Author: Cristian Farias

Judge Compares Trump’s Travel Ban Defense To Case For Japanese-American Incarceration

THE HUFFINGTON POST In the thick of his argument defending President Donald Trump’s travel ban earlier this week, a top lawyer for the Department of Justice was thrown a curveball from a dark period in American history. Richard Paez, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, asked Jeffrey Wall, the acting solicitor general, if the government’s case for the executive order banning travelers from six Muslim-majority countries resembled the legal justifications for the displacement and incarceration of Japanese-Americans during World War II. Without addressing the question head-on, Wall rejected the comparison. “This case is not...

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Bush, Obama Lawyers Slam Trump’s Possible Meddling In FBI Russia Probe

THE HUFFINGTON POST WASHINGTON ― President Donald Trump broke with longstanding White House protocol when he reportedly asked former FBI Director James Comey to go easy in his investigation of Michael Flynn, according to lawyers who served as attorney general and chief White House adviser under prior administrations. Asked at a Wednesday conference if he could hypothetically conceive of a similar conversation between former President George W. Bush and a top law enforcement official about an ongoing criminal investigation, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey was emphatic. “One-word answer: No,” Mukasey said. Neil Eggleston, former President Barack Obama’s White House...

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Neil Gorsuch’s First Critical Vote Allowed A Man To Be Executed

THE HUFFINGTON POST Justice Neil Gorsuch made a difference Thursday in his first 5-4 vote on the Supreme Court, siding with his fellow conservatives to deny a petition from eight Arkansas inmates who sought to stop back-to-back-to-back executions. Gorsuch’s vote on one of several 11th-hour petitions, in effect, allowed the state of Arkansas to carry out its first execution in nearly 12 years. Ledell Lee was killed just before midnight Thursday, despite his legal team’s herculean effort to persuade the high court to put off his execution so that he could pursue a potential innocence claim and demonstrate that he was intellectually disabled. Lee...

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Trump Lawyers To Court Reviewing Muslim Travel Ban: Stay Out Of It

  There’s every indication that President Donald Trump and the courts are headed for a constitutional showdown, and only one of them can emerge the victor. The Trump administration late Saturday urged an appeals court to immediately put on hold a judge’s nationwide order that effectively stopped, albeit temporarily, Trump’s de facto travel ban on all refugees and on immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The federal government has begun complying with the order. And as expected, the president has taken to personally attacking the judge, U.S. District Judge James Robart, whom he smeared in a series of Twitter posts that say more about Trump’s apparent disregard for the constitutional order of things than anything else. But lawyers for the administration are making a more nuanced case in legal filings and at oral arguments in the several courts hearing cases over his executive order ― including in an emergency request seeking to block the ruling Robart issued on Friday. The administration’s argument, if accepted by the courts, is one that could give Trump nearly unfettered power to go even beyond his initial executive order. The gist of it: Courts should stay out of this altogether, or else national security will be at risk. In their emergency motion, Department of Justice lawyers told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit that Robart’s ruling “contravenes the considered judgment of Congress...

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Neil Gorsuch May Miss Chance To Decide The Supreme Court’s Biggest Case This Term

  The Supreme Court said Friday that it will hold oral arguments in a closely watched transgender rights case on March 28. Justice-nominee Neil Gorsuch likely won’t be there to hear them. That’s probably good news for Virginia teen Gavin Grimm, the transgender student at the heart of the case. Gorsuch could be confirmed to the Supreme Court before the Senate’s Easter recess in mid-April, but even that’s an optimistic estimate from Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). Democrats have indicated they’ll make it hard for Republicans to move him through the Senate that quickly. One thing we know about Gorsuch is that he thinks courts are too hesitant to second-guess the judgment of federal agencies. That means he would be a likely vote in favor of school authorities in the case of Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. It gets a bit tricky here. The case, broadly speaking, is about transgender rights. But the specific issue before the Supreme Court is about how much deference courts should give to federal agencies’ interpretation of their own regulations. The Gloucester County School Board is challenging the Education Department’s guidance on how public schools should accommodate transgender students’ choice of bathroom, which the department based on Title IX, a law that prohibits sex discrimination by schools that receive federal funding. Title IX does not mention gender identity explicitly. But the Obama Education Department determined that the definition of sex under Title...

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Donald Trump Is Treating His Supreme Court Decision Like ‘Celebrity Apprentice’

In a move that should surprise no one, President Donald Trump is reportedly bringing the two reported finalists for Justice Antonin Scalia’s Supreme Court seat to Washington to create a sense of intrigue ahead of Tuesday’s primetime reveal. Or “to build suspense,” as CNN’s Pamela Brown put it in her report on Tuesday. “This is all an extraordinary measure … to keep the selection private ahead of tonight’s announcement,” Brown said of what increasingly looks like a piece of political theater. Finalists Neil Gorsuch and Thomas Hardiman ― both of whom are highly respected in conservative circles ― are either in Washington or en route for the 8 p.m. announcement, according to CNN. Trump has already said he’s made his choice. So is the purpose of this arrangement to give the president one last sit-down with the nominee just to make sure? Under normal circumstances, a president’s choice for the Supreme Court is shrouded in secrecy. The chief executive meets with the candidates in the days leading up to the nomination and may not make a decision until moments before the announcement. But there’s no precedent for this kind of spectacle, and no apparent reason for bringing both candidates to town for the announcement. Some observers have compared the former “Apprentice” star’s theatrics to another popular reality show: Tonight! #SCOTUS pic.twitter.com/dNsOBWLuwA — Supreme Court Places (@SCOTUSPlaces) January 31, 2017 The next...

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Judge Again Refuses To Throw Away Torture Suit Against CIA Contractors

A federal judge on Friday cleared the way for trial in a case against two psychologists contracted by the CIA to develop what became known as the agency’s “enhanced interrogation program” deployed abroad in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. In a first-of-its-kind ruling last April, U.S. Senior District Judge Justin Quackenbush had already greenlighted the civil lawsuit against the contractors, who are credited with developing the George W. Bush-era torture program detailed in a scathing Senate intelligence report made public in 2014. But the two men, James Elmer Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen, had once again moved to dismiss the case, arguing that the laws of war don’t allow courts to entertain private lawsuits against “agents” of the United States, let alone by those the government has designated as “enemy combatants.” Quackenbush dismissed those arguments in a Friday ruling, reasoning that Mitchell and Jessen presented no evidence of an “agency” relationship with the CIA, which is not a party in the case. He also noted that none of the three former detainees who sued them was officially deemed an enemy combatant. The civil lawsuit ― filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of three foreign nationals who were detained, beaten and subjected to inhumane treatment by the CIA ― may now proceed to trial, which the judge scheduled for June. “There have been so many cases brought...

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Donald Trump Must Give Testimony Under Oath In Restaurant Suit, Judge Rules

WASHINGTON ― A judge has ordered Republican President-elect Donald Trump to give a deposition in a lawsuit against celebrity chef Jose Andres stemming from Trump’s disparaging remarks about Mexican immigrants. District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Jennifer Di Toro ruled on Wednesday that Trump must testify in New York about Andres’ restaurant deal at Trump’s luxury Washington hotel. The deposition can last up to seven hours and will take place in the first week of January. His lawyers had sought to limit how long Trump could be questioned and what could be covered, contending he was extremely busy ahead of his Jan. 20 inauguration. But Di Toro said in her order that limits on the deposition could harm preparations by Andres’ lawyers, and that Trump’s own statements were at the heart of the case. Trump is suing Andres for $10 million over breach of contract after Andres backed out of a plan to open a restaurant in the Trump International Hotel a few blocks from the White House. Andres, who was born in Spain and is a naturalized U.S. citizen, has said he canceled the project after Trump denounced Mexican immigrants in June 2015 as drug dealers and rapists. Andres has argued that the comments made it difficult to attract Hispanic staff and customers and to raise money for a Spanish restaurant. Trump’s transition team did not respond to...

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