Todd Ruger

Grassley Gave McConnell Judges. Now He Wants His Criminal Justice Bill
‘I look at this in a very personal way,’ Grassley said

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley is leaning on his track record of processing judicial nominations to get a floor vote on a bipartisan bill he spearheaded to overhaul the nation’s criminal justice system.

In an unusual personal plea, the 85-year-old Iowa Republican on Thursday said he wanted “reciprocity” from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for “what I’ve done in our unified effort on judges” during President Donald Trump’s administration.

Political Drama Converges at Supreme Court Ceremony
Kavanaugh investiture event features Trump, acting AG, Ken Starr and more

A Supreme Court sitting Thursday for the ceremonial investiture of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh took only 10 minutes, but it concentrated Washington's political and legal drama in one room.

Matthew Whitaker made his first public appearance as acting attorney general, reading a presidential commission from the courtroom podium less than 24 hours after President Donald Trump forced the resignation of Jeff Sessions as the nation’s top law enforcement officer.

Court Orders New Maryland Map in Partisan Gerrymandering Case
State officials expected to appeal decision to Supreme Court

A federal court on Wednesday ordered Maryland to adopt a new congressional map for the 2020 elections, ruling that the state’s current map unconstitutionally diminished the value of Republican voters in the 6th District in the western neck of the state.

The three-judge panel’s ruling in the partisan gerrymandering case, which has gone twice to the Supreme Court on preliminary procedural issues, means the Maryland map once again will be before the high court if state officials appeal, as expected. 

Three Reasons House Democrats Likely Won’t Impeach Trump
Key leaders aren’t supporting calls for proceedings

House Democrats will be hesitant to use their newly regained majority to launch impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump unless investigations uncover such major misdeeds that even Republicans would support the effort.

A vocal portion of House Democrats still are expected to call for Trump’s impeachment over allegations he has misused the office or committed crimes, and dozens backed an effort to force the House to consider articles of impeachment within the past year.

Trump Administration Asks Supreme Court to Consider DACA Program
President has made immigration a major issue before midterms

The Trump administration again asked the Supreme Court to step into the legal fight over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program on Monday, urging the justices to decide this term whether the government has the power to end the Obama-era immigration policy.

In three petitions from three appeals courts, the Department of Homeland Security and other Trump officials want a speedy high court review of whether the administration’s September 2017 decision to revoke the discretionary program was lawful, and whether the federal courts can review that decision at all.

Senators Press Supreme Court to Lift State Uranium Mining Ban
Domestic production at historic low

Three Republican members of the Senate Armed Services Committee contend that a case now before the Supreme Court could undermine federal policy about uranium and other assets that are critical to national security and defense.

The justices heard arguments Monday in an environmental case about a three-decades-old Virginia law that prevents mining of the largest deposit of uranium in the United States, in Pittsylvania County, in the southwest region of the state.

Lawmakers Have Cuba in Mind in Supreme Court Brief
They argue case could affect how Congress writes legislation

A bipartisan group of mostly Florida lawmakers wants the Supreme Court to side with fishermen and farmers from India in a dispute about a coal-fired power plant, since the decision could affect similar potential claims related to Cuba.

Seven members of Congress, led by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., who came to the United States from Cuba as a child a year after Fidel Castro took power, filed a brief in a case now before the court. In it, they urge the justices to allow lawsuits against U.S.-based international organizations such as the one in the India case.

Senate Judiciary Returns to Business as Usual After Kavanaugh
No protesters. No extra security. No media buzz. And Lindsey Graham barely said a word

Life after the Brett Kavanaugh fight got off to a subdued start Thursday for the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Gone was the energetic buzz of news media, protesters and police officers that filled the hallway outside the committee’s hearing room in prior weeks. Inside the room, the senators spoke only in muted tones that contrasted sharply with the passionate speeches just two weeks earlier during a committee vote on the Supreme Court pick.

Republicans Restart Push for Lower Court Judges
Democrats object to the process

With the fight over Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh behind them, Republicans on Wednesday restarted the Senate Judiciary Committee’s push to confirm lower court judges with a hearing on a pair of nominees that Democrats staunchly oppose for their legal work on health care, LGBT rights and other issues.

The hearing featured almost everything Democrats have complained about the confirmation process during President Donald Trump’s administration — including scheduling more than one circuit court nominee in a single hearing and doing so over the objections of a home state senator.

Kavanaugh Cautious but Active in First Day at Supreme Court
Shakes hands with Kagan before returning to chambers

Justice Brett Kavanaugh heard oral arguments for the first time Tuesday in cases about one of the Supreme Court’s least favorite criminal laws, jumping into his role with some straightforward questions and little hint of the bitter confirmation process he just went through.

There were no outbursts from protesters in the gallery, as there had been during his Senate confirmation hearings or Saturday’s historic vote. Kavanaugh showed no expression as he took his seat on the right end of the bench, even as Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. welcomed him. 

Midterm Elections Hold Ultimate Verdict on Kavanaugh
McConnell asserts confirmation process driving up Republican enthusiasm

Even before Saturday’s Senate vote made Brett Kavanaugh a Supreme Court justice, senators from both parties said voters soon would deliver the final verdict on President Donald Trump’s divisive appointment.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in an interview with Roll Call a month ahead of Election Day, said the contentious debate about the confirmation process was driving up base enthusiasm for the 2018 midterm elections.

Kavanaugh Confirmation Solidifies Supreme Court Tilt to the Right
Bitterly divided chamber votes in rare Saturday session to end long fight

The confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on Saturday might close one of the Senate’s most bitter and divisive chapters, but the resulting discord is bound to reverberate for years at the high court, in the halls of Congress and at the ballot box.

The 50-48 vote gives President Donald Trump his second Supreme Court appointment in as many years and solidifies the court’s conservative tilt for decades. The confirmation battle at first raged over the court’s ideological balance, then turned to questions of temperament, truthfulness and how the Senate handled allegations of sexual misconduct in the “Me Too” era.

Few Clues on Key Votes on Kavanaugh’s Fate
McConnell and Republicans said they were trying to work out a mid-morning vote

A new FBI investigation and a full day for senators to read it did nothing to clarify what might happen Friday in the partisan ruckus over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republicans said they were trying to work out a mid-morning cloture vote on the nomination, but one was not officially announced when the Senate adjourned Thursday. The vote is expected to happen as early as 10:30 a.m. Friday.

Senators All Agree: Latest FBI Kavanaugh Probe Provides Little New
Senate Republicans are full speed ahead on vote on Supreme Court nomination

Senate Democrats and Republicans agreed Thursday on one thing about the FBI’s one-week supplemental background investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh — there wasn’t much new information there.

For Republican members of the Judiciary Committee such as Sens. Orrin G. Hatch of Utah and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the set of interviews done over the past week did not add any corroboration to allegations Kavanaugh sexually assaulted women decades ago.

Supreme Court Starts New Term in Shadow of Kavanaugh Uproar
High court begins term with 8 justices, a not-unfamiliar place for it

The Supreme Court started its new term Monday in the shadow of the dramatic confirmation showdown over nominee Brett Kavanaugh, a roiling political fight that leaves the high court shorthanded and equally divided on ideological grounds.

The slate of cases the justices set for oral arguments in October can’t compare to the interest in Kavanaugh, who is currently a federal appeals court judge. His nomination to the high court awaits action on the Senate floor this week, as soon as the FBI completes a supplemental background investigation of allegations he sexually assaulted women decades ago.

From Soft Certainty to Roaring Indignation, Kavanaugh Hearing Was Study in Contrasts
“This is not a good process, but it’s all we got,” Sen. Jeff Flake says

Senators got two irreconcilable accounts Thursday about whether Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually attacked a girl when he was in high school, setting up a pitched partisan showdown about whether that allegation and others that have surfaced this week are enough to derail his confirmation.

First, Christine Blasey Ford, in a soft but certain tone, told the Senate Judiciary Committee she is “100 percent” certain it was Kavanaugh who pinned her to a bed and covered her mouth as he sexually attacked her at a high school gathering decades ago.

Senate Judiciary to Vote Friday on Kavanaugh Nomination
Decision came after nearly nine hours of testimony from nominee and accuser

Senate Republicans huddled privately late Thursday and will move forward with a Judiciary Committee vote Friday on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination for a seat on the Supreme Court, GOP senators leaving the meeting said.

Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander said Republican senators have been told to prepare for a series of procedural votes on Saturday to allow a Monday cloture vote on the nomination.

Latest Kavanaugh Allegations Send Senate Into Chaos
Reactions vary from unwillingness to engage to angry defiance from GOP

As the latest allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh swept through the Capitol, the Senate Judiciary Committee said it was reviewing the claims, even on the eve of a historic hearing on which the fate of his confirmation hangs.

Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley told a horde of reporters that staff attorneys are reviewing the latest allegations, outlined in a graphic declaration sent to the panel from Julie Swetnick, who says Kavanaugh was present while she was gang raped at a high school party in 1982.

New Accuser Swetnick Says Brett Kavanaugh Lined Up for ‘Gang Rapes’
Lawyer Michael Avenatti produces sworn affidavit of woman on eve of high-stakes Judiciary hearing