Todd Ruger

Supreme Court grapples with end of ‘Dreamers’ program
Decision next year could ultimately reshape decades-old immigration debate

A divided Supreme Court appeared reluctant Tuesday to undo the Trump administration’s decision to end an Obama-era program that gives nearly 700,000 so-called Dreamers the ability to work in the United States and avoid deportation.

During more than an hour of oral arguments, attorneys for challengers told the justices that the Department of Homeland Security — while it has the authority to end the discretionary program — did not adequately explain why the administration chose to do so.

Trump impeachment makes for tricky messaging for Democrats
As public hearings start, Democrats have to cut through complicated issues

House Democrats begin the public portion of their push to impeach President Donald Trump this week with what they say is a powerful case that the president used his office for personal political gain — but they face a high-stakes challenge to convey that to a sharply divided public.

The House Intelligence Committee has its first impeachment hearings scheduled for Wednesday and Friday following weeks of closed-door depositions. The witnesses testifying in the open come from the same roster of unknown diplomats and bureaucrats who in their private interviews detailed complex matters of foreign diplomacy that are unfamiliar to most Americans.

Supreme Court cases could stir politics on ‘Dreamers’
Suits challenge Trump attempt to revoke Obama deportation protections

The Supreme Court hears oral arguments Tuesday in a trio of cases with the potential to reshape the nearly two-decades-old push in Congress for more permanent protections for immigrants who arrived in the United States as children.

The cases center on whether the Trump administration properly decided to cancel an Obama-era program that gives nearly 700,000 so-called Dreamers the ability to work and avoid deportation to countries they left at such a young age that they may not even remember.

Trump judicial pick blows off Democrats’ questions on Ukraine
An appeals court nominee has ignored a request from Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, but still advances

An appeals court nominee has ignored a request from Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee to say whether he played a role in White House events now at the heart of the accelerating House impeachment probe — and Republicans haven’t let that halt his move through the confirmation process.

The committee voted 12-10 along party lines Thursday to advance the nomination of Steven Menashi, who works in the White House counsel’s office. President Donald Trump picked him for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit based in New York.

House Intelligence withdraws subpoena for key Ukraine witness
The committee withdrew a subpoena for former National Security Council official Charles Kupperman and doesn't plan to reissue it

The House Intelligence Committee told a federal judge Wednesday that it has withdrawn its subpoena in the impeachment inquiry for former National Security Council official Charles Kupperman and does not plan to reissue it.

The committee argues that the lawsuit Kupperman filed should now be moot because he “faces no pending, imminent, or foreseeable injury” for not complying with a subpoena.

Republicans push for whistleblower's identity, but not naming names — yet
President and his son encourage media to out the whistleblower, while lawyers caution liability

President Donald Trump and his congressional allies have created an uneasy tension on Capitol Hill around a push to out the whistleblower whose report launched the House impeachment inquiry, in the days since a right-wing outlet reported a name and work history without direct confirmation.

Trump, at the White House on Sunday, discussed the details of the report but didn’t mention the name and twice added: “I don’t know if that’s true or not.” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, mentioned a resume item at a Republican press conference Friday and on Fox News on Tuesday but didn’t say the name.

House presses subpoenas in pair of court hearings Thursday
The separation-of-powers fights about subpoenas are at the heart of the impeachment drama

House Democrats defended their congressional investigations in two different federal courtrooms on Thursday afternoon in Washington, in separation-of-powers fights about subpoenas at the heart of the impeachment drama.

First, the House Judiciary Committee pushed to enforce its subpoena of ex-White House Counsel Don McGahn to testify about what he told former Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe into potential obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump.

Democrats seize advantages in proposed impeachment rules
House Republicans raising complaints ahead of vote

House Democrats dealt themselves several advantages inside the rules for the public portion of the impeachment inquiry, which could have big implications for the speed and perceived fairness of the proceedings.

Under those rules, President Donald Trump’s lawyers couldn’t participate in the high-profile House Intelligence Committee hearings about the president’s dealings with Ukraine that are now central to the inquiry — and aren’t guaranteed a chance to later ask those witnesses questions or object to their testimony.

House Judiciary demands disclosure of grand jury materials
Panel says delay would cause ’severe harm’ as information is essential to impeachment investigation

The House Judiciary Committee told a judge Tuesday that a delay in receiving grand jury materials from former Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation would cause “severe harm” to the committee and the public because the information is essential to the House’s ongoing impeachment investigation.

The filing was among a flurry of court activity that started when Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Friday ordered the Justice Department to give the information to the committee. She gave them until Wednesday to do so.

Democrats control narrative in impeachment inquiry
Closed-door sessions, scheduling authority among weapons in disposal

House Democrats haven’t revealed their strategy for persuading a sharply divided public that President Donald Trump needs to be impeached, but they hold plenty of advantages as their fast-moving inquiry unfolds mainly behind closed doors for now.

Republican members of Congress who clamored for a more public airing of information from the House Intelligence Committee’s Ukraine-focused probe appear poised to soon get their wish. House Democrats say they want to make their case in public ahead of the political season next year.

Judge backs House Judiciary in ruling on Mueller materials
Grand jury information is key to Trump impeachment probe, panel has argued

A federal judge on Friday granted the House Judiciary Committee’s request for grand jury materials from former Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation — and in the process backed up some Democratic arguments about their power in the impeachment inquiry.

Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, in a 75-page ruling, ordered the Justice Department to turn over the documents by Wednesday. The Department is likely to appeal.

Supreme Court erases Michigan gerrymandering ruling
Justices decided in June that federal courts can’t rein in politicians who draw political maps to entrench a partisan advantage

The Supreme Court on Monday officially wiped out a lower court ruling from April that had struck down Michigan’s congressional map as giving an unconstitutional boost to Republicans.

The high court’s move was expected, since the justices decided in June that federal courts can’t rein in politicians who draw political maps to entrench a partisan advantage.

Congress has long sought to bar foreign campaign contributions
From the early days of the republic to cracking down on Nazis, a longtime consensus

In the decades before President Donald Trump asked Ukraine to launch an investigation into his main political rival in the upcoming presidential election, Congress tried again and again to keep foreign nationals out of American elections and government decisions.

The lawmakers’ adversaries over the years sound as if they come straight out of Hollywood scripts: the Nazi party in the 1930s, the Philippine sugar industry in the 1960s, a Greek industrialist in the 1970s, an international businessman turned Chinese government agent in the 1990s.

Federal judge rules Trump border wall declaration unlawful
Diversion of military funds violates fiscal 2018 omnibus spending law

A federal judge ruled Friday that President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration to divert military funding to a southern border wall is unlawful.

In a 33-page ruling, U.S. District Judge David Briones said Trump’s effort to divert more than $6 billion that Congress provided for military projects violates the fiscal 2019 omnibus spending law. 

Court sides with House in fight for Trump financial records
Appeals court ruling is unlikely to be the end of the case

A federal appeals court on Friday sided with the House Oversight and Reform Committee over President Donald Trump in a fight to enforce a subpoena for eight years of Trump’s financial records.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in a 2-1 decision, ruled that accounting firm Mazars USA must comply with the April 15 subpoena.

Democrats face consequences of skipping floor impeachment vote
House Democrats gave themselves political wiggle room, but the strategy also leaves open questions about the inquiry’s legitimacy

House Democrats gave themselves political wiggle room when they launched their impeachment inquiry without holding a floor vote, but that procedural strategy also left room for the White House and a federal judge to question the legitimacy of the push.

The White House, in a letter Tuesday criticized as advancing a legally flimsy argument, told the House it would not participate in an impeachment inquiry that hasn’t been authorized by the full House — which they argue means it isn’t “a valid impeachment proceeding.”

Judge questions keeping Mueller grand jury materials from House
During the hearing the judge voiced skepticism about the Justice Department’s reasons for opposing the release of materials

A federal judge in Washington on Tuesday appeared ready to give the House Judiciary Committee access to at least some of the secret grand jury materials from the Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation.

Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, throughout a two-hour hearing, voiced skepticism about the Justice Department’s reasons for opposing the release of materials to the committee as part of an impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump.

Congressional inaction drives LGBT rights case at Supreme Court
Court to hear arguments over whether protections based on ‘sex’ apply to gay, lesbian and transgender workers

The Supreme Court confronts a major civil rights issue Tuesday over how broadly the justices should read the word “sex” in a 55-year-old anti-discrimination law — and a key aspect is Congress’ current push to clarify that the law covers LGBT individuals.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits private companies from discriminating against employees on the basis of “sex,” seen at the time as a historic step for women’s rights.

Are LGBTQ workers protected by the Civil Rights Act? Supreme Court will decide

The Supreme Court on Tuesday will hear a trio of cases regarding LGBTQ workers' rights as they pertain to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Under Title VII, workplace discrimination "on the basis of sex" is prohibited, and the ruling from the Supreme Court will determine whether LGBTQ individuals, particularly those who are transgender, are covered under these rules.

Supreme Court term to be punctuated by presidential politics
Docket ‘almost guarantees’ court shifting further and faster to the right, expert says

The Supreme Court will confront ideological issues such as immigration and LGBT rights that have sharply divided Congress and the nation in a new term starting Monday that will bring more scrutiny to the justices during a heated presidential campaign season.

In many ways, the nine justices are still settling into a new internal dynamic with two President Donald Trump appointees in as many years. The court had few high-profile cases last term, amid the drama of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s confirmation that gripped the nation and solidified the court’s conservative ideological tilt.