US Legal News Round Up for Saturday,  3 March 2018

US Legal News Round Up for Saturday, 3 March 2018

Here’s the domestic legal news we covered this week:

[JURIST] A judge for the Superior Court of Massachusetts [judicial website] ruled [order] that Massachusetts’ attorney general Maura Healey [official website] will not be barred by sovereign immunity from bringing a lawsuit against Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) [official website], one of the largest servicers for student loans in the US.
Oregon senators on Thursday voted for a bill [HB 4155 materials] that seeks to preserve net neutrality protections for the internet.
The attorneys general from 15 states and Washington, DC, filed an amicus brief [text, PDF] in the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit [official website] in support of a challenge to four abortion laws enacted by Arkansas in early 2017.
A group of rights experts from the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention [official website] on Wednesday demanded that the US government release Guantánamo detainee Ammar al Baluchi, a 40-year-old Pakistan national, stating that his detention the center is “arbitrary and breaches international law.”

According to a written opinion [text, PDF] from the group in January, al Baluchi was arrested in April 2003 in Karachi, Pakistan, for his alleged association with Al-Qaida [Britannica backgrounder], and then transferred to Guantánamo in September 2006.

[JURIST] Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a revised, five-count indictment [indictment, PDF] filed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller [official website] in the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website].

At the hearing, Judge Amy Berman Jackson set the trial date [WP report] for September 17, 2018.

The Iowa Senate on Wednesday voted 30-20 to approve a draft [text, PDF] of an anti-abortion bill that would ban most abortions at the first detectable fetal heartbeat.
The Illinois House of Representatives [official website] on Wednesday approved three bills to tighten gun control.

HB1467 [materials] would criminalize selling, manufacturing, purchasing, possessing or carrying a bump stock or trigger crank that would allow non-automatic rifles to be used as automatics once attached.

The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments [text, PDF] Monday in a case challenging a Minnesota law that bans political apparel in polling places.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] announced [press release] Tuesday that it will be filing a statement of interest in the multi-district opioid lawsuit against distributors and manufacturers.

In the statement of interest, the DOJ will assert that the federal government should be reimbursed for the significant costs caused by the opioid crisis through enacting treatment programs and public safety measures.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions [official profile], estimating the crisis has costed billions of dollars, said that “[the] opioid abuse is driving the deadliest drug crisis in American history.

The US House of Representatives [official website] voted 388-25 Tuesday to approve a bill [HB 1865 text] meant to curb online sex trafficking.

HB 1865, introduced last April, would amend Section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934 [text], which limits online service providers’ liability regarding presentation of online material created by other entities.

A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of California granted summary judgment [order, PDF] for the Trump administration Tuesday, allowing construction of a border wall between the US and Mexico to proceed.

Plaintiffs, including the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club, Animal Legal Defense Fund [advocacy websites], the state of California and the California Coastal Commission [official websites] had sought summary judgement and injunctive relief over waiver determinations issued by the Department of Homeland Security that regarded San Diego and El Centro as “high areas of illegal entry,” both which of needed replaced border fences, according to the Secretary of DHS.

Two women sued [complaint, PDF] the college town of Starkville, Mississippi, Monday after it denied a permit for a gay pride parade.
[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] on Monday granted [order, PDF] the government’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit [JURIST report] challenging President Donald Trump’s 2 for 1 executive order [JURIST report] that mandated agencies eliminate two existing regulations for each new one created.

Judge Randolph Moss dismissed the lawsuit finding that the plaintiffs, Public Citizen, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the union Communications Workers of America [advocacy websites], failed to establish standing.

A Democratic group headed by former US attorney general Eric Holder sued [text, PDF] Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Monday on behalf of several Wisconsin Democrats for his refusal to hold a special election to fill two vacancies in the state legislature.
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] unanimously Tuesday in Merit Management Group v.
The US Supreme Court [official website] heard arguments on Tuesday for two cases, United States v.
A coalition of 20 states, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton [official profile], filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] in the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas on Monday alleging that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is now unconstitutional after the passing of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 [statutes, PDF] removed the tax penalty present in the ACA.
A judge for the US District Court for the Central District of California on Monday banned [order] the Trump administration from revoking an Obama-era deportation protections program for immigrants that were brought to the country illegally as children.

This ruling follows a lawsuit that was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Southern California on behalf of a nationwide class of young immigrants who alleged that “their permission to live in the United States and employment authorization [have been] arbitrarily stripped away …

The US Supreme Court [official website] on Tuesday held 5-3 [opinion, PDF] that Chapter 12 of Title 8 of the US Code [text, PDF] does not afford detained immigrants, including permanent residents, “the right to periodic bond hearings” and that the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] misapplied the canon of constitutional avoidance [Cornell LII backgrounder] in imposing an implicit six-month time limit on an alien’s detention under chapter 12.
A plurality of the US Supreme Court [official website] on Tuesday held [opinion, PDF] that Congress possesses the legislative powers to retroactively immunize the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) from suit for taking property into trust for the benefit of Native American tribes.
A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] on Monday dismissed [text, PDF] a lawsuit challenging the Schedule I classification for marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act [text].
The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday declined [order list, PDF] to hear a case challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) interpretation of the permit requirement codified in the Clean Water Act (CWA) [text, PDF]

The question for the court in Riverkeeper v.

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [judicial website] heard two oral arguments on Monday.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] in the US District Court for the Southern District of California on Monday challenging the Trump administration’s policy of separating asylum-seeking immigrant parents from their children.

The complaint was filed on the behalf of a mother and her seven-year-old daughter from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who were separated after arriving in the US to seek asylum last November.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein [official profile] on Monday urged [press release] the five permanent members (P5) of the UN Security Council to end the “pernicious use” of the veto.
The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Monday that a federal law banning workplace discrimination based on sex extends to sexual orientation.
The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday declined [order list, PDF] to hear an expedited appeal [JURIST report] of a ruling that blocked the Department of Justice (DOJ) from cancelling [JURIST Report] the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The US Supreme Court [official website] granted certiorari in three cases [order list, PDF] for its next term on Monday.

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