Demonstrators on both sides of the abortion issue gathered outside the Supreme Court for yesterday’s argument in June Medical Services. The Center for Reproductive Rights distributed the teal colored knit caps shown in the banner sketch above. Below is a bird’s-eye ( drone’s-eye? ) view of the courtroom with virtually every seat filled for the argument. Actually, more seats were added in the aisles of the public section, and I should have added them.
On Tuesday, in Seila Law LLC v. CFPB, the Court heard argument on the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Board and whether the director of the board can be removed by the president “at will” or only “for cause”.
Also on Tuesday, the Court heard Liu v. SEC, for which I stuck around for one sketch.
Cowpasture! What a great title. And an excuse to put the justices on the Appalachian Trail. United States Forest Service v. Cowpasture River Preservation Association, concerning a proposed natural gas pipeline running under the AT, is also of interest to my wife, a longtime member of one of the Appalachian Trail Conference associated clubs. She also happens to be involved in different gas pipeline lawsuit, this one in Baltimore’s Leakin Park. She was able to get a seat for the argument so I had the rare pleasure of driving into work with Bridget.
There were, of course, other arguments as well as opinions to sketch in this first week of the February sitting, and I sketched a few. But mostly I used my time in the courtroom preparing for next week’s blockbusters on abortion and the CFPB.
Roger Stone’s sentencing became big news when, last week, all four Justice Department lawyers who had prosecuted the case quit after their sentencing memorandum was withdrawn the day after Trump tweeted that it was unfair and too harsh. Attorney General Barr said there was no communication with the White House on the decision to intervene, and went so far as to protest (methinks too much?) that the president’s tweeting made it difficult for him to do his job. A new watered-down sentencing recommendation was produced, and signed by Assistant US Attorney John Crabb.
Asked by Judge Amy Berman Jackson whether he actually wrote the second filing, AUSA Crabb demurred saying, “I’m not at liberty to discuss the internal deliberations in DOJ.”
In the end Judge Jackson imposed a sentence of forty months, well below the seven to nine years initially recommended, but not before chastising at length both Stone and the Department of Justice.