federation court

NEW: Maryland’s ban on 45 kinds of assault weapons, and its 10-round limit on gun magazines, has been upheld by a federal appeals court. http://nbcnews.to/2kZYH2t

“Put simply, we have no power to extend Second Amendment protections to weapons of war,” Judge Robert King wrote for the court, adding that the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller explicitly excluded such coverage.

“It is absurd to hold that the most popular rifle in America is not a protected ‘arm’ under the Second Amendment,” the NRA says.


BREAKING: ACLU takes Trump to court over Muslim refugee and immigrant ban, judge grants stay

  • The American Civil Liberties Union took the Trump administration to federal court Saturday night over its new restrictions on immigrants and refugees coming to the U.S. — a policy many have linked to President Donald Trump’s promised Muslim ban.
  • After about an hour of arguments in a New York City court, a judge granted a stay effectively blocking Trump’s executive order and barring customs officials from detaining immigrants and refugees at U.S. airports, according to Dale Ho, an ACLU representative. Read more
Federal court halts Trump’s immigration ban
Step one in a long fight to come.
By Nilay Patel

“The federal court for the Eastern District of New York issued an emergency stay halting President Donald Trump’s executive order banning entry to the US from seven majority-Muslim countries tonight, following widespread protests at airports around the country.

The court ruled on a habeas corpus petition filed by the ACLU on behalf of Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, who were denied entry to the US upon landing at JFK airport in New York City and detained indefinitely by Customs and Border Patrol.

The court’s stay is temporary; it’s clear that the White House will argue to have it reinstated as soon as possible.”


State Department officers sign dissent memo against Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, report says

  • About 900 State Department officials have signed on to an internal “dissent memo” objecting to Trump’s immigration executive order.
  • “A senior State Department official confirmed that the memorandum in the department’s ‘dissent channel’ had been submitted to management,” Reuters reported Tuesday.
  • “White House spokesman Sean Spicer said on Monday he was aware of the memo but warned career diplomats that they should either ’get with the program or they can go,’” Reuters said. Read more

San Francisco is standing up to Trump’s order punishing  sanctuary cities

  • Dennis Herrera, city attorney of San Francisco, filed a lawsuit over Trump’s executive order that threatens to punish cities that shelter undocumented immigrants.
  • Herrera filed the lawsuit in federal court Tuesday arguing that the executive order, which seeks to withhold federal funding from cities that does not to detain undocumented immigrants, is illegal. 
  • Citing the 10th Amendment, which states powers not granted to the federal government are the purview of the states, Herrera contends that Trump does not have the authority to cut federal funds over a matter of state and local policy. Read more

Amnesty International: We will fight Donald Trump’s Muslim ban every step of the way

  • Amnesty International is no stranger to governments that exploit real threats to security to turn people against religious and ethnic minorities. 
  • We’ve seen this before and we know the havoc it wreaks. And we know it must be stopped. Read more (Opinion)

I was in the courtroom tonight at the Federal Court of Brooklyn. I am not a lawyer or anything, but I took notes, and here’s what it was like. 

We happened to see the call on twitter asking for people to arrive at the Cadman Plaza out front of the courthouse by 7:30 pm. We were near enough to make it, so we hopped on a subway and rode a few stops to arrive by 7:20 or so. There were about 100 people already in the plaza, chanting, making signs, and singing. Around 8 they started to let people into the building in small groups of 10 to go through security and make sure they didn’t overflow the courtroom. I didn’t think we’d make it in, but after the first few groups of ten they opened a second door right next to us. I’d estimate 60-70 people actually got into the audience of the courtroom, which was as much as it could hold. We were pretty squished on the bench trying to make more room.

In the courtroom itself, there was one lawyer for the ACLU and two present for the government: a black woman from the Attorney General and a Jewish man from the Department of Immigration (I have no idea what their personal views were on the situation). There was an additional government lawyer on the phone.

The ACLU had filed on behalf of two named people, both of whom had arrived in JFK and been detained, and the larger class of all people affected by the Executive Order. The government pointed out that both of the named people had in fact already been released and so the case was moot, but the ACLU insisted that they had only named two people because the government was refusing to release the names of any others. The ACLU and the judge (Ann M. Donnelly) insisted that they needed to deal with the larger class, even if these two specific people were no longer being detained. 

The ACLU asked for an assurance that “future plaintives” wouldn’t be removed from the country. The government said they couldn’t make those assurances without knowing specifics about the “arriving aliens”. 

The judge said that she was following Supreme Court precedent, which depended on the “four factor test”, the most important of which in this situation was the potential for irreparable harm to the people being detained. (The others were the likelihood of injury to the petitioner, the public good, and a fourth I didn’t catch.) She asked the government specifically, “What is your argument that there won’t be irreparable injury?”

The government replied that they couldn’t say without named petitioners.

The judge pointed out that all the people being detained have been through an extensive vetting process already, some for years. Again she said, “Explain to me how it is that members of this class will not suffer irreparable injury.”

The government lawyers said that was an “overly broad request”.

The judge said that she saw no likelihood of injury to the opposing party (ie, the government), because all of these people would have been allowed in the country two days ago without problem. She said given that, and the “likelihood of success on the merits of the case” that she granted the stay (that is, no people currently being detained under the executive order could be sent out of the US). She also said, “I think the government hasn’t had a full chance to think about this.” And that was very obviously true, as the government’s lawyers repeatedly weren’t able to answer questions or predict what would happen next.

They began to set a date for the next hearing, and the government lawyers said they would need at least two weeks to prepare. The ACLU lawyer said that two weeks was a long time to keep people in detention without knowing what would happen to them. The government lawyers agreed, but couldn’t say if it was likely they would continue to keep people in detention or not.

The ACLU lawyer asked for a list of everyone currently being detained, since they didn’t even have accurate numbers of how many people it was (though he guessed 100-200 people).  

The government lawyers replied that was “more difficult that it sounds”. !!!!

The judge said, “Why don’t you work it out.” You could hear her trying hard to suppress her eye roll. She then said that the whole point of this stay was to maintain the status quo, and that “it was not unduly burdensome to identify the people in the stated class”. 

The eventual dates they settled on for the future was: Feb 10 for the government to file papers. The ACLU said they could respond within 48 hours. The government asked for a further seven days to prepare a respond to that, with the next hearing to take place on Feb 21.

(And what we saw when we came out of the courthouse)

TL;DR – the stay was granted! No one is being kicked out of the US right now! It applies nationwide! :D

Unfortunately only temporary and the ultimate fate of this people is yet to be decided. It also only covers people already in the US or who were in transit at the time of the ruling. :(


More than 100,000 visas have been revoked because of Trump’s Muslim ban

  • More than 100,000 visas have been revoked because of Trump’s executive order banning the citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries
  • This means that far more people have been affected by the policy than Trump, or his administration, have been willing to admit.
  • Speaking in a Virginia federal court on Friday, an attorney for the U.S. government revealed the actual number — more than 100,000 visas have been revoked, the Washington Post reported. 
  • One reporter said that there was an “audible gasp” in the courtroom when the lawyer for the government gave the figure. Read more
Appeals court blocks Trump travel ban

A federal appeals court Thursday refused to let President Trump reinstitute a temporary ban on travelers from seven majority-Muslim nations, ruling that the president’s order violates the due process rights of people affected by the ban.

The quick decision from a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit could lead to a showdown at the Supreme Court, unless the administration agrees to dial back the travel ban or try its case before a federal judge in Seattle who ordered it stopped last week.

“Although courts owe considerable deference to the President’s policy determinations with respect to immigration and national security, it is beyond question that the federal judiciary retains the authority to adjudicate constitutional challenges to executive action,” the judge wrote in their opinion.

The ban, announced Jan. 27, temporarily barred citizens of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen for 90 days, all refugees for 120 days, and Syrian citizens indefinitely. It led to chaos at U.S. and international airports as tens of thousands of visa holders were blocked from entering the country or detained after arriving in the U.S.

Read more. 


Federal judge rules that existing civil rights laws do protect against sexual orientation discrimination
"There is no more obvious form of sex stereotyping than making a determination that a person should conform to heterosexuality," US District Court Judge Cathy Bissoon writes.
By Chris Geidner

In Pittsburgh, a federal judge has ruled that existing civil rights laws do protect people from facing discrimination based on their sexual orientation.

It’s been a long-standing question in terms of nondiscrimination protections for workplaces, particularly in the context of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled in 2015 that Title VII’s ban on sex stereotyping also applied to sexual orientation. 

In this case, Judge Cathy Bissoon’s ruling means that the EEOC can continue its case against Scott Medical Health Center, which is accused of mistreating an employee for being gay. 

While Bissoon is not the first judge to reach the conclusion she did on Friday, the decision is significant for a few reasons. The opinion itself — as direct and forceful as it is — is important, because it can be cited to in lawyers’ briefs and in other judges’ decisions. More importantly, however, is the fact that it comes in a case brought by the EEOC itself — the agency in the federal government responsible for interpreting Title VII.

Finally, it is notable that the ruling comes a few weeks before the full federal appeals court in Chicago is due to reconsider a decision of a three-judge panel from the court rejecting the argument that sexual orientation claims are currently covered under Title VII. The three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held that only the US Supreme Court or a change in law could provide those legal protections. The full court — with the urging of the EEOC and others — agreed to reconsider that decision, which it will do on Nov. 30.

It makes for sort of dense reading, but this is really important. 


January 22nd 1973: Roe v. Wade

On this day in 1973, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that women have the right to an abortion, thus legalising abortion in the United States. The case was brought to federal court by a Texas woman under the alias of Jane Roe, against Dallas County District Attorney Henry Wade, who represented the state. After a decision was made in the district court, the case was referred up through the court system, eventually reaching the nation’s highest court in 1970. The all-male Supreme Court, led by Warren Burger as Chief Justice, ruled 7-2 that a right to privacy under the 14th Amendment covers a woman’s right to an abortion. The majority opinion was written by Justice Harry Blackmun, with Justices Bryon White and William Rehnquist penning dissents. The Roe decision was issued the same day as a related case called Doe v. Bolton which overturned Georgia’s anti-abortion laws. Roe v. Wade was immediately controversial, sparking celebrations in the pro-choice camp and protests from anti-abortion activists. It is still a divisive issue today, with its supporters arguing the decision forms a vital part of a woman’s right over her own body, and those opposed to abortion calling for the decision’s repeal. The Court’s 1973 decision has since been challenged, and abortion rights have been gradually eroded in subsequent rulings, but the fundamental right to an abortion remains.

This is the only known photograph of Wong Lan Fong and her husband, Yee Shew Ning, on their wedding day. Their granddaughter, Erika Lee, had never seen the photo until she found it in her grandmother’s immigration file while doing research at the National Archives at Riverside.

When the couple immigrated to the United States from China, they brought their wedding photograph and a letter from the clergyman who married them. Immigration officials confiscated both items and eventually their paperwork became part of our holdings.

Why this extra paperwork for Chinese immigrants? In 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed, creating a 10-year moratorium on Chinese labor immigration. The act also placed new requirements on Chinese people who had already entered the country. If they left the United States, they had to obtain certifications to re-enter. Congress also refused state and Federal courts the right to grant citizenship to Chinese resident aliens.

We’ll be sharing more immigration stories this week in honor of our upcoming National Conversation, “Immigration: Barriers and Access” held in Los Angeles at the Japanese American National Museum on Saturday, November 19. You can register to attend or watch the livestream here:http://bit.ly/2eBtF2S

You can learn more about the Chinese Exclusion Act in our free ebook:https://www.archives.gov/publicati…/…/chinese-exclusion.html


Australian Open 2017 Men’s Singles Final: Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal

  • 35th meeting (Federer 11-23 Nadal)
  • 22nd meeting in a final (Federer 7-14 Nadal)
  • 12th meeting in a grand slam (Federer 2-9 Nadal)
  • 9th meeting in a grand slam final (Federer 2-6 Nadal)
  • 6th meeting in a hard court final (Federer 3-2 Nadal)
  • 4th meeting at the Australian Open (Federer 0-3 Nadal)
Obama Administration Takes A Last Stand To Protect Transgender Bathroom Rights
The Justice Department has asked a federal appeals court to step in. Federal lawyers said in a brief filed Friday with the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit that the previous ruling was incorrect and overly broad.
By Dominic Holden

“With two weeks left, the Obama administration has asked a federal appeals court to throw out a lower court’s decision that suspended policies designed to protect transgender people’s access to restrooms - a sign the current leadership of the Justice Department will close shop mid-fight on one of its signature LGBT issues.

The case at issue, brought by Texas and several other states last year, centers around guidance documents that say transgender students and workers should be granted access to restrooms and other single-sex facilities that match their gender identity. The federal agencies behind the guidance argue the rights are protected by existing civil rights laws that ban discrimination on the basis of sex.

US District Court Judge Reed O’Connor, however, sided with the states by ruling that the guidance likely exceeded the executive branch’s authority because there was no rule-making process. He issued a temporary injunction in August that applied nationwide, suspending enforcement of the guidance documents. His order also blocked agencies from starting new enforcement actions and barred government lawyers from raising certain arguments in ongoing lawsuits.

With their remedies waning in the lower court - and time running out - the Justice Department’s Civil Division made three arguments to the Fifth Circuit.

The Justice Department said the case is not ripe for judicial review because the government did not violate the Administrative Procedure Act, as Texas and the other states claimed. The guidance for schools and workplaces are not final acts by any agency, the appeal says, and therefore did not require a rule-making process under the APA. The Justice Department has asked the Fifth Circuit to throw out the injunction and instruct the lower court to dismiss the case.”

Read the full piece and see the administrations filing here

Court rules that 11-year-old trans girl can continue using the girls' bathroom
"Doe, a vulnerable eleven year old with special needs, will suffer irreparable harm if prohibited from using the girls' restroom," the court held.
By Chris Geidner

In yet another case where trans students have to fight for their right to fulfill basic human needs, a federal appeals court has ruled that a transgender 11-year-old girl can continue to use the girls’ bathroom at her school.

The move is the latest in a series of lawsuits and other actions over the question of whether existing civil rights laws — here, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 — protect against anti-transgender discrimination through their bans on sex discrimination. The Obama administration has backed the view that transgender people are protected by the current laws.

Highland’s request for a stay was considered by Judges Damon Keith, Jeff Sutton, and Bernice Donald.

“[T]he record establishes that Doe, a vulnerable eleven year old with special needs, will suffer irreparable harm if prohibited from using the girls’ restroom,” according to the court unsigned order. “The district court issued the injunction to protect Doe’s constitutional and civil rights, a purpose that is always in the public interest. … Thus, a stay is improper in this case.”

Every decision matters. This is shaping up to be a long fight, and we need all the support we can get. 


February 1st 1790: Supreme Court first meets

On this day in 1790, the highest court in the United States, the Supreme Court, met for the first time at the Merchants’ Exchange Building in New York City. The Supreme Court is the only federal court specifically established in the Constitution (in Article III), and was implemented in 1789 with the Judiciary Act. The original role of the Supreme Court, according to the Constitution, was jurisdiction over “all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution” (Article III, Section II). The location of the Court moved a number of times, finally gaining its own building in Washington D.C. in 1935. The Court consists of a chief justice and eight associate justices, who are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate; the first Chief Justice was Founding Father John Jay. The 1803 landmark case Marbury v. Madison formed the basis for the Supreme Court’s exercise of judicial review - when they can invalidate laws by declaring them ‘unconstitutional’ - which is now a major part of the Court’s role in American governance.