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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.




European court: Russia's arrests of Navalny were political
Court Watch | 2018/11/19 21:02

The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that Russian authorities' arrests of opposition leader Alexei Navalny were politically motivated, a decision that deals a blow to the Kremlin's dismissal of Navalny as a mere troublemaker.

Navalny hailed the ruling as an example of "genuine justice" and said it is an important signal for many people in Russia who face arbitrary detentions for their political activities.

The court's highest chamber found that Russian authorities violated multiple human rights in detaining Navalny seven times from 2012 to 2014, and that two of the arrests were expressly aimed at "suppressing political pluralism."

It ordered Russia to pay Navalny 63,000 euros ($71,000) in damages, and called on Russia to fix legislation to "take due regard of the fundamental importance of the right to peaceful assembly."

The ruling is final and binding on Russia as a member of the Council of Europe, the continent's human rights watchdog.

"I'm very pleased with this ruling — this is genuine justice," Navalny told reporters after the hearing. "This ruling is very important not only for me but also for many people in Russia who face similar arrests on a daily basis."

Russia is obliged to carry out the court's rulings, which enforce the European Convention on Human Rights , but it has delayed implementing past rulings from the court and argued against them as encroaching on Russian judicial sovereignty.

Navalny told reporters that he expects the Russian government to ignore this ruling and dismiss it on political grounds.

Navalny, arguably Russian President Vladimir Putin's most serious foe, has been convicted of fraud in two separate trials that have been widely viewed as political retribution for his investigations of official corruption and his leading role in staging anti-government protests.


Impeachment focus back on W.Va. court after justice resigns
Court Watch | 2018/11/17 18:59

Now that an impeached and suspended West Virginia Supreme Court justice has resigned, lawmakers are turning their attention to a panel of justices that had cut off pending impeachment trials.

After Justice Allen Loughry's resignation, the state Senate wants to revisit an Oct. 11 order halting the Legislature's efforts to impeach three justices as a violation of the separate of power doctrine. The court hasn't scheduled a hearing on the Senate's request.

The panel of acting justices ruled the Senate lacked jurisdiction to pursue Justice Margaret Workman's impeachment trial. The decision also was applied to trials involving retired Justice Robin Davis and Loughry, who had petitioned the court to intervene.

Senate President Mitch Carmichael said Monday the focus now is on overturning "this ridiculous, crazy decision by the appointed Supreme Court that just breaks every judicial canon. It is a ridiculous decision that has far-ranging implications for the separations of powers."

Carmichael said the Senate's view on the court's earlier decision is that the court can't decide whether one of its members can be impeached.



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