Posts tagged with "Supreme Court"

Jewish senators alarmed by Alito’s pro-Christian agenda

June 17, 2024

Jewish Democratic senators are alarmed by conservative Justice Samuel Alito’s sympathy for basing government on Christian principles—something he expressed at a Supreme Court gala when he endorsed the idea of returning the nation to a place of “godliness,” reports NBC News.

Democratic senators, including several Jewish lawmakers, fear Alito’s majority opinions in several high-profile cases—such as the Dobbs decision, which overturned the right to abortion—were driven by his religious views.

And they are not buying Alito’s claim that he had nothing to do with and couldn’t prevent the flying of an “Appeal to Heaven” flag, a symbol of the Christian nationalist movement, at his New Jersey beach house.

Senate Democrats say members of the Supreme Court have a right to religious freedom; but warn that when they try to impose their religious views on others, it crosses a line.

A Jewish Democratic senator who requested anonymity to comment on Alito said he is pushing a sectarian religious agenda on the court.

“I don’t think there’s really any doubt. I don’t think Alito and [conservative Justice Clarence] Thomas are being shy. They have a view of the world, and they’re trying to establish an official religion, and a specific denomination,” the lawmaker said.

Five of the court’s conservative justices are Catholic, and a sixth, Justice Neil Gorsuch, was raised as a Catholic but also attends Episcopal services.

Senator Ben Cardin (D-Marland), who is Jewish, said it’s alarming “when you take a look at Dobbs and see how the majority in the Supreme Court could disregard precedent that protects the individual against the abuses of power,” including what he called the power of “religious fundamentalism.”

He said the conservative majority’s erosion of individual rights, including the right to abortion and potentially the right to contraception or same-sex marriage, is especially worrisome “to those of us that have different religious views.”

“I do worry that when you get these fundamentalist views that we’re a Christian state when we’re not a Christian state, the minority religions are going to be in trouble,” he said.

Cardin said “the trend of this court” is “you see four or five justices that have seemed to be pretty determined for an agenda to take us in a wrong direction.”

“When I’m in a meeting, a public meeting, I don’t particularly want to hear government officials supporting one religion over another. And I’m in a minority religion, being Jewish, so I want to make sure there’s not an expansion for that,” he said.

Cardin said he’s often invited to churches as a senator and doesn’t mind being in the midst of Christian worship, “but I don’t want our government doing that.”

Alito found himself embroiled in controversy once again this month after he was recorded telling a liberal activist at a Supreme Court gala that he agreed the country needs to return “to a place of godliness.” The activist was posing as a conservative, and Alito did not know he was being recorded.

The recording became public a few days after The New York Times reported an “Appeal to Heaven” flag, which has become a symbol of Christian nationalism, was displayed at his New Jersey beach house.

Alito explained in a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) that his wife hoisted the flag at his property and insisted he “had no involvement in the decision to fly [it].” He also said he “was not familiar with the ‘Appeal to Heaven’ flag when my wife flew it.”

But Democratic senators are skeptical: “I think there is a far-right group that is exploiting religion for a political agenda that is anti-woman, anti-choice, anti-science and wants to roll back our essential constitutional rights, and they’re exploiting every institution, whether the Supreme Court or Congress, to advance that agenda,” Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), who is Jewish, said when asked about the rise of Christian nationalism on the right and the display of the “Appeal to Heaven” flag at Alito’s property.

“I’m not as sure that a lot of the faith leaders in this country realize how potentially damaging to democracy it is,” he said.

Blumenthal said he’s worried Alito’s biggest decisions have blurred the line between church and state.

 “It’s downright scary,” he said. “The founders of our Constitution came to this country or descended from people who made that journey here because they wanted to be free of the government telling them what their faith and religious belief should be.”

Blumenthal emphasized he’s “a person of faith, and I respect other people’s faiths,” but he said “to advance one faith over another or to discriminate against any faith is abhorrent and repugnant and should never be part of any law in this country.”

“My hope is that Alito and others who seem to share that view that they want to turn this nation into a country reflective of only one faith will be rejected by the vast majority of Americans,” he said.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Trump lawyer tells SCOTUS that even a military coup order would be immune from prosecution

April 25, 2024

An order from a president to the military to conduct a coup to remain in office “might well be an official act,” former President Donald Trump’s lawyer told the Supreme Court in oral arguments on Thursday, April 25, on the question of whether Trump’s attempted coup is immune from prosecution, reports HuffPost.

Trump’s claims that his actions leading up to the violent assault on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, are immune from prosecution received skeptical questioning from nearly all of the nine justices—but none more on-point than Elena Kagan’s question about 40 minutes in.

“How about if the president orders the military to stage a coup?” Kagan asked.

“That might well be an official act,” Trump attorney John Sauer answered.

Trump was not at the Supreme Court during the oral arguments on Thursday; but rather was in a different courtroom, in lower Manhattan, in the early phase of an unrelated criminal trial.

He has made it clear, though, that he is keenly aware of the import of the high court’s coming decision. On Monday, he posted an all-capital-letters screed demanding that all actions taken by a sitting president be given “complete & total” immunity, even those that “cross the line.” He ended with: “God bless the Supreme Court.”

Thursday morning, just minutes before he was due in the New York City courtroom, he posted three more times about the immunity case: “WITHOUT PRESIDENTIAL IMMUNITY, IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE FOR A PRESIDENT TO PROPERLY FUNCTION, PUTTING THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IN GREAT AND EVERLASTING DANGER!”

Trump has previously stated that he hoped the three justices he nominated―Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett―would be loyal to him and has subsequently complained that they and the others selected by Republican presidents have treated him unfairly in an attempt to appear nonpartisan.

Trump’s lawyers have tried the same immunity arguments twice, before U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan and a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In both courts, the judges sided with prosecutors who argued that a former president should have no more immunity from prosecution than anyone else and that, specifically in this case, Trump’s actions to overturn an election were an attack on the foundations of the republic.

During the appeals court oral arguments, one of the judges asked Trump’s lawyer if, under Trump’s immunity theory, a president could order SEAL Team Six to murder a political opponent and then never face criminal charges. Trump’s lawyer eventually answered yes, that was a possibility.

With Trump running for his old job, the timing of the high court’s decision may be as important as its substance. A relatively quick ruling simply affirming the appeals court decision that Trump’s action leading up to and on January 6, 2021, are not immune from prosecution could allow Chutkan to begin a trial by late summer, which would likely produce a verdict by Election Day, on November 5.

Although most legal experts doubt that the justices would decide that a president enjoys blanket immunity, some believe they could rule that a president does have immunity for official acts―and then send the case back to Chutkan to hold a hearing to determine whether the charges against Trump involve official actions on behalf of the country or private ones for his own personal or political gain.

Such a hearing, while it would bring forth testimony from former Trump White House officials damaging to Trump, could mean that a trial may not conclude by November 5—particularly if the Supreme Court does not issue a ruling until the close of its term at the end of June.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Poll: Most Americans want Supreme Court to reject Trump immunity claims

April 5, 2024

A slim majority of Americans support the Supreme Court’s recent decision to keep former President Donald Trump on the ballot, according to a poll released on Wednesday, April 3, but they are largely unconvinced that he should be granted immunity from prosecution, reports CNN.

The Marquette Law School poll found that 56% backed the high court’s decision last month to keep Trump on Colorado’s presidential ballot despite claims he violated the “insurrectionist ban” in the 14th Amendment with his conduct ahead of the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Nearly40% said they opposed the decision.

But 62% of respondents opposed granting “former presidents” immunity, compared with 20% who supported that idea.

The poll landed as the justices prepare to hear arguments this month in a blockbuster dispute over whether Trump may claim immunity from Special Counsel Jack Smith’s election subversion case. Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges and has argued that his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results were part of his official capacity as president.

Pollsters asked half of respondents whether “former presidents” should receive immunity and the other half whether “former President Donald Trump,” specifically, should be shielded from prosecution. The share of respondents supporting immunity for Trump rose by 8 percentage points.

The difference, the poll’s director said, appeared to be due largely to Republicans who generally oppose immunity for “former presidents” but who were more willing to support such protections for Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.

“The striking finding is that Republicans reverse themselves when asked about Trump rather than ‘former presidents,’” said Charles Franklin, a professor of law and public policy and the director of the Marquette Law School poll.

“One implication is that Republicans are not paying enough attention to Trump’s Supreme Court appeal to realize without prompting that the immunity case is about Trump,” he added. “Only when the question directly says, ‘This is about Trump’ do they swing sharply, reversing what they would think about ‘former presidents’ in general.”

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the immunity case on April 25, rounding out its scheduled arguments with one of the most closely watched cases of the year.

In another experiment, pollsters noted in interviews with half of the respondents that the court had decided that the Trump “insurrectionist ban” dispute “unanimously” and omitted the description with the other half.

Including the word “unanimously” led to a slightly higher approval of the decision—but also a higher share of respondents who were opposed.

The court was unanimous in its bottom-line conclusion in the ballot case but split deeply over the reasoning.

Americans’ support for the Supreme Court has slipped considerably in recent years following a series of controversial rulings, notably the 2022 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 opinion that established a constitutional right to abortion. Several justices, meanwhile, have faced blowback over ethics and transparency controversies.

The new Marquette poll found 47% approve of the job the Supreme Court is doing—a slight increase over recent polling, but well below where it stood just three years ago.

Research contact: @CNN

Supreme Court hears arguments to boot Trump from 2024 ballot

February 9, 2024

On Thursday, February 8, the Supreme Court heard arguments over former President Donald Trump’s effort to remain on the 2024 ballot after a Colorado state court ruled he should be barred because he promoted and participated in an insurrection on January 6, 2021, reports the New York Daily News.

The Conservative-dominated top court weighed the knotty legal question of whether the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution bars Trump from winning back the presidency because he led the effort to overturn the 2020 election that culminated in the violent attack on the Capitol.

The momentous case marks the first time that the justices will be considering a weighty constitutional provision that was adopted after the Civil War to prevent turncoat federal officeholders who “engaged in insurrection” against the Union from ever holding office again.

The case is only one of several Trump cases that the nation’s top court may or may not decide.

Trump is certain to ask them to reverse the decision of an appeals court this week that he does not hold blanket immunity from prosecution for crimes committed while in the White House. He is facing a Monday, February 12, deadline to appeal to the justices—or his election interference case will return to District Court Tanya Chutkan for trial.

The 14th Amendment case unfolded after the Colorado Supreme Court ruled late last year that Trump incited the riot in the nation’s capital and, as a result, is ineligible to be president again and should not be allowed on the ballot.

The decision marks the first time that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment has been applied to a presidential candidate.

Trump’s lawyers argue that the constitutional amendment can’t be used to keep Trump off the ballot for several reasons. They contend that the January 6 riot wasn’t an insurrection—and even if it was, Trump did not participate. The Colorado court found otherwise; and the Supreme Court normally does not make findings of fact, potentially undercutting that argument.

Trump also has suggested that the wording of the amendment does not apply to the president. In addition, his lawyers say that Congress was supposed to pass legislation to allow enforcement of Section 3, which it never did.

Research contact: @NYDailyNews

Supreme Court allows Border Patrol to remove razor wire that Texas installed at Mexico border

January 24, 2024

On Monday, January 22, a closely divided Supreme Court allowed Border Patrol agents to cut through or move razor wire that Texas previously had installed on the U.S.-Mexico border as part of the state’s effort to prevent illegal border crossings, reports NBC News.

The court, on a 5-4 vote, granted an emergency request filed by the Biden Administration, which had argued that Texas was preventing agents from carrying out their duties.

The brief order noted that four conservative members of the nine-justice court would have rejected the government’s request. They were Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh.

The Biden Administration says the wire prevents agents from reaching migrants who have already crossed over the border into the United States.

Texas Governor Gregg Abbott (R), installed the razor wire near the Rio Grande at Eagle Pass as part of an operation to address illegal immigration that has brought the state into conflict with the Biden Administration.

A White House spokesperson on Monday said: “Texas’ political stunts, like placing razor wire near the border, simply make it harder and more dangerous for frontline personnel to do their jobs. Ultimately, we need adequate resources and policy changes to address our broken immigration system.”

Texas sued after Border Patrol agents cut through some of the razor wire—claiming the agents had trespassed and damaged state property.

A federal judge ruled for the Biden Administration, but the New Orleans-based Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last month reversed that decision, saying agents could not cut or move the wire unless there was a medical emergency.

Abbott’s immigration enforcement plan, called Operation Lone Star, includes busing thousands of migrants to Democratic-led cities and arresting migrants on trespassing charges. The state previously placed buoys in the Rio Grande to prevent crossings, prompting the Biden Administration to sue. The barrier remains in place while litigation continues.

Even while the Biden Administration’s application was pending at the Supreme Court, the standoff intensified.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton rebuffed a Biden Administration request that the state back off its takeover of a public park at Eagle Pass. That followed an incident in which three people drowned trying to cross the Rio Grande. The Department of Homeland Security said Border Patrol agents were “physically barred” from entering the area in responding to the incident.

“It is impossible to say what might have happened if Border Patrol had had its former access to the area—including through its surveillance trucks that assisted in monitoring the area,” Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar said in a court filing on behalf of the Biden Administration.

The Department of Homeland Security welcomed the high court’s order: “Enforcement of immigration law is a federal responsibility,” a DHS spokesperson said in a statement. “Rather than helping to reduce irregular migration, the State of Texas has only made it harder for frontline personnel to do their jobs and to apply consequences under the law.”

Paxton, in a statement posted to X, said that the Supreme Court’s order “allows Biden to continue his illegal effort to aid the foreign invasion of America.

“The destruction of Texas’s border barriers will not help enforce the law of keep American citizens safe,” he added. “This fight is not over, and I look forward to defending our state’s sovereignty.”

Research contact: @NBCNews

Jack Smith asks Supreme Court to weigh Trump’s immunity argument

December 12, 2023

The Supreme Court said on Monday, December 11, that it would consider Special Counsel Jack Smith‘s request to rule quickly on whether presidential immunity protects former President Trump from prosecution in the federal 2020 election interference case, reports Axios.

It would be the first time that the high court would have weighed in on part of the legal proceedings involving the former president. Trump’s lawyers argue that he has presidential immunity from the charges.

“This case presents a fundamental question at the heart of our democracy: whether a former President is absolutely immune from federal prosecution for crimes committed while in office,” Smith wrote in the Monday filing.

Smith added that it “is of imperative public importance” for the Court to rule on Trump’s claims of immunity “and that respondent’s trial proceed as promptly as possible, if his claim of immunity is rejected.”

The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to expedite consideration of Smith’s request to consider whether Trump is immune, and gave Trump’s legal team until December 20 to file a response.

Trump’s legal team last week requested a stay on all court proceedings in the 2020 election case, which is currently scheduled to go to trial on March 4.

The former president’s request for a stay came after U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is overseeing the case, rejected Trump’s arguments that he has immunity from the indictment.

A Trump spokesperson accused Smith in a statement of trying for “a Hail Mary by racing to the Supreme Court and attempting to bypass the appellate process.”

The spokesperson added, “As President Trump has said over and over again, this prosecution is completely politically motivated … President Trump will continue to fight for Justice and oppose these authoritarian tactics.”

Prosecutors in their filing cite the 1974 U.S. v. Nixon case, when the Supreme Court ruled that former President Richard Nixon was required to turn over tape recordings during the Watergate scandal, and that he was not protected by “executive privilege.”

The special counsel, in a rare move, is seeking to bypass the federal appeals court and urge the high court to rule quickly on Trump’s claims.

“Respondent’s appeal of the ruling rejecting his immunity and related claims, however, suspends the trial of the charges against him, scheduled to begin on March 4, 2024,” per the filing.

Research contact: @axios

Supreme Court deals death blow to affirmative action admissions by colleges nationwide

June 30, 2023

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Harvard and the University of North Carolina’s policies of considering race as a factor in college admissions on Thursday, June 29—a landmark decision that will upend affirmative action policies throughout the nation, reports The Daily Beast.

The decision is the latest to come from the court’s 6-3 conservative majority, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing that the court believes that the race-conscious admissions policies violate the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

“The student must be treated based on his or her experiences as an individual—not on the basis of race,” Roberts wrote. “Many universities have for too long done just the opposite.”

Colleges nationwide will now be barred from considering race in admissions—a blow that will require institutions to find new ways to maintain diversity.

The decision comes seven years after the court upheld an affirmative action program at the University of Texas. At the time, the court wrote that the promotion of diversity in education justified the consideration of race as a factor in admission decisions.

The ruling was rendered moot on Thursday, however, with Justice Sonia Sotomayor being the only remaining justice on the court from the 2016 ruling. Even then, the ruling in favor of affirmative action passed with a slim 4-3 majority.

Thursday’s ruling came after a group headed by Edward Blum, a conservative who’s long fought against affirmative action, filed a lawsuit claiming a group of Asian and white students were discriminated against at UNC. Blum claimed Black, Hispanic, and Native American applicants were given preferential treatment by admissions despite having inferior accolades.

Harvard was roped into a separate but concurrent case for allegedly discriminating against Asian Americans, with opponents claiming the university set subjective standards to limit the number of Asian students being admitted.

Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman to serve on the court, recused herself from the Harvard ruling—but in her dissent to the UNC ruling, she grilled her fellow justices for their decision, writing “our country has never been so colorblind.”

“With let-them-eat-cake obliviousness, today, the majority pulls the ripcord and announces ‘colorblindness for all’ by legal fiat,” she wrote. “But deeming race irrelevant in law does not make it so in life.”

In her dissent, Sotomayor blasted the court’s majority for concluding that “indifference to race is the only constitutionally permissible means” to achieve racial equality in admissions.

“That interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment is not only contrary to precedent and the entire teachings of our history… but it is also grounded in the illusion that racial inequality was a problem of a different generation,” she wrote. “Entrenched racial inequality remains a reality today … Ignoring race will not equalize a society that is racially unequal.”

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Supreme Court rejects radical independent state legislature theory

June 28, 2023

On Tuesday, June 27, the Supreme Court rejected the radical argument brought forward in the controversial case of Moore v. Harper that state legislatures have the sole power to draw congressional district maps and set election law, reports HuffPost.

The independent state legislature theory that Republicans in the North Carolina legislature wanted the court to adopt claims that the U.S. Constitution vests power to set the “time, place, and manner” of federal elections to state legislatures, alone. This would give state courts no ability to rule on gerrymandered maps or other election laws that may run afoul of their respective state constitution. State legislatures—themselves, often gerrymandered to give one party majority control—would then have free rein to draw congressional maps and set election laws without judicial checks and balances.

The court rejected this theory in a 6-3 decision written by Chief Justice John Roberts by affirming the role that judicial review by state courts still plays in judging district maps drawn and election laws passed by state legislatures. Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Ketanji Brown Jackson joined Roberts’ opinion. Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch dissented.

“We are asked to decide whether the Elections Clause carves out an exception to this basic principle. We hold that it does not,” Roberts wrote. “The Elections Clause does not insulate state legislatures from the ordinary exercise of state judicial review.”

The heart of the case centered on the Elections Clause of Article I of the U.S. Constitution. That clause states that “the Legislature” of each state has the power to set the “time, place, and manner” of federal elections within its own boundaries. Proponents of the independent state legislature theory argued that “the Legislature” should be properly defined to mean the state legislature alone.

The court rejected this argument and affirmed that “the Legislature” included the whole body of state government, including the courts and the governor.

In doing so, Roberts pointed to three court precedents that upheld the ability of governors to veto congressional district maps, citizens to reject congressional redistricting by ballot initiative, and citizens to pass a ballot initiative to remove the legislature from the redistricting process.

“In sum, our precedents have long rejected the view that legislative action under the Elections Clause is purely federal in character, governed only by restraints found in the Federal Constitution,” Roberts wrote.

While the court rejected the most extreme version of the independent state legislature theory as put forward by North Carolina Republicans, Roberts still held that there are limits on how state courts interpret election law.

“As in other areas where the exercise of federal authority or the vindication of federal rights implicates questions of state law, we have an obligation to ensure that state court interpretations of that law do not evade federal law,” Roberts wrote. But Roberts did not provide any detail on what test the court might use to review state court decisions in future election cases.

“The questions presented in this area are complex and context specific,” Roberts wrote. “We hold only that state courts may not transgress the ordinary bounds of judicial review such that they arrogate to themselves the power vested in state legislatures to regulate federal elections.”

While the issue of the radical version of the independent state legislature theory is now settled, the court is likely to see an increase in cases challenging the merits of individual state court election law decisions.

Liberals and conservatives—from former Attorney General Eric Holder and Democratic Party lawyer Marc Elias to retired federal judge Michael Luttig and Federalist Society co-founder Steven Calabresi—opposed the adoption of the theory. They argued that if the court adopted the theory it could lead to a subversion of democracy and the enshrinement of minority rule.

Opponents of the theory cheered the court’s decision.

“This ruling is a resounding rejection of the far-right theory that has been peddled by election deniers and extremists seeking to undermine our democracy,” former President Barack Obama said in a statement. “And it makes clear that courts can continue defending voters’ rights—in North Carolina and in every state.”

The theory was at the heart of former President Donald Trump’s effort to overturn his loss in the 2020 election and led directly to the January 6 insurrection. Trump turned to the independent state legislature theory in arguing that state legislatures could submit competing slates of electoral votes in favor of him to Congress ahead of the January 6 counting of the votes. When no legislature did this, Trump and his lawyer John Eastman got GOP electors to submit fake slates in their bid to get then-Vice President Mike Pence to declare the result in key states contested and not count their votes.

Moore v. Harper dealt only with congressional elections and did not directly raise the possibility of putting the submission of Electoral College votes solely in the hands of state legislatures. But had it succeeded, it would have provided greater rhetorical heft to future efforts by presidential candidates who lie, claim election fraud and attempt to steal elections.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Judge in Virginia strikes down federal limit on age of handgun buyers

May 15, 2023

A judge in Virginia has struck down federal laws blocking handgun sales to buyers over 18 and under 21, in a ruling that might augur the rollback of regulation, prompted by the Supreme Court’s sweeping expansion of gun rights last year, reports The New York Times.

Judge Robert E. Payne of Federal District Court in Richmond, Virginia, ruled on Wednesday, May 10,  that statutes and regulations put in place over the past few decades to enforce age requirements on sales of handguns, such as semiautomatic Glock-style pistols, by federally licensed weapons dealers were “not consistent with our nation’s history and tradition” and therefore could not stand.

A citizen’s Second Amendment rights do not “vest at age 21,” he added.

In his 71-page ruling, Judge Payne—who was appointed by President George H.W. Bush—repeatedly cited the majority opinion in the landmark case, New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, which struck down a New York State law that put tight limits on carrying guns outside the home.

The Justice Department is expected to appeal the ruling in Virginia, which, should it stand, would have a significant, if limited, impact on firearms purchases. The decision, which would not affect state age limits, will take effect when the judge issues his final order, which is expected in the next few weeks.

Elliot Harding, the lawyer who represented young adults including John Corey Fraser, who brought the case, seeking to buy handguns through federal dealers, said the decision would likely lead to similar rulings. “This is definitely the tip of the spear,” he said.

Gun rights groups have been filing lawsuits across the country, in hopes of weakening local and federal gun regulations, basing their claims on the Bruen case. They have had mixed results—winning some cases and losing others. In December, a federal judge in Louisiana upheld the 21-year-old age limit.

“This decision is not a surprise—all bets are off,” said Jonathan Lowy, a lawyer and gun violence activist who has sued firearms manufacturers on behalf of the victims of mass shootings and their families. “Bruen gave license to any judge who has an inclination to strike down any gun law.”

John Feinblatt, the president of the advocacy group, Everytown for Gun Safety, said he expected the ruling to be overturned, but he also anticipated a wave of similar cases over the next year by conservative jurists on the federal bench.

“It’s the latest example of a larger campaign by the gun lobby to see exactly how far radical judges will let them take the Bruen decision,” he said.

The Virginia case was brought by Fraser, who was 20 when he was turned away after trying to buy a Glock handgun from a federally licensed dealer last year. He subsequently challenged the 1968 federal gun control law, and age restrictions imposed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which is responsible for enforcing the nation’s gun laws.

Already, 18-year-olds are allowed to buy long guns, including shotguns and semiautomatic rifles, from about 70,000 federally licensed dealers. They have been banned from purchasing handguns, which are the most common weapons used in crimes, through such vendors—but, under federal law, they are legally allowed to buy them from private, unlicensed dealers.

The decision would ease the way for 18-year-olds to procure handguns.

Research contact: @nytimes

Busloads of migrants dropped off at vice president’s D.C. home on Xmas Eve

December 27, 2022

Multiple busloads of migrants were dropped off at Vice President Kamala Harris’s residence in Washington, D.C., on Saturday night, December 24—Christmas Eve—leaving migrants on the streets in below-freezing temperatures, reports the Hill.

ViceThe three busloads of migrants were driven to D.C., ABC 7 reported, and arrived outside the Naval Observatory, which is the vice president’s residence. The migrants were later taken to a church by the Migrant Solidarity Mutual Aid Network, a local aid group.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) was responsible for Saturday’s incident, according to ABC 7 and Fox News—marking the latest episode in a months-long effort by the governor to send migrants to Democratic-run cities as a way to encourage the Biden administration to take steps to control immigration in the United States.

In September, Abbott sent two buses full of migrants to Harris’s residence in D.C., sparking criticism among Democrats. Other Republican governors, including Florida’s Ron DeSantis and Arizona’s Doug Ducey, have transported migrants to Democratic-run cities across the country in recent months.

“Tonight, on Christmas Eve, Gov Abbott’s buses dropped off migrants at the VP’s house in the freezing cold,” the Migrant Solidarity Mutual Aid Network wrote on Twitter early Sunday. “This is not new, it has been happening for 8 months.”

The White House slammed the move on Sunday, calling it a “shameful stunt.”

“Governor Abbott abandoned children on the side of the road in below freezing temperatures on Christmas Eve without coordinating with any Federal or local authorities. This was a cruel, dangerous, and shameful stunt,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Abdullah Hasan said in a statement.

“As we have repeatedly said, we are willing to work with anyone—Republican or Democrat alike—on real solutions, like the comprehensive immigration reform and border security measures President Biden sent to Congress on his first day in office, but these political games accomplish nothing and only put lives in danger,” Hasan added.

Abbott penned a letter to President Biden last Tuesday demanding that the administration send federal assets to address the situation at the border, especially as temperatures drop and a winter storm approached Texas.

“You and your administration must stop the lie that the border is secure and, instead, immediately deploy federal assets to address the dire problems you have caused,” Abbott wrote. “You must execute the duties that the U.S. Constitution mandates you perform and secure the southern border before more innocent lives are lost.”

In a statement on Saturday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said it “continues to fully enforce our immigration and public health laws at the border.”

DHS added, “Individuals and families attempting to enter without authorization are being expelled, as required by court order under the Title 42 public health authority, or placed into removal proceedings. As temperatures remain dangerously low all along the border, no one should put their lives in the hands of smugglers, or risk life and limb attempting to cross only to be returned.” D

The agency said 23,000 agents and officers are “working to secure the Southwest border and the United States Government continues to work closely with our partners in Mexico to reinforce coordinated enforcement operations to target human smuggling organizations and bring them to justice.”

The Supreme Court last Monday, December 19, temporarily stopped the expiration of Title 42, the Trump-era policy that allows border officials to turn away asylum seekers because of public health concerns. If it does eventually expire, Abbott said the number of individuals entering Texas illegally “will only increase.”

Research contact: @thehill