Courts

Trump Administration Places Further Limitations on DACA in Defiance of Court Order

On Tuesday the Trump administration took further action to limit the scope of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). Chad Wolf, Acting Secretary for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), announced in a memo that the Trump administration would not accept new applications for DACA and would force those currently enrolled in...

Judge Temporarily Blocks Tennessee Abortion Ban

A federal judge temporarily blocked Tennessee’s abortion law on Friday. The law – or “heartbeat bill” – would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks. The bill was previously stopped through a temporary restraining order by District Judge William L. Campbell less than an hour after...

Michigan Judge Declines to Release Black Girl Detained for Skipping Online Class

A Michigan judge declined on Monday to release a Black teenage girl from juvenile detention for failing to complete her schoolwork after classes transitioned online because of the pandemic. The judge deemed that the 15-year-old, referred to with her middle name Grace, was benefitting from the detention and should not be allowed to return home....

Federal Judge Rejects Release of Detained Immigrant Families

On Wednesday, a federal judge rejected a plea to release immigrant families from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody in response to growing concern over the spread of COVID-19. Judge James Boasberg, U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Columbia, denied the blanket release of all families, believing that other options need to be...

Supreme Court Rules Against Reinstating Florida Felon Voting Rights

The Supreme Court upheld a lower court order on Friday that will prohibit thousands of formerly incarcerated people in Florida from voting. In 2018, the Florida electorate voted to amend the constitution to allow felons to vote. Felons who finished their parole or probation periods would be eligible, but felons convicted of murder or sexual...

GA Gov. Brian Kemp Sues Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms Over Mask Order

Faced with a surge in positive COVID-19 cases across the South and Midwest, on July 8, Keisha Lance Bottoms (D-GA), the mayor of Atlanta, issued an executive order requiring all individuals to wear masks in public areas and banning gatherings of over 10 people. In an effort to rebuke this measure, Governor Brian Kemp (R-GA)...

Federal Judge Rules Doctors Can Distribute Abortion Pills by Mail

A federal judge ruled Monday that patients seeking the abortion pill do not need to visit a doctor in-person to obtain the pill during the coronavirus pandemic. The decision, issued by U.S. District judge Theodore Chang in Maryland, makes it legal for doctors to mail the abortion drug mifepristone. Used along with misoprostol, the drugs...

17 States Sue Trump Administration Over International Student Visa Rule

Amid rising unrest and uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump administration issued a directive last week that would endanger the visas of international students whose colleges or universities plan on implementing remote coursework this fall. This directive has forced international students as well as higher education institutions to reconsider their fall plans. This comes...

Federal Judge Blocks Affordable Care Act Abortion Payment Requirement

On Friday, a federal judge blocked a new Affordable Care Act (ACA) abortion requirement. The regulation was announced by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in 2019 and would have required ACA healthcare providers to issue a separate bill for abortion coverage. Margaret Murray, the CEO of the Association for Community Affiliated Plans,...

Supreme Court Rules in Trump Financial Records Subpoena Cases

On Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled on two cases concerning subpoenas of the president – affirming that the president does not have absolute immunity. The court concluded that the president can be subpoenaed by a grand jury, but that there are limitations on congressional subpoenas to the executive branch. Both subpoenas in question sought Trump’s...

Indiana Law Requiring Medical Providers Report Abortion Complications Struck Down

Yesterday a federal judge deemed an Indiana law that required medical providers to report to the state complications their patients experienced after an abortion unconstitutional. The lawsuit was brought against Indiana by the ACLU of Indiana on behalf of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky. Judge Richard Young stated in his opinion that the law was...

Supreme Court Exempts Religious Schools From Anti-Discrimination Laws

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that anti-discrimination employment laws do not protect employees at religious institutions, even if they do not primarily serve a ministerial purpose. The 7-2 decision in Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru, in which Justices Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer joined the court’s conservative bloc, could affect more than 100,000...

Supreme Court Protects Native American Reservation in Oklahoma

In a win for tribal rights, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision Thursday that a large part of Eastern Oklahoma is considered tribal land, meaning crimes committed by Native Americans can only be prosecuted by federal authorities. The court’s decision returned 19 million acres of tribal land, including much of Tulsa, the state’s...

Supreme Court Upholds Religious and Moral Exemptions for ACA Birth Control Coverage

In a 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court upheld a Trump Administration rule which expands the types of organizations that can claim religious or moral exemptions under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The rule allows these organizations to refuse to cover birth control under their health insurance plans. Justice Thomas wrote the majority opinion, and was...

Latest Iowa Abortion Restriction Blocked by Judge

Iowa’s latest abortion law, requiring an unnecessary waiting period before having an abortion, has been temporarily blocked by an Iowa judge. The law was set to go into effect on Wednesday. Republican Governor Kim Reynolds signed the bill into law on Monday. It states that a patient must endure a 24-hour waiting period after an...

Supreme Court Ruling Ends Religious Schools’ Exclusion From School Choice Programs

In a 5-4 decision yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that prohibiting religious schools from receiving state funding in school choice programs violates the First Amendment right to freely exercise religion. The court’s decision in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue was split along ideological lines, with Chief Justice Roberts, along with Justices Thomas, Gorsuch, Alito...

Federal Judge Rules Against Trump Administration’s Strict Asylum Policy

On Tuesday night a federal judge ruled that the strictest asylum policy that the Trump administration created is illegal. This decision comes at the heels of the new Supreme Court decision, made on June 18, to uphold the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.  The “third-country asylum rule,” instituted in 2019, “prohibited immigrants from claiming...

Supreme Court Upholds Conditional Funding for Overseas Organizations

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that allows the federal government to distribute AIDS funding to foreign affiliates of U.S. groups on the condition they explicitly oppose prostitution and sex trafficking. The 5-3 decision split along ideological lines with Justice Brett Kavanaugh writing for the majority. Justice Elena Kagan recused herself from the case because...

Women in Viral Video Sue Indianapolis Police for Excessive Use of Force

Two women have filed an excessive force lawsuit against four Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers who were captured on video using batons and pepper balls to subdue them at a protest against police violence on May 31. The federal lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for Southern Indiana on behalf of Ivoré Westfield...

Supreme Court Rejects Louisiana TRAP Law

The Supreme Court voted Monday 5-4 to reject a restrictive Louisiana abortion law. The law would have required abortion clinic doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Chief Justice John Roberts was the deciding vote, joining Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Ruth Bader Ginsberg in an act of precedent protection....