Bill pushes feds to notify families of sick, dying inmates
New legislation in the Senate requires the Justice Department to establish guidelines for the federal Bureau of Prisons and state correctional systems to notify the families of inmates if their loved one has a serious illness, a life-threatening injury or if they die behind bars.
What's next in the investigation of the Supreme Court leak?
Chief Justice John Roberts, in ordering an investigation into an “egregious breach of trust” in the leak of a Supreme Court draft opinion on abortion, has tasked a relatively unknown court official to carry out what could be one of the most high-profile investigations in decades.
Pope appoints key posts, including nun in development office
Pope Francis made key appointments in his newly reformed Vatican bureaucracy Saturday, naming new deputies for the doctrine office and confirming the highest-ranked woman in the Holy See as the No. 2 in the development office. The appointments are some of the first since Francis last month issued his long-awaited overhaul of the Vatican Curia, or bureaucracy, which acts as the central government for the 1.3-billion strong Catholic Church. Francis promoted Irish Monsignor John Kennedy to head the discipline section of the newly named Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, which handles clergy sexual abuse cases.news.yahoo.com
Jackson heading for likely confirmation despite GOP darts
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson faced down a barrage of Republican questioning about her sentencing of criminal defendants on Wednesday, as her history-making bid to join the Supreme Court veered from lofty constitutional questions to attacks on her motivations as a judge.
Opposition from GOP senator threatens Biden judicial pick
Republican Sen. Ron Johnson's opposition to President Joe Biden's judicial nominee in Wisconsin has surprised Democrats and is providing the latest test to the Senate tradition of letting home state senators block district court judges from advancing.
COVID concerns may affect Supreme Court confirmation hearings
Democrats are hoping to move swiftly with the Supreme Court confirmation process once President Biden chooses a nominee. But the party's slim majority and concerns about COVID could interfere. CBS News congressional correspondent Scott MacFarlane has more from Capitol Hill.news.yahoo.com
Biden nominee dodges Sen. Kennedy 9 times when asked if social justice-inspired crimes should be forgiven
Sen. John Kennedy asked a Biden judicial nominee whether crimes should be forgiven if they are committed in the name of social justice and did not receive a yes or no answer despite asking nine times.news.yahoo.com
Kennedy: Biden on a 'mission from God' to appease 'pink-haired wokers who carry around Ziploc bags of kale'
Sen. John Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican, said the Biden administration seeks to "tax unrealized gains on inherited property" on its divine mission to appease the nation's "wokers."news.yahoo.com
Georgia Georgia congressional district plan could help GOP grab seat
An initial proposal to redraw Georgia’s congressional districts appears to give Republicans a better chance of winning a suburban Atlanta congressional district now held by Democrat Lucy McBath, but raises a number of other questions.
"What are we doing?": Senators debate gun control at Judiciary Committee hearing
While Democrats argued that recent massacres show the need for more stringent gun control measures, Republicans said that proposed legislation to expand background checks wouldn't necessarily prevent violence. The two bills are the first significant gun control measures passed in Congress since President Biden took office. The other would close the so-called "Charleston loophole," which allows some gun sales to go through before background checks are completed. In brief remarks on Tuesday, Mr. Biden also urged the Senate to pass these two gun control bills. Speaking to reporters before the committee hearing, Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal expressed hope that the time to pass more stringent gun control is finally approaching.cbsnews.com
Senate confirms Merrick Garland to be US attorney general
Judge Merrick Garland, President Joe Biden's pick to be attorney general, answers questions from Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., as he appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee for his confirmation hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. Garland will now inherit a Justice Department embattled by a turbulent era under Trump, who insisted that the attorney general and the department must be loyal to him personally, battering the department’s reputation. In the last month of Trump's presidency, Attorney General William Barr resigned after refuting Trump's false claims that widespread electoral fraud had led to his defeat. Ad“Let’s hope our incoming attorney general applies that no-nonsense approach to the serious challenges facing the Department of Justice and our nation,” McConnell said. “So I very much want to be the kind of attorney general that you’re saying I could become, and I’ll do my best to become that kind of attorney general.”___Associated Press writer Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report.
Senate approves bill to tighten controls on China-funded Confucius Institutes on U.S. university campuses
The Senate on Thursday approved by unanimous consent — without a roll-call vote — a bill that would increase oversight on Confucius Institutes, China-funded cultural centers that operate on university campuses. According to Human Rights Watch, Confucius Institutes "are Chinese government-funded outposts that offer Chinese language and culture classes." "This bill would give colleges and universities full control over their resident Confucius Institutes and restore freedom of thought on their campuses." In turn, nearly 22 Confucius Institutes have closed since the act's passage, according to Human Rights Watch. "Most agreements establishing Confucius Institutes feature nondisclosure clauses and unacceptable concessions to the political aims and practices of the government of China."cnbc.com
Senate panel votes to advance Garland's nomination to be AG
Judge Merrick Garland, President Joe Biden's pick to be attorney general, answers questions from Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., as he appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee for his confirmation hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. Scott Applewhite)WASHINGTON – The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Monday to advance the nomination of Merrick Garland, President Joe Biden’s nominee for attorney general. The committee voted 15 to seven in favor of Garland's nomination at a meeting on Monday afternoon. The committee’s vote puts him on track for a quick confirmation, potentially within days. AdThe committee’s top Republican, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, said he also intends to support Garland’s nomination.
Native American nominee's grilling raises questions on bias
The label of Haaland as a "radical" by Republican lawmakers is getting pushback from Native Americans. The exchange, coupled with descriptions of the Interior secretary nominee as “radical” — by other white, male Republicans — left some feeling Haaland is being treated differently because she is a Native American woman. “As much as I would love to see a Native American be on the president’s Cabinet, I have concerns about her record. Critics also have targeted Vanita Gupta, an Indian American and Biden’s pick to be associate attorney general, and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as Health and Human Services secretary. That was seen in Haaland's response when asked about her motivation to be Interior secretary.
Despite GOP outcry, Cassidy 'at peace' with impeachment vote
Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., talks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021, on the fourth day of the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump. – Trashed on social media and censured by Louisiana Republicans, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy described himself Wednesday as “at peace” with his vote to convict former President Donald Trump at his impeachment trial and dismissed the scorching GOP backlash he's received. Ad“I’ve received comments from folks who are Republican who object to the vote,” Cassidy said. They've called for Republicans to ban Cassidy from their events, and several local Republican groups have joined the executive committee of the state GOP in condemning Cassidy's vote to convict Trump. Asked whether his vote to convict Trump could damage his chances of reelection in 2026, Cassidy replied: “It is six years off, but that's immaterial.
HHS pick says pandemic is top job, but agenda is broader
“To meet this moment, we need strong federal leadership," Becerra said at the first of two hearings on his nomination. AdAppearing before the Senate health committee, Becerra seconded President Joe Biden’s goals of 100 million vaccine shots in his first 100 days, increased coronavirus testing, ramped-up DNA mapping of the virus to track worrisome mutations and reopening schools and businesses. Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, the ranking Republican on the health committee, left no doubt that Becerra faces tough scrutiny. California took pride in viewing itself as the resistance to Trump, and Becerra embodied that ethos. AdLack of medical experience doesn't disqualify a nominee for HHS secretary, though it can be a plus.
GOP senator flips on impeachment trial, rips Trump lawyers
The second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump began Tuesday. – Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana joined Democrats in voting against ending Donald Trump's impeachment trial Tuesday, a surprise reversal that Cassidy said was a response to the former president's lawyers doing “a terrible job” of arguing their case. Cassidy was among six Republican senators who sided with Democrats on the question of whether a former president can be tried after leaving office. The Louisiana senator's position was a switch from January, when he voted to end the proceedings on the grounds that they were unconstitutional. The Republican Party of Louisiana quickly issued a statement Tuesday criticizing Cassidy for his vote and praising Louisiana's junior GOP senator, John Kennedy, for voting against moving ahead with the impeachment trial.
HUD nominee pledges action to prevent home loss in pandemic
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)WASHINGTON – Housing secretary nominee Marcia Fudge told senators Thursday that she would take “extraordinary actions” to prevent people from losing their homes due to the coronavirus pandemic. Fudge championed homeownership as a classically American “ticket to the middle class” and endorsed federal financial assistance to expand the ranks of minority homeowners. And we are in extraordinary times,” said Fudge, speaking remotely from Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland. Fudge also endorsed direct federal financial assistance to help prospective minority homeowners with the down payment on a mortgage. When Kennedy asked her directly whether she believed Republicans cared about Black Americans, Fudge tersely answered, “I do, some, yes.”Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, defended Fudge.
Donor backlash fuels GOP alarm about Senate fundraising
The GOP already faces a difficult Senate map in 2022, when 14 Democratic-held seats and 20 Republican ones will be on the ballot. That includes at least two open seats that Republicans will be defending because of the retirements of GOP Sens. One of those lawmakers, Florida Sen. Rick Scott, is the new chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, a post that makes him the public face of the Senate Republican fundraising efforts. But two senior Republican strategists involved in Senate races say the cumulative effect of the companies' decisions could have a bigger impact. That puts more pressure on the NRSC and the leading Senate Republican outside group, Senate Leadership Fund, to cover the difference.
Pro-Trump mob storms US Capitol in bid to overturn election
Some Republican lawmakers were in the midst of raising objections to the results on his behalf when the proceedings were abruptly halted by the mob. Together, the protests and the GOP election objections amounted to an almost unthinkable challenge to American democracy and exposed the depths of the divisions that have coursed through the country during Trump’s four years in office. Before dawn Thursday, lawmakers completed their work, confirming Biden won the presidential election. In the aftermath, several Republicans announced they would drop their objections to the election, including Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., who lost her bid for reelection Tuesday. Some House lawmakers tweeted they were sheltering in place in their offices.
Dividing party, Republicans poised to challenge Biden win
It is unclear just what the Republican senators will do, but the process could drag into the night as the two chambers will have to consider each objection individually. In 2017, several House Democrats challenged Trump’s win, but Biden, who presided at the time as the vice president, swiftly dismissed them to assert Trump’s victory. And more than a dozen Republican senators have said they will not support the effort. Facing the criticism from many in his own party, Cruz has attempted to put a finer point on his challenge. The commission remains his focus, he has said, not to undo the election results, even though that would be the practical effect of a successful objection.
Republicans condemn ‘scheme’ to undo election for Trump
Though he got nothing but cheers Monday night, Trump's attempt to overturn the presidential election i s splitting the Republican Party. Trump repeated numerous times his claims of election fraud, which have been rejected by election officials — Republican as well as Democratic in state after state — and courts up to the U.S. Supreme Court. Two current Republican senators, Rob Portman of Ohio and Mike Lee of Utah, joined the growing number who now oppose the legislators' challenge. Larry Hogan of Maryland; Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third-ranking House GOP leader; and former House Speaker Paul Ryan — have criticized the GOP efforts to overturn the election. Cruz's coalition of 11 Republican senators vows to reject the Electoral College tallies unless Congress launches a commission to immediately conduct an audit of the election results.
Republicans condemn 'scheme' to undo election for Trump
Of the more than 50 lawsuits the president and his allies have filed challenging election results, nearly all have been dismissed or dropped. Other prominent former officials also criticized the ongoing attack on election results. Cruz's coalition of 11 Republican senators vows to reject the Electoral College tallies unless Congress launches a commission to immediately conduct an audit of the election results. The convening of the joint session to count the Electoral College votes has faced objections before. States choose their own election officials and draft their election laws.
Congress takes aim at climate change in massive relief bill
The energy and climate provisions, supported by lawmakers from both parties, were hailed as the most significant climate change law in at least a decade. “Make no mistake,'' he said, the new legislation "will soon be some of the most significant climate solutions to pass out of Congress to date.'' Marty Durbin, a senior vice president at the Chamber of Commerce, called the package — the first major energy bill in more than a decade — “truly historic” and among the most significant action Congress has ever taken to address climate change. The bill will not only address climate change, but also "promote American technological leadership and foster continued economic growth,'' Durbin said. The dramatic if gradual reduction of HFCs in particular “will bring significant climate relief relatively quickly,'' said Matt Casale, director of environment campaigns for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.
Facebook and Twitter defend election safeguards and moderation practices before the Senate
This hearing took a more measured tone than the last in the Commerce Committee , where several Democrats noted their opposition to the hearing itself, as it was timed right before the election. Still, at Tuesday's hearing, the senators' questions continued to reflect a stark division in their viewpoints on content moderation. Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey wrapped up their second Senate testimony in a month mostly unscathed and with little indication of imminent changes for their businesses. Republican lawmakers on the committee repeatedly hammered the CEOs with questions about censorship and potential bias in their algorithms and content moderation decisions. Twitter does this by letting users select to see tweets in chronological order, rather than based on Twitter's algorithm.cnbc.com
Harris highlights stakes of election in Barrett hearings
(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Unable to block President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Sen. Kamala Harris used three days of confirmation hearings this week to remind voters of the stakes of the Nov. 3 election and how Democratic nominee Joe Biden would govern differently if he were in the White House. Known for her tough questioning of Trump's nominees, Harris took a lower key approach and avoided sparring matches with Republicans. Her messaging was muted in part because she appeared via video conference from her office, not the Senate hearing room, due to coronavirus concerns. “Democrats are wise not to play into their hand.”Republicans took note of the disciplined approach by Harris and the Democrats. GOP Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana, who was next in line for questioning after Harris on Wednesday, asked Barrett a series of questions meant to rebut Harris.
Barrett deflects senators' questions on climate change
On Wednesday, pressed at her confirmation hearing by Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California, Barrett framed acknowledgment of manmade climate change as a matter of policy, not science. Scientists say climate change is a matter of established fact and that the damage is mostly caused by people burning oil, gas and coal. Acknowledging and dealing with climate change are politically laden issues. "I’ve read about climate change,” Barrett answered. “And you have some opinions on climate change that you’ve thought about?” Kennedy asked.
'Rock star' appeals judge Allison Rushing in high court mix
President Donald Trump indicated that Rushing is on his short list of four or five nominees to succeed the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the U.S. Supreme Court. Born in 1982 and the mother of a toddler, she'd be the first millennial serving at the Supreme Court, where the current youngest justice, Neil Gorsuch, is 15 years older. But as an appellate specialist while in private practice at the Williams & Connolly law firm in Washington, Rushing filed scores of briefs with the Supreme Court. Circuit Court of Appeals. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia in March 2019.
Senate panel now likely to back questionable Trump Fed pick
The committee's support would move Shelton's nomination to the full Senate, which would have until the end of the year to confirm or reject it. Late Monday, Sen. John Kennedy, Republican of Louisiana, said he would support Shelton's nomination, essentially guaranteeing that she would win the votes of all 13 GOP senators on the committee. Toomey said he would support Shelton after she had reassured him that she would not seek to lower the value of the dollar. Since Shelton's hearing in February, the coronavirus pandemic has plunged the U.S. economy into its worst downturn since the Depression. In addition to Shelton, Trump has nominated Christopher Waller, research director at the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, for a second vacancy on the seven-member Fed board.
John Lewis, lion of civil rights and Congress, dies at 80
(AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson, File)ATLANTA John Lewis, a lion of the civil rights movement whose bloody beating by Alabama state troopers in 1965 helped galvanize opposition to racial segregation, and who went on to a long and celebrated career in Congress, died. Lewis was the youngest and last survivor of the Big Six civil rights activists, a group led by the Rev. Lewis joined King and four other civil rights leaders in organizing the 1963 March on Washington. Later, when the presidency of Donald Trump challenged his civil rights legacy, Lewis made no effort to hide his pain. If necessary, Im prepared to go to jail.In a speech the day of the House impeachment vote of Trump, Lewis explained the importance of that vote.
Georgia senators seek to shield business from COVID-19 suits
ATLANTA Georgia state senators want to give broad protections to businesses and others from being sued if someone blames them for contracting COVID-19. The bill came forward after Senate leaders spurned a narrower measure intended to be something of compromise between business groups and plaintiff lawyers. They noted that the earlier version also allowed someone to win a lawsuit if the business displayed gross negligence. Kennedy argued against the gross negligence standard. It says, Hey folks, you better get ready for the lawsuits.The Georgia Chamber of Commerce and others have called for a lawsuit shield.
Senate GOP rushing police changes, votes possible next week
Scott Applewhite)WASHINGTON Senate Republicans could vote as soon as next week on proposed policing changes, an abrupt shift of GOP priorities in an election year as the party rushes to respond to nationwide protests over the deaths of black Americans in interactions with law enforcement. The emerging legislative package, along with President Donald Trump's executive actions announced Tuesday, are perhaps the most ambitious law enforcement changes considered by Republicans in decades. A Republican familiar with the planning but unauthorized to discuss it said voting could happen as soon as next week. We are at the point in the United States where we are at a crossroads, Booker said during a floor speech. Scott's proposal, set to be released Wednesday, shifts money into police training and sets up an officer accreditation system and database of conduct.
Senate passes bill on oversight of Chinese companies, Alibaba shares move lower
The bill, sponsored by Louisiana Republican Sen. John Kennedy, would require companies to certify that "they are not owned or controlled by a foreign government." Alibaba, an e-commerce giant based in China, saw its U.S.-listed shares fall more than 2% on the news. Though the law could be applied to any foreign company that seeks access to U.S. capital, lawmakers say the move to strengthen disclosure requirements is aimed principally at Beijing. "The Chinese Communist Party cheats, and the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act would stop them from cheating on U.S. stock exchanges," Kennedy, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, wrote Tuesday afternoon on Twitter. The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, overseen by the Securities and Exchange Commission, is the nonprofit body that oversees audits of all U.S. companies that wish to raise money in the public markets.cnbc.com
Coronavirus: Senator asks Attorney General William Barr to deny early prison release for Bernie Madoff, Allen Stanford
Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., on Monday asked Attorney General William Barr to deny requests from infamous Ponzi schemers Bernie Madoff and R. Allen Stanford for early prison release due to the coronavirus pandemic. The coronavirus has swept through the U.S. prison system, infecting thousands of inmates and guards. Twenty-two federal inmates have died from the virus, the BOP says. He expanded that order on April 3 to include more federal inmates. Kennedy told Barr that he is "concerned that it is only a matter of time" before Stanford, 70, asks for early release from his 110-year sentence.cnbc.com
Trump pushes message of confidence as health officials say coronavirus spread is inevitable
Mr. Trump appeared to disagree with that assessment. President Trump holds a news conference with members of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the coronavirus outbreak at the White House on February 26, 2020. "She's trying to create a panic, and there's no reason to panic," Mr. Trump said. "Had I not made a decision very early on not to take people from a certain area, we wouldn't be talking this way," Mr. Trump said. On Capitol Hill, Democrats and Republicans alike have expressed frustration with administration officials about inconsistencies in the information they're providing.cbsnews.com
Blackouts hit Northern California again during fire danger
Pacific Gas & Electric turned off electricity Wednesday for about 120,000 people in Northern California to prevent power lines from sparking wildfires during a new bout of windy, warm weather. Exasperated members of the California Public Utilities Commission reminded representatives of Sprint, AT&T , Verizon and other companies that customers pay for reliable service. Consumer advocates have urged the commission to establish backup power requirements and make the companies provide detailed information about outage locations. Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T officials said they would disclose outage information immediately but didn't commit to 72 hours of backup power. They said they're improving backup power but that those sources might not be possible in some places and generators aren't always safe.chicagotribune.com
Trump's two Supreme Court justices Kavanaugh and Gorsuch split in first term together
President Donald Trump loves to tout his "two great justices," the newest members of the Supreme Court, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. "Justice Kavanaugh now sits alongside Justice Gorsuch to defend your rights, your Constitution, and your God-given freedom," Trump said at a rally last fall. They will go down as great, great justices of the Supreme Court." Read more: Abortion opponents are starting to worry Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh isn't the ally they were expectingOnly Justices Clarence Thomas and David Souter come close, at 77%. Read more: Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch emerges as decisive vote in favor of Native American treaty rightsThose areas are beginning to become evident.cnbc.com