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Afternoon Briefs: SCOTUS splits over immigrant's fight against ID theft conviction; first black justice on top Illinois court dies

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SCOTUS splits over undocumented immigrant’s fight against state identify theft conviction

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Tuesday against Ramiro Garcia, an unauthorized immigrant in Kansas who was convicted under a state identity theft law after using someone else’s Social Security number to get a job. The conservative justices held in Kansas v. Garcia that Kansas could prosecute him under the law without interfering with federal immigration law, a decision that may encourage other states to use similar statutes to regulate immigration. In their dissent, the four liberal justices said federal law “makes clear that only the federal government may prosecute people for misrepresenting their federal work-authorization status.” (CNN, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the March 3 opinion)

First African American justice to serve on Illinois Supreme Court dies

Charles E. Freeman, the first African American justice to serve on the Illinois Supreme Court, died Monday. He was 86 years old. He was elected to the court in 1990 and became its chief justice seven years later. During his tenure, he established a judicial website, helped improve the efficiency of a family violence prevention program, and pushed for a special committee to study potential death penalty reforms. Freeman remained on the bench after stepping down as chief justice and retired in 2018. (The Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, NBC Chicago)

Minnesota cities can’t require landlords to provide voter registration flyers, federal judge says

Judge Wilhelmina Wright of the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota ruled Monday that city ordinances in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, that require landlords to distribute flyers to new tenants with voting registration information unconstitutionally compel free speech. She said she recognizes the “laudable goal of encouraging participation in such a fundamental practice of our democracy as voting,” but that the cities’ ordinances “violate the First Amendment and are facially unconstitutional as a matter of law because the ordinances are an impermissible content-based regulation of speech that in every application would compel an individual to convey defendants’ message.” (The Star Tribune, Courthouse News Service, the March 2 order)

Federal judge permits conservative group to depose Hillary Clinton over emails

Judge Royce Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said in an order Monday that former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton can be deposed in a lawsuit brought by the conservative activist group Judicial Watch about the Department of State’s recordkeeping of her emails. In the order, Lamberth said that while Clinton maintains that she has already testified extensively about why she used a private email server, “as extensive as the existing record is, it does not sufficiently explain Secretary Clinton’s state of mind when she decided it would be an acceptable practice to set up and use a private server to conduct State Department business.” (CNN, Politico, Fox News, the March 2 order)

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