Professor Shapiro writes about the upcoming Senate confirmation hearings for SCOTUS nominee Neil Gorsuch

Professor Carolyn Shapiro wrote an op-ed for The Hill titled “What Brown can do for Democrats in examining Gorsuch” about Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s upcoming Senate confirmation hearings. She suggests that Senate Democrats could question Judge Gorsuch about Brown v. Board of Education and other historical cases to get a better sense of his judicial philosophy and his views on judicial independence.

Professor Schmidt: “The Gorsuch Report—Week 6”

By Professor Christopher Schmidt

It’s week six of the Gorsuch nomination. His nomination hearings begin on March 20.

The first anniversary of the death of Justice Antonin Scalia (whose seat Gorsuch, if approved, would take) has sparked a new round of comparisons between the two jurists.

Judge Gorsuch, writes Richard Wolf in USA Today, “represent[s] the first generation of Supreme Court justices to have been influenced by Scalia’s rulings, writings, and teachings while still in law school.” Gorsuch’s writing has often been compared to Scalia’s. Mark Sherman of the AP wrote a story on his accessible writing style.

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FDLA CrImmigration Panel with Professor Kling

On February 17, First Defense Legal Aid hosted a “CrImmigration” panel discussion to address these questions: What’s at stake when immigrants of color don’t know or access their rights when in contact with Chicago Police? What do First Defenders need to know & how do we watchdog the promises of a sanctuary city?

The event was sponsored by a number of local legal aid programs and community organizations. Speakers included our own Professor Richard Kling as well as legal aid volunteers, civic leaders and immigration community organizers.

Organizations:

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Professor Schmidt: “The Gorsuch Report—Week 5”

By Professor Christopher Schmidt

It’s been almost a month since Judge Neil Gorsuch was nominated to a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. Here’s the latest news on his confirmation process.

The most interesting news of the past week concerning the Gorsuch nomination was a plan floated by New Mexico Senator Tom Udall that sounded a lot like a West Wing episode (Season 5, Episode 17). Udall’s plan would involve Trump administration officials striking a deal with a liberal Supreme Court justice who might be looking to replace that justice with Judge Merrick Garland, allowing Obama’s and Trump’s nominees to get seats on the Court. Call it the Gorsuch-Garland Gambit. Udall believes such a plan show the country that the new President is really interested in acting to “unite the country.” (It’s not going to happen, but it’s fun to think about it.) To no one’s surprise, the White House does not think much of Senator Udall’s plan.

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Professor Schmidt: “The Gorsuch Report—Week 4”

By Professor Christopher Schmidt

It’s been over three weeks since Judge Neil Gorsuch was nominated to become a U.S. Supreme Court associate justice. Here’s the latest news on his confirmation process.

Among the senators who will vote on his appointment, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer remains Gorsuch’s most vocal critic. The Democratic senator from New York previously took to the pages of the New York Times to air his concerns with Gorsuch. While praising Gorsuch as “clearly very smart, articulate and polite, with superb judicial demeanor,” Schumer criticized him for refusing “to answer even the most rudimentary questions” about where he stands on pressing legal issues. For Schumer, this all feels “eerily similar” to what happened when Chief Justice Roberts went through this same process. Roberts was “similarly charming, polished and erudite,” Schumer writes. He “played the part of a model jurist.” But “when Judge Roberts became Justice Roberts, we learned that we had been duped by an activist judge,” warns Schumer.

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Professor Schmidt: “The Gorsuch Report—Week 3”

By Professor Christopher Schmidt

Here are the latest headlines for President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.  

The Clerks Speak Out. Judge Gorsuch’s past law clerks signed a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee declaring that his independence “will never waiver.” (The only former Gorsuch clerks who did not sign are two currently clerking at the Supreme Court.) The Federalist published a supportive statement from two of his former clerks, one liberal, one conservative. They identified three lessons they learned from clerking for Judge Gorsuch: “the importance of accessible and clear writing, devoid of legalese”; “the importance of stepping back from the law and facts on your side to analyze the holes in your case and the facts and law supporting the other side”;  and he “urged us to pursue a fulsome understanding of the nuance and complexity of the legal and factual issues in each case.”

Pegging Gorsuch. In a widely cited study, political scientists Lee Epstein, Andrew D. Martin and Kevin Quinn predicted that Judge Gorsuch would fall somewhere between Justices Alito and Thomas on the conservative end on the ideological spectrum of current Supreme Court justices (in the same territory that Justice Scalia occupied). Now we have another study, this one by political scientists Ryan Black and Ryan Owens, who argue that Gorsuch in fact would on the the far right on the ideological spectrum–more conservative even than Justice Thomas.

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Professor Rosado on the Failure of the Puzder Nomination

By Professor César Rosado Marzán

The nomination of fast-food CEO Andrew Puzder had failure written all over the place since the day it was announced. Puzder is known for being virulently anti-worker. His employees have filed scores of lawsuits against his company. He has publicly said that he prefers robots to employees because robots do not complain. In all, Puzder is a fanatical employer advocate with no apparent interest in meeting workers half way. Continue reading “Professor Rosado on the Failure of the Puzder Nomination”

Professor Shapiro on Playing Fast and Loose with Assertions of National Security

By Professor Carolyn Shapiro

There have now been approximately 25 cases filed around the country challenging President Trump’s executive order (“EO”) imposing a travel ban on refugees and on individuals from seven majority-Muslim countries, and TROs of various scopes have issued. (The University of Michigan Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse is gathering filings in these cases.) Most famous, of course, is the nationwide TRO issued by the district court in Seattle in Washington v. Trump, the case brought by Washington and Minnesota, and the refusal of the Ninth Circuit – which treated the TRO as a preliminary injunction – to stay that order pending appeal. (The Ninth Circuit, at the request of at least one active judge, is now considering whether to rehear that decision en banc.) But other cases continue apace. Just yesterday, in a case called Aziz v. Trump, Judge Leonie Brinkema of the Eastern District of Virginia issued a preliminary injunction precluding enforcement of the portion of the Executive Order prohibiting entry into the United States by people from seven specific majority-Muslim countries. (This injunction applies only to Virginia residents as well as to students and employees of Virginia educational institutions.)

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Dean Krent on the “Two for One” Trump Administration Executive Regulatory Order

By Dean Harold J. Krent

On February 8th, Public Citizen, the National Resources Defense Council, and the Communications Workers of America sued the federal government, alleging that the President exceeded his constitutional authority and violated the Administrative Procedure Act in issuing Executive Order 13771 on Reducing Regulation. The Order directs “executive” agencies to identify for repeal two existing regulations for every new regulation proposed or issued and to ensure that the net costs of any new regulations in combination with repealed regulations not exceed zero. The suit argues that the Executive Order distorts the administrative process by requiring administrative agencies to focus exclusively on costs as opposed to the benefits of regulations, and that only Congress has the authority to direct agencies to prioritize reducing costs.

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Professor Shapiro on President Trump’s Attacks on the Judiciary

By Professor Carolyn Shapiro

The legal issues involving President Trump’s travel ban executive order are fascinating and complex. But equally significant have been the President’s attacks on the judiciary. It is one thing for a President to say that he disagrees with a ruling, that he has confidence in the constitutionality and legality of his actions, and that he is instructing his attorneys to appeal—but that is not what Trump has done. Instead, he has attacked the district court judge who issued the nationwide temporary restraining order as a “so-called judge,” he has called the Ninth Circuit opinion denying a stay “disgraceful,” and he has urged people to blame the judiciary if “something happens.” These kinds of statements reflect a dangerous attack on the very legitimacy of an independent judiciary.

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