judge suggests

Judge suggests Trump administration overreach in TikTok case – The Washington Post

The Trump administration’s proposed ban against video app TikTok may “likely exceed” the bounds of the law, a judge wrote while granting TikTok a reprieve from being removed from U.S. app stores.

Judge Carl Nichols wrote in a decision unsealed Monday morning that the law President Trump cited while issuing an executive order banning TikTok does not allow certain personal communications or the exporting or importing of informational material to be prohibited — and the ban would prevent people from sending messages and information through the app.

“It is undisputed that the Secretary’s prohibitions will have the effect of preventing Americans from sharing personal communications on TikTok,” wrote Nichols, a federal judge in Washington who was appointed by Trump last year.

Nichols granted TikTok a preliminary injunction Sunday night, just hours before the app was set to be taken out of app stores in the country by executive order. Trump signed an executive order in August that would have banned TikTok starting Sept. 20, citing national security concerns.

It was the second blow for Trump in his effort to shut down two Chinese communication apps, TikTok and WeChat. WeChat, an app used to send messages and make payments, was also given a reprieve from the ban by a separate judge last week.

TikTok first received a one-week extension from the government when Trump seemingly gave his blessing to a proposed deal that would partner TikTok with American database company Oracle. Then, TikTok got another break from the judge, and it is still available on app stores in the United States.

Nichols’s ruling does not affect the second order Trump signed that requires ByteDance to divest from TikTok in the United States, said Robert Chesney, an associate dean at the University of Texas School of Law. That order has a Nov. 12 deadline.

TikTok has been working with the government to get a deal approved that would create a new entity, TikTok Global, that includes investment from Oracle and Walmart. The app is hoping that will satisfy regulators’ national security concerns by separating it a bit from its Chinese parent company, ByteDance.

Trump and some lawmakers have said that TikTok is a security threat because it collects information on Americans, which could then be accessible by Beijing. TikTok insists that it keeps U.S. customer information stored outside of China.

Even as TikTok pursues a deal with Oracle, it is continuing with a lawsuit against the Trump administration, asserting that the executive order is unnecessary and unfair.

Nichols said it was clear from the government’s argument that China presents “a significant national security threat,” but he said the evidence that TikTok is a threat, and whether a ban is the only way to deal with that, “remains less substantial.”

The ruling compares TikTok to a news wire service, and said people use TikTok to share not only news but also art and photographs — all items whose sharing is prevented from being prohibited by limitations laid out in the act, which were added by Congress.

Chesney said he thinks Nichols’s ruling glossed over some of the nuances of the law, and he isn’t sure it will hold up. TikTok is not used for messaging primarily, he pointed out, and another court might reasonably disagree that the order conflicts with the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

“At a minimum, I think it’s way harder than he’s let on,” Chesney said, pointing out that people have others means of communicating with foreign countries outside of TikTok.

The judge didn’t specifically address First Amendment issues in the ruling, said Kurt Opsahl, deputy director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Instead, he focused on the Emergency Economic Powers Act in a “pretty narrow ruling.”

“In plain language, the statute says you can’t directly or indirectly prohibit materials or personal communications,” he said. “The court is saying, at a minimum this is an indirect regulation of personal communications.”

First Amendment issues are implicit in the ruling, according to Hina Shamsi, director of the national security project at the ACLU.

“Congress put in those limitations and intended to protect First Amendment interests, which is what this order does,” she said.

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U.S. Judge Halts Trump’s TikTok Ban, Hours Before It Was Set To Start – NPR

In this photo illustration a mobile phone screen displays TikTok logo in front of a keyboard.

Anadolu Agency/Anadolu Agency

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Anadolu Agency/Anadolu Agency

In this photo illustration a mobile phone screen displays TikTok logo in front of a keyboard.

Anadolu Agency/Anadolu Agency

Updated 11:16 p.m. ET

A federal judge on Sunday blocked President Trump’s TikTok ban, granting a temporary reprieve to the wildly popular video-sharing app.

During a telephone court hearing on Sunday, lawyers for TikTok argued that Trump’s clampdown infringed on free speech and due process rights.

John Hall, an attorney for TikTok, said that the app, with some 100 million American users, is a “modern day version of the town square” and shutting it down is akin to silencing speech.

Judge Carl Nichols of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, responded by halting the ban, which was set to kick in at midnight Sunday.

The action from the White House would have forced TikTok to be removed from smartphone app stores, meaning TikTok could not reach new users, and those who already had it would be deprived of app updates, eventually rendering it nonfunctional.

Nichols denied a request to extend a Nov. 12 deadline for TikTok to spin off its U.S. operations to an American company, or face possible extinction in the country.

In a statement, TikTok said it is pleased the court sided with its legal arguments.

“We will continue defending our rights for the benefit of our community and employees. At the same time, we will also maintain our ongoing dialogue with the government to turn our proposal, which the President gave his preliminary approval to last weekend, into an agreement,” a TikTok spokeswoman said.

In the wake of its setback, the Trump administration said it will postpone the planned ban of the app, but vowed to continue the legal battle.

“The E.O. is fully consistent with the law and promotes legitimate national security interests. The Government will comply with the injunction and has taken immediate steps to do so, but intends to vigorously defend the E.O. and the Secretary’s implementation efforts from legal challenges,” the Commerce Department said in a statement.

The judge’s move means the Chinese-owned TikTok can now operate without interruption at least until a full court hearing. Nicholas’ opinion supporting his decision was not immediately released publicly. A full hearing date on the case has not yet been set.

The U.S.-TikTok row started with an executive order blacklisting the app on Aug. 6, when the president invoked a national economic emergency, citing national security reasons.

In its court filing, TikTok’s lawyers said there’s no credible evidence to back up Trump’s national security claims. Instead, TikTok’s legal team accused the president of being driven by “political-related animus” for “political campaign fodder.”

“It would be no different than the government locking the doors to a public forum, roping off that town square,” Hall said on Sunday.

Trump's TikTok Deal: What Just Happened And Why Does It Matter?

“Telling two-thirds of the country, who are not members of this community, that you’re not going to be permitted in,” Hall told the judge. “The government would be taking this extraordinary action at the very time that the need for free, open and accessible communication in America is at its zenith — 37 days before a national election.”

U.S. Department of Justice lawyer Daniel Schwei countered that any free speech concerns are “completely irrelevant” to the president’s national security prerogatives.

“The concern here is about data security risk and leaving data vulnerable to access by the Chinese government,” Schwei said. “This is the most immediate national security threat. It is a threat today.”

The White House fears China’s authoritarian regime could gain access to the data TikTok collects and use it to spy on or blackmail Americans. Trump officials have called the chief executive of TikTok parent company ByteDance a “mouthpiece” of China’s Communist Party. So far, U.S. officials have not offered direct proof that China has ever sought TikTok data.

TikTok, for its part, says it would deny any data requests from Beijing, pointing to how Americans’ data is stored mostly in the U.S. and decisions about the data are made by a U.S.-led team.

New DOJ Filing: TikTok's Owner Is 'A Mouthpiece' Of Chinese Communist Party

The judge handing a temporary victory to TikTok follows the actions of another judge, in Northern California, who paused enforcement of the president’s ban of a separate Chinese-owned app, WeChat. In that case, the judge found that the Trump administration offered “scant evidence” to support its national security fears.

Even a ban of six months, TikTok has said, would be devastating. TikTok’s interim global head Vanessa Pappas estimated that 90% of TikTok users would quit if the app went dark for that amount of time.

Trump has indicated that he would back off his push to outlaw TikTok if its U.S. operations were sold to an American company. Software company Oracle and Walmart received tentative approval from the president in a deal to rescue the app, but since then, ByteDance and the American companies appear at odds over the new company’s ownership structure.

Trump Casts New Doubt On Any Deal To Keep TikTok Alive In U.S.

Any agreement would need the blessing of the Chinese government, something that looks increasingly in doubt. On Saturday, the Global Times, an outlet of China’s Communist Party, called Trump’s crackdown on TikTok a “mafia-style robbery of a lucrative Chinese business” and that the Oracle deal was not likely to be approved.

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Federal judge removes acting Bureau of Land Management director after finding he has served unlawfully for 424 days – CNN

Washington (CNN)A federal judge on Friday ordered acting Bureau of Land Management Director William Perry Pendley to step aside, blocking him from exercising any more authority after finding that he has served unlawfully for more than 400 days.

Chief District Judge Brian Morris of the US District Court of Montana ruled that Pendley has served unlawfully for 424 days, in response to a lawsuit brought by Democratic Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. Morris additionally ruled Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt cannot pick another person to run the Bureau of Land Management as its acting head because that person must be appointed by the President and Senate-confirmed.
The judge gave both sides of the case 10 days to file briefs about which of Pendley’s orders must be vacated.
“Pendley has served and continues to serve unlawfully as the Acting BLM Director,” Morris wrote in his opinion. “His ascent to Acting BLM Director did not follow any of the permissible paths set forth by the U.S. Constitution or the (Federal Vacancies Reform Act). Pendley has not been nominated by the President and has not been confirmed by the Senate to serve as BLM Director.”
He added, “Secretary Bernhardt lacked the authority to appoint Pendley as an Acting BLM Director under the FVRA. Pendley unlawfully took the temporary position beyond the 210-day maximum allowed by the FVRA. Pendley unlawfully served as Acting BLM Director after the President submitted his permanent appointment to the Senate for confirmation — another violation of the FVRA. And Pendley unlawfully serves as Acting BLM Director today, under color of the Succession Memo.”
Pendley was nominated to be the permanent director of the agency in July but the Trump administration withdrew his nomination in September after a series of controversial statements — including saying that climate change is not real and falsely saying that there was no credible evidence of a hole in the ozone layer — were made public by CNN’s KFile.
The BLM manages 244 million acres of federal lands in the United States — one out of every 10 acres of land in the country — along with 30% of the nation’s minerals. As acting director of the BLM, Pendley wielded significant authority over the leasing and use of land for mining, recreation, and oil and gas exploration and development along with maintaining environmental protections for federal lands. The agency is currently taking steps to move its headquarters and employees out west.
Last year, Pendley became the fifth person to lead the bureau on a temporary basis after the departure of Director Neil Kornze less than a year into the Trump administration. Bullock filed suit in July challenging Pendley’s authority.
Pendley, a conservative activist, commentator and lawyer, was appointed by Bernhardt as acting director in July 2019.
Morris wrote that, by law, the position of Bureau of Land Management director is required to be confirmed by the Senate. The Trump administration argued that Pendley did not officially have the title of acting director, so the requirement does not apply.
“Such arguments prove evasive and undermine the constitutional system of checks and balances,” Morris wrote, adding that the administration referred to Pendley publicly as the agency’s director.
Interior Department spokesman Conner Swanson told CNN in an email the administration will appeal “immediately.”
“This is an outrageous decision that is well outside the bounds of the law,” Swanson said.
Bullock, who is challenging GOP Sen. Steve Daines in a competitive Senate race, tweeted, “Today’s ruling is a win for the Constitution, the rule of law, and our public lands.”

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Second judge rules against USPS, says election mail must be prioritized – CNN

(CNN)The US Postal Service must prioritize election mail and reverse some key policy changes imposed by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a federal judge ruled on Monday, saying that “managerial failures” at the agency undermined the public’s faith in mail-in voting.

US District Judge Victor Marrero in New York’s Southern District became the second federal judge to side against USPS in the past week. A judge in Washington state ordered many similar changes on Friday and blasted the Trump administration for what he called a “politically motivated attack” on USPS.
In the Monday ruling, Marrero said USPS will be required to treat all election mail as first-class mail or priority mail express, and that USPS will need to “pre-approve” all overtime requests for the two weeks surrounding Election Day, to make sure absentee ballots are processed properly.
“The right to vote is too vital a value in our democracy to be left in a state of suspense in the minds of voters weeks before a presidential election, raising doubts as to whether their votes will ultimately be counted,” Marrero wrote.
“While the court has no doubts that the Postal Service’s workforce comprises hardworking and dedicated public servants, multiple managerial failures have undermined the postal employees’ ability to fulfill their vital mission,” he added.
These changes will go into effect on Friday, the judge said. He told the parties to reach a settlement that includes his directives, but if they don’t reach an agreement by midday Friday, a judicial order imposing the changes will automatically kick in.
If USPS can’t agree to put in place these changes, Marrero says he’ll take several steps to force USPS to improve its mail delivery and policies under a court order.
He will order the USPS to draft, and implement, a cohesive plan to restore on-time delivery performance to pre-July levels. USPS must then produce service reports and variance reports for the court.
“The Postal Service is reviewing the court’s decision,” USPS spokesperson Marti Johnson said, responding to the decision.
“There should be no doubt, however, that the Postal Service is ready and fully committed to handling expected increased volumes of Election Mail between now and the conclusion of the November 3rd election,” Johnson added. “Our number one priority is to deliver the nation’s Election Mail securely and in a timely fashion.”
Under a court order, the USPS would have to pre-approve all overtime between October 26 and November 6. USPS would also have to circulate a company-wide memo making clear that late trips for mail trucks will be encouraged for transporting election mail and do not require special approval — undoing some of DeJoy’s signature policy changes.
DeJoy imposed significant restrictions on late and extra trips on July 10, which the USPS has since acknowledged caused significant mail delays.
The USPS has claimed that those delays have improved, but it has still not returned to its pre-July levels.
“The Postal Service has long promised that ‘[n]either snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” said Remy Green, an attorney for the plaintiffs that sued USPS, which include New York voters and candidates for public office. “The Court rightly added the obvious footnote: fixing an election and cost-cutting cannot cut it as an exception to that promise.”
Ali Najmi, another attorney for the plaintiffs, told CNN they would be speaking with USPS attorneys later today to start talking about settling the case.
This story has been updated with additional comment from attorney Remy Green.

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judge Rules

Judge rules Georgia ballots mailed by Election Day must be counted – Atlanta Journal Constitution

The decision will likely result in tens of thousands of ballots being counted after Nov. 3 that would have otherwise been rejected, enough to swing close elections. The ruling invalidates Georgia’s requirement that ballots had to be received at county election offices by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

U.S. District Judge Eleanor Ross wrote that voters must be protected during the coronavirus pandemic, when record numbers of Georgians are expected to cast absentee ballots.

“Extending the deadline would ensure that voters who receive their ballots shortly before Election Day are able to mail their ballots without fear that their vote will not count,” Ross wrote in her 70-page order.

The court order will slow vote counting and election results as officials take time to count all valid ballots.

The secretary of state’s office plans to immediately appeal the ruling.

“Extending the absentee ballot receipt deadline is a bad idea that will make it nearly impossible for election officials to complete their required post-election tasks in the timeline that is required by law,” Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs said.

The lawsuit by the New Georgia Project, a voter registration group, asked the court to intervene to prevent voter disenfranchisement during the presidential election.

U.S. District Judge Eleanor Ross.

More voters than ever are relying on absentee ballots during the coronavirus pandemic so they can avoid the potential health risk of human contact at polling places. Nearly half of all voters in Georgia’s June 9 primary used absentee-by-mail ballots.

Over 5 million Georgia voters are expected to participate in November’s election, many of them again likely to vote absentee. Georgia law has allowed any registered voter to request an absentee ballot without having to provide an excuse since 2005.

“As we take care of each other through a pandemic of historic proportions, we need to make sure that every vote counts,” said Nse Ufot, the executive director of the New Georgia Project. “This is a commonsense solution to a problem we’ve been seeing for some time. It’s a good day for Georgia and a good day for democracy.”

Every election, absentee ballots are discarded in Georgia because they arrive too late. Even if ballots were mailed well in advance of Election Day, the U.S. Postal Service didn’t always deliver them in time, a problem exacerbated by potential mail slowdowns this year.

In this year’s primary, election officials disqualified at least 8,495 absentee ballots because they were received late, according to state election data. That amounts to less than 1% of all absentee ballots cast.

The number of ballots received after Election Day is expected to grow in November. Attorneys for the New Georgia Project argued in court that as many as 60,000 ballots could arrive late in the general election.

The Democratic Party of Georgia called the ruling “a huge victory for Georgia voters.”

“All Georgians deserve to have their voice heard, and in the midst of a global pandemic, it is the responsibility of our democracy to make voting by mail and early voting options as accessible as possible,” Democratic Party of Georgia Chairwoman Nikema Williams said.

Attorneys for Georgia had warned that delaying the absentee deadline could result in chaos as election results hang in the balance. Election officials will have to scramble to count ballots quickly and verify that absentee ballots were in fact postmarked by Nov. 3.

State law requires election results to be certified 17 days after the election, by Nov. 20.

“The court notes it is reluctant to interfere with Georgia’s statutory election machinery. However, where the risk of disenfranchisement is great, as is the case here, narrowly tailored injunctive relief is appropriate,” Ross wrote.

Ross wrote that Georgia election officials have already shown they’re capable of processing absentee ballots received after Election Day. State law requires election officials to count absentee ballots from overseas and military voters if they’re received within three days of an election.

Georgia joins 18 other states that accept absentee ballots after Election Day if they’re postmarked beforehand, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Ross denied other changes sought by the lawsuit, including free ballot postage, quick notification of absentee application deficiencies, automatic mailing of absentee ballots to all voters, and ballot collection by third-party organizations.

Election officials are urging Georgians to vote early to avoid lines and other problems.

The U.S. Postal Service has said that mail delivery delays could hold up absentee ballots. Voters should mail their completed ballots at least a week in advance of Election Day, by Oct. 27, according to a USPS letter to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

Georgia voters can also cast absentee ballots without having to rely on the Postal Service. Many counties have set up drop boxes where voters can deposit their ballots until polls close on Election Day.

Voters can request absentee ballots through a website created by Raffensperger’s office at Then absentee ballots will begin to be mailed in late September.

How to vote absentee in Georgia

Any registered voter in Georgia can request an absentee ballot without having to provide an explanation.

Voters can order an absentee ballot online at They can also fill out and mail a paper absentee ballot request form to county election offices.

Election officials will begin mailing absentee ballots to voters around Sept. 18. State law prevents absentee ballots from being mailed before 49 days prior to Election Day.

Then voters can mail their absentee ballots or return them in drop boxes set up in many counties.

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judge Rules

Judge Rules on Request to Expose Meghan’s Friends – Newser


The Duchess of Sussex received a day-late birthday present Wednesday when a High Court judge ruled that the identifies of five friends who defended her last year will remain secret—at least for now. The issue is part of Meghan Markle’s lawsuit against Associated Newspapers, publisher of the Mail on Sunday, which published portions of Markle’s private letter to her father in February 2019, per ABC News. Thomas Markle said he shared the letter to set the record straight after one of Meghan’s friends referred to it while speaking anonymously to People. Five friends who’d defended the duchess to People then had their names included in a confidential court document. Associated Newspapers argued their identities should be made public as they are “important potential witnesses on a key issue.”

But Markle said the paper was “threatening to publish the names of five women—five private citizens—who made a choice on their own to speak anonymously with a US media outlet … to defend me from the bullying behavior of Britain’s tabloid media.” “These five women are not on trial, and nor am I,” she said in a witness statement, adding the paper was trying “to create a circus and distract from the point of this case.” Her lawyers further argued that exposing the friends’ names was an “unacceptable price to pay” for pursuing legal action over the publication of portions of a private letter and that the women had “a basic right to privacy,” per the Guardian. Justice Mark Warby ruled Wednesday that the friends’ identities will remain secret “for the time being at least.” A trial date has not been set. (Read more Meghan Markle stories.)

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Judge rules to unseal documents in 2015 case against Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged accomplice – CNN

(CNN)A federal judge ruled on Thursday to publicly release documents that have been kept under seal in a case involving Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s one-time girlfriend and alleged accomplice.

US District Judge Loretta Preska verbally unsealed the documents in a ruling held via teleconference. She is giving Maxwell’s legal team a week to pursue an appeal to her decision but ordered the court to have the documents ready to be posted “within a week.”
The documents are connected to a 2015 defamation case brought by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who claimed Epstein sexually abused her while she was a minor and that Maxwell aided in the abuse. The case was settled in 2017.
Included in the now unsealed documents are Maxwell’s 2016 deposition related to the lawsuit in which she denies knowing if Epstein had a scheme to recruit underage girls for sex. Other documents include emails and depositions by others, including Giuffre and anonymous women who also claim to have been abused by Epstein.
Preska ruled that several medical records included in the court filings will remain sealed. In addition, she noted that the multiple anonymous women — “Jane Does” who accused Epstein of abuse but have not publicly spoken out — will continue to have their identities redacted in the documents.
In her ruling, she said that the public’s right to have access to the information carried heavier weight than the “annoyance or embarrassment” to Maxwell.
“In the context of this case, especially its allegations of sex trafficking of young girls, the court finds any minor embarrassment or annoyance resulting from Ms. Maxwell’s mostly non-testimony … is far outweighed by the presumption of public access,” she said.
Maxwell, 58, was charged by federal prosecutors in early July for allegedly helping recruit, groom and ultimately sexually abuse minors as young as 14 as part of a years-long criminal enterprise with Epstein. She pleaded not guilty and was ordered jailed pending trial.
Parts of the deposition were unsealed last August, a day before Epstein killed himself in his jail cell while awaiting trial for allegedly running a sex-trafficking enterprise.
The charges against Maxwell, which came almost exactly a year after Epstein’s arrest, also include two counts of perjury for comments she made during a legal deposition in April and July 2016 as part of the defamation case.
During the deposition, Maxwell denied having given anyone a massage, specifically denied having given Minor Victim-2 a massage and said, “I wasn’t aware that (Epstein) was having sexual activities with anyone when I was with him other than myself.”
Asked whether Epstein had a “scheme to recruit underage girls for sexual massages,” she replied: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

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New York judge gives Trump deadline in lawsuit over tax returns following major Supreme Court ruling – The Washington Post

NEW YORK — A federal judge in Manhattan has given lawyers for President Trump a Wednesday deadline to say whether he will further challenge a subpoena for his tax documents, part of an ongoing investigation by local prosecutors here into hush money payments made during the 2016 election season.

The order by U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero follows Thursday’s highly anticipated Supreme Court ruling in favor of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who had been seeking the president’s tax records as part of a probe into the Trump Organization’s role in the payments. In its ruling, the high court said Trump did not have “absolute immunity” from the state court-level criminal subpoena.

Trump could, however, further contest the grand jury subpoena outside of the presidential immunity question. The subpoena was issued Aug. 29 and has been tied up in appeals as part of a lawsuit brought by Trump since shortly thereafter.

“We will respond as appropriate,” Trump attorney Jay Sekulow said after Marrero’s order Friday setting July 15 as the deadline by which the parties must say if there will be additional legal challenges.

Marrero, in the two-page order, also scheduled a phone conference for Thursday to discuss future proceedings, should the litigation continue.

Vance is investigating whether the Trump Organization falsified business records to conceal alleged payoffs in exchange for silence made ahead of the 2016 election to two women who claimed they had affairs with Trump years ago. Trump has denied the allegations.

Lawyers from Vance’s office previously argued that delays could jeopardize their ability to file charges if any are warranted. The statute of limitations for a misdemeanor falsifying business records count has already passed, and the five-year deadline by which to bring a felony-level case is approaching.

In public filings, lawyers for Vance’s office said the records requested “relate to business and financial matters unrelated to any official acts” of the president “and are primarily from the time-period before [Trump] assumed that office.”

A spokesman for Vance declined to comment Friday.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court shot down Trump’s argument that, as president, he is immune from legal action on a local level and from investigations conducted by Congress. In its Trump v. Vance ruling, the court sent the cases back to lower courts, where, the justices said, Trump also could challenge the specifics of Vance’s inquiry. The ruling said Vance had the authority to look into Trump’s personal and business financial records.

Trump’s lawsuit tried to block Vance from being able to subpoena the president’s tax records from his accounting firm, Mazars USA, arguing that he was immune from facing criminal charges in a local court while in office — a claim his personal attorneys have also made in a set of lawsuits pending in New York.

Vance, who called the landmark ruling “a tremendous victory for our nation’s system of justice,” has been investigating whether the Trump Organization doctored records to conceal hush money payments to two women during Trump’s 2016 campaign. One of the women is outspoken pornography actress Stormy Daniels.

The payments were made by Trump’s longtime personal lawyer and adviser Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to charges related to campaign finance fraud and tax evasion. Cohen, who had been allowed to serve the remainder of his prison term at home due to coronavirus concerns, was returned to federal custody this week due to a dispute over his home confinement conditions.

Trump could raise a host of new challenges to the Mazars USA subpoena. Details of his tax filings, which he has staunchly refused to release to the public voluntarily as sitting presidents have traditionally done, are not likely to be made public in any fashion before November’s election as both challenges are expected to face further litigation.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing the majority opinion in the 7-to-2 ruling in Trump v. Vance, wrote that the public was entitled to “every man’s evidence,” which “since the earliest days of the Republic” has “included the President of the United States.”

Robert Barnes contributed to this report.

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Judge Orders ICE To Free Detained Immigrant Children Because Of COVID-19 – NPR

Immigrants seeking asylum hold hands as they leave a cafeteria at the ICE South Texas Family Residential Center. Independent inspectors told the judge that COVID-19 tests at the centers and the infection rates in the counties where the Texas facilities are located are cause for concern.

Eric Gay/AP

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Immigrants seeking asylum hold hands as they leave a cafeteria at the ICE South Texas Family Residential Center. Independent inspectors told the judge that COVID-19 tests at the centers and the infection rates in the counties where the Texas facilities are located are cause for concern.

Eric Gay/AP

Citing the unrelenting spread of the coronavirus, a federal judge has ordered that all children currently held in ICE custody for more than 20 days must be released by July 17.

Judge Dolly Gee of California issued the scathing order Friday afternoon saying the Trump administration had failed to provide even the most basic health protections for children and their families amid the pandemic.

She described the ICE-operated facilities as being “on fire,” adding that “there is no more time for half measures.”

“Although progress has been made, the Court is not surprised that COVID19 has arrived at both the [Family Residential Centers] and [Office of Refugee Resettlement] facilities, as health professionals have warned all along,” Gee wrote.

The order applies to all three of the family detention facilities in the U.S. Two are located in Texas and a third is in Pennsylvania, as well as shelters housing unaccompanied minors.

As of June 25, at least 11 people at a family detention center in Karnes City, Texas, have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to an independent report filed with the court. Four employees at another facility in Dilley — about 90 miles away — have also tested positive for the respiratory illness, and test results for residents there remain pending.

Meanwhile, an independent monitor and a physician who inspected ICE’s family detention centers reported earlier this month that given the infection rates in the counties where the Texas facilities are located, there is “even more cause for concern.”

Court documents show that as of June 8 there were 124 children in the three detention centers housed alongside family members. Another 507 children were in ORR shelters as of June 7.

The order essentially forces ICE to adhere to existing laws established in the Flores Settlement Agreement, which limits how long minors can be held in ICE custody.

Holly Cooper, co-director of the University of California, Davis Immigration Law Clinic and one of the lawyers representing Flores agreement class members, is elated by the latest ruling.

She says Gee’s decision could lead to the long-awaited the release of entire families. Some of whom have been living in which she called “horrific conditions” for more than a year.

Until now, ICE has been reluctant to release children held in family detention centers “because in order to do it in a humane way, they have to release the child with a parent,” Cooper said.

Instead, the Trump administration has offered families a binary choice: stay together in detention or allow the children to be transferred to a sponsor or family member somewhere in the U.S.

The problem is “ICE makes a real horrible guardian of children … and so far ICE has opted to keep children detained … during a global pandemic,” Cooper said.

But now, under pressure of the looming July 17 deadline, Cooper said, “What we’re hoping is that ICE will do the humane thing, and not separate any child from their parents because that’s what the children want. That’s what our class members want. That’s what the advocates want. That’s what the parents want.”

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Queens judge tosses Trump family request to block publication of niece’s tell-all – CBS News

Melania Trump and “The Art of Her Deal”

Washington — A New York City judge on Thursday tossed out a request filed by President Trump’s younger brother that sought to block publication of a tell-all book written by the president’s niece, Mary Trump, set to hit shelves next month.

Judge Peter Kelly of the Queens County Surrogate’s Court said in his four-page ruling that the court lacks the jurisdiction to grant the request from Mr. Trump’s younger brother, Robert Trump, to halt the book’s release, as any relief should instead be obtained through action in the New York State Supreme Court.

Kelly said Robert Trump’s requests contained “several improprieties” and that his court is the “improper” forum for the request.

Theodore Boutrous, who is representing Mary Trump in the dispute, praised the decision, saying in a statement the request by the Trump family to stop publication was “baseless.”

“We hope this decision will end the matter,” Boutrous said. “Democracy thrives on the free exchange of ideas, and neither this court nor any other has authority to violate the Constitution by imposing a prior restraint on core political speech.” 

Charles Harder, who is representing Robert Trump, said in a statement that he “will proceed with filing a new lawsuit in the New York State Supreme Court.”

The book by Mary Trump, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” is set to be published July 28 by o be published by Simon & Schuster, a division of ViacomCBS. The publisher describes the book as a “revelatory, authoritative portrait of Donald J. Trump and the toxic family that made him.” Mary Trump is the daughter of Mr. Trump’s older brother, Fred Trump Jr., who died more than 30 years ago.

Earlier this week, Robert Trump filed a request with the Queens County Surrogate’s Court to block publication of Mary Trump’s book, claiming it would violate the terms of a nondisclosure agreement signed by the Trump family, including the president, his siblings, Mary Trump and his nephew Fred Trump III. The confidentiality agreement was part of probate proceedings in the estate of Mr. Trump’s father, Fred C. Trump, and mother, Mary Trump.

Harder said Robert Trump filed the matter in the Queens County Surrogate’s Court because he and and the family “agreed to jurisdiction of future disputes” there.

According to The Daily Beast, Mary Trump is expected to reveal in the book that she was a source for the New York Times in its bombshell investigation into Mr. Trump’s finances.

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