16 April, 2017

Supreme Court of the USA ~ Associate Justice Neil M. Gorsuch

With effect from 10th April 2017, Judge Neil M Gorsuch is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the USA.  Mr Gorsuch's biography is available via the Supreme Court's website.  The court has a Chief Justice - John G Roberts - and 8 Associate Justices.  Mr Gorsuch was appointed to fill the vacancy left by the death in February 2016 of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.

Following a "Confirmation Hearing", Mr Gorsuch was confirmed by the United States Senate 54 votes to 45 - see this article where the process is described.

Justices of the Supreme Court of the USA do not have fixed retirement ages.  The longest serving member of the court at this time is Anthony Kennedy appointed in February 1988.

The longest serving justice in the history of the court is William O Douglas who sat from April 1939 to November 1975.

16 March, 2017

State of Hawai'i and Ismail Elshikh v Donald J Trump and others (2)

Update - 29th March - the Temporary Restraining Order was converted to a Preliminary Injunction - Court's Judgment.

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The United States District Court for the District of Hawai'i has imposed a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in respect of sections 2 and 6 of President Donald J Trump's Executive Order 13780 (6th March 2017).

See the Order issued by Judge Derrick K Watson

Section 2 of the EO sought to impose a 90 day ban on entry to the United States of certain nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.  (NB: Not Iraq).

Section 6 of the EO sought to suspend for 120 days the US Refugee Admissions Program.  Exceptions on a case-by-case basis were to be possible).

The court will set an expedited hearing to decide whether the Order is to be extended.

09 March, 2017

State of Hawai'i and Ismail Elshikh v Donald J Trump and others (1)

Legal action has been commenced against the Executive Order issued on 6th March by President Donald J Trump - Executive Order 13780.  The action is State of Hawai'i and Ismail Elshikh v Donald J Trump and others.  Mr Elshikh is Imam of the Muslim Association of Hawai'i.

See CNN News 9th March - Judge to hear Hawai'i lawsuit against new Trump travel ban and The Telegraph 9th March - Hawai'i becomes first State to take legal action against Donald Trump over new travel order

The new Executive Order may be read via the US Federal Register - Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry to the United States.  The new Order will replace EO 13769 on 16th March.

Here is the document commencing the case which will be heard in the United States District Court for the District of Hawai'i. The document commencing the case lists 8 grounds of challenge against the new Executive Order.

Update - the hearing is listed for 0930 hrs HAST on 15th March before Judge Derrick K Watson

[Hawai'i is the local spelling of the State's name].

HAST = Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time ..... 10 hours behind London time.

07 March, 2017

President Trump issues new Executive Order to replace EO 13769 of 27th January 2017

President Donald J Trump has issued a new Executive Order dated 6th March.  The Order may be read via the US Federal Register - Executive Order 13780 Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry to the United States.  The new Order will replace EO 13769 on 16th March.

Sec. 13.  Revocation.  Executive Order 13769 of January 27, 2017, is revoked as of the effective date of this order.

Sec. 14.  Effective Date.  This order is effective at 12:01 a.m., eastern daylight time on March 16, 2017.

20 February, 2017

Internment in World War 2 and later

Over the years, democratic nations have introduced powers to detain those whose presence is considered to be inimical to public safety.  The use of such powers has, at times, been without adequate legal safeguards.  Considerable injustice and tragedy has arisen particularly when the powers have been directed at a whole section of the population such as those of Japanese descent living in the USA in the 1940s.

7th December 1941 was a "Date which will Live in infamy."  Those were the words of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in his famous speech to Congress following the attack by Japanese forces on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbour, Hawaii.   One consequence of this was that President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 - dated 19th February 1942.   The Order authorised the Secretary for War to prescribe "Military Areas" in such places and of such extent as he or the appropriate Military Commander may determine, from which any or all persons may be excluded, and with respect to which, the right of any person to enter, remain in, or leave shall be subject to whatever restrictions the Secretary of War or the appropriate Military Commander may impose in his discretion."  This exercise of Presidential power was justified in the Executive Order on the basis that "the successful prosecution of the war requires every possible protection against espionage and against sabotage to national-defense material, national-defense premises, and national-defense utilities."  A further Executive Order was issued in 1942 creating a "War Relocation Authority.

States of Washington and Minnesota v Donald J Trump (3)

The Appeals Court for the Ninth Circuit was going to hold an en banc hearing of the appeal against the Temporary Restraining Order issued by Judge James L. Robart on 3rd February 2017.  The en banc procedure is explained here.  In the event, it seems that the President has decided (or been advised) to issue a new Executive Order.  Consequently, the en banc hearing was stayed and did not proceed - read the court's announcement.  On 15th March 2017, the appeals court issued an Order indicating some disagreement within the judiciary as to whether the order staying the pending appeal should have been considered en banc.

Executive Order No. 13769 of 27th January 2017 - "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States".

Documents etc filed in the case may be seen via - State of Washington and State of Minnesota v Trump


Executive Orders issued by various Presidents may be seen via the Federal Register.

A useful explanation of Executive Orders is available at CNBC - Executive Orders: what they are and how they work

8th March 2017 - given that President Trump issued a new Executive Order replacing EO 13769, the case of States of Washington and Minnesota v Donald J Trump ended - see the court's announcement



08 February, 2017

States of Washington and Minnesota v Donald J Trump (2)

A hearing, by telephone, was held on 7th February 2017 by the Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit - (Judges Michelle T Friedland, William C Canby and Richard R Clifton).  The hearing may be heard via this LINK.  In the appeal, the Federal Government was asking the Appeals Court to STAY the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued by Judge Robart - previous post.  A Stay would fully reinstate the President's Executive Order No. 13769 of 27th January 2017 - "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States"

Documents etc filed in the case may be seen via - State of Washington and State of Minnesota v Trump

The decision:

The Courty of Appeals refused the Stay requested by the Federal Government - see Judgment of 9th February (29 pages pdf).  The BBC 10th February - Trump loses appeal court bid to reinstate travel ban


05 February, 2017

States of Washington and Minnesota v Donald J Trump

A considerable number of legal actions have commenced in the USA against President Trump's Executive Order No. 13769 of 27th January 2017 - "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States".   The challenges to the order are based on a number of grounds including arguments that the order is unconstitutional.

The actions include one brought by the States of Washington and Minnesota.  On 3rd February, in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington, Judge James L. Robart issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the enforcement of the executive order nationwide, and entered a temporary ban regarding immigration restrictions, then directed the parties to the action to file any briefs in support of a preliminary injunction by 6th February 2017.   See VIDEO of the hearing.

President Trump took to Twitter to comment - " "The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!"

02 February, 2017

SCOTUS ~ President Trump seeks to fill the vacancy



President Trump has nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the Associate Justice vacancy in the Supreme Court of the USA created by the death, in February 2016, of  Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.  Judge Gorsuch is currently serving as a Federal Appellate judge in the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

In March 2016, President Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland  to fill the vacancy but, for entirely political reasons, this did not proceed to the required nomination hearing - see CNN Politics 16th March 2016.  Judge Garland’s nomination lapsed on 3rd January 2017 at the end of the 114th Congress.  Judge Garland appears to have behaved with exemplary dignity in the face of all of this. 

Sally Q Yates and the disagreement with President Trump

In the United States of America, the Supreme Court was created by Article 3 of the Constitution:

"The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office."

The Judiciary Act 1789 established the structure and jurisdiction of the system of Federal Courts and the Act also created the Office of Attorney General of the United States.  At the present day, the Attorney General is head of the Department of Justice.

Dismissal of Sally Yates:

28 January, 2017

Presidential Executive Orders in the USA ~ a note

On 20th January 2017, Donald J. Trump became President of the United States of America.  An interesting fact is that he did not win the popular vote but he succeeded in winning the Electoral College.  See the 2016 Election Results and this explanation of the Electoral College.

In the brief time since taking office, President Trump has issued important Executive Orders and Presidential Memoranda - see White House Presidential Actions.    The United States Constitution Article 2 vests the executive power in the President.

Executive Orders issued by various Presidents may be seen via the Federal Register.

A useful explanation of Executive Orders is available at CNBC - Executive Orders: what they are and how they work

Links of interest:

International Bar Association 10th December - Open letter calls on President-elect Trump to address declining human rights in the United States

The Advocates for Human Rights responds to White House Executive Orders on Immigration