Is this planned chaos or just incompetence?

One passage jumped out at me from the unanimous opinion of the Ninth Circuit panel refusing to overturn the US District Judge James Robart’s temporary restraining order on Donald Trump’s Executive Order on immigration.

The Government has argued that, even if lawful permanent residents have due process rights, the States’ challenge to section 3(c) based on its application to lawful permanent residents is moot because several days after the Executive Order was issued, White House counsel Donald F. McGahn II issued “[a]uthoritative [g]uidance” stating that sections 3(c) and 3(e) of the Executive Order do not apply to lawful permanent residents. At this point, however, we cannot rely upon the Government’s contention that the Executive Order no longer applies to lawful permanent residents. The Government has offered no authority establishing that the White House counsel is empowered to issue an amended order superseding the Executive Order signed by the President and now challenged by the States, and that proposition seems unlikely.
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The appeal hearings on Trump’s orders

I listened yesterday to the oral arguments before a panel of the Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeal on whether the stay on Trump’s Executive Orders on people entering the US that was imposed by the US District Judge in the state of Washington should be lifted. (You can listen to the oral arguments here.) It is always hard to predict outcomes based on the kinds of questions that the judges ask. The questions posed to August E. Flentje, the attorney speaking on behalf of Trump’s orders, were more sharp and skeptical and the attorney seemed less prepared. At the end he even conceded that he did not seem to be persuading the justices. He admitted that the rollout of the orders had been confusing, with legal permanent residents first being included in the ban and then excluded and suggested that an acceptable outcome might be for the judges to rule that the ban only applies to people who have never been in the US before. One justice pointed out that it should not be their job to clarify what the administration’s intentions are about who is covered and that the administration could issue new orders that were clearer.
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Watch oral arguments of Trump’s appeal of immigration ruling

Those of you who are interested in the legal and constitutional issues surrounding the Executive Orders on immigration, refugees, and banning visitors from seven nations can listen live to oral arguments before the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco as attorneys for the White House try to get the their bans reinstated. The hearings are scheduled to begin at 6:00pm ET (3:00pm PT) and should last about an hour or 90 minutes.

This should be an interesting case

During the campaign we had numerous women alleging that Donald Trump assaulted them in many ways, charges that the Trump campaign furiously denied and for which many of the accusers were harassed by Trump supporters. But now one woman Summer Zeervos has said through her attorney Gloria Allred that she has filed a lawsuit against Trump for defamation because of the charges he made against her while denying her accusations.
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When hysteria leads to injustice

The US periodically goes through phases of hysteria over this or that phenomenon and the public very often falls prey to the temptation to rush to judgment to combat what is falsely perceived as an epidemic of a particular type of crime. We saw this with the large number of pedophilia charges made against day care providers a couple of decades ago and the possible associated Satanic practices.
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The president cannot declare torture to be lawful

Among the many awful things that the Bush-Cheney administration did was to normalize torture, coming up with various convoluted rationales as to why the ghastly practices they carried out did not constitute torture and thus were not war crimes. Alex Emmons writes about an important unanimous ruling by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals last Friday that has been largely overshadowed, like so much else, by this weird election season.
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Defying pressure to conform

It seems like periodically there occurs some incident that generates a wave of patriotic fervor. The latest is the decision by Colin Kaepernick, a football player for the San Francisco 49ers, who decided to not stand for the national anthem as a protest against the way that people of color are treated in this country. His protest has caught on with athletes around the country at all levels choosing to kneel instead of stand.
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The danger of giving too much power to leaders whom one likes

One of the frustrating things that I have experienced during the Obama presidency is how so many Democratic party supporters of my acquaintance were willing to ignore his excessive use of executive power and secrecy, such as the drone assassination program, the NSA’s violations of people’s privacy, the use of military tribunals for Guantanamo detainees and the refusal to neither bring some of them to trial nor release them, and the harsh prosecution of whistleblowers who release information for the benefit of the public while condoning leakers who did it out of self-interest. They shrugged off all these things because they felt that Obama was a ‘good guy’ who would use the powers granted to him wisely.
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