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SCOTUS

A Lawsplainer On The Nihilist Supreme Court Declaring Trump King

This one's about his fucken wall.

Donald Trump wants to steal $6.7 billion from various government agencies for his racist wall on our southern border that he keeps saying Mexico is going to pay for. On Friday, the Supreme Court made it a lot easier for him.

Let's back up ...

One of Trump's most noxious 2016 campaign promises was that he was going to build a giant wall on our border with Mexico -- and that Mexico was going to pay for it.

Of course, we all knew that Mexico was never going to pay for Trump's vanity wall. We started off the new year in the midst of the longest federal government shutdown in history, thanks to the commander-in-chief having a temper tantrum over not getting funding for his racist border wall. So, although the only crisis on our southern border is a humanitarian crisis of our own making, Trump declared a national emergency.

As predicted by Yr Wonkette's own Five Dollar Feminist, Trump's bogus emergency declaration was immediately met with litigation. Sixteen states, the Sierra Club, the Southern Border Communities Coalition, the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, and the US House of Representatives, among others, have filed lawsuits to try to stop Trump from raiding various pots of money to build his stupid fucking wall.

Overall, Trump has earmarked several billion dollars for his border wall. The cases at issue here are about the $2.5 billion he wants to take from the military. Judge Gilliam, a federal judge based in Oakland, issued injunctions blocking Trump from stealing the $2.5 billion from the Pentagon to build his monument to racism. Earlier this month, the Ninth Circuit upheld the injunctions. So naturally, the Supreme Court stepped in on Friday to give Trump the go-ahead.

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lawsplainer

Unfair Posse Comitatus Rule Won’t Let Trump Have Police State Of His Dreams

Trump has now sent in the troops to stand guard over very dangerous immigrants being held at an immigration concentration camp in Donna, Texas. The military isn't supposed to be used as domestic law enforcement, because we're [technically] not a police state.

But that's fine, because Trump has "an Article II" that allows him to do "whatever [he] want[s]."

Posse Comitatus

The Posse Comitatus Act (prounounced "päsē ˌkämiˈtādəs," not whatever dirty way you were thinking) is an 1878 law that limits how the federal government can use troops stationed in the US. Under the Posse Comitatus Act, troops can't be used for law enforcement purposes or be in direct contact with civilians, including immigrants.

So what, exactly are the troops doing?

Oh, they're just acting as prison guards for some very dangerous immigrant families.

But isn't that using the troops as law enforcement?

Yes, yes it is.

So, how are they getting away with this?

They're pretending the troops are really just there to help the imprisoned migrants get medical help. [insert largest of eye rolls here].

Here's the official party line:

John Cornelio, spokesperson for the U.S. military's Northern Command, said that interaction between the troops and migrants "is limited as much as possible."

"At the Donna facility specifically," Cornelio said, "unarmed military personnel monitor the migrants for signs of medical distress, possibility for unrest, unusual behavior and unresponsiveness. In the event of a medical emergency or other reportable event, our military personnel immediately notify CBP personnel on-site who respond to the incident or event in question."

"Monitoring the wellness of migrants is not a law enforcement function, and this activity has been reviewed by our legal staff to ensure compliance with the Posse Comitatus Act and applicable law. CBP personnel are always present to provide force protection, physical security and perform their law enforcement duties."

Right. Military troops are standing constant guard over immigrants just to make sure they're safe and healthy. Because this administration just cares so much about the health and welfare of the people it's sending to concentration camps.

Can you say "pretext"?

As reported by NBC News, one "U.S. defense official denies that the troops are guarding the migrants, saying they are monitoring them."

That's what we call a distinction without a difference.

In reality, the troops are being told to "stand watch" over the migrants in the Donna facility.

Despite past assurances from federal officials that the active-duty U.S. troops deployed to the border would not be in direct contact with migrants or be used for law enforcement, the service members stand watch over the migrants. The troops are perched on raised platforms throughout a large room where the migrants are held[.]

The troops were assigned to the facility to provide welfare checks on the migrants, but the officials say that has evolved into a continual presence watching over them.

Uniformed military personnel standing guard throughout a facility where we're locking people up because of their immigration status certainly sounds like the military being used as domestic law enforcement.

But hey, we aren't experts in military law. This former three-star Admiral is, though:

And let's not forget that 16 Marines were arrested this week on human trafficking and drug smuggling charges.

Trump just really loves our troops, okay?

Trump loves to grandstand about how much he just loves our troops and surround himself with tanks whenever he can.

He loves the troops so much, in fact, that he just can't seem to stop doing terrible things to them. Since 2016, Trump has:

  • Sent troops to the border for his pre-election "the vary scary caravan of impoverished families is coming for us!" charade.
  • Used troops, tanks, and military fly-overs for his creepy and potentially illegal Fourth of July Nazi parade that cost taxpayers $5.4 million.
  • Tried to take SNAP benefits and healthcare away from millions of military families.
  • Created a new tax for the families of fallen service members, costing them thousands of dollars.
  • Banned transgender troops from serving in the military.
  • Skipped out on a ceremony honoring World War I veterans.
  • Said he prefers war heroes who don't get captured.
  • Lied about donating $1 million to nonprofits for veterans.
  • Repeatedly personally attacked gold star families.
  • Deported the families of active duty soldiers.
  • Deported veterans without even considering their service.

We could go on and on. (And if you'd like to read more about some of the different ways Trump has screwed over the troops, check out this 2018 piece from GQ.)

No wonder Trump's approval ratings with service members have been falling since he took office.

To cap things off, on Friday night the totally-legitimate-and-not-just-an-arm-of-the-Republican-party United States Supreme Court decided Trump could steal $2.5 billion (yes, "billion" with a b) from the Pentagon's budget while the litigation proceeds, giving a pretty good indication that they have no plan on stopping it in the future. This could pull the plug on any number of military projects, including construction of things like hospitals and housing units for military families.

Naturally, Trump celebrated.

Because he just loves the troops so much, you guys.



[ NBC News / Vox / Military Times / GQ ]

lawsplainer

Jerry Nadler Whipping Up Some Delicious Peach Mint This Weekend!

Gimme an I! Gimme an M!

Check your watches, kids! Turns out it's Impeachment-Thirty after all. Hooray!

Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee filed an Application with the US District Court for DC to gain access to the underlying Mueller grand jury information, known to the law dorks as 6(e) material. That's because Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e) has long been interpreted to allow for the release of grand jury info incident to a judicial proceeding, such as, just for instance, say, an impeachment inquiry.

In 1974, the DC District Court forced the release of the grand jury's report on Richard Nixon to the Judiciary Committee, and just last September the same court reaffirmed that stance in a related case. So if we want it, we're going to have to use the magic "I" word.

Take it away, Chairman Nadler:

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lawsplainer

Rudy Giuliani Will Be Lucky To Get Custody Of Both His Old Man Balls In This Divorce

Yeah, we're real broke up about it.

You guys, it's not nice to laugh at other people's misery. Divorce is a very serious matter, even when it's Rudy Giuliani and his third wife trying to consciously uncouple while screaming at each other in the country club gift shop. So let's be be respectful, okay?

AHAHAHAHAHAHA! JUST KIDDING! Look at these assholes right here!

The Daily Beast reports:

"There was an issue at one of the clubs last week," Lisa Zeiderman, one of Giuliani's attorneys, previously told [Justice Michael] Katz. "We're going to ask that Ms. Giuliani just keep her distance from Mr. Giuliani when they're at clubs together and their children, as well, and not take photographs, because that's what was happening last weekend, I'm advised, at one of the clubs."

"He just wants to be left alone," Zeiderman had said.

One of Judith's lawyers had responded that Giuliani was just embarrassed to be spotted spending money on his purported girlfriend's daughter. (Giuliani denied this after that hearing.)

[Judith's lawyer Bernard] Clair had told Katz that "she went into the gift shop at the club. She saw Mr. Giuliani. He got anxious and yelled at her."

"I am tired of hearing about Mr. Giuliani's personal life," Katz had remarked, later saying, "Whoever is in the room first is allowed to stay in the room."

The guy who announced his divorce from his second wife in a press conference would like Judith Nathan Giuliani, the woman who required a separate seat on the campaign plane for her Louis Vuitton handbag, to show some fuckin' class!

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lawsplainer

Imagine If Your Stalker* Was Larry Klayman

We read all 185 pages of the DC bar's memo recommending an almost three-year suspension. It was gross.

Superlawyer Larry Klayman is in a jam. There he was, just trying to do the right thing in helping out a woman who said she'd been sexually harassed at work. Could he help it if it he fell so deeply in love with her that he couldn't concentrate on her actual case because he was too busy declaring his love for months on end, and flipping out at public events if she talked to other people, and chasing her into a hotel women's room when she jumped out of his car and fled into the hotel for safety? They call the women's room the "Klayman Room" now, he joked, because of all the remorse he did not have for a solid year of harassing his client who was already having a nervous breakdown about her previous sexual harassment case. Oh, and then he told the DC Bar committee that was investigating him that the lady must have made it all up because she thinks everyone wants her. What a crazy nutjob that lady must be! What a hysterical narcissist! Oh, there were letters, months and months of them, where he wrote down all his love for her and all his complaints about her lack of same? And he admitted his deep, otherworldly love for her in a deposition before his closing statement of "bitches be lying"? Well, nobody ever said Superlawyer Larry Klayman is good at "lawyer."

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Courts

Judge Tells Stephen Miller To F*ck Off, Again

Silly judge, Congress doesn't make laws, the president does!

A federal judge has blocked the Trump administration's latest attempt to eliminate asylum for people fleeing Central American countries, hours after a different judge -- a Trump appointee -- said the rule could remain in place. US District Judge Jon S. Tigar ruled that the administration had attempted a "shortcut" around existing asylum law by trying to force asylum seekers to apply for asylum in other countries before they can request asylum in the USA. That's some bullshit, Tigar wrote in his injunction, holding that the new rule was likely to be struck down on further review and putting it on hold for now. Fine, Tigar used law-talking words, not "that's some bullshit," but we know what he meant. He meant "Fuck you, Stephen Miller."

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lawsplainer

Ninth Circuit Kills Clean Water Act Conviction To Save Clean Water Act

You know those Montana juries, just constantly oppressing septuagenarian veterans for violating environmental laws!

In the final installment of a rather bizarre turn of events, last week the Ninth Circuit vacated the conviction of a Montana man who had destroyed government property and polluted streams and wetlands, in violation of the Clean Water Act. But in doing so, they just might have saved the Clean Water Act for the rest of us.

In 2016, Joseph Robertson was convicted of polluting US waters and destroying government property for building illegal ponds and ditches. He claimed that he built them to help fight fires. Robertson was sentenced to 18 months in prison and fined $130,000.

At first glance, that sounds like a pretty harsh penalty for digging some ditches. But let's look at the details -- and also remember that Robertson was a 77-year old military veteran. Convicted, by a Montana jury, of violating nanny state environmental laws. In Montana.

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Featured

Michael Flynn Cooperates With Feds By ... Blowing Up Their Case Against His Partner!

I beg your pardon!

This is probably not what Judge Emmet Sullivan meant when he told Michael Flynn to go back and cooperate a whole lot more with federal prosecutors. Last week, Flynn appeared to blow up his carefully negotiated plea deal when he suddenly realized that he'd never known he had been lobbying on behalf of the Turkish government in 2016. And this week he's torpedoing the trial of his former colleague Bijan Rafiekian for conspiracy and violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). It's a bold strategy, Cotton, especially for a guy who already pissed off the Judge by blaming the FBI for letting him lie to their faces. Let's see if it pays off!

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lawsplainer

Judges: Who Can Sue Trump? How About Nobody? Does Nobody Work For You?

If the Constitution falls and no one is there to hear it, does it make a noise?

The Trump kleptocracy is alive and well and no one can stop it! Despite constitutional prohibitions on federal officials profiting financially from their positions, so far no one has been able to successfully sue Trump to stop him from doing that.

Trump doesn't just still own his businesses; he regularly uses his position to promote them. Since taking office, he has referred to Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach -- where you too can gift the president hundreds of thousands of dollars -- as "the winter White House," and spent millions of taxpayer dollars to travel to Florida, all the while encouraging politicians, lobbyists, and people seeking influence to join him. Not to mention that small hotel in our nation's capital where every foreign despot seems to have rented the ballroom or a whole floor to pay tribute to the businessman in chief.

This is exactly the type of thing the emoluments clauses of the Constitution are meant to stop. But if no one has standing to enforce the Constitution, does it even really exist?

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