Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch has been a defender of free speech and a skeptic of libel claims, an Associated Press review of his rulings shows. His record puts him at odds with President Donald Trump's disdain for journalists and tendency to lash out at critics.
On other First Amendment cases involving freedom of religion, however, Gorsuch's rulings in his decade on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver reflect views more in line with the president and conservatives. Gorsuch repeatedly has sided with religious groups when they butt up against the secular state.
In a 2007 opinion involving free speech, Gorsuch ruled for a Kansas citizen who said he was bullied by Douglas County officials into dropping his tax complaints. "When public officials feel free to wield the powers of their office as weapons against those who question their decisions, they do damage not merely to the citizen in their sights but also to the First Amendment liberties," Gorsuch wrote.
Judges are hearing more arguments about North Carolina Republican lawmakers' efforts to reduce Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's authority in choosing his Cabinet.
A three-judge panel scheduled arguments Friday on whether to extend their recent temporary block of a law requiring Senate confirmation of Cooper's Cabinet secretaries.
The GOP-controlled legislature passed the law shortly before Cooper took office, one of several provisions designed to limit Cooper's powers.
Cooper's attorneys say confirmation usurps his authority to carry out core executive functions. Republicans respond that the state Constitution gives senators "advice and consent" powers with gubernatorial appointees.
The governor wants the law blocked at least until a hearing scheduled for March.
In another gubernatorial power issue, a state appeals court on Thursday temporarily reinstated a law stripping Cooper of his oversight of elections.
A Kenyan court ruled Thursday that the government must not close the world's largest refugee camp and send more than 200,000 people back to war-torn Somalia, a decision that eases pressure on Somalis who feared the camp would close by the end of May.
Kenya's internal security minister abused his power by ordering the closure of Dadaab camp, Judge John Mativo said, adding that the minister and other officials had "acted in excess and in abuse of their power, in violation of the rule of law and in contravention of their oaths of office."
Rights groups Amnesty International, Kituo cha Sheria and the Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights had challenged the government's order to close the camp, which has operated for more than a quarter-century.
Kenya's government quickly said it will appeal the ruling. "Being a government whose cardinal responsibility is first to Kenyans, we feel this decision should be revoked," spokesman Eric Kiraithe said.
The judge called the order discriminatory, saying it goes against the Kenyan constitution as well as international treaties that protect refugees against being returned to a conflict zone.
President Uhuru Kenyatta's government has not proved Somalia is safe for the refugees to return, the judge said, also calling the orders to shut down the government's refugee department "null and void."
Somalia remains under threat of attacks from homegrown extremist group al-Shabab. Some Kenyan officials have argued that the sprawling refugee camp near the border with Somalia has been used as a recruiting ground for al-Shabab and a base for launching attacks inside Kenya. But Kenyan officials have not provided conclusive proof of that.
Attorneys for Rolling Stone magazine are heading back to federal court to try to overturn a jury's defamation verdict over its botched story "A Rape on Campus."
A judge is holding a hearing in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Thursday to consider Rolling Stone's request to throw out the jury's November verdict. The jury awarded University of Virginia administrator Nicole Eramo $3 million after finding Rolling Stone and a reporter defamed her.
The 2014 story told the account of a woman identified only as "Jackie," who said she was gang raped at the school. A police investigation found no evidence to back up Jackie's claims.
The magazine argues, among other things, there's no evidence reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely acted with actual malice. Eramo's attorneys are urging the judge to keep the verdict.
A federal appeals court will decide whether to reinstate President Donald Trump's travel ban after a contentious hearing in which the judges hammered away at the administration's motivations for the ban, but also directed pointed questions to an attorney for two states trying to overturn it.
It was unclear which way the three judges of the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals would rule, though legal experts said the states appeared to have the edge.
"I'm not sure if either side presented a compelling case, but I certainly thought the government's case came across as weaker," said Stephen Vladeck, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law.
A ruling could come as early as Wednesday and could be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Trump tweeted early Wednesday: "If the U.S. does not win this case as it so obviously should, we can never have the security and safety to which we are entitled. Politics!"
The appeals court challenged the administration's claim that the ban was motivated by terrorism fears, but it also questioned the argument of an attorney challenging the executive order on grounds that it unconstitutionally targeted Muslims.
The contentious hearing before three judges on the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals focused narrowly on whether a restraining order issued by a lower court should remain in effect while a challenge to the ban proceeds. But the judges jumped into the larger constitutional questions surrounding Trump's order, which temporarily suspended the nation's refugee program and immigration from seven mostly Muslim countries that have raised terrorism concerns.
A Russian court on Wednesday found opposition leader Alexei Navalny guilty in the retrial of a 2013 fraud case, which formally disqualifies him as a candidate for president next year.
However, the first time Navalny was convicted, his sentence was suspended and he was allowed to be a candidate for mayor of Moscow. An associate said Navalny will carry on with the presidential campaign he announced in December.
In a webcast hearing in Kirov, a city nearly 800 kilometers (500 miles) east of Moscow, Judge Alexei Vtyurin found Navalny guilty of embezzling timber worth 16 million rubles ($270,000) and gave him a five-year suspended sentence. The previous guilty verdict was overturned by the European Court of Human Rights which ruled that Russia violated Navalny's right to a fair trial.
During a break in the proceedings, Navalny told reporters that he and his lawyers were comparing this verdict with the text of the 2013 verdict and found them to be identical.
"You can come over and see that the judge is reading exactly the same text, which says a lot about the whole trial," Navalny told reporters, adding that even the typos in the names of companies were identical in both rulings.
Navalny, the driving force behind massive anti-government protests in Moscow 2011 and 2012, had announced plans to run for office in December and had begun to raise funds.
Navalny's campaign manager, Leonid Volkov, insisted that the campaign goes on even though the guilty verdict formally bars Navalny from running.
A federal appeals court considered Monday whether to automatically halt lower court orders publicly releasing video of fatal shootings by police to prevent potential violence.
Judges on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel acknowledged that the case involving a 2013 shooting of an unarmed man by police in the Los Angeles suburb of Gardena was largely moot because the video was released and widely published.
But in considering whether U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson abused his discretion by denying Gardena a stay of execution and releasing videos sought by The Associated Press and other news organizations, the court questioned if future video releases should be put on hold to offer a chance of appeal.
Judge Andrew Kleinfeld said stays are automatically granted in other types of cases. He repeatedly questioned a news media lawyer about why it was in the public interest to release videos that might incite violence and rioting.