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Hometown: Atlanta
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Member since: Sat Jun 1, 2013, 01:19 AM
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Journal Archives

So what are the chances Stephen Breyer announces his retirement today?

Pelosi appoints Liz Cheney to House select committee investigating Jan. 6

Source: Axios

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) is one of eight members she has selected to serve on the select committee that will investigate the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

Why it matters: The former GOP conference chair was ousted from leadership for her opposition to Donald Trump's election lies. She is the only Republican hand-picked by Pelosi to serve on the 13-member committee.

The committee will consolidate several House investigations, and was formed after Republicans blocked a bill that would have established a bipartisan 9/11-style commission to probe the attack.
The remaining five members will be picked in consultation with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), though he has not yet indicated whether other Republicans intend to participate.

Read more: https://www.axios.com/pelosi-jan-6-committee-members-cheney-356695a9-4006-4708-852c-84c89f93bb1e.html

Supreme Court strikes down disclosure rules for political donors

Source: Axios

The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a California law that required nonprofits to hand over a list of their biggest donors.

Why it matters: Some campaign-finance advocates have feared the court will begin chipping away at disclosure rules more broadly, making it harder and harder to figure out who’s funding major political causes.

The big picture: In a 6-3 ruling authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, the court said California had subjected donors to the threat of public harassment and intimidation, undermining their First Amendment right to free association.

Background: California requires nonprofit organizations to give the state a list of their biggest donors each year. The state is supposed to keep that information private, but it has routinely failed to do so. Donors’ names and addresses have often become easily available to the public, according to briefs in the case.

A pair of conservative nonprofits — including Americans for Prosperity, an arm of the Koch brothers’ political empire — sued California. Its pattern of making donor information public put individual donors in physical danger, they argued, especially in this toxic political climate.

Read more: https://www.axios.com/supreme-court-political-donors-california-709684f8-7374-449d-a02d-275f3f150339.html

Ex-FBI lawyer spared prison for altering Trump-Russia probe email

Source: Politico

The only person charged in the Justice Department's investigation into the origins of the probe of former President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign and its ties to Russia was spared prison time for altering an email used to support a surveillance application.

Former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith, 38, received the sentence of 12 months probation and 400 hours community service from U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg Friday during a video hearing.

Clinesmith admitted that in June 2017 he sent an altered email to an FBI agent that indicated a target of court-ordered FBI surveillance, former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, was "not a source" for the Central Intelligence Agency. The statement, passed along as the FBI was applying for a third extension of surveillance of Page, made Page's actions seem more suspicious by downplaying his past cooperation with the CIA.

Clinesmith insisted that he thought the statement was true at the time and only altered the message to save himself the hassle of procuring another email from the CIA. Prosecutors contested that claim, arguing that the FBI lawyer intended to mislead his colleague, but Boasberg sided with the defense on that point.

Read more: https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/29/fbi-lawyer-trump-russia-probe-email-463750

Trump lawyer: Manhattan DA won't charge former president

Source: Politico

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance has indicated he does not currently plan to charge the Trump Organization with crimes related to allegations of "hush money" payments and real estate value manipulations, according to a personal lawyer for Donald Trump.

Ronald Fischetti, a New York attorney who represents the former president, said on Monday that in a meeting last week, he asked Vance’s team for details on charges they were considering.

According to Fischetti, members of Vance’s team said they were considering bringing charges against the Trump Organization and its individual employees related to alleged failures to pay taxes on corporate benefits and perks. It has been widely reported that those perks included cars and apartments and appear to only involve a small number of executives.

“We asked, ‘Is there anything else?’” Fischetti told POLITICO. “They said, ‘No.’”

“It’s crazy that that’s all they had,” he added.

Read more: https://www.politico.com/news/2021/06/28/trump-lawyer-manhattan-da-wont-charge-496768

Clarence Thomas Suggests Federal Marijuana Laws May Be Unconstitutional While Balking About Case the

Source: Law and Crime

Clarence Thomas Suggests Federal Marijuana Laws May Be Unconstitutional While Balking About Case the Supreme Court Didn’t Take

Justice Clarence Thomas disagreed with the Supreme Court’s denial of certiorari — that’s a refusal to hear — a tax case Monday, and the conservative justice’s statement strongly suggests he believes any federal marijuana ban is unconstitutional.

The case is Standing Akimbo, LLC v. United States, in which the owners of a Colorado marijuana dispensary appealed an unfavorable tax decision that treated them differently from other business owners. The Internal Revenue Code does not allow a tax deduction or credit for expenses incurred by establishments whose business model “consists of trafficking in controlled substances” in violation of federal or state law. Despite marijuana being legal for both medical and recreational use in many states, it remains a controlled substance under federal law. As a result, business that dispense marijuana are denied tax benefits that would be available to other businesses.

Thomas began his statement disagreeing with the Court’s refusal to hear the case by commenting that the legal landscape with regard to marijuana has changed dramatically in the past 16 years. In 2005, the Court held in Gonzales v. Raich that Congress could prohibit the cultivation and use of marijuana — even when done entirely within one state’s borders — to avoid causing a “gaping hole” in Congress’ “closed regulatory system.” Since then, however, many states have legalized both medicinal and recreational cannabis use.

The result is that the federal government now has what Justice Thomas called a “half-in, half-out regime that simultaneously tolerates and forbids local use of marijuana.”

Read more: https://lawandcrime.com/supreme-court/clarence-thomas-suggests-federal-marijuana-laws-may-be-unconstitutional-while-balking-about-case-the-supreme-court-didnt-take/

SCOTUS Rules Against Plaintiffs Branded by Credit Agencies with 'Scarlet Letter of Our Time'; Thomas

Source: Law & Crime

SCOTUS Rules Against Plaintiffs Branded by Credit Agencies with ‘Scarlet Letter of Our Time’; Thomas Joins Liberals to Dissent

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 Friday against thousands of plaintiffs whose names were incorrectly identified by credit-reporting agencies as potential criminals. The justices held that the plaintiffs had not suffered sufficiently concrete harms to support Article III standing — in other words, they could not redress their grievances in federal court.

The case is TransUnion v. Ramirez, and it is a class action lawsuit against the credit reporting giant TransUnion over the agency’s misuse of a government list of suspected criminals. The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) creates a list of known and suspected terrorists, drug traffickers and other high-profile criminals—all of whom are prohibited from participating in the U.S. financial system.

A group of plaintiffs sued TransUnion claiming that it falsely labeled 8,185 U.S. citizens as terrorists. The lead plaintiff was Sergio Ramirez, who, while attempting to purchase a car from a Nissan dealership, was told in front of his family that his name was on a list of suspected terrorists. TranUnion appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that he and other plaintiffs lacked the legal right to bring the lawsuit because they had suffered no actual harm.


Kavanaugh’s opinion was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett. The Court ruled that Ramirez and the other 8000+ plaintiffs had no Article III standing to wage a lawsuit, because the class had not suffered the physical, monetary, or reputational harm necessary to support a federal lawsuit.

Read more: https://lawandcrime.com/supreme-court/scotus-rules-against-plaintiffs-branded-by-credit-agencies-with-scarlet-letter-of-our-time-thomas-joins-liberals-to-dissent/

Supreme Court Restricts Police Powers To Enter A Home Without A Warrant

Source: NPR

The U.S. Supreme court ruled Wednesday that police cannot enter a home without a warrant when pursuing someone for a minor crime.

By a largely unanimous vote, the court declared that police violated the rights of a California man by pursuing him into his garage for allegedly playing loud music while driving down a deserted two-lane highway late at night.

Writing for the court majority, Justice Elena Kagan said that police had no right to enter the man's home without a warrant for such a trivial offense.

The court's ruling came in the case of Arthur Lange, who was playing loud music in his car late one night, at one point honking his horn several times. A California highway patrol officer, believing Lange was violating a noise ordinance, followed him and when the motorist slowed to enter his driveway, the cop put on his flashing lights.

Read more: https://www.npr.org/2021/06/23/999913516/supreme-court-restricts-police-powers-to-enter-a-home-without-a-warrant

Cobb, DeKalb recover legal costs in Trump election lawsuit

Source: AJC

Two metro Atlanta counties have won legal fees in an election lawsuit brought by former President Donald Trump.

Election officials in Cobb and DeKalb counties sought the fees in a Trump lawsuit that sought to overturn the presidential election in Georgia. A hearing on those requests was set for this Friday.

But last week the Cobb County Board of Elections received $15,554 to cover its legal costs through June 1, the county’s attorney confirmed. Trump’s attorney confirmed the DeKalb County’s fees also were reimbursed, though he did not say who reimbursed them, and the amount was not immediately available.

DeKalb sought $6,105 in fees in a motion filed in February. An attorney for DeKalb County confirmed its motion was withdrawn, but declined to comment further.

Read more: https://www.ajc.com/politics/election/trump-pays-cobb-dekalb-legal-costs-in-georgia-election-lawsuit/WVONVSVHLVEHPAZRTVEPOJKRY4/

Macy Gray Says "It's Time" For A New American Flag That Represents "All Of Us" In Juneteenth Op-Ed

Source: Deadline

The Grammy winner went on to address President Biden, Vice President Harris and members of Congress directly. “The American flag has been hijacked as code for a specific belief. God bless those believers, they can have it. Like the Confederate, it is tattered, dated, divisive, and incorrect,” she wrote. “It no longer represents democracy and freedom. It no longer represents ALL of us. It’s not fair to be forced to honor it. It’s time for a new flag.”

Gray subsequently gave a visual breakdown of our current flag, suggesting that while there have long been 50 stars on it, there should be 52. In her opinion, an extra pair of stars should go to Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, which she noted have been “lobbying for statehood” for decades.

“Both have been denied, since statehood would allow each territory’s elected officials seats in the house. Assuming D.C. reps would be African-American and Puerto Rican reps would be Hispanic, the ultimate assumption is that these elected officials would be Democratic,” Gray wrote. “That alone is racist.”

Then, there are the flag’s white stripes, which were intended to represent “purity and innocence,” according to The Smithsonian. “America is great. It is beautiful. Pure, it ain’t,” wrote Gray. “It is broken and in pieces.”

Read more: https://deadline.com/2021/06/macy-gray-calls-for-new-american-flag-juneteenth-op-ed-1234778330/
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