Fines-and-fees system that helps fund court budget is unconstitutional, 5th Circuit rules

  A federal appeals panel has ruled that a system of criminal fines and fees in the New Orleans criminal court was unconstitutional because the money is used to support a general fund overseen by the court’s judges. The New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 23 on behalf of six criminal defendants who were jailed because they were unable to pay fines and fees. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law noted the decision in … Continued

Federal judge appointed by Trump rejects challenge to Mueller’s authority

  A federal judge appointed by President Donald Trump has rejected a challenge to Robert Mueller’s authority. U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich upheld the special counsel’s appointment on Monday in a challenge by a Russian firm, Concord Management and Consulting, report the National Law Journal and Politico. Concord Management was among 13 Russian nationals and three Russian groups accused of trying to influence the 2016 election. Friedrich is the fourth federal judge to turn aside challenges to the special counsel, … Continued

The organized bar must address attacks on the judiciary

  It is a critical time for all citizens, and especially lawyers, to remain vigilant to protect the independence of the judiciary. In recent years, and in recent days, attacks on the judiciary have increased, while public understanding of the essential role of the judiciary has diminished. Because the judiciary is constrained from defending itself publicly and is limited in its ability to explain its role to the public, the organized bar must directly and forcefully address these attacks and … Continued

Will ‘sore-loser litigiousness’ against Trump produce bad precedent?

What do you think? President Donald Trump is disrupting political norms, but courts should not respond in kind by disrupting judicial norms, according to South Texas law professor Josh Blackman. In an essay published at the National Review, Blackman argues that “sore-loser litigiousness” against Trump’s policies will set “lasting and dangerous precedents.” Judges who feared that Trump posed a threat to the country have abandoned their traditional role by overriding his executive powers and issuing nationwide injunctions that extend beyond … Continued