“A federal judge has ordered two Colorado lawyers who filed a lawsuit late last year challenging the 2020 election results to pay nearly $187,000 to defray the legal fees of groups they sued, arguing that the hefty penalty was proper to deter others from using frivolous suits to undermine the democratic system,” the Washington Post reports.
“On both sides of America’s abortion debate, activists are convinced that Roe v. Wade — the 1973 Supreme Court ruling establishing a nationwide right to abortion — is imperiled as never before,” the AP reports.
“Yet no matter how the current conservative-dominated court handles pending high-profile abortion cases — perhaps weakening Roe, perhaps gutting it completely — there will be no monolithic, nationwide change. Fractious state-by-state battles over abortion access will continue.”
“Roe’s demise would likely prompt at least 20 Republican-governed states to impose sweeping bans; perhaps 15 Democratic-governed states would reaffirm support for abortion access.”
“The Supreme Court could rule as soon as Monday on Texas’ ban on abortion after roughly six weeks,” the AP reports.
A new Quinnipiac poll finds 61% of Americans say the Supreme Court is mainly motivated by politics, and 32% say it’s mainly motivated by the law.
“President Joe Biden is betting that his unprecedented coronavirus vaccine mandate will prevail against a flurry of lawsuits aiming to strike it down. The legal battle is expected to reach the Supreme Court,” CNBC reports.
“Biden believes the mandate, which would make businesses with 100 or more employees require their staff to get vaccinated or face regular testing by Jan. 4, will cover about two-thirds of all U.S. workers and hasten the end of the coronavirus pandemic. The White House says legal precedent gives it the authority to act to respond to the ‘grave danger’ posed by the pandemic.”
“A struggle over timing broke out Thursday in the new criminal contempt of Congress case against Donald Trump ally Steve Bannon as prosecutors pressed for a quick trial and Bannon’s lawyers seemed to be in no hurry for their client to have his day in court,” Politico reports.
“U.S. District Court Judge Carl Nichols rejected an attempt by Bannon’s defense to delay further action in the case until after the New Year, but said he’s not convinced yet that the Justice Department’s timetable is realistic either.”
“President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced two new selections to serve as circuit judges as the push to name — and confirm — a raft of judicial nominees stays a central focus of the White House and Senate Democrats,” CNN reports.
“Biden has selected Andre B. Mathis as his nominee to serve on the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals… Judge Alison J. Nathan will be nominated to serve on the 2nd US Court Circuit of Appeals.”
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds Americans say by a roughly 2-to-1 margin that the Supreme Court should uphold its landmark abortion decision in Roe v. Wade, and by a similar margin the public opposes a Texas law banning most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) slammed a commission studying possible reforms to the Supreme Court for doing “radical things” in a Washington Post op-ed.
Writes McConnell: “Biden may have wanted to appear that he was sidestepping the issue by merely setting up a commission to study it. Don’t be misled. This was radical and unacceptable presidential behavior, part of a larger campaign to make independent judges feel as though they are on probation.”
“A federal appeals court on Thursday blocked the imminent release of records of former president Donald Trump’s White House calls and activities related to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack after a lower court found that President Biden can waive his predecessor’s claim to executive privilege,” the Washington Post reports.
“The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit granted a temporary injunction while it considers Trump’s request to hold off any release pending appeal, and fast-tracked oral arguments for a hearing Nov. 30.”
“Oklahoma’s highest court on Tuesday threw out a 2019 ruling that required Johnson & Johnson to pay the state $465 million for its role in the opioid epidemic,” the New York Times reports.
“A majority of Supreme Court justices indicated Wednesday that they believe Americans generally have a right to carry a handgun outside the home for self-defense and that a New York law requiring special justification for getting such a permit is too restrictive,” the Washington Post reports.
“But it was unclear from a two-hour argument in the case how much more the court was willing to do to clarify the Second Amendment. Several expressed concern about allowing those with concealed weapons in sensitive areas, such as stadiums, crowded public events or places were alcohol is served.”
Vox: The NRA had a very good day in the Supreme Court.
CNN: “It’s been more than a decade since the justices have decided a significant Second Amendment case and now the conservative-leaning court has the opportunity to reexamine the scope of the right to keep and bear arms in a case brought by an affiliate of the National Rifle Association.”
“The court could potentially allow more guns to be carried on some of the busiest streets in the largest cities in the nation, at a time when the Biden administration has vowed to push for enhanced gun regulations.”
“After almost three hours of lively arguments, a majority of the justices seemed inclined to allow abortion providers — but perhaps not the Biden administration — to pursue a challenge to a Texas law that has sharply curtailed abortions in the state,” the New York Times reports.
Vox: An unusual alliance appears likely to fracture Texas’s abortion ban.
Neal Katyal, the former acting solicitor general under Barack Obama, notes that six Supreme Court justices — Chief Justice John Roberts, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, Sonja Sotomayor, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Barrett — sounded skeptical about the “vigilante provision” in the Texas abortion law.
Both Kavanaugh and Barrett ruled in favor of allowing the law to go into effect two months ago so their positions remain unclear.
“Exactly two months after the Supreme Court let Texas effectively outlaw most abortions in the state, it will hear a pair of arguments on Monday that could allow it to reverse course. Much of the attention will be on Justice Brett Kavanaugh,” the New York Times reports,
“The vote the first time around was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joining the court’s three liberal members in dissent.”
“If the outcome is to be different, at least one of the members of the conservative majority will have to switch sides. The most likely candidate, legal experts said, is Justice Kavanaugh, who has come to wield enormous power as the justice at the court’s ideological center, shares some of the chief justice’s concerns for protecting the institutional authority of the court and is sensitive to public opinion.”
The Washington Post has live updates.
“The Supreme Court will face a bramble of unsettled legal questions when it reviews Texas’s most-restrictive-in-the-nation abortion law Monday, but the inquiry itself is evidence of a changed court whose view of abortion as a constitutional right is in doubt,” the Washington Post reports.
“Monday’s hastily scheduled hearing opens the most dramatic month for reproductive rights at the Supreme Court in three decades. That was when a surprising majority of Republican-nominated justices did the unexpected and affirmed rather than renounced the right to abortion established in Roe v. Wade in 1973.”
“Such an outcome this time around — as the court considers the Texas law and, on Dec. 1, a Mississippi ban on abortion after 15 weeks, far earlier than current Supreme Court precedent allows — would be a bitter disappointment for antiabortion activists who feel this is their chance.”
“The chief judge presiding over the federal court in Washington on Thursday unleashed a blistering critique of the Justice Department’s prosecution of Capitol rioters, saying fiery rhetoric about the event’s horror did not match plea offers involving minor charges,” the Washington Post reports.
Said Judge Beryl Howell: “No wonder parts of the public in the U.S. are confused about whether what happened on January 6 at the Capitol was simply a petty offense of trespassing with some disorderliness, or shocking criminal conduct that represented a grave threat to our democratic norms. Let me make my view clear: The rioters were not mere protesters.”