Courts

9th Circuit Court sides with Trump administration on banning Title X funds for abortion

A federal appeals court refused Thursday to block the Trump administration’s Title X family-planning rules from taking effect, keeping in place newly instated requirements preventing grant recipients from referring clients for abortions. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a plea from 20 states and the District of Columbia, as well as abortion providers like Planned Parenthood, to impose an emergency stay after lifting June 20 preliminary injunctions ordered by lower courts in California, Oregon and Washington. In February, the Department of Health and Human Services overhauled rules governing Title X grants for family-planning services to low-income patients, prohibiting recipients from using the funds to “perform, promote, refer to, or support abortion as a method of family planning.” The rule change could cost Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, as much as $60 million per year, although the Title X grants represent only a small percentage of the organization’s half-billion in annual federal funding. Pro-life groups cheered the court for standing by its earlier ruling. All seven of the judges who voted to deny the emergency stay were appointed by Republicans—including two chosen by President Trump—while the four who voted in the minority were named by Democrats. “This is a victory for commonsense, life-affirming policy,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America. “The Protect Life rule ensures that the people helping women plan for families are not misusing appointments to market abortions at taxpayer expense.” She added that “Title X had become a marketing slush fund for Planned Parenthood, and the Trump Administration and the American people won today.” The Title X overhaul opened the door for pro-life pregnancy centers to receive funds by removing the requirement for “nondirective counseling on abortion.” In March, the Obria Group of California became the first such center to receive a Title X grant. The rule also requires a “clear financial and physical separation” between abortion procedures and other family-planning services, a mandate scheduled to take effect in March 2020. Planned Parenthood blasted the court’s refusal to block “the Title X gag rule,” calling it “devastating.” “This is devastating news,” said Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen. “While we are incredibly concerned the panel did not recognize the harm of the Trump-Pence administration’s gag rule, we will not stop fighting for the millions across the country in need for care.” Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life, said that abortion “is neither health care nor family planning and therefore should not be funded by the Title X program.” “This regulation helps to get taxpayers out of the abortion business, without cutting resources for those in need, and is a victory for all Americans,” she said.

Agreed 100!  This is a victory for all hard-working American tax payers.  To be clear, this isn’t about abortion, or outlawing it…or anything like that.  It’s simply a rare common-sense ruling by the otherwise left-leaning 9th Circuit agreeing with the Trump Administrations prohibition against using Title X funds for abortions.  That’s it.  And, it’s about time.  It’s hopefully the first step in stopping ALL federal tax-payer funding of Planned Parenthood entirely.  And, again, this has NOTHING to do with abortions, or their legality.  It’s simply about forcing tax-payers to pay for them; a large percentage of whom have moral objections to such procedures.  If someone wants to undergo that procedure, that’s their business.  But, the rest of us shouldn’t be forced to pay for it.  That’s the bottom line.  I don’t say this very often..but..  Kudos to the 9th Circuit Court for this decision.

Senate confirms two Trump judicial nominees

The U.S. Senate has voted to confirm two men as the newest federal judges in Florida. Florida’s senators announced the confirmations Wednesday of Rodney Smith to serve on the bench in South Florida and Thomas Barber for a seat in the state’s middle district. Smith is a former Miami-Dade assistant county attorney, prosecutor and county judge who has served since 2012 as a circuit judge. Barber was a prosecutor and county judge in Tampa and has been a circuit judge there since 2008. The Senate has now confirmed five of President Donald Trump’s nominees for lifetime positions the federal bench in Florida.

Great news!!  Glad to see the Senate actually doing its job.  But, they need to pick up the pace.  There are literally hundreds of nominees waiting for their turn at a vote in the Senate.  Our congrats to Judges Rodney Smith and Thomas Barber!  Excellent!!   🙂

Trump judicial nominee confirmed to 9th Circuit Court over Democratic objections

In a 52-45 party-line vote Wednesday, the Senate confirmed President Trump’s nominee to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The confirmation of California lawyer Kenneth Lee marked the first time neither home-state senator had returned a blue slip, a Senate tradition in which the home-state senator gives their opinion of the nominee, the Hill reported. Neither Sen. Dianne Feinstein nor Sen. Kamala Harris, both California Democrats, returned a blue slip on Lee’s nomination to the San Francisco-based court. Lee, 43, a native of South Korea, is a past special counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee. In a Twitter message, Feinstein cited Lee’s writings on race and civil rights as reasons for her opposition. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., agreed that Lee holds “shocking” positions on race and women’s reproductive rights. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., called Lee “a man of high character” and a brilliant lawyer. The two attended law school together. “Lee’s record shows that he is far outside the legal mainstream,” Feinstein said, according to the Washington Times. Lee wrote in 1994 that gay people have a higher incidence of AIDS because they are more “promiscuous” than straight people. “Nine out of 10 people with AIDS are gay or drug users,” he wrote. He said he was “embarrassed” by that position during his confirmation hearing and that he had matured since then, according to the Hill. In another article, he questioned why a woman would continue working for a man who had assaulted her “just so she can hold on to a part-time job.” In his confirmation hearing, he said at the time of the writing that he didn’t understand workplace dynamics, according to the Hill. Lee’s nomination marks Trump’s 40th circuit judge appointment since taking office.

For more on this nomination of Kenneth Lee, click on the text above.

Trump overhauls crucial U.S. appeals courts at record pace: ‘It’s a generational change’

The Senate confirmed Michael Park to be a judge on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday, making him the 39th circuit court judge to be confirmed under President Trump in a process on a record pace that is steadily reshaping the bench. Judge Park joins Joseph Bianco, confirmed earlier this week, on that bench, bringing the number of Republican-appointed active judges on the chief 2nd Circuit panel to six. With two more vacancies by this summer as judges take senior status, Mr. Trump will soon have a chance to flip control of the circuit, which currently has seven Democratic appointees. Mr. Trump flipped the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this year, taking it from a 7-4 Democratic edge in judicial appointees in 2017 to a 7-6 Republican edge among active judges. The circuit courts are below the Supreme Court but, because so few cases end up before the justices, the circuits are where many consequential cases are decided. That makes Republicans’ focus on circuit judge confirmations huge, both sides say. “It’s a generational change. This president is reshaping the courts for a generation, and thank goodness that he is because we need pro-Constitution, rule-of-law judges. It’s an extraordinary opportunity,” said Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican who joined the Judiciary Committee this year. Eleven circuits cover specific regions of the country. The 2nd Circuit, for example, has jurisdiction over Connecticut, New York and Vermont. The 9th Circuit handles cases in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. One circuit has specific jurisdiction over the District of Columbia and handles many cases directly involving the federal government. Another, the Federal Circuit, hears cases on specific topics. Before Mr. Trump took office, Democrats had a 90-71 advantage in appointments of active judges among all the circuits. Republican-appointed judges now lead by a 90-83 margin.

For more, click on the text above.

Federal Appeals court rules House of Representatives can bar secular prayer from atheist

A D.C. federal appeals court ruled Friday that the House of Representatives does not have to allow a self-described atheist to deliver secular prayers. The Good Friday ruling concerned efforts by Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, to pray in the House chamber as a guest chaplain — only to be turned down by Father Patrick Conroy, the House chaplain. The court, however, sided with Conroy in determining the House was in its right to require prayers be religious in nature. “We could not order Conroy to allow Barker to deliver a secular invocation because the House permissibly limits the opening prayer to religious prayer. Barker has therefore failed to state a claim for which relief can be granted,” the opinion stated. Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution declares that both the House and Senate “may determine the rules of its proceedings.” Barker had alleged that Conroy rejected him “because he is an atheist.” But the court determined that while that may be true, the House requirement that prayers be religious holds weight. “In other words, even if, as Barker alleges, he was actually excluded simply for being an atheist, he is entitled to none of the relief he seeks,” the opinion said. The tradition of House and Senate prayers goes back to 1789. The House and Senate both begin their legislative days with a religious invocation, frequently delivered by Conroy and his Senate counterpart Barry Black.

Score one for the Constitution..and freedom OF religion; not freedom FROM religion.  Our founders would have been proud of this court ruling.  Glad that sh_t disturbing, self-righteous, rabble-rousing, Christian-hating Dan Barker was smacked down.  Excellent!    🙂

Trump picks Gorsuch, Kavanaugh take opposite sides on 2 of 3 Supreme Court rulings Tuesday

President Trump’s two appointees to the U.S. Supreme Court — Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — were expected to help bring about a “conservative revolution” on the nation’s highest court. But in two out of three rulings by the court Tuesday, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh found themselves on opposing sides. The two cases in which the justices did not agree involved an Indian tribe and Washington state taxes, and another involving maritime law. Gorsuch, who was nominated by Trump in 2017 to fill the seat Senate Republicans held open for more than a year after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in 2016, sided with the liberal justices in ruling that the Yakama Nation doesn’t have to pay a Washington state fuel tax. He cited an 1855 treaty that made a “handful of modest promises” to the tribe, including the right to move goods to market freely. Yakama Nation Chairman JoDe Goudy praised the ruling. In a statement cited by NW News Network, he wrote: “Today marks a decision that reinforces the Yakama way of life, both in historical context as well as modern interpretation.” Gorsuch’s opinion was joined only by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the leader of the court’s liberal wing. The other three liberal justices voted for the same outcome, but for different reasons. Kavanaugh dissented from the Gorsuch and the liberals. He argued that the 1855 treaty merely gave tribal members equal rights to travel. The other case that saw Kavanaugh and Gorsuch at odds addressed a lawsuit brought by two Navy veterans who had been exposed to asbestos. Writing the court’s opinion, Kavanaugh said that the makers of pumps, turbines and blowers that required asbestos insulation to operate properly should have warned about the health dangers of asbestos exposure. This is so, Kavanaugh wrote, even though the companies did not manufacture or sell the asbestos to the Navy. The liberal justices and Chief Justice John Roberts also were in the majority. Gorsuch, whose dissent was joined by Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, wrote that the manufacturers “are at risk of being held responsible retrospectively for failing to warn about other people’s products.” Tuesday’s third case demonstrated the more common alliance of the conservative justices. The court’s decision, which saw Gorsuch and Kavanaugh in lockstep with the other conservatives, gave the federal government broader power to detain immigrants who are awaiting deportation anytime after they have been released from prison on criminal charges. The four liberal justices dissented.

Bottom line..  These two Trump appointees to the Supreme Court are NOT “rubber stamps” for the Trump agenda…whatever that may be.  Keep that in mind, the next time you hear some Democrat politician or liberal media person say something like that.

President Trump Flips Control of First Federal Appeals Court

President Donald Trump flipped the first federal appeals court to a Republican majority on Tuesday, when the Senate confirmed Judge Paul Matey to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. America is geographically divided into 13 federal appeals courts. For example, the Third Circuit includes Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Puerto Rico. The Senate confirmed Matey by a vote of 54-46. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) was the sole Democrat to join all Republicans in supporting Matey’s nomination. Of the nation’s 179 federal appellate judgeships, the Philadelphia-based Third Circuit has 14 seats. President Trump has now appointed judges to three of those seats, with one more vacancy to fill. Consequently, seven of the current 13 judges were appointed by Republicans. Conservatives are quick to point out that a Republican majority does not mean a conservative majority, but see it as a step in the right direction. Several appeals courts already had a Republican majority at the outset of the Trump presidency. But January 2021, it is very possible that all federal appeals courts except three – the Fourth, Ninth, and D.C. Circuits – could have Republican majorities. Given that President Trump has consistently nominated originalists and textualists to the bench, the president’s supporters are hopeful that several of circuit courts will have reliable constitutionalist majorities by Election Day 2020, giving President Trump a major achievement to tout to voters.

This is great news!!  Even though Trump’s legislative agenda is currently dead, thanks to the Dems’ control of the House, he is still able to have these outstanding judicial nominees approved by the Senate.