOTUSblog:
Four years ago, by a vote of 5-3, the Supreme Court struck down a Texas law that (among other things) required doctors who perform abortions to have the right to admit patients at a nearby hospital. In that case, Justice Anthony Kennedy joined his four more liberal colleagues in holding that, although Texas has a genuine interest in protecting the health of pregnant women, there was no evidence that the law actually did anything to promote that interest – but it did make it more difficult for women to get an abortion. Kennedy is no longer on the court, but today it was Chief Justice John Roberts who joined the court’s four liberals in ruling in June Medical Services v. Russo that a similar law from Louisiana is unconstitutional – even as he maintained that he continues to believe that the Texas case was wrongly decided.Read more
After Ukraine and the Russia-hoax, it seems likely the Democrats in the U.S. House's quest for Donald Trump’s tax returns is just the latest effort to damage the President politically. During oral argument over President Trump’s tax returns, USA Today sums up that point as follows:
On the other hand, all the conservatives and some liberal justices wondered whether the subpoenas go too far in seeking a decade of private data involving not only the president but members of his family. They suggested such extensive probing could harass and distract both Trump and future presidents.
. . .
“How can we both protect the House’s interest in obtaining information it needs to legislate but also protect the presidency?" Kavanaugh asked House general counsel Douglas Letter. . . .
But even liberal Associate Justice Stephen Breyer noted the subpoenas "go way, way beyond tax returns," a concern voiced by several conservative colleagues.Read more
On March 25, Tara Reade publicly came forward stating that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993. The Biden campaign has denied the allegations.
The blatant media bias in handling the accusations of Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Vice President Biden shows an extremely disturbing double-standard in due process. Apparently, the Left does not hold their own candidates to their own standards.Read more
If you watch the headlines on left like "Fox News Lawyers Up," you would think that Fox News is worried about a lawsuit filed against it over its COVID-19 coverage. The reality is somewhat different than left wing news and conspiracy websites suggest. As former Fox News host Megyn Kelly tweeted:
Anyone filing such a lawsuit would be laughed out of court and likely sanctioned by the court for filing a frivolous lawsuit. But, whatever you need to tell yourself to stay occupied during quarantine... https://t.co/c87n1bZSVG— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) March 30, 2020
While COVID-19 is the Administration's main focus, they continue to build on one of their most important and long-lasting accomplishments: nominating judges who respect and uphold the rule of law. Today yet another great nomination was made with Judge Justin Walker to the DC Circuit:
Today, President Donald J. Trump announced his intent to nominate:
Justin R. Walker of Kentucky, to serve as Circuit Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Justin Walker currently serves as a United States District Judge for the Western District of Kentucky. Judge Walker is also a part-time Associate Professor and Co-Director of the Ordered Liberty Program at the Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville. Before taking the bench in 2019, Judge Walker was Partner of Counsel at Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP in Louisville, Kentucky, where his practice focused on commercial and appellate litigation. Previously, Judge Walker was an appellate attorney in the Washington, D.C. office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP. Judge Walker served as a law clerk to United States Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and to then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Judge Walker earned his B.A., summa cum laude, from Duke University, and his J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School, where he served as Notes Editor on the Harvard Law Review.Read more
We don’t want to celebrate someone being found guilty of extortion. That said, it is worth remembering that Michael Avenatti was talked about as a Democratic Presidential candidate and a serious lawyer who appeared 121 times on CNN and 108 on MSNBC criticizing the President. He was fired by adult film actress Stormy Daniels but his worst political effort may have been his false attacks on Justice Brett Kavanaugh regarding Julie Swetnick’s “rape train” allegations.Read more
Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words is a great movie. I saw it this weekend and came away with three thoughts, none of which are on his legal philosophy, which is just touched on in the movie. But two of them are very relevant for today.
While most of DC is focused on the “impeachment inquiry” into President Trump, Senate Judiciary Committee Member and Democratic Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris and far-left extremist groups like Demand Justice are calling for the impeachment of Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Harris’ letter begins with citing her own questions and Senate floor speech as proof. Then she goes into details from the recently debunked and uncorroborated allegation from the book by a couple of New York Times reporters. As the Washington Examiner describes this:Read more