Headlines: July 10, 2018
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President Donald Trump on Monday night made his highly anticipated announcement of Judge Brett Kavanaugh as his new Supreme Court nominee to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. The 53-year old federal appeals court judge was an aide to President George W. Bush and had investigated President Bill Clinton. He is a staunch Republican who is connected to GOP organizations and whose name was high on the list of 25 judges vetted by extremist anti-abortion groups that Trump promised to pick from for the Supreme Court.
Earlier in the day on Monday, progressive Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts reflected to MSNBC host Chris Hayes about the decision Trump was to make.
That’s Senator Elizabeth Warren reflecting on Trump’s Supreme Court decision just hours before he announced that he was nominating Judge Brett Kavanaugh. On our show tomorrow we’ll bring you an in-depth look at who Kavanaugh is and what Democrats may be planning around his confirmation.
Trump is heading to Brussels for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit on Tuesday. Ahead of his trip he told reporters at the White House that he was unhappy with the pact because, “Frankly it helps them a lot more than it helps us.” He also said he was not sure if Russia was a friend or an enemy. Trump is scheduled to meet one-on-one with Russian President Vladimir Putin next week in Helsinki. He said to reporters, “I think that getting along with Russia, getting along with China, getting along with others is a good thing, not a bad thing.” Trump has various business interests with both Russia and China.
On Monday Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a surprise visit to Kabul, Afghanistan after leaving a high-profile meeting in Pyongyang, North Korea. It was his first visit to the site of the US’s longest official war as State Secretary. While there he claimed that Trump’s strategy in the Afghanistan war was working.
UK’s Prime Minister Theresa May continues to face a political crisis that threatens her leadership. The controversial foreign minister Boris Johnson, who had led the move for Britain to leave the European Union has resigned. Johnson said he refused to back May’s Brexit plan and became the second minister to depart over the issue in two days. The Atlantic described May’s conundrum like this: “There does not yet appear to be any deal that both the British government and the EU will accept. Any deal acceptable to the government will be far too generous to Britain for Brussels, while any deal acceptable to Brussels will be too strenuous for Westminster.”
In Minneapolis, Minnesota, family members of a 31-year old African American man killed by police are demanding the officers be charged. Thurman Blevins Jr. was shot and killed on June 23rd by officers Ryan Kelly and Justin Schmidt after they were chasing him. Police are contending that Blevins was armed and did not respond to instructions to drop his gun. Witnesses have said he was holding a bottle or a cup. The officers in question are on paid leave. Blevins’ funeral will be held later this week.
In Memphis, Tennessee a white woman called police on a black man after the man wore socks to a pool. The woman, named Erica Walker, identified herself as the property manager of the apartment complex that the pool was located in. She approached Kevin Yates and his girlfriend Camry Porter who were apparently the only African Americans using the pool last week on the Fourth of July, and told Yates that his socks were not “proper pool attire.” She then called the police. Ms. Porter posted a video to Facebook saying she and her partner felt racially targeted. Walker has been investigated by her employer Trilogy Residential Management and fired on Monday.
Another racially charged incident took place in Austin, Texas on July 4th when a white man named Jason Roche fatally shot a 19-year old African American man named Devonte Ortiz. The shooting was apparently in response to a dispute over fireworks and Roche claimed Ortiz was reaching for a gun. But Ortiz was unarmed and the medical examiner has found that Ortiz was running away from Roche when he was shot. Roche was arrested on Friday and is being held on $250,000 bail at Travis County jail. He has been charged with First Degree murder.
In immigration news, Tuesday is a court-ordered deadline for the government to reunite all children under the age of 5 who were separated from their parents at the border. But only 54 of the 100 or so children will be with their parents by today. Sarah Fabian, a lawyer for the Justice Department on Monday acknowledged that the reunited families are allowed to be free in the US pending their court dates. She did not explain why the families would be freed but some speculate it is because the government has run out of space.
Despite this, the Trump administration has asked U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee to change her 1997 settlement – also known as the Flores agreement – that set a legal precedent for holding immigrant children in detention for no more than 20 days. Trump wants to detain whole families together after a widespread public outcry against family separation. Judge Gee rejected the request on Monday saying it was, “a cynical attempt” to shift responsibility to the court, “for over 20 years of Congressional inaction and ill-considered executive action that have led to the current stalemate.” In 2015 the judge had rejected a similar request by the Obama administration to detain whole families together.
For those who remain in detention, conditions are harsh. A new Buzzfeed report on Monday covered the story of a pregnant undocumented woman who miscarried in a detention center in San Diego. The woman who had come from El Salvador in order to raise her child in a safe place, related bleeding out at the facility begging for medical help. She told Buzzfeed, “I realized I was losing my son. It was his life that I was bleeding out. I was staining everything. I spent about eight days just lying down. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t do anything. I started crying and crying and crying.”
And in Oregon, anti-immigrant efforts are underway to verify signatures for ballot measure in November that would overturn that state’s decades old “sanctuary law.” On Monday a coalition of immigrants’ rights groups and civil rights organizations announced their opposition to the measure. Currently Oregon’s sanctuary law, as per Associated Press, “prohibits state agencies from inquiring about a person’s immigration status if they haven’t committed another crime and bans state and local law enforcement from coordinating with federal immigration officials on raids and roundups.” The organization backing the overturning of the sanctuary law has been designated an anti-immigrant hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. In 2014 the same group successfully beat back a law that would have allowed undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.