There are some signs that perhaps judges and the courts are finally getting a bit fed up with the shenanigans of Donald Trump and his fellow GOP bullies.
Yesterday in Georgia, U.S. District Judge Eleanor L. Ross ruled that Georgia’s restrictive voting laws are likely to result in the violation of voting rights for a large group of people and needed to be halted immediately.
As I noted in a previous post the republican candidate running for governor, Brian Kemp, currently holds the position of Secretary of State and as such is the overseer of elections. Kemp has implemented strict “exact match” laws that may disqualify voters based on simple discrepancies, such as a dropped hyphen between the persons voter registration and other identification, such as a driver’s license. Last month, a coalition of civil rights groups filed suit against Kemp.
In Friday’s ruling, Judge Ross said Kemp’s restrictions raised “grave concerns for the Court about the differential treatment inflicted on a group of individuals who are predominantly minorities.” The preliminary injunction she issued required the state to change its procedures immediately to allow those flagged, some 3,100 individuals, to prove their citizenship more easily, with a U.S. passport or similar documentation.
Kemp was also ordered to issue a news release explaining how those flagged for potential citizenship issues could still vote by proving their citizenship, as well as offering a phone number for them to call with any questions. Kemp’s actions as Secretary of State have been scrutinized in the wake of a report from the Associated Press that he had stalled more than 50,000 voter registrations by disproportionately black voters under the state’s exact-match requirements.
Score one for justice! ⚖️
Did you think that with the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court last month, the Court would be naught more than a mouthpiece for Trump and his policies? Think again. Yesterday, the Court refused a request by the Trump administration to delay an upcoming trial in which a number of states and civil rights organizations allege there was an improper political motive in Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. The trial will begin as scheduled on Monday.
Administration lawyers had more than once asked the Supreme Court to disallow challengers from questioning Ross and other administration officials about their motivations in adding the question. When they were unsuccessful, they then asked that the trial be delayed, presumably until some point after the mid-term elections.
Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch said they would have granted the Trump administration’s request to delay the trial. It is unknown how Kavanaugh voted.
Score another for justice! ⚖️
Also, on Friday evening, the Supreme Court once again ruled against Trump in the case filed by 21 young people who argue that the failure of government leaders to combat climate change violates their constitutional right to a clean environment. The suit is currently pending before a federal judge in Oregon, but the Trump administration sought to halt the lawsuit, claiming that the “suit is based on an assortment of unprecedented legal theories, such as a substantive due process right to certain climate conditions, and an equal protection right to live in the same climate as enjoyed by prior generations.”
The goal of the lawsuit is to compel the government to scale back its support for fossil fuel extraction and production and to support policies aimed at reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.
This is by no means the end, and the case is almost certain to ultimately land back in the laps of the Supreme Court justices, but for now, Trump did not have his way.
Score yet another for justice! ⚖️
And finally, also on Friday, U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte in Greenbelt, Maryland, denied Trump’s request to stay a lawsuit alleging he is violating the Constitution by doing business with foreign governments. Apart from the ruling against Kemp in Georgia, this is the one that had my heart doing a happy dance.
Additionally, Judge Messitte sharply questioned the president’s position that his business does not improperly accept gifts or payments — called emoluments — as defined by the Constitution.
The plaintiffs in the case, the District of Columbia and the State of Maryland, contend that the Trump hotel unfairly competes with convention centers and hotels in their jurisdictions. Among other documents, they are expected to seek records that reveal the identity of hotel guests who visited the White House on official business, as well as how much the president has profited. Ultimately, they could try to go after the president’s tax returns.
The Justice Department asked for the judge’s permission to appeal his rulings and to delay discovery in the meantime. But Judge Messitte said the department could follow the typical legal process and appeal when the case is over.
“If the president is permitted to appeal the court’s decisions in piecemeal fashion, ultimate resolution of the case could be delayed significantly, perhaps for years. That, as a matter of justice, cannot be countenanced.”
The judge also dismissed the president’s argument that discovery would be unduly burdensome, noting that Mr. Trump had threatened to sue his former campaign chief and others. “The president himself appears to have had little reluctance to pursue personal litigation despite the supposed distractions it imposes upon his office,” he wrote.
Score one more for truth and justice! ⚖️
Some of these cases may turn in the coming weeks/months, but for today, the judicial branch has shown Trump that he is not yet a dictator and that there is still a demand for both truth and justice, honesty and integrity in the American system.