Forensic News Roundup: April 25 – May 1

May 4, 2021 9:01 am By

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of an undocumented immigrant challenging his removal from the U.S. In the 6-3 decision, Justices Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Amy Coney Barrett decided the DOJ must provide immigrants it seeks to deport with a single document containing all information about an individual’s removal hearing. Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Samuel Alito, and Chief Justice John Roberts joined in dissent.

The conservative majority of the Supreme Court seems likely to strike down a California nonprofit donor disclosure law, according to legal experts who listened to arguments in Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta last Monday. Depending on how far the Court takes its ruling, the outcome could apply only to the specific California law at hand – or the Justices could call into question the constitutionality of all campaign finance disclosure laws. Americans for Prosperity is a Koch-backed organization.

Time and again on Monday, the conservatives fretted that high-dollar donors might face criticism if their identities are revealed—as if this consequence were constitutionally unacceptable. “In this era,” Justice Clarence Thomas warned, “there seems to be quite a bit of loose accusations about organizations—for example, an organization that had certain views might be accused of being a white supremacist organization or racist or homophobic, something like that, and, as a result, become quite controversial.” He fretted about the “chilling effect” on contributions that would result from “accusations that a particular organization is racist or supports white supremacy.”

  • It is important to note that Justice Amy Coney Barrett refused to recuse from the case, despite Americans for Prosperity spending at least a million dollars supporting her Senate confirmation.

The Supreme Court will hear a case this fall term that challenges restrictions on carrying concealed firearms in public. New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Corlett centers around New York’s law that requires gun owners to show good cause to obtain a concealed carry permit. Applicants must prove that they special need to carry a gun outside the home – for example, if they have reason to fear for their safety in public.

…the justices announced on Monday that they will only resolve a more narrow question: “whether the State’s denial of petitioners’ applications for concealed-carry licenses for self-defense violated the Second Amendment.” Nevertheless, this narrower question is still broad enough to allow the Supreme Court to rewrite a decade of Second Amendment precedents, to unwind a consensus within the lower courts that permits many gun regulations to stand, and then to allow those lower courts to complete the process of dismantling other gun laws.

Also this fall, SCOTUS will determine whether Kentucky’s Republican attorney general can defend the state’s restrictive abortion law after the Democratic governor’s administration declined to continue in court. The trial court and appeals court struck down the ban which, if enacted, will effectively prohibit abortion after 15 weeks in Kentucky. Cameron asked the full 6th Circuit to take on the case but the court turned him down, saying he came too late to the process.

More:

“Supreme Court grapples with First Amendment rights of schoolchildren in cheerleader case,” CNN

“Supreme Court seems likely to back limits on immigrants seeking green cards,” WaPo

“U.S. Supreme Court rejects Texas-led lawsuit seeking to protect a Trump immigration policy,” Texas Tribune

“Supreme Court won’t take Maryland bump stock ban case,” AP

Other court news

A federal grand jury released new charges of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction against three defendants who allegedly plotted to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer last year. Adam Fox, Barry Croft, and Daniel Harris planned to blow up a bridge to stall police trying to Whitmer’s home while pulling off their scheme. “The defendants engaged in domestic terrorism,” said a superseding indictment filed on Wednesday.

The Justice Department weighed in on the NRA’s case for bankruptcy on Monday, criticizing its leadership and casting doubt on the group’s chances of success in court. Lisa Lambert, a lawyer in the United States Trustee’s office, said the “evidentiary record clearly and convincingly establishes” that CEO Wayne LaPierre “failed to provide the proper oversight” and disguised his personal expenses as business costs for years. The NRA filed for bankruptcy earlier this year in an effort to avoid litigation from New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is seeking the dissolution of the organization. Lambert supports the dismissal of the NRA’s bankruptcy filing.

A Brooklyn jury found Trump supporter Brendan Hunt guilty of making death threats against elected officials in the days after the Jan. 6 insurrection. Hunt, the son of a retired judge, posted videos with violent rhetoric, urging people to “go after a high value target” like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, now-Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. He faces up to 10 years in prison with sentencing in June.

More:

“States appeal ruling that they waited too long to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment,” NBC

“Capitol rioter Ashli Babbitt’s family to seek $10 million from USCP in lawsuit,” CNBC

“The Trump administration scrambled to support this hate group’s lawsuit. A judge just threw it out,” LGBTQ Nation

“White farmers sue seeking government loan forgiveness,” ABC News

“Noem sues Biden administration over rejection of Mount Rushmore fireworks,” The Hill

“Noem joins lawsuit challenging social cost of climate change,” The AP




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