Trump Fires FBI Director James Comey

TRUMP FIRES F.B.I. DIRECTOR COMEY: President Trump has fired James B. Comey, the director of the F.B.I. and the top official conducting the criminal investigation into whether or not Trump and Trump’s advisers worked with the Russian government to affect the 2016 presidential election, reported The New York Times.

In a statement on Comey’s firing, Nan Aron, president of our sister organization Alliance for Justice, called for a special prosecutor to investigate the “corruption crisis engulfing the administration. This crisis has grown to alarming proportions and the future of our republic is literally at stake,” said Aron. “As was abundantly clear from his record, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is completely incapable of acting as an independent check on an out-of-control executive branch, and the Justice Department he leads now seems infected with the same weakness.

AFJ also called for a halt to any further action on Trump’s judicial nominees, stating that Trump “and this administration are far too compromised to be allowed to pack the courts with judges whose willingness to check inappropriate or illegal executive actions would be seriously in question.”

Over 100 members of Congress have also called for an independent commission or special prosecutor to investigate Trump’s involvement with Russia’s meddling in the election, according to Mother Jones. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected all of these bipartisan calls, claiming a new investigation would “impede the current work being done.”​

 

Wednesday Gavel Grab Briefs

In these other dispatches about fair and impartial courts:

  • USA Today reported about a ruling on Tuesday, “The Supreme Court deadlocked Tuesday for the third time since Justice Antonin Scalia’s death left it with only eight members, but it found a narrow way to settle a spat over taxes between California and Nevada.”
  • Reporting on a decision by the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a New York Times headline said, “Appeals Court Favors Transgender Student in Virginia Restroom Case.”

Tuesday Gavel Grab Briefs

In these other dispatches about fair and impartial courts:

  • A panel of federal judges rejected a request by U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown to throw out congressional boundaries in a map approved earlier by the state Supreme Court, after a long fight, The Associated Press said.
  • Following New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s recent nomination of Walter Timpone for the state Supreme Court, New Jersey Law Journal reported, “NJ Judicial Crisis Nearing an End.”

Monday Gavel Grab Briefs

In these other dispatches about fair and impartial courts:

  • The Ledger reported the following about a Polk County, Florida judge: “Reprimanded Bartow judge raises $65,000 in uncontested re-election campaign.”
  • Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve, an assistant professor of criminal justice at Temple University, wrote in a New York Times op-ed that racism is pervasive not only in the Chicago Police Department but also in the city’s criminal courts.

Wednesday Gavel Grab Briefs

In these other dispatches about fair and impartial courts:

  • Legislation has been introduced in Illinois after three St. Clair County judges said they planned to quit their jobs to run for partisan election, rather than retention. MadisonRecord.com reported, “Meier’s bill would shut down future attempts of judges seeking to run for election instead of retention.”
  • The Gazette reported that Iowa State Court Administrator David Boyd predicted a bleak outlook for court operations and employees given that the upcoming state budget probably will not include a requested court budget increase of millions.

Thursday Gavel Grab Briefs

In these other dispatches about fair and impartial courts:

  • The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, “The chairman of the board that serves as a watchdog over the state’s judges resigned Tuesday, writing that the work of the Judicial Qualifications Commission is threatened by political and other outside forces that are interested only in protecting jurists connected to the right people.”
  • A headline in The Philadelphia Inquirer said, “Pa. lawmakers move to delay vote on judicial retirement age.”
  • DailyNewsx, an online news website, had an article saying a New Jersey Supreme Court nominee picked by Gov. Chris Christie “also sits in limbo” for confirmation in the same manner as U.S. Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.

Wednesday Gavel Grab Briefs

In these other dispatches about fair and impartial courts:

  • In the race for a West Virginia Supreme Court seat, two candidates who are receiving public financing have spent in the six figures, according to The Associated Press. These candidates, incumbent Justice Brent Benjamin and attorney Bill Wooton, are among five candidates for the court.
  • An American Prospect article is headlined, “Right to Counsel for Louisiana’s Indigent Defendants Remains at Risk.”

Tuesday Gavel Grab Briefs

In these other dispatches about fair and impartial courts:

  • Gavel to Gavel, a publication of the National Center for State Courts, reported about action in the Maryland legislature, “Senate Approves Plan To Increase Mandatory Judicial Retirement Age From 70 To 73, But Sitting Judges Would Need Governor’s Permission To Get Increase.”
  • A bill in the Rhode Island House would require that certain judicial seats currently occupied by a “person of color” must be filled in the future by another judge who is a “person of color,” according to Gavel to Gavel. Another bill would require that one-third of the seats on the Judicial Nominating Commission be held by “persons of color.”

Thursday Gavel Grab Briefs

In these other dispatches about fair and impartial courts:

  • Huffington Post reports about a law passed in the wake of violence in Ferguson, “Missouri Judge Guts Law Written To Curb Money-Hungry Municipal Courts.”
  • New Hampshire Public Radio says former state Public Defender  Dorothy Graham’s nomination to the Superior Court was “scuttled after a conservative website accused her of a ‘history of trying to get child rapists off on technicalities.’” She has accepted a job with the New England office of the Federal Public Defender.
  • As Oklahoma legislators weigh a change to the way top judges are chosen (see Gavel Grab), law professor Andrew Spiropoulos of  Oklahoma City University writes in The Journal Record, “Right Thinking: Restoring balance to judicial selection system.”

Tuesday Gavel Grab Briefs

In these other dispatches about fair and impartial courts:

  • A nonprofit group called Court Reform LLC issued a report finding that California’s judicial disciplinary agency is too secretive and lenient, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.
  • A New York Times article about retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was headlined, “A Supreme Court Pioneer, Now Making Her Mark on Video Games.” Justice O’Connor is First Honorary Chair of Justice at Stake.
  • KVIA.com has a news report from El Paso, Texas that’s titled, “County researching pulling funding for judge defense in recusals.”