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Documents Legal, Laws, and Regs

Court Cases with Docket Sheets and Downloadable Documents

Following are the court cases I’m following and/or docket sheets and associated court documents provided by others:

Front Range Equine Rescue et al v. Vilsack et al: Several animal welfare groups and individuals sued the USDA for issuing horse meat inspection permits without conducting a proper NEPA review. This case is based on the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), and the USDA has provided the Administrative Record underlying its decision. I have both the AR index as well as the associated documents. Ongoing and frequently updated.

Animal Welfare Inc. et al vs. Feld Entertainment: (formerly ASPCA et al vs. Feld Entertainment) Several animal welfare groups and one individual sued Feld Entertainment for violations of the Endangered Species Act. The decision was in favor of Feld, and the animal welfare groups lost on appeal. The court is currently determining lawyer fees for the defendant. Ongoing but infrequently updated.

Feld Entertainment v. Animal Welfare Act Inc, et al: (formerly Feld Entertainment vs. ASPCA et al) Feld is suing several animal welfare groups and individuals under RICO based on activities associated with the previously listed ESA action. Ongoing and infrequently updated.

The Michael Brown Grand Jury documents – no court docket, but files used in the Michael Brown (Ferguson) grand jury. Includes all transcripts.

Categories
Legal, Laws, and Regs

A post-Roe world…15 years ago

There has been a lot of conjecture about what it means to have a post-Roe world. Can states make it illegal for women to travel to other states for an abortion? Can we talk about abortion services on the internet? Can abortion counselors work in anti-choice states?

Alito pretends that the issue of abortion is over and done; SCOTUS has figuratively wiped its hands and walked away. However, as he must have known, rather than settling law, Dobbs triggered chaos.

I went searching for writings on a post-Roe world and discovered an excellent paper by Harvard Law’s Richard Fallon Jr. The paper is titled “If Roe Were Overruled: Abortion and the Constitution in a Post-Roe World“. It’s freely available (no paywall). And it was published in 2007, 15 years before today’s turmoil.

The professor touches on all of the topics I opened with, and more. He asked the same questions we’re asking, and then provides enough explanation of the law for us to come away knowing there are no simple answers to any of them.

For instance, Kavanaugh seeks to reassure us that women will still have freedom to travel to other states to get the abortions they seek.

May a state bar a resident of that state from traveling to another state to obtain an abortion?” he wrote in a concurring opinion. “In my view, the answer is no based on the constitutional right to interstate travel.

However, as Professor Fallon carefully details, the pregnant individual may be able to travel to another state, but abortion providers in that state may not be able to provide the healthcare they need. And that’s the kicker: can a state forbid an abortion provider in another state from providing a service to the anti-choice state’s citizen?

In substance and effect, the Court would need to weigh one state’s interests in protecting fetal life against another state’s interests in making abortion within its territory a matter of individual conscience, and it would need to do so while, at the same time, taking account of the implications of national citizenship. So much for the idea that the overruling of Roe v. Wade would remove hard decisions about abortion regulation from the judicial province.

Not just interstate travel: could states punish a citizen for getting an abortion in another country? Could the people who assisted the person be criminally charged? Civilly sued? That trip to California or Canada may not be as straightforward as you think.

Frankly, Kavanaugh’s assurances on the freedom of interstate travel are just as duplicitous as his assurances about support for precedents.

I don’t think I understood until this week how much our freedoms, our rights, the very existence of our country and government, now seem to exist solely on the sufferance of the Supreme Court.

We only need to turn to the last page and the last paragraph of Professor Fallon’s work to see a summary of the post-Roe world we now live in (I added the emphasis):

As I have emphasized repeatedly, my aim is not to judge whether Roe v. Wade should be overruled. But when contemplating the possible eradication of that jurisprudential landmark, we ought to have a clear-eyed view of the constitutional consequences. If Roe were to go, it would not go gently. Instead, its departure would roil the waters of constitutional law and surrounding politics and churn up a host of new controversies. No matter how much the Supreme Court might wish to extricate itself from abortion debates, it could not imaginably do so.

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Legal, Laws, and Regs

We dissent

I woke up June 24 feeling little different than when waking up the day after Trump was elected President. I woke up knowing everything has changed, and not for the better.

Alito’s Dobbs decision gutting abortion rights in this country has triggered a massive upheaval in the rights of over half the population, and all because of five justices determined to impose their viewpoints and their beliefs on society. Five justices, of whom three were hastily selected by a President who didn’t even win the popular vote.

But it wasn’t just Roe v. Wade that was tossed out. No, this same group of people have enshrined gun rights as the second most important freedom, following that for religion…if you follow a specific type of religion. And they haven’t even begun their determined march into overthrowing everything that makes this country good. I suspect before the end of the week is out, we’ll see an attack on the very fabric of our government, as this small group of elites continues its unthinking drive to wreck havoc on our society. They’ve already hinted they’re coming after rights for the LGBTQ+ community and birth control.

Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan penned a very rare joint dissent against Alito’s pretense of a decision. In it, instead of using the usual “We respectfully dissent” they just wrote

“We dissent.”

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Critters Legal, Laws, and Regs

Feld Entertainment Circus Elephants Finally Find a Home

Take equal parts dealing with Trump as President and then COVID and you have an explanation for why I didn’t notice that there was a piece of outstandingly good news beginning in 2020.

The Feld Entertainment/Ringling Brothers elephants I had written about in the past have finally found a good and loving home in a sanctuary in northern Florida.

For years I followed the animal welfare court cases related to Feld Entertainment’s indifferent and callous care of the elephants in the organization’s famous circus. I had though of writing a book on the longest of the court cases, Animal Welfare Institute (formerly ASPCA) vs. Feld Entertainment. Even today, one of my most popular web pages is a PDF listing incidents with elephants in circuses in North America.

When Kenneth Feld retired the Ringling Brothers Circus, and the circus elephants, they were out of sight out of mind but we all knew their care would continue to be indifferent, their future dismal.

Now, the elephants run free at the White Oak sanctuary, in a lovely home with lakes and forests and they’re no longer chained up for days at a time on cold concrete.

Though Feld Entertainment is attempting to paint themselves in the best light with this move, they sold the elephants to the sanctuary; they did not give the elephants to the sanctuary. I suspect the reason why is equal parts Feld’s daughters telling him to move on and the cost and upkeep of the elephants when Feld Entertainment was hit by COVID losses. Regardless of the underlying reasons behind it all, we can celebrate the fact that Feld no longer has elephants and the elephants, and we, can all move on to something better.

 

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Government Legal, Laws, and Regs

What’s at risk with Kavanaugh’s Appointment

I would like to claim prescience for correctly guessing that Brett Kavanaugh would be the Supreme Court pick, but his choice was fairly obvious. And has been noted in various press publications, Justice Kennedy likely retired now  because he knew of Kavanaugh’s pick.

Kavanaugh’s rulings and writings are now being scrutinized, particularly when it comes to decisions that can impact on Roe v. Wade. Unfortunately, we’re so fixated on this one specific case that we’re ignoring the real threat that Kavanaugh’s appointment will be in the court.