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Nation’s Most Liberal Court Is Being Taken Over by Trump: Report

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Lost in all of the attention being paid to the impeachment of Donald Trump has been the packing the courts with conservative justices by the president with the full support of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

Worst of all, reports Politico, the Republican majority has taken over the traditionally liberal 9th Circuit, long a bastion of fending off conservative initiatives.

The report states, “The Senate confirmation of Lawrence VanDyke and Patrick Bumatay to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this month brought to nine the number of appointments President Donald Trump has made to the 29-member bench that serves as the last stop for nearly all legal complaints lodged in nine Western states. Democratic-appointed judges now hold a three-seat majority, compared with 11 at the start of Trump’s presidency.”

According to Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), the transition to a conservative majority court could have devastating consequences for liberal initiatives — including health care reform.

“The 9th Circuit is a very important circuit, and the presence of more conservative judges puts in peril all of American health care reform,” the state attorney general explained.

“If the trend continues, it represents a major shift in the liberal wing of the judiciary, meaning lawsuits for progressive causes won’t find a friendly ear as easily as they have. The circuit has been the go-to venue for activist state attorneys eager to freeze Trump policies on health care, immigration and other social issues. It ruled against Trump’s weakening of Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate, as well as multiple versions of his travel ban,” Politico reports before adding, “Trump has called the 9th Circuit ‘a complete and total disaster’ and a ‘big thorn in our side,’ and some congressional Republicans still threaten to break up its jurisdiction. But its changing ideological makeup could wind up giving states like California less legal elbow room to challenge Trump policies and go their own way in areas like reproductive rights and LGBTQ issues.”

The report also notes, “The 9th Circuit isn’t the only court whose makeup has changed through Trump’s conservative nominees and McConnell’s singular focus on confirming judges. The 1st Circuit in Boston and 3rd Circuit in Philadelphia now have Republican-appointed majorities. But the 9th has outside importance as the biggest circuit in the country and a jurisdiction with more than 60 million people.”

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Kobe Bryant Dead in Helicopter Accident: TMZ

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Basketball great Kobe Bryant has died in a tragic helicopter accident, along with everyone on board, TMZ was first to report. The 41-year old NBA star played with the LA Lakers for two decades. He retired in 2016.

“Kobe was traveling with at least 3 other people in his private helicopter when it went down,” TMZ adds. “A fire broke out. Emergency personnel responded, but nobody on board survived. 5 people are confirmed dead. We’re told Vanessa Bryant was not among those on board.”

The LA County Sheriff’s Office posted this tweet, but did not include Bryant’s name.

In 2013 after his own missteps Bryant stepped up to correct a fan for using the word “gay” as a slur. Nearly seven years ago, it was a big moment for awareness and for the LGBTQ community.

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.

Image via Wikimedia

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The Saudi Crown Prince Tried to Have a Comedian and Critic Kidnapped on US Soil — but the FBI Stopped It: Report

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In an exclusive interview with the Daily Beast, 27-year-old comedian and former USD student Abdulrahman Almutairi revealed that he was nearly kidnapped by a suspected agent of the Saudi government and it happened on American soil.

Almutairi, who has a huge social media following, has been an outspoken critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. While the Saudi leader may have the power to take out critics in other countries, in the United States it’s not an acceptable form of legal action.

“After Almutairi used social media to criticize the powerful Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman over the October 2018 murder and dismemberment of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi, an unidentified Saudi man accompanied Almutairi’s father on a flight to collect Almutairi against his will and bring him back to Saudi Arabia, according to The Daily Beast’s sources,” reported the Beast.

Almutairi said that he’s certain if he ever returns to Saudi Arabia that he’ll be killed in the airport.

It was also revealed this week that MBS’s cell phone number was responsible for hacking Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s cell phone.

“There is a pattern of the Saudi authorities, particularly over the last two years, targeting individuals—high profile people with a big Saudi audience, either because they’re critical of MBS or the government or not just for what they say but what they don’t say, if they’re insufficiently supportive,” said Agnes Callamard, the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings.

Read the full report at the Daily Beast.

 

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‘So We Don’t Have to Fight Russia Over Here’: Schiff Delivers Powerful Statement to Senators in Trump Impeachment Trial

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House Intelligence Chair and Lead impeachment manager Adam Schiff delivered powerful remarks to the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, summing up why what President Donald Trump did – extorting Ukraine – was so damaging to both Ukraine and the U.S.

Schiff reminded the Senators who will decide the fate of the nation’s chief executive that 15,000 Ukrainians have already died fighting Russia. That was after Vladimir Putin illegally annexed Crimea.

And he reminded the Senators that President Trump withheld nearly $400 million in congressionally-approved military aid to Ukraine, despite the nation’s fight against Russia.

That military aid helps “to protect and advance American national security interests in the region and beyond.

Quoting a House impeachment inquiry witness, Schiff said: “The United States aids Ukraine and her people so that we can fight Russia over there so we don’t have to fight Russia here.”

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