See you in court
November 7, 2018

The Girl Scouts of the USA filed a federal lawsuit on Tuesday against the Boy Scouts of America, accusing the organization of trademark infringement.

The Boy Scouts announced last fall that it would start letting girls join the Cub Scouts, a decision that angered the Girl Scouts. "We are confused as to why, rather than working to appeal to the 90 percent of boys who are not involved in BSA programs, you would choose to target girls," Girl Scouts national President Kathy Hopinkah Hannan wrote in a letter published last year by BuzzFeed News.

The Scouts BSA program is open to boys and girls ages 11 to 17, and in the lawsuit, the Girl Scouts argues this generic use of "Scouts" will "not only cause confusion among the public," but will also "marginalize the Girl Scouts movement by causing the public to believe that GSUSA's extraordinarily successful services are not true or official 'Scouting' programs, but niche services with limited utility and appeal." The Girl Scouts also allege that marketing materials for the Boy Scouts make it look like the two organizations have combined. Catherine Garcia

November 3, 2018

Six Honduran migrants in the caravan slowly making its way through Mexico have filed a class-action lawsuit against President Trump's stated plans for their reception at the U.S. border.

The suit alleges Trump "continues to abuse the law, including constitutional rights, to deter Central Americans from exercising their lawful right to seek asylum in the United States." It argues his intent to refuse asylum to those who enter the U.S. illegally violates the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of due process, as current law allows asylum applications regardless of entry point.

"Trump's policy of keeping all persons detained until they must leave the country necessarily violates due process rights," said the migrants' attorney, John Shoreman. "[T]he plaintiffs are seeking asylum, and Trump simply cannot stop them from legally doing so by using military, or anyone."

The White House and the Department of Justice did not comment on the suit. Bonnie Kristian

November 3, 2018

A federal judge on Friday denied a request from the Justice Department to prevent collection of evidence in a lawsuit alleging President Trump has violated the Constitution's emoluments clause by maintaining a financial interest in his Washington, D.C., hotel. The provision bans the president from accepting gifts from foreign heads of state absent congressional consent.

Judge Peter J. Messitte directed the plaintiffs, the attorneys general for Maryland and the District of Columbia, to create a schedule for evidence collection within 20 days. He limited the discovery to the Washington property but dismissed the Trump team's claim that producing this evidence would be unduly burdensome on the administration. "The president himself appears to have had little reluctance to pursue personal litigation despite the supposed distractions it imposes upon his office," Messitte wrote.

"The Department of Justice disagrees with and is disappointed by this ruling," said an agency representative. "This case, which should have been dismissed, presents important questions that warrant immediate appellate review."

A separate emoluments suit brought by about 200 Democratic members of Congress is also pending in federal court. Bonnie Kristian

October 13, 2018

A lawsuit challenging Harvard University's use of race as a factor in admission decisions heads to trial Monday in Boston.

At issue is whether the school unfairly discriminates against Asian-American applicants, whom the lawsuit says would have a better chance of acceptance — all other things being equal — were they white, black, or Hispanic. Harvard says it considers applicants using a "whole person review" and cultivates a "diverse campus environment."

"The case is critically important," said Nicole Gon Ochi of Asian Americans Advancing Justice–Los Angeles, which backs Harvard, "as it's really about diversity at colleges all across the country."

Harrison Chen, an Asian-American student who was rejected by Harvard and has worked with the plaintiff organization, Students for Fair Admissions, disagrees. "We have created institutions that fail to reward merit, losing sight of the American Dream and failing our citizens," he has argued. "We are trying to combat past inequalities with, ironically, additional inequality."

The lawsuit is supported by the Trump administration's Justice Department, which has opened a similar inquiry into Yale University. Bonnie Kristian

October 1, 2018

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) on Sunday signed a new net neutrality law that prohibits internet service providers from slowing down or blocking websites and charging customers higher fees for faster speeds with certain sites, and within hours the Trump administration filed a lawsuit against the state.

In a statement, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Justice Department "should not have to spend valuable time and resources to file this suit today, but we have a duty to defend the prerogatives of the federal government and protect our constitutional order." While Oregon, Washington, and Vermont have passed their own measures, California restored Obama-era protections that were repealed by the Federal Communications Commission late last year.

State Sen. Scott Wiener, a San Francisco Democrat who sponsored the bill, in a statement said that net neutrality "at its core is the basic notion that we each get to decide where we go on the internet, as opposed to having that decision made for us by internet service providers. It's also about ensuring a level playing field for ideas and for businesses trying to compete." Catherine Garcia

September 29, 2018

A federal district judge on Friday gave a group of nearly 200 Democratic senators and representatives the go-ahead to sue President Trump for alleged violations of the Constitution's emoluments clause. The provision bans the president from accepting gifts from foreign heads of state absent congressional consent.

"Plaintiffs argue that each member of Congress suffers a particularized and concrete injury when his or her vote is nullified by the president's denial of the opportunity to vote on the record about whether to approve his acceptance of a prohibited foreign emolument," U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan said in his ruling. Sullivan accepted "as true the allegations that the president has accepted prohibited foreign emoluments without seeking the consent of Congress."

The suit is led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and argues Trump has violated the clause by accepting payment for hotel, office, and event rentals by foreign officials at his Trump Organization properties. Upon his election, Trump did not divest his assets in the business, instead placing them in a trust controlled by two of his sons.

A Justice Department response to Friday's ruling promised to continue defending Trump and predicted the case would be dismissed. However, a separate but similar suit brought by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia also withstood a challenge from the Department of Justice and is presently ongoing. Bonnie Kristian

September 5, 2018

Roy Moore, the failed Alabama Republican Senate candidate accused by several women of sexual misconduct when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s, is suing Sacha Baron Cohen, Showtime, and CBS over a scene in the show Who Is America? where a fake pedophile detector beeped when it was waved over Moore.

In court documents filed Wednesday, Moore and his wife, Kayla, accused the parties of intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, and fraud; they are asking for $95 million in punitive and compensatory damages. On the July 29 episode of Who Is America?, Cohen, playing a character named Gen. Erran Morad, told Moore the Israeli military realized that pedophiles "secrete an enzyme" that can be picked up by a special device, and after he waved the instrument over Moore, it made a warning noise.

In the lawsuit, the Moores accuse Cohen of setting the retired judge up for "ridicule" and to "severely humiliate" him on film to "promote his works and to generate large financial returns for himself." They also said they were lured to Washington, D.C., so Roy Moore "could receive an award for his strong support of Israel," and if they had known this was all for the show, "Mrs. Moore would not have agreed to travel to Washington, D.C., to accompany and honor her husband." Catherine Garcia

August 8, 2018

Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) announced Wednesday night that he is not resigning and is still running for re-election, hours after he was arrested on charges of insider trading, wire fraud, and making false statements to the FBI.

The three-term incumbent is on the board of the Australian biotech company Innate Immunotherapeutics, and he said without his "investments and steadfast support, the company would have gone under." In court filings, federal prosecutors allege that Collins learned ahead of time that Innate's drug did not pass clinical trials, and quickly notified his son, so he could make trades and save himself from hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses.

Collins said his political rivals have long tried to make his 15-year relationship with Innate an issue, and called the charges against him "meritless." He also said he held onto his shares, which caused him to lose millions, and "acted properly and within the law at all times in regards to my affiliation with Innate." He feels bad not for himself but for people suffering from MS, he added, and looks "forward to being fully vindicated and exonerated." Catherine Garcia

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