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Religious University Can Continue to Not Recognize LGBTQ Student Group For Now, SCOTUS Says

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A religious university can continue to refuse to recognize an LGBTQ student organization for now, the Supreme Court said in a Friday evening order from Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

A lower court had ordered Yeshiva University, a private Orthodox Jewish research school in New York City to recognize the student group, but Justice Sotomayor, who has jurisdiction over the Second Circuit, which includes Connecticut, New York, and Vermont, temporarily stayed that ruling, “pending further order,” as lower court and state court cases continue.

“A New York state trial court ruled that as a public accommodation, Yeshiva was covered under the New York City Human Rights Law and required to provide the Pride Alliance the same access to facilities as dozens of other student groups,” The Washington Post reports. “The group said that means access to a classroom, bulletin boards and a club fair booth.”

Yeshiva is an Orthodox institution, and the “Orthodox tradition only supports heterosexual relations and only within the context of heterosexual marriage,” the Human Rights Campaign Foundation has said.

Well-known University of Texas School of Law Professor of law Steve Vladeck called Justice Sonomayor’s decision “surprising.”

“Justice Sotomayor, acting by herself, has stayed a New York state trial court’s injunction that had ordered Yeshiva University to recognize an LGBTQ student group. This surprising—both that she acted without referring the matter to the full Court and that she granted a stay,” Vladeck said.

New York Times reporter Charlie Savage says that while Sotomayor’s move does not say how the full Supreme Court will ultimately rule, the conservative “majority will likely allow discrimination as religious freedom.”

Indeed, María Montserrat Alvarado, the executive director of the right-wing Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which has been described as “Shadow Agents of the Religious Right,” hailed Justice Sotomayor’s decision.

“Justice Sotomayor just protected Yeshiva University from having to violate its Torah values and betray its religious identity,” Alvarado tweeted. “This is an important moment for a religious institution that the Jewish community relies on for continuity.”

This is a breaking news and developing story. 

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BREAKING NEWS

DOJ ‘Unlikely’ to Charge Matt Gaetz After Alleged Sex-Trafficking of a Minor Investigation: Report

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The U.S. Dept. of Justice is “unlikely” to charge Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) with crimes in its investigation of his alleged possible sex trafficking of a minor, a 17-year old, reportedly over questions of witness credibility.

Federal career prosecutors are believed to be suggesting no charges for the 40-year old far-right wing extremist, The Washington Post reports, because they do not think they can obtain a conviction.

Those prosecutors are “telling Justice Department superiors that a conviction is unlikely in part because of credibility questions with the two central witnesses, according to people familiar with the matter.”

READ MORE: Watch: Matt Gaetz Warns of the Dangers of Letting Sexual Predators Escape Consequences on House Floor

The decision follows a long-running investigation and countless news reports including Gaetz’s infamous Venmo and Cash App receipts.

Gaetz is a staunch die-hard supporter of Donald Trump. The investigation into Gaetz’s actions was approved by then Attorney General Bill Barr in late 2020.

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.

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BREAKING NEWS

In Scathing Rebuke DOJ Wins Stay of Trump Judge’s Ruling in National Security Appeal Over Classified Documents

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In a top national security case the U.S. Dept of Justice Wednesday evening was granted its request for a partial stay of a ruling handed down by a federal district judge who refused to allow DOJ to access or use of the 100 classified documents it seized from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and residence.

In its scathing 29-page rebuke of Trump and U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, published by Politico, the three judges on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals – two appointed by Trump, one by President Barack Obama – in their unanimous decision blasted the arguments Trump’s legal team had made.

“For our part, we cannot discern why Plaintiff [Trump] would have an individual interest in or need for any of the one-hundred documents with classification markings,” the judges wrote in their opinion. “Classified documents are marked to show they are classified, for instance, with their classification level.”

“They are ‘owned by, produced by or for, or . . . under the control of the United States Government.'”

READ MORE: ‘Premeditated, Fraudulent, and Illegal’: Asylum Seekers Sue DeSantis After Being Sent to Martha’s Vineyard

“And they include information the ‘unauthorized disclosure [of which] could reasonably be expected to cause identifiable or describable damage to the national security,'” the panel added. “For this reason, a person may have access to classified information only if, among other requirements, he ‘has a need-to-know the information.'”

“This requirement pertains equally to former Presidents, unless the current administration, in its discretion, chooses to waive that requirement.”

Donald Trump “has not even attempted to show that he has a need to know the information contained in the classified documents,” the judges continue. “Nor has he established that the current administration has waived that requirement for these documents. And even if he had, that, in and of itself, would not explain why Plaintiff has an individual interest in the classified documents.”

READ MORE: My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell Under DOJ Investigation for Identity Theft – We Know Because He Posted the Search Warrant: Report

The rebuke comes just hours after New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a massive civil fraud case against the former president, three of his adult children, his former CFO, and several of his companies.

Read the entire ruling here.

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. 

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BREAKING NEWS

NY AG Referring Criminal Charges Against Trump to the Feds, Alleges He ‘Grossly Inflated’ Net Worth by ‘Billions’

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Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Ivanka Trump are all being sued by New York Attorney General Letitia James in a massive civil lawsuit alleging they and others associated with his businesses “grossly inflated” his assets by “billions” of dollars. In a Wednesday news conference James says she is also referring criminal charges to federal authorities, including the Justice Department and the IRS, and her goal is to prohibit some of Trump’s businesses from operating in New York.

Trump falsely inflated the value of his assets to obtain favorable loan rates and other benefits, and deflated the value of his assets to pay lower taxes, James said Wednesday, after a years-long investigation. She alleges he inflated his net worth “by billions of dollars to unjustly enrich himself and to cheat the system, thereby cheating all of us.”

James repeatedly stressed Trump and others many times “pleaded the fifth,” which in civil cases can be seen as a possible sign of guilt, or, in legal terms, “adverse inference.”

James explained how Trump false inflated the value of his own New York home.

READ MORE: ‘Premeditated, Fraudulent, and Illegal’: Asylum Seekers Sue DeSantis After Being Sent to Martha’s Vineyard

“Mr Trump represented that his apartment spanned more than 30,000 sq ft, which was the basis for valuing the apartment,” at Trump Tower on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, she said, as The Guardian reports. “In reality, the apartment had an area of less than 11,000 sq ft, something that Mr Trump was well aware of. And based on that inflated square footage the value of the apartment in 2015 and 2016 was $327m.”

“To this date, no apartment in New York City has ever sold for close to that amount,” James notes. “Tripling the size of the apartment for purposes of the valuation was intentional and deliberate fraud. Not an honest mistake.”

READ MORE: Trump Handpicked Special Master’s First Hearing ‘Not Going Well’ for Trump Attorneys: ‘That’s the End of It’

At one point James said, “we are attempting aspart of our relief to dissolve these corporations,”  but later corrected herself saying, “that was incorrect. We are not trying to dissolve them – he still has a financial interest in these businesses and corporations,” she noted.

“While James is not seeking to dissolve the organization altogether,” The New York Times’ Benjamin Protess writes, “she is seeking to permanently prohibit some of Trump’s companies from doing business in New York. It’s unclear how much of an impact this would ultimately have on Trump’s operations, but it could be a major blow.”

James called Trump’s actions “The Art of the Steal.”

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