FROM Elizabeth Wydra
Can President Trump 'pack' the federal court system? Judge Neil Gorsuch is likely to be confirmed to the US Supreme Court, and there may be other vacancies in the next four years. In addition, 124 judicial benches are open in federal appellate and district courts all over the country, and more retirements are inevitable. As long as Republicans dominate the Senate, there's a real chance that Mr. Trump could push the system to the Right for generations. That's been the goal of so-called "dark money" spent by shadowy billionaires to make American institutions more to their liking.
Is Donald Trump thumbing his nose at the Founding Fathers? The Constitution prohibits public officials — including the President — from financial conflicts of interest — domestic or foreign. Recent Chief Executives have sold off assets or placed them in blind trusts, but Donald Trump’s lawyer says there’s no way he could be “blind” to his very public investments. Trump may be violating America's basic law the moment he takes the oath of office a week from today. Many legal scholars -- and ethics watchdogs -- say he's failed to avoid financial conflicts as demanded by the Constitution. But as opponents whisper about possible impeachment, other experts insist he's done all that he can as the richest man ever elected to serve in the White House. We hear about Constitutional law -- and politics: is Trump right to say that most Americans don't care enough to make him change?
Undocumented Parents and the Supreme Court Today the Supreme Court heard a case that could determine the fate of President Obama's most sweeping executive action on deportation. It would also drastically change the lives of some four million undocumented immigrants in the US. The President's 2014 plan would delay the deportation of parents of children who are US citizens or permanent legal residents, and offer them temporary work permits. But it's been on hold since it was announced 18 months ago because of court challenges, leaving immigrants across the nation in limbo -- the majority of whom have been in the country for ten years or more. The case lands in a presidential campaign already swirling with talk of a wall on the Mexican border. Will the shorthanded high court end in a 44 deadlock?
Four Words and Seven Million Americans The Supreme Court found Obamacare to be constitutional two years ago. Today it was asked to decide a legal challenge . Does the law provide that subsidies for low-income people apply only where health insurance markets have been "established by the state?" The Court's interpretation of those four words could determine if subsidies are valid for seven million people who signed up where the federal government established the markets. It's a case deeply rooted in partisan politics. Four liberal court members and two conservatives made clear what they think. Chief Justice John Roberts could be the decider — but he was hardly heard from.
Trump, the GOP and the rule of law Conservatives — and some Republicans — are criticizing the President for "the mess he made" in firing FBI Director James Comey. We hear about a potential successor, the possibility of "obstruction of justice" and the constitutional separation of powers.
Russian probe gets jolt from Yates and Clapper Senate hearing Intelligence officials have long since concluded that Russia interfered in last year's US election. After yesterday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, what more do we know about the threat to future elections and how it's being handled by the Trump Administration?
Should we 'hack the climate' to fight global warming? The Paris Agreements won't be enough to reverse global warming, whether President Trump pulls the US out or not. Is it time to try altering the atmosphere by what's called "geoengineering?" We hear about unintended consequences, international relations… and ethics.