A Constitutional View of Impeachment: Is Donald Trump at Risk of Losing the Presidency?

While the 2016 presidential campaign was one of the most heated in history, the drama didn’t stop when President Trump was sworn into office. In fact, there have been an unprecedented number of controversies since Donald Trump became the Commander in Chief, and it seems that there is a new storm every few weeks.

From the travel ban, to allegations of Russian collusion, to not taking a hard enough stand against the incident in Charlottesville, Trump is getting hit from all directions with serious accusations, and there has even been talk of impeachment. While that can sound quite alarming to the average citizen, impeachment is a legal and constitutional issue, and many people don’t understand how it works and what it may mean for Trump’s presidency.

What is Impeachment?

The process of impeachment is widely misunderstood. In layperson’s terms, impeachment is a specific power given to Congress to try government officials for certain crimes and potentially remove them from a federal office. It is much like a court trial, except that it is political and the trial and verdict are all carried out in the hallowed halls of the United States Congress. Any member can put forth Articles of Impeachment which are much like an indictment in the criminal court system. The House of Representatives then views the evidence and hears witnesses about the specific charges made. If the House agrees that the government official has committed sufficiently serious crimes, it can decide to impeach this person.

A trial, however, is needed in the Senate to determine whether the impeached party should be removed from their office. These are two separate questions, and both are long and drawn out processes. In very few instances is the official removed even when the impeachment itself is successful.

Are the Charges Against Trump Serious Enough?

The House of Representatives can impeach the president if he has committed bribery or treason, and these are relatively straightforward charges if there is sufficient proof. There is, however, a more gray area known as high crimes and misdemeanors, and these categories are open to quite wide interpretation. When it comes down to it, what is considered an impeachable offense is really up to a particular House of Representatives at the time of the proceedings. In the case of Trump, the current makeup of both the House and Senate are largely conservative, so the deck is stacked in his favor when the rubber hits the road on this issue. While Donald Trump’s more liberal colleagues may be throwing everything they can at him, successfully impeaching a president is difficult.

In fact, only three presidents in the history of the United States Constitution have been faced with Articles of Impeachment and, of those, none were formally removed from office. President Andrew Johnson was narrowly acquitted in 1868, while the Watergate scandal of 1972 led President Richard Nixon to resign rather than face impeachment hearings. In late 1998, the only successful presidential impeachment occurred when former President Bill Clinton was tried for lying under oath about his relationship with his intern Monica Lewinsky. He was not, however, ultimately removed from office by the Senate.

The Court of Public Opinion vs. the Numbers Game

If impeachment is unlikely, then why does it seem to be so talked about with each new accusation made against President Trump? Politics is based on polling and perception, and anything that implies that President Trump is in legal hot water has the potential to make his approval rating tank. Liberals understand the numbers game and knows that getting enough conservatives to jump ship all the way to impeachment is unlikely. However, they may plant seeds of doubt in Trump’s constituency base, leaving liberals with a better political position at the end of the day. Even if nothing sticks, enough much mud in the water could sully Donald Trump in the eyes of American citizens.

Read More by Sujit Choudhry
Sujit Choudhry’s Address at the Semi-Presidentialism Round-table in Ukraine
Constitutional Law Expert Sujit Choudhry Presents an Analysis of Freedom of Speech

What if Impeachment Happens?

While it is not clear at this point whether Trump has committed any impeachable offenses, it is always possible that he will find himself subjected to Articles of Impeachment for a current or future incident. However, even if impeachment does happen, President Trump will have plenty of options to decide how he wants the situation to play out. Even if impeachment looked likely, Trump could emulate Richard Nixon and resign rather than allow the proceedings to continue to his ultimate removal from office.

Due to the heavily Republican Congress, the odds of there being enough support for an impeachment process, let alone a removal from office, are not high unless there is a significant change in the balance of power in Washington. President Trump continues to enjoy considerable support from Republican voters. Regardless of whether Trump’s Republican colleagues support him, partisan calculations still matter in D.C. and will probably shape this debate in the end.

As a constitutional law expert, Sujit Choudhry provides a broad range of legal opinions about current events and politics both in America and abroad. He operates the Center for Constitutional Transitions, an organization that provides research and education in support of constitutional transitions worldwide. 

Follow Sujit Choudhry on TwitterLinkedIn or Facebook for more information, or visit his website at www.constitutionaltransitions.org.

 

Justice Department Seeks Expansion of Firearms Purchase Tracing

With the events of Las Vegas still fresh in legislators’ minds, the question of how best to legally approach the issue of firearms has grown to an increasingly relevant topic of national discourse. It is typical for the conversation to center around blanket legal bans of firearm types, limiting quantities of ammunition to prevent stockpiling, and other measures targeted at the purchaser. While these steps have the power to control arms distribution at the transaction level, the government’s approach hopes to expand well beyond that and, after a recent announcement from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, it appears the Justice Department will be taking a larger and more complex role in tracking and cataloging firearms after purchase.

Under the new measures, which are essentially an updated and more robust version of 2001’s Project Safe Neighborhoods, Attorney General Sessions plans to involve attorneys more deeply in the process of tracing firearms and tracking crime statistics. Attorneys will not only be vested with more responsibility but, according to Sessions, they will be under more scrutiny to produce measurable results.

The backbone of these new gun safety measures, as far as the investigative process is concerned, is the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, a system which enables law enforcement agencies at the local, state, and federal levels to link firearms used in crimes to their purchase history. Previously, requests for this information took about six business days to process. With this new push for result, law enforcement can expect to receive information regarding the weapon’s retail purchase history in as little as 24 hours.

As far as legal professionals are concerned, Sessions will invest a group of 40 new or present prosecutors across a total of 20 U.S. Attorney offices to focus on reducing violent crime through the reinvigorated Project Safe Neighborhoods, though it’s unclear which jurisdictions will be receiving this increased level of focus. Likewise, Sessions has not yet elaborated upon what metrics will be used to measure success or across what time frame they hope to achieve them.

That said, the Department of Justice (DOJ) did state that once assigned, the attorneys and their associated departments would be expected to provide more accurate statistics regarding violent crime. Likewise, the DOJ hopes that adding attorneys to the mix will offer a sort of midway point for local and federal law enforcement authorities to communicate and coordinate their efforts. Crimes of this nature often result in difficult questions of jurisdictional authority, but the more robust justice offices could provide an effective middle ground.

USA Supreme Court’s Attempt to Fix American Politics

The supreme court of the United States is the highest federal court in the United States of America. It was established under the Judiciary Act of 1789 in the United States Constitution. The Supreme Court building is located at One First Street, NE in Washington DC. The building was completed in 1935. The court is usually functional on weekdays. It is closed during public holidays and weekends. The Supreme Court mainly comprises of nine justices. They include one chief justice and eight associate justices. It is historically known for having one hundred and one associate justices.

The Supreme Court has no powers stipulated in the constitution. The federal judiciary divided the country into thirteen districts that were later organized into the Eastern, Middle, and Southern circuits. The USA Supreme Court is the highest judicial tribunal in the United States of America. The president usually appoints members of the USA Supreme Court. This is subject to the Senate’s approval. The Supreme Court judges are governed by the code of conduct stipulated in the constitution that aims at establishing and maintaining an independent judiciary.

Some rules and guides govern the Supreme Court. The court is open to all members of the public during oral arguments. Seating is limited and offered on a first come first seat basis. The court sessions are structured in two lines form on the plaza. One of them is for people attending an entire argument and another for individuals who wish to observe briefly. Infants and children are restricted from entering the courtroom. The court officials are required to act in fairness and justice when dealing with all matters of a political nature.

There are numerous reports about the American political system being rigged. The reports state that politicians should redraw geographical boundaries for their legislative seats in the states. They mainly do this to lure the citizens inhabiting a particular geographical area to vote for them, yet the political system solely lies at the heart of democracy. This act has posed a threat of corroding the relationship between the members of the judiciary in the supreme court of the United States of America. The Supreme Court has responded to the issue by setting up a court hearing session in an attempt to restore the American political landscape back to its original state by eradicating what is termed as a political gerrymander. Most citizens of the United States of America greatly support the Supreme Court’s decision because they do not condone this hilarious political behavior by some of their politicians.

 

California Lawmakers Now Require Presidential Candidates to Release Tax Returns

According to a recent law by the state of California, presidential candidates who are looking to appear on the state election ballot must provide their tax returns. The bill was passed earlier in September and officially passed into law. With this new law, anyone that is looking to run for president will be required to furnish any information that proves their income. The state passed this law in an effort to ensure that all presidential candidates are being honest about their financial situation as well as proving that their sources of income are legitimate. This law will go into once it is approved by the state governor. Anybody that is looking to become the next American president will now have to provide their tax returns in order to run in the state beginning in the next election which is scheduled for the year 2020.

On September 15, Senate Bill 149 was passed despite objections based on the constitution according to the sources such as the Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg and the San Jose Mercury News. With this new law, anyone that intends to run for president will need to provide five years of tax returns if they wish to appear in any state election ballots. By providing tax returns, presidential candidates in California will have their returns shown online through a redacted version. California Governor Jerry Brown has until October 15 to sign or pass the bill. However, as of right now, it is uncertain what he will actually do about this new proposed law. When Brown ran for Governor, he released his tax returns in his first two campaigns for governor but didn’t when he ran in the 2010 and 2014 elections.

According to the constitution, anyone that is looking to become president of the United States needs to be a natural born citizen and be at least 35 years of age. With this new proposed law in California, a number of legal experts have questioned whether or not it is constitutional to require candidates to release their income information. In 1995, the Supreme Court made a decision under United States Term Limits v Thornton, that allowed states to impose requirements to get on ballots. However, states cannot impose qualifications that are in addition to the ones that are currently on the American constitution. If the new law in California is passed, it is very likely that a number of people and entities will file a lawsuit and otherwise challenge it.

Source: http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/california_lawmakers_approve_bill_requiring_presidential_candidates_to_rele

Special Counsel Seeks White House Documents

As reported 20 September under the headline Mueller Seeks White House Documents Related to Trump’s Actions as President in The New York Times
(https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/20/us/politics/mueller-trump-russia.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news)
, Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III has requested documents from the White House related to some of the most “scrutinized” actions taken by President Trump.

The Times reporter, Michael S. Schmidt, writes that Mueller has requested documents surrounding

● An Oval Office meeting with Russian officials (including Russian foreign minister Sergey V. Lavrov and then-Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey I. Kislyak) in which Trump is reported to have said that firing James P. Comey as FBI Director “relieved ‘great pressure’ on him,”
● The circumstances surrounding the firing of Michael T. Flynn as Trump’s first national security advisor, and
● The White House’s initial responses to questions from The New York Times about a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower set up by the President’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. which was eventually revealed was part of a search for derogatory information on Hillary Clinton.

Of the thirteen subjects in Mueller’s document request, four were related to Mr. Flynn and three were related to Comey’s firing.

Ty Cobb, the lawyer charged with providing materials related to the Russia investigation to the Special Counsel, said many of the requested documents will be handed over this week. He stated further that he couldn’t comment with any particularity to specific document requests or any conversations with Special Counsel Mueller, his staff, or his office.

Schmidt reported that no documents related to Trump’s personal finances or business dealings appear to have been part of the current document request. He left open the possibility, however, that those areas, which President Trump has said should be off limits, may be the subject of other document requests.

Mueller also requested all internal White House communications on several individuals involved in Trump’s presidential campaign, including Paul J. Manafort. Finally, the request sought communications about the President’s foreign policy team: Carter Paige, J.D. Gordon, Keith Kellogg, George Papadopoulos, Walid Phares, and Joseph E. Smith.

The 9th Circuit Clears California’s Foie Gras Ban

In January of 2015 a federal district court invalidated a California state law that sought to ban the sale of foie gras. Specifically, California’s law prohibited the sale of the delicacy if it was produced from forced-fed birds. Birds were being excessively fed in order to fatten their livers; this produced a much more savory dish for luxury diners.

California’s ban was originally issued in 2004. However, it did not go into effect until 2012. In 2015, several duck and geese producers (as well as Hot’s Restaurant Group) got their day in court to challenge what they viewed as an unconstitutional statute. A federal judge, the Hon. Stephen Wilson, of the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles agreed with them. He ruled that the state law was preempted by the federal Poultry Products Inspection Act. Recently, the 9th Circuit disagreed.

The Pasadena branch of the 9th Circuit issued a 3-0 decision last Friday which supports the legality of California’s law. The court held that the Poultry Products Inspection Act did not seek to prevent a state’s ability to ban certain poultry products. The court added that California had the right to prohibit a practice that it deemed uncompassionate and cruel. In the end, the court did not find a conflict between the state statute and existing federal law.

Although the 9th Circuit’s decision is being hailed as a victory for state legislators and animal rights activists many in the culinary world are dismayed. Many chefs view the regulation as an excessive restraint on their ability to practice their trade. The expensive delicacy is a favorite of high-end patrons and chefs across the state enjoy preparing the dish.

California’s foie gras supporters are now contemplating taking further legal action. The plaintiffs/appellees may request that the case be heard by a full panel of the 9th Circuit. If the decision is affirmed, the appellees may need to look towards the Supreme Court.

The Constitutional Dilemma Revolving Around Physician Assisted Suicide

New York’s court of appeal recently ruled against physician assisted suicide. The claim was made against the Attorney General by three chronically ill patients. The court defined physician assisted suicide as the right of a terminally ill and mentally competent person to acquire a prescription for a deadly medication from a doctor, to be taken for the purpose of causing death. The plaintiff’s argument was that physician assisted suicide was a constitutional right. The court held that there is no right to suicide; however, there is the right to cease relying on life-sustaining treatment. The court’s ruling, based on a rational standard of review, was that the act of criminalizing physician promoted suicide was meant to prevent suicide and protect patients from abuse.

A Background on Physician Assisted Suicide Laws

For a long time, U.S. law enforcement agencies have struggled with the right to die. In 2016, a “Death with Dignity” bill was approved by the District of Columbia Council. The bill was passed by an 11-2 vote. The bill permitted patients with terminal illnesses to end their lives without a physician’s help. According to the bill, a patient who is terminally ill, at least 18 years of age, a resident of Washington DC, and capable of making their health care decisions, is eligible to make a request to end their life. The bill does not permit physicians to agree with a patient’s requests. It further prohibits physicians from giving patients medication if they are suffering from mental disorders or depression.

The bill is similar to another passed in 1997, the “Oregon Death with Dignity Act”. In 2006, the Oregon statute was upheld by the Supreme Court. In 2008, the First Judicial District of Montana passed a ruling protecting physicians from prosecution for providing terminally ill patients with lethal drugs. Washington and Vermont followed suit by approving similar initiatives in 2008 and 2013 respectively.

The California Superior Court recently went on record for rejecting a challenge to the state’s aid in dying law. Colorado also approved a proposition to grant terminally ill patients the right to administer lethal medication after the approval of two physicians.

In February 2017, the “Death with Dignity” bill was blocked by the House. During the same time, Montana introduced a bill that would see doctors involved in physician assisted suicide charged with homicide. In May, physician assisted dying was approved by the Nevada Senate.

Lawsuits Against President Trump Ban on Transgender People

Two groups of Human rights filed two different lawsuits against President Trump and other administrations on the ban of the transgender rule in the military. Human rights claim that the ban is unconstitutional and will not be accepted. Plaintiff is among the transgender individuals who are now serving in the military, but they are not currently able to serve because of the transgender ban rule.

Sarah McBride is the secretary of Human Rights Campaign National Press. She issued a statement and said that it is an unconstitutional and unconscionable breach of trust for President Trump and his administration to single out the service of transgender people in the military. President Trump announced this ban on a series of the statement in July. He stated that the US Government would not allow or accept transgender people to serve in any capacity or position in the military of the USA.

President Trump appealed the recent administration of Obama that lifted the ban on transgender people. President Trump signed a memo on Friday indicating the implementation of the change of policy that deters transgender individuals from being enlisted. He did not report what would happen to the current transgender people who are still serving in the Department of Defense.

The first law suit was filed in a federal court in Seattle on Monday. The lawsuit was filed by Lambda Legal and OutServe, SLDN. He acts on behalf of two people. These include a transgender individual who needs to be enlisted but cannot because of the ban and another transgender woman who has served in the military for 12 years. The second lawsuit was also filed by ACLU in Maryland on behalf of the transgender individuals who wished to be enlisted but failed due to the ban.

Both lawsuits argue the same thing. They claim that this is a violation of human rights. It is also a practice of unequal protection among the members of the society. They also indicate that it is the violation of free speech protection. The lawsuits highlighted what transgender people have contributed in the US military. One of the numerous commendation of transgender service in the military was the Petty Officer. This is a plaintiff who has served the military for 11 years and was among the officers who had been deployed to Afghanistan. The two lawsuits want the ban to be abolished by the federal court.

Public Outrage As Police Arrest Nurse

The tables have turned on the Salt Lake City Police Department after video became public of one of their own arresting a nurse at the University of Utah’s hospital. Law enforcement officer Jeff Payne became irate after nurse Alex Wubbels refused to draw blood from an unconscious patient. The police department didn’t have a warrant for the man’s blood, and the police had not placed the man under arrest.

The trouble began in the middle of a police chase. The man who was later unconscious in a hospital bed was a victim of the chase. The fleeing individual clipped the man’s truck during the chase. The suspect died in the crash.

Even though the police had no suspicion that the unconscious man had done anything wrong, they directed nurse Wubbels to draw the man’s blood. Wubbels explained to officer Payne that nurse protocol and a prior agreement between the hospital and the police prevented them from doing that without a warrant. Wubbels went so far as to show the officer a copy of the written agreement. She also got a supervisor on the phone who confirmed the policy.

At that point, Payne chased the nurse and performed a take down maneuver. He put the woman and handcuffs and dragged her to a police car as she screamed and sobbed. The police accused her of interfering with a law enforcement investigation. More than one officer justified the arrest.

At first, the Salt Lake City Police Department declined to put officer Payne on leave. They took him off the blood draw program. They explained that the incident caused a rift between the hospital employees and the police. It wasn’t until the video became public that they decided to place Payne on administrative leave. They now say that they’re conducting a criminal investigation into the officer’s conduct.

After about 20 minutes of arrest in a law enforcement cruiser, Payne let Wubbels go. She does not face criminal charges. The hospital released a statement commending Wubbels for following policy. In addition, the unconscious man’s employer also issued a statement thanking Wubbels for protecting the privacy of their employee. Wubbels said that she was just doing her job.

Wubbels says that she feels angry and confused. Police claim that they wanted the blood in order to protect the trucker even though they haven’t accused him of any wrongdoing. Wubbels says she hopes the incident can begin a civil discourse and prompt the police to do the right thing.

Judge dismisses lawsuit brought be Sanders’ supporters

A Florida judge on Friday dismissed a class action lawsuit brought by supporters of Bernie Sanders against the Democratic National Committee for its handling of the 2016 presidential primary there. Federal Judge William Zloch, in a scathing rebuke of the suit’s plaintiffs, said the plaintiffs “had not presented a case that is cognizable in federal court.”

According to The Washington Post, the lawsuit grew out of hacked emails from DNC computers that were then published on Wikileaks. The plaintiffs claimed they proved the DNC plotted behind the scenes to ensure the success of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and “actively concealed its bias [thereby] defrauding its donors, and exposing them to harm.”

In dismissing the suit, the judge said even if the accusations could be proven, the plaintiffs “have no standing nor have they demonstrated any recognizable injury.” After saying the case was basically without merit, he then strongly suggested the plaintiffs redress their grievances “through the ballot box, the DNC’s internal workings, or their right of free speech — not through the judiciary.”

Of course, Clinton won the Florida primary, went on to win the democratic nomination for president then lost to Donald Trump in the general election. This clearly irked Sanders” supporters who thought a democratic, populist candidate would have had a better chance of defeating the republican, populist candidate than did traditional candidate Clinton.

The Bernie-backers alleged they made donations to the DNC because they believed it was a “neutral” organization that did not favor one candidate over another, that they were victims of fraud, and that they deserved retribution. The judge disagreed, lashing-out at the group bringing the suit, essentially saying it had wasted the court’s time.

In a 28-page ruling, Judge Sloch wrote: “The Plaintiffs asserting each of these causes of action specifically allege that they donated to the DNC or to Bernie Sanders’s campaign. But not one of them alleges that they ever read the DNC’s charter or heard the statements they now claim are false before making their donations. And not one of them alleges that they took action in reliance on the DNC’s charter or the statements identified in the First Amended Complaint (DE 8). Absent such allegations, these Plaintiffs lack standing.”

Florida attorneys Jared and Elizabeth Beck originally filed the lawsuit In July of 2016. Hundreds of other disgruntled Bernie backers have joined them in forming the class.

Judge Zloch is a Reagan appointee.

Company Sued For Denying Health Insurance to Same-Sex Partner

California-based mortgage company Cherry Creek Mortgage faces a federal lawsuit that alleges they denied health insurance coverage to the same-sex partner of one of their employees. Judith Dominguez filed the complaint in the US District Court for the Central District of California. The claim says that failing to provide the insurance violates equal protection and discriminates against same-sex couples.

Dominguez signed her spouse up for health insurance. For a year, she believed insurance company UnitedHealthcare was providing the insurance according to plan. The next year, Dominguez tried to re-enroll her spouse in the health insurance program. She claims that the company denied the re-enrollment because the spouse didn’t fit the definition of a married couple. Dominguez says the explanation that she received was that a legal union only qualifies if it’s between a man and a woman.

Dominguez complained to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In exchange, she says Cherry Creek Mortgage demoted her to a branch that was about to close. She says that they fired her shortly thereafter.

A representative from Cherry Creek mortgage said that they can’t comment on pending litigation. Health insurance company UnitedHealthcare says that they were just acting at the direction of Cherry Creek Mortgage. In addition to refusing to allow Dominguez to re-enroll her spouse, they also retroactively cancelled her insurance for the previous year.

Dominguez’ spouse used the health insurance in order to pay for treatment for two recent heart attacks. She requires ongoing care to monitor her health. Dominguez says that since UnitedHealthcare retroactively cancelled her insurance, they’ve received bills of more than $40,000 for care that should have been covered. They say that they’re sick of bill collectors calling.

Attorneys for the couple say that the company is claiming their Christian values prevent them from providing the insurance. The attorneys say that it’s unfair for the company to use religion as a way to deny health care. Dominguez also points out that the company has no problem selling mortgages to same-sex couples. She said they even train employees for how to keep records of mortgages to same-sex couples.

Dominguez says that even after they fired her, they continued to use her name on their website along with a forged signature. The Dominguez lawsuit is one of many that are currently pending across the United States on the issues of LGBTQ rights. Dominguez and her wife worry about their ability to meet their medical needs in the future.

Lawyer Fired for Fake Match Profile

One Illinois lawyer has met his match, but not in the way that he was intending. The lawyer created a fake Match.com profile for another lawyer. The fake online profile was filled with insults and falsehoods. The lawyer now finds himself the subject of a disciplinary inquiry. He’s also out of a job.

Drew Quitschau used to be a partner at Thomson & Weintraub in Bloomington. He used his office computer to make the fake profile. He listed the other attorney as a smoker that was separated from her husband. The profile said her children lived with her some of the time. It said that she liked buffets and the grocery store and does not exercise. Quitschau used a picture of the lawyer for the profile.

Quitschau didn’t stop there. He signed the victim up for emails about obesity. He even arranged to have a lap band kit sent to her office. He also signed her up for emails about pork and diabetes.

In addition to Match.com, Quitschau created a fake profile to leave online reviews of the victim. He gave her low ratings for professional ability. He left the reviews on multiple websites.

The angst dates back to when Quitschau and his victim were opposing counsel in multiple legal matters in Illinois courts. He initially denied making the profile but later admitted it when bar officials confronted him with the evidence. The victim had to file a court action to get Match.com to give her the IP address that the profile came from. Comcast was the internet provider involved, and they agreed to hand over the information. The trail led back to Quitschau and his office computer.

Bar officials say that Quitschau’s conduct involves dishonesty and deceit. That makes the conduct a violation of the bar’s code of ethics for attorneys. If he’s found responsible, he faces a range of possible discipline from the Illinois bar. The woman says that the statements Quitschau made are not true. She says that she’s happy with her marriage and wouldn’t make a Match.com profile.

The man’s former employers say that they’re disappointed in his conduct. They say that they fired him immediately when the allegations came to light. The victim sought and received a personal protection order against Quitschau. She later agreed to drop the order. The exact motive is unknown, other than speculation that Quitschau was unhappy with his interactions with the victim.

 

Department Of Justice Gets Its Guilty Plea In Prosecution Of Attempted Hate Crime

A federal investigation led to the arrest of a Florida man, who allegedly planned to bomb an area Jewish synagogue. Appearing on court for that arrest on Wednesday, the individual pleaded guilty to attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and to violating federal hate crime laws.
Although the guilty plea entered by James Gonzalo Medina seems to come on the heels of the recent violence in Charlottesville, North Carolina, this case was a long time in the making. Federal investigators had begun looking into Medina’s actions early in 2016, after attention had been drawn to the defendant’s anti-Semitic views. Concern was raised, when James discussed his plans to attack Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center with associates.
Mr. Medina had been “scoping out” the southern Florida synagogue in search of vulnerabilities, say authorities. Additionally, James had told one unnamed associate that he thought a Jewish holiday would be the optimal time to launch his attack and proceeded with that plan by purchasing a bomb.
In reality, the explosive device was only a facsimile provided by investigators and the seller of the device was an undercover agent.
Prosecutors have asked Medina how he would have felt, if the bomb had exploded, or if he felt remorse in connection to causing many deaths.
“Whatever happens,” Mr. Medina responded.
James Gonzalo Medina Faces A Long Prison Term
Pleading guilty, 41-year-old Medina faces a 25 year prison term for his hate crime and for attempting to damage religious property. Initially, James was reluctant to confess to his crimes, saying that he felt the undercover agent “manipulated” him into putting his plan into action.
Eventually, Medina told U.S. District Judge Robert Scola that he was guilty of plotting the bombing with the intention of killing innocent Jewish synagogue members. James added that he planned to carry out the violence and give credit to ISIS. The confession helped James avoid a life sentence and a lengthy criminal trial.
Instead, the plea agreement agreed upon by public defenders Hector Dopico and Eric Cohen and federal prosecutors Marc Anton and Michael Thakur sentences Medina to 25 years in prison.
Part of the agreement allows Mr. Medina to spend a portion of that term in a prison with a mental health facility. While there, he can be treated for schizophrenia and a bipolar condition, before returning to another maximum security prison to finish out his term.
The official sentencing hearing for James Gonzalo Medina is set for November 17.

Oregon Set To Ban Cigarette Sales To People Who Are Under The Age Of 21

Kate Brown, who is the governor of Oregon, recently signed a bill that will make it illegal for people who are under the age of 21 to buy cigarettes. The law will go into effect on January 1, 2018. California, Hawaii and New Jersey have the same law. Maine will also raise the smoking age to 21 in 2018.

The bill was approved by the House in March. In July, the bill was approved by the Senate. Kate Brown, who is a Democrat, was pleased to sign the bill.

Kate stated that she hopes that they will be able to reduce the number of young people who smoke. She also hopes that the number of people who smoke will drastically decrease. People who are for this law have stated that addiction rate among Oregons can be reduced. Additionally, they believe that the number of people who suffer from health-related issues due to cigarette smoking can also be decreased.

Diseases that are caused by smoking are among the leading causes of death in Oregon. According to the Oregon Health Authority, 7,000 deaths per year are caused by cigarette smoking. The earlier one starts smoking, the more likely they are to develop health problems due to it. People believe that raising the smoking age can prevent people from becoming addicts.

There are also some people who are against the law. They believe that people who are underage will still continue to buy cigarettes after the smoking age is raised. Some people have also compared this law to the alcohol prohibition, which took place from 1920 to 1933. Many people still brought alcohol during this time. Furthermore, there are some people who believe that this new law will violate personal freedom. They believe that if an 18-year-old can join the military, then they should be able to buy cigarettes.

Sujit Choudhry’s Address at the Semi-Presidentialism Round-table in Ukraine

On 10th July 2017, top researchers and constitutional experts converged at Kiev, Ukraine to discuss the constitutional challenges that Ukraine is experiencing. The event was hosted by the major think tanks in Ukraine, a global intergovernmental organization that supports sustainable democracy, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), and the Center for Policy and Legal Reform. Sujit Choudhry adequately utilized the opportunity to speak at the semi-presidentialism roundtable and his remarks are to be implemented soon. The main agenda was on how to improve the governance system considering the semi-presidential system used in Ukraine.

 

Sujit Choudhry recognized the fact that it was privilege reasoning together with the top researchers and constitutional experts from Ukraine. He also pointed out that there has been instability in the governance of Ukraine for the past two decades and it’s mainly attributed to the executive powers and electoral system for the legislature. Other factors that Sujit Choudhry noted were the existence of separation of powers within the dual executive between the Prime minister and the President, weak political parties and the concentration of powers on the presidency. Also contributing to this instability is a poor electoral system for the legislature. He gave recommendations that could be applied for better governance of Ukraine.

Other notable persons who shared the forum with Sujit Choudhry included Thomas Sidelius of Dalarna University and Sumit Bisarya who represented International IDEA. There were other persons who shared the roundtable with Choudhry such as the UN representative of human rights council in Ukraine, Vladimir Vasilenko. The constitutional commission of Ukraine was represented by Sergyi Holovatyi while Viktor Musiaka represented the president in the supreme council of 1996. Also present was Ihor Koliushko who is a former MP and served as an advisor to the President of Ukraine from 2005 to 2006. The list of attendance is endless.

Having lectured in more than 24 countries globally, Sujit Choudhry is popularly known for being a constitutional advisor and he recently released a collection of notable academic contributions and case studies. Besides, classical articles on topics regarding constitutional law are also a part of his release. This book basically recounts examples of constitutional making decision and their outcomes. He also points out stable democracies like Chile are demanding for new constitutions untainted by their difficult and unpromising past. Each modern nation-state finds constitution as a central feature that is vital to its prosperity. It is important to note that a constitution is a backbone of democracy in all the countries and royalties all over the world.

More about constitutional transitions

The constitutional transitions is responsible for the generation and mobilization of knowledge in support of the constitutional building. This is done by assembling and leading international experts who are senior policy practitioners and scholars. The experts also boast of a vast field experience and are sourced from more than 25 countries. The constitutional transition is responsible for the generation of Journal Articles, Opinions, Policy Manual and working reports.

Choudhry had an opportunity to elaborate on changes in constitutional decisions put in place by transitional democracies. He further notes that it becomes a major challenge for leaders elected constitutionally to come up with evidence based policies in to back up the overall constitutional reform process.

 

Who is Sujit Choudhry?

Sujit Choudhry is a Professor of law at the Berkeley School of Law, University of California. He has also served as the dean at this institution. Sujit is an internationally acknowledged authority with an undoubted expertise in comparative constitutional law. Choudhry has an exhaustive experience in the constitution development process. He has been a part of constitution building process in many countries all over the world. Some of the democracies that have been beneficiaries of Choudhry’s expertise are Egypt, Jordan, Nepal, Libya, Sri Lanka Ukraine and Tunisia. He has also conducted several lectures in more than 24 countries. As part of the United Nations Mediator, a service based in United Nation Department of Political Affairs, he has ensured the success of a variety mediation processes in most of the UN member states. Sujit Choudhry also provides consultancy services to the UN Development Program and other the World Bank programs.

 

As the Director of the Center for Constitutional Transitions, he is a part of a great team that supports constitutional building by bringing together and leading interactions consortium of experts. The policy options have proven prudent to decision makers in several sectors such as NGOs, multilateral organizations and global networks all over the world. Currently, Choudhry is working with three global collaborative research projects in the constitutional building process. These projects will produce a series of research outputs and policies that are to be published this year. The projects are,

· Security sector oversight that will ensure the protection of Democratic Consolidation from Partisan abuse and Authoritarian Backsliding.

· Dealing with Territorial Cleavages that exist in Constitutional Transitions.

· Constitutional Transitions and security sector reforms in Emerging democracies.

In addition to the professional competence already highlighted, Professor Choudhry has published more than 90 articles, working papers, reports and book chapters. He has contributed extensively to the Canadian constitutional law. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Journal of Constitutional Law, the Institute of Integrated Transitions and the Indian Constitutional Law Review. Choudhry’s research addresses many issues regarding comparative constitutional laws and politics. Constitutional design which forms part of his research also ensure smooth transition from a chaotic conflict to tranquil politics. This constitutional design is characterized into minor categories such as, language policy, bills of rights and proportionality amongst others. All these are encompassed in Sujit’s research documents.

Overall the success of a nation relies on proper constitutional policies and good governance systems. The contribution of professionals like Sujit Choudhry in the success of a state like Ukraine cannot be underrated. A country also needs experienced policy makers to see it through every transitions. In fact, it is such policy makers and advisors to governments that lead to economic prosperity in a sovereign nation. The recommendations by Choudhry and the team of experts will be a great solution to problems facing Ukraine once implemented.

Further reading:

Constitutional Law Expert Sujit Choudhry Presents an Analysis of Freedom of Speech

Sujit Choudhry: A Proponent for Peace Through Constitutional Law

Constitutional Law Authority Sujit Choudhry Attends Workshop in Ukraine