Good morning,

Welcome to Cause of Action Institute’s morning clips and updates – you can also read and share the clips by clicking here. The  U.S. Supreme Court kicks off its October 2018 term today. I’ve included a quick summary on two cases before the Court this week that Cause of Action Institute is following closely.

Have a great Monday and enjoy!


Matt Frendewey
Cause of Action Institute
O (202) 499-4231


Weyerhaeuser Company v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Today, the Court will hear oral arguments in Weyerhaeuser Company v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This case involves the federal government designating 1,500 acres of private land as “critical habitat” for the endangered dusky gopher frog.  The question that we discuss in our amicus brief is whether the agency’s refusal to consider the economic impact of its decision is subject to judicial review. We argue that the court of appeals below ignored the strong presumption of judicial review and the Supreme Court should reverse.
You can read more about the case in our Aug. 22 blog, as well as our amicus curiae brief.


Gundy v. United States

Another case we’re following closely is Gundy v. United States. This case is scheduled to be heard tomorrow and raises a question of whether the Executive Branch can exercise legislative authority by defining the scope of federal criminal liability even though neither the Constitution nor Congress has given the Executive Branch the power. We joined the Cato Institute and filed an amicus brief arguing that the founders specifically intended for the powers of making laws and enforcing laws to be separated, quoting John Adams, “[t]he executive shall never exercise the legislative and judicial powers . . . to the end it may be a government of laws and not of men.” This is especially true in the area of criminal laws, where we must ensure that Congress and not the Executive determines liability.
You can read the full amicus curiae brie here.


nprSupreme Court Term Begins In The Shadow Of Kavanaugh Confirmation Battle – By Bobby Allyn

As the Senate remains in a pitched battle over the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court on Monday will begin its new term with far less fanfare. … The very first case the Court will take up concerns a frog species that is threatened with extinction: the dusky gopher frog. Weyerhaeuser., a large timber company, is challenging the federal government’s classification of Louisiana timberland as a “critical habitat” for the dusky gophers. There are only 75 dusky gopher frogs left in the wild and they are protected by the Endangered Species Act.


New York TimesA Quiet Docket May Be Just the Right Medicine for the Supreme Court – By Adam Liptak

In the shadow of a titanic confirmation fight, the Supreme Court will return to the bench on Monday with a docket that offers an opportunity to lower the temperature.


The HillTariff-exemption process raises serious cronyism concerns – By John Vecchione

The tit-for-tat trade war involving tariffs continues to grow between the U.S. and other countries, and as night follows day, where there are tariffs, there is the corrupt prize of tariff exemptions. A new, domestic trade war has emerged within the Commerce Department in an effort to secure and block tariff exemptions.


PoliticoLiberals Don’t Know Much About Conservative History – By GEOFFREY KABASERVICE

The growing tendency of late for liberals and conservatives to regard each other as not just opponents, but enemies, has been one of the most alarming in an alarming era. At the root of this fear and loathing is mutual incomprehension: Liberals simply don’t understand conservatives, and vice versa. In years past, the historical profession has done little to improve matters. Liberal historians typically treated conservatives and their ideas with disdain, when they deigned to notice them at all.


arstechnica –  FBI: We can’t listen to Facebook Messenger voice calls. Judge: Tough luck – By Cyrus Farivar

A federal judge in Fresno, California recently denied prosecutors’ request to force Facebook to wiretap voice calls by suspected gang members conducted over Messenger. According to a Friday report by Reuters, despite already having substantive traditional wiretaps and intercepting Messenger texts between alleged MS-13 gangsters, the government wanted further access. “Currently, there is no practical method available by which law enforcement can monitor these calls,” FBI Special Agent Ryan Yetter wrote in a nearly-100-page-long affidavit submitted to the court on August 30, 2018. The three participants in those calls are now in jail, according to Reuters.


ftc.govStudent Debt Relief Operators Agree to Settle FTC Charges

The operators of a student loan debt relief scam have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they bilked millions from consumers by falsely claiming to enroll consumers in loan forgiveness programs, for which they charged up to $1,000 in illegal upfront fees. The five settlements are part of a coordinated federal-state law enforcement initiative targeting deceptive student loan debt relief scams announced by the FTC in October 2017, called Operation Game of Loans. The settlements are with the following individual defendants and their associated companies:


PoliticoU.S. reaches trade deal with Canada and Mexico, providing Trump a crucial win – By ADAM BEHSUDI, ALEXANDER PANETTA and DOUG PALMER

Trade ministers from the U.S., Mexico and Canada have reached a deal to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Trump administration announced late Sunday night. The new pact, which is being called the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, is a major step toward completing one of Trump’s signature campaign promises and gives the president a concrete policy win to tout on the campaign trail this fall. It also sets the stage for what is sure to be a high-stakes fight to get the agreement passed by Congress before it can become law.


thehillSupreme Court starts new term shorthanded – BY LYDIA WHEELER

The Supreme Court starts its new term on Monday and it will be short-handed on the bench — one of several challenges the justices are facing along with cases dealing with limits on the death penalty, the separation of church and state and employment discrimination. Sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to succeed former Justice Anthony Kennedy, have already delayed his Senate confirmation and could ultimately sink his nomination. But with or without him the court will be back in session.


foxnewsCalifornia’s Jerry Brown signs tough net-neutrality bill, prompting Justice Department lawsuit  

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the nation’s toughest net neutrality measure Sunday, requiring internet providers to maintain a level playing field online. The move prompted an immediate lawsuit by the Trump administration. Advocates of net neutrality hope the new law in the home of the global technology industry will have national implications by pushing Congress to enact national net neutrality rules or encouraging other states to follow suit.