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The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court.
The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. (J. Scott Applewhite)

The Supreme Court’s swing justice plans to retire – a decision that will give President Trump the ability to shift the court toward the right. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, 81, has been the deciding vote on several major cases – including approval of same-sex marriage in 2015.

Trump said Kennedy’s replacement would be selected from a list of 25 people that he updated last year. Leading candidates include federal appeals court Judges Amy Coney Barrett of Indiana, Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania and Brett Kavanaugh, who sits on the D.C. Circuit.

Kavanaugh, a staunch conservative and a former law clerk for Kennedy, was a top deputy to Kenneth M. Starr, the Independent Counsel in the drive to impeach President Clinton. President George W. Bush later appointed Kavanaugh to the appeals court.

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Neil Gorsuch was President Trump's first Supreme Court appointee.
Neil Gorsuch was President Trump's first Supreme Court appointee. (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

President Trump said he will soon pick a nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy from the same list of people he announced during his election campaign, and from which he chose his first justice, Neil Gorsuch.

“Hopefully we will pick someone who is just as outstanding” as Gorsuch, Trump told reporters ahead of a meeting with the president of Portugal.

The list of 25 people — now 24 with Gorsuch’s selection — names decidedly conservative jurists and one Republican senator, Mike Lee of Utah. In releasing it during the 2016 campaign, Trump sought to appeal to religious conservatives wary of a him, given his record of three marriages, his past Democratic affiliation and his formerly pro-abortion rights views. 

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The stunning primary defeat of New York Rep. Joe Crowley, a 10-term incumbent once seen as a likely replacement for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, is once again forcing House Democrats to address their inner divisions, including questions about who will lead them if they regain control in 2018.

  • Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with U.S. national security advisor John Bolton in Moscow in June 27.
Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with U.S. national security advisor John Bolton in Moscow in June 27. (Alexander Zemlianichenko)

A foreign affairs advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Moscow and Washington have reached an agreement on a summit meeting between Putin and President Trump.

Presidential advisor Yuri Ushakov said talks between Kremlin officials and Trump's national security advisor, John Bolton, yielded an agreement on the time and venue of the summit.

The Kremlin and the White House are expected to formally announce the date and location on Thursday. Ushakov said the summit will take place in a third country.

A federal judge in San Diego issued a preliminary injunction Tuesday at the request of the American Civil Liberties Union that calls for all children affected by the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy to be reunited with their parents within 30 days.

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Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar testifying at a Senate committee hearing Tuesday.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar testifying at a Senate committee hearing Tuesday. (Associated Press)

The Trump administration will not reunite any migrant children with parents still held in immigrant detention facilities unless current federal law changes first, a top administration official told Congress on Tuesday.

The statement by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, whose agency currently has custody of 2,047 children who were separated from their parents after being apprehended crossing the border illegally, confirmed what immigrant advocates have feared: The administration will reunite children with their parents quickly only if the parents drop their claims for asylum in the U.S. and agree to be deported.

Under administration policy, immigrants claiming asylum are held in detention awaiting a hearing — a process that can often take months or years. Because current law allows children to be held in immigrant detention facilities for no more than 20 days, Azar’s agency would not place any of the children with parents who are in those facilities, he said.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) questions witnesses during a hearing in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 28, 2009.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) questions witnesses during a hearing in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 28, 2009. (Charles Dharapak / Associated Press)

President Trump says Congresswoman Maxine Waters should “be careful” after she urged the public to “push back” against administration members. 

Trump criticized the California Democrat in a tweet Monday. The president renewed his claim that he considers Waters “an extraordinarily low IQ person” and said she's become the “Face of the Democrat Party” along with fellow California Democrat Nancy Pelosi. Trump added: “Be careful what you wish for Max!” 

Waters is a vocal Trump critic who has been calling for his impeachment. She told rally-goers in her Los Angeles district over the weekend to “push back” on Trump administration members when they're in public and “tell them they're not welcome.” 

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dealt a blow to a California law that requires faith-based crisis pregnancy centers to notify patients that the state offers subsidized medical care, including abortions.

The decision, on a 5-4 vote, did not strike down the law but sent the case back to lower courts for further review, suggesting the centers were likely to win. The majority questioned whether the disclosure rule amounts to compelled speech that violates the 1st Amendment.

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The Supreme Court today upheld President Trump’s ban on travelers from six nations, ruling that the chief executive has the power to target foreign nations and block their citizens from entering this country.

The 5-4 ruling rejected arguments that Trump overstepped his authority under the immigration laws and that his targeting of mostly Muslim-majority countries amounted to unconstitutional religious discrimination.

U.S. Border Patrol agents have stopped handing parents over to the Justice Department for prosecution when they are caught crossing the border illegally with their children, the head of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency said Monday.