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Border guards deny entry at a bridge at Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, to a mother and her children seeking asylum in the U.S.
Border guards deny entry at a bridge at Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, to a mother and her children seeking asylum in the U.S. (Los Angeles Times)

There are two fundamental problems with President Trump’s latest attempt to throttle back the number of people — and particularly the number of Central Americans — trying to seek refuge in the U.S. In a proclamation issued Friday morning, Trump declared that asylum-seekers who crossed the border without permission — for example, by fording the Rio Grande instead of coming through an official point of entry — would be ineligible for consideration.

First, to shut the door to the desperate violates basic human decency and international norms of how asylum-seekers should be treated. Second, it is probably illegal, despite the contortions government lawyers have gone through to give it the veneer of lawfulness.

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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was injured in a fall at her office.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was injured in a fall at her office. (Saul Loeb / AFP-Getty Images)

When the Supreme Court announced Thursday that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had fractured three ribs in a fall at her office, there was predictable anxiety among her admirers, not only for her personal well-being but also for the future ideological composition of the court.

On Twitter, some admirers offered to donate ribs to the 85-year-old justice (#RibsForRuth).

But one well-wisher on Twitter added that Ginsburg “absolutely should have retired under Obama.” 

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  • Opinion
  • Rule of Law
  • The Swamp
Protester rallied outside the White House last year in support of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
Protester rallied outside the White House last year in support of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

President Trump just lost another one in the courts, with a three-member panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejecting the administration’s request to lift a nationwide injunction against his rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Get ready for a tweetstorm.

Numb. That’s the only word for it. California awoke this morning to reports of another mass shooting, this time in Thousand Oaks, a suburban community that prides itself on being among the safest cities in America. More than 100 people, many of them college kids, were in the Borderline Bar & Grill country dance bar when a man dressed in black walked in with some sort of smoke-generating device and opened fire with a .45-caliber Glock handgun, killing 11 people inside and Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus, one of the first law-enforcement officers to arrive, before dying of a gunshot himself.

  • Opinion
  • Election 2018
(Kamil Krzaczynski / AFP/Getty Images)

Pundits labeled 2018 the second “Year of the Woman,” a nod to the historic number of women that ran for office Tuesday. The first “Year of the Woman,” of course, was 1992, when Anita Hill was humiliated and ignored and five whole women were elected to the 100-person Senate. Twenty-six years later, the headlines are similarly rapturous. We elected more than 115 women, breaking a zillion records!

We owe these female candidates — and those who organized on their behalf — a debt of gratitude for expanding our vision, often at great personal risk.

But I’m not exactly running down the streets singing the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Since I simply cannot resist ruining a happy moment, dozens of women dotted across the country does not a revolution make. At press time, women had won 22% of the House seats, 12% of the Senate seats and 9% of the gubernatorial seats. We continue to make up 51% of the population.

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  • Opinion
  • Election 2018
Orange County stayed red - for now - in the blue state of California.
Orange County stayed red - for now - in the blue state of California. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

For all the recent talk about the demographic and political shifts underway in Orange County, Tuesday was a snap back to reality. Yes, Democrats have made strides, but Republicans still dominated election day.

While it looks like Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) may have lost his seat after three decades and a Democrat will replace Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) in a district that spans Orange and San Diego counties, Republicans either held onto or won open seats that Democrats had hoped to take, including Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Beach) winning reelection and Young Kim taking the open seat currently held by Rep. Ed Royce (R-Fullerton).

  • Opinion
  • The Swamp
  • Election 2018
The Democrats narrowly won control of the House on Tuesday. They now have a chance to change the tone of Washington.
The Democrats narrowly won control of the House on Tuesday. They now have a chance to change the tone of Washington. (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

In the end Tuesday’s election results went about as expected, though not nearly as well for the Democrats as they had hoped. The took back control of the House, yes, but by a slim margin, and lost a couple more seats in the Senate. As waves go, well, it wasn’t exactly good for surfing.

So what now? The Democrats are in a position to effect change, but not necessarily in the manner they had hoped. With a split Congress, voters can expect little to get accomplished on significant issues. Immigration reform? Stalled. Repealing or adding tax cuts? Nothing doing. Changes to the Affordable Care Act? No prescriptions available.

  • Opinion
  • Election 2018
Local soda taxes, such as one in Seattle, will be banned if voters in Washington State pass a ban on "grocery" taxes on Tuesday.
Local soda taxes, such as one in Seattle, will be banned if voters in Washington State pass a ban on "grocery" taxes on Tuesday. (Lisa Baumann/ Associated Press)

Voters in Oregon and Washington State will decide today whether they want to ban local soda taxes, such as the one that Seattle adopted in January.

Oh, some may not realize that’s what they are doing, given that the measures pretend to be about keeping greedy local governments from slapping taxes on food. But there’s a reason that soda companies have spent millions on these measures: the “groceries” that are protected from new taxes include sugary drinks like soda.

Local soda taxes have been bubbling up all over the country as studies trickle in from places like Berkeley indicating that soda taxes really do decrease soda consumption. That’s good for public health advocates hoping to curb the rising rates of obesity and diabetes.

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  • Opinion
  • Election 2018
Elise Hall, the author's niece, votes for the first time in Los Angeles County.
Elise Hall, the author's niece, votes for the first time in Los Angeles County. (Carla Hall / Los Angeles Times)

I spend a lot of time urging people to vote. But it occurred to me (on Monday) that I had never delivered that message to my niece, Elise Hall, who turned 18 in July. Was she even registered to vote?

Elise graduated from high school this past spring and now juggles a job and classes at a local college. I knew she was civic-minded; in high school, she volunteered her time and expertise doing hair and makeup for women in homeless shelters. But I had a feeling that voter registration might not have been on her to-do list. 

Turns out that she had registered online — good for her! — or at least she tried to. She got back a form saying she still had to sign something. I looked her up on lavote.net and she wasn’t listed as registered. That didn’t surprise me. Maybe her name hadn’t made it into the system yet.

  • Trump
  • Opinion
  • Rule of Law
President Trump's immigration enforcement policies have pushed the court backlog to more than 1 million cases.
President Trump's immigration enforcement policies have pushed the court backlog to more than 1 million cases. (Jabin Botsford/Washington Post)

You have to give credit to the Trump administration when it’s due. The increased pace of arrests of people living in the country illegally, combined with the order to reopen suspended cases, has pushed the backlog of pending immigration court cases to nearly 1.1 million, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.

That’s more than double the backlog when Trump took office, and comes despite a 30% increase in the number of immigration judges.