It’s a new kind of forever war for the Pentagon as battles play out in the courtroom and at the ballot box, with deeply emotional implications for female troops and ripple effects throughout American society.
Far from providing certainty, the Defense Department’s decision to fund out-of-state travel for female service members to obtain abortions has instead raised high-stakes questions and could create the most personal of political footballs.
Analysts say the looming challenges to the policy will break the legal ground.
The more immediate fights could be in the political arena. Without affirmation from federal courts, the policies adopted by the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs could easily be reversed by a future Republican president — and the next Democratic-led Defense Department could then undo that reversal.
Such back-and-forth would be reminiscent of the on-again, off-again Mexico City policy, which prohibits nongovernmental organizations from promoting abortions as a condition of receiving any US family planning funding. The Biden administration has accepted that policy. President Trump reinstated it in a series of partisan tit-for-tat moves since its inception under President Reagan.
The Justice Department says the Pentagon is on a solid legal footing to offer time off, travel reimbursement and other aid to female troops who, because of state laws, must seek legal abortions elsewhere. Supporters note that many large US bases are in the South and other conservative parts of the country where state legislatures have rushed to impose or reinstate abortion curbs.
SEE ALSO: Supreme Court leaves abortion pill access alone while case goes through courts
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin signaled his plans just days after the Supreme Court ruling in June. “I am committed to taking care of our people and ensuring the readiness and resilience of our forces. The department is examining this decision closely
Many Americans believe the country’s political leaders — especially leaders of the opposite party — have dangerously extremist views, are pushing the country in the wrong direction, and in some cases are corrupt. Moreover, divisions in the country seem to have dramatically widened over the last decade and show no signs of lessening.
Skepticism about U.S. leaders has even filtered down to perhaps the most respected of all U.S. institutions, the country’s Supreme Court. Increasingly, a make-or-break characteristic of a Supreme Court appointee seems to be his or her political views, prompting many to question the impartiality of justices with lifetime appointments to the nation’s highest judicial body.
Such concerns will doubtless be magnified by the April 28 media reports that Jane Roberts, the wife of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, was paid US$10.3 million by corporations and law firms for her services as a legal recruiter who placed high-priced attorneys at those entities over the eight-year period of 2007-2014.
At least one of the law firms (which paid her hundreds of thousands of dollars for her services) argued a case before the Chief Justice Roberts-led Supreme Court, and other law firms which paid Ms. Roberts could be seeking to do so as well. Justice Roberts has been Chief Justice of the Supreme Court since 2005.
Ms. Roberts continues to work as a legal recruiter or headhunter. Judge Roberts’ most recently filed financial disclosure makes no mention of the amount of money his wife makes, nor which firms
Jane Roberts was paid more than $10 million by a host of elite law firms, a whistleblower alleges.
At least one of those firms argued a case before Chief Justice Roberts after paying his wife hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Details of Jane Roberts’ work come as Congress struggles to reform the Court’s self-policed ethics.
Two years after John Roberts’ confirmation as the Supreme Court’s chief justice in 2005, his wife, Jane Sullivan Roberts, made a pivot. After a long and distinguished career as a lawyer, she refashioned herself as a legal recruiter, a matchmaker who pairs job-hunting lawyers up with corporations and firms.
Roberts told a friend that the change was motivated by a desire to avoid the appearance of conflicts of interest, given that her husband was now the highest-ranking judge in the country. “There are many paths to the good life,” she said. “There are so many things to do if you’re open to change and opportunity.”
And life was indeed good for the Robertses, at least for the years 2007 to 2014. During that eight-year stretch, according to internal records from her employer, Jane Roberts generated a whopping $10.3 million in commissions, paid out by corporations and law firms for placing high-dollar lawyers with them.
That eye-popping figure comes from records in a whistleblower complaint filed by a disgruntled former colleague of Roberts, who says that as the spouse of the most powerful judge in the United States, the income she earns from law firms who practice before the Court should be subject to public
May 1 (Reuters) – A lawyer in the Florida attorney general’s office has left to join U.S. law firm Boies Schiller Flexner, the firm said Monday.
Deputy Solicitor General Evan Ezray has rejoined the firm’s Fort Lauderdale, Florida office as a partner, the firm said. Ezray previously worked at the law firm co-founded by prominent lawyer David Boies from 2017 to 2020, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Ezray said he stayed in touch with his mentor at Boies Schiller — Stuart Singer, who co-leads the firm’s appellate practice — while in government service. When Singer talked about him rejoining the firm, “that was something I was really interested in,” Ezray added.
“We’re building a breadth of knowledge about appeals, especially appeals in Florida,” Ezray said about the Fort Lauderdale office.
The solicitor general is the chief appellate attorney for the state of Florida and part of the Florida attorney general‘s office. Boies Schiller touted Ezray’s experience working on cases before both the Florida Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Federal court records show Ezray represented a group of Florida state lawmakers who were subpoenaed by civil rights groups challenging Republican-backed voting restrictions, including limits on ballot drop boxes. The lawmakers successfully quashed the subpoenas after they volunteered to turn over documents to the groups.
U.S. District Judge Mark Walker in Tallahassee ruled in March 2022 that the voting restrictions intentionally discriminated against minority voters. But the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday upheld the restrictions.
Ezray’s arrival at Boies Schiller comes days after the Walt Disney Co sued Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, accusing him of illegally using the state government to punish the company for voicing an opinion that should be protected by free-speech rights.
An oversight board appointed by DeSantis on Monday said
A whistleblower from the legal recruiting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa says Jane Sullivan Roberts, the wife of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, was paid $10.3 million in commissions over seven years from her job as a headhunter at the company, where she placed attorneys with law firms—including at least one that argued a case before the Supreme Court after the placement was made.
Sullivan Roberts was paid the money between 2007 and 2014, having taken a job with the company two years after her husband was confirmed to the Supreme Court, according to a report out Friday from Business Insider.
The whistleblower, Kendal Price, said in a sworn affidavit in December that he believed “at least some of [Roberts’] remarkable success as a recruiter has come because of her spouse’s position.”
Price’s complaint was reported on earlier this year by Politicoand The New York Times, and Insider published new documents regarding the case.
“When I found out that the spouse of the chief justice was soliciting business from law firms, I knew immediately that it was wrong,” Price, who worked alongside Sullivan Roberts from 2011-2013 at Major, Lindsey & Africa, told Business Insider. “During the time I was there, I was discouraged from ever raising the issue. And I realized that even the law firms who were Jane’s clients had nowhere to go. They were being asked by the spouse of the chief justice for business worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and there was no one to complain to. Most of these firms were likely appearing or seeking to appear before the Supreme Court. It’s natural that they’d do anything they felt was necessary to be competitive.”
Insider noted that a spokesperson for the Supreme Court told The New York Times in a
A federal judge overseeing a bankruptcy filing from the US’s second-oldest Roman Catholic archdiocese has recused himself from the case amid scrutiny of his donations to the church as well as his close professional relationship with an attorney representing archdiocesan affiliates in insurance disputes.
Greg Guidry, who was appointed to the judicial bench at New Orleans’s federal courthouse by the Donald Trump White House in 2019, issued an order after 8pm on Friday recusing himself from a role handling appeals in a contentious bankruptcy involving nearly 500 clergy sexual abuse victims.
It came a week after the Associated Press reported that he had donated tens of thousands of dollars to the archdiocese before consistently ruling in favor of New Orleans’s Catholic church during its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. And Guidry’s ruling came hours after the Guardian had joined the AP in asking questions about a lawyer who was involved in making those donations while his firm defended archdiocesan-related ministries – such as assisted living homes – and the church itself as an employer in medical malpractice lawsuits.
“I do not believe [recusal] is mandated, and no party has filed a motion to [recuse] me,” Guidry’s order read. “However, balancing my duty to decide the case with my duty to consider self-recusal if appropriate, I have decided to recuse myself from this matter in order to avoid any possible appearance of personal bias or prejudice.”
Guidry’s order on Friday marked a stark reversal of course from just a week earlier, when he told attorneys involved in the bankruptcy case that a federal judiciary committee on codes of conduct had approved his continuing to handle appeals related to the case despite his giving nearly $50,000 to New Orleans-area Catholic charities from leftover contributions he received after serving 10 years in the elected
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A month after some members of Congress urged Google to limit the appearance of anti-abortion pregnancy centers in certain abortion-related search results, 17 Republican attorneys general are warning the company that doing so could invite investigations and possible legal action.
“Suppressing pro-life and pro-mother voices at the urging of government officials would violate the most fundamental tenet of the American marketplace of ideas,” the attorneys general wrote in a letter Thursday to Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and its parent company.
The effort was led by Republican Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares and Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, and the letter was shared with The Associated Press ahead of its public release.
The Republicans took issue with a June 17 letter to the company from US Mon. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, and Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Michigan, which was co-signed by 19 other members of Congress.
That letter cited research by the nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate, which found that Google searches for “abortion clinic near me” and “abortion pill” turned up results for centers that counsel clients against having an abortion.
Some of these places, known as crisis pregnancy centers, have also been accused of providing misleading information about abortion and contraception. Many are religiously affiliated.
“Directing women towards fake clinics that traffic in misinformation and don’t provide comprehensive health services is dangerous to women’s health and undermines the integrity of Google’s search results,” said the June letter, which was authored after the leak of a draft opinion indicating the US Supreme Court would overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. The court took that step June 24.
The Democrat-led group asked Google to address what steps it would take to limit the appearance of “crisis pregnancy
To address the insufficient number of volunteer IBP legal aid lawyers nationwide who are tasked to render free legal aid services to the poor and the underprivileged, the Supreme Court should consider bringing back the rule on CLAS. This is akin to the Doctors to the Barrios program of DOH.
Such was call made by the League of Provinces of the Philippines during its 7th General Assembly when its approved a resolution requesting Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo to bring back the CLAS Rule. LPP National President and Marinduque Governor Presbytero J. Velasco, Jr. explained that the CLAS Rule aims to “require new lawyers to provide free legal assistance of at least 120 hours to poorer sectors and give meaning to the constitutional mandate to guarantee access to legal assistance to individuals and groups with limited means.” With the CLAS, the flagship IBP project will be assured of additional IBP volunteer lawyers yearly with the new bar passers. CLAS will augment the overburdened the public attorneys.
The Supreme Court has earlier suspended the implementation of the CLAS Rule because of the seeming conflict with the Revised Law Student Practice Rule or Rule 138-A of the Rules of Court.
Gov. Velasco, who is also a retired Supreme Court associate justice himself, said there is no inconsistency between the two rules as in terms of implementation and monitoring, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines will on top of the CLAS Rule, while the Revised Law Student Practice The rule is the look out of the concerned law schools under their respective Clinical Legal Education Programs (CLEPs).
Among the advantages of resuming the CLAS Rule is ensuring that there will be adequate legal aid lawyers who will handle pro bono cases for the indigent persons who will otherwise become victims of injustice. This will
BUFFALO, NY (AP) — A former state Supreme Court justice and a former Democratic power broker from western New York were sentenced to prison on Thursday for their roles in a bribery scheme, which authorities say influenced judicial decisions and official appointments.
G. Steven Pigeon, the ex-chairman of the Erie County Democratic Committee, received a one-year sentence. Former Justice John Michalek received one year and four months.
However, Michalek’s sentence was put on hold until Sept. 9, after State Supreme Court Justice Donald Cerio Jr. granted an application from Michael’s lawyer.
Pigeon had pleaded guilty in 2018 to bribing the judge with hockey tickets and job promises in exchange for favors in legal cases. Michalek pleaded guilty and resigned from the bench in 2016. Both the judge and Pigeon, who was also a lawyer, have been disbarred.
The two “engaged in a deep web of deception and bribery that violated their duty to the public and the very laws Michalek swore to uphold” between 2012 and 2015, state Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement.
Pigeon’s sentence will run concurrently with a separate, four-month federal sentence he received Wednesday for admitting he arranged for a Canadian citizen to make an illegal $25,000 donation to a New York official’s reelection campaign.
Pigeon was also charged last December with sexually assaulting a child who was younger than 11, a charge he has denied. That case is pending in Erie County Court.
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