Judge Halts Deportation Of More Than 1,000 Iraqi Nationals From US

A protester demonstrates against the arrest of dozens of Iraqi Christians in south-eastern Michigan by US immigration officials. Photograph: Todd McInturf/AP

By Amanda Holpuch for The Guardian – More than 1,400 Iraqi nationals in the US have been protected from deportation for the next two weeks, because of an order issued late on Monday by a federal district judge. Judge Mark Goldsmith temporarily halted deportations while he considers a class-action lawsuit representing 114 Iraqis who were arrested in the Detroit area earlier this month. Attorneys say the defendants, most of whom are members of the Chaldean minority, could face persecution or death if returned to their country of birth. Islamic State and other jihadist groups have targeted Christians, including Chaldeans, and Shia Muslims in Iraq. Goldsmith said on Monday that given evidence provided about the “extraordinarily grave consequences” detainees could face if returned to Iraq, he would extend an existing halt on deportations to all 1,444 Iraqi nationals who are subject to orders of removal. “Such harm far outweighs any interest the government may have in proceeding with the removals immediately,” Goldsmith said. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) conducted a series of raids on Iraqi communities following negotiations between the US and Iraq, which resulted in Iraq agreeing, for the first time in several years, to provide travel documents to people the US attempted to deport.

Fight Against DAPL Continues Inside And Outside Federal Courthouse

Demonstrators protest the Dakota Access pipeline outside a federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. (Clara Romeo / Truthdig)

By Emma Niles for Truth Dig – Activists opposing the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) made a strong showing of support Wednesday outside a courthouse in Washington, D.C. The self-described “water protectors” rallied while representatives of the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes appeared before U.S. District Judge James Boasberg as part of a status hearing in their case against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Despite months of protests, the corps has allowed the oil pipeline to operate near tribal lands. Last week, the judge ruled in favor of the tribes by ordering the corps to “reconsider” its risk analysis of the controversial pipeline. Wednesday’s rally, according to a press release by organizers Rising Hearts Coalition, “will … provide remedy options in how to move forward for both parties.” “Oil still flows,” states the event page for the rally. “But this is a crucial victory in the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline.”

Thousands Take To The Streets To Protest Philando Castile Verdict

Castille protest of jury verdice 6-17-17

By Jessica Goldstein for Think Progress. Within hours of the verdict, thousands of protestors came together at the state Capitol, starting a march toward St. Paul Cathedral. The crowd, as the Associated Press reported, was “mixed-race” and “includ[ed] many people with children.” Their signs read “Unite for Philando” and “Corrupt systems only corrupt.” A group of protestors peeled off from the pack and headed to Interstate 94 in St. Paul; the freeway was shutdown in both directions. A police standoff with protestors lasted over an hour and a half, at which point “the group dwindled and appeared to largely clear the interstate without police using force.” According to CNN, Minnesota State Patrol reported 18 arrests following I-94 demonstrations when protestors did not comply with orders to disperse. St. Paul police put the number of peaceful protestors in the streets and at the Capitol at about 2,000.

Minnesota Police Officer Yanez Acquitted In Shooting Death of Philando Castile

of moments after shooting.

Update: Several hours after the verdict, a protest which began at the St Paul State Capital building, made its way to I-94 freeway where there were 18 arrests, including several journalists.

By John Zangas for DC Media Group. A mostly white jury acquitted Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez of the shooting death of Philando Castile, a Black man from Twin Cities, Minnesota, during a traffic stop. The verdict was delivered Friday afternoon after the jury deliberated for five days. The shooting death of Castile happened on July 6, 2016, when Yanez pulled Diamond Reynolds over in Falcon Heights for a broken taillight. Castillo was riding in the front passenger seat and Reynolds’ 4 year old daughter was seated in a baby car seat behind them. Officer Yanez had pulled over Reynolds at about 9 pm because of a broken taillight. In a patrol car voice recording of the incident, and before Reynolds began her cell video camera, Castillo can be heard telling Officer Yanez that he has a firearm and is licensed to carry it. “Sir, I have to tell you that I do have a firearm on me.” Castillo said to Yanez. Yanez then said “Okay,” Yanez said to Castile not to pull out his gun. Castile said, “I’m not pulling it out,” Yanez then screamed, “Don’t pull it out,” while he pulled his own gun out and shot Castile. He fired seven shots in succession. The last thing Castillo said before he lost consciousness was, “I wasn’t going to pull it out.” Their four year old daughter sat in the backseat of the car. She was not hit though one shot penetrated Castile’s seat…

States And Industries Face More Climate Court Action

From climatenewsnetwork.net

By Paul Brown for Climate News Network – LONDON, 15 June, 2017 – Governments that make promises they do not keep to cut greenhouse gases or to protect their citizens against climate change are finding themselves more frequently facing climate court action by their own citizens. According to a UN environment (the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP) report, climate change cases have been filed in 24 countries – with the US, with 654 individual cases, facing by far the largest number. Australia has seen 80 cases, the UK and the European Union Court of Justice 49 each. In many cases it is the promises made by governments at the Paris climate conference in 2015 that are providing the legal arguments which campaigners are using in the courts. These issues are complex and vary according to the legal system of the country involved. But many boil down to whether the government in question is doing its share to hold the average global temperature rise down to below 2°C, or as close as possible to 1.5°C, the primary promise the politicians made in Paris. Another type of case involves human rights, the right to clean air, health, and protection from threats like sea level rise. Where governments have enacted legislation to protect the public but failed to implement it…

Victory For Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Court Finds Approval Of Dakota Access Pipeline Violated Law

Flags fly at the Oceti Sakowin Camp in 2016, near Cannonball, North Dakota.

LUCAS ZHAO / CC BY-NC 2.0

By Jan Hasselman and Phillip Ellis for Earth Justice – The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe won a significant victory today in its fight to protect the Tribe’s drinking water and ancestral lands from the Dakota Access pipeline. A federal judge ruled that the federal permits authorizing the pipeline to cross the Missouri River just upstream of the Standing Rock reservation, which were hastily issued by the Trump administration just days after the inauguration, violated the law in certain critical respects. In a 91-page decision, Judge James Boasberg wrote, “the Court agrees that [the Corps] did not adequately consider the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice, or the degree to which the pipeline’s effects are likely to be highly controversial.” The Court did not determine whether pipeline operations should be shut off and has requested additional briefing on the subject and a status conference next week. “This is a major victory for the Tribe and we commend the courts for upholding the law and doing the right thing,” said Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II in a recent statement. “The previous administration painstakingly considered the impacts of this pipeline…

Donald Trump Maintains Losing Streak In Court Over His Travel Ban

Mr Trump has said he needs more to time to decide whether to pull out of the Paris climate change agreement Evan Vucci/AP

By Cristian Farias for The Huffington Post – President Donald Trump couldn’t appease the appeals court that first rebuked him over his travel ban, as a panel of judges dealt him yet another legal setback Monday despite administration efforts to help the ban survive judicial scrutiny. More than three months since the president went back to the drawing board on his original executive order, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit again refused to reinstate the revised version, which aimed to impose a ban on travel from six Muslim-majority countries and a suspension of the refugee resettlement program. “The Immigration and Nationality Act … gives the President broad powers to control the entry of aliens, and to take actions to protect the American public. But immigration, even for the President, is not a one-person show,” said the court in a unanimous, unsigned ruling. “The President’s authority is subject to certain statutory and constitutional restraints. We conclude that the President, in issuing the Executive Order, exceeded the scope of the authority delegated to him by Congress,” the court added.

We’re Winning In The Fight Against Corporate Courts And Toxic Trade Deals

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By Staff of War On Want – In recent weeks two EU court rulings and a decision taken by Ecuador to scrap its investment treaties have dealt a heavy blow to secretly negotiated, corporate trade deals. The events have proved a major boost to social movements resisting these toxic deals in the UK and around the world, as part of a wider fight for trade justice and democracy. Growing opposition to ‘corporate courts’. The decisions have severely dented the deeply undemocratic investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) or ‘corporate court’ system, under which corporations can sue governments for lost future profits. Corporate courts are effectively taxpayer-funded risk insurance for corporations. Time and again countries around the world have been sued by corporations for lost future profits after taking action to ban nuclear power, safeguard the human right to water or stop harmful mining operations. In response, a broad opposition to corporate courts has built up across Southern countries, civil society groups, among trade unions, academics, progressive political parties and UN independent experts. EU states must have a say. In the midst of election campaigning here in the UK, it’s been easy for these somewhat technical stories to pass under the radar.

North Carolina Anti-Voting Law Finished By Court Challenges

Flickr/ David Drexler

By Derrick Robinson for Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law – WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law issued the following statement regarding today’s Supreme Court move which leaves in place the 4th Circuit’s decision regarding North Carolina’s comprehensive voter suppression measure: “The Supreme Court’s move today now renders North Carolina’s law null and void, and brings to close a long and protracted battle over a law deemed one of the most egregious voter suppression measures of its kind,” said Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law president and executive director, Kristen Clarke. “We are pleased that the Supreme Court has left in place the 4th Circuit’s decision finding North Carolina’s draconian voter suppression measure unlawful because it discriminated against minority voters with ‘almost surgical precision.’” “The battle over North Carolina’s law reflects the fallout from the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder which gut a core provision of the Voting Rights Act. Had the Section 5 federal review process remained in place, North Carolina’s discriminatory voting law would likely have been blocked at the outset and never would have gone into effect.

Settler State Repression: Standing Rock Battles Continue In The Courts

Indigenous rights activists at a tipi camp set up to protest the Dakota Access pipeline, on the National Mall in Washington, DC, on March 9, 2017. (Photo: Al Drago / The New York Times)

By Dahr Jamail for Truthout – As a means of making bombing, sanctioning or invading other countries palatable to the general population, the US government has consistently used the actions of other governments against their own people as an excuse. Those actions have included the use of chemical weapons, torture, setting dogs against people, beatings, surveillance, forcibly removing people from their land, jailing them unjustly, holding staged trials, and issuing verbal and physical threats, among many others. Yet, these same actions have been carried out by the US government, state governments and private security forces working on behalf of a private pipeline company (with the full backing of the US government) against Native people at Standing Rock. This story is not new. “The settler state arrives as an armed white man intent on staying,” said Nick Estes, who is Kul Wicasa from the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe and is a doctoral candidate in American Studies at the University of New Mexico, in an interview with Truthout.

Citizen Activism And The Courts

AP Photo/Winslow Townson

By David Cole for The American Prospect – David Cole’s Engines of Liberty is a welcome corrective to a conventional way of narrating constitutional law as being the work of federal courts, especially the Supreme Court, whose justices are nerd-celebrities, internet memes, and partisan heroes or villains. Cole argues that constitutional law comes from sources that are more democratic, and more obscure, than judges. It begins in the work of citizen activists, quixotic lawyers, and legal scholars willing to buck mainstream views and take unfamiliar ideas to their logical conclusions. If progressives hope the courts will stand in the way of Donald Trump’s enormities, Cole’s arguments suggest, they had better mobilize now for the constitutional values they hope to see judges protect in a few years. Cole makes his arguments by telling the background stories behind three important legal developments of the last 15 years: the Supreme Court’s embrace of same-sex marriage in 2015, its announcement of a constitutional right to individual gun possession in 2008, and its pushback against George W. Bush’s “War on Terror” in a series of cases concerning the rights of detainees and other targets of that “war.” In each instance, courts behaved surprisingly.

Judge Who Blocked Use Of Execution Drug Blasted For Anti-Death Penalty Protest

JASON REED / REUTERS
It looks like the Supreme Court won’t be reviewing one of the pressing issues involving the death penalty today.

By Kim Bellware for The Huffington Post – He criticized the University of Arkansas’ lack of racial diversity in 2002 and attacked President George W. Bush for the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq War in 2005. The latter may have been part of the reason he lost his re-election bid for the Arkansas Court of Appeals a few years later. In 2011, he won a seat on the state’s 6th Circuit court. “We have never, in my knowledge, been so afraid to admit that people can have personal beliefs yet can follow the law, even when to follow the law means they must place their personal feelings aside,” Griffen told The Associated Press on Saturday. Griffen’s ruling on Friday had put another wrench in the state’s plan to start the series of eight executions on Monday and complete them before its supply of one hard-to-obtain lethal injection drug expired. Two of the eight prisoners had already been granted stays of execution when a federal judge on Saturday halted those of the remaining inmates on grounds that the state’s hasty schedule denied them due process. McKesson Medical-Surgical moved to lift Griffen’s temporary restraining order following the federal court ruling, arguing that the order had become unnecessary.

Judge Scrapped Pennsylvania Families’ $4.24M Water Pollution Verdict In Gas Drilling Lawsuit

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By Sharon Kelly and Steve Horn for Nation of Change – For many residents of Carter Road in Dimock, Pennsylvania, it’s been nearly a decade since their lives were turned upside down by the arrival of Cabot Oil and Gas, a company whose Marcellus Shale hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) wells were plagued by a series of spills and other problems linked to the area’s contamination of drinking water supplies. With a new federal court ruling handed down late last Friday, a judge unwound a unanimous eight-person jury which had ordered Cabot to pay a total of $4.24 million over the contamination of two of those families’ drinking water wells. In a 58 page ruling, Magistrate Judge Martin C. Carlson discarded the jury’s verdict in Ely v. Cabot and ordered a new trial, extending the legal battle over one of the highest-profile and longest-running fracking-related water contamination cases in the country. In his order, Judge Carlson chastised the plaintiff’s lawyers for “repeatedly inviting the jury to engage in unwarranted speculation” and wrote that, in his personal estimation…

Mumia To Finally Receive Hep C Treatment

Mumia two shots combined

By Staff for the Campaign to Bring Mumia Home. On March 31, 2017, Mumia Abu-Jamal received a cruel mix of bad and good news from a prison doctor. The doctor shared the results of his recent lab test, which showed clear signs of cirrhosis, an irreversible scarring of the liver caused by his untreated Hep C. The doctor also informed Mumia that he would be treated with the Hep C cure within a week. The impending victory was bittersweet. Mumia shared his feelings with those he called that morning. His rare expression of emotion was also captured in an interview that evening in which he stated: “My first reaction was really shock, anger, disbelief. If I had been treated in 2015, if I had been treated in 2012 when they say they first diagnosed it, I wouldn’t be this far advanced.…For a lot of guys and a lot of gals inside the Pennsylvania prisons, I think it is a step forward and a great day, but I assure you I don’t feel that way right now.”

Colorado Appeals Court Ruling Calls For State To Consider Halting Oil And Gas Permits

Denver Business Journal

By Cathy Proctor for Denver Business Journal – The Colorado Court of Appeals said Thursday the state’s oil and gas commission must consider a petition from a group of Boulder teenagers to stop issuing permits for new wells until an independent third party proves that drilling can be done without harming public health or the environment. The three-judge panel, all women, heard the case involving the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) in February. The ruling was split, 2-1. The opinion was written by Judge Terry Fox, with Judge JoAnn Vogt concurring and Judge Laurie Booras dissenting.