A federal appeals court handed the U.S. government a victory Tuesday in its fight against lawsuits opposing a decision to end a program protecting some young immigrants from deportation.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan directed Brooklyn judges to expeditiously decide if a court can properly review the decision to end in March the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. The government insists it cannot.
Activists are suing the government in New York, California, the District of Columbia and Maryland. DACA has protected about 800,000 people, many of them currently in college, who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children or came with families that overstayed visas.
A three-judge 2nd Circuit panel issued a brief order after hearing oral arguments. It said the government will not have to continue to produce documents or submit to depositions before the lower court decides whether the cases can proceed. It also said it will only decide the issue of whether to order the lower court to limit document production once those issues are addressed.
Attorney Michael Wishnie, who argued for plaintiffs suing the government, praised the appeals court for having "moved swiftly to address the government filings in this case."
And he noted that a Brooklyn judge gave the government until Friday to submit written arguments on the legal issues the appeals court said must be resolved before the case proceeds. The plaintiffs must submit their arguments by Nov. 1.
Earlier Tuesday, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Hashim M. Mooppan told the appeals court panel the government planned to ask the Brooklyn federal court by early next week to dismiss the lawsuits.
He said lawyers fighting the government were engaging in a "massive fishing expedition" for documents and testimony that would reveal the deliberative processes at the highest levels of the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department. He called it "wholly improper."
Mooppan seemed to get a sympathetic ear from appeals judges, with one of them saying the government's opponents seemed to be pursuing "a disguised application under the Freedom of Information Act."
"There are a lot of different ways this is very wrong, your honor. That might be one of them," Mooppan said.
The Supreme Court is taking up an appeal by 11 states that argue American Express violated antitrust laws by barring merchants from asking customers to use other credit cards that charge lower fees.
The justices said Monday they would review a ruling by the federal appeals court in New York that sided with American Express.
The case stems from a lawsuit filed by states and the Obama administration in 2010 against American Express, Mastercard and Visa. The lawsuit said that letting merchants steer customers to cards with lower fees for merchants or to other preferred cards would benefit consumers and increase incentives for networks to reduce card fees.
Visa and MasterCard entered into consent judgments in 2011 and stopped their anti-steering rules for merchants while American Express proceeded to trial.
A trial judge ruled against American Express in 2015, but the appeals court reversed that ruling last year.
The Trump administration said it agreed with the states, but still urged the Supreme Court to reject the case. The administration said the justices should let the issue percolate in the lower courts.
The 11 states that joined the appeal are Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Ohio, Rhode Island, Utah and Vermont.
Other states that were part of the original lawsuit are Arizona, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Tennessee and Texas.
The court will hear argument in Ohio v. American Express, 16-1454, during the winter.
Gatorade has agreed not to make disparaging comments about water as part of a $300,000 settlement reached Thursday with California over allegations it misleadingly portrayed water's benefits in a cellphone game where users refuel Olympic runner Usain Bolt.
The game, downloaded 30,000 times in California and 2.3 million times worldwide, is no longer available.
The dispute between the sports-drink company and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra was settled in less than a day after Becerra filed a complaint in Los Angeles County.
Becerra's complaint alleges the game, called Bolt!, misleadingly portrayed the health benefits of water in a way that could harm children's nutritional choices. The game encouraged users to "keep your performance level high and avoid water," with Bolt's fuel level going down after drinking water but up after drinking Gatorade, the complaint alleged.
The settlement should serve as a warning to companies that falsely advertise, Becerra said.
"Making misleading statements is a violation of California law. But making misleading statements aimed at our children is beyond unlawful, it's morally wrong and a betrayal of trust," he said in a statement.
Gatorade agreed to the settlement but has not admitted wrongdoing.
"The mobile game, Bolt!, was designed to highlight the unique role and benefits of sports drinks in supporting athletic performance. We recognize the role water plays in overall health and wellness, and offer our consumers great options," spokeswoman Katie Vidaillet said in an email.
In addition to agreeing not to disparage water, Gatorade agreed not to make Bolt! or any other games that give the impression that water will hinder athletic performance or that athletes only consume Gatorade and do not drink water. Gatorade also agreed to use "reasonable efforts" to abide by parent company PepsiCo's policy on responsible advertising to children and to disclose its contracts with endorsers.
Of the settlement money, $120,000 will go toward the study or promotion of childhood and teenager nutrition and the consumption of water.
A transgender Singaporean and her friend facing a year in prison in the United Arab Emirates for dressing in a feminine way have seen their sentences reduced to a fine and deportation, an official said Monday.
Nur Qistina Fitriah Ibrahim, a transgender woman who has not undergone a sex-change operation, and her friend, freelance fashion photographer Muhammad Fadli Bin Abdul Rahman, will pay a fine of 10,000 dirhams — about $2,270 — and be immediately deported, the official said.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the negotiations, declined to elaborate further about the case as the process of freeing the two was ongoing.
A separate report on Monday in The National, a state-linked newspaper in Abu Dhabi, quoted an unnamed official as also saying the two would merely face a fine and deportation.
Their families and the Singaporean Embassy in Abu Dhabi declined to comment.
The two Singaporeans were arrested in Abu Dhabi, the oil-rich capital of the United Arab Emirates, on Aug. 9. Police stopped them at Yas Mall as they tried to eat at a food court, said Radha Stirling, CEO of the advocacy group Detained in Dubai.
Abu Dhabi advertises itself as a tourism destination and is home to the long-haul air carrier Etihad Airways. However, the emirate bordering Saudi Arabia is more conservative than Dubai, the UAE's commercial heart.
Even trips to Dubai can pose risks to LGBT travelers and others as laws sometimes contradict social attitudes.
Alcohol possession for foreigners is technically illegal without a government-issued license obtainable only after gaining their employer's permission, though liquor and beer is widely available in bars and clubs in both cities. Foreigners also have faced charges in the past for having sex outside of marriage.