McCarthy juggles a government shutdown and a Biden impeachment inquiry

Court Watch 2023/09/12 10:08   Bookmark and Share
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is a man who stays in motion — enthusiastically greeting tourists at the Capitol, dashing overseas last week to the G7 summit of industrial world leaders, and raising funds back home to elect fellow Republicans to the House majority.

But beneath the whirlwind of activity is a stubborn standstill, an imbalance of power between the far-right Republicans who hoisted McCarthy to the speaker’s role yet threaten his own ability to lead the House.

It’s a political standoff that will be tested anew as the House returns this week from a long summer recess and McCarthy faces a collision course of difficult challenges — seeking to avoid a government shutdown, support Ukraine in the war and launch an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.

“They’ve got some really heavy lifting ahead,” said the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, John Thune, of South Dakota.

McCarthy, of California, is going to “have his hands full trying to figure out how to navigate and execute,” he said.

Congress has been here before, as has McCarthy in his nearly two decades in office, but the stakes are ever higher, with Republicans powered by an increasingly hard-right faction that is refusing to allow business as usual in Washington.

With former President Donald Trump’s backing, McCarthy’s right-flank pushed him into the speaker’s office at the start of the year only after he agreed to a long list of conservative demands — including the ability to call a quick vote to “vacate the chair” and remove him from office.

That threat of an abrupt ouster hovers over McCarthy’s every move, especially now.

To start, Congress faces a deadline to fund the government by the end of the month, or risk a potentially devastating federal shutdown. There are just 11 working days for Congress to act once the House resumes Tuesday.

McCarthy and his team are pitching lawmakers on a stopgap funding bill, through Nov. 1, to keep the government running under a 30-day continuing resolution, or CR, according to a leadership aide granted anonymity to discuss the private talks.

But as McCarthy convenes lawmakers for a private huddle, even the temporary funding is expected to run into opposition from his right flank.

Facing a backlash from conservatives who want to slash government funding, McCarthy may be able to ease the way by turning to another hard-right priority, launching a Biden impeachment inquiry over the business dealings of the president’s son, Hunter Biden.
top

Federal court sides with lobster fishers in whale protection case

Court Watch 2023/06/15 13:02   Bookmark and Share
A federal appeals court has sided with commercial fishermen who say proposed restrictions aimed at saving a vanishing species of whale could put them out of business.

The fishermen harvest lobsters and crabs off New England and oppose tough new restrictions on the way they fish that are intended to protect the North Atlantic right whale. The whale numbers only about 340 in the world and it’s vulnerable to lethal entanglement in fishing gear.

The fishermen and the state of Maine appealed their case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit after losing in a lower court. The appeals court said Friday it disagreed with the lower court’s ruling.

The appeals court ruling could mean that the federal government must take another stab at crafting new rules to protect the whales. The restrictions would limit where lobster fishers can fish and what kind of gear they can use to try to prevent the whales from becoming entangled in fishing ropes.

The changes would represent a potential worst-case scenario for the lobster fishing industry, wrote Douglas H. Ginsburg, the senior judge of the appeals court, in Friday’s ruling.

“The result may be great physical and human capital destroyed, and thousands of jobs lost, with all the degradation that attends such dislocations,” Ginsburg wrote.

The fishers sued the National Marine Fisheries Service, an arm of the federal government. The service declined to comment on the lawsuit.
top

Assange loses latest bid to stop extradition to the U.S. on spying charges

Court Watch 2023/06/09 15:54   Bookmark and Share
A British judge has rejected the latest attempt by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to fight extradition to the United States to face spying charges.

High Court justice Jonathan Swift said a new appeal would simply “re-run” arguments that Assange’s lawyers had already made and lost.

Assange has battled in British courts for years to avoid being sent to the U.S., where he faces 17 charges of espionage and one charge of computer misuse over WikiLeaks’ publication of classified diplomatic and military documents more than a decade ago.

In 2021, a British district judge ruled that Assange should not be extradited because he was likely to kill himself if held under harsh U.S. prison conditions. U.S. authorities later provided assurances that the Australia-born Assange wouldn’t face the severe treatment that his lawyers said would put his physical and mental health at risk.

Those assurances led Britain’s High Court and Supreme Court to overturn the lower court’s ruling, and the British government authorized extradition in June 2022.

Assange is seeking to halt extradition by obtaining a new court hearing on parts of his case that were dismissed by the first judge.

But in a ruling made public on Friday, Swift said all eight parts of Assange’s potential appeal were not “arguable” and should not be heard.

“The proposed appeal comes to no more than an attempt to re-run the extensive arguments made to and rejected by the district judge,” he said.

Assange’s wife, Stella Assange, said the WikiLeaks founder would make a new appeal attempt at a High Court hearing on Tuesday. He has almost exhausted his avenues of appeal in the U.K. but could still try to take his case to the European Court of Human Rights.
top

Woman accused in dismemberment slaying attacks her attorney

Court Watch 2023/02/14 14:52   Bookmark and Share
A woman accused in a grisly killing and dismemberment case in Wisconsin attacked her attorney Tuesday during a court hearing, moments after a judge agreed to delay her trial.

Taylor Schabusiness, 25, was seated in a Brown County circuit court when her attorney, Quinn Jolly, asked the judge for an additional two weeks for a defense expert to review his client’s competency to stand trial.

Moments after Judge Thomas Walsh reluctantly agreed to postpone her March 6 trial, Schabusiness attacked Jolly and was wrestled to the courtroom floor by a deputy, WLUK-TV reported. The courtroom was then cleared before the hearing resumed.

Schabusiness is charged with first-degree intentional homicide, mutilating a corpse and third-degree sexual assault in the killing of Shad Thyrion, 25, in February 2022. Authorities say she strangled Thyrion at a home in Green Bay, sexually abused him and dismembered his body, leaving parts of him throughout the house and in a vehicle.

Schabusiness has pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. She is being held on a $2 million cash bond.

Following her courtroom outburst, the judge moved her competency hearing from Tuesday to March 6. The judge also proposed a May 15 trial date.

At the end of the hearing, Jolly told the court he would file a motion to withdraw from the case as Schabusiness’ attorney but the judge did not immediately rule on that matter.
top

Louisiana Supreme Court’s chief justice reelected

Court Watch 2022/07/25 11:26   Bookmark and Share
The chief justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court has won re-election to another 10-year term.

Chief Justice John Weimer was automatically reelected when nobody signed up to challenge him by Friday’s qualifying deadline for the Nov. 8 ballot, The Advocate reported.

Weimer, 67, a former professor at Nicholls State University, first won election to the state’s high court in 2001. He won reelection in 2002 and 2012. In the latter race, he ran unopposed and returned campaign checks to contributors to his campaign.

On Wednesday, he was one of the first candidates to pay the qualifying fees and file the paperwork for the fall election. Weimer’s current term ends Dec. 31.

U.S. District Judge John deGravelles of Baton Rouge lifted a stay July 13 that had blocked the November election for the state Supreme Court’s 6th District, which Weimer represents. The stay arose out of a lawsuit filed in 2019 by the NAACP.

The lawsuit contends that two of the seven Supreme Court districts should have a Black majority in a state where about one-third of the state’s residents are African American. Only one Supreme Court district currently has a Black majority, the one represented by Justice Piper Griffin in New Orleans.

The 6th District, with about 600,000 residents, consists of 12 coastal parishes: Assumption, Iberia, Lafourche, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Martin, St. Mary, Terrebonne, and a portion of the west bank of Jefferson.

The federal court had stopped all Supreme Court races in May. Only Weimer was up for reelection this year. Justices run in staggered terms every two years. The next justice is not on the ballot until 2024.
top

States brace for fight over gun laws after high court ruling

Court Watch 2022/06/24 15:55   Bookmark and Share
The Supreme Court’s decision overturning a gun-permitting law in New York has states with robust firearms restrictions scrambling to respond on two fronts — to figure out what concealed-carry measures they might be allowed to impose while also preparing to defend a wide range of other gun control policies.

The language in the court’s majority opinion heightened concern that other state laws, from setting an age limit on gun purchases to banning high-capacity ammunition magazines, may now be in jeopardy.

“The court has basically invited open season on our gun laws, and so I expect litigation across the board,” said New Jersey acting Attorney General Matt Platkin, a Democrat. “We’re going to defend our gun laws tooth-and-nail because these gun laws save lives.”

The court ruling issued Thursday specifically overturned a New York law that had been in place since 1913 and required that people applying for a concealed carry permit demonstrate a specific need to have a gun in public, such as showing an imminent threat to their safety. The court’s conservative majority said that violated the Second Amendment, which they interpreted as protecting people’s right to carry a gun for self-defense outside the home.

While the ruling does not address any other laws, the majority opinion opens the door for gun rights advocates to challenge them in the future, said Alex McCourt, the director of legal research for the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions.

Pro-firearms groups in several states said they plan to do just that.

Attorney Chuck Michel, president of the California Rifle and Pistol Association, said the group is preparing to expand its legal challenges based on the high court changing the legal standard used to assess whether gun control laws are constitutional.

Courts must now consider only whether a gun control regulation is consistent with the Second Amendment’s actual text and its historical understanding, according to Thursday’s ruling. Before that, judges also could consider a state’s social justification for passing a gun control law.

Michel said the standard will affect three prominent California laws. Legal challenges to the state’s limits on assault weapons, its requirement for background checks for buying ammunition and its ban on online ammunition sales are pending before a federal appellate court.
top

◀ PREV : [1] : [2] : [3] : [4] : [5] : [6] : .. [47] : NEXT ▶








Disclaimer: Nothing posted on this blog is intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. Blog postings and hosted comments are available for general educational purposes only and should not be used to assess a specific legal situation. Nothing submitted as a comment is confidential. Nor does any comment on a blog post create an attorney-client relationship. The presence of hyperlinks to other third-party websites does not imply that the firm endorses those websites.

Affordable Law Firm Website Design