As I watch the Trump Administration deteriorate into the political equivalent of the Fyre Festival, my thoughts naturally turn to Machiavelli.
A very quick run-through of the February 9, 2017 decision in State of Washington v. Trump.
No, not that executive order on immigration.
This post is about another executive order on immigration.
Early in the evening, a huge piece of news broke: Two federal judges, Ann Donnelly of the Eastern District of New York and Leonie Brinkema of the Eastern District of Virginia, had made rulings that would stall the implementation of Trump’s anti-refugee executive order.
For the lawyers at Dulles Airport, Brinkema’s ruling generated a ton of excitement. She ruled that the travelers detained by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) had a right to see lawyers.
After the ruling came out, lawyers bustled around, filling out forms declaring that detainees were their clients (someone had thought to bring a printer). Any minute, they expected, they would be able to see the detainees and try to help them get into the U.S.
At this point, it wasn’t clear how many people were detained and which of them were legal permanent residents of the U.S. Lawyers didn’t even know all the names of the people they were trying to help. It wasn’t clear if some detainees had been put back on planes returning to their countries of origin, or if detainees had been shuttled off to immigrant detention centers in Northern Virginia. The travelers were all being held in what’s called “secondary inspection,” referred to as “secondary.” It’s part of the CBP screening process where lawyers are rarely, if ever, allowed to be present.
But lawyers who spoke to The Daily Beast said it’s also unheard of for government agencies like CBP to prevent people who have the legal right to live in the U.S. from seeing their lawyers. And that’s what was happening.
I’ve done tediously lengthy lawsplainers on the First Amendment rights of public employees before, here and here. Those posts have the explanations and citations. This is the cheat sheet.
When the government is an employer, it’s wearing two hats: government-as-your-government and government-as-your-employer. The government-as-employer can punish employees for things it couldn’t punish them for acting as government-as-government. Which things? It’s complicated.
Turns out some judge thinks Great Britain is a Parliamentary democracy, not a direct democracy.
Was the Constitution violated? You make the call!
An indulgence in what would be an act of political courage and principle, if it were to actually take place, which we all know it will not.
This essay is about reading gay porn before class. And it resurrects an Ideological Outrage Of The Day from 2012. And a graphic novel. And striking out romantically. And Richard Dawkins.
When headline writers use questions, Burt Likko answers them. Briefly, completely, and unabashedly expressing his own opinion. Ten questions about politics, the business of news, news of business, and grizzly bears.
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Religious Test Clause predictably collide with Obergefell v. Hodges in Eastern Kentucky.
The Supreme Court adjourns for the Term with decisions about redistricting, air pollution, and executions. Burt Likko summarizes each of them, and offers a sad observation about judicial comity losing one of its most prominent sentinels,
The legal writing in Obergefell v. Hodges is both a model and a caution for future writers, especially those who, like lawyers, would write to persuade.
Chief Justice Roberts was nearly silent during oral argument, and then wrote the 6-3 majority opinion in today’s Obamacare case. Burt Likko replies to Justice Antonin Scalia’s accusations of through-the-looking-glass judicial activism.
What happens when a fraternal organization, dedicated to commemorating Confederate veterans of the U.S. Civil War, declares “all in” before the U.S. Supreme Court, in a case where there appear to be two directly controlling yet contradictory cases and the ideological alignments of the Justices are apparently inverted? Burt Likko breaks down today’s license plate case.
The calendar has become short — and heavy.
When a Supreme Court Justice calls an entire city a “delicate subject,” there’s pretty much only one city he could be talking about. Burt Likko breaks down today’s division-of-powers decision.
This one is going to be a squeaker.
Wednesday, the Supreme Court will entertain the latest challenge to Obamacare. If you can make it all the way through this post, you’re going to understand what’s going on way better than your neighbors. Added bonus: a significant detour through the jurisprudence of piscene spoliation, which you’ve no doubt all been anxiously awaiting.
One of Burt Likko’s greatest hits, offered in celebration of #judicialreviewday.
Turns out, a Muslim prisoner has a right to grow a beard even if the warden doesn’t want him to. Burt Likko digests today’s big SCOTUS case of Holt v. Hobbs to reveal something about what this means for those of us who aren’t Muslims in prison.
Burt Likko thought he understood this six years ago: religion is religion, and business is business. But the Hobby Lobby case leaves the rules a whole lot blurrier.
Same cast, brand new season! Burt Likko offers a look at some of the high points of the Supreme Court’s docket for the 2014-2015 Term.
Burt Likko wonders whether, despite the unmitigated human rights awfulness that is the nascent would-be state forming in northern Iraq, swallowing our idealism and adopting a strategy of economic containment wouldn’t be a more practical alternative to making war against ISIS.
UPDATE: Reaction to President Obama’s address of September 10.
James Hanley finds unintended humor in an old Supreme Court ruling.
Burt Likko thinks that Citizens United and McCutcheon were correctly decided. But how can he square that conclusion with his recent Ordinary Court opinion?
The Ordinary Court’s majority moves on to the final issue left in the case, and issues its ruling.
Tim Kowal agrees the Greens have individual standing, but suggests the corporation is the appropriate party to assert their claims.
In Part III of the Ordinary Court’s treatment of the Hobby Lobby case, the Ordinary Justices’ voting pattern shifts, with dramatic results.
Part II of the opinion, dealing substantively with whether Hobby Lobby can state a claim for relief under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
The first part of the Ordinary Court’s treatment of one of this year’s most-publicized legal cases. To begin, we must understand the factual and legal landscape.
Introducing a new project by some of the lawyers and scholars writing for Ordinary Times: The Ordinary Court.
Noam Scheiber makes a radical suggestion. Eric Posner has lots of reasons why it’ll never work. Burt Likko says, “There’s a few things neither of you bright fellows have thought of.”
A Federal Court found yesterday that the NSA does, in fact, routinely violate your Constitutional rights. The reason why is very likely within your arm’s reach right now.
New Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled today in favor of a plaintiff who sued for violation of one of that state’s anti-discrimination laws based on a photographer refusing to take pictures at her same-sex commitment ceremony. Burt Likko presents a digest of the decision.
Consider this: 1. The Supreme Court today ruled in its opinion holding DOMA unconstitutional that the states are entitled to decide their own marriage laws. Assume this is not a meaningless statement – a “bald, unreasoned disclaimer,” as Justice Scalia called it. (This may be asking much of those who recall the majority opinion author’s prior work in Lawrence and Romer, rich with such disclaimers.) 2. President Obama also acknowledged today that Americans’ views on marriage are based on “deeply […]