Veterans Affairs nominee Ronny Jackson has been fighting an uphill battle as information of his past professional experience is being revealed during his confirmation hearing before the Senate. Last week allegations involving Jackson’s workplace practices, including claims of inappropriate behavior and over-prescribing prescription drugs began surfacing. Complaints to the White House included that Jackson oversaw a poor work environment, that he had drunk alcohol on the job, and that he had been involved in a car wreck after a secret service going away party. A 2012 report form the Navy's Medical Inspector General revealed that Jackson and a rival physician exhibited “unprofessional behaviors” as they engaged in a power struggle over the White House medical unit. After review by the Associated Press the report was found to have no references to improper prescribing of drugs or the use of alcohol which were allegations brought out separately by a Senate committee. Jackson has not responded to any of the allegations presented against him. President Trump appears to be standing by his nominee calling him “one of the finest people that I have met". In a private meeting between the President and Jackson yesterday afternoon, the President reportedly encouraged Jackson to keep fighting to win the confirmation. With allegations piling up daily we wait to see if Jackson will survive his confirmation hearing or if he will step down and ask the president to nominate another individual to head the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Supreme Court sat for its last day of oral arguments in this term. They heard arguments for one of the most anticipated cases they had in their docket this term; No. 17-965. DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, ET AL., Petitioners V. HAWAII, ET AL. One of the many questions before the court was whether or not the president had the authority to issue a travel ban proclamation such as this one. The court was reviewing the constitutionality, under the establishment clause of the First Amendment, of Trump's third travel ban. The travel ban being reviewed was announced by Trump on September 24, 2017 and banned individuals who are from Chad, Libya, Syria, Iran, Somalia, Yemen, North Korea, and Venezuela. At the end of the respondents thirty minute argument, Chief Justice Roberts informed Mr. Katyal he could take an additional five minutes if he wished to finish his argument. This additional grant of time if not often offered by the court and although Mr. Katyal did not take it, the offer indicates the weight the Justices are placing on this decision.
An opinion from the Justices is not expected until mid May. As predicted, the Liberal Justices expressed discomfort with the Trump's efforts to limit immigration. While the Conservative Justices did not seem eager to limit the president's ability to impact immigration, particularly with questions of national security an boarder control being considered by other government agencies. It seems as if this case will come down to the swing vote, Justice Kennedy, who appeared to be leaning with the Conservative Justices in favor of the ban.