SCOTUS & the US courts

Written by  //  February 22, 2021  //  Justice & Law, U.S.  //  No comments

Lawfare
See also: SCOTUS and the US courts 2017-18
SCOTUS, Trump & the US courts May – November 2020

Supreme Court again rejects Trump’s bid to shield tax returns, other financial records from Manhattan prosecutor
Trump has waged an extraordinary battle to keep private his tax records, which every other modern president has released as an expected part of seeking the presidency. The court’s action does not mean Trump’s tax records are to become public — Vance has said they will be protected by grand jury secrecy rules — but is likely to accelerate an investigation that might be Trump’s biggest legal threat.
(WaPo) The Supreme Court on Monday rejected former president Donald Trump’s last-chance effort to keep his private financial records from the Manhattan district attorney, ending a long and drawn-out legal battle.
After a four-month delay, the court denied Trump’s motion in a one-sentence order with no recorded dissents.
District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. has won every stage of the legal fight — including the first round at the Supreme Court — but has yet to receive the records he says are necessary for a grand jury investigation into whether the president’s companies violated state law.
Supreme Court won’t take up challenge to Pennsylvania presidential election results
It was part of a purge of sorts. The high court formally dismissed a range of suits filed by Donald Trump and his allies in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia and Arizona — all states won by Democrat Joe Biden. The court’s intent in most of those had been signaled when it refused to expedite consideration of them before Biden was inaugurated as president.
The case about deadlines for receiving mail-in ballots was different, though. Three justices — Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch — said it deserved the court’s attention, even though the number of votes at issue would not call into question Biden’s victory. … Neither Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. nor two of the three justices nominated by Trump signed on to dissents from Thomas and Alito. Besides Gorsuch, Trump chose Justices Brett M. Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

2020

22 December
What Will It Take to Get a Black Woman on the Supreme Court? The fate of Biden’s campaign promise lies with Georgia.
(New York) In February, he declared that he would nominate the first Black woman to the Supreme Court. … But whether Biden will be able to actually do it will likely be decided by the Georgia Senate runoffs in January. If Democrats gain control of the Senate, the only question will be when a vacancy will open up. And if they don’t, the fate of any nominee will be decided by how much Mitch McConnell thinks he can get away with.
The groundwork is already being laid for the battle ahead. The Wall Street Journal reported recently that Biden advisers plan to have a Supreme Court nominee shortlist by Inauguration Day. When I asked one person whose name has appeared on shortlists if she believed herself to be under consideration, she laughed and said, “Every Black woman under the age of 50 is under consideration.”
Two names, though, have come up most often in conversations with legal insiders: California State Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger and federal district court judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, a former clerk to the oldest current Supreme Court justice, Stephen Breyer. Both have impeccable credentials — and, crucial to a lifetime appointment, are in their mid-40s.

11 December
‘Our institutions held’: Democrats (and some Republicans) cheer Supreme Court ruling on election suit.
the Supreme Court’s ruling effectively ended the president’s attempts to use the legal system to get a result the voters denied him.
(NYT) The rejection came swiftly. The celebrations came just as fast.
The Supreme Court’s unsigned order on Friday rejecting Texas’s bid to toss the results of the 2020 presidential election in four states that delivered the White House to President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. unceremoniously ended a case that President Trump had teased only hours earlier as “perhaps the most important case in history.”
Democrats cheered the ruling as a symbolic final blow to more than a month of failed legal challenges by Mr. Trump and his allies — this case drew support from more than 120 Republican members of Congress and 17 attorneys general — and a victory for the will of voters who delivered Mr. Biden 306 Electoral College votes and a 7-million-strong popular vote win.
Supreme Court rejects Texas-led effort to overturn Biden’s victory
The move likely marks the end of the line for Trump’s legal push to reverse his defeat.
(Politico) No justice indicated any endorsement of Texas’ arguments. Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas issued a statement saying they would have allowed Texas’ to file its case under a rarely-used procedure for interstate disputes, but they said “would not grant other relief.”
The decision brings an abrupt, unceremonious end to Trump’s legal effort to essentially scrap the democratic process in order to preserve his presidency, a six-week-long crusade in which he has spread false conspiracies about voter fraud to drive up distrust of the U.S. election system.

10 December
In Blistering Retort, 4 Battleground States Tell Texas to Butt Out of Election
(NYT) The attorneys general of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia asked the Supreme Court to reject a lawsuit from Texas seeking to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victories.
More Than Half of House Republicans Sign On to Trump’s Election Coup
By Matt Stieb
(New York) As the president’s lawsuits to contest the election results grow more and more absurd, Republicans’ rhetoric surrounding the soft putsch is becoming more and more worrisome. On Thursday, 106 GOP representatives signed an amicus brief sent to the Supreme Court in support of a petition by Texas attorney general Ken Paxton. The petition requests that the Supreme Court grant an emergency order that would nullify presidential election results declaring Joe Biden the winner in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin based on a bogus claim about mail-ballot rules.
Like other Trump lawsuits slated to overturn an election in which there has been no substantial evidence of voter fraud, the Texas filing is extremely unlikely to succeed. (Election-law expert Rick Hasen on Wednesday described the attempt as “a press release masquerading as a lawsuit.”) Nevertheless, 17 Republican attorneys general filed their own amicus brief in support of the Texas lawsuit. Paxton’s suit will almost surely be dismissed from the high court as soon as it gets there

8 December
Supreme Court denies Trump allies’ bid to overturn Pennsylvania election results
The Supreme Court on Tuesday denied a last-minute attempt by President Trump’s allies to overturn the election results in Pennsylvania, a blow to the president’s continuing efforts to reverse his loss to Democrat Joe Biden.
The court’s brief order denying a requested injunction provided no reasoning, nor did it note any dissenting votes. It was the first request to delay or overturn the results of last month’s presidential election to reach the court, and it appears that Justice Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s latest nominee, took part in the case.

4 December
Nevada, Michigan, Minnesota, Arizona and Wisconsin deliver more defeats to Trump legal effort.
The Trump campaign and its Republican allies lost five legal challenges to the election in five different states in a little more than three hours on Friday evening as President Trump’s attempts to use the courts to overturn the election results drew ever closer to an end.
The string of losses, coming practically on top of one another, was the latest rebuke to the president, who has continued to make baseless claims that widespread fraud tainted the counting of votes across the country. In each of the failed lawsuits or petitions, Mr. Trump or his allies had sought to invalidate the certification of a statewide election but judges — some of them conservatives — held the line and often offered striking repudiations of the claims.

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