Government Policies Under Scrutiny

  • Congress narrowly rejects proposal for military to conduct a ‘strategic assessment’ of Islam

    Source: Star Tribune. The Pentagon won’t be conducting a threat assessment of Islam after all.Tucked into a massive military spending bill was a provision that would have required the Department of Defense to study “the use of violent or unorthodox Islamic religious doctrine to support extremist or terrorist messaging.” A narrow majority of the U.S. House of Representatives — including all but one of the members from Minnesota — stripped that proposal out of the bill on Friday. Ellison questioned why a study of religious extremism would focus on just a single faith.

     
  • Appeals court rules against Trump’s revised travel ban

    Source: The Wall Street Journal. A federal appeals court rejected President Donald Trump’s request to reinstate his executive order on immigration, ruling Thursday that the president’s temporary ban on travelers from six Muslim-majority countries “drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination.” The sharply worded ruling from the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., is one in a series of legal setbacks for the White House and sets the stage for the Supreme Court to resolve the matter.

     
  • Orlando death during Boston bombing probe prompts new lawsuit

    Source: Orlando Sentinel. The parents of Ibragim Todashev filed a new wrongful death lawsuit in Orlando against the U.S. government, two FBI agents and two Massachusetts state troopers, over the 2013 death of their son in his Orlando apartment. According to the suit, the evidence from the shooting and the autopsy, doesn’t match the official account of what happened. Officers had accused Todashev of attacking them with a pipe, just after he agreed to sign a statement implicating himself and bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

     
  • Judge lets lawsuit by Muslim mistaken for terrorist proceed

    Source: Associated Press. A federal judge says a Muslim woman has made plausible claims that Chicago police violated her rights by mistakenly identifying her last year as a potential “lone wolf” terrorist as she left a subway station. The Chicago ruling means Itemid Al-Matar’s lawsuit alleging officers pulled off her headscarf and face veil and strip-searched her can proceed. It rejects the city’s request to dismiss the suit.

     
  • Judge approves settlement to install civilian watchdog on NYPD surveillance of Muslims

    Source: Daily News. A federal judge has formally approved a settlement that installs a civilian watchdog on an NYPD surveillance panel to protect Muslims from unconstitutional monitoring, the Daily News has learned. Under the agreement, the civilian monitor would sit on the NYPD committee that reviews surveillance ops — and would have the power to directly tell the court about his or her concerns over the constitutionality of ongoing operations.

     
  • Trump’s revised travel ban is denounced by 134 foreign policy experts

    Source: The New York Times. More than 130 members of America’s foreign policy establishment denounced President Trump’s revised travel ban on Friday as just as damaging to the United States’ interests and reputation as his original order that halted refugees and froze travelers from predominantly Muslim countries.

     
  • See you in court

    Source: Vice News. Within days of President Donald Trump’s first executive order halting travel to the United States from seven majority-Muslim countries, states and organizations filed a flurry of lawsuits to fight the ban. And though Trump issued a revised ban Monday, many of those states and organizations believe the policies are so similar that they don’t even need to file new lawsuits.

     
  • Steve Bannon’s presence on the National Security Council is not just terrible. It’s illegal.

    Source: Slate. President Trump’s executive order giving Steve Bannon a seat on the National Security Council’s Principals Committee appears to be a violation of federal law. According to Title 50 of the U.S. Code, Section 3021, which established the National Security Council, it “shall be composed of” the president; the vice president; the secretaries of state, defense, and energy; and “the secretaries and undersecretaries of other executive departments and of the military departments, when appointed by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to serve at his pleasure.” As the president’s chief political strategist, Bannon is not a secretary or undersecretary of any department. Nor, as a member of the White House staff, has he been confirmed by the Senate. So he is not eligible to serve on the NSC.

     
  • Customs and border officials defy court order on lawful residents

    Source: The Huffington Post. The U.S. government must “permit lawyers access to all legal permanent residents being detained at Dulles International Airport,” a federal judge in Virginia ordered late Saturday. But U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at this airport outside Washington, D.C., are defying the judge’s order, blocking attorneys from talking to the lawful permanent residents CBP is detaining here.

     
  • Here legally, detained for months

    Source: Vice News. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a class-action lawsuit over immigrant detention, the jail system where people facing deportation for everything from minor offenses like shoplifting to major crimes such as murder are locked up while their cases are resolved. Unlike in the criminal justice system, where defendants typically appear in court within a day of being arrested and a judge decides whether they’re eligible for bail, immigrants — including lawful permanent residents — can be held indefinitely, sometimes for years.