On 21 September 2022, New York State Attorney General Letitia James won the race to be the first to charge Donald Trump with a crime. The former US President faces legal jeopardy on a variety of fronts, and the civil suit brought against Trump, his adult children Don Jr, Eric and Ivanka, and the Trump Organization may be the least harrowing, though, if successful, would devastate his business. A civil suit carries no threat of incarceration, but AG James stated in her press conference announcing the indictment that both state and federal laws were broken, and she will be making criminal referrals to both the US Attorney’s office at the Southern District of New York and the IRS.
Tag archive: Themis
On Monday, 8 August 2022, FBI agents executed a legal search warrant of former US president Donald J. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago mansion in Florida, looking for classified documents still in his possession. When leaving the White House in January 2021, Trump absconded with reams of classified material, in violation of the Presidential Records Act of 1978, and the National Archives has been trying to get them back ever since. In February, 15 boxes of such papers were returned, but investigators had cause to believe this was not the extent of the purloined trove, and a legal pas-de-deux had been danced between the Justice Department and Trump lawyers for months since, with negotiations and subpoenas having little effect.
Proving it has its finger firmly on the pulse of the corpse of America, the US Supreme Court on June 23 ruled that Americans have a right to carry firearms in public for self-defense, effectively upping the ante on concealed carry legislation that is sweeping the nation. This in the wake of recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas, with more than two-thirds of Americans polled supporting tougher gun regulation. For more than a century, New York has had a gun safety law that bars the concealed carry of a firearm without a permit and requires good cause to obtain the permit; the conservative supermajority on the SCOTUS struck it down 6-3, ruling for the plaintiff in New York Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. The case was the first the SCOTUS had weighed in on Second Amendment issues since 2010.
It didn’t quite make it to fifty, but for almost half a century legal abortion has been the law of the land here in the US. No more.
On June 24, 2022, the gavel fell on Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 decision guaranteeing reproductive rights, overturned 5-4 by the current US Supreme Court. The test case which led to Roe’s reversal was Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which sought to prevent a Mississippi state law virtually eliminating abortion after 15 weeks from conception. That law was upheld 6-3, but Chief Justice John Roberts joined the progressive minority on the Court when Roe itself became the target of his conservative colleagues.
On 1 June 2022, a Fairfax, Virginia jury found for plaintiff Johnny Depp in a defamation suit brought against his former wife Amber Heard, awarding the actor $15 million in compensatory and punitive damages. Heard, who had countersued for defamation, was vindicated on one count, and received $2 million in compensation, though no punitive damages were awarded.
The United States Supreme Court just got a little more diversified, with the history-making confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as its newest Associate Justice, the first black woman to sit on the bench. Jackson was confirmed by the full Senate on Thursday, April 7, with a bipartisan vote of 53-47, and will replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer when the new session convenes in October. A native of Washington DC, Jackson was raised in Florida, is a graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Law School (where she edited the “Harvard Law Review”), and previously clerked for the Justice she is replacing.