Capitol Comments

In District of Columbia v. Wesby the Supreme Court will decide whether, when the owner of a vacant house informs police he has not authorized entry, an officer assessing probable cause to arrest those inside for trespassing may discredit the suspects' claims of an innocent mental state.

Facts similar to those in this case may not arise very often. But police officers must assess claims of innocence in numerous other instances (theft, assault, even homicide). 

As President Trump’s Cabinet nominees continue to move through the confirmation process it is encouraging to see ten former state officials among them.  

Early Friday, Feb. 10, Dr. Tom Price was confirmed by the Senate in a 52 to 47 vote as the new secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. The Representative from Georgia, an orthopedic surgeon by trade, moved into politics when he first ran for the Georgia State Senate in 1996 and then moved on to Congress in 2004.

“The role of the Department in improving lives means it must carry out its responsibilities with compassion. It also must be efficient, effective, and accountable, as well as willing to partner with...

On February 9 the Ninth Circuit refused to stay a district court’s temporary restraining order disallowing the President’s travel ban from going into effect. The executive order prevents people from seven predominately Muslim countries from entering the United States for 90 days.

Washington and Minnesota sued President Trump claiming their public universities are harmed because students and faculty of the affected countries cannot travel for research, academic collaboration, or personal reasons.

The government argued that the President has “unreviewable authority to suspend admissions of any class of aliens.” The Ninth Circuit disagreed stating: “There is no precedent to support this claimed unreviewablity, which runs contrary to the fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy.” 

Today President Trump attended the swearing in of attorney general Jeff Sessions and signed three Executive Orders related to crime. 

A majority of election voting systems deployed in states and local jurisdiction in states and local jurisdictions in the United States are at least 10 years old and coming to an end of their effectiveness, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. Many state governments purchased new machines under the Help America Vote Act, or HAVA, signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2002 after...

Growing teacher shortages across states continue to worsen, just as student enrollment is projected to increase by 3 million over the next 10 years, according to the Learning Policy Institute. Elaine Wynn, president of the Nevada State Board of Education, described the situation in her state as a human resource crisis. “We’re all going to sink,” Wynn told the Las Vegas Sun. “This is horrific.”

President Trump’s “2 for 1” executive order where for every federal regulation proposed two must be “identified” for repeal, unsurprisingly, has been criticized by some and applauded by others. Per the executive order, for every regulation added the cost of the new regulation must be offset by eliminating two regulations.

Those who are for the executive order argue it will be good for the economy. Those who are against it argue most regulations exist for good reason and eliminating regulations like “limiting lead in drinking water and cutting pollution from school buses” will harm Americans. Those opposing the executive order also argue it is arbitrary to eliminate regulations based solely on cost without considering benefit.

The authors of Searching for Scalia evaluated who on President Trump’s list of potential nominees to replace Justice Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court would be most like Justice Scalia—the originalist, the textualist, and, most importantly, the conservative. The winner:  Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch! 

While just one case is too few to judge any Supreme Court nominee, one case in particular gives states and local governments a reason to be excited about this nomination. Last year Judge Gorsuch (strongly) implied that given the opportunity the U.S. Supreme Court should overrule Quill Corp. v. North Dakota (1992). In Quill the Supreme Court held that states cannot require retailers with no in-state physical presence to collect sales tax. 

This Week in Education: 5 Things to Know

1.Secretary Designate Betsy DeVos approved by Senate HELP Committee

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) on Tuesday morning approved Betsy DeVos’s nomination to lead the US Department of Education.

DeVos was confirmed 12-11 along party lines. Her nomination will now go to the Senate floor, where she’ll need only need a simple majority to be confirmed.

Pages