Posted tagged ‘ACLU’

Phoenix Becomes Illegal Alien Sanctuary after Leftist Group Orders it in Private Meeting with Police Chief

August 23, 2017

Phoenix Becomes Illegal Alien Sanctuary after Leftist Group Orders it in Private Meeting with Police Chief, Judicial Watch, August 22, 2017

Arizona’s largest city recently became a sanctuary for illegal aliens after its police chief held a private meeting with a leftist group that demanded a change in immigration enforcement policies, records obtained by Judicial Watch show. The closed-door session between Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams and Will Goana, policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Arizona, occurred just weeks before the Phoenix Police Department quietly implemented a new policy banning officers from contacting the feds after arresting an illegal alien and forbidding them from asking about suspects’ immigration status. The new order violates key provisions of a state law upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court and leaves the city vulnerable to costly lawsuits.

Judicial Watch exposed the abrupt policy revision last month after obtaining a copy of the Phoenix Police Department’s new sanctuary Immigration Procedures and filed a public records request to uncover the steps that led to the change. Law enforcement sources told Judicial Watch in July that the revisions were crafted by a Hispanic advisory committee that promotes open borders with the backing of the influential ACLU. It appears to be part of a broader scheme to dodge federal immigration laws in Arizona’s most populous county. Earlier this year Judicial Watch reported that the newly elected sheriff in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, was releasing hundreds of criminal illegal immigrants—including violent offenders—from county jail facilities to protect them from deportation.

The new records obtained by Judicial Watch show that an ACLU offshoot known as People Power attempted to meet with Williams, who became chief on October 28, 2016, on April 19, 2017 to order the policy change. It’s not clear if that meeting took place, but it appears that it did not and People Power called in the big guns at the ACLU. That’s when Goana, who also lobbies the Arizona legislature on civil liberties issues, met privately with the chief, on May 9, according to the records. People Power reps followed up with a meeting request on May 16 to discuss the Phoenix Police Department’s immigration policy changes with Chief Williams, the records show. The meeting occurred on June 9, about a week after Phoenix City Manager Ed Zuercher met with People Power and gave the group a glowing review. In his assessment, the city manager describes the leftist group as “one of the most reasonable groups I’ve talked with” and says it consisted of “a former high school teacher, a magazine editor, 2 attys, a massage therapist, and two Hispanic advocates who I’ve never seen before.” On June 29, Chief Williams had a follow-up meeting with the ACLU and People Power regarding the changes to the immigration policy, the records show.

People Power was launched by the ACLU as a direct response to the “Trump administration’s attacks on civil liberties and civil rights.” It recruits local activists to pressure law enforcement and elected officials to commit to the following demands: Not ask people about immigration status; Decline to engage in the enforcement of immigration law; Refuse to detain immigrants on behalf of the federal government unless there is a warrant signed by a judge. Thanks in large part to the group’s efforts, the 3,000 officers in the Phoenix Police Department have been stripped of discretion from addressing the crime of illegal immigration or using sound judgement when it involves suspects thought to be in the U.S. illegally. No other federal crime in department policy has those restrictions. Officers continue to have the discretion to contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Secret Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Postal Inspectors, U.S. Marshalls and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) without fear of violating department policy.

Allowing officers to use their discretion when dealing with criminal aliens has been an effective tool in curbing crime. In 2008, former Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris revealed that a 24% decrease in homicides and a 26% decrease in auto thefts could be partly attributed to “a new immigration policy that allows our officers to use their discretion when dealing with criminal aliens” and “unprecedented cooperation between our investigative units and our state, federal, and local partners (Maricopa County Attorney’s Office).” Border patrol contacts in the Tucson Sector reported that in the same fiscal year (2008 – October to September) they saw a 41% decrease in border apprehensions. Nevertheless, on July 24 the new restrictive immigration policy went into effect at the Phoenix Police Department at the request of an open borders coalition. Now officers can’t even use the term “illegal alien,” which has been officially replaced with “unlawfully present.”

Supreme Court Expedites Trump’s Petition on Executive Order Case

June 4, 2017

Supreme Court Expedites Trump’s Petition on Executive Order Case, BreitbartKen Klukowski, June 3, 2017

Molly Riley Reuters

On Friday, the Supreme Court rapidly expedited everything. The ACLU—which represents the plaintiffs—have been ordered to file their response by 3:00 p.m. on Monday, June 12. The ACLU lawyers must also respond to DOJ’s application for a stay by that time.

The Court could conceivably then vote immediately on whether to take the case, or anytime shortly thereafter. Under a normal briefing schedule, the Court would then hear arguments in October, and issue a decision by the end of 2017.

It’s also possible that the Court could accelerate briefing on an emergency basis, then hold arguments over the summer, or possibly even in June before recessing for the summer. The Court could make clear by the week of June 12 which course it is pursuing.

***********************************

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Supreme Court took the rare step on Friday of expediting consideration of a major case, rapidly accelerating the schedule for reviewing the Fourth Circuit’s blocking of President Donald Trump’s travel ban executive order.

President Trump issued Executive Order 13780 (EO) on March 6, Section 2(c) of which temporarily restricted travel from six Muslim-majority countries associated with terrorism while the United States developed new vetting procedures to keep the nation safe.

Immigration activists sued, along with several immigrants and their families. A liberal federal district judge in Maryland granted a preliminary injunction blocking Section 2(c) of the EO. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit then affirmed the trial court’s injunction in a 10-3 decision, ruling that the EO violated the Constitution’s Establishment Clause, and taking the almost unheard-of step of all the court’s judges hearing the case, instead of sending it to a three-judge panel.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a petition for review at the Supreme Court on Thursday. Under the Court’s rules, a response from the plaintiffs would be due July 3. By that time the Court would be on recess for the summer, meaning that the justices would vote at the Court’s annual pre-Term conference, which will take place on September 25, on whether to take the case. That would typically mean hearing arguments in December or January, with a final decision coming down in early or mid-2018.

Acting Solicitor General Jeff Wall at DOJ also asked Chief Justice John Roberts (who supervises the Fourth Circuit) to stay the appellate court’s decision until the justices can decide the matter.

On Friday, the Supreme Court rapidly expedited everything. The ACLU—which represents the plaintiffs—have been ordered to file their response by 3:00 p.m. on Monday, June 12. The ACLU lawyers must also respond to DOJ’s application for a stay by that time.

The Court could conceivably then vote immediately on whether to take the case, or anytime shortly thereafter. Under a normal briefing schedule, the Court would then hear arguments in October, and issue a decision by the end of 2017.

It’s also possible that the Court could accelerate briefing on an emergency basis, then hold arguments over the summer, or possibly even in June before recessing for the summer. The Court could make clear by the week of June 12 which course it is pursuing.

The case is Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project, No. 16-1436.

Look Who Is Gutting the First Amendment!

August 26, 2016

Look Who Is Gutting the First Amendment!

by Johanna Markind

August 26, 2016 at 5:00 am

Source: Look Who Is Gutting the First Amendment!

  • “The [American Bar Association] wants to do exactly what the text calls for: limit lawyers’ expression of viewpoints that it disapproves of. … state courts and state bars should resist the pressure to adopt it.” — Eugene Volokh, UCLA law professor and Washington Post columnist.
  • The language of Resolution 109 is “so broad it could mean anything… a kind of a speech code that restricts perfectly acceptable speech… anything you say might offend someone and therefore you can be punished for it.” — Ilya Shapiro, Cato Institute.
  • The ABA declined to answer questions for this article, as did the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The ACLU, which calls itself “our nation’s guardian of liberty,” and touts itself as fighting for “your right… to speak out – for or against – anything at all,” has not issued any statements or press releases about the model rule revision.

The struggle between free speech and speech codes that are intended to prevent harassment and discrimination appears set to leap from college campuses to law offices around the United States.

On August 8, 2016, the American Bar Association (ABA) approved resolution 109, which curtails freedom of speech. The approved resolution amended its model rule of professional conduct 8.4. It prohibits

“conduct that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know is harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or socioeconomic status in conduct related to the practice of law.”

The official comment explains:

“discrimination includes harmful verbal or physical conduct that manifests bias or prejudice towards others. Harassment includes sexual harassment and derogatory or demeaning verbal or physical conduct.”

The model rule is non-binding, but has potentially great influence on professional conduct rules that state courts require lawyers to follow. Should state courts adopt the change, lawyers found to violate it could be sanctioned and possibly disbarred. Because professional rules are legally binding on lawyers, the prospect that states may regulate “verbal conduct” implicates First Amendment concerns.

The ABA declined to answer questions for this article, as did the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The ACLU, which calls itself “our nation’s guardian of liberty,” and touts itself as fighting for “your right… to speak out – for or against – anything at all,” has not issued any statements or press releases about the model rule revision.

Ilya Shapiro, Cato Institute’s senior fellow in constitutional studies and editor-in-chief of Cato’s Supreme Court Review, views the ABA resolution as “a kind of a speech code that restricts perfectly acceptable speech. It’s like safe spaces on college campuses, where anything you say might offend someone and therefore you can be punished for it.”

Many American colleges, motivated at least partly by a desire to protect members of growing minority populations on campus, have adopted speech codes. The codes have arguably fostered a culture chilling free speech, enabling people who claim offense to shut down dissenting voices. The past two years, for example, have witnessed members of a student government impeached for wearing mini-sombreros to a tequila-themed party, a college master hounded into resigning for publicly disagreeing with a college’s cautionary note not to don offensive Halloween costumes, and a professor accused of racism and pressured into taking a sabbatical for supporting the state of Israel’s fight against a recognized terrorist organization.

Paul Kazaras, assistant executive director and staff counsel to the professional guidance commission of the Philadelphia Bar Association, agrees that college speech codes are problematic, but says:

“I think this [ABA resolution] is something fundamentally different. We are talking about a profession having ethical rules that already restrict lawyers, and what’s more, Pennsylvania’s Constitution gives its Supreme Court the authority to regulate the practice of law. There needs to be a way to make sure lawyers act ethically.”

Kazaras believes the change is needed to address bias that is still pervasive in some places, which has “no place in a professional world.” By adding an affirmative duty to lawyers’ ethical obligations, Kazaras says, junior lawyers and other law office employees have a needed tool to cope with special hardships they face in rectifying harassment. According to Kazaras,

“In most workplaces, if a senior manager harasses someone below him/her, the victim can complain through HR [human resources]. HR will then approach the manager and explain, ‘You can’t do this anymore.’ That doesn’t fit within law firm culture. It’s hard for a woman, person of color, person with disabilities, etc., to say, ‘You can’t treat me that way.'”

Laws already exist regulating the work environment, Kazaras notes, and adds, “I think compliance with the new ethics rule should in fact lower the instances of litigation by employees against law firms, and that is a good thing.”

Ilya Shapiro acknowledges that lawyers are already restricted by special rules — for instance, rules limiting lawyers’ speech by requiring them to be courteous to opposing counsel and parties — but believes the proposed model rule change “goes far beyond any existing ethical guidelines. I think it’s a much bigger step” than existing rules, says Shapiro, “like boiling a frog.”

Shapiro believes the revision also “goes far beyond existing employment laws barring harassment.” Workplace harassment, Shapiro explains, “is limited to conduct so offensive and pervasive that it creates a hostile work environment.” By contrast, the language of Resolution 109 is “so broad it could mean anything.” If someone believes he or she is being harassed, Shapiro argues, that person might be able to make a colorable claim under the model rule.

Eugene Volokh, a UCLA law professor who authors a Washington Post column on free speech issues, has written that the new model rule is significantly broader than existing workplace harassment laws, both in terms of what statements are covered, and in what settings they may be prohibited. For example, he fears that a lawyer presenting at a continuing legal education (CLE) program, who makes a statement critical of, say, homosexuals or Muslims in the course of the program, may thereby violate professional rules based on the new ABA guideline.

Kazaras, a longtime ethics consultant for the Philadelphia Bar Association, doubts statements made for the purpose of instruction during a CLE program could lead to liability.

Regardless of how that particular issue plays out, Volokh infers from the fact that the ABA moved ahead and adopted the new model rule, despite the many objections raised, “that the ABA wants to do exactly what the text calls for: limit lawyers’ expression of viewpoints that it disapproves of.” State courts and state bars, Volokh writes, “should resist the pressure to adopt it.”

Johanna Markind is an attorney who writes about public policy and criminal justice.

ACLU lawyers blame ‘Christian right,’ GOP for Orlando terrorist attack

June 12, 2016

ACLU lawyers blame ‘Christian right,’ GOP for Orlando terrorist attack, Washington ExaminerJoel Gehrke, June 12, 2016

Christian conservatives are responsible for the mass shooting at a gay bar in Orlando because they “created this anti-queer climate,” according to American Civil Liberties Union attorneys.

“You know what is gross — your thoughts and prayers and Islamophobia after you created this anti-queer climate,” ACLU staff attorney Chase Strangio tweeted on Sunday morning.

About 50 people were killed last night by Omar Mateen, a U.S. citizen born to Afghan parents suspected to have “leanings toward extreme Islamic ideologies.” The FBI is investigating the attack as a “domestic terror incident.”

But Strangio — who “spend[s his] life fighting Christian homophobia while being loved & supported by [his] Muslim family” — and his colleagues connected the shooting back to Christians and Republican politicians who oppose gay marriage. “The Christian Right has introduced 200 anti-LGBT bills in the last six months and people blaming Islam for this,” Strangio tweeted. “No.”

Another ACLU attorney who specializes in religious liberty issues scolded Republican lawmakers who tweeted out their condolences. “Remember when you co-sponsored extreme, anti-LGBT First Amendment Defense Act?” the ACLU’s Eunice Rho tweeted at Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and other Republicans,

House Speaker Paul Ryan was careful not to jump to conclusions about the attacker on Sunday morning. “We pray for those brutally attacked in Orlando,” Ryan tweeted. “While we must learn more about the attacker, the victims & families will not be forgotten.”

Strangio rebuffed that message as well. “But there will be no self-reflection and people like you will continue to fuel and embolden this type of hatred,” he wrote in a retweet of Ryan’s note.