The Judge Got It Wrong

Matthew Whitaker, former Acting US Attorney General, disagrees with a Puerto Rico bankruptcy judge’s ruling regarding the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s bankruptcy and the subsequent handling of the utility’s creditors. He wrote in his Fox Business op-ed that

[US District Judge Laura Taylor] Swain…concluded that special revenue bondholders do not hold a secured claim on current and future net revenues. As The Wall Street Journal explained in March, “A federal judge curbed Puerto Rico bondholders’ rights to the electric revenue generated by its public power utility.”
Furthermore, the ruling stated that the original legal obligation of the borrowers is not the face value of the debt, but rather what the borrower (in this case “PREPA”) can feasibly repay.

A Court Gets It Wrong

Alabama’s legislature redrew its Federal House of Representative district lines, leaving the State with one black-majority district. The State’s courts objected and ordered the lines drawn, strongly encouraging a second black-majority district be created, since 27% of the State’s citizens are black. The State’s legislature sort of obliged, creating a second district with 40% of its voters being black.

A three-judge Federal panel (which The Wall Street Journal identified as a special three-judge district court) rejected the new districts. It’s on this point that I think the court got things badly wrong, and if the AP article is accurate, exposed the intrinsic racism in the way district lines are drawn.

Impeaching Joe Biden

I’ll leave aside, for this post, concerns about the degree of wisdom of impeaching President Joe Biden (D) when there is no hope of the Senate seriously considering the matter during the ensuing trial, much less getting a serious vote regarding conviction or acquittal.

The question here is whether the House can impeach Biden (or any House impeach any President) for wrongs committed before he was in office as President.

House Republicans have floated launching an impeachment inquiry against President Biden amid newly surfaced allegations that suggest his involvement in the business dealings his son, Hunter. But can congressional lawmakers initiate the use of that constitutional tool for alleged treason, bribery or high crimes and misdemeanors that transpired before holding the office of the presidency?

A Bogus Beef is Swatted

When Congress passed and President Joe Biden (D) signed the recent debt ceiling bill, one of the items included was a requirement for construction on the Mountain Valley Pipeline to proceed to completion and for the pipeline to begin operation. In conjunction with that, the bill removed from lower courts their jurisdiction over questions  regarding the natural gas pipeline.

The Fourth Circuit, when “environmentalists” got their cases to it, blocked construction while it sorted out whether it could rule on the matter.

The Supreme Court has sorted the matter out for the Fourth Circuit, at least temporarily: the pipeline will be completed with no further delay; the Court has lifted the Circuit’s stay.

This Will Be Instructive

Of course, Israel’s newly enacted judicial reform bill, limited in reform as it is, will go before Israel’s Supreme Court; an initial hearing is set for September.

Israel’s Supreme Court said Wednesday that it would hear a petition challenging the constitutionality of a judicial overhaul law enacted earlier this week, setting up a possible showdown between the court and the government.
The court, however, didn’t issue an immediate injunction, as petitioners had requested.

It will be instructive to see the Court’s ruling and how anxious those Justices are to hang onto their power—political, especially, as well as judicial.

Israel’s Judicial Reform

Israel has taken a step toward limiting the governing power and authority of its Supreme Court. Prior to last Monday’s vote, Israel’s highest court could blithely strike down Knesset-enacted statutes based on nothing more concrete or measurable than the personal opinions of what constituted the statute’s “reasonableness” in the minds of the judges constituting the Court’s majority in any particular case. If those judges didn’t like the statute, they could cry “unreasonable,” and strike it.

This reform law will restrict

An Opportunity to Reverse Kelo

Kelo v City of New London was a 2005 case involving our Constitution’s 5th Amendment Takings Clause: a homeowner who didn’t want to sell her home in New London, CT, to a property developer who said he needed the property to finish out the development of shopping mall. New London agreed on the developer’s representation that his mall would produce more tax revenue for the city than the homeowner’s property tax remittances. In the resulting suit, the Supreme Court decided that government has the authority to commit such a Taking and redistribution for the public purpose of increasing government’s tax revenue.  The Court said that one man’s private purpose is superior to another’s so that other must surrender his property to the one.

More Coverup

Recall that President Joe Biden has had (and still has?) classified documents squirreled away in his garage at his house in Delaware, albeit protected by the presence of his Corvette. Recall, further, that Biden has had classified documents squirreled away in a variety of unsecure locations ever since he walked away with them when he was a Senator and had no legal ability to possess them anywhere. Among those unsecure locations is the library at the University of Delaware. And now,

Activist Judges

There are three of them on the 4th Circuit, those who unanimously ruled that construction on the Mountain Valley Pipeline must stop pending those judges’ personal review of the Interior Department’s record of decision for permitting pipeline construction in the national forest.

These judges don’t care that the 4th Circuit has no jurisdiction over the pipeline or cases related to it. The recently concluded debt ceiling law explicitly stripped the 4th Circuit of jurisdiction, limited questions about the pipeline to constitutional questions, and placed those questions solely within the jurisdiction of the DC Circuit.

A Step in the Right Direction

The 6th Circuit overruled a Tennessee federal district court’s injunction, lifting it, and allowing a Tennessee law barring gender-related child abuse “gender-affirming” “care” for minors to go into effect. Per the AP, the appellate court ruled

[i]n a 2-1 ruling, the majority opinion stated that decisions on issues such as transgender care, which is considered an emerging policy issue, is better left to legislatures rather than judges[.]

This is a good start, and a strong step in the right direction. It’s also important to keep in mind the fact that the matter is still in the courts: the appellate court lifted an injunction; it did not uphold the law itself.