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Carrie Severino: The unexpected legacy of Justice Stevens – Conservative dismay over his record led to THIS

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6060297696001_6060292891001-vs Carrie Severino: The unexpected legacy of Justice Stevens – Conservative dismay over his record led to THIS fox-news/politics/judiciary/supreme-court fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox-news/politics/judiciary fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc Carrie Severino article 083a6d8d-b4b2-5506-a6e2-b9e09e017b5f

Justice John Paul Stevens was the last of the greatest generation. Stevens enlisted in the Navy the day before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his work as a cryptographer: his codebreaking team’s efforts led to the downing of the plane of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the commander of the Japanese navy and architect of the Pearl Harbor attack.

Stevens would go on to reference his experience as a World War II veteran often in his Supreme Court opinions. Especially memorable was his defense of the American flag in Texas v. Johnson, the 1989 case in which the court held that the First Amendment protected the burning of the flag. Dissenting from the court’s decision, he asserted:

The ideas of liberty and equality have been an irresistible force in motivating leaders like Patrick Henry, Susan B. Anthony, and Abraham Lincoln, schoolteachers like Nathan Hale and Booker T. Washington, the Philippine Scouts who fought at Bataan, and the soldiers who scaled the bluff at Omaha Beach. If those ideas are worth fighting for — and our history demonstrates that they are — it cannot be true that the flag that uniquely symbolizes their power is not itself worthy of protection from unnecessary desecration.

FORMER SUPREME COURT JUSTICE JOHN PAUL STEVENS, LEADING LIBERAL, DEAD AT 99

In 1975, President Ford nominated Stevens to replace Justice William O. Douglas, an unabashed liberal on a court that was then prone to a high level of judicial activism. In the aftermath of Watergate, Ford was more focused on experience and integrity, both of which Stevens possessed, than judicial philosophy. While Stevens was affiliated with the Republican Party (and certainly considered himself a political conservative), he was never — and never pretended to be — an originalist. And nobody asked Stevens if he was an originalist, because nobody cared if he was.

Without having demonstrated a clear philosophy, Stevens initially was a swing justice. But over his 34-year tenure, he became a consistent vote for the liberal bloc. His shifts leftward included his positions in cases involving the death penalty, the public funding of abortion, the 11th Amendment, and racial preferences.

For example, in 1979 he wrote, “The ultimate goal must be to eliminate entirely from governmental decisionmaking such irrelevant factors as a human being’s race,” only to endorse state law schools’ consideration of race in 2003.

Stevens’ leftward drift is not surprising in light of the selection process that produced his Supreme Court nomination. That process couldn’t be more different from the one now in place today, which resulted in President Trump’s recent nominations of Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

During the era in which Justice Stevens was appointed, political considerations, rather than jurisprudential ones, drove Supreme Court nominations. Court appointments were given as political rewards (as in the case of President Eisenhower’s nomination of Earl Warren, who had dropped out of the 1952 Republican primary, clearing the way for Ike’s victory) or with the hope of securing segments of the electorate (as in the case of Eisenhower’s nomination of William Brennan, a Catholic Democrat, to curry favor in the Northeast). Shockingly, little consideration was given to a potential nominee’s jurisprudential ideology.

Today’s vetting and selection process for Republican-appointed nominees is one that emphasizes originalism and courageous fidelity to traditional legal principles. By contrast, the old system overvalued politics and was too open to the idea of the organic law as a constantly changing system that deferred to the evolving standards and the preferences of the technocratic elites.

This is perhaps one of Justice Stevens’ most surprising legacies: conservative chagrin over his record was one of the factors that led to an eventual overhaul of the Supreme Court vetting and nomination process for Republican presidents.

The Stevens nomination — along with the subsequent nomination of David Souter — taught conservatives important lessons about judicial selection. Over time, the criteria and expectations for Supreme Court nominees have become much more rigorous. And today we are seeing the fruit of those lessons with the nominations of Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh — not to mention the 43 (and counting) court of appeals judges that Trump has appointed.

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The number of rock-ribbed constitutionalists populating the federal bench today is simply unprecedented. These new justices and judges share a commitment to faithfully applying the text and original meaning of the Constitution. They are conservative superstars in the legal world; the best and brightest in their fields — law professors, former state solicitors general, state supreme court judges, and leading private practitioners.

A revolution is under way, and there is no going back to the old ways now.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY CARRIE SEVERINO

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6060297696001_6060292891001-vs Carrie Severino: The unexpected legacy of Justice Stevens – Conservative dismay over his record led to THIS fox-news/politics/judiciary/supreme-court fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox-news/politics/judiciary fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc Carrie Severino article 083a6d8d-b4b2-5506-a6e2-b9e09e017b5f   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6060297696001_6060292891001-vs Carrie Severino: The unexpected legacy of Justice Stevens – Conservative dismay over his record led to THIS fox-news/politics/judiciary/supreme-court fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox-news/politics/judiciary fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc Carrie Severino article 083a6d8d-b4b2-5506-a6e2-b9e09e017b5f

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Ex-Marine accused by Spain of North Korean embassy break-in freed on bail

A former U.S. Marine accused of breaking into North Korea’s embassy in Madrid and assaulting diplomatic personnel was freed on $1.3 million bond in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

As a condition of his release, Christopher Ahn must confine himself to his home in the Los Angeles suburb of Chino Hills ahead of his possible extradition to Spain and must wear an ankle monitor.

CALLS GROW TO DROP CASE AGAINST US MARINE AND ACTIVIST AND ACTIVISTS IN NORTH KOREA EMBASSY INTRUSION

“I spent a lot of time reading about you and I’m confident you’re going to do the right thing,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Jean Rosenbluth told Ahn, who had several family members in attendance at the hearing.

Ahn can only leave his home for medical appointments and church. He is expected to be released in the coming days.

Spanish authorities have charged Ahn, 38, who spent six years in the Marines and served in Iraq, with breaking into the North Korean embassy with five others on February 22. They said the group beat some embassy staff and held them hostage for hours before fleeing.

The charges include breaking and entering, robbery with violence and causing injuries, according to U.S. court documents.

NORTH KOREAN REFUGEE: WE TOOK HUGE RISKS TO HELP OTHERS REACH FREEDOM. WHY ARE US, SPAIN PUNISHING US?

Ahn is said to be a member of Free Joseon, or the Cheollima Civil Defense, an activist group which supports North Korean defectors and seeks to overthrown North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Two people allegedly involved in the embassy incident are still at large, including Adrian Hong, a Mexican national and longtime U.S. resident who is the purported leader of the group.

Westlake Legal Group d99fa555-Capture Ex-Marine accused by Spain of North Korean embassy break-in freed on bail Louis Casiano fox-news/world/world-regions/spain fox-news/world/conflicts/north-korea fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/military/veterans fox-news/us/military/marines fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox news fnc/us fnc f83e1118-fab4-5b7c-8f72-6bca69b03ec6 article

Christopher Ahn (U.S. Marine Corps)

Attorneys for Free Joseon said the allegations of violence are lies from Kim’s diplomats, who they say made up the story to save their own skins. They claim the group members were invited inside and that there were no problems.

“The extradition papers from Spain confirm that almost the entire case against Mr. Ahn is based on uncorroborated statements made by high-ranking North Korean officials,” Ahn’s attorney Naeun Rim told Fox News in a statement last week.

NORTH KOREANS WANT TO KILL EX-MARINE ACCUSED OF ENTERING PYONGYANG’S SPAIN EMBASSY, JUDGE SAYS

Video obtained by Fox News shows the activists walking into the embassy and chatting with a member of Kim’s diplomatic corps. One activist takes official photographs of Kim and his father Kim Jong II from a wall and smashes them on the floor.

Ahn was arrested by U.S. agents in April in Los Angeles. His actions have made him a target of the Kim regime, Rosenbluth said in an order conditionally granting him bail.

Westlake Legal Group 6a10838f-Capture Ex-Marine accused by Spain of North Korean embassy break-in freed on bail Louis Casiano fox-news/world/world-regions/spain fox-news/world/conflicts/north-korea fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/military/veterans fox-news/us/military/marines fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox news fnc/us fnc f83e1118-fab4-5b7c-8f72-6bca69b03ec6 article

Ahn during his tour of duty as a Marine in Fallujah, Iraq (Provisional Government of Free Joseon)

“The F.B.I. has confirmed that the North Korean government has threatened his life,” the judge wrote. “He is apparently the target of a dictatorship’s efforts to murder him.”

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Prosecutors objected to Ahn’s release, citing him as a flight risk.

“It’s like a huge weight has been lifted off of our shoulders knowing that he’s going to be home, he’s going to be with loved ones, we can visit with him now,” Juan Sanabria, a former Marine who served with Ahn, told Reuters.

Fox News anchor and senior correspondent Eric Shawn contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group d99fa555-Capture Ex-Marine accused by Spain of North Korean embassy break-in freed on bail Louis Casiano fox-news/world/world-regions/spain fox-news/world/conflicts/north-korea fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/military/veterans fox-news/us/military/marines fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox news fnc/us fnc f83e1118-fab4-5b7c-8f72-6bca69b03ec6 article   Westlake Legal Group d99fa555-Capture Ex-Marine accused by Spain of North Korean embassy break-in freed on bail Louis Casiano fox-news/world/world-regions/spain fox-news/world/conflicts/north-korea fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/military/veterans fox-news/us/military/marines fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox news fnc/us fnc f83e1118-fab4-5b7c-8f72-6bca69b03ec6 article

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Judge denies DOJ request to change lawyers in census citizenship question case

Westlake Legal Group dd1cc7d9-AP19189059236598 Judge denies DOJ request to change lawyers in census citizenship question case Louis Casiano fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox-news/politics/executive fox news fnc/politics fnc article 7e7d41ea-59f7-5173-8a2a-5b2ee5005e56

A New York federal judge barred the Justice Department on Tuesday from changing its lawyers in a legal fight over the Trump administration’s effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

U.S. District Court Judge Jesse Furman, an Obama appointee, said government lawyers’ motion for the change was “patently deficient” except in the case of two lawyers who have already left the department or the civil division which is handling the case.

“Defendants provide no reasons, let alone ‘satisfactory reasons,’ for the substitution of counsel,” Furman wrote.

TOP DEMOCRAT ON HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS PANELS WILL FIGHT TO OPPOSE TRUMP CITIZENSHIP QUESTION ON CENSUS

The Justice Department sought to switch out its legal team Monday after some of its attorneys seemed to be giving up on the legal fight. Attorney General Bill Barr told the Associated Press that he had learned from a top DOJ civil attorney leading the litigation effort that multiple people on the team preferred not to continue.

The American Civil Liberties Union praised Furman’s ruling in a Tuesday statement.

TRUMP SLAMS ‘FAKE’ REPORTS THAT CITIZENSHIP QUESTION FIGHT IS OVER

“The Justice Department owes the public and the courts an explanation for its unprecedented substitution of the entire legal team that has been working on this case,” said Dale Ho, ACLU voting rights project director. “The Trump administration is acting like it has something to hide, and we won’t rest until we know the truth.”

Trump has vowed to continue his effort to include the question, even after the U.S. Supreme Court last month temporarily blocked him from introducing it. The president has indicated he would use his executive order power to add the question to the census.

Furman also questioned how the Justice Department would meet deadlines in the case if a batch of new attorneys came on board, noting that government lawyers have three days to submit written arguments in the case.

“As this court observed many months ago, this case has been litigated on the premise — based ‘in no small part’ on Defendants’ own ‘insist[ence]’ — that the speedy resolution of Plaintiffs’ claims is a matter of great private and public importance,” he wrote. “If anything, that urgency — and the need for efficient judicial proceedings — has only grown since that time.”

The judge ordered that any DOJ lawyer who wished to withdraw from the case submit a signed sworn affidavit with a sufficient reason.

On Tuesday, the president blasted the Supreme Court on Twitter over the citizenship question decision and its 2012 ruling that held the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — which he has tried to repeal — in place.

“I have long heard that the appointment of Supreme Court Justices is a President’s most important decision. SO TRUE!” he posted.

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The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a Fox News request for comment.

Westlake Legal Group dd1cc7d9-AP19189059236598 Judge denies DOJ request to change lawyers in census citizenship question case Louis Casiano fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox-news/politics/executive fox news fnc/politics fnc article 7e7d41ea-59f7-5173-8a2a-5b2ee5005e56   Westlake Legal Group dd1cc7d9-AP19189059236598 Judge denies DOJ request to change lawyers in census citizenship question case Louis Casiano fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox-news/politics/executive fox news fnc/politics fnc article 7e7d41ea-59f7-5173-8a2a-5b2ee5005e56

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Texas lawyers argue for end of ObamaCare in case that could decide fate of health plan

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6057135793001_6057138889001-vs Texas lawyers argue for end of ObamaCare in case that could decide fate of health plan fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/politics/regulation/health-care fox-news/politics/judiciary/supreme-court fox-news/politics/judiciary/state-and-local fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/barack-obama fox news fnc/politics fnc c59af411-faf6-57d2-82d3-dd2eb0f7a232 article Andrew O'Reilly

One of the nation’s most conservative federal appeals courts heard opening arguments Tuesday in a case that could determine the future of the Affordable Care Act and seemed destined to make its way to the Supreme Court.

The three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans heard arguments in Texas vs. the United States, which seeks to determine whether Congress effectively invalidated former President Barack Obama’s entire signature health care law when it zeroed out the tax imposed on those who chose not to buy insurance.

Speaking on behalf of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and the 18 other states involved in the case, the state’s Solicitor General Kyle Hawkins urged the panel to rule that ObamaCare is unconstitutional in its entirety, arguing that when Congress enacted President Trump’s tax overhaul, it rendered ObamaCare unconstitutional by doing away with the tax penalty for violating the plan’s individual mandate.

It was unclear when the court would issue a ruling or if it will actually make it to the Supreme Court, but the ultimate outcome will affect protections for people with pre-existing conditions, Medicaid expansions covering roughly 12 million people, and subsidies that help about 10 million others afford health insurance.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION BACKS TOTAL OVERTURN OF OBAMACARE, WILL SUPPORT STATES CHALLENGING THE LAW

Tuesday’s arguments are the latest in a lawsuit filed by Republican officials in 18 states, led by the Texas Attorney General’s Office. It was filed after Congress — which didn’t repeal the law, despite pressure from President Donald Trump — reduced to zero the unpopular tax imposed on those without insurance.

In challenging the law anew, ObamaCare opponents noted the 2012 ruling of a divided Supreme Court that upheld the law. Conservative justices had rejected the argument that Congress could require everyone to buy insurance under the Constitution’s interstate commerce clause. But Chief Justice John Roberts, joining four liberal justices, said Congress did have the power to impose a tax on those without insurance.

With no tax penalty now in effect, the Texas lawsuit argues, the individual mandate is unconstitutional and the entire law must fall without it. Texas-based U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor agreed in a December ruling. The law’s supporters appealed.

In addition to the 18 states, two individual taxpayers are part of the lawsuit. The Trump administration is not defending the law and has filed arguments in favor of O’Connor’s ruling.

California’s attorney general represents a coalition of mostly Democratic-led states and the District of Columbia seeking to overturn O’Connor’s ruling and uphold the law. The House of Representatives has joined them. 

CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS RATTLED BY TRUMP’S PIVOT TO OBAMACARE FIGHT AFTER MUELLER SUMMARY

Among the arguments by the law’s supporters: Those who filed suit have no case because they aren’t harmed by a penalty that doesn’t exist; the reduction of the tax penalty to zero could be read as a suspension of the tax, but the tax’s legal structure still exists; and even if the individual mandate is now unconstitutional, that does not affect the rest of the law known as the Affordable Care Act.

When the law was proposed, friends and foes of ObamaCare agreed that the tax was essential to persuade healthy people to get insured, thereby keeping premiums in check. But this year — the first time no fines will be collected — the number of people signing up for subsidized private insurance through the Affordable Care Act slipped only slightly.

The government said in March that a total of 11.4 million people signed up during open enrollment season, a dip of about 300,000 from last year.

The judges hearing the arguments were 5th Circuit Judges Carolyn Dineen King, Jennifer Walker Elrod and Kurt Engelhardt. King was nominated to the appeals court by President Jimmy Carter in 1979. Elrod was nominated by President George W. Bush in 2007. Engelhardt was nominated by President Donald Trump last year.

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Democratic leaders in both the Senate and the House on Tuesday warned their Republican colleagues of the costs – both political and financial – the loss of the popular ObamaCare would incur.

“These are faces of Americans, millions who will suffer if Republicans succeed in dismantling health care law,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said during a press conference Tuesday alongside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calf. “If the right win lawsuits, families will lose their healthcare.”

Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer and Ellen Smith and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6057135793001_6057138889001-vs Texas lawyers argue for end of ObamaCare in case that could decide fate of health plan fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/politics/regulation/health-care fox-news/politics/judiciary/supreme-court fox-news/politics/judiciary/state-and-local fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/barack-obama fox news fnc/politics fnc c59af411-faf6-57d2-82d3-dd2eb0f7a232 article Andrew O'Reilly   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6057135793001_6057138889001-vs Texas lawyers argue for end of ObamaCare in case that could decide fate of health plan fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/politics/regulation/health-care fox-news/politics/judiciary/supreme-court fox-news/politics/judiciary/state-and-local fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/barack-obama fox news fnc/politics fnc c59af411-faf6-57d2-82d3-dd2eb0f7a232 article Andrew O'Reilly

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Judge asks whether Flynn should be penalized after prosecutors drop him as witness against ex-partner

Westlake Legal Group d86aa9c8-AP19050569060504 Judge asks whether Flynn should be penalized after prosecutors drop him as witness against ex-partner Gregg Re fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox-news/politics/executive/national-security fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc article 18c72fac-4a59-5fe5-a966-7744e7e2e3a8

The federal judge overseeing the still-pending sentencing of former national security adviser Michael Flynn has set a Wednesday afternoon deadline for the government to explain whether new developments in a related case should result in prison time for Flynn.

D.C. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered Flynn’s lawyers, in turn, to file a response to the government’s arguments no later than 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, adding, “the Court will not extend these filing deadlines.”

The order comes shortly after prosecutors revealed they won’t call Flynn to testify at the upcoming trial of his one-time business partner and now consider him to be an unindicted co-conspirator.

WHY DID FLYNN FIRE HIS LAWYERS?

Court documents unsealed Tuesday in federal court in Alexandria show prosecutors changed their minds about putting Flynn on the stand at next week’s trial of Bijan Kian.

Flynn’s lawyers have objected to the about-face, and say prosecutors wanted him to take the stand and admit things that weren’t true. Flynn’s sentencing had been postponed so Sullivan could take into account Flynn’s level of cooperation at the Kian trial.

“On June 24, 2019, defense counsel represented to the Court that Mr. Flynn was scheduled to testify at the trial in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia before the Honorable Anthony J. Trenga,” the order from Sullivan read. “On July 9, 2019, Judge Trenga issued an order unsealing certain court records … the government is ORDERED to file a submission to this Court no later than 5:00 PM on July 10, 2019 explaining how the unsealed records in United States v. Rafiekian will impact the proceedings before this Court.”

Flynn has been cooperating for months with federal prosecutors in a bid to avoid any prison time, but abruptly fired his law firm last week — in a move that suggested he might contest the terms of his plea deal. Flynn, who attended a fireworks-filled sentencing hearing in December 2018, has consistently asked that Sullivan delay his sentencing while he continued his government cooperation.

“I’m not hiding my disgust, my disdain for this criminal offense,” Sullivan said during that hearing, during which he briefly suggested Flynn could be guilty of treason before walking the idea back.

One of Flynn’s new lawyers, Jesse Binnall, pointed out that prosecutors said explicitly at a June 13 hearing that they did not consider Flynn to be a co-conspirator in the case. Binnall said it’s wrong for the government to reverse that assessment simply because they don’t find his testimony to be useful.

FLYNN SAYS FBI PUSHED HIM NOT TO BRING A LAWYER TO FATEFUL WHITE HOUSE INTERVIEW

“The government’s reversal also sounds an alarm of potential retaliation and may have ramifications for Mr. Flynn beyond this trial,” Binnall wrote in a court document.

Kian is charged with illegally acting as a foreign agent. Prosecutors say Kian was acting at the Turkish government’s behest when he persuaded Flynn to write a November 2016 op-ed piece critical of Fethullah Gulen, a cleric living in the U.S. who is a nemesis of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The legal advice Flynn and Kian received about whether they were required to register as foreign agents — and its admissibility at trial — has been a major issue in pretrial proceedings.

After the op-ed piece ran, government lawyers contacted Flynn and Kian’s joint business, Flynn Intel Group, and questioned whether they needed to register as foreign agents. Flynn Intel Group ultimately registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. But the indictment alleges that Kian knowingly made false statements to his lawyers and on the FARA registration form.

Binnall says that when Flynn made the FARA application, he thought at the time he was providing accurate information. Binnall said prosecutors wanted Flynn to admit that he knew the statements were false at the time he made them.

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“Mr. Flynn cannot give that testimony because it is not true,” Binnall said.

Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying about his contacts with Russians in the months between Trump’s election and his inauguration in a separate case brought by then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Flynn had been an outspoken foreign policy adviser to Trump during the 2016 campaign and served briefly in the administration as national security adviser before questions about his dealings with Russia forced him to resign.

WAS MICHAEL FLYNN TARGETED?

Ahead of the December 2018 hearing, Mueller’s team recommended that Flynn be spared jail time, citing his cooperation with the special counsel’s probe of Russian activities during the 2016 election campaign.

Kian’s lawyers, for their part, say the case against their client is built largely on information provided by Flynn and the case is weak because Flynn can’t be trusted to tell the truth.

“The government has belatedly realized what should have been clear all along — Flynn is not to be believed,” Kian’s lawyers wrote.

Fox News’ Bill Mears, Ronn Blitzer, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group d86aa9c8-AP19050569060504 Judge asks whether Flynn should be penalized after prosecutors drop him as witness against ex-partner Gregg Re fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox-news/politics/executive/national-security fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc article 18c72fac-4a59-5fe5-a966-7744e7e2e3a8   Westlake Legal Group d86aa9c8-AP19050569060504 Judge asks whether Flynn should be penalized after prosecutors drop him as witness against ex-partner Gregg Re fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox-news/politics/executive/national-security fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc article 18c72fac-4a59-5fe5-a966-7744e7e2e3a8

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Judge vacates Arkansas man’s death sentence in 1994 kidnap, murder of Texas girl

Westlake Legal Group JusticeiStock Judge vacates Arkansas man's death sentence in 1994 kidnap, murder of Texas girl fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/indiana fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/arkansas fox-news/us/crime/trials fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox news fnc/us fnc article 6e9ee19f-0c2e-53f7-a7ce-a45e1b4775e9

A federal judge in Indiana Thursday threw out the federal death sentence for an Arkansas man convicted of kidnapping and murdering a 16-year-old Texas girl in 1994, ruling the man’s intellectual disability precluded his execution.

Bruce Carneil Webster, now 46, was one of five men prosecutors say kidnapped Lisa Rene from her Arlington, Texas home to get back at her two brothers for a botched $5,000 marijuana deal. Over two days, Lisa was taken to Arkansas, gang-raped, bludgeoned with a shovel and buried alive.

Rene was dragged from the family’s apartment as she pleaded with a 911 operator. “They’re trying to break down my door! Hurry up!” she said, according to a tape of the call.

Attorneys for Webster, who is housed at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind. had challenged the death sentence based on what they claimed was previously unavailable evidence that medical professionals had found Webster to be intellectually disabled before his trial.

EX-ARKANSAS STATE SENATOR’S CAMPAIGN STAFFER, ‘FRIEND’ CHARGED IN POLITICIAN’S MURDER

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge William T. Lawrence cited a 1993 application for Social Security benefits by Webster, in which two psychologists and a physician found him to be “mentally retarded and antisocial.” He also cited seven different IQ tests taken by Webster between 1992 and  2018, in which Webster scored between 59 and 65. An IQ score of about 70 is considered a benchmark for intellectual disability.

“The scores … consistently demonstrate that Webster has an IQ that falls within the range of someone with intellectual deficits,” wrote Lawrence, who dismissed arguments by prosecutors that Webster deliberately underperformed on the tests so as not to jeopardize his application for Social Security benefits.

“The application materials revealed that Webster was barely literate,” the judge wrote. “For example, for information about his job duties, Webster listed his job title as ‘Cement’.”

Webster’s appellate attorneys have said his trial attorneys tried to get the Social Security records but were given nothing. Steven Wells, a member of Webster’s legal team, called the ruling a “just outcome” for “an intellectually disabled man who never should have been sentenced to death.”

Erin Dooley, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Dallas, which tried Webster, said prosecutors are evaluating how to proceed following the ruling. Prosecutors had argued in court documents that prosecutors argued Webster was faking his intellectual disability, had sufficient mental capabilities to manage a drug dealing business and that during his crime, Webster “demonstrated an ability to plan, strategize, and adapt, particularly in his numerous efforts to conceal his crime by destroying forensic evidence.”

The case has been sent back to federal court in Dallas for resentencing.

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Webster had been set to be put to death in April 2007, but the execution was later postponed. Orlando Hall of El Dorado, Ark., was also sentenced to death for Rene’s murder and remains on death row.

There are currently 62 inmates on federal death row in the U.S., according to the Death Penalty Information Center. The last federal execution took place in 2003.

Fox News’ Tyler Olson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group JusticeiStock Judge vacates Arkansas man's death sentence in 1994 kidnap, murder of Texas girl fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/indiana fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/arkansas fox-news/us/crime/trials fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox news fnc/us fnc article 6e9ee19f-0c2e-53f7-a7ce-a45e1b4775e9   Westlake Legal Group JusticeiStock Judge vacates Arkansas man's death sentence in 1994 kidnap, murder of Texas girl fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/indiana fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/arkansas fox-news/us/crime/trials fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox news fnc/us fnc article 6e9ee19f-0c2e-53f7-a7ce-a45e1b4775e9

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Judge orders DOJ to produce unredacted parts of Mueller report about Roger Stone

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-2f46f8edf3034f5b9f40c29db02ac6c2 Judge orders DOJ to produce unredacted parts of Mueller report about Roger Stone Samuel Chamberlain fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox-news/person/roger-stone fox-news/person/robert-mueller fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc c6af865b-6980-59a3-8139-2193b3e9d816 article

A federal judge in Washington on Thursday ordered the Justice Department to turn over any unredacted sections of Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s report on Russian activities during the 2016 presidential campaign that relate to longtime Republican political operative Roger Stone.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson gave federal prosecutors until Monday to “submit unredacted versions of those portions of the report that relate to defendant Stone and/or ‘the dissemination of hacked materials.'” Jackson said she would review the material in private to see if it is relevant to the case and to decide whether Stone and his defense team will have access to the material, likely under strict supervision.

Stone asked Jackson last month to order Justice to turn over a full copy of the Mueller report to his defense as part of discovery. Federal prosecutors opposed the request, saying the government had no obligation to provide the information Stone sought and claiming they had already given Stone significant information, including grand jury testimony and material that may be favorable to his defense.

EX-ROGER STONE ASSOCIATE PLANS TO ASK SUPREME COURT TO RULE ON CONSTITUTIONALITY OF MUELLER’S APPOINTMENT

The 66-year-old has pleaded not guilty to charges he lied to Congress, engaged in witness tampering and obstructed a congressional investigation into allegations of collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.  The charges stem from conversations stone had during the campaign about WikiLeaks, which published emails stolen from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee in the summer of 2016.

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Stone’s lawyers claim there are constitutional issues with the Mueller investigation, and have filed motions arguing he was selectively prosecuted, challenging the constitutionality of Mueller’s appointment and insisting that the special counsel didn’t have the ability to prosecute him for lying to Congress. They allege that Congress did not formally make a referral to the Justice Department about Stone’s testimony, and that Mueller’s investigation was “a violation of the separation of powers.”

Stone is scheduled to go to trial in November.

Fox News’ Bill Mears and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-2f46f8edf3034f5b9f40c29db02ac6c2 Judge orders DOJ to produce unredacted parts of Mueller report about Roger Stone Samuel Chamberlain fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox-news/person/roger-stone fox-news/person/robert-mueller fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc c6af865b-6980-59a3-8139-2193b3e9d816 article   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-2f46f8edf3034f5b9f40c29db02ac6c2 Judge orders DOJ to produce unredacted parts of Mueller report about Roger Stone Samuel Chamberlain fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox-news/person/roger-stone fox-news/person/robert-mueller fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc c6af865b-6980-59a3-8139-2193b3e9d816 article

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Special ed teacher suing California union in case that could cost labor big

Westlake Legal Group special-ed-teacher-suing-california-union-in-case-that-could-cost-labor-big Special ed teacher suing California union in case that could cost labor big fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/education/controversies fox-news/us/education fox-news/us/economy/labor-unions fox-news/politics/judiciary/supreme-court fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox news fnc/politics fnc ea4a00ff-c2b5-566a-bcf9-7492e8c4fc0a article Andrew O'Reilly

A California educator is battling a state teachers’ union over his problems leaving the organization, in what his attorneys say could be a precedent-setting legal case that ultimately forces labor unions across the country to reimburse billions in back dues to their members.

Tommy Few, a special education teacher at Sepulveda Middle School in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, filed suit late last year against the United Teachers of Los Angeles – along with the Los Angeles Unified School District and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra – claiming his First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and association were violated when he tried to leave the UTLA following last summer’s Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. AFSCME.

CALIFORNIA WORKERS SUE UNION FOR HOLDING THEM ‘AGAINST THEIR WILL’ 

That ruling invalidated mandatory fees for non-members. But as a result, some unions members like Few also found themselves having second thoughts about staying on board once they learned they could save some money — only to run into problems renouncing their membership.

“When I found out that I didn’t have to be in the union and have those dues deducted from my paycheck every month, I wanted out,” Few told Fox News. “But they tried to tell me that I could only leave during their opt-out window and that I still had to pay the dues.”

Few said that despite the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Janus case – a 5-4 decision last June that said public employees can’t be forced to contribute to labor unions that represent them in collective bargaining – he faced an uphill battle trying to resign his membership from UTLA and get the school district to stop withholding dues from his paycheck.

At first, they didn’t respond to his requests. Then, when he pursued litigation, the union agreed to tell the school district to stop collecting dues from him and reimbursed him for all the dues paid post-Janus.

But Few is now seeking reimbursement for dues paid since he became a teacher.

At the heart of UTLA’s argument for continuing to deduct part of Few’s wages is a clause in the California Teachers Association’s membership enrollment form, which Few signed when he took the job and joined the union, that “the agreement to pay dues continues from year to year, regardless of my membership status” — unless the member sends a written notice opting out “not less than thirty (30) days and not more than sixty (60) days before the annual anniversary date of this agreement.”

UTLA, an affiliate of the CTA, did not respond to multiple calls from Fox News for comment, but in a letter sent to Few just weeks after the teacher’s lawyers at the Liberty Justice Center and the California Policy Center filed suit, union Executive Director Jeff Good referenced the enrollment form Few signed and noted that the affirmative consent form “is separately enforceable and effective apart from your membership.”

Good added that “rather than expend dues money on litigation” and because prior conversations had “inadvertently generated confusion,” UTLA requested the school district stop taking dues out of Few’s paychecks and reimbursed him $433.31 for the dues deducted since Few sought to leave the union.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment, while the LAUSD said in a statement that the district’s superintendent was only added to the suit for “technical reasons so that in the event [Few] prevails on his claims against UTLA, the Court could adjust any deductions that have been or would be withheld by Los Angeles Unified and provided to UTLA.”

NEW YORK, CALIFORNIA SUE TRUMP ADMIN IN 9TH CIRCUIT OVER NATIONAL EMERGENCY DECLARATION

Despite the gesture by UTLA, Few and his legal team continue to pursue the lawsuit – which besides arguing that Few’s First Amendment rights were violated also seeks back dues to the date when he was hired – as they see his case as one that could ultimately end up in the Supreme Court and affect the future of labor union membership, and their bottom line, for decades to come.

Westlake Legal Group Tommy-Few-Letter Special ed teacher suing California union in case that could cost labor big fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/education/controversies fox-news/us/education fox-news/us/economy/labor-unions fox-news/politics/judiciary/supreme-court fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox news fnc/politics fnc ea4a00ff-c2b5-566a-bcf9-7492e8c4fc0a article Andrew O'Reilly

Tommy Few after receiving his letter from UTLA and his refund check.

“We’re hoping the court will see the obstacles unions can put in place and we workers to be able to express their intent to leave the union and be able to leave,” Mark Bucher, the chief executive officer of the California Policy Center and one of Few’s lawyers, told Fox News. “It should be crystal clear that a worker can get out of the union at any time they want and that unions can’t put restrictions and limitations on when someone can leave.”

Few’s case, which is currently being argued in federal court in the Central District of California, is among a slew of lawsuits that have been filed since the Janus ruling last summer arguing that unions have not fully complied with Janus and/or seeking refunds for workers. California teachers alone represent a huge chunk of those lawsuits.

SWEEPING CLASS-ACTION LAWSUIT COULD FORCE UNIONS NATIONWIDE TO REFUND MILLIONS IN FEES

In January, another Los Angeles-area teacher, Irene Seager, filed a lawsuit similar to Few’s seeking a refund for her back dues and challenging UTLA’s authority to limit dues opt-outs for employees to an annual window of just 30 days.

Six teachers in Northern California’s Freemont Unified School District filed suit in March against the CTA and Becerra amid claims that they were never informed that they were no longer required to have $1,500 in annual union dues deducted from their pay.

In a court filing, lawyers representing the teachers argued that the unions “regularly divert a portion of wages to financially support the unions and their political activity,” and that the teachers “never gave legally valid consent for these deductions and have expressly objected to the deductions.”

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And last week, a class-action lawsuit filed on the behalf of nine government worker plaintiffs and a class of more than 2,700 workers seeks to force unions to refund hundreds of millions of dollars in agency fees paid by thousands of workers nationwide prior to the Janus ruling.

“We’re putting the band back together,” Liberty Justice Center President Patrick Hughes told Fox News. “The argument is once something is deemed to be unconstitutional [in the civil context] — agency fees — then they’re deemed to be retroactively unconstitutional. … We’re taking the position that those fees should be refunded to those nonmembers.”

While union membership has been on the decline for decades, their power has remained strong in the public sector. Of the 16 percent of U.S. employees working in the public sector, more than one-third are still unionized – compared with just over 6 percent in the private sector, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Following the Janus ruling, union leaders argued that so-called fair share fees pay for collective bargaining and other work the union does on behalf of all employees, not just its members. More than half the states already have right-to-work laws banning mandatory fees, but most members of public-employee unions are concentrated in states that don’t, including California, New York and Illinois.

At the time of the Janus ruling, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement that the decision would “further empower the corporate elites in their efforts to thwart the aspirations of millions of working people standing together for a better life.”

Fox News’ Gregg Re and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Tommy-Few-Letter Special ed teacher suing California union in case that could cost labor big fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/education/controversies fox-news/us/education fox-news/us/economy/labor-unions fox-news/politics/judiciary/supreme-court fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox news fnc/politics fnc ea4a00ff-c2b5-566a-bcf9-7492e8c4fc0a article Andrew O'Reilly   Westlake Legal Group Tommy-Few-Letter Special ed teacher suing California union in case that could cost labor big fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/education/controversies fox-news/us/education fox-news/us/economy/labor-unions fox-news/politics/judiciary/supreme-court fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox news fnc/politics fnc ea4a00ff-c2b5-566a-bcf9-7492e8c4fc0a article Andrew O'Reilly

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Federal court rules Ohio’s congressional map is unconstitutional

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5759822839001_5759815200001-vs Federal court rules Ohio’s congressional map is unconstitutional fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox news fnc/politics fnc Bill Mears article Adam Shaw 62d05049-6cbd-5426-be46-c51a68d3cd3e

A federal court on Friday found Ohio’s congressional map unconstitutional, ordering that a new map be proposed by June ahead of the 2020 elections — and blocking the states from holding another election under the current map.

“Accordingly, we declare Ohio’s 2012 map an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander, enjoin its use in the 2020 election, and order the enactment of a constitutionally viable replacement,” the decision said.

SUPREME COURT WARILY WEIGHS PARTISAN GERRYMANDERING

The case was decided by a three-judge panel in Cincinnati, which ruled unanimously that district boundaries were manipulated by Republican mapmakers, and in a way that violates voters’ rights to choose their representatives democratically.

Voters rights and Democratic groups who sued Republican officials claimed that redistricting after the 2010 census yielded a map with an unbending 12-4 advantage for Republicans. Republicans countered that the map was drawn with bipartisan support and that a new map would be drawn after the 2020 census regardless. They also noted that the map resulted in each party losing a seat — the delegation was previously 13-5 for Republicans.

Calling it “one of the most egregious gerrymanders in recent history,” the suit used 19-term Rep. Marcy Kaptur, of Toledo, as a witness. Kaptur said her district was “hacked apart,” forcing her into a Democratic primary with veteran congressman Dennis Kucinich, of Cleveland, in 2012. She won the contest.

SUPREME COURT SIDES WITH TEXAS ON GERRYMANDERING DISPUTE

Any appeal on the ruling would likely to go directly to the Supreme Court, and the state may also ask that the current maps be allowed to be used while the appeal process continues.

This is the second time in recent days a federal court has struck down a redistricting map created by a GOP-controlled legislature. Last month, parts of Michigan’s map were also ordered redrawn by a three-judge panel in time for 2020 elections.

More than three-dozen states rely on the state legislature to directly redraw boundaries, now using sophisticated computer models that have the ability to target voters by their street or household. Other states such as California rely on an independent commission to create what supporters say would be less extreme districts.

The Supreme Court is currently deciding separate partisan gerrymandering claims from North Carolina (drawn by the GOP legislature) and Maryland (drawn to advantage the Democrats). Other legal challenges are playing out across the country, including in Virginia and Wisconsin.

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The justices are being asked to articulate a clear standard for when partisan gerrymandering becomes unconstitutional. This is something the court has tried and failed to do over the years. How the court decides such rulings, due by June, will affect how appeals from Michigan, Ohio and other states are being handled.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5759822839001_5759815200001-vs Federal court rules Ohio’s congressional map is unconstitutional fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox news fnc/politics fnc Bill Mears article Adam Shaw 62d05049-6cbd-5426-be46-c51a68d3cd3e   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5759822839001_5759815200001-vs Federal court rules Ohio’s congressional map is unconstitutional fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox news fnc/politics fnc Bill Mears article Adam Shaw 62d05049-6cbd-5426-be46-c51a68d3cd3e

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Maria Butina, accused Russian agent, sentenced to 18 months in prison

Westlake Legal Group maria-butina-accused-russian-agent-sentenced-to-18-months-in-prison Maria Butina, accused Russian agent, sentenced to 18 months in prison fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox news fnc/politics fnc article Alex Pappas 8c87f38f-f0a9-5f0c-b7f1-96969bcb30fe
Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6030270920001_6030270822001-vs Maria Butina, accused Russian agent, sentenced to 18 months in prison fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox news fnc/politics fnc article Alex Pappas 8c87f38f-f0a9-5f0c-b7f1-96969bcb30fe

Maria Butina, the Russian woman who was accused of being a secret agent for the Russian government, was sentenced to 18 months in prison Friday by a federal judge in Washington after pleading guilty last year to a conspiracy charge.

Butina, who has already served nine months behind bars, will get credit for time served and can possibly get credit for good behavior, the judge said. She will be removed from the U.S. promptly on completion of her time, the judge added, and returned to Russia.

MARIA BUTINA, ACCUSED RUSSIAN SPY, PLEADS GUILTY TO CONSPIRACY

An emotional and apologetic Butina said in court Friday she is “truly sorry” and regrets not registering as a foreign agent.

“I feel ashamed and embarrassed,” she said, adding that her “reputation is ruined.”

Butina has been jailed since her arrest in July 2018. She entered the court Friday wearing a dark green prison jumpsuit and spoke in clear English, with a slight Russian accent.

“Please accept my apologies,” Butina said.

Butina’s lawyer, Robert Driscoll, said after the sentencing they had hoped for a “better outcome,” but expressed a desire for Butina to be released to her family by the fall.

Prosecutors had claimed Butina used her contacts with the National Rifle Association and the National Prayer Breakfast to develop relationships with U.S. politicians and gather information for Russia.

Prosecutors also have said that Butina’s boyfriend, conservative political operative Paul Erickson, identified in court papers as “U.S. Person 1,” helped her establish ties with the NRA.

WHO IS MARIA BUTINA, THE RUSSIAN WOMAN ACCUSED OF SPYING ON US?

In their filings, prosecutors claim federal agents found Butina had contact information for people suspected of being employed by Russia’s Federal Security Services, or FSB, the successor intelligence agency to the KGB. Inside her home, they found notes referring to a potential job offer from the FSB, according to the documents.

Investigators recovered several emails and Twitter direct message conversations in which Butina referred to the need to keep her work secret and, in one instance, said it should be “incognito.” Prosecutors said Butina had contact with Russian intelligence officials and that the FBI photographed her dining with a diplomat suspected of being a Russian intelligence agent.

Fox News’ Jason Donner, Bill Mears, Greg Norman and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6030270920001_6030270822001-vs Maria Butina, accused Russian agent, sentenced to 18 months in prison fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox news fnc/politics fnc article Alex Pappas 8c87f38f-f0a9-5f0c-b7f1-96969bcb30fe   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6030270920001_6030270822001-vs Maria Butina, accused Russian agent, sentenced to 18 months in prison fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox news fnc/politics fnc article Alex Pappas 8c87f38f-f0a9-5f0c-b7f1-96969bcb30fe

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