A Magistrate Judge Gets One Right

Of course, the Magistrate Judge Kandis Westmore’s ruling can be overturned on appeal by a District judge in the Northern District of California in which she operates, or on appeal on the ruling’s way up the appellate chain.  Nevertheless, her ruling stands, for now.

In its essence Westmore ruled that, even with an otherwise valid search warrant, a person cannot be compelled to unlock a digital device like a cell phone with that person’s biometrics—a fingerprint, a face, or an iris, for example.

A Judge’s Error

The Trump administration had expanded rules allowing employers to opt out of being required to provide birth control coverage to their employees at no cost to the employees, so long as the opting out was convincingly based on religious or moral grounds.  Federal District Judge Haywood Gilliam of the Northern District of California has issued an injunction blocking enforcement of the expansion while an underlying lawsuit against the expansion is underway.

Ordinarily, blocking an enforcement while the underlying case proceeds is no big deal, but this one is just plain wrong.  Gilliam based his ruling in significant part on the premise that

Religious Tests for Federal Office

Here’s what our Constitution says about religious tests for Federal office, from Article IV [emphasis added]:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Despite this, the Progressive-Democratic Party’s Senators, on two separate occasions, challenged judicial nominees over their religious beliefs.

A US Appellate Court Thinks Americans Are Grindingly Stupid

Kellogg’s makes Cheez-Its, a cheesy, corny confection that’s attractive to lots of folks, especially at boring parties.  Some versions of this snack are marketed as “Whole Grain” or “Made With Whole Grain,” and the text on the packaging makes plain that this means 5 to 8 grams of whole grain for each 29-gram serving along with the primary ingredient being “enriched flour.”

This is too confusing for three women to bear, so they sued.  One of the women went so far as to claim she was injured by all of this, yet, were the packaging only changed, she would continue to purchase the products in the future (where are the feminists over this feigned stupidity?).  There started out some sanity in this idiocy:

Pre-Determined Outcome

New York’s Attorney-Elect Letitia James says she’s made her decision about the guilt of a man, a family, and a business, and now he’s going to collect the information needed to support her decision.

We will use every area of the law to investigate President Trump and his business transactions and that of his family as well.
We want to investigate anyone in his orbit who has, in fact, violated the law[.]

She’s already determined, prior to any investigation whatsoever, that they’re guilty of having violated one or more [unnamed] laws.

A Conservative’s View….

My latest effort, a pamphlet on the American legal system (because I don’t lack for ego), A Conservative’s View of the American Concept of Law, has been released, and it can be found on amazon.com: https://amzn.to/2L4iVXx .  Links also can be found on my Books page.

Our legal system is explicitly founded on natural law through our Creator’s endowment—the origin and source of our fundamental principles.

“Impose Boundaries on Immigration Law”

That’s the title of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s op-ed in last Thursday’s Wall Street Journal.  In it, he decried the lack of uniformity of our immigration laws and associated judicial rulings on those laws.

…US immigration law is far from uniform. Inconsistent rulings by the 12 federal appellate courts have created a hodgepodge of jurisprudence, in which the applicable legal precedents depend on the location of the immigration court that heard a case.

He proposed a solution.

Congress can and should restore uniformity and promote efficiency by consolidating all immigration appeals in a specialized court of immigration appeals.

Brussels Interferes Again

Now the European Court of Justice has decided to weigh in on Brexit.

The European Court of Justice’s opinion, which requires confirmation in a final court ruling, says the U.K. can unilaterally stop the process of leaving the EU, something that Brussels and the U.K. government had sought to oppose. A final ruling is expected within the next few weeks.

This is yet another cynical effort by Brussels to interfere in the domestic affairs of a sovereign nation, this time compounded by Brussels’ insistence on punishing the Brits for their impertinence.

Justice and Law

An Indian, a Creek, stands accused of murdering a fellow tribesman.  He was arrested on the Creek’s Oklahoma reservation, and with that, he’s demanding that he be tried in Federal court rather than in an Oklahoma State court.  The matter of which court should have jurisdiction, which centers on the existence or absence of the Creek Nation reservation in Oklahoma, now is before the US Supreme Court.

The government’s lawyer, US Deputy Solicitor General Edwin Kneedler, declaimed

This would be a dramatic change from the way everyone has understood it for the past 100 years[.]

He continued:

A Judge’s Ruling on Female Genital Mutilation

Charges related to female genital mutilation were dismissed last week against Detroit doctor Jumana Nagarwala, who has a history of performing such “surgeries.”  Federal District Judge Bernard Friedman, of the Eastern District of Michigan, ruled that Congress had overstepped its authority in passing a law banning this FGM.

Sadly, the judge was right.  That law, passed in 1996, was done under our Constitution’s Commerce Clause, which authorizes Congress to regulate interstate commerce (along with trade with foreign nations and with the Indian Tribes).

However, Friedman wrote,