On Wednesday a federal judge allowed one of the three Emoluments Clause cases against President Trump to proceed to discovery — produce all of your tax returns! In Ruling Against Trump, Judge Defines Anticorruption Clauses in Constitution for First Time:
In the first judicial opinion to define how the meaning of the Constitution’s anticorruption clauses should apply to a president, Judge Peter J. Messitte of the United States District Court in Greenbelt, Md., said the framers’ language should be broadly construed as an effort to protect against influence-peddling by state and foreign governments.
He ruled that the lawsuit should proceed to the evidence-gathering stage, which could clear the way for an examination of financial records that the president has consistently refused to disclose. The Justice Department is expected to forestall that by seeking an emergency stay and appealing the ruling.
The two constitutional clauses at issue restrict a president’s ability to accept financial benefits or “emoluments” from domestic or foreign governments, other than his official salary. No federal judge before has ever interpreted what those bans mean for the president.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, the District of Columbia and the State of Maryland, say that Mr. Trump is violating those bans by accepting profits from the Trump International Hotel, a five-star hotel just blocks from the White House that is frequented by foreign and state officials. The judge earlier ruled that the local jurisdictions had standing to sue because the Trump hotel arguably siphons off business from their convention centers or hotels.
Posted in AZBlueMeanie, Congress, Constitution, Courts, Economics, Ethics, International, Party Politics, President, Scandals, Taxes
Tagged Emoluments Clause, History, Impeachment
Jedediah Purdy, professor of law at Duke, recently wrote at the New York Times, The Roberts Court Protects the Powerful for a New Gilded Age:
Faith in courts runs deep in the American liberal imagination. Remembering Brown v. Board of Education, Roe v. Wade and the recent marriage-equality decisions, we keep hoping that wise and fair-minded judges will protect the vulnerable and lead the country toward justice.
Recent decisions upholding President Trump’s travel ban and Texas’ racially skewed voting districts are body blows to this optimism. They are unhappy reminders that for much of American history, the Supreme Court has been a deeply conservative institution, preserving racial hierarchy and the prerogatives of employers.
When it comes to economic inequality, today’s Supreme Court is not only failing to help but is also aggressively making itself part of the problem in a time when inequality and insecurity are damaging the country and endangering our democracy.
Under Chief Justice John Roberts, the court has consistently issued bold, partisan decisions that have been terrible for working people. Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, was one of them.
Just hours after that decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement. With this “swing” vote gone, Chief Justice Roberts is now likely to take even more control over the direction of issues related to economic inequality — a direction that is earning him a legacy as chief justice of bosses, not workers.
Posted in AZBlueMeanie, Congress, Constitution, Corruption, Courts, Economics, Ethics, GOP War On..., Labor, Party Politics, Poverty, President, Scandals
Tagged History, income inequality, Wealth inequality, worker's rights
1968 was one of the most godawful, horrible, miserable years in U.S. history. It changed who we are as Americans, and “fueled a general sense that the nation had gone mad; that the normal rules and constants of politics could no longer be counted on.” How Robert Kennedy’s Assassination Changed American Politics.
The Tet Offensive at the end of January stunned both the U.S. and South Vietnamese armies, causing them to temporarily lose control of several cities and the U.S. embassy in Saigon. It had a profound effect on the U.S. government and shocked the U.S. public, which had been led to believe by its political and military leaders that the North Vietnamese were being defeated and incapable of launching such an ambitious military operation.
A month later, Walter Cronkite reported on his recent trip to Vietnam to view the aftermath of the Tet Offensive in his television special Who, What, When, Where, Why? He chastised American leaders for their optimism, and advised negotiation “… not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could.” American support for the war declined.
In February, Richard M. Nixon (R-CA) declared his candidacy for the presidency. In March, Sen. Eugene McCarthy (D-MN) and his “children’s crusade” nearly defeated President Lyndon Johnson in the New Hampshire Democratic primary. Days later, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-NY) declared his candidacy for president. By the end of March, President Johnson delivered his Address to the Nation Announcing Steps To Limit the War in Vietnam and Reporting His Decision Not To Seek Reelection. His Vice President, Hubert H. Humphrey, would run in his stead.