legal

Supreme Court blocks House Dems’ efforts to get Mueller grand-jury info released

The Supreme Court temporarily denied a motion Wednesday from House Democrats to obtain grand-jury testimony and other documents from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation as they conduct what they’ve referred to as an “ongoing presidential impeachment investigation” into President Trump. The court’s order kept undisclosed details from the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election out of the Democrats’ hands until at least early summer. Democrats have until June 1 to brief the court about whether the full case should be heard. The Democrats had told the court Monday they were in an “ongoing presidential impeachment investigation” while arguing that Mueller’s now-completed Russia probe needed to be turned over as a result. “The [House Judiciary] Committee’s investigation did not cease with the conclusion of the impeachment trial,” the Democrats told the nine justices. “If this material reveals new evidence supporting the conclusion that President Trump committed impeachable offenses that are not covered by the articles adopted by the House, the committee will proceed accordingly — including, if necessary, by considering whether to recommend new articles of impeachment.” They were seeking testimony, transcripts and exhibits to look into the possible influence over decisions made in the prosecutions of longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Stone was sentenced to three years in prison for obstructing Congress and other charges. The Justice Department moved to drop its case against Flynn after serious questions were raised about the nature of the investigation that led to his guilty plea of lying to the FBI. The Trump administration has been reluctant to turn over further documents related to Mueller’s probe to House Democrats. DOJ officials said they turned over all relevant information, citing grand-jury rules for not providing unredacted material. The agency argued that federal guidelines protected the secrecy of grand-jury materials and that the exception allowing the disclosure “preliminarily to or in connection with a judicial proceeding” didn’t apply, especially given Trump’s acquittal by the Senate in an impeachment trial earlier this year. Democrats said the preliminary impeachment hearings in the House constituted a pending judicial proceeding. The DOJ has been conducting a separate internal review of the Russia investigation origins, which is expected to be completed sometime during the summer. John Durham, the U.S. attorney for Connecticut, was appointed last year by Attorney General Bill Barr to review the events leading up to the 2016 presidential election and through President Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017. Durham has since expanded his investigation to cover a post-election timeline spanning the spring of 2017 — when Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel. On Monday, Barr said he didn’t expect the probe to lead to any criminal charges against either former President Barack Obama or former Vice President Joe Biden. “As for President Obama and Vice President Biden, whatever their level of involvement based on what I know, I don’t expect Durham’s work will lead to a criminal investigation of either man,” Barr said. “Our concern of potential criminality is focused on others.”

Kudos to the Supremes for this decision, albeit a temporary one.  The Dems are wanting confidential grand jury testimony, they know they can’t have, so they can do Impeachment 2.0..in a never-ending witch hunt to undo the 2016 election, or in hopes of having another hoax read should President Trump get re-elected in November.  This is a win not just for team Trump, but for the rule of law…which affects all of us.

Gregg Jarrett: Flynn judge wrong to allow anti-Trump former Watergate prosecutors to interfere in case

It’s a sure sign of desperation whenever lawyers try to raise President Richard Milhous Nixon from the dead. And so it is that a group of former Watergate special prosecutors this week resurrected the Ghost of Watergate Past in a last-ditch effort to keep alive the federal court case against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. The gang, adopting the sobriquet “Watergate Prosecutors,” asked permission from U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan to allow them to intervene in the Flynn case so they can – to put it bluntly – tell his honor how to think and what to do. The judge issued an order Tuesday indicating he will soon accept “amicus curiae” (“friend of the court”) submissions in the case. But in trial court proceedings involving crimes, only prosecutors and defense attorneys are permitted to be heard. Judges are supposed to render decisions based on evidence and arguments presented by the parties involved, not outside interests. The prosecution of Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general, has been on life-support since the Justice Department belatedly moved last week to dismiss charges against him. He was accused of making false statements to the FBI during an interview that was nothing more than a devious perjury trap designed to “get Flynn to lie.” The FBI was creating a crime, not investigating one. A review ordered by Attorney General William Barr discovered that former FBI Director James Comey’s agents and Robert Mueller’s special counsel hit squad concealed vital exculpatory evidence from Flynn and his attorneys. The hidden documents showed that the retired lieutenant general did not lie to FBI agents, despite his coerced guilty plea under threat. The former Watergate prosecutors now want to meddle in the Flynn proceedings like uninvited house guests. In a court filing, they compare Barr’s decision to drop the Flynn charge to “the Watergate scandal” and Nixon’s infamous “Saturday Night Massacre.” The analogy is as tortured as the late President Nixon’s soul. Reading their “Statement of Interest” is a nauseating exercise in the hubris of war stories retold by old warriors prone to embellish. The former Watergate prosecutors imagine themselves as heroes who single-handedly salvaged democracy from the clutches of the demented Nixon. On that basis, they argue to the court, they are back to save the day. I’m reminded of what Butch kept asking Sundance: “Who are those guys?” Good question. The first name that pops out is Nick Akerman. He can be found on page 269 of my book “Witch Hunt: The Story of the Greatest Mass Delusion in American Political History.” He is one of the many media flamethrowers who constantly accused (without evidence) President Trump and his presidential campaign of colluding with Russia. At one point on MSNBC (July 11, 2017), Akerman said the following about Donald Trump Jr. and his conversation with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower: “There’s outright treason. I mean, there is no question that what he’s doing is giving aid and comfort to the enemy.” No question? Really? Forget that Akerman’s hyperbolic claim of treason had no remote application or support in the law. The president’s son was never charged with any offense because Special Counsel Mueller found no agreement or conspiracy to do anything illegal. But don’t let facts get in the way of a good story, Nick. Another former Watergate prosecutor is Jill Wine-Banks, an MSNBC legal analyst who has a propensity to channel Nixon’s ghost at every turn. Earlier this year, she told Salon that “Trump is more dangerous than Nixon” and should be criminally indicted. On MSNBC, she declared that Trump is more of an “existential threat to democracy than Nixon.” Richard Ben-Veniste is also a Watergate alum who has carved out a late career as an inveterate Trump thumper. In a column for The Atlantic in 2017, he drew innumerable parallels between Nixon and Trump. In the same publication the next year, Ben-Veniste accused Trump of going the “full Nixon on Mueller.” One gets the distinct impression that Ben-Veniste’s Trump-Nixon obsession belongs on a psychiatrist’s couch. The 16 former Watergate prosecutors who are now determined to insert themselves into the Flynn case just happen to be the same lawyers (minus one) who penned a joint op-ed in the Washington Post on October 10, 2019 headlined “We investigated the Watergate scandal. We believe Trump should be impeached.” Of course, we know how that turned out. But the point is this: these individuals are hyper-partisans who despise Trump, but have convinced themselves that since they helped drive the demon Nixon from office 45 years ago they should now be given exalted status as super Trump-slayers. This kind of prejudicial interference from outside forces has no place in a court of law. It makes a mockery of both fairness and impartiality. Sadly, Judge Sullivan appears to have taken leave of his senses and decided to entertain the notion of allowing the former Watergate prosecutors to usurp the role of federal prosecutors. This resulted in his order Tuesday indicating he would permit “individuals and organizations” to file “amicus curiae” submissions. Hours later, Flynn’s lawyer, Sidney Powell, filed a well-reasoned opposition argument that courts are not a forum for special interests. “The ‘Watergate Prosecutors’ have no special role and no authority whatsoever to insert themselves in this litigation on behalf of anyone,” she wrote. Powell also pointed out that Sullivan rejected 24 previous attempts by parties to intervene in the Flynn case. In one of his prior refusals, the judge made this declarative statement: “The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure do not provide for intervention by third parties in criminal cases. Options exist for a private citizen to express his views about matters of public interest, but the Court’s docket is not an available option.” What has changed? Nothing. But Sullivan’s ruling may be a reflection of his own abiding prejudice. In a hearing last year, he all but accused Flynn of treason, only to retract his words after a recess. He seems to have a feeble grasp of the facts in this important case. The former Watergate prosecutors should be denied the opportunity to pursue their biased agenda in a court of law. Flynn has been victimized enough by corrupt and dishonest government officials. Let these former prosecutors resurrect the ghost of Richard Nixon in a more-friendly forum: the Trump-hating media. These media organizations are sure to roll out the welcome mat.

No kidding…  Thanks Gregg!  Gregg Jarrett is a Fox News legal analyst and commentator, and formerly worked as a defense attorney and adjunct law professor. He is the author of the No. 1 New York Times best-selling book “The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump.” His latest book is the New York Times bestseller “Witch Hunt: The Story of the Greatest Mass Delusion in American Political History

Ginsburg eviscerates 9th Circuit’s handling of immigration consultant’s case

Authoring a unanimous Supreme Court opinion, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg tore into the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for “drastically” straying from judicial norms when hearing a case involving a California immigration consultant. After Evelyn Sineneng-Smith had been convicted of violating a federal law related to encouraging illegal immigration, the Ninth Circuit reversed the decision, not based on arguments presented by Sineneng-Smith, but by third parties the court brought in to submit arguments that the panel of judges themselves had suggested. “[T]he appeals panel departed so drastically from the principle of party presentation as to constitute an abuse of discretion,” Ginsburg wrote, later stating that “a court is not hidebound by the precise arguments of counsel, but the Ninth Circuit’s radical transformation of this case goes well beyond the pale.” The Supreme Court sent the case back down the Ninth Circuit “for reconsideration … bearing a fair resemblance to the case shaped by the parties.” Sineneng-Smith had been convicted of violating a federal law against someone who “encourages or induces an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States” if they know they would be in the country illegally. That was after she charged clients who sought to apply for labor certifications to obtain legal status, prosecutors said, even though she knew they could not meet the application deadlines. She argued that her conduct was not covered by the statute, and if it was it would be a violation of her First Amendment rights. After both sides submitted briefs and held oral arguments, the Ninth Circuit panel — instead of deciding the case at that point — invited the Federal Defender Organizations of the Ninth Circuit, the Immigrant Defense Project, and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild to file briefs. The Ninth Circuit specifically outlined issues for them to discuss, including whether the law in question was unconstitutionally overbroad under the First Amendment — an issue separate from any of Sineneng-Smith’s arguments. They also gave the organizations 20 minutes to present oral arguments, compared to just 10 for Sineneng-Smith’s lawyers. The Ninth Circuit ended up overturning Sineneng-Smith’s conviction based on the idea that the law was overbroad under the First Amendment. Ginsburg wrote that the Ninth Circuit’s actions undermined the principle that parties and their counsels are responsible for presenting their own case. “There are no doubt circumstances in which a modest initiating role for a court is appropriate,” Ginsburg wrote. “But this case scarcely fits that bill.”

You know its bad when the Supremes issue a unanimous decision.  That, in and of itself, is a smackdown.  We very rarely agree with Justice Ginsburg.  But, ya gotta give credit where credit is due…and it is here.  The lunatics at the 9th CIRCUS Court of Appeals in San Francisco (go figure) are the most overturned federal appeals circuit court.  President Trump is desperately trying to get a few quality judges on that bench before he leaves office.

Gregg Jarrett: Ending Michael Flynn prosecution exposes and destroys Trump-Russia collusion hoax

The collusion house of cards has finally and fully collapsed. In a stunning turn of events Thursday, the Justice Department dropped its case against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Exculpatory documents concealed by the FBI and federal prosecutors for more than three years showed that the retired Army lieutenant general never lied or committed a crime. The FBI knew Flynn did not collude with Russians. He is a patriot, not a traitor. The notion that candidate Donald Trump conspired with Moscow to steal the 2016 presidential election was always an implausible phantasm built on a foundation of Russian disinformation commissioned by the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democrats. The malevolent James Comey, fired director of the FBI, knew this but it didn’t deter him. He and his lieutenants sedulously stacked the cards, one by one, against Trump by exploiting the bogus allegations and pursuing an illicit investigation designed to drive him from office. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and his sycophants in the media propagated the Russia hoax by insisting there was “solid evidence” that Trump was a secret Kremlin asset and predicting the imminent demise of his presidency. Except no such evidence ever existed. Collusion was nothing more than an illusion and a delusion. Tragically, people like Flynn became collateral damage amid the carnage of corruption, dishonesty, abuse and injustice. But the weight of all the lies and propaganda has inexorably toppled the house of cards in a slow-motion crash. I have long argued in numerous columns and two books that the retired Army lieutenant general was set up and framed by Comey, FBI Assistant Director Andrew McCabe and disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok. They invented a perjury trap under false pretenses and deceived Flynn. Their goal was “to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired.” They knew Flynn was innocent – and hidden records proved it. The two agents who interviewed him in January 2017 concluded “that Flynn was not lying.” Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team of partisan prosecutors also knew Flynn was not lying, but they didn’t care. Utilizing the full force of the federal government and their unlimited resources, they intimidated and bullied an innocent man into pleading guilty to making a false statement. To accomplish this, they threatened to criminally charge Flynn’s son unless the father capitulated to their demands. That aspect of the coerced plea was hidden from the court when Flynn threw in the towel. He was financially ruined and his reputation shattered. He was forced to sell his home. Thanks to the intrepid work of Flynn’s new counsel, Sidney Powell, and a review of the case ordered by Attorney General William Barr, the ugly and unconscionable actions of the FBI and Mueller’s hit squad were uncovered and exposed. The distinguished retired three-star general has now been vindicated. In a recent column, I wrote that Flynn became “the victim of one of the worst miscarriages of justice in modern times” and “he should sue the very people and government that persecuted him under the pretext of a legitimate prosecution. Let the litigation begin. Damages should run into the millions of dollars. Flynn deserves it. And the Justice Department should now consider whether crimes were committed by those who deliberately obscured the truth and arguably obstructed justice. Another card that fell this week came from the Office of Director of National Intelligence. The office notified Schiff that transcribed interviews of 53 witnesses who appeared behind closed doors before the House Intelligence Committee in 2017 and 2018 would be released to Congress and the public, despite Schiff’s best efforts for more than two years to bury the testimony. Why would the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who has demanded transparency from Trump, want to hide the truth about him? Because the declassified 6,000 pages produced not a scintilla of collusion evidence. Zero. Of course, Intelligence Committee Chairman Schiff knew this all along, since he questioned the witnesses. He just didn’t want the American public to know it, inasmuch as it completely undermined his false collusion narrative. “Schiff is in panic mode,” a senior administration official told Fox News. Not a single witness provided any evidence of collusion, according to two sources familiar with the transcripts. The transcripts utterly discredit Schiff and expose him as a poseur. For years during television appearances, Schiff professed to have uncovered the hobgoblin of a grand conspiracy involving Trump. Yet, he refused to offer any proof. He pretended that he was privy to evidence that he did not have. As I wrote in my book “Witch Hunt: The Story of the Greatest Mass Delusion in American Political History: “The more Democrats and the media worked in concert to advance their hallucination that Trump had colluded with Russia, the more audacious Schiff became in his public denouncements of the president. He frequently insinuated that he had special access to damning information that few others could procure. Even after the House Intelligence Committee issued its majority investigative report concluding that it had all been a hoax, Schiff announced, ‘I can certainly say with confidence that there is significant evidence of collusion between the campaign and Russia.’ He produced no such evidence because it did not exist.” On CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Schiff ventured that Trump “may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time.” This claim was ludicrous, of course. Yet, Schiff was so heavily invested in the scam and the celebrity it brought him that there was no reversing course. He knew it was untrue. But like a guy with a counterfeit bill, he kept trying to pass it off to others. Schiff is living proof that the truth always has a nemesis. Still another card fell this week when the Justice Department belatedly made public the unredacted version of the so-called “scope memo” penned by then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in August 2017 detailing the scope of Mueller’s Russia investigation. Rosenstein authorized Mueller to specifically target Trump campaign aide Carter Page for “colluding with Russian government officials with respect to the Russian government’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 election for President of the United States.” However, Rosenstein already knew that these allegations, based on the anti-Trump “dossier” –composed by ex-British spy Christopher Steele – had been discredited by the FBI. Seven months earlier, bureau agents had located Steele’s primary source of information. That source debunked the “dossier” as exaggerations and fabrications, according to the findings of Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz. At that point, the FBI should have shut down its probe. Instead, Comey persisted. When Comey was fired in May 2017, Rosenstein appointed Mueller to launch a new investigation – even though the deputy attorney general well knew there was no credible evidence that supported the appointment of a special counsel under federal regulations. Mueller knew this as well, since he was given the FBI files. On “Hannity” on Fox News on Wednesday, Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., stated that “the legal foundation to justify Mueller’s appointment in my view does not exist. … That’s why this (scope) memo is so important.” Graham is correct. The Mueller investigation was illegitimate from the outset, even though it eventually found no evidence of a collusion conspiracy. Rosenstein misconstrued – and thereby misused – the special counsel regulations. An “articulable criminal act” must first be identified. It must antecede the appointment, not vice versa. But when Mueller was appointed, the FBI had developed no such evidence. That was confirmed by Steele’s source, as well as the subsequent testimony of Comey and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page. The evidentiary premise of a crime was conspicuously missing. Thus, Mueller began his investigation in search of a crime, reversing the legal process mandated under the regulations. None of this seemed to matter to Rosenstein. He was determined to get rid of Trump. Evidence shows he plotted to secretly record the president and then use the recording as evidence to try to remove the president from office under the 25th Amendment. As a result, Rosenstein should have been disqualified from any involvement in the special counsel case. It was not possible for someone so noticeably antagonistic to the president to be an unbiased and neutral party overseeing that investigation. Not only was the naming of a special counsel unauthorized, but the FBI’s original investigation launched in July 2016 was improper. In an interview on Fox News last month, Attorney General William Barr called the three-year Russia probe “one of the greatest travesties in American history.” Barr made it abundantly clear that it should never have happened. He said: “Without any basis, they started this investigation of his (Trump’s) campaign, and even more concerning, actually is what happened after the campaign, (There was) a whole pattern of events while he was president … to sabotage the presidency … or at least have the effect of sabotaging the presidency.” Barr has vowed “to get to the bottom of it.” With his appointment of Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham, the attorney general has committed his department to holding individuals accountable. “If people broke the law, and we can establish that with the evidence, they will be prosecuted,” Barr promised. There is no doubt that Comey, McCabe, Strzok, Rosenstein, Schiff and a great many others were intimately involved in the scheme to sabotage Trump. They managed to initiate the Trump investigation with no evidence of a crime and then convince the country that an unparalleled investigation was necessary. Their phony collusion narrative was a conspiracy in and of itself, contrived as a political instrument and then weaponized by unscrupulous government officials. Now that their house of cards has collapsed, it is time for a reckoning.

Indeed..  LTG Michael Flynn, Ret., has been 100% exonerated, and this whole so-called Russia “collusion” has been proven to have been a complete hoax on the American people by corrupt officials at the FBI from James Comey on down, Hillary Clinton (and her campaign), the DNC, members of the dominantly liberal mainstream media, and many Democrat politicians hell bent on bringing down Trump no matter the cost.  And, in the process, lots of these people committed crimes.  Now it’s time for payback.  Hopefully Sidney Powell and the rest of Flynn’s very capable legal team are working on that.  The man is owed millions..and that’s just the civil side of things.  Lots of these folks should go to jail.  We’ll, of course, be keeping a close eye on this developing story.  Thanks to Gregg Jarrett for his spot on legal analysis.  He was one of the few legal commentators in the media that has been right about this story all along.

Gregg is a Fox News legal analyst and commentator, and formerly worked as a defense attorney and adjunct law professor. He is the author of the No. 1 New York Times best-selling book “The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump.” His latest book is the New York Times bestseller “Witch Hunt: The Story of the Greatest Mass Delusion in American Political History

Federal judge rules U.S. Soccer did not violate Equal Pay Act

A federal judge ruled Friday in favor of the United States Soccer Federation, dismissing a claim it violated the Equal Pay Act by allegedly discriminating against female athletes. District Judge R. Gary Klausner granted in part a motion for summary judgment sought by the U.S. Soccer Federation, siding with its lawyers in a dispute involving athlete pay. He allowed other aspects of the lawsuit to move ahead, however, setting the stage for lawyers representing members of the Women’s National Team to pursue different claims in court. An attorney for the team said they would appeal the dismissal of their equal pay claim, and Democratic presidential hopeful Joseph R. Biden said he would get involved if elected. Lawyers for members of the women’s team filed the suit against U.S. Soccer in March 2019, seeking more than $66 million in damages for alleged violations of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Judge Klausner, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, ultimately dismissed the suit’s claim that athletes on the Women’s National Team have been underpaid in comparison to players on the Men’s National Team in violation of federal anti-discrimination law. “In sum, Defendant has offered evidence in support of its Motion for Summary Judgement that the WNT has been paid more on both a cumulative and an average per-game basis than the MNT over the class period,” he ruled from U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. But he did not dismiss allegations that U.S. Soccer violated Title VII, which protects employees against discrimination based on characteristics such as sex. He said the plaintiffs can move forward with its claim that female athletes have been subjected to unequal working conditions, paving the way for their argument to go to trial as soon as next month.

Sounds like Judge Klausner made a reasonable and prudent ruling here, and should be commended for it.  The only question we have is..  Who the hell does Joe Biden think he is?  A dictator?  What on earth could he POSSIBLY do as a President to “intervene?”  Someone needs to remind crazy ol’ Joe that here in America we have three SEPARATE branches of government, and that presidents (executive branch) cannot interfere with the judiciary; basic American civics 101.  Either he’s too senile and forgot that, or he really thinks his base is too stupid to not know that.  For the rest of us, we’ll just roll our eyes and call him out for his outrageous, inappropriate and very UNpresidential comments.  For more on this story, click on the text above.

Supreme Court: Trump Administration’s Self-Sufficient Immigrants Policy Can Stand in Coronavirus Era

The United States Supreme Court ruled on Friday against pausing the Trump administration’s policy that requires would-be immigrants to be self-sufficient so they do not become a “public charge.” Pro-migration media outlets, including Law360, regularly refer to the policy as “a wealth test for immigrants:” In a one-sentence decision, the high court denied a request by New York state, New York City, Vermont and Connecticut that would temporarily lift or modify a stay of a nationwide injunction that would block the public charge rule from going into effect. The order does not preclude a filing in the district court “as counsel considers appropriate,” the high court said. In a separate appeal before the Supreme Court on Friday, the high court also refused to issue a stay that would lift a similar injunction blocking the public charge rule in Illinois. Again, the Supreme Court clarified that the order does not bar the state from filing a request in the district court. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced in August that an application for a green card to allow migrants to live legally in the United States would include information about said migrants economic independence. The high court gave the DHS a green light earlier this year to carry out the new immigration rule, even though five federal court orders claimed the rule could be “illegal.”

This is GREAT news!!  Kudos to the Supremes for this, however temporary, decision.  Its a HUGE win for American citizens at a time when we cannot afford to be the world’s welfare state.  We’re TRILLIONS in debt, and getting worse by the day.  AND, we have over 20 MILLION Americans out of work due to this Wuhan virus crisis.  So, when we lift the current immigration moratorium, we need to have some sort of screening of potential immigrants who want to come to America to see if they have any skills that can benefit America’s economy…OR, if they’ll be just another welfare drain who we-the-actual-taxpayers will have to support indefinitely.  It is perfectly reasonable to ask such questions and insist that those who come are able to be self-sufficient, and not just enter and start collecting freebies that the rest of us are forced to pay for.  Coming to America is a privilege; NOT a right, as many so-called “immigration activists” would have you believe.

Supreme Court rules government must pay insurers enrolled in ObamaCare program

The Supreme Court ruled in an 8-1 decision Monday that the federal government must pay out $12 billion to insurers who had enrolled in the Affordable Care Act’s “risk corridor” program, reversing a lower court’s decision that had left Washington off the hook. The program limited both profits and losses for insurance companies that offered plans through the online exchange created by the Affordable Care Act – commonly known as ObamaCare – by having certain profits go to the Department of Health and Human Services, which in turn would give money to plans that did not bring in profits. The result was the government owing over $12 billion more than was brought in. “We conclude that §1342 of the Affordable Care Act established a money-mandating obligation, that Congress did not repeal this obligation, and that petitioners may sue the Government for damages in the Court of Federal Claims,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in the court’s opinion. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit had ruled that Congress had “repealed or suspended” the obligation by implication through appropriations riders. The Supreme Court noted that according to court precedent, “repeals by implication are not favored,” and because Congress never directly repealed the obligation to pay the insurance companies, they are still bound by the program. Justice Samuel Alito, the lone dissenter in the case, argued that there was no basis for a cause of action. The majority held that this case falls under the Tucker Act, under which the government waives normal immunity from lawsuits based on “the Constitution, or any Act of Congress or any regulation of an executive department, or upon any express or implied contract with the United States, or for liquidated or unliquidated damages in cases not sounding in tort.” Alito argued that ObamaCare’s provision that the government “shall pay” for insurance companies’ losses is not enough to create a cause of action under the Tucker Act. He claimed that allowing the companies to sue has significant repercussions and allows private insurers to collect money to which they should not be entitled. “Today,” Alito wrote, “the Court infers a private right of action that has the effect of providing a massive bailout for insurance companies that took a calculated risk and lost.”

Divided Supreme Court rules for Trump administration in requiring immigrant’s removal

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a lower court’s decision that an immigrant with lawful permanent resident status cannot fight deportation due to a previous offense, even though that crime was not grounds for his removal. In a 5-4 ruling with conservative justices on one side and liberals on the other, the court ruled for the Trump administration in holding that the statute in question, as drafted by Congress, requires deportation in the case of Andre Barton, even though the assault offenses that prevent him from appealing were not enough to deport him in the first place. “Removal of a lawful permanent resident from the United States is a wrenching process, especially in light of the consequences for family members,” Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote in the court’s opinion. “Removal is particularly difficult when it involves someone such as Barton who has spent most of his life in the United States. Congress made a choice, however, to authorize removal of noncitizens— even lawful permanent residents—who have committed certain serious crimes. And Congress also made a choice to categorically preclude cancellation of removal for noncitizens who have substantial criminal records. Congress may of course amend the law at any time. In the meantime, the Court is constrained to apply the law as enacted by Congress.” The controversy deals with an immigration law that allows defendants to apply for cancelation of deportation, but only if they satisfy certain requirements, including not having committed a particular offense within their first seven years of continuous residence in the U.S. This limitation, known as the “stop-time rule,” refers to offenses that render individuals inadmissible or deportable. Barton, who is being deported for drug and firearms offenses, had committed aggravated assault offenses during that seven-year period, but those offenses did not qualify for deportation. The court’s majority saw no problem with this, claiming that the assaults triggered the stop-time rule because they qualify as crimes that would render someone inadmissible. Kavanaugh noted said that just because the assaults were not the initial grounds for deportation, they can still come into play, just as outside factors can be considered in criminal matters. “It is entirely ordinary to look beyond the offense of conviction at criminal sentencing, and it is likewise entirely ordinary to look beyond the offense of removal at the cancellation-of-removal stage in immigration cases,” Kavanaugh wrote. The particular dispute between the two sides of the court dealt with the language of the statute, which says a defendant cannot have their deportation canceled if they had committed “an offense referred to in section 1182(a)(2) of this title that renders the alien inadmissible to the United States under section 1182(a)(2) of this title or removable from the United States under section 1227(a)(2) or 1227(a)(4) of this title.” The conservative majority took this to mean that Congress was including both offenses that would render someone inadmissible as well as those that would make them removable, meaning that because aggravated assault would leave a person inadmissible, it triggers the provision keeping Barton from having his deportation canceled. Kavanaugh noted that the Second, Third, Fifth, and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeal all hold the same view, with only the Ninth Circuit holding otherwise.

This really isn’t that earth-shattering.  But, it DOES reinforce the rule of law, and puts immigrants, both legal and illegal, on notice should they commit a crime when they come to America.  This is a big win for the rule of law, and for the Trump Administration.  We, of course, agree with the majority opinion.  Kudos to the Supremes for this decision.  For more, click on the text above.

Missouri files suit against China for ‘enormous’ consequences of coronavirus ‘deceit’

Missouri became the first state to file a lawsuit against China on Tuesday, accusing the country of being responsible for the severity of the coronavirus pandemic and seeking damages to make up for “the enormous loss of life, human suffering, and economic turmoil” resulting from the disease. The suit in the Eastern District of Missouri follows at least seven federal class-action suits that have been filed by private groups, with one filed in Florida saying that China knew “COVID-19 was dangerous and capable of causing a pandemic, yet slowly acted, proverbially put their head in the sand, and/or covered it up in their own economic self-interest.” It also comes on the heels of 22 Republican lawmakers on Monday requesting that the Trump administration bring a case against China to the International Court of Justice (ICIJ) for the country’s actions during the pandemic. Officials told Fox News that outside of the health consequences of the coronavirus — Missouri has confirmed 5,963 cases of the virus and 215 deaths as of Tuesday morning — the economic shutdown the state imposed to reduce the spread of the disease has cost Missouri about $44 billion, according to one estimate. “In Missouri, the impact of the virus is very real – thousands have been infected and many have died, families have been separated from dying loved ones, small businesses are shuttering their doors, and those living paycheck to paycheck are struggling to put food on their table,” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said in a statement. The text of the lawsuit lays the blame for the pandemic’s consequences squarely at China’s feet. “The repeated unlawful and unreasonable acts and omissions of” China, the Missouri suit claims, “have been injurious to—and have significantly interfered with—the lives, health, and safety of substantial numbers of Missouri residents, ruining lives and damaging the public order and economy of the State of Missouri.” Officials say that in addition to extracting as large a financial judgment out of China as it can, Missouri is looking to hold the Chinese government officially accountable for its alleged actions to exacerbate the coronavirus pandemic and potentially bring further facts about how the Chinese government handled the virus, and possibly about the virus’ origin, to light. “An appalling campaign of deceit, concealment, misfeasance, and inaction by Chinese authorities unleashed this pandemic,” the suit reads. “During the critical weeks of the initial outbreak, Chinese authorities deceived the public, suppressed crucial information, arrested whistleblowers, denied human-to-human transmission in the face of mounting evidence, destroyed critical medical research, permitted millions of people to be exposed to the virus, and even hoarded personal protective equipment—thus causing a global pandemic that was unnecessary and preventable.” The suit makes numerous claims of wrongdoing by China and the other defendants related to the Chinese government it seeks to hold responsible, including an “emerging theory on the origin of the virus … that it was released from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which was studying the virus.”

Kudos to Missouri AG Eric Schmitt and the rest of his legal team for taking this action, and leading the charge from the state level against the communist Chinese government responsible for this Wuhan virus nightmare.  For more, click on the text above.

Supreme Court rules criminal jury verdicts must be unanimous, overturning decades-old precedent

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that state juries must be unanimous to convict defendants in criminal trials, overturning the Louisiana second-degree murder conviction of Evangelisto Ramos that resulted in a life sentence when a jury found him guilty with a 10-2 vote. The court noted that 48 states — and more importantly federal courts — already required unanimous jury verdicts in criminal cases, with only Lousiana and Oregon holding out by accepting 10-2 decisions. “[T]he Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial is incorporated against the States under the Fourteenth Amendment,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in the majority opinion. “Thus, if the jury trial right requires a unanimous verdict in federal court, it requires no less in state court.”

Agreed..  For more, click on the text above.