See you in court
May 24, 2019

Alabama's restrictive new abortion law has just prompted a federal lawsuit from Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union.

The two organizations announced the filing of this lawsuit on Friday, with Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, a senior staff attorney at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, arguing in a statement that the new law is "blatantly unconstitutional."

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of abortion providers in the state, with a doctor from the Alabama Women's Center arguing in the filing that the law "directly conflicts with Roe and more than four decades of Supreme Court precedent affirming its central holding," The Washington Post reports.

Alabama's new law, which was signed by Gov. Kay Ivey (R) last week, makes performing nearly all abortion a felony in the state except in cases where the mother's health is at risk or where the fetus has a "lethal anomaly," with no exception for rape or incest. Doctors who perform abortions could be punished with up to 99 years in prison. The law will not actually go into effect until 2020, however.

The law has received significant pushback even among some Republicans, with Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel saying she personally supports exceptions for rape and incest. President Trump also tweeted on Saturday that he too supports exceptions for rape and incest but that the party must stay "united."

Upon signing the Alabama law, Ivey signaled that it would inevitably face legal challenges, saying it provides the Supreme Court an "opportunity" to "revisit" Roe v. Wade. Brendan Morrow

April 22, 2019

President Trump is suing to block House Democrats' subpoena of his financial statements.

Trump and the Trump Organization have filed a lawsuit against House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) over his recent subpoena of the president's accounting firm, The Washington Post reports. The filing accuses Democrats of waging an "all-out political war" against Trump and using subpoenas as their "weapon of choice," per Axios.

Cummings had previously requested financial records from an accounting firm Trump and his business have used, Mazars USA, and this lawsuit seeks to block the subpoena. The subpoena was issued after Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, testified that the president in the past has inflated his wealth on financial statements, with Cummings seeking to corroborate these claims, per Politico.

The suit says that the subpoena from Democrats "lacks any legitimate legislative purpose, is an abuse of power, and is just another example of overreach by the president's political opponents," per NBC News. Cummings has not yet responded, but he previously said per The Wall Street Journal that his committee has "full authority to investigate whether the president may have engaged in illegal conduct before and during his tenure in office." Brendan Morrow

April 9, 2019

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) has filed yet another defamation lawsuit.

The California congressman this time is suing the McClatchy newspaper company over its reporting on him, The New York Times reports. His lawsuit takes particular issue with an article in The Fresno Bee about a server who had sued a winery that Nunes is an investor in, saying that on a cruise with its top investors she was asked to work, prostitutes were hired and guests used cocaine. The article said it was unclear whether Nunes was affiliated with the event.

Nunes in his lawsuit is asking for $150 million and the deletion of the article, claiming it was published in order to defame him and interfere with his work on the House Intelligence Committee, which he was the chair of at the time. The Fresno Bee said on Monday that Nunes never actually asked them for a correction to the article, though. The original article states he did not return requests for comment. In a statement, McClatchy said Nunes' claim is "wholly without merit and we stand behind the strong reporting of The Fresno Bee."

This is just the latest defamation lawsuit from Nunes after he previously filed a $250 million lawsuit against Twitter, alleging it shadow bans conservatives and allowed users like @DevinCow to harass him.

Although Nunes spoke in detail about the lawsuit on Fox News' on Monday, the network's legal analyst, Andrew Napolitano, said on Tuesday he likely has no case, saying that public figures "never win" lawsuits like these. Brendan Morrow

March 18, 2019

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) sued Twitter for $250 million on Monday, alleging that the social media platform "shadow banned" conservatives, including himself, ahead of the 2018 midterms, Fox News reports.

Shadow banning is described as purposely making a user's content undiscoverable to everyone except the original poster, without their knowledge; Twitter had repeatedly denied ever shadow banning any user. His lawyers allege Nunes was shadow banned in 2018 "in order to restrict his free speech," adding that access to Twitter "is essential for meaningful participation in modern-day American democracy" and a "candidate without Twitter is a losing candidate. The ability to use Twitter is a vital part of modern citizenship."

The suit, filed in Virginia state court, also claims Twitter wanted to interfere with Nunes' work when he was still chair of the House Intelligence Committee, and allowed users with Twitter handles like "@DevinNunesMom" to harass him. "In her endless barrage of tweets, Devin Nunes' Mom maliciously attacked every aspect of Nunes' character, honesty, integrity, ethics, and fitness to perform his duties as a United States congressman," the suit claims.

This is one of several users named in the complaint, accused of forcing Nunes to endure "an orchestrated defamation campaign of stunning breadth and scope, one that no human being should ever have to bear and suffer in their whole life." Nunes is asking that Twitter reveal the identities of those users. Catherine Garcia

March 14, 2019

Roger Stone, a Republican political operative and one of President Trump's longtime advisers, will go to trial Nov. 5 on charges of obstruction, lying to Congress, and witness tampering.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington, D.C., set the date on Thursday, and said the trial should last about two weeks. Defense lawyers said prosecutors have handed over nine terabytes of data, and they need several months to go through everything. Stone, accused of lying about communications with WikiLeaks ahead of the 2016 presidential election, was arrested at his home in Florida in January, and is out on bail.

Berman Jackson did not make any rulings regarding whether Stone's new book criticizing Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation violates a gag order in his case. "I really haven't had the opportunity since the time of the filing to study the exhibits in any detail, and I'll continue to review them," she said. Catherine Garcia

March 7, 2019

Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government late Wednesday, challenging the constitutionality of sections of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The law prohibits federal agencies and contractors from purchasing equipment made by Huawei and another Chinese company, ZTE Corp. In the suit, Huawei alleges this violates the company's right to due process and the separation of powers between Congress and other branches of government, The Wall Street Journal reports. The United States considers Huawei a security threat and wants to keep the company from building 5G networks worldwide.

Guo Ping, one of Huawei's chairs, said during a press conference in Shenzhen that by enacting the NDAA, "Congress acted unconstitutionally as judge, jury, and executioner. Regrettably, the NDAA was enacted to restrict Huawei without giving us the opportunity to defend ourselves." Catherine Garcia

March 4, 2019

California on Monday filed a federal lawsuit against the Trump administration seeking to block changes to Title X, the federally funded program that offers family planning and related preventative health services.

"The Trump-Pence administration has doubled down on its attacks on women's health," California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) said in a statement. "This illegal Title X rule denies patients access to critical healthcare services and prevents doctors from providing comprehensive and accurate information about medical care."

Under the new rules, the administration would be able to move millions of dollars from Planned Parenthood to faith-based family planning organizations and prohibit federally funded family planning clinics from operating in the same space as an abortion provider, The Associated Press reports. Becerra said the new regulations will affect four million women in the U.S. who undergo cancer screenings and get pregnancy tests.

Twenty other states, including New York, Hawaii, Illinois, and Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C., plan to sue the administration over the rule changes on Tuesday. Catherine Garcia

February 16, 2019

President Trump on Friday declared a national emergency to redirect about $6.7 billion from programs in the Departments of Treasury and Defense to border wall construction. Less than 24 hours later, the declaration already faces its first legal challenge.

A lawsuit has been brought by Public Citizen, a progressive advocacy group, on behalf of Texan landowners whose property would be used for the wall. The suit argues Trump "exceeded his constitutional authority and authority under the National Emergencies Act" and asks that he be banned from "using the declaration and funds appropriated for other purposes to build a border wall."

The Justice Department reportedly warned the president in advance of his Friday announcement that the declaration would be held up in court. Trump himself acknowledged as much, musing in a sing-song voice that after his declaration, the White House "will then be sued, and they will sue us in the 9th Circuit [Court] ... and then we'll end up in the Supreme Court, and hopefully we'll get a fair shake, and we'll win at the Supreme Court, just like the ban [on travel from majority-Muslim nations]."

Whether Trump's forecast is correct remains to be seen. Conservative radio pundit Hugh Hewitt on Friday predicted the emergency declaration would move through the courts fairly quickly, and that Trump would win on appeal, perhaps before reaching the Supreme Court.

Few echoed that expectation. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) promised Congress would use "every remedy available," including the courts, to fight Trump's action, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) likewise pledged a court challenge to this presidential "vanity project."

George Conway, a conservative lawyer and the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, tweeted that Trump knows he will lose in court and that the emergency declaration is unconstitutional. And Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) warned the declaration will "likely get tied up in litigation, and most concerning is that it would create a new precedent." Bonnie Kristian

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