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Trump Nominates 10 Conservatives For Federal Court Judgeships

Donald Trump has nominated ten people to serve as federal judges. All are conservatives.

Not a single criminal defense attorney was nominated. Several are long term prosecutors. A few were law clerks to Justice Clarence Thomas or deceased Justice Anton Scalia. Some only have state court or academic experience. [More..]

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Republicans Threaten Nuclear Option to Confirm Gorsuch

Democrats are close to having the required votes to defeat Neil Gorsuch. Republicans will then change the rules to allow passage by 51 votes (the nuclear option.)

If that means that radical right justices like William Pryor can be confirmed by 51 votes, I am not in favor of the filibuster. Trump may get to name several supreme court judges over the next few years, if he stays in office that long, and the damage he will do to the Supreme Court and federal judiciary where there are 100 vacancies, is enormous. I'm not a supporter of Gorsuch or his opinions, but he's not in the same league as William Pryor (or John Yoo, for that matter -- how long before his name comes up?)

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Neil Gorsuch Confirmation Hearings

Donald Trump is the rudest person ever. He's interrupted Neil Gorsuch's confirmation hearing to have Spicy give a press conference. CNN is out of service on my TV, Fox and MSNBC are airing the presser. Online is the only place for the hearing right now.

While I was driving, I heard him talk about civil litigants needing access to the courts. He talks a lot about himself and sports. He's not the most exciting personality.

I have no doubt he'll be confirmed, but I can think of a lot worse choices Trump could have made. I suspect Trump's aides went through their "opinions matching Scalia" file and he came up on top. [More...]

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Trump Loses in 9th Circuit: No Stay of Lower Court Immigration Order

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Donald Trump's request for an emergency stay of a lower court order blocking implementation of his Executive Order denying visas to persons from seven countries for 90 days as unconstitutional:

{W]e hold that the Government has not shown a likelihood of success on the merits of its appeal, nor has it shown that failure to enter a stay would cause irreparable injury, and we therefore deny its emergency motion for a stay.

You can read the 9th Circuit's ruling here. [More...]

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9th Circuit to Live Stream Trump Immigration Argument

Bump and Update:

Hearing begins in two hours (3 pm PT)

From the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals:

The oral argument scheduled for Tuesday, February 7, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. PST will be available for live streaming through the court’s public website.

Here is the direct link to the live-stream.

Here is the reply brief arguing against Trump's request for an emergency stay of the lower court order. Lots of amicus briefs have been filed on both sides. Former government officials, including John Kerry, Madeline Albright and more, have filed a statement opposing Trump's request for a stay of the lower court order. They explain in detail why Trump's order endangers the United States. [More...]

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Trump Milks Media Time to Announce Supreme Court Justice

Trump picks 10th Circuit Justice Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court.

In 5 minutes, Donald Trump will name his nominee to the Supreme Court.

In typical over-the top carnival style, he has asked two of his contenders fly to DC to appear with him, when only one will get the nod. [More...]

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Supreme Court Strikes Down TX Abortion Restrictions

The Supreme Court ruled today that a Texas law limiting access to abortions was unconstitutional:

The Supreme Court’s 5 to 3 decision ruled unconstitutional a 2013 Texas law that required all abortion providers to meet ambulatory surgical standards and physicians to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Supporters of the regulations under House Bill 2 said they aimed to protect women’s health. Abortion advocates called the mandates unnecessary, expensive and an “undue burden” on women’s rights.

...In the court opinion, the justices said lawmakers couldn’t prove the rules actually protected women’s health. The move suggested restrictive abortion measures won’t stand unless policy designers prove they keep women from harm.

The opinion is here. [More...]

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Obama's Supreme Court Pick

I read the other contenders withdrew from the race.

I couldn't disagree more with Obama's announcement that he's tapped Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court.

We don't need another Alito on the Court. It's got enough conservative law and order type former prosecutors.

Republicans will love this choice. It seems to me Obama just wants to appease them and get them to back off their position that the next president should get to choose Scalia's replacement.

So disappointed.

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Obama's Supreme Court Choices

A new name has emerged as a finalist in the Supreme Court sweeps to replace Justice Scalia. Meet Paul Watford.

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Justice Thomas Asks Questions

Justice Clarence Thomas asked questions of a government lawyer during oral arguments yesterday. It was the first time in 10 years he's asked a question. What was the case? A gun rights case.

"Ms. Eisenstein, one question," Thomas said. "This is a misdemeanor violation. It suspends a constitutional right. Can you give me another area where a misdemeanor violation suspends a constitutional right?"

What misdemeanor is that? The federal law that prohibits someone convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence in state court from owning a firearm.The case is Voisine v. United States.

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On Scalia and Naming His Replacement

On Scalia and his legacy, I wrote this.

The issue of replacing Scalia, Kagro and I did this. Starting at the 40 minute mark, I think David and I discuss this in a manner that, imnsho, you won't find anywhere else. Take a listen.

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Justice Antonin Scalia Dead at 79

You'll have heard this by now.

The big issues - President Obama will nominate a replacement. The GOP Senate will not vote or confirm the nominee. What will this mean?

Discuss.

[Update TL below]}

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Supreme Court Upholds Execution Drug

In a 5-4 opinion written by Justice Alito, the Supreme Court has upheld Oklahoma's use of midazolam in executions. The reasoning:

Alito said the prisoners failed to identify a “known and available alternative method of execution that entails a lesser risk of pain,” which he said was required under the court’s previous ruling upholding lethal injection. And he said plaintiffs had failed to establish that a massive dose of midazolam “entails a substantial risk of severe pain.”

Some background is here. The opinion is here.

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SCOTUS Rules Constitution Requires Marriage Equality

Decision here.

Discuss.

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Supreme Court Upholds Obama's Health Care Act

In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court today upheld the Affordable Choices Act. The opinion in King v. Burwell is here.

The 6-to-3 ruling means that it is all but certain that the Affordable Care Act will survive after Mr. Obama leaves office in 2017, and will give it a greater chance of becoming an enduring part of America’s social safety net

Dissenters: Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr.

The Court upheld the Act's tax subsidies intended to assist the ability of the poor and middle-class to buy health insurance. [More...]

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