DOJ Asks Congress to Pass Law That Could Indefinitely Detain People Without Trial
- In a series of requests for proposed legislation to address the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Justice is asking Congress to enact a law that would allow some judges to indefinitely detain a person without the right to trial.
- The DOJ is also asking for Congress to suspend the statute of limitations for arrests and pass a law explicitly saying that migrants cannot apply for asylum if they have COVID-19.
- The requests were met with intense criticism by both Republicans and Democrats, though the DOJ has defended them, saying it worked with Congress and federal courts to develop the measures.
DOJ Requests Emergency Powers
The Department of Justice has asked Congress to grant it certain new emergency powers, including the ability for Attorney General William Barr to ask the chief judge of any district court to pause court proceedings, which could indefinitely detain people without trial.
The details of the requests were originally published by Politico on Saturday and they come as a response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Specifically, the DOJ is asking Congress to allow it the power to ask district courts to indefinitely pause court proceedings “whenever the district court is fully or partially closed by virtue of any natural disaster, civil disobedience, or other emergency situation.”
Further, that proposal would apply to “any statutes or rules of procedure otherwise affecting pre-arrest, post-arrest, pre-trial, trial, and post-trial procedures in criminal and juvenile proceedings and all civil process and proceedings.”
That request could have serious implications, most notably the suspension of habeas corpus, which is a person’s right to appear in front of a judge after being arrested.
For its part, the DOJ is justifying this request by saying that, currently, judges can already pause judicial proceedings in an emergency; however, this new legislation would allow them to handle emergencies “in a consistent manner.”
Nonetheless, in an interview with Politico, executive director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Norman L. Reimer expressed concern.
“Not only would it be a violation of [habeas corpus],” Reimer said, “but it says ‘affecting pre-arrest. So that means you could be arrested and never brought before a judge until they decide that the emergency or the civil disobedience is over. I find it absolutely terrifying. Especially in a time of emergency, we should be very careful about granting new powers to the government.”
According to Politico, Reimer also called the possibility indefinite suspensions of court rules “deeply disturbing.”
DOJ Makes Several Other Requests
In its draft for proposed legislation, the DOJ also made several additional requests.
Among those, it asks Congress to suspend the statute of limitations for criminal investigations and civil proceedings during a national emergency and “for one year following the end of the national emergency.”
It’s also asking to change the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure in some cases to expand the use of video conference hearings. Under current law, if a person consents to it, they can appear at their hearing over a video conference call and have their charges read that way.
Now, the DOJ is asking Congress to let some of those hearings happen without defendants’ consent.
“If it were with the consent of the accused person it would be fine,” Reimer told Politico. “But if it’s not with the consent of the accused person, it’s a terrible road to go down. We have a right to public trials. People have a right to be present in court.”
Another big request is that the DOJ is asking Congress to pass a law that would explicitly bar asylum seekers from claiming asylum if they have tested positive for COVID-19.
That request comes as the Trump Administration has already announced it will start barring entry to migrants at the southern border. Notably, that already includes asylum seekers there.
DOJ Requests Met with Intense Criticism
While the requests would be unlikely to pass a Democratic-led House of Representatives, the highly controversial draft legislation has largely been met with opposition both by Democrats and Republicans.
Among notable reactions, Republican Utah Senator Mike Lee—who is currently one of five U.S. Senators self-quarantining—said of the requests, “OVER MY DEAD BODY.”
“@realDonaldTrump, please refute and disavow this immediately,” he said.
In an interview on CNN with Jake Tapper Sunday morning, Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called the requests “abhorrent.
“This is not a time,” she said, “and you know, there is a long history in this country and in other countries of using emergencies as times to really start to encroach upon people’s civil rights. And, in fact, this is the time when we need them the absolute most. We have to keep an eye out for these kind of authoritarian and frankly this expansion, or rather suspension, of rule of law.”
Former RNC Chair and former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland Michael Steele also blasted the requests, saying on Saturday, “NO!! This is NOT a slope we want to get on. Suspending Constitutional Rights!? With this crew?! OH HELL NO!”
Richard Painter, the former White House Chief Ethics Lawyer for George W. Bush, called on Barr to resign on Monday.
DOJ Defends Request
At the same time, the DOJ has defended its requests. Sunday night on Twitter, spokesperson Kerri Kupec tried to clarify the situation by outlining the DOJ’s reasoning.
“There has been some confusion re: reports about DOJ asking Congress for certain “emergency powers,” she said. “This was triggered by Congress asking DOJ for suggested proposals necessary to ensure that federal courts would be able to administer fair and impartial justice during [a] pandemic.”
Kupec then said the draft proposal was “developed in consultation w/ Congress and federal judiciary to help federal judges more consistently manage cases w/in their districts & protect interests of justice during this national emergency.”
“Because of pandemic-related measures, courts are closing and grand juries are not meeting,” she added. That means prosecutors may not be able to indict criminals before a statute of limitations expires, or dangerous criminals who have been arrested may be released because of time limits.”
Because of pandemic-related measures, courts are closing and grand juries are not meeting. That means prosecutors may not be able to indict criminals before a statute of limitations expires, or dangerous criminals who have been arrested may be released because of time limits.3/— KerriKupecDOJ (@KerriKupecDOJ) March 23, 2020
Kupec said that authority would end once the national emergency was over if a chief justice found that emergency conditions were no longer affecting the federal courts.
“Bottom line: The proposed legislative text confers powers upon judges. It does not confer new powers upon the executive branch. These provisions are designed to empower the courts to ensure the fair and effective administration of justice.”
That authority too would end at the earlier of the termination of the COVID-19 national emergency or upon a finding by the Chief Justice (or his designee) that emergency conditions no longer affect the functioning of the federal courts. 10/— KerriKupecDOJ (@KerriKupecDOJ) March 23, 2020
Bottom line: The proposed legislative text confers powers upon judges. It does not confer new powers upon the executive branch. These provisions are designed to empower the courts to ensure the fair and effective administration of justice.— KerriKupecDOJ (@KerriKupecDOJ) March 23, 2020
See what others are saying: (NBC News) (CNN) (Rolling Stone)
White Supremacist Propaganda Reached Record High in 2022, ADL Finds
“We cannot sit idly by as these extremists pollute our communities with their hateful trash,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said.
White supremacist propaganda in the U.S. reached record levels in 2022, according to a report published Wednesday by the Anti-Defamation League’s Center of Extremism.
The ADL found over 6,700 cases of white supremacist propaganda in 2022, which marks a 38% jump from the nearly 4,900 cases the group found in 2021. It also represents the highest number of incidents ever recorded by the ADL.
The propaganda tallied by the anti-hate organization includes the distribution of racist, antisemitic, and homophobic flyers, banners, graffiti, and more. This propaganda has spread substantially since 2018, when the ADL found just over 1,200 incidents.
“There’s no question that white supremacists and antisemites are trying to terrorize and harass Americans with their propaganda,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement. “We cannot sit idly by as these extremists pollute our communities with their hateful trash.”
The report found that there were at least 50 white supremacist groups behind the spread of propaganda in 2022, but 93% of it came from just three groups. One of those groups was also responsible for 43% of the white supremacist events that took place last year.
White supremacist events saw a startling uptick of their own, with the ADL documenting at least 167, a 55% jump from 2021.
Propaganda was found in every U.S. state except for Hawaii, and events were documented in 33 states, most heavily in Massachusetts, California, Ohio, and Florida.
“The sheer volume of white supremacist propaganda distributions we are documenting around the country is alarming and dangerous,” Oren Segal, Vice President of the ADL’s Center on Extremism said in a statement. “Hardly a day goes by without communities being targeted by these coordinated, hateful actions, which are designed to sow anxiety and create fear.”
“We need a whole-of-society approach to combat this activity, including elected officials, community leaders, and people of good faith coming together and condemning this activity forcefully,” Segal continued.
See what others are saying: (Axios) (The Hill) (The New York Times)
Adidas Financial Woes Continue, Company on Track for First Annual Loss in Decades
Adidas has labeled 2023 a “transition year” for the company.
Adidas’ split with musician Kanye West has left the company with financial problems due to surplus Yeezy products, putting the sportswear giant in the position to potentially suffer its first annual loss in over 30 years.
Adidas dropped West last year after he made a series of antisemitic remarks on social media and other broadcasts. His Yeezy line was a staple for Adidas, and the surplus product is due, in part, to the brand’s own decision to continue production during the split.
According to CEO Bjorn Gulden, Adidas continued production of only the items already in the pipeline to prevent thousands of people from losing their jobs. However, that has led to the unfortunate overabundance of Yeezy sneakers and clothes.
On Wednesday, Gulden said that selling the shoes and donating the proceeds makes more sense than giving them away due to the Yeezy resale market — which has reportedly shot up 30% since October.
“If we sell it, I promise that the people who have been hurt by this will also get something good out of this,” Gulden said in a statement to the press.
However, Gulden also said that West is entitled to a portion of the proceeds of the sale of Yeezys per his royalty agreement.
Adidas announced in February that, following its divergence from West, it is facing potential sales losses totaling around $1.2 billion and profit losses of around $500 million.
If it decides to not sell any more Yeezy products, Adidas is facing a projected annual loss of over $700 million.
Outside of West, Adidas has taken several heavy profit blows recently. Its operating profit reportedly fell by 66% last year, a total of more than $700 million. It also pulled out of Russia after the country’s invasion of Ukraine last year, which cost Adidas nearly $60 million dollars. Additionally, China’s “Zero Covid” lockdowns last year caused in part a 36% drop in revenue for Adidas compared to years prior.
As a step towards a solution, Gulden announced that the company is slashing its dividends from 3.30 euros to 0.70 euro cents per share pending shareholder approval.
Adidas has labeled 2023 a “transition year” for the company.
“Adidas has all the ingredients to be successful. But we need to put our focus back on our core: product, consumers, retail partners, and athletes,” Gulden said. “I am convinced that over time we will make Adidas shine again. But we need some time.”
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (CNN)
Immigration Could Be A Solution to Nursing Home Labor Shortages
98% of nursing homes in the United States are experiencing difficulty hiring staff.
The Labor Crisis
A recent National Bureau of Economic Research paper has offered up a solution to the nursing home labor shortage: immigration.
According to a 2022 American Health Care Association survey, six in ten nursing homes are limiting new patients due to staffing issues. The survey also says that 87% of nursing homes have staffing shortages and 98% are experiencing difficulty hiring.
The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) outlined in their paper that increased immigration could help solve the labor shortage in nursing homes. Immigrants make up 19% of nursing home workers.
With every 10% increase in female immigration, nursing assistant hours go up by 0.7% and registered nursing hours go up by 1.1% And with that same immigration increase, short-term hospitalizations of nursing home residents go down by 0.6%.
Additionally, the State Department issued 145% more EB-3 documents, which are employment-based visas, for healthcare workers in the 2022 fiscal year than in 2019, suggesting that more people are coming to the U.S. to work in health care.
However, according to Skilled Nursing News, in August of 2022, the approval process from beginning to end for an RN can take between seven to nine months.
Displeasure about immigration has exploded since Pres. Joe Biden took office in 2021. According to a Gallup study published in February, around 40% of American adults want to see immigration decrease. That is a steep jump from 19% in 2021, and it is the highest the figure has been since 2016.
However, more than half of Democrats still are satisfied with immigration and want to see it increased. But with a divided Congress, the likelihood of any substantial immigration change happening is pretty slim.