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Supreme Court will hear Wisconsin drunk driving case
Court Watch | 2019/01/12 23:22

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to a Wisconsin drunk driving law that has parallels in other states.

Wisconsin law says law enforcement officials can draw blood from an unconscious driver without a warrant if they suspect the person was driving drunk.

The case the court agreed Friday to hear involves Gerald Mitchell. He was arrested in Sheboygan for driving while intoxicated in 2013 in Wisconsin. Mitchell was too drunk to take a breath test and became unconscious after being taken to a hospital. His blood was then drawn without a warrant. Mitchell was ultimately convicted of driving while intoxicated.

Mitchell says the blood draw was a search that violated his constitutional rights, but Wisconsin’s Supreme Court upheld his convictions. Mitchell says 29 states have similar laws.


California fight on Trump birth control rules goes to court
Court Watch | 2019/01/08 11:21

A U.S. judge will hear arguments Friday over California's attempt to block new rules by the Trump administration that would allow more employers to opt out of providing no-cost birth control to women.

Judge Haywood Gilliam previously blocked an interim version of those rules — a decision that was upheld in December by an appeals court. But the case is before him again after the administration finalized the measures in November, prompting a renewed legal challenge by California and other states.

Gilliam was not expected to rule immediately. At issue is a requirement under President Barack Obama's health care law that birth control services be covered at no additional cost. Obama officials included exemptions for religious organizations.

The new rules set to go into effect on Monday would allow more categories of employers, including publicly traded companies, to back out of the requirement by claiming religious objections. They would also allow small businesses and other employers to object on moral grounds.

The rules "protect a narrow class of sincere religious and moral objectors from being forced to facilitate practices that conflict with their beliefs," the U.S. Department of Justice said in court documents.



Supreme Court rejects Trump plea to enforce asylum ban
Court Watch | 2018/12/24 04:19

A divided Supreme Court won’t let the Trump administration begin enforcing a ban on asylum for any immigrants who illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border. Chief Justice John Roberts joined his four more liberal colleagues Friday in ruling against the administration in the very case in which President Donald Trump had derided the “Obama judge” who first blocked the asylum policy.

New Justice Brett Kavanaugh and three other conservative justices sided with the administration. There were no opinions explaining either side’s votes.

The court’s order leaves in place lower court rulings that blocked Trump’s proclamation in November automatically denying asylum to people who enter the country from Mexico without going through official border crossings.

Trump said he was acting in response to caravans of migrants making their way to the border. The administration had also complained that the nationwide order preventing the policy from taking effect was too broad. But the court also rejected the administration’s suggestion for narrowing it.

Lee Gelernt, an American Civil Liberties Union leading the court challenge, said the high court’s decision “will save lives and keep vulnerable families and children from persecution. We are pleased the court refused to allow the administration to short-circuit the usual appellate process.”

The high court action followed a ruling Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar that kept the ban on hold pending the outcome of a lawsuit challenging it. The case could take months to resolve.



Supreme Court rejects Trump plea to enforce asylum ban
Court Watch | 2018/12/24 04:19

A divided Supreme Court won’t let the Trump administration begin enforcing a ban on asylum for any immigrants who illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border. Chief Justice John Roberts joined his four more liberal colleagues Friday in ruling against the administration in the very case in which President Donald Trump had derided the “Obama judge” who first blocked the asylum policy.

New Justice Brett Kavanaugh and three other conservative justices sided with the administration. There were no opinions explaining either side’s votes.

The court’s order leaves in place lower court rulings that blocked Trump’s proclamation in November automatically denying asylum to people who enter the country from Mexico without going through official border crossings.

Trump said he was acting in response to caravans of migrants making their way to the border. The administration had also complained that the nationwide order preventing the policy from taking effect was too broad. But the court also rejected the administration’s suggestion for narrowing it.

Lee Gelernt, an American Civil Liberties Union leading the court challenge, said the high court’s decision “will save lives and keep vulnerable families and children from persecution. We are pleased the court refused to allow the administration to short-circuit the usual appellate process.”

The high court action followed a ruling Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar that kept the ban on hold pending the outcome of a lawsuit challenging it. The case could take months to resolve.



Sri Lanka court orders prime minister to refrain from duties
Court Watch | 2018/12/03 01:47

A Sri Lankan court on Monday ordered disputed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his ministers to refrain from carrying out their duties as it hears an appeal against them.

While the ruling by the Court of Appeal is an interim order, it is yet another setback for Rajapaksa, who has held on to the position of prime minister with President Maithripala Sirisena's backing despite losing two no-confidence votes.

The parliamentary speaker announced that Rajapaksa's government was dissolved after the passage of the no-confidence motions. Parliament has also passed resolutions to cut off funds to the offices of Rajapaksa and his ministers.

Still, Rajapaksa continued to function as prime minister, with Sirisena dismissing the no-confidence votes, saying proper procedures were not followed.

Rajapaksa said in a statement later Monday that he did not accept the interim order and would file an appeal early Tuesday with the Supreme Court, the country's highest court.

Sri Lanka has been in political turmoil since Oct. 26, when Sirisena sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and appointed Rajapaksa in his place.




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