Trump pardons Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio

On August 25, 2017, President Trump granted a Presidential pardon to Joe Arpaio, the former Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. While the statement does not address the scope of the Presidential pardon, the context of Arpaio’s recent offense and criminal conviction is critical to inform the purpose and effect of this pardon.

Ortega Melendres v. Arpaio

In 2007, the ACLU filed a class action suit against Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) and Sheriff Joe Arpaio in his official capacity. The suit alleged that MSCO engaged in racial profiling and arrested individuals without probable cause as to their immigration status. The ACLU stated that “the policies and practices of Arpaio and the county are discriminatory and unlawfully violate the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Arizona Constitution.” Read the petition.

Essentially, an warrantless arrest made without probable cause violates the Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable seizure. An officer has probable cause when the officer has within her knowledge reasonably trustworthy facts and circumstances sufficient to warrant an objective belief that the suspect has committed or is committing a crime for which arrest is authorized law. A suspicion based on the racial appearance of an individual is not a reasonably trustworthy fact that the individual is unlawfully in the country or guilty of any other offense. MCSO routinely committed stops and arrests of individuals only based on such racial profiling, which is less that the probable cause standard required by the Constitution.

Continue reading “Trump pardons Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio”


Trump signed E.O., “White House Initiative to Promote Excellence and Innovation at Historically Black Colleges and Universities”

This executive order moves the White House initiative created by Obama from the Department of Education to the Executive Office of the President.

At the end of this executive order, there is a revocation of the Executive Order 13532 signed by Barack Obama on February 26, 2010, entitled “Promoting Excellence, Innovation, and Sustainability at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.” It makes sense to look at the Trump order in context of how it was already set up under the Obama administration.

In Obama’s executive order, the White House Initiative on HBCUs was directed to track progress and report on funding for HBCUs. It also defined the scope of the Presidential Board of Advisors to consist of 25 leaders chosen by the President.

This executive order signed by Trump uses the same language as the Obama order with some significant changes: (1) the location of the Initiative, and (2) an increased emphasis on private funding sources.  Continue reading “Trump signed E.O., “White House Initiative to Promote Excellence and Innovation at Historically Black Colleges and Universities””