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, the Supreme Court held in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue that, under the Free Exercise Clause, if a state has a program giving public dollars to citizens to use at private schools, it cannot tell those citizens that the money can only be used at non-religious private schools. Montana had decided that its scholarship program funds could not be used at religious schools under the state's Blaine Amendment, a legacy of a failed anti-Catholic amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Many First Amendment advocates hope this opinion proves to be a fatal blow to the discriminatory anti-religious Blaine Amendments still found in many state constitutions.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
Last month, the Supreme Court heard oral argument (virtually) in two "faithless electors" cases, Chiafalo v. Washington and Colorado Department of State v. Baca. Presidential electors who wished to vote in 2016 for persons other than Hillary Clinton, who won the popular vote in both states, were sanctioned by the states – a $1,000 fine for the Washington electors and removal for the Colorado electors. These cases present interesting constitutional, jurisdictional, and legal policy questions, and the justices seemed to consider them close cases during oral argument. Part I featured some highlights from arguments presented to the Court by amici, and this post will focus on oral argument and the analysis of the case.Read more
Last week, the Supreme Court heard oral argument (virtually) in two "faithless electors" cases, Chiafalo v. Washington and Colorado Department of State v. Baca. Presidential electors who wished to vote in 2016 for persons other than Hillary Clinton, who won the popular vote in both states, were sanctioned by the states, with a $1,000 fine for the Washington electors and removal for the Colorado electors. These cases present interesting constitutional, jurisdictional, and legal policy questions, and the justices seemed to consider them close cases during oral argument. Here are some highlights from arguments presented to the Court by amici, and part II will focus on oral argument and analysis of the case.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
While Democrats have been obstructing President Trump's nominees to an unprecedented extent, Joe Biden has yet to discuss his most important nominees, those to the Supreme Court.
On the first, cloture had been invoked 32 times combined on the nominees of the previous four Presidents in their first times terms. As of today, for President Trump's nominees, it has been invoked 298 times! Cloture is a delaying tactic traditionally reserved for the most controversial of nominees. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and the Democrats have used it multiple times for people who have passed with no opposition. Most recently on February 20 for Silvia Carreno-Coll who was confirmed in a 96-0 to be a U.S. District Judge. Hardly controversial.Read more
It is not an optimal situation but let’s be real, context and the rule of law matter. Honest liberals and even Joe Biden give qualified agreement for holding the Wisconsin elections today. Yet this is a bit extreme but typical of the reaction on the left.
There are many problems with the left's reaction. First, keep in mind what Democrat Presidential frontrunner Joe Biden stated:
“There’s a lot of things that can be done; that’s for the Wisconsin courts and folks to decide,” former Vice President Joe Biden said last Thursday in a virtual press briefing, in which he insisted that in-person and mail-in voting could both be done safely—even though he considers the possibility of a national convention in the state to be a potential risk to public health.Read more