March 12, 2018

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger plans to sue oil companies for murder, he said on a Politico podcast episode published Monday.

Schwarzenegger likened oil companies to tobacco companies continuing to sell cigarettes after becoming aware of their deleterious effects on users' health. "The oil companies knew from 1959 on — they did their own study that there would be global warming happening because of fossil fuels, and on top of it that it would be risky for people's lives, that it would kill," he said. "If you walk into a room and you know you're going to kill someone, it's first-degree murder; I think it's the same thing with the oil companies."

The goal of the suit is to mandate health warning labels analogous to those on cigarette boxes. To "me it's absolutely irresponsible to know that your product is killing people and not have a warning label on it, like tobacco," Schwarzenegger said. "Every gas station on it, every car should have a warning label on it; every product that has fossil fuels should have a warning label on it."

Schwarzenegger seems to be referring to the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, which was settled in 1998, following four decades of health-related litigation against the the tobacco industry. The deal required large tobacco companies to make a number of changes to their business practices and to pay 46 states for the costs of treating tobacco-related illness in perpetuity. Bonnie Kristian

November 27, 2017
Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Tommy Lasorda

Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci is threatening a libel lawsuit against the Tufts University school newspaper, The Tufts Daily, as well as a graduate student, Camilo Caballero, who penned two op-eds the paper printed earlier this month.

The articles describe Scaramucci, a Tufts alumnus, as "irresponsible, inconsistent, an unethical opportunist" who exudes "the highest degree of disreputability" and "cares about gaining attention and nothing more." The op-eds were occasioned by Scaramucci's seat on an advisory board at the university's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, a role Caballero argued Scaramucci should not retain.

"You may have a difference of opinion from me politically which I respect," Scaramucci wrote to Caballero, "but you can't make spurious claims about my reputation and integrity." His lawyers sent a letter to The Tufts Daily demanding a retraction and apology, and Scaramucci is busily defending his position on Twitter.

In response, Tufts postponed an event featuring Scaramucci that was scheduled for Monday, and the student paper posted the attorneys' letter without comment. Legal experts say it is unlikely Scaramucci would be able to successfully sue because the articles were opinion pieces rather than news reports. Bonnie Kristian

November 26, 2017

Come Monday, there will be two people starting the same job as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), one of them chosen by the agency's outgoing head (per the guidelines in the law that created the CFPB) and one picked by President Trump (per more general law on executive appointments). Both sides are apparently prepping for a legal fight — the Justice Department issued a memo justifying the administration's position Saturday evening — and lawyers told Reuters the dispute will likely go to court.

Trump defended his position on Twitter Saturday:

Trump did not explain why he would want to bring such a disastrous agency back to life. The Wall Street Journal article he appeared to have in mind describes the CFPB as unaccountable, partisan, and overreaching its legal purview from the very start of its six-year history. Bonnie Kristian

November 13, 2017
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Roy Moore, the Republican Senate nominee for Alabama, told the audience at a Christian Citizen Task Force forum in Huntsville on Sunday he plans on suing The Washington Post over its report that when Moore was in his early 30s, he pursued relationships with teenage girls and made unwanted sexual advances toward a 14-year-old.

The Post interviewed more than 30 people for the report, all of whom said they knew Moore between 1977 and 1982, when he was a deputy district attorney. During the forum, Moore said the Post printed false allegations "for which they will be sued," NBC News reports. Moore did not say when he plans on filing his suit. When The New York Times published allegations that President Trump sexually assaulted a woman in the early 1980s and another woman in 2005, Trump threatened to sue the paper; the Times stood by its reporting, and Trump never filed suit. Catherine Garcia

September 25, 2017

On Sunday, the Trump administration rolled out a new iteration of its much-critiqued travel ban, a version that targets a slightly different set of countries and has no expiration date. The new ban may also differ from its predecessors by posing a more difficult challenge to those who would try to fight it in court, as Reuters detailed Monday in dialogue with several legal experts.

"The greater the sense that the policy reflects a considered, expert judgment, the less the temptation (by courts) to second-guess the executive," Saikrishna Prakash, a University of Virginia law professor, told Reuters. To the extent that this version "looks less like a matter of prejudice or a desire to fulfill a campaign promise," Prakash said, the safer from legal contest it will be.

Because the new ban adds North Korea and select government officials from Venezuela to its no-entry list, the White House can more easily argue it is not excluding Muslims on the basis of their religion rather than measurable security risks.

That each of the eight nations targeted are subject to slightly different guidelines will also help the administration's case in court, as will the ban's reliance on a multi-month review by the Department of Homeland Security. The review "at least arguably attenuates the link between the president’s alleged bias and the policy," said Margo Schlanger, a law professor at the University of Michigan. Bonnie Kristian

September 11, 2017

After disclosing last week that 143 million U.S. consumers may have had their personal information compromised during a cyberattack by criminal hackers, credit-reporting agency Equifax is already facing at least 23 proposed class-action lawsuits.

The company said the attacks took place from mid-May to July 2017, and the breach involved names, addresses, birthdays, and Social Security numbers, as well as some driver's license numbers. Equifax said it found out about the breach on July 29, and the Senate Finance Committee sent a letter to the company on Monday asking for a detailed timeline of what happened, how the company is working to figure out how many people have been affected, and what information was compromised.

The federal lawsuits have been filed in 14 states and the District of Columbia, covering everything from alleged security negligence to the delay in notifying customers, USA Today reports. One case, filed in California, takes aim at Equifax's offer to give customers a free year of credit monitoring from TrustedID, because the company "failed to disclose to consumers that it owned TrustedID, and its long-term business model turns on baiting consumers into signing up for its services. In other words, Equifax sought to turn its failure to protect consumers' sensitive data into a clandestine money-making opportunity." Catherine Garcia

June 10, 2017
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The Justice Department on Friday argued a federal judge should dismiss a lawsuit alleging President Trump is violating the Constitution's ban on federal officeholders accepting "emoluments" (gifts or payments) from foreign governments without congressional consent.

"Historical evidence confirms that the Emoluments Clauses were not designed to reach commercial transactions that a President (or other federal official) may engage in as an ordinary citizen through his business enterprises," the DOJ filing said. "Were Plaintiffs' interpretation correct, Presidents from the very beginning of the Republic, including George Washington, would have received prohibited 'emolument.'"

The governments of countries including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Turkey have held official events at Trump's Washington, D.C., hotel, and the Trump Organization more broadly has done other business with entities with ties to foreign states.

The lawsuit was brought by a left-wing watchdog group called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW), which claims standing on the grounds that the president's dealings with foreign governments have required the organization to take resources away from ethics concerns it would otherwise monitor. CREW is joined in the suit by a group of restaurants, restaurant workers, and a hotel events scheduler, who argue they have standing because they lose business when foreign governments attempt to "curry favor" with Trump by giving preference to his properties. The DOJ maintains neither claim of standing should hold up in court. Bonnie Kristian