Courts

Trump looks to reshape liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

While much of the nation is focused on the health of ailing Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, President Trump’s more immediate and unending concern is the notoriously liberal U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. “Everything goes to the 9th Circuit,” Mr. Trump complained Friday in a bit of hyperbole. “Everything.” Senate Republicans’ padding of their majority in the midterm elections will allow Mr. Trump to move forward with his goal of reshaping the 9th Circuit, as part of his record-setting push to put more conservative judges on circuit courts. The Senate Judiciary Committee will take up five more of Mr. Trump’s judicial nominees Tuesday, including one appeals court judge. The 9th Circuit’s actions on a single day last week illustrated why Mr. Trump wants to change the ideological makeup of the sprawling appeals court, which covers nine Western states and two territories. A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit ruled on Thursday that Mr. Trump cannot stop an Obama administration program that protects young immigrants living in the U.S. illegally from deportation. On the same day, a federal district judge in Montana — part of the 9th Circuit — blocked construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, saying the Trump administration ignored the project’s impact on climate change. The judge, Brian Morris, is an Obama appointee. Mr. Trump signed an executive order on his second day in office approving the Keystone pipeline, which had been blocked by President Obama. The energy project became a symbol of Mr. Trump’s “America First” economic resurgence. “It was a political decision made by a judge,” Mr. Trump lamented Friday. “I think it’s a disgrace. It’s 48,000 jobs. I approved it; it’s ready to start.” He knows where the case is headed in the appeals pipeline. “I guess they’ll end up going to the 9th Circuit, as usual,” Mr. Trump said pessimistically. The appeals court, based in San Francisco, is authorized for 29 judges, and it has six vacancies. Of the 23 current judges, 16 were appointed by Democrats and seven by Republicans. That means if Mr. Trump fills all the vacancies, the 9th Circuit’s balance would be 16 Democratic appointees and 13 Republican — not a flip in ideology, but closer to partisan parity. The president has three nominations pending. “We’re slowly putting new judges in the 9th Circuit,” the president said.

Indeed..  And, with a few pickups in the Senate for the GOP, Trump can start putting a little more conservative nominees forward for a vote to confirm.  For more, click on the text above.    🙂

Judge Dismisses Stormy Daniels Lawsuit Against Trump, Orders Her to Pay His Legal Fees

A federal judge on Monday dismissed porn star Stormy Daniels’ defamation lawsuit against President Trump, saying the president was well within his First Amendment rights when he took to Twitter to mock her. Judge S. James Otero said Mr. Trump was using understandable hyperbole when he accused the woman, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, of a “con job” after she released a sketch artist rendering of a man she said threatened her to stay silent about her alleged sexual encounter with Mr. Trump years ago. The judge, a Bush appointee, said the back-and-forth was standard politicking from both sides, and he wouldn’t step in to limit the president’s ability to fight back. “In short, should plaintiff publicly voice her opinions about Mr. Trump, Mr. Trump is entitled to publicly voice non-actionable opinions about plaintiff,” he ruled. “To allow plaintiff to proceed with her defamation action would, in effect, permit plaintiff to make public allegations against the president without giving him the opportunity to respond. Such a holding would violate the First Amendment.” Judge Otero not only tossed Ms. Clifford’s lawsuit but ordered her to pay Mr. Trump’s legal fees, should he file such a request. Michael Avenatti, Ms. Clifford’s lawyer, who’s set himself up as a major political opponent of Mr. Trump‘s, vowed to appeal. He also said the judge’s ruling was “limited,” and insisted they’ll pursue Mrs. Clifford’s other lawsuits against Mr. Trump and his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, who she says paid her $130,000 in hush money to keep her from talking about an alleged sexual encounter from years ago. “Trump’s contrary claims are as deceptive as his claims about the inauguration attendance,” Mr. Avenatti said on Twitter. Still, the legal loss — and demanding she pay Mr. Trump’s lawyer’s fees — is a setback for Ms. Clifford and Mr. Avenatti. It also means Mr. Trump will not have to face what could have been an excruciating legal discovery process — what the judge called a “fishing expedition” — that could have delved into the workings of the president’s political, legal and even Twitter operations. The defamation lawsuit stemmed from Ms. Clifford’s decision in April to release a sketch of a man she says threatened her in 2011, warning her to keep quiet. Mr. Trump took to Twitter the next day to ridicule her: “A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!” Ms. Clifford said the president was in effect calling her a liar, and effectively accusing her of making up a crime. She said that was defamation. Judge Otero, though, said a reasonable observer would have seen the president’s tweet as “rhetorical hyperbole,” or “extravagant exaggeration” used for rhetorical effect. He also said it matters than Ms. Clifford has set herself up as a political opponent of the president, saying that were she to succeed in her defamation claim it would mean the president would be constrained in going after politicians or other political adversaries.

MSNBC and CNN are screaming over this verdict in favor of the President. It’s a beautiful thing…    🙂

Trump snubs Feinstein, Harris to nominate conservative judges to liberal 9th Circuit

President Trump is plowing ahead to fill three vacancies on the liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, brushing aside Democratic resistance to nominate conservative judges. Presidents traditionally work with senators from judicial nominees’ home state — in this case, California — to put forward judicial picks. They often seek what’s known as a “blue slip,” or an opinion from those senators. But in a snub to California Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, the White House announced Wednesday that Trump had nominated Patrick Bumatay, Daniel Collins and Kenneth Kiyul Lee (all from the Golden State, and reportedly all members of the conservative Federalist Society) to the influential circuit. The court, with a sprawling purview representing nine Western states, has long been a thorn in the side of the Trump White House, with rulings against the travel ban and limits on funding to “sanctuary cities.” GOP critics have branded the court the “Nutty 9th,” in part because many of its rulings have been overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Sacramento Bee reported that White House officials had been negotiating with Feinstein and Harris about the appointments earlier in the year, but the dialogue collapsed over the summer. Any working relationship is likely only to have soured further after Harris and Feinstein led the charge on the Senate Judiciary Committee against the confirmation of now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. In particular, Trump and Republicans accused Feinstein of withholding information about an allegation of sexual assault against Kavanaugh until after the hearings were over. Both Feinstein and Harris voted against Kavanaugh’s nomination, joined by all but one Democratic senator. Feinstein and Harris reacted angrily to the news of the latest appointments. Feinstein said in a statement that she had been prepared to accept a reported White House proposal of three other judges. She said she opposed both Collins and Lee — who she said had failed to disclose his “controversial writings” on voting rights and affirmative action. “I repeatedly told the White House I wanted to reach an agreement on a package of 9th Circuit nominees, but last night the White House moved forward without consulting me, picking controversial candidates from its initial list and another individual with no judicial experience who had not previously been suggested,” she said in a statement. “Instead of working with our office to identify consensus nominees for the 9th Circuit, the White House continues to try to pack the courts with partisan judges who will blindly support the president’s agenda, instead of acting as an independent check on this administration,” Harris spokeswoman Lily Adams told The Sacramento Bee. Even with the nominations, it would not result in more Republican appointees than Democrat appointees. The Los Angeles Times reports that the approval Thursday of Idaho attorney Ryan Nelson brings the number of Republican appointees to 10 and, if Trump filled all the current openings, it would be 13 Republican appointees to 16 Democratic appointees. The move comes amid a more aggressive push by Republicans to fill vacancies in the federal courts. Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said Thursday that he wanted the Senate to stay in session until all of the 49 currently pending judicial appointments are confirmed. “Lots of work to do,” Grassley tweeted. “Senate [should] stay in session til all 49 judges are CONFIRMED/ work comes [before] campaigning.” Grassley has suggested in the past that the “blue slip” process has been abused to block otherwise qualified nominees. In a late 2017 floor speech, the senator said colleagues should not “block a nominee because it’s not the person the senator would’ve picked.” He said the White House should “consult” home-state senators and “make that call” in the end.

Agreed..under normal circumstances.  But, things are NOT normal.  Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris (D-CA) did NOT act in good faith during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings.  Feinstein politicized the whole Dr. Ford sham, and knowingly undermined the process; holding on to that letter for weeks instead of turning it over to the committee.  She will likely be investigated for her acts.  Then there was Harris’ grandstanding and walking out of the hearing.  She’s running for president.  Her self-righteous, hypocritical grandstanding was nauseating.  So, kudos to President Trump for just moving forward with these important nominations.  Glad to see him punch back against these obnoxious liberal Democratic Senators from California who, again, continue to NOT act in good faith.

Senate confirms 15 Trump judges after GOP leaders, Democrats strike deal

The Senate confirmed 15 of President Trump’s judicial picks Thursday night after GOP leaders reached a deal with Democrats, clearing about a third of the backlog and closing up shop through Election Day to give senators a chance to campaign. Three of the judges are for the powerful circuit courts of appeals, while the other 12 were for district court positions. Many cleared on near-party line votes, while others were approved by voice votes. They were the first judicial confirmations since last weekend’s vote on Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh. Some Republicans had hoped senators would stay in town to work on all 49 judicial picks who’d been ready for floor votes. But the 15 was the best deal the GOP could get, representing the amount of judges who could realistically have been confirmed if the Senate had devoted full time to confirmations over the next few weeks. Liberal activists were incensed that Democratic leaders agreed to the votes. “This deal was totally unnecessary and it is a bitter pill to swallow so soon after the Kavanaugh fight that so many progressive activists poured their hearts and souls into,” said Chris Kang, chief counsel for Demand Justice. Conservative activists had been hoping for even more judges, but were enthusiastic about the 15 who did clear. “I’d love for them to stay and grind them into the ground over the next four weeks, but truth be told, if you got 15 — that’s huge,” said Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government. The three circuit court nominees confirmed were David Porter for the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on a 50-45 vote; Ryan Douglas Nelson for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, 51-44; and Richard J. Sullivan for the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, 79-16. Hours before the floor vote the Judiciary Committee approved eight more judicial nominees and readied them for the floor. That means there will be 34 judicial nominees waiting for votes when the Senate returns in November for a lame-duck session.

This was a smart deal..  For more, click on the text above.

Federal Court Strikes California Handgun Advertising Ban as First Amendment Violation

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California ruled on Tuesday that California’s ban on handgun advertisements violates the First Amendment. The ruling involved Tracy Rifle and Pistol (TRAP), Ten Percent Firearms, Sacramento Black Rifle, Inc., and PRK Arms, all of whom were supported by the Second Amendment Foundation, the Calguns Foundation, and California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees. The case was brought when Sacramento Black Rifle, Tracy Rifle and Pistol, and others were told aspects of their logo violated the state’s ban on advertising handgun sales with photographs and/or images of handguns. CBS Sacramento reports that Rob Adams, owner of Sacramento Black Rifle, was told he was breaking the law by having a pistol embedded with an “R” in his company logo. Adams said, “It’s a clear violation of the First Amendment, you know, advertising. It’s censoring.” California argued that the ban on handgun advertisements helps reduce suicides and crime, but court rejected these arguments, ruling that California did not provide evidence sufficient to support these claims Judge Troy L. Nunley wrote, ” In the absence of evidence and with no common-sense relation, the Government has not met its burden of demonstrating that § 26820 directly and materially advances that interest. In sum, the Government fails to show that § 26820 has any effect on handgun suicide or crime.” Nunley also addressed the issues put for by Sacramento Black Rifle owner Rob Adams, writing, “California may not accomplish its goals by violating the First Amendment.” He noted, “The Supreme Court has rejected this highly paternalistic approach to limiting speech.” Second Amendment Foundation founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb commented on legal victory, saying, “A state cannot legislate political correctness at the expense of a fundamental, constitutionally-delineated civil right. We were delighted to offer financial support to this case.” The case is Tracy Rifle and Pistol, LLC, v. Harris (No. 2:14-cv-02626).

Excellent decision!!  The court was exactly right, and slapped fascist California right across the face for their brazen violation of the First Amendment ostensibly to squash advertising of firearms.  Outstanding!!     🙂

Brett Kavanaugh backed by Bob Bennett, Bill Clinton’s Paula Jones-era lawyer

Bob Bennett, the lawyer who represented former President Bill Clinton during the Paula Jones sexual misconduct case, declared his support on Tuesday for Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, referring to the nominee as “the most qualified person any Republican President could possibly have nominated.” In a letter exclusively obtained by Fox News, written to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Bennett detailed his relationship with Kavanaugh, with whom he spent time during Ken Starr’s investigation into Clinton. Kavanaugh, 53, assisted Starr in writing his report in the 1990s, which laid out the legal framework for supporting Clinton’s impeachment on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, linked to his affair with then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Bennett noted that while he and Kavanaugh worked for different teams during the investigation, the two were able to avoid “falling prey to that trap” of treating the opponent as a “villain.” The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals judge, Bennett wrote, “has had an innate sense of fairness and civility that has governed his relationships with allies and adversaries equally.” Bennett also said lawyers “love” to argue their cases to Kavanaugh, who will then treat each one fairly. “To him, it does not matter whether you are bringing a ‘conservative’ case or a ‘liberal’ case,” Bennett said. “What matters is whether you can support your case with solid arguments grounded in the law.” Bennett added that attorneys think “Brett is a ‘judge’s judge'” and that when Kavanaugh “rules against parties, they know he gave them a fair hearing and thoughtful explanation for his position.” Bennett said that if the Senate does not confirm Kavanaugh to the recently vacated Supreme Court seat held by Justice Anthony Kennedy, “it would undermine civility in politics twice over.” “First in playing politics with such an obviously qualified nominee, and then again in losing the opportunity to put such a strong advocate for decency and civility on our Nation’s highest court,” Bennett wrote. Confirmation hearings for Kavanaugh are expected to begin Sept. 4.

U.S. court rejects atheists’ appeal over ‘In God We Trust’ on money

A federal appeals court on Tuesday said printing “In God We Trust” on U.S. currency is constitutional, citing its longstanding use and saying it was not coercive. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Paul, Minnesota rejected claims by 29 atheists, children of atheists and atheist groups that inscribing the national motto on bills and coins violated their First Amendment free speech and religious rights. While other courts have allowed the motto’s use on currency, Circuit Judge Raymond Gruender said it also did not constitute an establishment of religion under a 2014 Supreme Court decision requiring a review of “historical practices.” Gruender said the Constitution lets the government celebrate “our tradition of religious freedom,” and that putting the motto on currency “comports with early understandings of the Establishment Clause” without compelling religious observance. “In God We Trust” began appearing on U.S. coins in 1864 during the Civil War, a period of increased religious sentiment, and was added to paper currencies by the mid-1960s. President Dwight Eisenhower signed a law making the phrase the national motto in 1956. Tuesday’s 3-0 decision upheld a Dec. 2016 lower court ruling, though one judge refused to join part of its analysis. The federal appeals court in Chicago upheld the use of “In God We Trust” on currency in May.

Outstanding decision by the 8th Circuit!!  And, it was well-considered.  Saying, “In God We Trust” is NOT a governmental endorsement of any particular religion.  Further, our nation was founded on Judeo-Christian values.  Those that don’t like that FACT just need to get the hell over it.  Atheists and liberals who hate how this country was founded have for years used the courts to undo that founding.  This time effort blew up in their faces…  Thank God.