Timely top­ics on ju­rists’ agenda

9th Cir­cuit fo­rum to ad­dress im­mi­gra­tion, elec­tion med­dling

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL - SUDHIN THANAWALA

SAN FRAN­CISCO — The na­tion’s largest fed­eral court cir­cuit has clashed re­peat­edly with President Don­ald Trump over the past six months, and the agenda for its an­nual meet­ing is not shy­ing away from top­ics that have stoked the president’s ire.

Im­mi­gra­tion, fake news and med­dling in the U.S. elec­tion are among the sub­jects to be dis­cussed or touched on at the four-day con­fer­ence of the 9th Cir­cuit courts in San Fran­cisco start­ing to­day.

Judges in the cir­cuit have blocked both of Trump’s bans on trav­el­ers from a group of mostly Mus­lim coun­tries and halted his at­tempt to strip fund­ing from so-called sanc­tu­ary cities.

Trump has fired back, re­fer­ring to a judge who blocked his first travel ban as a “so-called judge” and call­ing the rul­ing that up­held the de­ci­sion dis­grace­ful. Repub­li­cans have ac­cused the 9th Cir­cuit ap­peals court of a lib­eral slant and re­newed ef­forts to break it up — a move Trump sup­ports.

The 9th Cir­cuit’s spokesman, David Mad­den, ac­knowl­edged that some­one could see a con­nec­tion be­tween the con­fer­ence agenda and the ad­min­is­tra­tion, but he said there was no in­ten­tion to link the two.

At least some of the top­ics were timely even be­fore the elec­tion, and they all re­flect is­sues that could come be­fore judges in the cir­cuit, which in­cludes the 9th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals and district and bank­ruptcy courts in Cal­i­for­nia and eight other west­ern states, Mad­den said.

“We live in in­ter­est­ing times, and the court can­not choose which cases are brought be­fore it,” he said.

A panel to­day will discuss cases that set aside the con­vic­tions of men who re­sisted an ex­ec­u­tive or­der that led to the im­pris­on­ment of Ja­panese-Amer­i­cans dur­ing World War II. The pan­elists in­clude 9th Cir­cuit ap­peals court Judge Mary Schroeder and re­tired U.S. District Court Judge Mar­i­lyn Hall Pa­tel, each of whom ruled in a case chal­leng­ing such a con­vic­tion.

President Franklin D. Roo­sevelt’s or­der al­low­ing the U.S. gov­ern­ment to hold roughly 110,000 Ja­panese-Amer­i­cans in camps on the grounds of na­tional se­cu­rity turned 75 this year. It has drawn com­par­isons to Trump’s travel ban, which de­trac­tors say dis­crim­i­nates against Mus­lims.

An­other panel at the con­fer­ence will discuss pro­grams de­signed to keep peo­ple out of fed­eral prison. Trump’s at­tor­ney gen­eral, Jeff Ses­sions, has di­rected fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors to pur­sue the most se­ri­ous charges pos­si­ble against the vast ma­jor­ity of sus­pects, which will likely send more peo­ple to prison and for much longer terms.

Also to­day, the new­est Supreme Court jus­tice, Neil Gor­such, will speak to new U.S. cit­i­zens at a nat­u­ral­iza­tion cer­e­mony at the con­fer­ence. Jus­tice An­thony Kennedy — the 9th Cir­cuit’s li­ai­son on the U.S. Supreme Court — was sched­uled to give the talk, but can­celed af­ter his wife frac­tured her hip.

On Tues­day, a panel will discuss voter fraud, voter sup­pres­sion and “for­eign in­ter­fer­ence in U.S. elec­tions.” An­other panel will tackle fake news.

“Maybe the ap­pear­ance is that there’s some kind of re­sis­tance com­ing from the court,” said Carl To­bias, a law pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of Rich­mond School of Law who fol­lows the 9th Cir­cuit. “On the other hand, some of these is­sues are very top­i­cal and timely and in the district and ap­pel­late courts of the 9th Cir­cuit.”

The con­fer­ence will also fea­ture awards, trib­utes and panels about more in­nocu­ous sub­jects.

In ad­di­tion to rul­ing against Trump’s ex­ec­u­tive or­ders, 9th Cir­cuit judges have taken more direct swipes at the president.

Ninth Cir­cuit ap­peals court Judge Stephen Rein­hardt in a May opin­ion said a Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion or­der to de­port a man was “in­hu­mane.”

“President Trump has claimed that his im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies would tar­get the ‘bad hom­bres,’” Rein­hardt said. “The gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to re­move Ma­gana Ortiz shows that even the ‘good hom­bres’ are not safe.”

Ninth Cir­cuit ap­peals court Judge Alex Kozin­ski joined four fel­low con­ser­va­tive judges in an opin­ion in March that did not men­tion Trump by name but said “per­sonal at­tacks” on judges who blocked the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s first travel ban were “out of all bounds of civic and per­sua­sive dis­course.”

Kozin­ski said Thurs­day that he saw noth­ing un­usual or po­lit­i­cal about the pro­gram for the court cir­cuit’s meet­ing.

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