When Trump goes into one of these Twitter frenzies, touting conspiracy theories (Scarborough, China), lying about nonsense (Obamagate) and retweeting videos where the speaker says, “The only good Democrat is a dead Democrat,” when he does this it’s imperative you look to see what’s really going on, because those tweets are mostly distractions.
Well, the obvious things are the country’s Depression-era unemployment rates, over 100,000 Americans dead of COVID-19 and a record-low job approval rating. But beyond that, Trump keeps losing in the courts. WC will visit some of the recent decisions:
The Trump Pyramid Scheme
Trump keeps losing lawsuits. Trump and his children Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump, re alleged in a federal class action case to have sponsored an illegal pyramid scheme. Four anonymous plaintiffs claim they are guilty of fraud, false advertising and unfair competition for their dealings with multi-level marketing company ACN. The Trumps tried to have the lawsuit thrown out. U.S. District Judge Lorna Schofeld agreed the plaintiffs didn’t have a RICO claim, but she found there was enough evidence to allow the fraud, false advertising and unfair competition claims to go forward. More importantly, she refused to stay the lawsuit while the Trumps appealed. So the Trumps are going to have to cough up 15 years of financial records for their defense of the anonymous plaintiffs’ claims.[^1] The line between marginally legal multi-level marketing schemes like Amway and outright illegal pyramid schemes is sketchy at best. The Trumps have a habit of settling these claims before trial, but it would be a lot of fun to watch a jury react to the Trumps’ greed in this one.
The Trump Administration’s Gutting the ESA
The Trump Administration took a loss earlier this month when a federal court stopped the attempt to gut the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). Trump’s industry hacks rewrote the regulations implementing the ESA. Fourteen states, the City of New York and Washington, D.C. sued to stop the new rules from going into effect. The Trump Administration tried to have the states’ lawsuit thrown out, claiming that there was no claim until the new rules actual exterminated a species. You know, “the first one should be free.” U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar wasn’t buying what Trump was peddling.
So the challenge to the Trump Administration’s re-write of the Endangered Species Act gets to go forward, and it’s long odds that Trump will lose.
Florida Felon Voting Rights
Florida voters in 2018, by a 65-35 margin, enacted an initiative restoring the voting rights of felons who had completed their sentences. The Florida Legislature and Governor responded to the people’s will by requiring that the convicted felons also pay in full all fines, costs and fees due before they can vote. That would be a pretty good trick for a person just out of prison. It would also violate the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which outlawed poll taxes. The Republicans are so eager to keep 1.5 million possibly Democratic voters from, you know, voting, that they will do just about anything. Well, they’ll have to think up a new outrage, because U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle struck down the requirement, likening the restrictive legislation to a tax and concluding that the state had not even created a system that would allow felons to identify their financial obligations. “The Twenty-Fourth Amendment precludes Florida from conditioning voting in federal elections on payment of these fees and costs,” wrote Hinkle. Florida is infamously so closely divided that 1.5 million new voters will tip the state Democratic. Trump and his crowd lost again.
WC spent his professional career as a lawyer. The American judicial system hasn’t always made WC proud. But it has stood up to Trump, for the most part. Which makes WC a little proud.
The acid test for the American legal system is still ahead, as the Republican-packed SCOTUS considers whether to order Trump to produce financial and business records. WC is surprisingly hopeful. Stay tuned.
[^1]: Trump has insisted that he was “not familiar” with the company’s business practices since launching his 2016 presidential campaign. That’s pretty surprising. He spoke live at the shakedown scam events, recorded videos supporting it and featured it repeatedly on his surreality TV show, The Celebrity Apprentice. The deposition of Trump is just going to be too much fun.