Multiple civil rights groups filed suit today against the Trump administration, challenging its new rule seeking to severely limit the asylum protections that are available under US and international law to migrants at the US-Mexico border. The American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Center for Constitutional Rights filed one of the main legal challenges in California's Northern District Court on behalf of immigrant advocacy groups, alleging that the new rule violates US immigration law as well as administrative law. The lawsuit seeks declaratory relief stating that the interim final rule is invalid and unlawful, as well as preliminary and permanent injunctive relief to block its implementation.


In a new rule that is planned to be effective Tuesday, the Trump administration is seeking to reverse decades of asylum policy by effectively denying protections to most migrants seeking asylum at the southern border of the US. The new policy, which the American Civil Liberties Union plans to promptly challenge in court, would require asylum seekers at the US-Mexico border to prove that they have sought and been denied asylum in a so-called "safe third country" before they can apply for protection in the US. 


On Wednesday, July 10, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit unanimously dismissed a lawsuit that claimed President Trump is violating the so-called Emoluments Clauses of the U.S. Constitution by accepting payments from state and foreign governments at his luxury hotel in downtown Washington. Brought by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia, the lawsuit alleged that the type of business transactions with foreign governments was exactly the type anticipated and prohibited by our nation's founders.


Posted in: Constitutional Law

On Tuesday, July 9, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that President Donald J. Trump engaged in unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination, in violation of the First Amendment, by blocking certain users' access to his Twitter account based on those users' speech on Twitter. The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University sued the President on behalf of seven Twitter users who were blocked from the President's Twitter account after said users tweeted replies to the President critical of his personality and policies. Judge Barrington D. Parker concluded "that the First Amendment does not permit a public official who utilizes a social media account for all manner of official purposes to exclude persons from an otherwise-open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees."


According to news reports, since May the federal government has filed four condemnation lawsuits against local residents in the Brownsville, Texas area for the purpose of constructing a border wall along the southern border of the US. Some residents, who have been informed that the government wants access to their property for purposes of surveying land that would be involved in border wall construction, are contesting the government's terms for use of their land.


Using state driver's license databases, agents are scanning through millions of Americans' faces without their knowledge or consent.


This week marked the end of the U.S. Supreme Court's 2018–2019 term, and, as is typical for this last week, the Court issued some highly anticipated (and some highly divisive) decisions.


Posted in: US Supreme Court

On Monday, June 24, 2019, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision in Iancu v. Brunetti, 588 U.S. ___ (2019), holding that the Lanham Act's bar on registration of immoral or scandalous trademarks violates the First Amendment. At issue in the case is the trademark FUCT, pronounced as four letters, which is the clothing brand founded by Erik Brunetti. Justice Elena Kagan, writing for the majority, wrote that the Lanham Act's bar on immoral or scandalous trademarks is viewpoint-based discrimination in violation of the First Amendment. 


The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has canceled the deportation of a worker who was arrested and detained in a 2008 immigration enforcement raid on a California factory, ruling that immigration authorities violated federal regulations and the Constitution when they conducted the raid without reasonable suspicion that the approximately 130 people they detained were in the country without authorization.


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit found that the administration's policy of blocking abortion services served as an "across-the board ban" on access to the procedure.


Posted in: Abortion, Immigration