President Trump, in the wake of Thursday's defeat at the Supreme Court in his efforts to repeal the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, called for new justices as conservatives took aim at Chief Justice John Roberts for what they called a “pattern” of siding with the liberal wing in key decisions.
“The recent Supreme Court decisions, not only on DACA, Sanctuary Cities, Census, and others, tell you only one thing, we need NEW JUSTICES of the Supreme Court. If the Radical Left Democrats assume power, your Second Amendment, Right to Life, Secure Borders, and ... Religious Liberty, among many other things, are OVER and GONE!” he tweeted.
TRUMP DECRIES SUPREME COURT DECISIONS AS 'SHOTGUN BLASTS INTO THE FACE' OF CONSERVATIVES
He went on to promise that he will release a “new list of Conservative Supreme Court Justice nominees, which may include some, or many of those already on the list, by September 1, 2020.”
Trump’s call comes after the court ruled Thursday, in a 5-4 decision penned by Roberts, that his reversal of former President Barack Obama’s executive order – that shielded immigrants who came to the country illegally as children from deportation – was in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), which sets out rulemaking procedures for federal agencies.
While Democrats and immigration activists cheered the decision, conservatives fumed at the ruling, accusing the justices of preventing Trump from overturning what they have long seen as an illegal executive order. As the day went on, their ire turned to Roberts -- the Bush appointee who has a history of deciding outcomes favorable to liberals by siding with the liberal bloc.
It was Roberts who, by siding with the liberal wing and reinterpreting an individual mandate as a tax, allowed ObamaCare to be found constitutional in 2012. Last year, he joined with the wing again in shutting down Trump’s efforts to add a citizenship question to the census.
“Over recent years more and more Chief Justice Roberts has been playing games with the court to achieve the policy outcomes he desires,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said on the Senate floor, before citing past instances of what he called "sleight of hands" by Roberts, adding: "This is becoming a pattern."
“Five justices today held that it was illegal for the Trump administration to stop breaking the law,” he said. “That’s bizarre.”
In the administration, Acting Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Ken Cuccinelli ripped the ruling: "Terrible. Awful. Double-standard. Outrageous." He then took aim at Roberts.
“If Justice Roberts played football, he’d be an all-star punter!” he said.
In the House, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, accused Roberts again of “convoluting the law to appease the D.C. establishment.”
“By ruling that President Trump cannot terminate DACA in the same manner that President Obama used to start it, the Court’s decision creates two standards of executive power: one for President Obama and another for President Trump,” he said in a statement. “Today’s decision binds the Trump Administration to the politically-expedient policy decisions of President Obama, and hampers efforts to meaningfully restore sanity to our immigration system.”
Democrats in Congress and the campaign trail, meanwhile, cheered the ruling. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he “cried tears of joy a few minutes ago when I heard the decision of the Supreme Court on DACA.”
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said in a statement: "The Supreme Court’s ruling today is a victory made possible by the courage and resilience of hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients who bravely stood up and refused to be ignored.”
President Trump, meanwhile, promised not to give up his campaign of overhauling DACA.
“As President of the United States, I am asking for a legal solution on DACA, not a political one, consistent with the rule of law,” he tweeted. “The Supreme Court is not willing to give us one, so now we have to start this process all over again.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Thursday ordered the removal of portraits in the Capitol of previous House speakers who served in the Confederacy as part of an effort to "appropriately observe Juneteenth" on Friday.
Pelosi said she discovered the four portraits as she was taking inventory in the Capitol of Confederate statues, which she is also trying to remove but can't do unilaterally.
"Tomorrow, Juneteenth, the clerk will oversee the removal of those Confederate speakers from the House," Pelosi announced at a press conference at the Capitol. "There's no room in the hallowed halls of this democracy, this temple of democracy, to memorialize people who embody violent bigotry and grotesque racism of the Confederacy."
Pelosi sent a letter to the House Clerk Cheryl Johnson requesting the removal of four previous House Speakers to honor Juneteenth, which is observed June 19 and commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States.
PELOSI URGES CONGRESS TO REMOVE CONFEDERATE STATUES IN A LETTER
“To appropriately observe Juneteenth this year, I write today to request the immediate removal of the portraits in the U.S. Capitol of four previous Speakers who served in the Confederacy: Robert Hunter of Virginia (1839-1841), Howell Cobb of Georgia (1849-1851), James Orr of South Carolina (1857-1859), and Charles Crisp of Georgia (1891-1895)," Pelosi wrote to the Johnson.
"The portraits of these men are symbols that set back our nation’s work to confront and combat bigotry," she added.
The action is the latest effort by Pelosi to rid the Capitol of relics that celebrate Confederate icons. Her pursuit started during her first speakership when she successfully moved a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee down to the crypt.
Pelosi is also trying to remove 11 Confederate statues from the Capitol but needs others to sign off. However, Pelosi does have the power to move statues around and she's open to relegating the statues to dark corners of the Capitol if she can't get them removed.
PELOSI COULD HIDE STATUES OF CONFEDERATE LEADERS AT THE CAPITOL
Confederate statues across the nation have come down in rapid succession in recent weeks in the wake of the death of George Floyd and flood of protests demanding racial justice. Pelosi mentioned the names of black Americans who recently died in her letter requesting the removal of the confederate portraits on Juneteenth.
"Very sadly, this day comes during a moment of extraordinary national anguish, as we grieve for the hundreds of black Americans killed by racial injustice and police brutality, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others," she wrote.
For those of you still wiping down groceries and other packages amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, breathe a sigh of relief: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now say that the novel virus “does not spread easily” from touching contaminated surfaces or objects — but experts warn that doesn’t mean it’s no longer necessary to take "practical and realistic" precautions in stopping the spread of COVID-19.
Though it’s not clear exactly when, the federal health agency appears to have recently changed its guidelines from early March that initially said it “may be possible” to spread the virus from contaminated surfaces, now including surfaces and objects under a section that details ways in which the coronavirus does not readily transmit.
CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE
Other ways in which the virus does not easily spread is from animals to people, or from people to animals, the federal agency said on its updated page.
“COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning about how it spreads. It may be possible for COVID-19 to spread in other ways, but these are not thought to be the main ways the virus spreads,” according to the CDC.
The CDC did, however, remind citizens that the virus does mainly spread from person-to-person, noting that the virus that causes a COVID-19 infection, SARS-CoV-2, "is spreading very easily and sustainably between people.”
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A federal judge leveled harsh accusations against Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and the rest of the conservative majority, claiming that they are “actively participating in undermining American democracy.”
Judge Lynn Adelman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin blasted the Roberts-led court in an article titled “The Roberts Court’s Assault on Democracy,” set to be published in the Harvard Law & Policy Review.
“[T]he Roberts Court has been anything but passive,” wrote Adelman, who was appointed to the bench by President Bill Clinton. “Rather, the Court’s hard-right majority is actively participating in undermining American democracy. Indeed, the Roberts Court has contributed to ensuring that the political system in the United States pays little attention to ordinary Americans and responds only to the wishes of a relatively small number of powerful corporations and individuals.”
Adelman pointed to two particular types of cases. First were those dealing with what he called “direct assaults on democracy such as cases that affect voting rights.” He said some cases have hurt minorities by weakening the Voting Rights Act. In a recent case, the court refused to intervene in partisan gerrymandering.
The second type of case Adelman described was where he said the court “increased the economic and political power of corporations and wealthy individuals and reduced that of ordinary Americans and entities which represent them.” These included Citizens United, which said that corporations enjoy free speech protections that allow them to spend large sums in connection with elections. Adelman said that this decision “weaponized the First Amendment.”
Adelman was even unhappy with Roberts’ own opinion and key vote that upheld ObamaCare because it knocked down its expansion of Medicaid. He said this “thwarted Congress’ efforts to address one of the most serious problems that the poor face, the lack of health insurance[.]”
The judge did not reserve his ire for the Supreme Court alone. He took shots at Senate Republicans for their handling of President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, which GOP senators ignored in order to allow Obama’s successor to appoint someone else – this resulted in President Trump successfully nominating Justice Neil Gorsuch.
Adelman went so far as to compare the Republican senators to pro-slavery Southerners.
“The zealous partisanship the Republicans displayed in connection with the Garland nomination, as well as judicial appointments generally reminds one of nothing so much as the ‘fire-eaters,’ those fervent defenders of slavery who pushed the South into the Civil War,” he wrote.
Ultimately, though, Adelman’s focus was on Roberts, insisting that he has exhibited a harmful bias and that his description of a Supreme Court justice was of an umpire who “calls the balls and strikes” was “a masterpiece of disingenuousness.”
He concluded with a dire warning that the current state of the judiciary has contributed to “a new and arguably dangerous phase in American history” that requires fixing and necessitates “every bit of democratic resourcefulness that we can muster to undo the damage that the Court has already caused.”
Not only is the U.S. Postal Service delivering less mail – it is now delivering fewer packages after it warned Congress it could run out of cash in the not so distant future.
In the agency’s latest quarterly statement, it reported a net loss of nearly $2.3 billion as it delivered 3.2 percent fewer packages. Revenue from packages, however, increased due to higher prices.
But the decline in package volume – the first decrease in nearly a decade – could spell even more trouble for the financially-stricken agency, as its courier competitors ramp up delivery efforts to compete with the likes of Amazon. Packages were also one area of concentration for the Postal Service as it worked on a reform plan to shore up its finances.
The Postal Service experienced a 1.6 percent decline in revenue across first-class mail – its primary revenue driver – as well as a 3 percent decline in marketing mail revenue and an 11.2 percent decline in periodicals revenue.
“We continue to face imbalances in our business model that must be fixed through legislative and regulatory change,” Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer Megan J. Brennan said in a statement.
The Postal Service ended fiscal 2018 with a net loss of $3.9 billion.
Losses for the latest quarter ($2.26 billion) were up from $1.49 billion from the same period last year. Revenue of $17.1 billion was slightly lower than last year.
Losses at the Postal Service between 2007 through 2018 are about $69 billion. The last time the agency recorded a profit was more than a decade ago. It has also defaulted on more than $40 billion in payments owed to pre-fund retiree health care expenses.
Throughout recent months, the U.S. Post Office has considered a number of reforms to attempt to put itself on firmer financial footing.
Brennan told lawmakers in May the agency is considering scaling back mail deliver to five days per week, from the current six, as it works on a plan to shore up its financial situation. As part of that plan, the Post Office would deliver packages seven days per week.
Brennan credited a “flawed business model” as the root cause of the agency’s financial instability. This model, she says, imposes significant costs – like an unaffordable retiree health benefit plan and price caps – on the Postal Service while constraining its ability to raise revenue in order to offset those costs.
“Absent legislative reform, in all probability we’ll be out of cash in 2024 and that will threaten our ability to meet our obligation to the American public,” Brennan said.
And if the agency makes all of its mandatory payments – including those retiree benefits – Brennan said the agency would be out of cash in 2020.
Total operating expenses for the most recent quarter increased 4.3 percent – or $797 million – to $19.3 billion.
Last April, the president created a task force to examine the Postal Service and its operations. In December, the task force released a range of proposals with the aim of placing it on a path to sustainability.
Recommendations included developing a new pricing model, which eliminates across-the-board price caps and suggests charging “market-based prices” for both mail and package items that are not considered essential postal services. The report also suggested “franchising the mailbox” to private shipping couriers, meaning companies like FedEx and UPS could place items in private mailboxes.