While an appeals court judge, Neil Gorsuch wrote a spirited dissent in support of a middle school student who was arrested for what Gorsuch called “childish pranks.” Now the case might go before the Supreme Court.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
A case about school discipline might be heading to the Supreme Court — but the court’s newest Justice would likely recuse himself from the case. Neil Gorsuch wrote a cutting dissent when the case came before his appellate court, and his words are now being used by the plaintiff’s lawyer.
In 2011, a seventh-grader (known as F.M. in court documents) was interrupting his gym class with fake burps. The antics were amusing his classmates, and his teacher was struggling to maintain control of the class. She called for back up, in the form of a police officer assigned to the school.
According to court documents (published by the Washington Post), Officer Arthur Acosta arrived on the scene, and asked F.M. to come with him. The boy complied. Then Officer Acosta informed F.M. that he would be arresting him for the disruptions. F.M. was handcuffed and taken to a juvenile detention center, where he spent about an hour. He also received a one-day suspension from school following the incident.
F.M.’s mother, referred to in court documents as A.M., filed a lawsuit against two school officials and the police officer, alleging that her son’s civil rights were violated by the arrest and the use of handcuffs. The complaint said that the defendants “should have known that burping was not a crime” and that “no force was necessary” in assisting with the arrest.
The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a decision from the lower court in support of the the school officials and the officer. But, Neil Gorsuch, who was on the federal appeals court at the time, wrote a spirited dissent. It concluded:
“Often enough the law can be ‘a ass — a idiot,’ Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist 520 (Dodd, Mead & Co. 1941) (1838) — and there is little we judges can do about it, for it is (or should be) emphatically our job to apply, not rewrite, the law enacted by the people’s representatives. Indeed, a judge who likes every result he reaches is very likely a bad judge, reaching for results he prefers rather than those the law compels. So it is I admire my colleagues today, for no doubt they reach a result they dislike but believe the law demands — and in that I see the best of our profession and much to admire. It’s only that, in this particular case, I don’t believe the law happens to be quite as much of a ass as they do. I respectfully dissent.”
Now, the boy’s mother is again appealing — this time, to the Supreme Court. According to reporting from the Associated Press, the court could decide as early as Monday whether to take up the case.
Aboard a short flight on Air Force One Saturday, President Donald Trump told reporters he could find a new leader to fill the vacancy left by sacked FBI Director James Comey by this Friday, when he leaves on his first foreign trip since taking office.
After comments that the administration intends to move “very quickly” on the process, a reporter in the White House press pool asked the president if that could mean finding a permanent replacement to spearhead the agency by the end of the week. His response: “Even that is possible.”
Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 11, 2017, while testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on worldwide threats.
Four candidates are meeting with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Saturday, including Andrew McCabe, the acting FBI director. McCabe testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this week. In his testimony he defended his former boss, contradicting assertions by administration officials and Trump that Comey had lost the confidence of the FBI’s rank-and-file.
When asked by Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., if it is “accurate that the rank-and-file no longer supported Director Comey?” McCabe answered, “I can tell you that I hold Director Comey in the absolute highest regard…I can tell you also that Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI and still does until this day.”
The committee is investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and any potential connections between Russia, the Trump campaign and some of the campaign’s top aides.
In addition to McCabe, Alice Fisher, a partner at the law firm Latham and Watkins, is also up for the job at the helm of the federal investigatory agency. Fisher previously served as assistant attorney general during the George W. Bush administration where she was in charge of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
A profile of Fisher on the firm’s website says her expertise lies in “international criminal matters relating to alleged bribery under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and other anti-corruption laws, economic and export sanctions, and other cross border investigations.”
If she is ultimately confirmed by the Senate, Fisher would be the first woman to lead the FBI.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, center, flanked by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., speak to the media on May 9, 2017, on Capitol Hill.
Also meeting with Sessions and Rosenstein Saturday is Judge Michael Garcia, an associate judge on the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court. He was the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York from 2005-2008. Before that, he was the assistant secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, appointed by President George W. Bush.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, the current Senate majority whip and former attorney general of Texas, is another contender to replace Comeny who is being interviewed Saturday. Cornyn was elected to the Senate in 2002 and also sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee.
These four interviews are not exhaustive and are just the start of the process. Trump also told reporters Saturday that all of the candidates under consideration are “outstanding,” “very well-known,” and at the “highest level.”
The search continues for an interim director of the FBI who will lead the agency until Comey’s permanent replacement is confirmed by the Senate. That search is proceeding on a separate track with a different pool of candidates.
NPR’s Tamara Keith contributed to this report.
Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims gathered in Fatima, Portugal Saturday, where Pope Francis canonized two new saints. Jacinta and Francisco Marto were children 100 years ago when their visions of the Virgin Mary marked this place as an important Catholic shrine.
Pope Francis canonized two new saints Saturday at the beginning of a mass in Fátima, Portugal.
Francisco and Jacinta Marto were small children in Fátima on May 13, 1917, when they said they saw a vision of the Virgin Mary while they were tending sheep. The farm town became an important Catholic shrine as a result of the children’s visions, drawing pilgrims from around the world.
Many such visitors were at the mass where the canonization was announced Saturday, and the declaration was met with joyous applause. The Associated Press reports that, according to the Vatican, about 500,000 people watched from the square in front of the shrine’s basilica.
One visitor from Ireland told the Associated Press, “It is amazing. It’s like an answer to prayer, because I felt that always they would be canonized.”
According to the website for the Shrine of Fátima, the children saw a series of apparitions over the course of several months. By the time the Virgin Mary appeared to them for the sixth time, they had been joined by tens of thousands of Catholics who had come to pray with them.
As NPR’s Tom Gjelten has reported, the process of becoming a saint in the Catholic church is extensive.
“Humanitarian work alone, however, is not sufficient for canonization in the Catholic Church. Normally, a candidate must be associated with at least two miracles. The idea is that a person worthy of sainthood must demonstrably be in heaven, actually interceding with God on behalf of those in need of healing.”
The New York Times speculated in March that the Martos might soon be canonized, since the Pope had officially recognized a miracle attributed to them.
The two children were first beatified seventeen years ago, long after their deaths in 1918. Their cousin Lucia, who also is said to have also seen the vision, is now being considered for beatification, the first step towards sainthood. She died in 2005 at the age of 97, having become a nun and written several memoirs about the visions she and the other children saw.
Alison Roberts reported for NPR’s Newscast that Francis is the fourth pope to visit the shrine at Fátima, but the centenary and the canonization of the new saints gives Pope Francis’s visit special significance for Catholics.
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They hear from a woman engaged to a widower. She says she has a great relationship with her fiancé; the problem is with the mother of this man’s late wife. The mother can’t seem to move on. For example, she often brings flowers to their house “in memorial to her daughter.”
How do you get her to stop pushing things into the past, while still being sensitive to her grief?
Next, they hear from a married woman who had an affair. She just found out the man she had an affair with has died, but she can’t share her grief with anyone.
I have been so blessed to find the most compassionate, loving, thoughtful, sexy, amazing man who loves me as much as I love and adore him. We’re engaged to be married. We are incredibly happy together and have loved making a home with our three dogs.
My fiancé is a widower, and while he has been through an incredible heartache, he has survived and is ready to move forward with his life.
Our problem? My fiancé’s late wife’s family — specifically, her mother. She seems to feel that if I take her son-in-law away, the reality of her daughter’s death will land. I’ve attended family weddings, holidays and other gatherings to support my fiancé, and while I know his family likes me, it’s understandable that they’ve had a difficult time getting to know me.
We are constantly bombarded with reminders of my fiancé’s late wife, which is bothersome to him and agitates me. His late wife’s mother regularly delivers flowers to our house in memorial to her daughter, and there are constant Facebook posts and other such things done without warning. She has made comments to me suggesting that I am essentially the “other woman.” This is frustrating and offensive, as my fiancé has chosen to move forward with his life and has chosen me as his partner.
My fiancé does not feel he can say anything about this out of respect for a mother that lost her daughter. I certainly feel that I have no place in it. However, we spend so much of our time discussing this. It’s difficult to move forward when he keeps being pushed into the past. We’ve had much conversation and contemplation, and a fair amount of tears, but I want to find a solution that will satisfy both of us. Some fresh thoughts would be much appreciated.
The Widower’s Fiancé
Steve Almond: Widower’s Fiancé, this mother is grieving her daughter, and she’s taking out her anger on you. That’s not fair. But it’s also all she can do to express her grief, rage and bewilderment at this event.
I think this is something that’s ramping up around the engagement and the wedding, and I think it will dissipate when you’re married. But in the meantime, I think you may want to talk with a counselor about this issue before you get married, because it’s not just the mother who might have unrequited feelings that need to be brought into the light.
Cheryl Strayed: When my mother died, my stepfather quickly began dating another woman. It was excruciatingly painful to me, because I felt like my mother was being replaced. Even though my stepfather said, “Of course she’s not being replaced. I love your mother and I always will.” I told him, “I know that. But you can find another wife. And I can’t find another mother.”
Your fiancé’s mother-in-law feels that you are replacing her daughter, and it’s crushing her. I think you should encourage your fiancé to talk to her. I think there’s something about the two of them coming together and having an honest conversation, and enlisting the mother-in-law to help him through his grief while he helps her through hers.
Years ago, I had an affair with a man I used to work with, but who lived in a different city. We were both married but always felt an attraction to each other. I knew him before I met my husband. When work brought him to town, we’d meet up for an evening, and we talked often by phone. You wouldn’t describe it as torrid. We never spoke of leaving our spouses. We had an easy connection that, over time, mellowed into a long-distance love and remained a cherished, secret, friendship. He was blunt and honest, a coach when I needed to take risks in my life and career. We talked frequently but could go weeks between calls and fall right into comfortable conversation.
Four months ago, he passed away unexpectedly. I found out weeks afterwards. After a few calls to his office went unreturned, I emailed his office account and received a short reply from his secretary with a copy of his obituary. I was shocked, completely unprepared and unable to react out loud. Nobody in my life, or his, knew of our relationship, and I have no one to talk to or cry with, no way to process it. I don’t even know what happened. To my knowledge, his wife and family know nothing of me, and that’s how it must stay.
But I am alone in this. His death feels like it didn’t happen, though it hits me at odd times. I catch myself dialing his number. I hear a certain song and stifle a sob. I’ve kept my feelings hidden, but my husband tells me I’ve been tossing and turning at night. How do I manage this secret grief? How do I mourn someone who wasn’t supposed to be mine?
Cheryl: It’s unique to have a relationship that’s separate from everything and everyone else in your life. I think you would benefit from seeing a grief counselor, where you can openly share your feelings about the relationship without revealing the affair to your spouse or anyone in your dead lover’s life. You’re probably always going to feel a little bit unresolved about this relationship, but there are ways for you to at least come to some peace.
Steve: I think there’s some significance to the fact that you’re tossing and turning in your marital bed, because there’s also the reality that you went outside of the marriage to find something that wasn’t in your marriage. I’m not suggesting that you have to talk about this with your husband, but you do have to sort out really complicated feelings, and you should not have to be alone in this.
You can get more advice from the Sugars each week on Dear Sugar Radio from WBUR. Listen to the full episode to hear more quick takes on a variety of dilemmas.
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