Judiciary

“It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.”

~Marbury v. Madison (1803).

The Plaintiffs in CREW v. Trump Deserve To Have Their Claims Heard

8/14/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

Our amicus brief explains why the Justice Department’s jurisdictional arguments miss the mark

Daniel Hemel

University of Chicago Law School

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Second Thoughts About The Supreme Court’s Scheduling The Entry Ban Case

8/2/17  //  Commentary

The Court’s October Calendar Further Underscores That It Never Actually Intends To Resolve The Legality Of The Entry Ban

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

The Self-Pardon Question: What Comes Next?

7/27/17  //  Commentary

By Jeffrey Crouch: Might Congress amend the Constitution to take the self-pardon question off the table permanently?

Take Care

Updates | The Week of July 17, 2017

7/23/17  //  Daily Update

Transgender students are turning to the courts to fill the void left by the Department of Education under President Trump. Litigation over the immigration ban may change the scope of the plenary-power doctrine.

Updates | The Week of July 10, 2017

7/16/17  //  Daily Update

Judge Janice Rogers Brown of the DC Circuit announced plans to step down, giving President Trump another opportunity to continue moving the federal judiciary to the right.

The Government And Grandparents (What's The Big Deal?)

7/15/17  //  Quick Reactions

DOJ rushed to the Supreme Court to ensure that the government wouldn't have to admit grandparents. Its arguments are silly.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Versus Trump: I Want Out!

7/13/17  //  Commentary

On this week’s episode of Versus Trump, Charlie and Easha discuss the cases against Trump University, the global settlement that was reached, and whether the pending challenge by a lone objector can—or should—alter the result. Listen now!

Easha Anand

San Francisco

Charlie Gerstein

Civil Rights Corps

A Reality Check On Proceedings Related To The Entry Ban Injunctions

7/13/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

Some commentators are seizing on court orders in the proceedings related to the scope of the injunction against the entry ban as an indication that courts are rethinking their decisions against the entry ban. That's wrong (with a cautionary note about the federal courts).

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Updates | The Week of July 3, 2017

7/9/17  //  Daily Update

Commentary continues on President Trump's judicial nominees.

Updates | The Week of June 19 2017

6/25/17  //  Daily Update

Analysts look at President Trump's judicial nominees.

Updates | The Week of June 5, 2017

6/11/17  //  Daily Update

Commentators assessed the Supreme Court's role in considering the Trump Administration's travel ban.

Updates | The Week of May 8, 2017

5/14/17  //  Daily Update

The relationship between President Trump and the judiciary is already different than that of previous administrations. Dark money might be affecting the judicial appointments process.

NFIB v. Sebelius As Anti-Canon (a.k.a. This Administration’s Galling Constitutional Hypocrisy)

3/23/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

The Trump administration is engaged in stunning constitutional hypocrisy. Measured against conservatives' professed commitment to "liberty" and "freedom," there is no serious distinction to be drawn between Obamacare and Trump's American Health Care Act.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

The Nuclear Option and Democratic Deterioration

4/10/17  //  Commentary

The Gorsuch nomination battle illustrates and exacerbates the dynamics of democratic deterioration. Reversing these trends will require elected officials to act with courage. It will also require significant structural changes to our political system.

Daniel P. Tokaji

Ohio State, Moritz College of Law

The Under-Inclusive Theory Of Discrimination (It's Not Going To Happen)

5/8/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

The Trump administration has repeatedly (and incorrectly) argued that a policy does not constitute discrimination unless the policy discriminates against all members of a particular group.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Closing the Courthouse Doors: Justice Kennedy’s Very Bad Day

6/22/17  //  Commentary

David Gans discusses Ziglar v. Abassi, a new SCOTUS ruling that makes it very hard for individuals to sue federal officials for trampling on federal constitutional rights

Take Care

The Comey Affair And Evidence Of Motive

5/12/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

The Comey affair underscores that decisionmakers must look beyond the administration’s “official” documents to determine the administration’s motives.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

There’s Unquestionably Standing in the CREW Case. Here’s Why.

4/19/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

The additional plaintiffs in the CREW case unquestionably have standing.

Jonathan Taylor

Gupta Wessler PLLC

Justice Gorsuch, Executive Power, And Muslim Ban 2.0

3/20/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

A careful review of Judge Gorsuch's record reveals strong reason to believe that he would vote to uphold President Trump's revised Muslim Ban (and potentially many other executives abuses, too).

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Amir Ali

Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Center

With Supreme Court Opinions, More Is Not Always More

6/29/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

Justice Gorsuch has already written seven separate opinions in his 78-day tenure on the Supreme Court. What should we make of that?

Nancy Leong

Sturm College of Law

Against Type Briefs

6/16/17  //  Commentary

Filing an amicus brief joined by Republicans critical of the Trump Administration and with some claim of expert knowledge made by these Republicans related to the constitutional issues can be a powerful tactic to use in courts.

David Fontana

George Washington University Law School

Versus Trump: A Gadfly Suit + Leah Litman

6/15/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

On a new episode of Versus Trump, Take Care's podcast, Easha, Jason, and Charlie discuss a lawsuit against the President that's been brought by a D.C. gadfly who claims that Trump did not provide sufficient detail on the financial disclosure form he submitted as a candidate. Then, Easha talks with Leah Litman about the status of the Muslim ban litigation and the role of oral advocacy in this and other high-profile cases. Listen now!

Charlie Gerstein

Civil Rights Corps

Easha Anand

San Francisco

The President's Statements On The London Attacks

6/5/17  //  Commentary

The President's statements on the London attacks reveal how the President thinks about his entry ban, and also what he might do if there is ever an attack on the United States.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Helen Klein Murillo

Harvard Law School '17

The CFPB Is (Allegedly) A New Kind of Agency. Who Cares? (Part II)

5/23/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

More reasons why the D.C. Circuit should not rely on the CFPB’s purported novelty to suggest the CFPB is unconstitutional

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Trump And His Administration Are A Nightmare For The Dreamers

5/4/17  //  Commentary

ICE Continues To Undermine DACA Despite Trump’s Protestations To the Contrary

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

The President’s Clarifying Memorandum And The Amicus Brief About Animus

6/20/17  //  Commentary

The President’s clarifying memorandum undercuts the legitimate rationale the executive order and DOJ had offered for the entry ban. An amicus brief filed in the Supreme Court explains why that matters.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

What Is Dead May Never Die: An AHCA Update

5/3/17  //  Commentary

With the AHCA back on the table, it's time to remember that the GOP really doesn’t like the constitutional arguments it made against the ACA

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

States And The Emoluments Clause

6/12/17  //  Commentary

In a new lawsuit, Maryland and D.C. allege that the President's violations of the Emoluments Clauses harm their sovereign, quasi-sovereign, and proprietary interests. Those interests get special solicitude in federal court.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

The Trump Administration’s Immigration-Related Detentions

3/24/17  //  Commentary

The Supreme Court is considering a major constitutional challenge to federal immigration detention policies. Trump’s recent executive orders make that case even more significant.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

How the President’s Clarifying Memorandum Destroys the Case for the Entry Ban

6/15/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

The President's "clarifying" memorandum undermines the facial legitimacy of the entry ban, and the government's stated purposes for the entry ban.

Take Care

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Animus, Past and Present

5/9/17  //  Commentary

In a new op-ed, Erwin Chemerinsky and I argue that the entry ban is unconstitutional because it was driven by animus toward Muslims.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

SCOTUS Severely Narrows Civil Rights Suits Against Federal Officers

6/20/17  //  Commentary

Yesterday's SCOTUS ruling in Ziglar v. Abbasi makes it all but impossible for civil rights plaintiffs to sue federal officials for money damages.

Michael C. Dorf

Cornell Law School

On Key Issues, Judge Gorsuch Is Pro-Presidential Power

3/20/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

Although Judge Gorsuch is often described as "good" for the separation of powers, on key issues he is a formalist and would take a decisively pro-presidential view.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

The Two Sides Of Donald Trump, As Reflected in The Government's Motion to Dismiss in the CREW Emoluments Case

6/12/17  //  Quick Reactions

The government's motion to dismiss alternately characterizes CREW's lawsuit as a case involving "official action" and a case involving solely a private "business venture." The different descriptions go to the core of CREW's lawsuit, which is that given the President's business affairs, we don't know when he's acting as President or as a businessman.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

No, the Chief Justice Did Not Just Embrace Obergefell

6/27/17  //  Commentary

Many commentators have misunderstood the significance of a per curiam ruling by the Supreme Court yesterday.

Joshua Matz

Publisher

Why Trump’s Firing of Comey is Terrifying

5/10/17  //  Commentary

Our country has a very strong, very important norm of apolitical law enforcement. But this norm, ironically, is enforced mostly by politics, not law—and Trump’s action has risked doing it irreparable damage. Going forward, here's what to watch at the state and federal levels.

Zachary Price

U.C. Hastings College of the Law

Standing Up For Standing in CREW v. Trump

4/26/17  //  Quick Reactions

Everyone should give a tip of the hat to the new plaintiffs in the CREW v. Trump lawsuit.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Judicial Deference to President Trump

5/8/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

It is time to ask: Has Trump in effect forfeited some measure of judicial deference across contexts and cases, through his disrespect for the courts and the rule of law and his displays of prejudice and arbitrary decisionmaking? And if he has not yet reached that point, what more would it take?

Dawn Johnsen

Indiana University Maurer School of Law

The Rule of Law and the Resistance Police

6/1/17  //  Commentary

Trump’s defenders have long ascribed illegitimate motives to his critics. Now they’re doing that to the judges who have found Trump’s policies unlawful. That’s not okay.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Helen Klein Murillo

Harvard Law School '17

Take Care

Versus Trump: Where There's A Gil... (On Partisan Gerrymandering)

6/29/17  //  Commentary

On this week’s episode of Versus Trump, we discuss a lurking issue with opposing Trump in upcoming elections: partisan gerrymandering. Charlie and Easha take a close look at the case of Gil v. Whitford, a case the Supreme Court recently announced it will take up next fall. In Gil, the Supreme Court may boldly announce a new rule that might seriously curb partisan gerrymandering—or the Court may entirely stop courts from being able to hear these cases at all. Listen now!

Charlie Gerstein

Civil Rights Corps

Easha Anand

San Francisco

Trump Is Responsible For What ICE Is Doing To the Dreamers

5/5/17  //  Commentary

Basic principles of constitutional structure mean Trump is, and should be held, personally responsible for ICE’s egregious treatment of the DREAM-ers.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

The Travel Ban And The Supreme Court

6/2/17  //  Quick Reactions

The government's petition for certiorari and stay requests raise some difficult timing issues in the travel ban litigation.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

The Basic Error In Texas’s Amicus Brief In The Travel Ban Case (aka Youngstown Zone Zero Redux)

6/7/17  //  Commentary

Texas’s Amicus Brief Makes An Argument That Is So Obviously Wrong Some People Thought It Was Not Worth Responding To

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Ian Samuel

Harvard Law School

The Administration's Travel Ban Guidance

6/29/17  //  Commentary

The administration has again attempted to push the boundaries to see what it can get away with on the travel ban guidance.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Why Firing Comey Guts DOJ's Main Defense of the Muslim Ban 

5/10/17  //  Commentary

Sometimes, when an emissary of the President asks courts to “trust us,” things the President does elsewhere can fatally undermine judicial confidence in the President’s respect for rule of law values. We’ve seen it before and we’re about to see it again.

Joshua Matz

Publisher

Tweetstorm Round Deux

6/5/17  //  Commentary

The President's latest statements on Twitter undermine DOJ's defense of the entry ban, and continue the President's efforts to blame everyone (including DOJ and the courts) but himself.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Echoes of History in Objections to Federal Enforcement of Voting Rights

4/21/17  //  Commentary

A letter about how to fix DOJ’s Civil Rights Division has some interesting parallels to a recent voting rights dissent.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

The Constitutional Challenge To The CFPB

5/19/17  //  Commentary

The major constitutional challenge to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rests on the claim that the President of the United States does not have enough power over the agency.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Real Reasons To Worry About Filibuster Repeal

4/10/17  //  Commentary

The filibuster repeal itself is ultimately far less important than some deeper trends it reflects concerning partisanship, institutional norms, and the separation of powers in our constitutional order.

Zachary Price

U.C. Hastings College of the Law

The CFPB Is (Allegedly) A New Kind of Agency. Who Cares? (Part I)

5/22/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

This two-part series explains why the CFPB’s purportedly novel structure is not a sign that the CFPB’s structure is unconstitutional.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

On Standing In CREW v. Trump Part I: Defining The Injury

4/27/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

Critics of the standing arguments in CREW v. Trump are defining the new plaintiffs’ injury in the wrong way.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Versus Trump: (Judicial) Independence Day Spectacular!

7/6/17  //  Commentary

On this week’s episode of Versus Trump, we celebrate Independence Day with a look at the past, present, and future of judicial independence. Jason and Easha discuss the origins of judicial power, and then talk about what the Trump Administration has done that may undermine the authority of the judiciary—and where that kind of talk might lead us. Listen now!

Easha Anand

San Francisco

See You In Court: Ninth Circuit Round 2

6/12/17  //  Quick Reactions

A quick recap of the Ninth Circuit's decision in Hawaii v. Trump with thoughts about what it portends for the Supreme Court.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

The Government’s Vanishing National Security Rationale (aka Round 10000 In The Incompetence Versus Malevolence Debate)

6/8/17  //  Commentary

The government’s litigation strategy in the travel ban litigation undermines the purported national security rationale for the entry ban.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

A Response to Will Baude on Mootness in the Entry Ban Case

6/3/17  //  Commentary

I've argued that the Supreme Court shouldn't grant review of the travel ban case because 33 hours after the Respondents file their response to the petition for certiorari on June 12, the entry ban will no longer be operative. Here I respond to two purportedly “plausible” alternative interpretations of the executive order offered by William Baude.

Marty Lederman

Georgetown Law

Making Sense of the SCOTUS Per Curiam in Arkansas SSM Birth Certificate Case

6/29/17  //  Commentary

The challenged Arkansas law most certainly violated Obergefell's call for equal access to the constellation of benefits that accompany marriage. The per curiam got it right.

Michael C. Dorf

Cornell Law School

See You In Court 3.0

5/25/17  //  Quick Reactions

A quick recap of the Fourth Circuit's decision in IRAP v. Trump.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

The Clarifying Memorandum Is Not A Reason For A Stay

6/21/17  //  Quick Reactions

An analysis of DOJ's latest filing at SCOTUS in the travel ban cases.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

On Presumptions Of Regularity, And Incidents Of Irregularity

5/11/17  //  Commentary

The Presumption of Regularity, Like All Presumptions, Is Rebuttable, Not Conclusive Evidence

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

It Matters How and When SCOTUS Reviews the Muslim Ban

5/30/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

A detailed guide to how and when the Muslim Ban might reach the Supreme Court (and why this question really matters).

Joshua Matz

Publisher

On Standing In CREW v. Trump Part II: More Distinctions Without A Difference To Competitor Standing Cases

4/28/17  //  Commentary

The various ways that standing skeptics have distinguished cases supporting standing in CREW are unpersuasive.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Dark Money and Judicial Nominations Under Trump (And Beyond)

5/9/17  //  Commentary

Our treasure of an independent judiciary is built upon an assumption of independence, of transparency about influence and potential conflicts, and accountability to the democratic process. When massive amounts of dark corporate money can affect those political processes, we are in grave danger of damaging that national treasure.

Dawn Johnsen

Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Versus Trump Podcast: Prosecuting Trump FAQ + James Williams

5/17/17  //  Commentary

On today's two-part episode of Versus Trump, Take Care's podcast, we answer three burning questions related to whether the sitting President can face criminal charges, and how that prosecution could be started. We also have an interview with James Williams, the County Counsel for Santa Clara County, where he discusses his County's lawsuit against Trump Administration that has so far successfully prevented the Trump Administration from enforcing an executive order that would have withdrawn federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities.

Charlie Gerstein

Civil Rights Corps

Morales-Santana and the "Mean Remedy"

6/12/17  //  Commentary

Justice Ginsburg's opinion in Sessions v. Morales-Santana exacerbates many of the shortcomings of our immigration system.

Ian Samuel

Harvard Law School

Faith in the Ninth Circuit

3/16/17  //  Commentary

An analysis of Judge Bybee's dissent from denial of rehearing en banc in Washington v. Trump, and some predictions about the future of President Trump's revised entry ban.

Daniel Hemel

University of Chicago Law School

Updates | The Week of April 10, 2017

4/16/17  //  Daily Update

Judge Neil Gorsuch was sworn in as a Supreme Court justice.

Updates | The Week of April 17, 2017

4/23/17  //  Daily Update

Advocates continue to discuss the politicization of the Supreme Court and President Trump may have nominate three new Third Circuit judges.

Take Care

Updates | The Week of March 27, 2017

4/2/17  //  Daily Update

Niko Bowie argues on Take Care that the Supreme Court's recent warnings against appointments of "unfit characters" and "family connection" may be relevant to legally dubious Trump Administration appointments. Leah Litman and Dan Deacon explain that the judicial backlash to President Trump's revised entry ban is standard judicial practice in response to extraordinary events. And the Chief Justice of California used her State of the Judiciary Address to critique President Trump's immigration policies.

Updates | The Week of April 24, 2017

4/30/17  //  Daily Update

President Trump threatened to break up the Ninth Circuit Court after a disfavorable ruling against the revised travel ban.

Updates | The Week of May 1, 2017

5/7/17  //  Daily Update

President Trump's bashing of the judiciary may only reinforce the perception that his immigration ban is unconstitutional.

Updates | The Week of March 20, 2017

3/26/17  //  Daily Update

Experts questioned whether Judge Neil Gorsuch would provide a robust check on President Trump if confirmed to the Supreme Court and whether Obama-era legal precedents will provide dangerous latitude to the new administration.

Helen Klein Murillo

Harvard Law School '17