Adam Smith  //  3/14/19  //  Daily Update

Minutes after Paul Manafort received his second federal sentence in less than two weeks, Manhattan D.A. Cy Vance added a sixteen-count state indictment into the mix. DOD announced that it would begin implementing President Trump’s transgender service ban, despite a number of pending challenges in the federal courts. The Sixth Circuit upheld Ohio’s decision to defund Planned Parenthood. California imposed a death-penalty moratorium. President Trump grounded the Boeing jet blamed for deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.



On this week's episode of Versus Trump, Charlie, Easha, and Jason discuss a new lawsuit by Huawei against various Trump Administration officials, plus they delve into international extradition law and look at the case of the company's detained CFO. 



A Manhattan grand jury indicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on sixteen counts of mortgage and insurance fraud (NYT; WSJ).

  • The full text of the indictment is available here.
  • Such state-level charges could render Manafort “pardon-proof,” note Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky at The Washington Post.

The indictment was announced shortly after a Washington, D.C., federal judge sentenced Manafort to 43 months for a raft of campaign-related offenses (WSJ).



The Supreme Court's decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop offers no warrant for rampant free exercise exceptionalism, in which the normal rules of constitutional law are suspended or inverted, writes Joshua Matz on this blog. 

The Pentagon announced that President Trump’s transgender military-service ban will take effect on April 12 (NYT).

  • Lawyers representing trans service-members in a challenge to the so-called Mattis policy filed for an emergency injunction (WaPo).

An en banc Sixth Circuit upheld Ohio’s decision to strip Planned Parenthood of its state funding (AP).

  • The opinion is available here.



In the aftermath of an election riled by allegations of vote-tampering and voter suppression, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is expected to sign a controversial overhaul of the state’s voting systems into law (AP).

  • All the more reason for Congress to enact a comprehensive voting-rights program, argues Sayu Bhojwani at The Hill.



California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a moratorium on the state’s use of the death penalty, staying the executions of more than 700 people (NYT).

  • California may have sounded a death knell for capital punishment in the United States, writes the editorial board of The New York Times.
  • And Newsom’s decision would do Justice Harry Blackmun proud, contends Charlie Pierce at Esquire.



Following a spate of deadly crashes overseas, President Trump overruled the FAA and grounded the Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 aircraft (WaPo; AP).

  • The President’s intervention spotlights DOT’s “lax” enforcement of federal air-travel regulations, writes Scott McCartney for The Wall Street Journal.


Daily Update | May 20, 2019

5/20/19  //  Daily Update

The federal government’s ban on spending federal funds on abortions means that Medicaid recipients cannot access abortion, creating a burden on women of color and women living in poverty. A new rule proposed by the Trump administration would prohibit families from obtaining subsidized housing if any family member is undocumented. The Fourth Circuit found that the Trump administration’s decision to rescind DACA was arbitrary and capricious – and therefore unlawful – because it was not adequately explained and the administration did not address the impact of this decision on DACA-recipients’ reliance interests. The White House has released a new tool to solicit information from people who believe that their social media posts have been censored by politically biased social media companies.

Karen Kadish

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | May 16, 2019

5/16/19  //  Daily Update

The Trump Administration’s forthcoming immigration plan will focused on increasing the educational and skills requirements for people who are allowed to migrate to the United States and would scale back family-based immigration. Loose regulation of government websites allows executive agencies to weaken policies the executive branch opposes, such as the Affordable Care Act, which has been censored at least 26 times on HHS websites. The Trump Administration will not sign an international pledge to combat extremist content online, potentially because of First Amendment concerns. A new report from Paul C. Light outlines the ways that the House has investigated presidents since World War II, and gives an analysis of how Congress can conduct a meaningful probe into Presidential actions.

Karen Kadish

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | May 15, 2019

5/15/19  //  Daily Update

The Alabama Senate approved a measure that would outlaw abortion at all stages of pregnancy except in cases where the mother’s life is at serious risk; it awaits signature by Governor Kay Ivey. A new law will impose financial burdens on individuals convicted of felonies that make it harder for them to vote in Florida, despite the passing of Florida’s ballot initiative to restore voting rights to felons. Action from the FCC has continued to increase tensions between the United States and China following a unanimous vote to block China Mobile, and threatening public statements from President Trump. Donald Trump Jr. has agreed that he will appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee behind closed doors, following a fight between Republican lawmakers. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis claimed he was not allowed to say which two Florida counties were hacked by Russians in the 2016 election.

Jacob Miller

Harvard Law School