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DOMA: House LGBT Equality Caucus Applauds Supreme Court Decision

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The House LGBT Equality Caucus today applauded the Supreme Court for deciding to hear a challenge to DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 that bans the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.

Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Congressman Barney Frank, Congresswoman and Senator-elect Tammy Baldwin, Congressman Jared Polis, Congressman David Cicilline, and Congressman John Conyers, all member of the LGBT Equality caucus, announced via a joint statement they “welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to review DOMA and ensure that Congress affords all families equal treatment under the law.”

“Congress failed this fundamental obligation when it hastily passed DOMA in 1996 and foreclosed federal recognition for married same-sex couples before gay men or lesbians could marry anywhere in the world,” the six House members stated. “We have long argued that no legitimate federal interest is served by depriving loving, committed same-sex couples the same security that we provide others.  We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will affirm the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that DOMA is unconstitutional and must be struck down.”

In September, the six Members of Congress joined Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, with the support of 137 other House Members, in filing an amicus brief in the court of appeals in Edith Schlain Windsor v. United States of America, voicing their opposition to arguments being made by House Republican Leadership, who have hired outside lawyers and already committed $1.5 million taxpayer dollars to defending DOMA in court.  Their amicus brief makes it clear that the House is not united on DOMA’s validity, that the lawyers arguing on behalf of House Republican Leadership do not speak for the entire institution, and that there is no legitimate federal interest in denying married same-sex couples the legal security, rights and responsibilities that federal law provides to couples who are married under state law.  Section 3 of DOMA does not affect married heterosexual couples and their children, who are recognized regardless of DOMA.  And this law affirmatively harms married gay and lesbian couples and their children.  Nadler and the main sponsors of the amicus briefs filed to date intend to participate in the Supreme Court’s consideration of the Windsor case.

 

Related:

Gay Republican Fred Karger Reminds Justice Clarence Thomas Why He Must Support Gay Marriage

NOM: SCOTUS Took Prop 8 To Overturn ‘Rogue Ruling’ By ‘Homosexual Judge’

Gillibrand: SCOTUS Decision ‘Historic’ But Congress Must Put DOMA In ‘Dustbin Of History’

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

ABC Host Pops Marco Rubio’s Balloon Rant: It ‘Happened Three Times’ Under Trump

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ABC host Jonathan Karl reminded Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) that former President Donald Trump had failed to notify Americans on at least three occasions when Chinese balloons entered the country’s airspace.

During an interview on ABC, Karl asked Rubio if President Joe Biden should have gone against the advice of the U.S. military and instead shot the balloon down over populated land.

Rubio agreed that the debris could have “hurt, harmed or killed people.”

“If that was the case, then I think it really would have been helpful for the president of the United States to get on national television and explain to the American people, this is what we’re dealing with, this is what I’m going to do about it, and this is why I haven’t done it yet. None of that happened. And I don’t know why. I don’t know why they waited so long to tell people about this.”

But Karl pointed out that Trump had failed to disclose similar incidents at least three times.

“This happened three times under the previous president,” the host said. “Obviously, there were no public notifications there.”

READ: Trump’s wall is ‘morphing’

Watch the ABC video below or at this link.

 

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Burn Bags and Use of Personal Email: Justices’ Security Practices Even Worse Than Leak Investigation Showed

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Supreme Court employees raised security concerns that were not made public when an internal investigation was completed following the leak of a draft opinion reversing abortion rights.

Multiple sources familiar with the court’s operations told CNN that justices often used personal email accounts for sensitive communications, employees used printers that didn’t produce logs and “burn bags” to collect sensitive materials for destruction were often left open and unattended in hallways.

“This has been going on for years,” one former employee said.

Some justices were slow to adopt email technology — they were “not masters of information security protocol,” according to one source — and court employees were afraid to confront them over the security risks.

Supreme Court marshal Gail Curley in her investigative report noted that printer logs intended to track document production were insufficient, but a former employee said employees who had VPN access could print documents from any computer, and remote work during COVID-19 shutdowns and otherwise meant draft opinions could have been taken from the building in violation of court guidelines.

Curley’s report noted that court methods for destroying sensitive documents should be improved, but three employees said striped burn bags supplied to chambers were often left sitting out unattended, and each justice had their own protocols for disposing of court documents.

A source familiar with court security practices said some colleagues stapled burn bags shut, while others filled them to capacity and left them near their desks, and others simply left them sitting in hallways where anyone with access to non-public areas could have taken sensitive materials.

ALSO IN THE NEWS: ‘Has made my life miserable’: Marjorie Taylor Greene explains why she hates being in Congress

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Ethics Complaint Against Sinema Urges Investigation Into Staffers’ Duties and Her Possible ‘Abuse of Taxpayer Dollars’

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If you are hired to work in Senator Kyrsten Sinema‘s office on Capitol Hill there is a 37-page memo you’ll want to read detailing all the responsibilities her staffers are required to perform, from getting her groceries, calling Verizon and going to her D.C. home to wait for a repair person if the internet goes out, scheduling massages, and ensuring her very detailed airplane requirements are met.

“It is your job to make her as comfortable as possible on each flight,” the memo says, as The Daily Beast first reported in December.

But now a group of 13 non-profit organizations have joined to file an ethics complaint against Senator Sinema (I-AZ), a new Daily Beast report reveals Friday, including details from that 37-page memo which the newly-independent lawmaker directed to be drawn up. Dated Thursday, the complaint is titled: “Letter to Senate Ethics Committee Regarding Reports of Sinema Abusing Taxpayer Dollars.”

“Senate Ethics guidelines stipulate that staff should not be asked to perform personal errands for members. This is an unambiguous ethical boundary,” the group’s complaint reads.

READ MORE: Santos May Owe Thousands in Unpaid Traffic Violation Fines and Fees Across Two States: Report

It also points to that 37-page memo, which it says, “indicates that staff are required, as a condition of their jobs, to carry out numerous tasks that are outside the scope of public employment, including doing personal errands for the Senator, carrying out household tasks at her private residence, and advancing their own funds for her personal purchases. It makes unreasonably precise scheduling demands, and former staff have confirmed some of the allegations.”

The allegations continue.

“And, most troubling, it calls on staff members, who are employed and paid by the public and explicitly barred from campaign activity, to schedule and facilitate political fundraisers and meetings with campaign donors, presumably during the workday while they are on the clock and physically on federal property.”

“Senate staff are prohibited under your guidelines from engaging in political activity ‘on Senate time, using Senate equipment or facilities.’ While you have not prohibited campaign activity outside work hours, the plain language of the memo clearly implies that Sen. Sinema expects her staff to carry out these scheduling tasks during the workday. And these tasks may separately violate Senate Rule 41.1, which explicitly prohibits Senate employees from ‘solicit[ing]’ campaign funds.”

READ MORE: ‘Bioweapons? FFS’: House Oversight Chairman Mocked for Pushing Unfounded Balloon Conspiracy Theories

The complaint also alleges that “Sen. Sinema required her staff to schedule three physical therapy and massage sessions a week related to her training for athletic competitions, and to tightly manage her dietary schedule — while allotting only a 30-minute period on Wednesdays for meetings with the constituents she represents.”

The carefully-worded complaint adds, “the allegations paint a picture of a Senator who is not only unresponsive to her constituents, but also disrespectful and even abusive to her employees and wholly unconcerned about her obligations under the law.”

The Daily Beast has posted a copy of the complaint here.

You can read The Beast’s full report here.

 

 

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