What Now?! – 6/28/19

The Supreme Court ruled in a complicated opinion against the Trump administration’s attempt to add a citizenship question to 2020 U.S. Census. The court split 5-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the liberal justices in sending the issue back to the Commerce Department.

New York Times: “The practical impact of the decision was not immediately clear. While the question is barred for now, it is at least possible that the administration will be able to offer adequate justifications for it. But time is short, as the census forms must be printed shortly.”

The Supreme Court also ruled, in an opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts, that partisan gerrymandering claims are political questions and cannot be resolved by federal courts. Wrote Roberts: “We conclude that partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts. Federal judges have no license to reallocate political power between the two major political parties, with no plausible grant of authority in the Constitution, and no legal standards to limit and direct their decisions.”

The court split 5-4 on conservative-liberal lines.

Axios: “Gerrymandering has gotten a lot more sophisticated and a lot more effective, keeping minority parties in the minority even when they win more votes. But Roberts said that’s a political issue — that it’s simply not the courts’ job to decide whether state legislatures have been too partisan in their redistricting.”

Rick Hasen: “Despite a favorable ruling for opponents of the census citizenship question on Thursday, the Supreme Court did not definitively decide to exclude citizenship question from the 2020 census.”

“Indeed, I expect that the Trump administration’s Commerce Department and Department of Justice could well be back before the Supreme Court’s next term begins in October arguing for the question’s inclusion, and they could well win and include the question.”

“President Trump said Thursday that he is seeking to delay the constitutionally mandated census to give administration officials more time to come up with a better explanation for why it should include a citizenship question,” the Washington Post reports.

“Trump’s announcement, in a tweet sent from Japan, came hours after the Supreme Court put on hold his administration’s plan to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, saying it had provided a ‘contrived’ reason for wanting the information.”

“President Trump and foreign leaders appeared set for a clash at the Group of 20 summit in Japan, as the U.S. president prepared to highlight his unhappiness over trade and European leaders promised to challenge him on climate change,” the Washington Post reports.

“Trump touched down in this port city shortly after 6:40 p.m. local time and headed to a dinner with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison — the first of nine world leaders he is scheduled to meet during the two-day summit. Questioned on his ‘America First’ worldview, Trump took a more conciliatory tone than he did in the hours before departing for Japan when he complained in an interview with Fox Business Wednesday that other countries were trying to take advantage of United States on issues such as trade and defense spending.”

“House Democrats advocating for impeachment say special counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony next month could be a game-changer to push both public opinion and reticent Democrats toward opening an impeachment inquiry into President Trump,” CNN reports.

“But Mueller’s appearance amounts to a make-or-break moment for the House impeachment caucus. If the special counsel’s testimony falls flat or doesn’t change minds, it could deflate the momentum for impeachment that’s swelled to nearly 80 House Democrats backing an inquiry just before a lengthy, month-long congressional recess.”

New York Times: “Two women in whom E. Jean Carroll confided about having allegedly been sexually attacked by Donald Trump in the 1990s spoke publicly about it for the first time in an interview excerpted on The Daily, describing the conflicting advice they gave their friend at the time.”

Josh Rogin: “The Chinese government claims a foreign policy of noninterference in other countries’ internal affairs, but there’s a growing mountain of evidence that’s just not true. In fact, the Chinese Communist Party has been rapidly expanding its interference in developing countries around the world. Its efforts are aimed at undermining their democratic institutions, creating economic dependence and stifling any criticism of Beijing.”

“In the United States, Chinese influence operations combined with Chinese government-sponsored economic aggression are causing increasing alarm.”

“The U.S. economy grew at a healthy 3.1% rate in the first three months of this year, but signs are mounting that growth has slowed sharply in the current quarter amid slower global growth and a confidence-shaking trade battle between the United States and China,” the AP reports.

“Chinese President Xi Jinping plans to present President Trump with a set of terms the U.S. should meet before Beijing is ready to settle a market-rattling trade confrontation, raising questions of whether the two leaders will agree to relaunch talks,” the Wall Street Journal reports..

“Among the preconditions, said Chinese officials with knowledge of the plan, Beijing is insisting that the U.S. remove its ban on the sale of U.S. technology to Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co. Beijing also wants the U.S. to lift all punitive tariffs and drop efforts to get China to buy even more U.S. exports than Beijing said it would when the two leaders last met in December.”

Politico: “Ocasio-Cortez this week met with Speaker Nancy Pelosi to reshape a contentious spending package for the southern border. And while the New York Democrat ultimately opposed the bill on the floor Tuesday, she declined to mobilize her army of social media followers against it or rile up the progressive base in a bid to tank it.”

“The latest episode over the border bill underscores Ocasio-Cortez’s approach to Congress six months into her hotly anticipated turn in Washington. The progressive star has indeed begun to exert power — but subtly and not the way most people expected. Despite many predictions to the contrary, she hasn’t opted to torment leadership as the conservative Freedom Caucus once did to GOP leaders. Instead, she’s working with party elders.”

“In newly disclosed testimony, former secretary of state Rex Tillerson said President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner operated independently with powerful leaders around the world without coordination with the State Department, leaving Tillerson out of the loop and in the dark on emerging U.S. policies and simmering geopolitical crises,” the Washington Postreports.

“Tillerson also described the challenge of briefing a president who does not read briefing papers and often got distracted by peripheral topics, noting he had to keep his message short and focus on a single topic.”

New York Times: “President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil has vowed to pursue drug traffickers relentlessly. So he was hard-pressed to explain how a presidential plane ended up carrying 86 pounds of cocaine across the Atlantic during an official trip.”

“Twitter has long said it is unlikely to take down politicians’ most vitriolic tweets — including President Trump’s — but it now plans to label them if they break its rules,” the Washington Post reports.

“The new label applies to all verified political candidates and government officials with more than 100,000 followers… Before users can view the language in newly flagged tweets, they will need to click on a screen that says, ‘The Twitter Rules about abusive behavior apply to this Tweet. However, Twitter has determined it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain available.’”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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