Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmed as first Black woman Supreme Court justice
The controversial Covid-19 vaccine for federal employees introduced by Joe Biden has been reinstated by an appeals court, which overruled a January decision by judge in Texas. According to the White House, more than 93 per cent of government workers have received at least one shot.
Mr Biden’s first Supreme Court nominee, Ketanji Brown Jackson, was yesterday confirmed by a vote on the Senate floor. Having garnered the support of three Republican senators – Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Mitt Romney – she also received the support of all 50 Democrats, becoming the court’s first Black woman justice.
The vote comes after a seven-week nomination process that saw her heavily criticised by Republicans who focused on her supposed record of leniency towards sexual offenders who targeted children. That criticism was in turn widely rejected as a distortion of her past decisions.
Earlier, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she has tested positive for Covid-19, this having just appeared next to President Biden, Chuck Schumer, and other senior figures at a bill signing. The speaker’s team said she is currently asymptomatic.
Anti-vaxxers host mock trial for Dr Fauci charging $10,000 for VIP seats
Anti-vaxxers are holding a mock grand jury trial of Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and charging $10,000 a ticket for “VIP jurors”.
“America’s Grand Jury”, an organisation with no legal powers which includes among its members a former Trump administration official, a former state attorney general who faced sexual assault allegations, and a slew of right-wing activists, will hold the event over five days beginning on 11 April, according to The Daily Beast.
Read Graig Graziosi’s report
Andrew Naughtie8 April 2022 10:10
Jackson confirmation takes Biden political story full circle
It’s a moment 46 days — and more than 46 years — in the making.
President Joe Biden on Friday will celebrate the confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first Black woman to reach the Supreme Court, marking the pinnacle of her legal career and bringing his political story full circle.
Andrew Naughtie8 April 2022 09:35
Vaccine mandate reinstated by appeals court
The vaccine mandate for federal workers that Joe Biden introduced last year has been reinstated by an appeals court after being blocked by a judge in Texas earlier this year.
Under the policy, about 3.5m government workers are required to be vaccinated (religious and medical exemptions notwithstanding) or face disciplinary proceedings and/or dismissal. The government’s appeal against the Texas ruling rested on the claim that the dispute over the mandate should have been heard via a civil service grievance resolution process rather than in judicial proceedings.
Andrew Naughtie8 April 2022 08:59
Jen Psaki dismisses Abbott’s vow to bus migrants to DC ‘publicity stunt’
White House press secretary Jen Psaki called Texas governor Greg Abbott’s vow to send buses to bring undocumented immigrants to Washington a “public stunt”.
“I’m not aware of what authority the governor would be doing that under. I think it’s pretty clear this is a publicity stunt,” Ms Psaki said when asked about the threat during a press briefing.
“His own office admits that a migrant would need to voluntarily be transported, and he can’t compel them to because, again, enforcement of our country’s immigration laws lies with the federal government, not a state,” Ms Psaki added.
Mr Abbott had said that he would send back immigrants who would cross into Texas to Washington, in response to Biden administration’s move to rescind Title 4.
“We are sending them to the United States capital where the Biden administration will be able to more immediately address the needs of the people that they are allowing to come across our border,” Mr Abbott said.
Shweta Sharma8 April 2022 08:45
Biden’s sanctions plan to starve Russia’s ‘war machine’, says deputy treasury secretary
US deputy treasury secretary Wally Adeyemo told Reuters that the US is ramping up sanctions against Moscow to deprive the country’s “war machine” of money and components needed to sustain its invasion of Ukraine, but curbing a main source of funding.
He said the US and its allies have “a lot more that we can and we will do”. “What this means is that Russia will be deprived of the capital it needs to build up its economy, but also to invest in its war machine,” Mr Adeyemo said.
He said the US and EU will target Russia’s military supply chains to deny access to “things that are important to building their tanks, to supplying missiles and making sure that they have fewer resources”.
“I think the impact will be immediate in the same way the impact on the economy has been immediate” from prior sanctions, Mr Adeyemo said.
US officials estimate that Russia’s economy is headed for a 10 per cent contraction this year and inflation is approaching 20 per cent.
Shweta Sharma8 April 2022 08:00
Jackson will join more diverse and conservative high court
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will join a Supreme Court which is ever more diverse and conservative than it’s been since the 1930s.
After being selected with a 53-47 vote by the Senate, she will join the court in the next several months, until Justice Stephen Breyer retires.
When Jackson takes the bench as a justice for the first time, in October, she will be one of four women and two Black justices — both high court firsts.
And the nine-member court as a whole will be younger than it’s been for nearly 30 years, when Breyer, now 83, came on board.
Shweta Sharma8 April 2022 07:11
Delays expected in passing $10bn in Covid aid in Senate – report
A bill to pour $10bn more into Covid programs is reportedly being delayed until after Easter when the senators return from their two-week spring break, reported Politico, citing multiple senators.
“The Republicans are playing politics with the health of the American people,” said senator Elizabeth Warren. “Blocking Covid protection money is a ticking time bomb for public health. So Democrats will come back and try to get the money we need, but this is not a good day for the health of the world.”
This comes after Senate Republicans move to block the legislation from advancing as they were not guaranteed an amendment vote on reinstating Title 42 — a policy by Mr Trump that allowed expulsion of migrants at the border during the pandemic.
Shweta Sharma8 April 2022 06:58
Chinese scientist sentenced over 2 years prison for ‘spying’
Department of Justice sentenced over two years of prison term to a Chinese national for “conspiring to commit economic espionage”.
Xiang Haitao, 44, who was residing in Chesterfield, Missouri, pleaded guilty to the charge in January 2022.
According to court documents, Xiang conspired to steal a trade secret from The Climate Corporation, an internationally based company doing business in St Louis, Missouri, for the purpose of benefitting the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
“Xiang conspired to steal an important trade secret to gain an unfair advantage for himself and the PRC,” said assistant attorney general Matthew G Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.
“The victim companies invested significant time and resources to develop this intellectual property. Economic espionage is a serious offense that can threaten US companies’ competitive advantage, and the National Security Division is committed to holding accountable anyone who steals trade secrets to benefit a foreign government.”
Shweta Sharma8 April 2022 05:41
Biden and Jackson celebrate moment with a selfie
The eagle-eyed will notice the photo was taken while everyone waited for Senator Rand Paul to vote.
Oliver O’Connell8 April 2022 05:30
White House dismisses Covid risk for Biden after Pelosi meet
The White House has dismissed concerns over Joe Biden being at the risk of contracting Covid after he met with speaker Nancy Pelosi, who tested positive earlier in the day on Thursday.
“The way a close contact is defined, it’s not arbitrary, it’s not something made up by the White House, it’s CDC guidelines, and how they define it is being within six feet for a cumulative total of 15 minutes over a 24-hour period,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
“They were not. All of their interactions were publicly available, I think you saw them, and that’s how that assessment is made,” Ms Psaki added.
The two were at the White House, at times in very close proximity, before Ms Pelosi tested positive during an event marking the Affordable Care Act at which former president Barack Obama was also in attendance.
Shweta Sharma8 April 2022 05:03