It's Monday. All week.
- My proposed new name for the NFL franchise located in the nation's capital: The Washington Ruskies. It keeps the same initials, is consistent with the existing color scheme, and continues the theme of the oppressor lording it over the oppressed. Plus it might get some dumb corrupt Russian oligarch to buy out the current majority owner, which would probably be an improvement over an advertising executive.
- No word yet on the end of the Supreme Court's term, despite two decisions today.
An unremarkable result demonstrated that being a great brain about the law doesn't indicate having a great brain for strategy. The Court held in two separate opinions (both PDF) that states do have the power to sanction "unfaithful Electors." In this context, "unfaithful" means "voted differently than pledged to based upon the popular-vote outcome in that voter's state." While unremarkable — the result is essentially compelled by the Constitutional text, and yet again nobody cites Bush v. Gore — it's important because it implicitly questions the viability of interstate pacts to reify the national popular vote (since states cannot enforce against another state's unfaithful elector). Strategically, a constitutional amendment would be better; it could abolish the Electoral College in one section, mandate a right to vote except while confined for a felony in a second section, directly constitutionalize the Voting Rights Act in a third section, and deal with other barriers to voting in a fourth. Yes, getting a constitutional amendment passed is hard and calls on non-lawyer skills; on the basis of these opinions, so does winning in constitutional litigation on voting rights.
The third decision issued this morning rejects robocalling exclusions for collecting government debts (PDF) because by making that particular content-based exception, the exclusion violates the equal protection for political speech. (Because PACs want to robocall you!) This opinion is much more important for its severability analysis than anything else… and bodes ill for those trying to kill off the ACA.
Left to come: Drumpf's tax returns, church/state separation, and whether the eastern half of Oklahoma is properly considered part of The Res. So, nothing all that significant.
- An administrative law opinion on immigration pointed out that there was nothing to administratively interpret. In East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Barr, No. 19–16487, a panel of the Ninth Circuit rejected the Drumpf Administration's rule requiring asylum seekers crossing from Mexico to apply first for asylum in Mexico or on their travels here because that rule is inconsistent with the statute. That is, there's no deference to an agency interpretation of the statute because there's no ambiguity in the statute to interpret. Perhaps more damningly, adoption of the rule also violated the rules for making rules.
This is the kind of easy case that can make bad law… indirectly. It encourages nativist lobbying (although one wonders who gets to be a "native" in light of that forthcoming opinion regarding the Eastarn half of Oklahoma!) to further bollix up the Immigration and Naturalization Act. For the present, though, it's a fairly direct rejection of "I am the State."