Judge blocks rule denying asylum to migrants, senators sue to prevent appointment of Acting Attorney General, and more…
IN THE NEWS
- Judge Jon S. Tigar of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California issued an order blocking the Trump Administration’s denial of asylum to migrants who entered the country illegally, which came in the form of an interim final rule and a presidential proclamation. Judge Tigar wrote that the rule “irreconcilably conflicts” with both the Immigration and Nationality Act and the “expressed intent of Congress.” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders criticized the order, stating that it runs “contrary to…the President’s own Constitutional and statutory authority.”
- U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) sued to block Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker from taking his post. The senators argued that Whitaker was appointed by President Donald J. Trump without the “advice and consent” of the Senate in violation of the Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution. In their complaint, the senators asserted that they were denied the opportunity to vote on Whitaker’s nomination in their capacities as members of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary.
- The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York rejected the U.S. Department of Commerce’s request to halt litigation over the Department’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Judge Jesse M. Furman called the Commerce Department’s request “puzzling, if not sanctionable” because his court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court had “denied virtually the same relief only weeks ago.” The Commerce Department had renewed its request for a stay in litigation after the Supreme Court agreed to review Judge Furman’s decision to allow a deposition of Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.
- U.S. Representative Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) introduced the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. This bill is intended to protect nurses and health care workers from violence at the hands of patients, as these workers suffer violence at a rate up to 12 times that of the overall workforce.
- U.S. Senators John Thune (R-S.D.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) introduced a bill that aims to “crack down” on illegal robocall scams. The bill would broaden the authority of the Federal Communications Commission to fine and take enforcement action against violators.
- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit declined to dismiss suits brought against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for rejecting Obama-era fuel economy standards. EPA had argued that the suits were “premature” because it was merely initiating the rulemaking process to replace the Obama-era standards. Its decision was “not a reviewable final agency action, nor is it ripe for review,” EPA said.
- Small banks could face more relaxed capital requirements under a proposed rule by the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Company, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Community banks had expressed concerns that the current rules, which were issued after the 2007-09 financial crisis, were too burdensome and complex. The proposed rule would be a “simple alternative methodology” for qualifying community banks, according to the agencies.
- A federal judge ordered the White House to restore CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s previously-revoked press credentials. In the order, Judge Timothy J. Kelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia stated that the White House could not deprive a reporter of access without due process, and he noted that “whatever process occurred” in making the decision to revoking Acosta’s credentials was “shrouded in mystery.” In response to this order, the White House issued new rules limiting reporters’ ability to ask questions at press conferences.
- In response to the devastating fires in California, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue called for increased ability to remove brush and trees from forests under federal control. Zinke pointed out the need for “active forest management principles” such as prescribed burns to limit the extent of wildfires. Perdue reportedly claimed that they were “not talking about clear-cutting,” and he emphasized policies that make sense “for water quality, watershed protection, wildlife, and other recreational activities.”
WHAT WE’RE READING THIS WEEK
- Amending the Clean Air Act has become increasingly difficult due to complex regulations and partisan politics, wrote Richard Schmalensee of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management and Robert N. Stavins of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in a working paper. Although the passage of the Act led to a bipartisan approach towards environmental regulation for decades, Schmalensee and Stavins noted that the polarization over climate change has slowed down new legislation. They also observed that agency rulemaking under recent administrations is easier to repeal, making it even more difficult to provide effective long-term regulation.
- Regulating marijuana like champagne could protect “small scale growers from corporate growing operations” and facilitate the growing of high-quality cannabis, wrote Ryan Stoa of Concordia University School of Law in The Wall Street Journal. Under French regulation, only wine of a certain quality produced from grapes grown in the Champagne region may bear the name “champagne.” A similar designation of origin for types of marijuana could boost the name recognition of the regions that grow them and protect “regional farming cultures,” Stoa argued.
- In an article in the Journal of Law and Medicine, Lindy Willmott and Ben White of the Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Law, Donella Piper of the University of New England, Patsy Yates of the Queensland University of Technology, Geoffrey Mitchell of the University of Queensland Faculty of Medicine, and David Currow of the University of Technology Sydney discussed the Australian regulatory framework over end-of-life medical treatment. Health professionals could be concerned about regulatory “repercussions” if a patient dies after treatment, which may lead to “under-treatment” of pain symptoms, according to Willmott and her coauthors. Willmott and her coauthors concluded, however, that health professionals should not be so concerned about these repercussions, as regulations focus “on improving the provision of care at a system level” and, barring misconduct, do not shift the blame for mistakes onto individuals.