Mueller’s Grand Jury

Judge Andrew Napolitano thinks the reason Special Counsel Robert Mueller has convened a grand jury as part of his “investigation” into alleged Russia collusion by members of President Donald Trump’s campaign staff is so Mueller can use the jury’s subpoena power to compel testimony and the delivery of documents.  Napolitano also said, in FoxNews insider‘s paraphrase, that the jury’s convening is

a sign that Mueller has found something from some source….

Rule of Law

The DC Circuit Court stacked by President Barack Obama (D) seems to be iffy on the thing.  In an appeal concerning whether the monies the Federal government pays to health care plan providers as subsidies so the plan providers will hold down premiums and deductibles can actually be paid—the funds never were appropriated by Congress, so the payments aren’t legitimate, ruled the trial court—the Circuit Court ruled in part:

The States have shown a substantial risk that an injunction requiring termination of the payments at issue here…would lead directly and imminently to an increase in insurance prices, which in turn will increase the number of uninsured individuals for whom the States will have to provide health care[.]

International Censorship

France wants to enforce a “right to be forgotten” law (recently enacted by the EU that allows persons to demand publicly available information about them to be erased from links in search engine results) inside other nations than the EU membership—inside the United States, for instance.  Google, et al., is demurring, and France has taken the matter to the EU’s highest administrative court, the Court of Justice.

The case will help determine how far EU regulators can go in enforcing the bloc’s strict new privacy law….

The Meaning of “Is”

The four liberal Justices on the Supreme Court are still confused.  One of the underreported (the Wall Street Journal did its part here) end-of-term decisions that the Supreme Court announced was its ruling in California Public Employees’ Retirement System v ANZ Securities, Inc.  The Court held that the law means what it says, neither more nor less.

The case revolved around whether Calpers could proceed with a 2011 complaint over securities the pension fund purchased from offerings in 2007 and 2008. The Securities Act of 1933 says that in “no event” shall an action be brought “more than three years after the security was bona fide offered to the public.”

The Supreme Court is Considering the Limits of Partisan Gerrymandering

The case stems from a Wisconsin state districting case

where a three-judge lower court last year invalidated a redistricting plan enacted by the Republican-controlled Wisconsin legislature in 2011.

That court insisted that, following the 2010 census, the Republican State legislature redrew its legislative districts to favor Republicans and disfavor Democrats.

Election results since then have shown the redistricting had its intended effect, with the GOP winning a larger majority in the state assembly, even as the statewide tally of votes was nearly even between Republicans and Democrats, the lower court said.

Foolish

The Justice Department is clashing with career site Glassdoor Inc over the company’s refusal to identify users who posted anonymous employee reviews of a veterans health-care company under federal investigation.

That’s been fought over in civil courts, but this is a first for a potentially criminal matter.  The Federal government is the one making the demand this time because the Feds want witnesses for a grand jury investigation into Glassdoor.

Whatever the parameters of any possible criminal case involved here, there are some questions that need careful consideration.  Leave aside 1st Amendment questions regarding a right, especially but not necessarily limited to political discourse, to discourse anonymously.

A First Amendment Beef

This one, I think, is a bad beef.  A Columbia University club known as the Knight First Amendment Institute, styling themselves a First Amendment advocate organization, has taken notice of the fact that President Donald Trump has blocked some folks from his personal twitter account, @realDonaldTrump, an account he’s had since well before the campaign and his election.  The Director of the Institute, Jameel Jaffer, wrote a letter to “the Trump administration” claiming that the Constitution “requires” those accounts to be unblocked.

Constituents

Who are a Federal judge’s—at any level of the judicial hierarchy—constituents?  I asked this question of a number of folks, and the most cogent answer I got was this: “in order, the law and justice.”  Even that answer, though, is only about one-third right IMNSHO.

Here is the first oath of office Federal judge and Justice must take; it’s the same as any Congressman must take.

Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

Heather Mac Donald, in an opinion piece in a recent Wall Street Journal argued that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is getting a bad rap over his decision to reinstate emphasis on mandatory minimum sentencing and that those minimum sentencing requirements themselves get a bad rap.  She’s right on both counts.

Briefly

President Trump has promised to roll back the regulatory state, but he’ll need the help of a judiciary that has for decades deferred too eagerly to executive agencies.

Indeed.  As the WSJ op-ed at the link says, that’ll require the judiciary to recognize its role in the Federal government and, in particular, its position in the hierarchy.

The proximate matter here is a DC Circuit ruling in US Telecom Association v Federal Communications Commission which used the Chevron Deference doctrine (which holds that the Court should be spring-loaded to uphold an Executive Branch agency rule rather than considering its constitutionality—its legitimacy—de novo on its merits) to find for the FCC.  Judge Brett Kavanaugh dissented, and he based his dissent in large part on decrying that deference doctrine.  The WSJ asked