In Which a Supreme Court Justice is Wrong

Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor didn’t just get it wrong in her dissent, she is wrong.

In Wolf v Cook County, the Supreme Court upheld the Trump administration’s expansion of its public charge rule regarding immigrant visas to include a bar on

non-cash benefits such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), forms of Medicaid, and certain housing assistance….

Sotomayor opened her dissent from the Court’s decision with this:

Today’s decision follows a now-familiar pattern. The Government seeks emergency relief from this Court, asking it to grant a stay where two lower courts have not. The Government insists—even though review in a court of appeals is imminent—that it will suffer irreparable harm if this Court does not grant a stay. And the Court yields.

A Court Missed

This time, the DC Circuit Court has erred.  The Trump administration—Health and Human Services—had allowed Arkansas, among other States, to set work requirements on its citizens as prerequisites to eligibility for the State’s Medicaid program. Folks and organizations sued over that, and the case wound up in the DC Circuit Court.  That Court held with the suers and has blocked Arkansas from proceeding with the work requirements.

Writing for the Court, Senior Circuit Judge David Sentelle held, in part, that HHS didn’t address the purpose of Medicaid in a way that suited him:

Progressive-Democrats and Litmus Tests

The Progressive-Democratic Party and its Presidential candidates continue to be…upset…over judicial confirmations that are going on with the Trump administration and the McConnell Senate. And they have issue-based litmus tests for what they consider acceptable (progressively so) judges and Justices. The test is in addition to their wish to change the structure of the Supreme Court to favor their ideology.

Their tests are these: the nominees must overtly favor abortion, be activists regarding the environment, and positively consider labor union matters.

Data Transfer and Privacy

The European Union’s Court of Justice had recommended to it by an adviser to the court in a particular case involving Facebook that

Companies, including US tech giants, should be blocked from transferring European users’ data in some cases if they can’t guarantee it will be handled in compliance with European Union privacy laws….

That would seem to include a large number of international companies besides ours. Yet several EU member nations are moving apace to bring Huawei into their communications networks….


An Appeal

Bayer is appealing a District court judgment against it and its Roundup product which has glyphosate as an important ingredient. The judgment is for $25 million, and Bayer thinks it’s a wrong judgment.

The German company’s main argument is that US federal agencies have determined its product is safe and not a carcinogen.

Bayer noted that the

verdict defies both expert regulatory judgment and sound science.


Because the EPA has consistently approved the sale of glyphosate without a cancer warning and has stated that including such a warning on the label would render the product misbranded, any state-imposed cancer warning is expressly preempted

Checks and Balances

Editors at The Wall Street Journal correctly decry a Federal district judge’s ruling that ex-White House counsel Don McGahn must testify before the House of Representatives in response to a House subpoena.  As the editors put it,

the sweeping ruling essentially eliminates a right to confidentiality between a President and his most senior advisers.


A federal judge says White House aides must answer to Capitol Hill.

Not just any Federal judge: an Obama judge, Ketanji Brown Jackson.

The Jackson’s ruling, though, goes far beyond that.  The judge has asserted absolute supremacy of the Legislative over the Executive.

The Left and Judging

President Donald Trump has nominated Sarah Pitlyk for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, and the Senate is about to take up her nomination for the confirmation process.

The American Bar Association thinks highly of Pitlyk’s great intelligence, high character, and experience researching and writing briefs, but it says she’s not qualified to be a judge.  After all, this textualist judge nominee

worked for the Thomas More Society, a nonprofit organization, on cases involving contract, employment and tax disputes, as well as on religious liberty and pro-life matters.

A Judge Got One Wrong

Recall Florida’s citizens, by a 2:1 margin, voting up a State constitutional amendment restoring to convicted felons (except murderers and sex offenders) their right to vote on completion of their criminal sentences.

Recall, further, Florida’s government passing a law that required these felons to pay off their outstanding fines, fees or restitution—in other words, actually to complete their sentences, including court-imposed financial requirements.  This law went further: it provided mechanisms for relief from those financial penalties so the felon could complete their sentences more quickly after release from jail:

  • payment of the financial obligation in full


Progressive-Democrats are nakedly trying to intimidate the Supreme Court to get their own way—and they’ve made their threat overt, in an Amici Curiae brief filed with the Supreme Court concerning New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc v City of New York, which is a case involving New York City’s ban on transporting “licensed, locked and unloaded handgun[s] to a home or shooting range outside city limits.”

Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D, RI), Richard Blumenthal (D, CT), Mazie Hirono (D, HI), Richard Durbin (D, IL), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D, NY) made their threat thusly:

A Misbehaving Judge

PG&E is in a world of hurt, still, over the California fires that its shoddy power line maintenance contributed so heavily to starting.  However, the Federal district judge overseeing a related court case has overstepped his own bounds.

William Alsup, a US district judge in Northern California, ordered PG&E to respond “on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis” to the Journal article published July 10.

This is just plain wrong.  Leaving aside the fact that newspaper articles, no matter how seemingly well-documented, are not evidence of anything—they’re only allegations, and they were not brought to Alsup by any parties to that case; he went and got them all by himself.