The quiet before the storm: the week before the end of the Supreme Court’s term is usually a bit more chaotic, though due to the lack of action on the travel ban, and a shortage of blockbuster cases, everything was relatively quiet. Here are my commentary, lectures, and media hits over the past week.
- Six Possible Options for the Supreme Court’s Review of the Travel Ban, Lawfare (June 24, 2017).
- Cited in What’s Happening With The Travel Ban At The Supreme Court?, Buzzfeed (June 22, 2017).
- Quoted in New York attorney general scours social media to sue pro-life protesters, Washington Times (June 21, 2017).
Josh Blackman, a law professor at South Texas College of Law, said he understands why the lawsuit identified the defendants, but said it was “entirely gratuitous” to name dozens of other church members who aren’t being sued by the government.
Mr. Blackman also said the requested 16-feet buffer zone, according to the map displayed in the legal complaint, would only give the protesters two inches of space on one side of the clinic and seven inches on the other side.
“That would make it impossible for the defendants to stand on any street abutting the clinic. If enforced, people would have to yell across a busy Jamaica Avenue,” he said.
- Guest on the Michael Berry Show, AM740 KTRH Houston, to discuss Matel v. Tam (June 19, 2017).
- Quoted in Supreme Court ruling against censoring The Slants’ name bolsters Washington Redskins trademark case, Washington Times (June 19, 2017).
“All the justices agree that the government can’t ban speech because it may offend certain people,” said Josh Blackman, a professor at South Texas College of Law Houston. “In today’s day and age, that’s a fairly significant opinion that there’s agreement on this.”
Simon Tam, lead singer of The Slants, suggested there was a way to uphold his trademark while not deciding on broader issues that affect the football team’s name.
But the court said major First Amendment issues were at stake and chose to rule broadly, striking down the “disparagement clause” in trademark law.
Mr. Blackman said it’s likely the case clears the path for the Redskins but pointed out a difference between the cases. Mr. Tam said he was trying to reclaim the slur “slants” as a symbol of racial justice on behalf of Asian-Americans.
The Redskins haven’t made that argument about their team name.
“So there might be some grounds of distinction there,” said Mr. Blackman.
- Guest on Houston Public Media, Implications For Texas As Supreme Court Considers Gerrymandering Case (June 19, 2017) (Audio).
- Cited in If Trump Is Violating Emoluments Clause, So Did George Washington, Polizette (June 19, 2017).
- Quoted in Trump Tweets Pose Increasingly Serious Political, Legal Risks, Polizette (June 19, 2017).
In tweeting about Rosenstein’s appointment of Mueller, he’s throwing under the bus his No. 2 guy,” Blackman said, adding, “Will all this matter? Ultimately, I don’t think it will matter because this is not going to go to court. But he’s complicating his lawyer’s case.”
Blackman said there are some parallels to the legal fight over Trump executive orders that temporarily banning travelers from certain terrorism-compromised countries. Judges in those cases have cited Trump’s statements, including his tweets.
Blackman said Trump blew apart Justice Department lawyers’ carefully crafted defense by calling it a “travel ban” in a tweet. That practice can hurt Trump in other contexts.
- Quoted in Federalist Society becomes progressives’ new bogeyman, Washington Times (June 18, 2017).
Josh Blackman, a law professor at South Texas College of Law who often speaks at Federalist Society events, said the network of the group’s lawyers is so large that some inside the Trump administration are even members.
“If you are a prominent respective lawyer who is on the conservative side of the spectrum, the odds are you will be a member of the society,” Mr. Blackman said. “This is not some sort of vast right-wing conspiracy, as some are trying to paint it.”