Week in Review

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The Supreme Court says the travel ban can prevent certain refugees from entering the U.S., Senator Bernie Sanders introduces a health care bill, and more…

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  • The U.S. Supreme Court suspended a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that stopped the Trump Administration from using the travel ban to prevent certain refugees from entering the U.S. The Supreme Court postponed the Ninth Circuit’s ruling “with respect to refugees covered by a formal assurance” from an organization to support those refugees, but not with respect to refugees with family members in the U.S. The Trump Administration had argued that the Supreme Court “should prevent further uncertainty and disruption by staying” the Ninth Circuit’s decision supporting assurances.
  • U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), along with 16 Democratic Senators, introduced the Medicare for All Act of 2017, which would establish a national health insurance program where “every resident of the United States will receive health insurance through an expanded Medicare program with improved and comprehensive benefits.” Sanders said the bill will allow Americans to “benefit from the freedom and security that comes with finally separating health insurance from employment.” Along with the legislation, Sanders provided a paper outlining several options for funding this program.
  • The U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of an amendment that would prevent funding for a 2016 regulation intended to diminish methane emissions. Representative Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), who introduced the amendment, reportedly said that “Congress must act to block this job-killing regulation.” In opposition, Representative Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) reportedly said, “there is no doubt at all that methane contributes to the increased levels of greenhouse gas concentrations, which contribute to the long-lasting changes in our climate.”
  • Yelp claimed that Google violated a 2012 agreement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) not to pass off third-party content as its own in search results. Yelp urged the FTC to take action: “Google should be held accountable and subject to remedies sufficient to ensure its anticompetitive conduct does not continue to harm competition and consumers.” A Google spokeswoman reportedly said Google was unaware of this complaint before Yelp’s letter to the FTC.
  • Acting U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke said she would “waive” regulations—including the Endangered Species Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, and the Clean Air Act—applying to land in California “to ensure the expeditious construction of” a “barrier” there that would “deter illegal crossings” by immigrants. Duke’s decision is intended to adhere to President Trump’s Executive Order 13,767, which instructs the government “to deploy all lawful means to secure the Nation’s southern border.”
  • The U.S. Senate confirmed Kevin Hassett, a former scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA). CEA is charged with “offering the President objective economic advice on the formulation of both domestic and international economic policy” using economic and empirical evidence. Michael R. Strain, a colleague of Hassett’s at AEI, said Hassett’s “deep knowledge of economics and of the economics literature will enable him to give truly expert advice to the president and to others in the Trump Administration.”
  • The Spanish Data Protection Agency fined Facebook $1.4 million for collecting data “on ideology, sex, and religious beliefs” to target advertisements without obtaining the “specific and informed” consent of its users. Facebook reportedly responded that users choose what information they add to their profiles, and claimed that Facebook does “not use this information to target advertisements to people.”
  • The Israel High Court of Justice struck down, by a vote of 8-1, a law exempting ultra-Orthodox Jews from compulsory military service while they are studying yeshiva. The petitioners, the Movement for Quality Government, argued that the law “perpetuates inequality between secular youths who are required to enlist in the army and religious youth who are exempt.” The Interior Minister, Arye Dery, reportedly condemned the ruling, saying this “proves the serious disconnect between the Supreme Court and the Jewish people, who have known through all generations that what holds us together against persecution and evil decrees was Torah study.”
  • The Minnesota Department of Commerce recommended that the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission deny the permit for a proposed pipeline because the pipeline’s operator did not demonstrate the pipeline’s necessity for the “future adequacy, reliability and efficiency of energy supply.” The CEO of the company operating the pipeline reportedly said, “if you oppose this project, you are opposing the enhancement of critical, safety-related infrastructure.”


  • In a forthcoming article for the Journal of Land Use & Environmental Law, Steven J. Eagle, a professor at Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University, surveyed modern American land use regulation. Eagle found that the lack of generally accepted goals for land use regulation in conjunction with ever-evolving social and economic climates and the ad hoc nature of political decision-making has resulted in “conceptually incoherent” land use regulation.
  • Madeline June Kass, a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, argued the United States is “entering a period of retrenchment and retraction from adoption and enforcement of laws aimed at protecting human health and the environment” and the European Union will soon become a “global environmental leader.” Kass compares the U.S. and EU efforts to deal with the global decrease in the bee population and how this reflects the “shift in global environmental leadership.”
  • In an article for Morning Consult, financial regulation reporter Ryan Rainey discussed the public’s opinions on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) according to results from a poll conducted by Morning Consult and Politico. Rainey noted the poll indicated that “voters who are familiar with the agency are split largely along party lines about whether its rule-making enforcement authority should be curbed.” Rainey highlighted a statistic from the poll that 23 percent of voters disfavor restricting the CFPB, while 22 percent of voters favor it.