Nick Visser reports in HuffPost:
“The Department of Justice argued in a legal brief on Wednesday that the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 offers no protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation, a position advocacy groups condemned as “shameful” and “politically driven.”
DOJ lawyers, arguing under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in which they said the department did not believe the law ― which bans discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin ― applied to lesbian and gay people. The brief was filed as part of a lawsuit filed by a now-deceased skydiving instructor, Donald Zarda, who said he was fired for his sexual orientation. His lawyers contend the dismissal violated of the act’s Title VII, which prohibits employment discrimination.
“The sole question here is whether, as a matter of law, Title VII reaches sexual orientation discrimination,” the Justice Department brief says. “It does not, as has been settled for decades. Any efforts to amend Title VII’s scope should be directed to Congress rather than the courts.” It adds: “The essential element of sex discrimination under Title VII is that employees of one sex must be treated worse than similarly situated employees of the other sex, and sexual orientation discrimination simply does not have that effect.”
Read the full report at the link.
One of many unfortunate aspects of Trump’s churlish, unprovoked, dumb, and downright nasty attack on Sessions is that it makes the A.G. look like a hero for merely doing what any other public servant would be required to do under the circumstances.
This should not deflect attention from Sessions’s truly reprehensible record as AG. In a short time in office, he has undermined civil rights, voting rights, minority protections, protections from unconstitutional policing, due process and rationality in immigration enforcement, LGBT rights, community law enforcement efforts, forensic science, prosecutorial discretion, private property rights in civil forfeitures, and prison reform. I’m probably leaving some out. And, while doing it he has advanced a false White Nationalist agenda about immigrants and migrants (indeed, his agenda targets just about all Americans except straight, white, GOP males).
Sessions’s tenure at the U.S. Justice Department has been an unmitigated disaster from a Constitutional, due process, and institutional standpoint. That he is now being bullied and publicly shamed and humiliated by the totally unqualified President whom he supported and helped put in Office should not in any way detract from his abysmal record as a public servant. And, let’s not forget that despite his supposed recusal, Sessions could barely wait to help give Trump some cover for the firing of James Comey. Just happened to blow up in his face when Trump himself made it clear that Sessions and his Deputy Rod Rosenstein had tried to take a dive for the “team.” (Something folks should also keep in mind before falsely idolizing Rosenstein. What kind of guy would sign on to being “Gonzo Apocalypto’s” Deputy in the first place.)
Indeed, in most ways, Sessions is merely receiving the type of boorish cowardly treatment at Trump’s own hands that he (Sessions) was and still is happy to abet and assist by implementing Trump’s gonzo White Nationalist agenda of destroying our Constitutuonal system and the rule of law. Sessions’s own cowardly attacks on the transgender and LGBT communities are illustrated by his latest actions. Not an ounce of humanity or decency in the man. For that, and all of the other ways he has tried to undermine the American system during his many years in Washington, he deserves to be charged with full responsibility in the pages of history.
“In 1903, these lines were engraved on a plaque and placed on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty:
Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
But should our immigration system be based on a desire to help immigrants from around the world? Or should it be based on our own national interests?
The main difference between legal and illegal immigration is that with legal immigration, the government decides which aliens will be allowed to come to the United States. Whereas, with illegal immigration, the aliens decide themselves whether they are going to come.
That distinction loses significance when the government does not base its immigration policy decisions on the country’s needs.
President Donald Trump believes that the current system for legal immigration does not meet our national interests.
. . . .
“Should we reject this approach and honor Lady Liberty’s invitation? That might have been possible when the plaque was put on the base of the Statute of Liberty more than a century ago, but it is no longer possible. Even if we limited the invitation to the huddled masses who have been driven from their countries by war, criminal violence, and persecution, there are too many of them.
And is it really wrong to base America’s immigration system on our own national interests instead of on a desire to help people from other countries? Trump and the Jordan Commission concluded not only that we should do what’s in our national interests, but that the current immigration system is hurting us.”
Read Nolan’s complete article over at HuffPost at the above link!
Sorry, Nolan, but I think it’s all lots of White Nationalist bull. We wouldn’t even be having this debate if the immigrants were White Christians. It would be in the country’s best interests to legalize everyone who is here now and also to boost legal immigration limits for skilled, unskilled, and family to levels that more realistically match the market of supply and demand. And, we can take many more refugees than we take now.
By having a bigger and more realistic legal immigration system, our need for all the wasteful and largely ineffective law enforcement we have now would be reduced. We could concentrate on folks who really don’t belong here. And, by having a real “line,” instead of the fake one we have now, we would increase the incentives for folks to wait their turn and come in an orderly manner.
Most economists who have looked at our situation are appalled at the so-called RAISE Act. One has only to look at who sponsors it to see the motives behind it.
I largely agree with the recent article in the Washington Post by Heather Long which demonstrates how harebrained the Trump and RAISE policies would be. However, I don’t agree with the idea of some interviewed in the article that family immigration should be cut to raise employment-based immigration. Family immigration does great things for America, and folks with family ties here have a “leg up” in getting started and making a difference.
Trump doesn’t care two hoots and a holler about America’s future. He’s out to 1) cement his position with the White Nationalists in his base, and 2) to loot the U.S. for his and his family’s benefit any way he can. Cotton and Purdue also are about cultural issues and white Nationalism, not what’s best for America’s future.
I reprint Heather Long’s article below in full:
President Trump’s “to do” list still includes cutting legal immigration. Economists say that’s a “grave mistake.”
A Washington Post survey of 18 economists over the weekend found that 89 percent said it’s a terrible idea for Trump to curb immigration to the United States. Experts overwhelmingly predicted it would slow growth — the exact opposite of what Trump wants to do with “MAGAnomics.”
“Restricting immigration will only condemn us to chronically low rates of economic growth,” said Bernard Baumohl, chief global economist at the Economic Outlook Group. “It also increases the risk of the recession.”
Thomas Simons, senior economist at the Jefferies investment firm, called the idea “absolutely harmful to an economy with a population undergoing the demographic transformation.”
The bottom line is: The United States needs more workers. Growth happens when one of two things occurs: The economy gets more workers or the existing workers become more productive. At the moment, both of those factors are red flags. Productivity growth is sluggish, and, as Trump has pointed out many times, the percent of American adults who actually work — the labor-force participation rate — is hovering at the lowest levels since the 1970s.
A big part of the problem is the baby boomers are starting to retire. The United States needs more people to replace them, but the U.S. birthrate just hit a historic low, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s why many economists, demographers and business owners keep calling for more immigration, not less.
“Limiting immigration to the U.S. is a grave mistake,” says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “The only way to meaningfully increase U.S. economic growth on a sustained basis anytime soon is to increase immigration.”
During the campaign, Zandi predicted that Trump’s protectionist stances on trade and immigration would lead to a “lengthy recession.” According to Zandi’s economic models, Trump’s worst policy was his plan to deport 11 million immigrants currently in the country illegally.
Now scaling back on legal immigration is a serious part of the policy discussion.
Congress and the White House are dealing with a slew of issues. Immigration appeared to be sidelined until a much-cited Politico report last week that top Trump aides are actively working with Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) to cut legal immigration by as much as 50 percent. It would be a revised version of the RAISE Act that the senators introduced in February and that would cut back on the number of refugees allowed in each year and make it much harder for anyone other than spouses or minor children of U.S. citizens or permanent residents to immigrate.
Trump still sees action on immigration as a critical part of his agenda. He brought it up on his trip to France last week.
“What I’d like to do is a comprehensive immigration plan,” the president told reporters on his way to Paris. “But our country and political forces are not ready yet.”
If Trump can’t get the bigger immigration overhaul he wants, he’s likely to push for something like the RAISE Act. Trump says the United States needs to limit immigration, legal and illegal, to give workers at home a better chance. One of the proposals Cotton and Perdue are considering is slashing the number of legally issued green cards from 1 million a year to 500,000 over the next decade.
Trump portrays immigrants as scooping up American jobs. But the data appears to tell a different story.
U.S. unemployment is at 4.4 percent. In May, unemployment hit the lowest level since 2001, a milestone Trump celebrated. That implies there aren’t many people struggling to find work. At the same time, the United States has 5.7 million job openings, which is near a record high. It’s been that way for a year now. Business leaders with big and small firms say they can’t find enough workers. They are especially vocal about not being able to find enough people for really low-skilled, low-pay work and for really highly skilled jobs.
Take Bayard Winthrop. He is founder and chief executive of American Giant, a company that Slate said produces the “greatest hoodie ever made.” American Giant makes those masterpiece sweatshirts by using only U.S. workers, U.S. cotton and U.S. manufacturing. In other words, Winthrop is the living embodiment of the “Made in America” a movement Trump is trying to resurrect. Yet one of the biggest problems Winthrop faces is not enough American workers want to do the hard work of picking cotton.
“If you go through our supply chain and talk to a lot of the business that are ginning cotton, dyeing and finishing cotton, what you hear pretty universally is they have open job requests but few people actually want these entry-level, lower-wage jobs,” he said Monday in an interview with WAMU radio. His message to Trump is, “Make immigration much more accessible.”
Trump is already heeding the calls for more lower-skilled workers. His administration just bumped up visas for seasonal foreign workers by 15,000, a 45 percent increase from last year.
There’s little love among economists and business leaders for a 50 percent cut in immigration overall, but there is growing support for moving the United States to a more merit-based immigration system. The idea is to attract more of the immigrant workers that the country desperately needs. At the moment, only 15 percent of green cards are issued for employment reasons, according to Department of Homeland Security data.
“There is a case for adopting a Canada-style system of ‘points’ whereby preference is given to people with desired skills,” said Martin Barnes, chief economist at BCA Research in Montreal.
The vast majority of legal immigrants are entering the country because they are relatives of someone already in the United States. It’s known as “chain immigration,” and the RAISE Act wants to limit that substantially so only spouses and children could come with a visa holder, not more-extended relatives.
From an economics standpoint, the key is to get more workers with the desired skills into the country. It’s why the tech community is lobbying so hard for more H-1B visas.
Immigrants also tend to start more businesses. While start-up founders in Silicon Valley are glorified, the reality is, business formation in the United States is near a 40-year low. That worries Carl Tannenbaum, chief economist at Northern Trust.
“Countries that get collectively older are granted fewer patents, start fewer small businesses and take fewer risks with capital,” Tannenbaum said. All of that hurts economic growth.
Tannenbaum is concerned not only that Trump will cut immigration in the future but also that the president’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and controversial travel ban are already encouraging the best young minds in the world to look elsewhere for their college educations and early careers.
“If smart kids get educated elsewhere, the U.S. will experience a talent drain that we will certainly come to regret,” Tannenbaum warned.”
Nick Visser reports for HuffPost:
“President Donald Trump called on congressional Republicans to craft an outright repeal of Obamacare late Monday, an hour after the GOP’s controversial Senate health care bill appeared dead once again after losing two more Republican votes.
“Republicans should just REPEAL failing Obamacare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate,” the president tweeted, adding that “Dems will join in!”
The “clean repeal” option is unpopular in both parties, and it’s unclear how much support the president’s proposal will garner in Congress. It would take 60 votes in the Senate for an outright repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and Republicans only hold a 52-seat majority.
Trump’s response came after Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) announced Monday evening that they planned to vote no on a “motion to proceed” for the Senate’s legislation ― a step needed to begin debate on the bill.”
Duh, after being treated with total disrespect and contempt by the President and the GOP for 6 months, why is it that Democrats would suddenly jump at the chance to pull the Administration’s chestnuts out of the fire?
On the other hand, a nuanced “fix” of Obamacare probably would have had enough votes to pass both Houses with bipartisan support from all or most Democrats and enough Republicans. But, that wouldn’t have allowed the GOP and Trump to have claimed “victory” on an Obamacare repeal. Talk about a President and a party who have long ago abandoned the best interests of America!
And, just think about all the time and taxpayer money the GOP has wasted over the past few years passing boneheaded, cosmetic “Obamacare repeals.” Obviously, the folks who voted for such nonsense were posturing rather than legislating.
“The U.S. Justice Department on Friday asked the Supreme Court to block a judge’s ruling that prevented President Donald Trump’s travel ban from being applied to grandparents of U.S. citizens and refugees already being processed by resettlement agencies.
In a court filing, the administration asked the justices to overturn Thursday’s decision by a U.S. district judge in Hawaii, which limited the scope of the administration’s temporary ban on refugees and travelers from six Muslim-majority countries.
The latest round in the fight over Trump’s March 6 executive order, which he says is needed for national security reasons, came after the Supreme Court intervened last month to partially revive the two bans, which were blocked by lower courts.
The Supreme Court said then that the ban could take effect, but that people with a “bona fide relationship” to a U.S. person or entity could not be barred.
The administration had narrowly interpreted that language, saying the ban would apply to grandparents and other family members, prompting the state of Hawaii to ask Hawaii-based U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson to expand the definition of who could be admitted. He ruled for the state late on Thursday.
In the court filing, the Justice Department said the judge’s ruling “empties the (Supreme) Court’s decision of meaning, as it encompasses not just “close” family members but virtually all family members.
The conservative-leaning Supreme Court is not currently in session but the justices can handle emergency requests. The administration’s application could be directed either to Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has responsibility for emergency requests from western states, or to the nine justices as a whole. If the court as a whole is asked to weigh in, five votes are needed to grant such a request.
“The truth here is that the government’s interpretation of the Supreme Court’s stay order defies common sense,” said Omar Jadwat, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union involved in challenging the ban. “That’s what the district court correctly found and the attorney general’s misleading attacks on its decision can’t change that fact.”
In his decision, Watson harshly criticized the government’s definition of close family relations as “the antithesis of common sense.”
Watson also ruled that the assurance by a resettlement agency to provide basic services to a newly arrived refugee constitutes an adequate connection to the United States because it is a sufficiently formal and documented agreement that triggers responsibilities and compensation.”
Read the complete article at the link.
Wow, for a group that despises and disses Federal Judges on a regular basis, the Trumpsters seem to be always calling on them for help!
Hard to see what the “emergency” would be that can’t wait till October.
Elise Foley reports in HuffPost:
“WASHINGTON ― When Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Wednesday that a study had found so-called sanctuary cities have more violent crime than others, it came as a surprise to the people who conducted the research.
“When cities like Philadelphia, Boston or San Francisco advertise that they have these policies, the criminals are taking notice, too. They’ve got a good idea of where they might want to go, it seems to me,” Sessions said during a speech railing against jurisdictions that don’t fully cooperate with deportation efforts. “According to a recent study from the University of California, Riverside, cities with these policies have more violent crime on average than those that don’t.”
But that’s not what the study showed, according to one of its authors. In fact, it found that there’s no evidence of sanctuary policies having any effect on crime ― and researchers say they believe Sessions and the conservative media are twisting their study to fit their own narratives about the dangers of immigration.
Sessions, along with President Donald Trump and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, has made a mission of forcing jurisdictions to cooperate with immigration enforcement.
“This narrative that sanctuary policies increase crime rates is one that has not been backed up by a single shred of evidence,” said Benjamin Gonzalez-O’Brien, one of the authors of the study and an assistant professor of political science at Highline College.
Gonzalez-O’Brien co-authored a study on sanctuary policies with Loren Collingwood, assistant professor of political science at University of California, Riverside, and Stephen El-Khatib, a graduate student at the same university. They looked at data from 55 cities and found that a sanctuary designation had no statistical effect on crime.
If the administration is so convinced that sanctuary cities breed crime we would encourage them to actually do some research … and to actually show that this is in fact the case.
Benjamin Gonzalez-O’Brien, assistant professor of political science at Highline College.”
Read Foley’s complete article at the link.
Sessions, of course, has a history of playing fast and loose with the truth not only on the Russia Investigation but in putting together arguments in favor of his white nationalist “Gonzo Apocalypto” agenda. But, when you get your info from Fox News and other right wing shills, that’s going to be an occupational hazard.
Sam Levine reports in HuffPost:
“In a Wednesday ruling, [Judge James P.] O’Hara denied Kobach’s request for a motion for reconsideration because he was introducing new arguments he hadn’t used before.
“Significantly, defendant never represented, as he does now, that his misstatements were the result of editing errors. The court declines to grant reconsideration based on this explanation ‘that could have been raised in prior briefing.’ In any event, this new excuse lacks credibility based on its late assertion (which appears to be an attempt at a second bite at the apple) and lack of supporting documentation,” O’Hara wrote.
Kobach is the vice chair of a commission that Trump convened to investigate elections. He is also running for governor of Kansas.”
Read the complete article and a copy of Magistrate Judge O’Hara’s order at the link.
It’s no wonder that 44 states, including a number of so-called “Red States,” are declining Kobach’s request for information, in whole or in part, in connection with a bogus commission (and taxpayer financed boondoggle) to investigate what all credible experts and prior studies have shown to be a non-problem. Read the latest article from the Washington Post below:
Kobach’s career marked by consistent xenophobia, white nationalism, and the squandering of public resources speaks for itself.
Oh, and another thing: Judge O’Hara’s finding that Kobach’s motion to reconsider “lacks credibility” was issued in connection with a previous order sanctioning Kobach for unethical conduct. http://immigrationcourtside.com/2017/07/02/smelling-a-rat-named-kobach-many-states-decline-to-provide-voter-info-to-bogus-trump-commission-looking-for-voter-fraud-gops-well-known-voter-suppression-efforts-turn-off-many/
You can’t make this stuff up, folks!
Sam Levine writes in HuffPost:
Former Department of Justice officials and voting advocates are seriously alarmed over a DOJ letter sent to states last week that they say could signal a forthcoming effort to kick people off voter rolls. This comes as national attention focuses on several states blocking a request for voter information from President Donald Trump’s commission to investigate voting fraud, which does occur, but is not a widespread problem.
The DOJ sent the letter to 44 states last Wednesday, the same day the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity sent a letter controversially requesting personal voter information. The DOJ letter requests that election officials respond by detailing their compliance with a section of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA), which covers 44 states and was enacted to help people register to vote, but also specifies when voters may be kicked off the rolls.
Several experts said it’s difficult not to see the DOJ letter in connection with the commission’s letter as part of a multipronged effort to restrict voting rights.
Former Justice Department officials say that while there’s nothing notable about seeking information about compliance with the NVRA, it is unusual for the department to send out such a broad inquiry to so many states seeking information. Such a wide probe could signal the department is broadly fishing for cases of non-compliance to bring suits aimed at purging the voter rolls.
“These two letters, sent on the same day, are highly suspect, and seem to confirm that the Trump administration is laying the groundwork to suppress the right to vote,” said Vanita Gupta, the CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and former head of DOJ’s civil rights division under President Barack Obama. “It is not normal for the Department of Justice to ask for voting data from all states covered by the National Voter Registration Act. It’s likely that this is instead the beginning of an effort to force unwarranted voter purges.”
These two letters, sent on the same day, are highly suspect, and seem to confirm that the Trump administration is laying the groundwork to suppress the right to vote.Vanita Gupta, head of DOJ’s civil rights division under President Barack Obama.
“If this went to any individual states, I don’t think anybody would’ve blinked twice,” said Justin Levitt, a professor at Loyola Law School who served as deputy assistant attorney general in the civil rights division in the Obama administration. The letter asked for public information that was uncontroversial, he added, but what made the letter “really weird” was that it was sent out to so many states.
“The Department of Justice does investigations all the time, but those are usually based on individualized predicates to believe that there’s a problem in a given area, in a given jurisdiction. And I’m not aware of a similar letter being sent to blanket jurisdictions across the country,” he said.”
Read the complete article at the link. The concept that “Gonzo Apocalypto” would protect anybody’s voting rights except those of white GOP leaning voters is borderline absurd. Deconstructing (and perverting) the American justice system one gonzo decision at a time.
“May not need to state a reason at all.
In Kleindienst v. Mandel, the Court observed that, without exception, it has sustained Congress’ “plenary power to make rules for the admission of aliens.” And, “The power of Congress …. to have its declared policy in that regard enforced exclusively through executive officers, without judicial intervention, is settled by our previous adjudications.” (Page 408 U. S. 766).
Mandel held that when Congress has made a conditional delegation of its plenary power over the exclusion of aliens to the Executive Branch, and the Executive Branch exercises this power “on the basis of a facially legitimate and bona fide reason,” the courts will not look behind the exercise of that discretion.
The next sentence in Mandel indicates that it may not be necessary to state the reason. “What First Amendment or other grounds may be available for attacking [an] exercise of discretion for which no justification whatsoever is advanced is a question we neither address nor decide in this case.” (Page 408 U. S. 769-70).
No basis for finding religious discrimination in the language of the order.
But the travel ban order does state a reason, and the District Court for the District of Hawaii found no basis in the stated reason or elsewhere in the language of the order for suspecting that the real purpose of the ban was religious discrimination:
It is undisputed that the Executive Order does not facially discriminate for or against any particular religion, or for or against religion versus non-religion. There is no express reference, for instance, to any religion nor does the Executive Order — unlike its predecessor — contain any term or phrase that can be reasonably characterized as having a religious origin or connotation (page 30).
Does it matter if other explanations for the travel ban are possible?
The district court nevertheless went on to find that religious discrimination was the real reason for the ban. In other words, the court finds two reasons, the stated one, which does not reflect religious discrimination, and the real reason, which was found in Trump’s calls for a Muslim ban when he was still campaigning.
Other areas of immigration law do require a weighing of conflicting reasons. An alien is not eligible for an immigration benefit on the basis of a sham marriage, which is defined as a marriage that was entered into for the primary purpose of circumventing the immigration laws. But if the primary reason was that the couple was in love and wanted to spend their lives together, the fact that they got married so the alien spouse could stay in America does not make the marriage a sham.
In the present case, however, the Court will not be weighing reasons to determine which one is primary. It will be interpreting an unambiguous statutory provision that does not require the stated reason to be the primary one. It doesn’t even require the president to say why he made the finding. Section 212(f) has no requirements at all. The president just has to proclaim that he has found that that “the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.”
If opponents of the travel ban find this unacceptable, their only recourse is to lobby Congress to revise section 212(f).
Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an executive branch immigration law expert for three years; he subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years.”
Man, Nolan is prolific, appearing not only in The Hill on an almost weekly basis, but in HuffPost and other publications as well! And, it’s all “original stuff.” I have a hard time just keeping up with posting his articles!
Nolan might be right, if Trump can keep from shooting off his mouth and undermining his own case, as he has done in the past. But, that’s a big “if!” And to date, I’ve seen nothing to indicate that 1) Trump possesses the quality of self control, or 2) that anyone else can impose it on him. So, I wouldn’t underestimate Trump’s ability to screw this up. Perhaps, Nolan is just hoping that Trump will show some restraint.
Mollie Reilly reports for HuffPost:
“Hawaii has filed a challenge to the State Department’s implementation of President Donald Trump’s travel ban, disputing the administration’s guidelines for what relationships to the U.S. are necessary to continue travel to the country.
Hawaii is challenging guidance issued by the State Department on Wednesday that says travelers from the six banned countries must have formal ties or close family relationships with someone or an entity within the U.S. Having familial ties “does not include grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, fiancés, and any other ‘extended’ family members,” the guidance said. (The State Department later said fiancés would, in fact, count as close family.)
In its motion, Hawaii asked a federal judge to clarify that the Trump administration can’t enforce those bans.
“The state of Hawaii is entitled to the enforcement of the injunction that it has successfully defended, in large part, up to the Supreme Court — one that protects the State’s residents and their loved ones from an illegal and unconstitutional Executive Order,” reads the state’s motion.
“In Hawaii, ‘close family’ includes many of the people that the federal government decided on its own to exclude from that definition,” said Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin. “Unfortunately, this severely limited definition may be in violation of the Supreme Court ruling.”
Trump signed the executive order, which seeks to ban travel to the U.S. for most nationals of six Muslim-majority countries for 90 days and suspend refugee resettlement for 120 days, in March.
The travel ban went into effect Thursday, three days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to partially reinstate a watered-down version of it before the court hears arguments on its constitutionality in October.
In its ruling, the Supreme Court specified that the ban could be implemented with the exception of individuals who have “a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United State.” The court, however, did not specify what qualifies as a “bona fide” relationship, thus leaving the matter up to State Department interpretation.
In March, Hawaii became the first state to sue to block Trump’s second attempt at a travel ban, which included citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, all majority-Muslim countries. In its suit, the state said its universities would be hurt by the ban because they would struggle to recruit faculty and students. It also argued that the ban would have a detrimental effect on tourism, critical to the state’s economy.”
Stay tuned for the results!
According to this article from HuffPost:
“Sessions has long been a staunch conservative on crime. He once supported legislation in his home state of Alabama that would have required the death penalty for a second drug trafficking conviction, including for marijuana, which is now legalized in a number of states. Before the 2016 election, there was bipartisan agreement from groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and Koch Industries, and on Capitol Hill about the need to pursue criminal justice reform. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) declined to advance it.
Yates defended the work of Obama’s Justice Department, saying by allowing prosecutors to use their discretion on sentencing for low-level offenses, officials could dedicate resources to prosecuting the most dangerous individuals.
“Under Smart on Crime, the Justice Department took a more targeted approach, reserving the harshest of those penalties for the most violent and significant drug traffickers and encouraging prosecutors to use their discretion not to seek mandatory minimum sentences for lower-level, nonviolent offenders,” she wrote. “While there is always room to debate the most effective approach to criminal justice, that debate should be based on facts, not fear.”
Fear and loathing are, of course, key ingredients of the “Gonzo Apocalypto Program.” Let’s see, in Tudor England they publicly hanged, mostly poor, folks for minor crimes; traitors were drawn and quartered; and the upper classes were beheaded for political, offenses, real or imagined. So, given the obvious deterrent effect, crime should have largely disappeared from the Anglo-Saxon heritage. No real historical record that even the most grisly and gruesome punishments had any real deterrent effect, not to mention that justice was often more or less arbitrary and imposed by an entrenched upper class. But, learning from history, or even knowing much about it, is hardly a Trump Administration specialty.
And, the opposite of “Smart” on Crime would be . . . ?
Ed Mazza reports in HuffPost:
“President Donald Trump wants Congress to pass a law denying welfare benefits to immigrants for five years.
“I believe the time has come for new immigration rules which say that those seeking admission into our country must be able to support themselves financially and should not use welfare for a period of at least five years,” Trump said on Wednesday night at a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
The crowd cheered wildly at this latest example of Trump’s tough-on-immigrants rhetoric, and the president soaked in the applause.
However, such a law already exists.
As The Hill noted, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996, prohibits immigrants from receiving federal benefits.
One section of the law is even titled “Restricting Welfare and Public Benefits For Aliens,” and specifically sets a five-year threshold for “federal means-tested public benefit.” The section carves out some exceptions for refugees and those granted asylum as well as veterans and active-duty military, their spouses and dependents.
Although it’s not clear how Trump’s proposed law would be different, he still vowed to enact his legislation “very shortly.”
What can you say? I suppose you could say that you were going to “crack down on foreigners by counting to ten backwards” and Trump backers would go wild with glee. Life in the parallel universe.
But, behind all Trump’s ignorance and silliness, there is a dark motive. By making such irresponsible statements, Trump gives his backers the false impression that legal immigrants are “all on welfare” and aren’t “paying their way.” And many Trump backers will now take it as gospel that legal immigrants come into the United States and go on welfare right away, repeating it to anyone who will listen. A lie repeated often enough gains traction as having a basis in truth. So, it’s just another way of encouraging xenophobia and drumming up unjustified resentment of legal immigrants.
Here’s the blurb from HuffPost:
Sounds like an appropriate choice. My questions: 1) why does he want this job working in the Trump Administration, which has demonstrated a lack of respect for an independent investigative authority within the DOJ, 2) how long will he last before he quits or is fired?
On the other hand, Wray leaves a lucrative “big law” partnership to which he can return at any time.
Nick Visser reports:
“The Trump administration on Thursday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to revive the president’s controversial executive order that intended to temporarily bar travel to the U.S. by citizens of six Muslim-majority countries.
Lawyers at the Department of Justice filed two emergency applications with the nation’s highest court asking it to block two lower court rulings that effectively halted the implementation of his second travel ban, which also halted refugees seeking to enter the U.S. The filing asks for a stay of a ruling made last week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit and another stay of an injunction made by a judge in Hawaii.
The Justice Department has asked for expedited processing of the petitions so the court can hear the case when it begins a new session in October.
“We have asked the Supreme Court to hear this important case and are confident that President Trump’s executive order is well within his lawful authority to keep the Nation safe and protect our communities from terrorism,” Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said in a statement. “The president is not required to admit people from countries that sponsor or shelter terrorism, until he determines that they can be properly vetted and do not pose a security risk to the United States.”
The filing drew an almost immediate response from advocacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, which pledged to fight the ban in court yet again.
Trump’s executive order, signed March 6, was the White House’s second travel ban attempt. It sought to bar citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the United States. The watered-down order came after the bungled rollout of a similar ban, one that included Iraqis, which prompted nationwide protests and its own smack-down by a federal judge in Seattle.
In a 10-3 ruling last week, the 4th Circuit issued perhaps the biggest setback to the White House when a full panel of its judges refused to lift a nationwide injunction that halted key aspects of the revised ban.
U.S. Chief Circuit Judge Roger Gregory wrote at the time that the order “speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination.”
“Congress granted the President broad power to deny entry to aliens, but that power is not absolute,” Gregory continued. “It cannot go unchecked when, as here, the President wields it through an executive edict that stands to cause irreparable harm to individuals across this nation.”
Any travel ban’s chances have been harmed by Trump’s own rhetoric on the campaign trail, when he promised to completely ban Muslims from entering the country. He later backed down on those statements, but several judges cited them as evidence that the White House was targeting members of a religious group, not from any specific countries.
In one ruling, U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson said the president’s “plainly worded statements” betrayed the ban’s “stated secular purpose.” U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang said Trump’s statements provided “a convincing case that the purpose of the second Executive Order remains the realization of the long-envisioned Muslim ban.”
Throughout the continued defeat in the courts, Trump and his administration have defiantly pledged to fight for the order and have denied the ban is intended to target members of the Islamic faith. After Watson ruled on the second order in Hawaii, the president called the decision “flawed” and slammed it as “unprecedented judicial overreach.”
“This ruling makes us look weak, which by the way we no longer are,” Trump said.
At the time, he pledged to bring the fight to the Supreme Court, a call Attorney General Jeff Sessions reiterated last month.”
Most experts believe that the Administration has a reasonable chance of prevailing if the Court takes the case. But, I’m not sure that heaping intemperate insults on U.S. trial and appellate judges, and then asking the top U.S. judges to invoke emergency procedures to bail you out of difficulties caused to a large extent by your own inflammatory rhetoric is necessarily a winning litigation strategy. We’ll soon see how this plays out. Because the Court’s term concludes at the end of this month, expect a decision on the Government’s emergency requests by then. Even if the Court agrees to take the case, it’s unlikely that arguments on the merits will be heard until the beginning of the 2017 Term next Fall.
Thanks to Nolan Rappaport for sending me this link.