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.
Does 'hire American' mean fire a foreigner? US companies are allowed to hire employees from other countries with highly developed skills that can't be found here. President Trump says it's being abused as a way to find cheap foreign labor. We hear about the benefits—and the risks—of changing the H-1B program.
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.
The flight bumping heard around 'round the world Recent video of a passenger forcibly removed from a United Airlines plane is a worst-case example of what's happened since consolidation into just four US-based carriers. Management seems to be tone-deaf to a decline in service — and even abuse — of passengers.
White House flip flops: NATO, Syria and China In less than 100 days, President Trump has contradicted himself on a host of foreign policy issues — Syria, NATO, China and Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Is it a strength — or a weakness — for the United States when the world of power politics never knows what to expect?