US Legal Issues

Federal judge issues injunction against Trump administration refugee order

By Matthew Taylor, 6 October 2018

The four countries cited in the lawsuit represent nearly 300,000 of the 437,000 refugees who are currently receiving TPS in the United States.

West Virginia lower House impeaches entire state Supreme Court

By Clement Daly, 21 August 2018

The Republican Party is using corruption charges as a pretext to remove all the justices and pack the court, previously under Democratic Party control.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh backed US militarism in his appeals court rulings

By John Burton, 14 July 2018

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has a long record expanding US war powers during his 12 years as a DC Circuit judge.

Hearing on FBI role in 2016 election erupts in vicious conflict between right-wing politicians

By Patrick Martin, 13 July 2018

While Republicans sought to cross-examine former FBI official Peter Strzok about text messages expressing hostility to Trump, Democrats denounced the hearing as a “favor to Putin.”

Brett Kavanaugh: A reliably reactionary jurist

By Ed Hightower, 13 July 2018

Trump’s Supreme Court nominee boasts a record of reaction both as an attorney and as a judge

015 Kavanaugh's record

12 July 2018

US judge rules literacy is “not a right”

By Phyllis Steele, 11 July 2018

A Detroit District Court judge has dismissed a suit charging Michigan officials with systematically defunding and mismanaging schools.

Mutiny on their knees: The Democratic Party’s phony opposition to the Kavanaugh nomination

By Patrick Martin, 11 July 2018

Despite public posturing, Senate Democrats have no intention of conducting any serious struggle against the confirmation of reactionary federal judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Trump chooses second ultra-right Supreme Court justice

By Patrick Martin, 10 July 2018

Brett Kavanaugh is a reactionary in the mold of Trump’s first high court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.

Federal judge denies Trump administration request for extension to reunite migrant families

By Meenakshi Jagadeesan, 9 July 2018

The corporate media has effectively dropped coverage of the 3,000 children languishing in immigration detention facilities across the country.

Trump administration rescinds right of detained immigrants to in-person court appearances in New York City

By Guillaume Garnier, 5 July 2018

ICE has stopped allowing detained immigrants in its Manhattan facility to appear in person at court hearings.

Justice Anthony Kennedy announces retirement from Supreme Court

By Ed Hightower and Eric London, 28 June 2018

The retirement of the “swing vote” justice gives Trump the opportunity to shift the court to the far-right.

US Supreme Court sides with anti-abortion fanatics who operate fake health centers

By Tom Carter, 27 June 2018

Yesterday’s decision is yet another victory for Christian fundamentalists and the campaign to use “freedom of religion” to undermine the separation of church and state, legalize discrimination and obstruct access to health care.

Supreme Court narrowly protects privacy of cellphone location data

By Ed Hightower, 26 June 2018

The high court came within a single vote of authorizing virtually unlimited police utilization of cellphone location data.

Judge in Stanford sexual assault case recalled from office following law-and-order campaign

By Patrick Martin, 7 June 2018

There is nothing remotely progressive in the campaign to recall judge Aaron Persky, which was centered on demands for harsher sentencing of those convicted of sexual assault.

A day of reaction at the US Supreme Court

By Eric London, 5 June 2018

In two separate decisions, the US Supreme Court set back rights for immigrants, the right to abortion, and protections for gay and lesbian couples.

US Supreme Court eliminates workers’ right to collectively sue corporations

By Eric London, 23 May 2018

The ruling in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis will result in the transfer of billions of dollars from the working class to the oligarchy that controls the government and the courts.

US Supreme Court grants police wide immunity when using excessive force

By Trévon Austin, 5 April 2018

The court ruled on Monday that an Arizona police officer who shot a woman from the other side of a fence could not be sued on claims that he used excessive force.

The lawless frontier of the #MeToo campaign

By Richard Hoffman, 7 March 2018

Recent calls by the New York Times for complaints and exposures of “gray-zone sex” experiences are based on the abandonment of centuries-old legal principles.

Court quashes subpoena of reporter who uncovered Chicago police murder coverup

By George Marlowe, 27 December 2017

An anti-press subpoena against independent journalist Jamie Kalven would have forced him to disclose his confidential sources.

US Supreme Court rejects appeal by gay woman in employment discrimination case

By Ed Hightower, 14 December 2017

The high court’s inaction means that employers in most states can openly discriminate against homosexuals without consequences under federal law.

US federal prosecutors rely on ultra-right propagandist group’s recordings in trial of inauguration day protesters

By Nick Barrickman, 2 December 2017

The federal government’s use of material from Project Veritas in its case against anti-Trump demonstrators further signifies the Trump administration’s reliance on far-right forces.

California man wrongfully convicted freed after nearly 40 years

By Trévon Austin, 25 November 2017

Richard Coley was exonerated of the killing of his ex-girlfriend and her four-year-old son in Simi Valley based on modern DNA testing technology.

LAPD arrests after Trump election exposed as political repression

By John Burton, 7 November 2017

Los Angeles police arrested hundreds in the post-election protests, but presented only a handful of cases to prosecutors.

Guantanamo Bay military judge arrests military defense lawyer

By Alan Gilman, 6 November 2017

The al-Nashiri case underscores the mockery being made of the Bill of Rights through the Military Commissions hearings at Guantanamo Bay.

Review of Tennessee’s bail bond system exposes inequalities in US justice system

By Warren Duzak, 25 October 2017

At a recent public meeting, the Metro Nashville Public Defender reviewed the arcane practice of bail bonding and its impact on working class and poor defendants.

Judge quashes lawsuit by Sanders supporters against DNC

By a reporter, 30 August 2017

The civil suit charged the Democratic National Committee and its then-chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, with rigging the contest for the party’s presidential nomination.

Baltimore: More videos released showing police officers “manufacturing evidence”

By Adam Soroka, 15 August 2017

The footage came just a week after a previous video showed an officer planting a bag of pills under a pile of garbage in an alley as two other officers looked on.

US Court of Appeals throws out Blackwater murder conviction

By Matthew MacEgan, 5 August 2017

A US appeals court threw out the first-degree murder conviction of one of the four former Blackwater security guards who massacred 14 unarmed Iraqis in September 2007.

US court denies damage claim for American citizen wrongfully held for more than three years by ICE

By Nick Barrickman, 4 August 2017

Davino Watson was denied payment for damages on the grounds that the statute of limitations had passed while he was still being wrongfully detained.

Unanimous Supreme Court reinstates anti-Muslim travel ban

By Tom Carter, 27 June 2017

Donald Trump’s presidential decree attacking Muslims, which was drafted by his fascistic advisers Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, will be allowed to go into effect.

Supreme Court clears Bush officials for illegal detention of Muslims

By Alan Gilman, 22 June 2017

The protracted legal proceeding concerned mass illegal detentions of immigrants in the New York City area, mainly Muslims, after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Justice Department appoints special counsel to investigate Trump-Russia claims

By Andre Damon, 18 May 2017

The appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller to investigate Trump’s alleged ties to Russia marks a new stage in the factional battle raging in Washington.

Gorsuch restores ultra-right majority on US Supreme Court

By Patrick Martin, 11 April 2017

The new justice was confirmed by the Senate on Friday and sworn in on Monday.

US president-elect says flag burners should be stripped of their citizenship

By John Burton, 30 November 2016

President-elect Donald Trump’s tweet that people who burn the American flag in protest should be stripped of their citizenship is a repudiation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

Rolling Stone, journalist found responsible for defamation in University of Virginia rape story

By David Walsh, 8 November 2016

“A Rape on Campus” was a lengthy and sensationalistic piece, focused on the alleged horrific assault of a then-18-year-old female student, “Jackie,” at a fraternity house in September 2012.

Supreme Court overturns bribery conviction for former Virginia governor

By Tom Carter, 4 July 2016

The unanimous decision is a green light for the ever-more direct domination of corporate and financial interests over the American political system.

The right-wing campaign over the Stanford University sexual assault case

By Tom Carter, 11 June 2016

The media and political campaign that is unfolding in America around the sentencing of Stanford University freshman Brock Allen Turner is fundamentally reactionary.

US Supreme Court avoids ruling on corporate religious objections to birth control

By Tom Carter, 23 May 2016

The Zubik case highlights the unprincipled prostration of the entire political establishment before the protracted assault on the separation of church and state.

Missouri carries out first execution of 2016, Alabama execution stayed

By Kate Randall, 13 May 2016

Earl Forrest died by lethal injection Wednesday in Missouri, while Vernon Madison received a stay just hours before his scheduled execution on Thursday in Alabama.

Political prisoner Gary Tyler freed from Angola prison after 41 years

By Helen Hayes, 2 May 2016

Gary Tyler’s frame-up and decades-long incarceration expose the brutal class character of the American judicial system and its vast prison complex.

Federal appeals court dismisses drone lawsuit

By Tom Hall, 23 April 2016

The lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union sought to compel the CIA to release information on its secret drone warfare program.

US Supreme Court hears arguments on corporate “religious right” to bar birth control to employees

By Tom Carter, 11 April 2016

The cases are based on a tendentious conception of “religious liberty,” as well as the pseudo-legal doctrine of supposed constitutional “rights” for corporations.

Supreme Court ruling favors unions in agency shop dues case

By Tom Carter, 30 March 2016

The hard-fought Friedrichs case reflects ongoing divisions within the American ruling class over the best means of exploiting workers and suppressing their struggles.

US federal appeals court ruling could speed up executions

By Kate Randall, 29 March 2016

The Ninth US Circuit Court’s ruling comes as the number of death row exonerees continues to grow, including 156 individuals since 1973.

Obama high court pick Merrick Garland: A record of support for police powers

By Tom Carter, 28 March 2016

Garland’s judicial career parallels the rightward trajectory of the American judiciary over the past two decades, and especially since the launch of the “war on terror.”

Scalia’s final junket linked to aristocratic hunting society

By Tom Carter, 29 February 2016

Supreme Court Justice Scalia, who vigorously opposed the principle of separation of church and state, spent his final hours with wealthy members of an aristocratic Catholic order.

As official veneration of right-wing justice continues

Divisions emerge over appointment of Scalia’s successor to US Supreme Court

By Tom Carter, 22 February 2016

While the American political establishment and media have united to present Scalia as an “extraordinary legal figure,” the appointment of his replacement is generating conflict.

The glorification of Antonin Scalia

By Tom Carter, 16 February 2016

The sickening tributes across the official US political and media spectrum to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died suddenly on Saturday at the age of 79, are a barometer of the putrefaction of American democracy.

The legacy of Antonin Scalia

By Tom Carter, 15 February 2016

Scalia has personified the rightward march of the American political establishment over the past three decades, as it jettisoned what remained of its commitment to democratic institutions.

US Supreme Court threatens to limit class actions and access to jury trials

By John Andrews, 14 November 2015

The Supreme Court is considering a case that could overturn almost seven decades of law by throwing out a verdict against a large corporation found to have denied workers required wages.

Chelsea Manning found guilty of violating prison rules

By Kevin Martinez, 21 August 2015

The imprisoned whistleblower was sentenced to 21 days of restrictions but was spared indefinite solitary confinement following public outrage over the trial.

US police expanding use of potentially warrantless cellphone trackers

By Josh Varlin, 20 August 2015

New documents reviewed by the Wall Street Journal reveal that law enforcement agencies are expanding their use of cellphone-tracking devices.

Supreme Court invalidates federal air pollution rules for power plants

By John Burton, 30 June 2015

The Supreme Court struck down Environmental Protection Agency regulations that would have sharply reduced airborne toxins from oil- and coal-fueled power plants.

US Supreme Court overturns death row appeal

By Tom Carter, 24 June 2015

The Supreme Court decided it was “harmless” for Hector Ayala’s attorney to be excluded from hearings that eliminated all of the black and Hispanic jurors from the jury pool.

Special prosecutor brings reduced charges against Albuquerque cops who killed James Boyd

By D. Lencho, 24 June 2015

The reduced charge of second degree murder gives the judge discretion to suspend the sentence if a conviction is reached.

US deported 260,000 for drug offenses over five-year period

By Tom Hall, 18 June 2015

Even legal immigrants spend months or years in prison without bail awaiting deportation for minor drug offenses, according to a report issued this week by Human Rights Watch.

US Supreme Court upholds arbitrary executive power in immigration visa case

By Tom Carter, 16 June 2015

The Supreme Court endorsed the Obama administration’s assertion of the arbitrary power to deny immigration visas based on vague invocations of the so-called “war on terror.”

The Magna Carta and democratic rights

By Richard Hoffman and Mike Head, 15 June 2015

Today, 800 years after the Magna Carta, the international working class confronts an historic assault on its fundamental democratic rights.

US Court of Appeals finds NSA phone data collection is illegal

By Ed Hightower, 8 May 2015

Avoiding the vast constitutional issues at stake, the court essentially called on Congress to provide a more robust pseudo-legal basis for unlimited warrantless spying.

ACLU sues White House over drone “kill list”

By Eric London, 17 March 2015

A lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union challenges the secrecy of the Obama administration’s “targeted killing” drone assassination program.

Lawsuit challenges use of pepper spray in Birmingham, Alabama schools

By Shelley Connor, 2 February 2015

Police in Birmingham City Schools used pepper spray on students 300 times between 2006 and 2011, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s lawsuit.

US federal appeals court upholds state bans on same-sex marriages

By John Andrews, 11 November 2014

In a reactionary ruling, a federal court of appeals has struck down lower court decisions upholding same-sex marriages, setting the stage for a US Supreme Court ruling.

US Supreme Court to hear challenge to Obamacare subsidies

By Kate Randall, 10 November 2014

The Supreme Court’s decision to hear King v. Burwell comes just days before the beginning of open enrollment for the second year of the Affordable Care Act.

Pennsylvania boy, 10, charged as adult in murder case

By Tom Eley, 16 October 2014

A 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy has been charged as an adult and jailed for the death of a 90-year-old woman.

US Supreme Court Justice Scalia attacks separation of church and state

By Tom Carter, 6 October 2014

In a speech Wednesday, Scalia declared that the Constitution does not prohibit the government from favoring “religion over nonreligion,” calling for a fight against “secularists” who contend otherwise.

2004 Bush administration memos advocate unlimited presidential powers

By Tom Carter, 9 September 2014

Recently declassified documents detail the early stages of the ongoing effort to create the pseudo-legal framework for a police state in America.

Court rules BP acted with “gross negligence” in 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill

By Tom Hall, 8 September 2014

The oil giant’s potential fine of $18 billion is less than its more-than $23 billion in profits last year.

US appeals court rules defendant has no right to secret surveillance documents

By Gabriel Black, 19 June 2014

A federal appeals court overturned a previous ruling allowing a terrorism defendant’s lawyer access to FISA material.

Supreme Court issues unanimous decision defending police in fatal shooting

By Tom Carter, 29 May 2014

The US Supreme Court unanimously ruled Tuesday in favor of three Arkansas police officers who fired 15 bullets at a fleeing motorist and his passenger, killing both.

Supreme Court stops Florida execution, requiring more evidence to assess mental competency

By Gabriel Black, 29 May 2014

The Supreme Court stopped the execution of a man from Florida on the basis that the judge needed to allow more evidence to assess his mental competency and that an IQ test was not always enough.

Obama nominates author of drone memo for appellate court judge

By Ed Hightower, 8 May 2014

President Barack Obama has nominated David Barron, the author of pseudo-legal memos that authorize the drone assassination of US citizens, as a judge for a top appellate court.

Supreme Court reinstates Michigan ban on affirmative action

By John Andrews, 24 April 2014

In a fractured ruling with five separate decisions by the eight participating justices, the US Supreme Court has upheld a voter-enacted prohibition of racial preferences in Michigan.

US Supreme Court strikes down limits on political contributions

By John Burton, 3 April 2014

The Supreme Court has invalidated the provision of the federal election finance law that limits wealthy individuals from donating more than $123,000 to candidates and committees during any two-year election cycle.

As victims’ families call for criminal prosecution

Senate hearing sets stage for cover-up of GM, government role in fatal crashes

By Barry Grey, 3 April 2014

For the second consecutive day, General Motors CEO Mary Barra appeared before a congressional panel and refused to provide answers regarding the company’s cover-up of an ignition switch defect linked to at least 13 deaths and 31 crashes.

The state assassination of a US citizen foretold

By Tom Carter, 12 February 2014

If the government can order the assassination of US citizens in the name of national security, what can it not do? All the methods of a police state dictatorship become equally possible.

Supreme Court denies back pay to 800 US Steel workers

By Tom Carter, 30 January 2014

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that the unions had bargained away steel workers' right to receive overtime pay for time spent putting on personal protective equipment.

Oklahoma carries out second execution this year using pentobarbital

By Nick Barrickman, 25 January 2014

Authorities utilized a three-drug protocol for the lethal injection that included a lethal dose of pentobarbital, an anesthetic commonly used to euthanize animals.

Texas executes Mexican national in defiance of international law

By Bill Van Auken, 23 January 2014

Edgar Tamayo was put to death by lethal injection Wednesday night after Texas authorities rejected a World Court ruling requiring that they review his case and those of other Mexicans on death row.

US appeals court strikes down “net neutrality” rules

By Thomas Gaist, 16 January 2014

The Open Internet regulations prohibited the selective blocking of slowing of legal Internet content by Internet providers.

Outrage over acquittal of California police who beat homeless man to death

By John Andrews, 16 January 2014

The acquittal of two officers captured on video beating to death a homeless, mentally ill man in Orange County, California has been met with widespread anger.

The pseudo-legal arguments for a police state

By Tom Carter, 31 December 2013

US District Judge William H. Pauley’s ruling in the case of ACLU v. Clapper on December 27, which sanctions NSA surveillance of the telephone records of the entire country’s population, has immense significance for democratic rights.

“Almost Orwellian”: US Judge indicts NSA spying

By Bill Van Auken, 18 December 2013

The ruling by Judge Richard Leon, while doing nothing to curb the NSA’s mass spying operations, nonetheless acknowledges that they embody the methods of a police state.

Federal judge holds NSA telephone surveillance unconstitutional

By John Burton, 17 December 2013

A federal judge in Washington, DC has ruled that the NSA’s collection of telephone data on virtually every person in the United States violates the Fourth Amendment’s protection against “unreasonable searches and seizures.”

Federal prosecutors charge Los Angeles deputy sheriffs in jail abuse probe

By John Burton, 17 December 2013

FBI agents arrested 18 Los Angeles County Sheriff employees on charges of conspiracy, abuse of inmates and lying.

US in sweetheart deal with JPMorgan over complicity in Madoff Ponzi scheme

By Barry Grey, 17 December 2013

Deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements have proliferated under the Obama administration, in accordance with its policy of not prosecuting major banks or corporations.

Obama administration defends NSA against civil liberties lawsuit

By John Burton, 26 November 2013

Administration lawyers used the standard “war on terror” pretext to justify the NSA’s collection of telephone data on virtually every person in the United States.

Obama administration asks Supreme Court to back warrantless cell phone searches

By Kate Randall, 23 August 2013

The Justice Department petition argues that warrantless cell phone searches do not violate Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.

US Drug Enforcement Agency conceals use of information from NSA mass surveillance programs

By Niles Williamson, 6 August 2013

A Reuters report describes how federal law enforcement agencies that utilize evidence obtained from illegal domestic spying programs are trained to "recreate" the investigative trail in a manner that violates defendants’ right to a fair trial.

Obama administration officials testify at Manning sentencing

By Matthew MacEgan, 6 August 2013

The sentencing phase of the Bradley Manning court martial continued Monday with the testimony of Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy.

US Supreme Court allows police to take DNA samples of arrestees

By Joseph Kishore, 4 June 2013

The US Supreme Court decision is a major attack on the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Supreme Court bars US lawsuits against overseas human rights abuses

By John Burton, 23 April 2013

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that foreign citizens subjected to human rights abuses outside the US cannot sue corporations or individuals in US courts.

Interview with Paul Hoffman, lawyer for the plaintiffs

By John Burton, 23 April 2013

Paul Hoffman, a partner in the Venice, California law firm of Schonbrun, DeSimone, Seplow, Harris, Hoffman & Harrison, has been representing plaintiffs in cases under the Alien Tort Statute for the last 30 years.

US Supreme Court hears arguments on gay marriage

By Barry Grey, 30 March 2013

There is a clear issue of democratic rights in the same-sex marriage question. Having said that, claims that recognition of same-sex marriage signifies a new flowering of democratic rights lack any credibility.

Plans for military surveillance of Americans’ financial records

By Ed Hightower, 19 March 2013

The Treasury’s proposal represents yet another front in the escalating attack on democratic rights, especially the rights to privacy and freedom of association.

US Supreme Court dismisses lawsuit challenging secret wiretaps

By John Burton, 28 February 2013

In dismissing the suit, the Supreme Court majority adopted the positions urged by Obama administration lawyers in their briefs and at oral argument last October.

Obama administration claims power to authorize pre-emptive cyberwar strikes

By Joseph Kishore, 5 February 2013

Secret legal arguments prepared by the government are part of an effort to expand cyberwar strikes against other countries, particularly Iran and China.

Federal Circuit Court upholds Wisconsin anti-worker law

By Niles Williamson, 24 January 2013

A US appeals court upheld the unpopular 2011 Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill (also known as Act 10) that sparked mass protests in the spring of 2011.

US Supreme Court refuses to hear lawsuit on suicide crisis facing war veterans

By Eric London, 11 January 2013

Eighteen veterans kill themselves each day, and the three branches of government have each answered with callous indifference.

US Army judge rejects motion to dismiss charges in Bradley Manning case

By Naomi Spencer, 10 January 2013

Manning was granted only a 112-day reduction in sentencing on a life term in hearings this week.