NBC SCOTUS Reporter Pete Williams: ‘I Don’t Know What the Court Wins’ in Anti-Gay Sweetcakes Case ‘Except Time’
NBC News’ Pete Williams has won three national news Emmy awards. He has a reputation for offering very factual reports with little to no personal opinion. Williams for decades has primarily covered the U.S. Supreme Court and Justice Department.
Monday morning on MSNBC Williams gave his report on the Supreme Court’s order in the “Sweetcakes” case, involving an Oregon Christian couple who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The case is exceptionally more complicated than that – including alleged doxxing of the same-sex couple and the subsequent death threats they say they received.
The U.S. Supreme Court set aside the $135,000 the anti-gay bakers, Melissa and Aaron Klein of Sweetcakes by Melissa, were ordered to pay to the same-sex couples they refused, and told the lower court to re-examine the case in light of the SCOTUS ruling in favor of Colorado anti-gay Christian baker Jack Phillips – which the court had originally made clear applied only to the Phillips case. The Court ruled Phillips was the victim of anti-religious animus by the state.
Now, Pete Williams appears to be wondering about the Supreme Court’s order, sending the case back to a lower court for review.
Asked what today’s decision means, Williams responds, “I’m not sure,” then delivered his report.
“So today the Supreme Court sent this Oregon case back with instructions to reconsider in light of the Colorado case, but none of the infirmities that existed in the Colorado case are present in the Oregon case, so I’m not exactly sure what the Oregon courts are going to conclude from this,” Williams told viewers.
“My guess is that if the state sues again, and it probably will, the Oregon courts will rule the same way and the case will come back here,” meaning to the Supreme Court.
“I don’t know what the [Supreme] Court gains here other than perhaps time, and letting other cases like this percolate up,” Williams said.
It would appear the Supreme Court is attempting to lay the groundwork for special religious rights that would supersede the rights of LGBTQ people to not be discriminated against.
It would appear Williams might agree.
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Here’s How Five Republicans in Congress Are Responding to the Mass Shooting of 3 Children and 3 Adults in Nashville (Video)
There are 535 seats in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, and another six non-voting seats for delegates. After Monday’s horrific mass shooting at a private Christian elementary school, where three nine-year olds and three adults were shot to death, very few Members appeared on-camera to talk with reporters about the tragedy.
The Democrats who did advocated for various gun control measures, including reinstating the federal assault weapons ban signed into law in 1994 by President Bill Clinton that Republican lawmakers and President George W. Bush refused to renew in 2004, after which mass shootings and gun violence skyrocketed.
The red line is when Republicans decided not to extend the assault weapons ban in 2005. pic.twitter.com/sK4K8K1dnt
— Anirvan Ghosh (@anirvanghosh) March 28, 2023
President Joe Biden this week repeatedly called on Congress to pass an assault weapons ban, a call he has made over and over again.
In addition to calling for an assault weapons ban, House and Senate Democrats responded to the mass shooting at Covenant Presbyterian Elementary in Nashville by calling for tighter gun control measures including implementing red flag laws.
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The parents of the Nashville shooter have said their child had an emotional disorder and should not have had any firearms. Three were used in the assault and another four were found at the shooter’s home. Tennessee has no red flag law so police were not legally allowed to take the guns away.
After last year’s school mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two adults were shot to death, some states took action. Tennessee, where the Nashville school shooting became the nation’s 130th this year, did little.
“We’re not looking at gun restriction laws in my administration right now,” Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, a Republican, said after the tragedy. “Criminals don’t follow laws, criminals break laws. Whether they are a gun law, a drug law, criminals break laws.”
“We can’t control what they do.”
But in a sense, Governor Lee did control what they do.
READ MORE: Tennessee Governor Slammed After ‘Praying’ for Nashville School Community Without Mentioning Mass Shooting
In 2021 ago he signed into law a permit-less open-carry law: no permit required, no training required, no background check required.
Three years ago, Tennessee Governor @GovBillLee announced permitless open-carry of firearms.
Today, 6 people (including 3 children) were killed at a school. pic.twitter.com/vitt4c3ppX
— Shoshana Ungerleider, MD (@ShoshUMD) March 27, 2023
A Tennessee Republican U.S. Congressman, Tim Burchett this week repeatedly decreed there’s nothing that can be done.
Echoing almost word-for-word Governor Lee’s remarks from three years ago, in now-viral video, Rep. Burchett infamously on Monday declared, “We’re not gonna fix it. Criminals are going to be criminals.”
Rep. Tim Burchett R-TN sees no role for the Congress to stop future school shootings.
“We’re not going to fix it. Criminals are going to be criminals.”pic.twitter.com/nZ0QVTHDsD
— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) March 28, 2023
He did, however, invoke religion, calling for a Christian revival, and declaring that was the answer to fixing mass shootings and gun violence.
On Tuesday Rep. Burchett was back in front of the cameras, furthering his call to do nothing.
“I don’t know what law we could pass,” he said. “Evil people are going to do evil things.”
Republican Tennessee Rep. Tim Burchett says any legislation Congress could pass in the wake of the Nashville school shooting is “not going to accomplish anything.”
“I don’t know what law we could pass,” Burchett tells @CHueyBurns. “Evil people are going to do evil things.” pic.twitter.com/p1Kc2vlULD
— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 28, 2023
U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) appeared on CNN this week and responded to the Nashville slaughter by defending his threat to President Biden to try to take his AR-15 away.
In a rare example of excellent journalism, CNN’s Phil Mattingly pressed Buck after the far-right Republican tried to change the topic.
“If Joe Biden is interested in reaching a resolution on the issue let him deal with the Southern border,” Buck defiantly declared, literally blaming President Biden’s border policies for gun violence.
He also tried to link the Nashville mass shooting to a mental health problem and then tried to link that to drug laws and a lack of funding for states for mental health services.
Rep. Buck last year voted against two mental health bills, and since 2019 has voted against the vast majority of 40 or so health care bills.
“What’s the burden on you?” Matttingly asked Buck.
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Unyieldingly, Buck replied, “My burden is to follow the Constitution, and the Second Amendment protects – there are more than two million AR-15s.”
Following a shooting at a school in Nashville that killed six, Colorado Republican Rep. Ken Buck reacts to a video he made in 2020 challenging Joe Biden to take away his AR-15. pic.twitter.com/Zj5IWfbAjW
— CNN (@CNN) March 29, 2023
Republican U.S. Congressman Andy Ogles, who represents Nashville, Tennessee and came under fire again this week for his 2021 Christmas card showing him and his family, including young children, holding assault weapons, was asked about banning AR-15s.
Rep. Ogles’ response was to answer the question with another question: “Why not talk about the real issue facing this country?” which he declared, like Rep. Buck and others, is mental health. He then walked away.
GOP Congressman Andy Ogles, who represents the Nashville district where a school shooting claimed the lives of 3 adults and 3 children, said the real issue in the U.S. is mental health when asked about banning assault rifles. https://t.co/vYY5bQaq27 pic.twitter.com/c8iSYBMzRL
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) March 29, 2023
U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) took a different tact on the GOP’s do-nothing policy while supporting the GOP’s walk-away response.
He equated assault weapons with politics and emotions.
“If you’re gonna talk about the AR-15 you’re talking politics now,” he told CNN’s Manu Raju. “Let’s not get into politics. let’s not get into emotion, because emotion feels good, but emotion doesn’t solve problems.”
He then just walked away.
Rep. Byron Donalds tells CNN that talk of an AR-15 ban following the latest school shooting is just “politics” and “emotions”
“Emotion doesn’t solve problems,” he adds pic.twitter.com/VGCbY2gnU8
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 28, 2023
But perhaps the greatest example of the Republican response to gun violence and mass shootings came from House Republican’s leader, Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
On Tuesday, McCarthy stood in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall to pose for photos with some tourists.
CNN’s Manu Raju asked the Speaker about the “incredibly serious situation” in Nashville, suggesting it required a response from the Speaker of the House.
He refused to provide one, then walked away.
Speaker McCarthy continues to refuse to answer questions about Nashville shooting or whether there should be any legislative response. Says he’s not answering any questions.
Posed for photos with tourists, then went into his office pic.twitter.com/Bv58IsjwYo
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) March 28, 2023
Watch the videos above or at this link.
Donald Trump Just Called for Another Coup and Hardly Anyone Even Noticed
Donald Trump, the one-term ex-president who is running for the Republican nomination for president once again, on Monday advocated for yet another coup against the United States.
Trump is currently under at least four criminal investigations: his unlawful retention and refusal to return classified and other White House documents; his alleged election fraud attempts in Georgia; his alleged hush money payment to two women and the campaign finance issues those raise; and his alleged attempted coup, sometimes referred to as an “autocoup, or “autogolpe” – a self-coup – and the actions he took surrounding the January 6 insurrection.
After Trump’s expected GOP challenger, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, was widely mocked two weeks ago for being unable to tell a reporter from a Murdoch outlet in the UK how he would handle the U.S. efforts to support Ukraine against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s illegal war, Fox’s Tucker Carlson submitted written questions to all current and potential GOP presidential candidates.
DeSantis, in that now-infamous interview, had responded to the Ukraine question by telling the reporter: “Perhaps you should cover some other ground?” and, “I think I’ve said enough.”
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On Monday, sharing with viewers DeSantis’ new, written response, Carlson declared the Ukraine issue is the most important question of our time: “Until tonight, no one could really say with precision where he stood on the war in Ukraine, which is arguably the most important topic in the world.”
DeSantis’ response made news largely because it is in direct opposition to current U.S. policy. The far-right Florida governor declared the war against Ukraine a mere “territorial dispute” and not in America’s “vital national interests,” as NBC News reported. (Experts disagree with DeSantis’ position, with some calling the war against Ukraine a genocide.)
Trump’s response, however, should have drawn as much attention.
Carlson, in the video below, very specifically says he submitted six questions about Ukraine to Trump, DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Kristi Noem, Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, Greg Abbott, Tim Scott, Chris Christie, Chris Sununu, Asa Hutchinson, John Bolton and Vivek Ramaswamy. (Not all responded.)
According to the segment on his show Monday night, none of those questions included a question about “regime change” in Russia.
And yet Trump’s, DeSantis’ and Pence’s responses did, so it’s possible Carlson wasn’t being fully transparent, although why he didn’t mention he asked that question seems important. And to be clear, the Biden administration has made clear regime change in Russia is not the goal.
So, first, here’s DeSantis’ response that mentions “regime change”:
“A policy of ‘regime change’ in Russia (no doubt popular among the DC foreign policy interventionists) would greatly increase the stakes of the conflict, making the use of nuclear weapons more likely. Such a policy would neither stop the death and destruction of the war, nor produce a pro-American, Madisonian constitutionalist in the Kremlin. History indicates that Putin’s successor, in this hypothetical, would likely be even more ruthless. The costs to achieve such a dubious outcome could become astronomical.”
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And here’s Trump’s response that mentions “regime change”:
“Should the United States support regime change in Russia?”
“No. We should support regime change in the United States, that’s far more important. The Biden administration are the ones who got us into this mess,” Trump wrote, according to Carlson.
“Regime change,” as most know, is the removal of a current government, often by force, which could also be called a coup.
If you google the definition of “regime change,” you’ll find this: “the replacement of one administration or government by another, especially by means of military force.”
Certainly not at the ballot box.
Some might say, as they often do, “Well, maybe Donald Trump doesn’t know what the term really means.”
May 27, 2019: Asked about his military buildup in the Middle East and his pull-out of President Barack Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, Trump told reporters, “We’re not looking for regime change. I want to make that clear.”
January 3, 2020: “President Donald Trump said Friday that America does not seek ‘regime change’ in Iran, less than a day after the U.S. launched an airstrike that killed the country’s top general, Qasem Soleimani.”
Donald Trump called for another coup Monday night.
Watch Carlson’s segment below or at this link.
We asked every potential 2024 GOP presidential candidate to answer six key questions on the war in Ukraine. As promised, their full responses are below. pic.twitter.com/tjcM4w54cR
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) March 14, 2023
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Sarah Huckabee Sanders Signs Law Gutting Child Labor Protections for Minors Under 16 Years Old
Arkansas Republican Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders has signed into law a bill further destabilizing minors in what was once called the “Land of Opportunity.” Her signature comes on the same day lawmakers sent to her desk a sprawling bill revamping Arkansas’ education system to allow wealthy families to remove funds from public elementary and secondary schools and put them into private tuition.
On Tuesday, Huckabee Sanders, barely months into her term, signed HB1410, the Youth Hiring Act, which guts child labor protections and removes what the new governor called “arbitrary” and “burdensome and obsolete” regulations that required the state to verify the age of anyone working who is under 16-years old.
Those regulations merely required “children under the age of 16 obtain an employment certificate, which is accessible to local school officials, before a company can hire them,” Quartz reports. “The change would end one of the only oversight mechanisms for child labor in the state.”
The new law “rolls back significant portions of the state’s child labor protections,” The Washington Post reports.
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Before Gov. Huckabee signed the bill into law, children under 16 were required “to verify their age and provide a description of the work schedule, as well as a parent or legal guardian’s consent, in the certificate,” according to Quartz.
While Republican governors and lawmakers across the country have taken up the mantle of “parents’ rights” as they support bans on books, sex education, and any discussion of LGBTQ people, Governor Huckabee has removed the right of parents to be informed of or consent to their young minor children getting a job.
Before Huckabee Sanders signed the Youth Hiring Act, state law prohibited “children under 16 from working more than eight hours a day, more than six days a week and more than 48 hours per week,” KNOE reported. “Opponents of House Bill 1410 have expressed concerns it will open the door to violations of these child labor requirements and put children at risk of human trafficking.”
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Quartz also reports that Governor Huckabee, who mentions her own three children in her official state biography, signed the law stripping rights from parents and children just weeks after the U.S. Dept. of Labor fined a slaughterhouse cleaning company $1.5 million for child labor violations, involving over 100 children. That fine includes $150,000 for two locations in Huckabee’s state of Arkansas.
This week Huckabee Sanders flooded her Twitter page with tweets praising her education legislation, including from former Trump Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and other “school choice” activists who call taking public education funds and handing them to private and faith-based institutions education or school “choice.” She posted not one tweet mentioning her stripping parents’ rights and children’s protections from state law.
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