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Yellen says world’s economy would be better without Ukraine war

    Thousands, possibly tens of thousands, of people dead. Entire regions of a key food-producing nation laid waste. Its infrastructure devastated and its future at risk. Then there are the international instabilities that follow with war.

    None of those things particularly helps the world’s economy, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said.

    A report at Just the News said Yellen believes the world’s economic outlook would improve should the Russian invasion of Ukraine come to an end.

    “I think that invasion and the brutality and the economic spillovers from it are a very important factor that is responsible for diminished global growth at a time when we’re just beginning to encouragingly recover from the pandemic,” she said during an interview broadcast by National Public Radio.

    “And the high food prices and energy prices that it’s caused are being felt, particularly in Africa and it is a tremendous concern,” she said.

    War erupted there just about a year ago, when Russia invaded Ukraine.

    She said that runaway inflation, which in the United States reached a sky-high 9.1% in June, and still remains at a white-hot 6.5%, isn’t her biggest concern.

    “Well, inflation has really been quite moderate, quite low for the last six months or so,” she claimed. “We continue to see improvement in supply chains. Goods prices have actually been falling, and some of the supply chain issues that pushed up the prices of goods and commodities have really turned around and mitigated.”

    The impact, however, remains for American families who are required now to spend thousands of dollars more on an annual basis to simply keep the same lifestyle they had a year earlier.

    Consumers further have been blasted by surging interest rates, which the Federal Reserve has been hiking significantly every month to try to put the brakes on inflation.

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    Supreme Court Rejects Review Over Factual Questions in Immigration Removal Proceedings

    The Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision on May 16 rejecting federal court review of fact-finding done by immigration courts. The Court’s reasoning could have wide-ranging impacts on many more types of immigration relief.

    The case—Patel v. Garland—centers around Pankajkumar Patel, a native of India, who erroneously checked a box on a Georgia drivers’ license application labeled “U.S. citizen.” Checking the box made no difference at that moment, as he was eligible for a drivers’ license even without being a citizen. That mistake haunted him when he went to apply for adjustment of status after living and working in the United States for 15 years.

    The immigration court found Patel ineligible for relief because the government claimed Patel misrepresented that he was a U.S. citizen when he inadvertently checked the relevant box on an application for a Georgia drivers’ license. His attorneys argued that all questions as to the eligibility for relief should be reviewable because the immigration statute only prohibits review of the ultimate discretionary decision to grant relief.

    But Justice Amy Coney Barrett, writing for the majority, found that the immigration statute bars federal courts from reviewing questions about a person’s eligibility to adjust their status. In this case, there was a factual dispute about whether Patel intentionally marked “U.S. citizen” on his drivers’ license application to benefit from that error.

    “Federal courts have a very limited role to play in this process,” Barrett wrote. “With an exception for legal and constitutional questions, Congress has barred judicial review of the Attorney General’s decisions denying discretionary relief from removal.”

    The majority’s conclusion stems from the interpretation of the phrase “regarding relief from removal,” interpreting “regarding” broadly to sweep any and all determinations related to relief from removal, including whether someone is eligible under the statute.

    Immigration court proceedings generally have two stages: a removal stage and a relief stage. First, the court must determine if the immigrant is removable. A person cannot ask for relief until the court makes that determination. At the relief stage, a court must answer two questions: first, whether the noncitizen is eligible for relief; and second, whether the court should grant that relief in its discretion.

    In an exasperated dissent, Justice Gorsuch, joined by the Court’s three liberal justices, construed the text of the judicial review statute, its context within and among other immigration laws, and Congress’s legislative history to conclude that the majority was wrong. Congress never intended to bar judicial review of questions of eligibility for relief; it only intended to bar review of the ultimate decision to grant or deny relief.

    “Today’s interpretation seeks to cram a veritable legislative zoo into one clause of one subparagraph of one subsection of our Nation’s vast immigration laws,” wrote Gorsuch.

    And obvious factual errors are bound to be made—with a case backlog of nearly 1.8 million cases and an over-stressed and under-staffed court system, it is no surprise that immigration judges make mistakes.

    In the same week the Court removed an important back-stop for factual errors by the immigration court through this decision, Congress is considering an overhaul of the immigration court system. Immigration courts would be taken out of the Department of Justice and creating an independent, Article I court.

    The Patel decision also leaves open questions about the scope of the decision. Following the majority’s logic, federal courts may no longer be able to review denial of adjustment of status applications denied by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, in which the immigration agency also makes factual determinations about eligibility for relief. This will likely be the next wave of litigation on this judicial review provision.

    But as it is, the Patel decision stands to affect thousands of people each year who try to adjust their status in removal proceedings in a tortured reading of the statute from the Supreme Court.

    “Today, the Court holds that a federal bureaucracy can make an obvious factual error, one that will result in an individual’s removal from this country, and nothing can be done about it,” wrote Gorsuch.

    Born-Alive Act: Pelosi, Schumer melt down after new bill requires care for babies born during failed abortion

    Senior Democratic lawmakers took to Twitter shortly after the House passed the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which requires doctors to provide care for infants born alive after a failed abortion, to criticize the Republicans who supported the “extreme” bill.

    Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and Vice President Kamala Harris were among those who responded.

    “Today, instead of joining Democrats to condemn all political violence, [House Republicans] chose to push their extreme anti-choice agenda,” Pelosi tweeted Wednesday. 

    She added, “Democrats believe everyone deserves the freedom to access reproductive health services – without fear of violence, intimidation or harassment.”

    Pelosi, who retired from Democratic leadership after Republicans retook the majority in the 2022 midterm elections, repeated her remarks in a second tweet.

    “Democrats will always defend reproductive freedoms against extreme Republicans who disrespect a woman’s right to choose the size and timing of her family,” she said. And, “These are serious, personal decisions that must be made by women guided by faith, physician and family — not by politicians.”

    Schumer, who did not vote on the bill as he is a senator, responded similarly.

    “The MAGA Republican-controlled House is putting on display their extreme views on women’s health with legislation that does not even have the support of the American people,” he wrote.

    The vice president also made her opinion known.

    The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act says any infant born alive following an abortion attempt or that survives the abortion is a “legal person for all purposes under the laws of the United States.”

    Doctors and healthcare workers would have to keep the child alive as a “reasonably diligent and conscientious healthcare practitioner would render to any other child born alive.” A child born at an abortion clinic that does not have adequate care facilities would be responsible for transporting the child to a hospital.

    It is already illegal for doctors and nurses to deny care to individuals. 

    Nearly every House Democrat on Wednesday voted against the legislation, which passed 220-210.

    White House Wants Debt Ceiling Increase With NO CONDITIONS

      The White House demanded on Friday that the debt ceiling be increased unconditionally, setting the stage for what is sure to be a bloody battle with House Republicans in the coming months.

      “We think that over the years and decades, there has been bipartisan agreement on the debt ceiling. And it ought to be accomplished in a nonpartisan manner. And it ought to be carried out without hesitation. This is significant,” said Karine Jean-Pierre, the press secretary.

      Jean-remarks Pierre’s followed a letter from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) warning that the country is likely to reach its $31.4 trillion borrowing limit in less than a week and that the department would soon have to start taking “extraordinary measures” to buy time for Congress to avoid default.

      According to Yellen, those steps would likely afford lawmakers time to come to a compromise until early June.

      Republicans will likely try to reduce or modify government spending by using the impending debt crisis. Although many in the GOP have tried to distance themselves from discussion of eliminating Social Security or Medicare, two popular programs, a campaign by numerous conservatives for promised expenditure cutbacks was at the center of the previous week’s election battle to nominate McCarthy Speaker.

      However, Jean-Pierre has made it clear that the White House is not interested in participating in those negotiations, and any ideas of this nature that pass the GOP-controlled House are unlikely to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate. A U.S. default, according to White House officials, could have disastrous effects on the economy.

      Jean-Pierre remarked, “This is not political gamesmanship. “This should be carried out with no restrictions. And that is how we envision this procedure progressing.

      She said that, contrary to what Yellen had previously urged, there are now no discussions about completely getting rid of the debt ceiling.

      The last time lawmakers raised the debt ceiling was in December 2021, when a package passed the Democratic-controlled House largely along party lines.

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      Restaurant Owner Tells Tucker Carlson Dem-Backed Gas Stove Ban Would ‘Destroy’ His Industry

        A restaurant owner told Tucker Carlson Tuesday that New York Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposal to ban gas stoves for new buildings would “destroy” his industry.

        “For 35 years, we’ve been attacked by everybody. We had organized crime in our industry in the 30s, 70s, 80s and 90s, in the 2000s, we had corrupt Wall Street and for the last three years we’ve had government overreach,” Stratis Morfogen told Carlson. “I mean, we’ve seen it during COVID, they did things and never followed the science and what’s going on, I heard a rumor about this last year and what I’m hearing about today from the White House to Governor Hochul, that they want to make us for new restaurant construction, use electric stoves.”

        Hochul proposed a ban on natural gas usage in new buildings, including stoves and heaters, as part of a wider effort to combat climate change, Bloomberg reported. The ban would be in place fully by 2030.

        “So let me explain it to you,” Morfogen continued. “We lose 40% productivity by using electric. If they inquire with small business owners, I’ll give them three pieces of advice, get a stronger filtration system, get a hood system that works and basically train your staff how to maintain it.”

        The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) also is considering whether to implement a nationwide ban on gas stoves, citing a study that claims that gas stoves account for 12.7% of asthma cases among children.

        “For 35 years, we continuously have obstacles in running our industry,” Morfogen told Carlson. “I gotta tell you, Tucker, and I want to thank you for supporting small business, since the last time I was on, you inspired me to write the book. And I gotta tell you, our journey is constantly being attacked, like, we’re vulnerable and this is the crème de la crème, because I will tell you, this will destroy our industry just as bad as they attempted to do with COVID.”

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        California Farmer Has Guns Confiscated and Faces Felony Charges After Trying to Register Rifle

        California residents attempting to comply with the Golden State’s ever-increasing swamp of firearms laws and regulations should take warning. According to a report out of Bakersfield, a good faith effort to obey the state’s labyrinthine firearm rules will not spare a gun owner in technical violation of the law from the wrath of the California Department of Justice.

        Back on May 17, local NBC affiliate KGET reported on the case of farmer Jeffrey Scott Kirschenmann. According to the news outlet, the trouble started back in April when Kirschenmann attempted to register a rifle he owned with the California DOJ.

        In California, “assault weapons,” or commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms with features the California State Assembly finds distasteful, are subject to registration. Pursuant to SB 880 and AB 1135, the California DOJ is now accepting registration of firearms lawfully owned prior to January 1, 2017 that fit the state’s new, stricter, definition of an “assault weapon” signed into law in July 2016. The change in definition targets firearms equipped with a “bullet button,” which allows the user to efficiently remove a fixed magazine with the use of a tool. The registration period runs through June 30, 2018.

        The KGET report explained that during his attempt to comply with state law, Kirschenmann submitted photos of “an illegally modified” AR-15 to the California DOJ. This prompted an investigation by the DOJ that culminated in a raid of Kirschenmann’s home. Once inside the property, investigators allegedly discovered several unregistered “assault weapons,” a pair of suppressors, and what California terms a “multiburst trigger activator.”

        Kirschenmann was arraigned on May 21 and given $150,000 bail. The farmer faces nine felony counts of unlawful possession of an “assault weapon,” two counts of possessing a suppressor, and one charge of possessing a “multiburst trigger activator.” There is nothing in the report to indicate Kirschenmann violated any federal laws or that he has misused his firearms in any manner.

        The California DOJ’s persecution of Kirschenmann, following what appears to have been an honest attempt to obtain assistance in complying with state law, will sow further mistrust between the state government and gun owners.

        The climate of distrust is understandable. Becerra and his predecessor, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), have been at the forefront of demonizing gun owners. At Becerra’s 2017 confirmation hearing he told lawmakers that he considered his NRA F- rating “a badge of honor.” Back in February, Harris told the media that Americans can’t take pride in their country due to what she considers insufficient gun control laws.

        Many gun owners are already reluctant to comply with registration laws, as such schemes are quite accurately viewed as a means to facilitate firearms confiscation. Moreover, Kirschenmann isn’t alone in his alleged failure to conform to Sacramento’s mandates. As history shows, when faced with California’s increasingly onerous and byzantine gun laws, many decent folks have unwittingly broken the law, ignored new restrictions, or opted for civil disobedience.

        In 1989 California passed legislation that categorized certain semi-automatic firearms as “assault weapons” and required them to be registered. Few complied. Following the deadline and a “second chance” grace period, the Los Angeles Times reported that 46,062 firearms had been registered. Revealing the scale of noncompliance, the report went on to note that “The state Department of Justice has estimated there are 200,000 to 300,000 [commonly-owned semi-autos in the state]. Others have calculated as many as 450,000 to 600,000.”

        With woeful registration compliance rates, one might expect gun control’s true believers to show leniency to those who make an attempt to comply with the law. Of course, that notion assumes gun control advocates consider registration in itself to be a valuable public policy. In truth, anti-gun advocates value registration only so far as it creates an additional barrier to gun ownership and enables confiscation.

        Understanding this, California’s gun control laws have worked precisely as intended in Kirschenmann’s case. California officials have utilized them to remove firearms from one more benign American citizen and in doing so have inched closer to their goal of total civilian disarmament.

        7 Key Reforms in New House Rules

          The new Republican-controlled House approved a sweeping rules package Monday night that could rein in the bureaucracy, control government spending, and put the top lawmaker’s leadership in jeopardy.

          House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., gained the top post in the House early Saturday after 15 rounds of voting over four days, but made concessions to pull most of the dissenting Republican votes. Separate from the House rules, McCarthy agreed to allow votes on several policies.

          The rules package passed by a vote of 220 to 213, mostly along party lines, with all Democrats opposing it and all Republicans except Rep. Tony Gonzales of Texas voting in favor.

          Here’s a look at the biggest takeaways from the new House rules.

          1. Motion to Vacate the Chair

          A rule change that gained significant attention was allowing a single House member to make a “motion to vacate the chair,” meaning any member of the majority party could force a vote to remove the House speaker. It actually restores a longstanding rule, however.

          McCarthy resisted this change, but the single-member rule was in force until 2019, when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., faced a resistant caucus shortly after Democrats regained the House majority in the 2018 election. Many Democrats won their House races after pledging to vote against Pelosi for speaker—or even party leader.

          Before the vote for speaker came to the floor, Pelosi cut a deal with the holdouts that the entire Democrat leadership team would term-limit itself after two more terms, ending after the 2022 elections. This won over most resisting Democrats.

          However, the California Democrat changed the House rules to ensure that only a member of party leadership could bring a “motion to vacate the chair” to the floor for a vote, with the support of the majority of the caucus to take the vote.

          Under one change, any one lawmaker may move to “vacate the chair” of the House speaker. Pictured: The speaker’s chair is vacant Friday as lawmakers continue holding votes. (Photo: Liu Jie/Xinhua/Getty Images)

          2. Controlling Spending and Taxing

          McCarthy also made concessions to rebellious House conservatives aimed at controlling federal spending.

          Though it’s not in the rules package, the California Republican agreed to cap government spending at the fiscal year 2022 level for the next decade. Some Republicans expressed concern this would mean Defense Department cuts, for example.

          The new rules require a separate House vote to increase the debt limit, which is the total amount of money the federal government may borrow. This would ditch the “Gephardt rule,” named for former Rep. Richard Gephardt, D-Mo., which deems a debt limit increase as passed by the House when it adopts a budget resolution.

          McCarthy also agreed to allow House members to vote separately on spending bills for separate Cabinet-level departments such as Agriculture and Defense, to avoid forcing members to take up or down votes on omnibus packages such as the $1.85 trillion bill passed by Congress in December.

          On another front, the House rules would require a supermajority of the 435 lawmakers to pass increases in federal income tax rates.

          The rules also replace the “pay as you go” approach, which in theory would hike taxes to pay for new spending, with a “cut as you go” model to halt legislation that would increase mandatory spending within a five-year or 10-year period.

          The GOP rules package includes provisions for more accurate fiscal analysis of bills to consider the economic impact, or dynamic scoring, while requiring the Congressional Budget Office to estimate whether legislation would increase direct spending in the so-called outyears.

          The rules require debate time for any legislation that would increase direct spending by more than $2.5 billion.

          It would require the Congressional Budget Office to do an inflation analysis of the impact of major legislation. The CBO also would have to analyze major Social Security and Medicare legislation to look at the long-term solvency of those entitlement programs.

          “Today, the House will vote to roll back a number of changes to House rules that Nancy Pelosi utilized to centralize her power as speaker and silence the views of most members of Congress,” Jessica Anderson, executive director of Heritage Action for America, said in a prepared statement.

          Heritage Action is the grassroots advocacy arm of The Heritage Foundation, the think tank that is the parent organization of The Daily Signal.

          “By reforming the way bills are considered, this rules package will restore the voice of all elected members in the legislative process,” Anderson said. “As a result of these reforms, conservatives will have the tools they need to fight the Biden administration and stand up for American families that have borne the costs of the disastrous policies of the last two years of liberal governance.”

          3. Major Investigations

          The new House rules also call for a resolution to establish a select subcommittee on the weaponization of the federal government, in order to look into alleged politicization of the FBI, the IRS, and other government agencies.

          This probe likely would include the FBI’s investigation of, and raid of the Florida home of, former President Donald Trump. But it also likely would include the FBI’s role in social media censorship and overtures that the Justice Department and FBI made about investigating parents who spoke out at local school board meetings.

          Separately, the rules package calls for the House Oversight and Reform Committee to establish a subcommittee to investigate the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

          This effort would focus specifically on whether the U.S. government has any responsibility for creating the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 through funding China’s so-called gain-of-function research in China.

          4. Tackling the Swamp

          The rules package also reinstates the “Holman Rule” to rein in the federal bureaucracy. The rule first was adopted by the House in 1876, at a time when civil service reform was popular and distrust of the federal bureaucracy was growing

          House Democrats rescinded the rule in 1983, but it was reinstated by a Republican-controlled House in 2017. Democrats eliminated  the rule when they took over the chamber in 2019.

          The rule allows amendments to spending bills to cut certain programs, reduce the salaries of federal employees, or fire specific employees.

          5. Reviewing Bills for 72 Hours

          The new House rules require 72 hours of notice before voting on new legislation, as a means to try to eliminate backroom deals. This also would give lawmakers time to read legislation.

          In May 2020, Democrats’ House majority adopted “same day authority” to force a vote on a bill the day it was introduced.

          6. Committee Appointments

          As part of the agreement that McCarthy cut with the conservative rebels, though not specified in the new rules, three of the nine seats on the powerful House Rules Committee will go to members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.

          The Rules Committee has a big say in whether bills and amendments are brought to the floor.

          7. Votes on Conservative Priorities

          The new rules would allow votes to block taxpayer funding of abortions, or of abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood.

          “Specifically, Heritage Action’s stance on issues like protecting the sanctity of life and robust immigration priorities should serve as examples of a bold, conservative legislative agenda. Now, Congress must get to work,” Anderson said.

          The rules also call for a vote to rescind $72 billion from a recent Democrat spending bill that would be used to hire and pay 87,000 more Internal Revenue Service agents.

          The House also will vote on prohibiting the sale of fuel from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve to China.

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          ‘Selfish Agenda’: Incoming GOP Rep Goes Ballistic On Anti-McCarthy Republicans

            Incoming Republican Rep. Michael Lawler of New York slammed Republicans holding out against Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s bid for speaker of the House Wednesday.

            “They have put their own selfish agenda ahead of the conference. The Conference voted overwhelmingly in November, 85%, to support Kevin McCarthy for Speaker. Our rules dictate that Kevin McCarthy is the candidate to support,” Lawler, who defeated Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney in the Nov. 8 midterms, told Fox News hosts John Roberts and Sandra Smith.

            “They have put themselves above everything else and they are costing conservatives across this country dearly,” Lawler continued. “So, these folks need to get serious, they need to wake up and realize that we are not rolling over.”

            A group of 20 Republicans blocked McCarthy’s bid for the speakership across multiple ballots Tuesday and Wednesday, despite McCarthy agreeing to most of the proposals from the House Freedom Caucus.

            Republican Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida received 20 votes in the fourth and fifth ballots for speaker, despite former President Donald Trump coming out in support of McCarthy.

            “The people who are voting against Kevin McCarthy in the Republican conference are aiding Joe Biden, aiding Hakeem Jeffries and aiding Chuck Schumer, because they are the reason that we are not getting about the business that we set out to do,” Lawler said.

            “So when it comes to Jim Jordan’s oversight on Judiciary, guess what? Can’t do it because of these folks. When it comes to securing our border, guess what? Can’t do it because of these folks. When it comes to reining in wasteful government spending under the Biden Administration, guess what? Can’t do it because of these folks,” Lawler continued.

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            The Supreme Court Overturning Roe v. Wade Could Have Harmful Ripple Effects for Immigrants

            Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, which is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, could have damaging effects to immigrant rights secured through the courts. The draft opinion—published last week in an unprecedented leak—is based in a legal concept known as “originalism,” which looks to the original text of the Constitution to discern fundamental rights. Originalists see the Constitution as a fixed text, not a “living” document as other justices and scholars urge.

            In his draft opinion, Justice Alito looks at the Constitution and because he finds no mention of the right to an abortion, characterizes Roe v. Wade as judicial overreach. Justice Alito also asserts that the right to privacy—from which the right to abortion flows—is not one of many “fundamental rights” enshrined at the time of the drafting of the Constitution. And so, abortion rights must be overturned.

            Yet for any community other than white men, there is no text in the Constitution enshrining their rights or liberties. This includes women, LGBTQ+ people, Black people, and immigrants.

            There are already indications other long-standing Supreme Court decisions may be at risk.

            Immigrants’ Right to Education

            Texas governor Greg Abbott recently stated he would like to see the 1982 Supreme Court case Plyer v. Doe overturned.

            Plyler v. Doe originated from an attempt by the state of Texas to prohibit the use of state funding to educate any students that were not “lawfully admitted” into the country. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court held in Plyer that the right of these students to a public education was covered by the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause.

            Like the rights at issue in Dobbs case, the right to education is not spelled out in the Constitution and was not considered a “fundamental right” at the time the Constitution was written. If the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade looks significantly like the draft opinion that has been circulating, it is possible that other cases could be overturned with similar reasoning.

            Immigrants’ Right to Marriage Benefits

            The decision could also signal a future clawing back of LGBTQ+ rights. Before the 2015 landmark decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which enshrined the right of same-sex couples to marry, the Court took the incremental step of striking down as unconstitutional the Defense of Marriage Act in United States v. Windsor.

            The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) denied federal recognition of same-sex marriages and any marriage-based rights that come with it, including tax benefits, insurance, and veterans’ benefits. In the immigration sphere, DOMA blocked certain immigration benefits on the basis of a same-sex marriage.

            In Windsor, the Supreme Court found the law unconstitutional. Writing for a majority of the Court, then-Justice Antonin Kennedy found that DOMA was “unconstitutional as a deprivation of the liberty of the person protected by the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution.” It is the same sort of liberty that Justice Kennedy examined, and affirmed, on behalf of same-sex couples that could be at stake in Justice Alito’s draft opinion in Dobbs.

            While it is hard to imagine Congress passing another Defense of Marriage Act, the political landscape in the next few years might allow it. Should that happen, same-sex immigrant couples could be at risk of losing marriage-based benefits, such as a green card and eventual citizenship.

            While the draft Dobbs opinion on abortion previews a harmful trend in Supreme Court jurisprudence, the Court’s cases do not always follow a straight line. But the reasoning of the draft Dobbs opinion should be taken seriously and be cause for concern for any groups not fully reflected in the U.S. Constitution at the time it was drafted.

            Jan. 6 Panel Drops Trump Subpoena

              The Jan. 6 committee dropped its subpoena of former President Donald Trump on Wednesday.

              “In light of the imminent end of our investigation, the Select Committee can no longer pursue the specific information covered by the subpoena,” Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, wrote in a letter to Trump’s attorney, CNN reported.

              “Therefore, through this letter, I hereby formally withdraw the subpoena issued to former President Trump, and notify you that he is no longer obligated to comply or produce records in response to said subpoena,” Thompson said.

              The Jan. 6 committee subpoenaed Trump in October, ordering him to testify and hand over documents. Trump sued to block the subpoena, with the lawsuit calling the probe an “illegal, unfounded, and overbroad records request.”

              Trump responded to the subpoena cancellation on Truth Social, saying, “They knew I did nothing wrong.”

              “Was just advised that the Unselect Committee of political Thugs has withdrawn the Subpoena of me concerning the January 6th Protest of the CROOKED 2020 Presidential Election. They probably did so because they knew I did nothing wrong, or they were about to lose in Court. Perhaps the FBI’s involvement in RIGGING the Election played into their decision. In any event, the Subpoena is DEAD!” Trump wrote.

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              Idaho Supreme Court upholds abortion law after Planned Parenthood challenge

              The Idaho Supreme Court on Thursday issued a decision upholding the state’s near-total abortion ban after it was challenged by Planned Parenthood.

              In a 3-2 decision, Chief Justice G Richard Bevan, Justice Gregory Moeller and Justice Robyn Brody decided to dismiss the lawsuit brought by Planned Parenthood against the State of Idaho. The lawsuit sought to prevent the state’s abortion law from taking effect following the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.

              The law, which was passed in 2020, bans all abortions in Idaho with the exception of rape or incest cases that are reported to law enforcement.

              After Roe v. Wade was overturned, the law was allowed to take effect.

              A physician can also perform an abortion if “in his good faith medical judgment and based on the facts known to the physician at the time, that the abortion was necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant woman.”

              In the case opinion released Thursday, Brody sad that the Idaho constitution doesn’t have a right to abortion.

              “The Idaho Constitution does not contain an explicit right to abortion. Nevertheless, Petitioners argue that certain provisions implicitly enshrine abortion as a right entitled to heightened protection from the legislature’s broad power to regulate conduct,” the option states.

              “Since Idaho attained statehood in 1890, this Court has repeatedly and steadfastly interpreted the Idaho Constitution based on the plain and ordinary meaning of its text, as intended by those who framed and adopted the provision at issue. That is our duty as the judicial branch: to sustain the rule of law — not to promote our personal policy preferences,” Brody added.

              The Justice Department is suing Idaho over the law in federal court.

              Paul Best and Julia Musto contributed to this report.

              US Shells Out Another $3 Billion In Military Aid For Ukraine

                The U.S. announced a $3.1 billion security assistance package for Ukraine on Friday, including for the first time dozens of heavy infantry vehicles.

                Of the total, $2.85 billion will come directly from existing U.S. weapons stocks, including 50 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles and 500 anti-missiles, according to a press release. Ukrainian officials expect Russia to conduct a second mobilization and renewed offensive in the coming months, according to Reuters.

                Bradleys will become the first armored vehicle to feature in a weapons package for Ukraine, although Biden previously approved paying for the Czech Republic to refurbish 45 ex-Soviet tanks to transfer to Ukraine. The Bradley is an infantry fighting vehicle equipped with a small gun, too underpowered to meet the Army classification of a tank, of which the Army has hundreds in storage, according to Task and Purpose.

                Bradleys are “a significant improvement compared to what the U.S. has already provided” and will help Ukraine integrate infantry and tank divisions in maneuvers to push back Russian forces, Bradley Bowman, director of the Center on Military and Political Power at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

                “Giving the Bradleys to Ukraine is also a sign that the U.S. defense community trusts Ukraine with this capability,” Luke Coffey, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, told the DCNF.

                The package also includes the first radar-guided Sea Sparrow missiles. Ukrainian troops have already discovered modifications that allow their Soviet-era ground launchers to fire the Sea Sparrow, Politico reported, citing officials familiar with the matter.

                News of the U.S. imminent aid package on Thursday coincided with announcements from German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to transfer Marder fighting vehicles and an additional Patriot air defense system, according to a joint U.S.-Germany statement.

                French President Emmanuel Macron promised to deliver AMX-10 RC armored reconnaissance to Ukraine in a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Wednesday, France24 reported, citing an aide to Macron.

                “It is the first time that Western-designed tanks are supplied to the Ukrainian armed forces,” the aide told France24.

                Neither country specified the number of fighting vehicles intended for Ukraine’s troops, but Scholz said Germany would send “all Marders that are operational,” according to Reuters.

                German officials pressured Scholz to upgrade support for Ukraine after France’s announcement, but Germany, sensitive to how Russia may interpret the transfer of heavy weaponry, has preferred to coordinate arms deliveries with allied countries, Reuters reported.

                Ukraine has continued to request heavier, more powerful tanks. However, the latest plans for arming Ukraine signal an increasing openness to providing equipment tailored toward offensive operations, Coffey told the DCNF.

                “It’s a stark shift from this idea that we’re only providing defensive weapons,” Coffey said.

                The U.S. and Western partners are on a “trajectory” of being willing to supply more equipment that will “enable the Ukrainians to be more effective on the battlefield, as opposed to just surviving on the battlefield or just defending on the battlefield,” Coffey added.

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                ‘Your Failure’: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Confronts Biden Over Border Policies On The Tarmac

                  Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a vocal opponent of the president’s border policies, confronted President Joe Biden as he landed in El Paso, Texas.

                  Abbott was the first to greet Biden as he departed Air Force One onto the Tarmac of the El Paso airport, where he handed the president a letter with proposed solutions to the border crisis that also excoriated Biden over his handling of the border crisis. Biden’s visit will be his first to the border, a fact that Abbott mentioned as he described Biden’s visit as “too late.”

                  “Your open-border policies have emboldened the cartels, who grow wealthy by trafficking deadly fentanyl and even human beings,” the letter read. “Texans are paying an especially high price for your failure, sometimes with their very lives, as local leaders from your own party will tell you if given the chance.”

                  Abbott told the DCNF that he chose to confront the president personally due to Biden’s handling of the border, which Abbott argued had greatly harmed his state of Texas.

                  “The President announced on Thursday that he was gonna be coming to the border and we didn’t hear from him. He said he was gonna meet with local officials. Last night, a staff person in my office received an invitation from the president’s office for me to greet the president at the tarmac, which I did do as I always do,” Abbott said after speaking with Biden, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Democratic Texas Reps. Veronica Escobar, Henry Cuellar and Vicente González.

                  “But I wanted to use the opportunity to express to the president the damage that he’s caused in the state of Texas and the solutions that he could deploy today to eliminate that damage, to restore the immigration system to an orderly system and to eliminate illegal immigration,” he added.

                  Abbott’s letter suggests that Biden resume construction of the border wall in Texas, fully implement Title 42, the Trump-era public health order used to immediately expel certain illegal immigrants, and designate the Mexican cartels as foreign terrorists.

                  “Even the city you visit has been sanitized of the migrant camps which had overrun downtown El Paso because your administration wants to shield you from the chaos that Texans experience on a daily basis,” the letter read, referring to the scores of migrants that had taken over El Paso’s streets in recent months.

                  The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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                  FBI Acknowledges Life-Saving Potential of Armed Citizens

                  “Armed and unarmed citizens engaged the shooter in 10 incidents. They safely and successfully ended the shootings in eight of those incidents. Their selfless actions likely saved many lives. The enhanced threat posed by active shooters and the swiftness with which active shooter incidents unfold support the importance of preparation by law enforcement officers and citizens alike.”

                  Those are the final lines in the conclusion of the FBI’s Active Shooter Incidents in the United States in 2016 and 2017. The FBI defines an active shooter as one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area. Gang and drug-related shootings are excluded. “The active aspect of the definition inherently implies that both law enforcement personnel and citizens have the potential to affect the outcome of the event based upon their responses to the situation.” 

                  Ten active shooters were confronted by citizens. In four incidents, the responding citizens were unarmed; these heroes include school staff, the shooter’s girlfriend, and a man who intentionally struck the shooter with his car. Six shooters were confronted by armed citizens. Four shooters were stopped by lawfully armed citizens. One citizen was wounded as he confronted the shooter. “In one incident, a citizen possessing a valid firearms permit exchanged gunfire with the shooter, causing the shooter to flee to another scene and continue shooting.” Unsurprisingly, it seems that these criminal cowards preferred targets incapable of defending themselves.  

                  “Armed and unarmed citizens engaged the shooter in 10 incidents. They safely and successfully ended the shootings in eight of those incidents. Their selfless actions likely saved many lives. The enhanced threat posed by active shooters and the swiftness with which active shooter incidents unfold support the importance of preparation by law enforcement officers and citizens alike.”

                  Anti-gun politicians, celebrities, and organizations deride the idea that citizens can successfully defend themselves, their families, or those around them. They prefer that law-abiding gun owners be disarmed – a position they advocate from behind the safety of armed security. We’re fortunate to have real leaders who understand that Americans should be trusted to take responsibility for themselves, their families, and their communities, and that the quickest way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

                  The FBI’s latest report affirms that ability. 

                  Abbott to Biden: Do Your Job

                    Joe Biden is finally visiting the southern border–a small slice of it, anyway, in El Paso. The town has been frantically cleaned up, Potemkin-style, for the president’s appearance. But Texas Governor Greg Abbott isn’t fooled. Today he hand-delivered to Biden the letter that is embedded below.

                    Abbott’s letter calls on Biden to do his job. It chastises him for violating his constitutional duty to enforce the laws:

                    All of this is happening because you have violated your constitutional obligation to defend the States against invasion through faithful execution of federal laws.

                    Abbott contrasts Biden’s abysmal record with that of President Trump:

                    Under President Trump, the federal government achieved historically low levels of illegal immigration. Under your watch, by contrast, America is suffering the worst illegal immigration in the history of our country.

                    Governor Abbott wants Slow Joe to do his job. Specifically:

                    * You must comply with the many statutes mandating that various categories of aliens “shall” be detained, and end the practice of unlawfully paroling aliens en masse.

                    * You must stop sandbagging the implementation of the Remain-In-Mexico policy Title 42 expulsions, and fully enforce those measures as the federal courts have ordered you to do.

                    * You must aggressively prosecute illegal entry between ports of entry, and allow ICE to remove illegal immigrants in accordance with existing federal laws.

                    * You must immediately resume construction of the border wall in the State of Texas, using the billions of dollars Congress has appropriated for that purpose.

                    * You must designate the Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations.

                    Joe Biden is a scofflaw. Unfortunately, the entire Democratic Party supports him in his disregard for the law and for his constitutional obligations.

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                    WOKE Celebrates the New Year in California

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                      ‘Turncoats!’ Senators blasted for giving in to Dems spending scheme

                        The 18 Republican senators who caved to pressure from leftists and supported the Democrats’ $1.7 trillion spending spree are “turncoats.”

                        That’s the conclusion from Gun Owners of America, the Second Amendment rights organization, which issued, according to the Epoch Times, a “scathing” rebuke to them.

                        In a statement issued just before Christmas, GOA accused the group of advancing the Biden administration’s anti-gun agenda, along with the spending binge in the Omnibus legislation.

                        “Unfortunately, 12 gun-control items just passed the Senate with the help of these 18 Republican turncoats,” GOA said.

                        It identified them as Sen. Roy Blount, Missouri; Sen. John Boozman, Arkansas; Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, West Virginia; Sen. Susan Collins, Maine; Sen. John Cornyn, Texas; Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas; Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina; Sen. Jim Inhofe, Oklahoma; Sen. Mitch McConnell, Kentucky; Sen. Jerry Moran, Kansas; Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Alaska; Sen. Rob Portman, Ohio; Sen. Mitt Romney, Utah; Sen. Mike Rounds, South Dakota; Sen, Richard Shelby, Alabama; Sen. John Thune, South Dakota; Sen. Roger Wicker, Mississippi; and Sen. Todd Young, Indiana.

                        The senators also got a tongue-lashing from Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, who pointed out that they could simply have done a short-term continuing resolution, a solution that has been used hundreds of times in the past, and then the House, under GOP control which starts next week, would have been able to assemble a comprehensive, but reasonable, spending plan.

                        The Democrats have allowed much money for LGBT centers, various “equity” campaigns and other political ideologies for U.S. taxpayers to fund.

                        A commentary from Twitchy sad, “Last week the Senate and House passed the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending monstrosity with the help of 18 Republican senators. During debate in the House, GOP Rep. Chip Roy put up a hell of a fight in opposition to the bill’s passage. Rep. Roy continues to take it to the 18 Republican senators who voted to pass the omnibus (Sen. Mitch McConnell said he was proud that the bill contained ‘all our priorities’ for Dems and Republicans), calling their excuses ‘pretty pathetic.’”

                        The Epoch Times reported that all 18 of the senators claim to support the Second Amendment on their websites, and most explained “military spending, national security issues, and funding were part of their decision.”

                        But a CR likely would have sufficed, and it was a must-pass bill in order to keep the government operating.

                        The report said it Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., listed defense as one of his top priorities.

                        “Inhofe touts spending on computer technology, weapons systems, and construction projects at military installations around the world. He also includes a list of infrastructure projects in at least 17 counties and municipalities in Oklahoma. Not to mention grants for research at various Oklahoma institutions. One Oklahoma project that might draw GOA’s attention is a $10 million Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) to train law enforcement officers to respond to mentally ill or disabled persons,” the report said.

                        “GOA flagged such spending as a way for federal officials to promote Extreme Risk Protection orders – so-called Red Flag laws – in the states.”

                        Those laws allow authorities to deprive community members of their constitutional rights without even allowing them a hearing in court.

                        “This can be done regardless of whether the person has broken the law,” the report said.

                        The report noted Sen. Susan Collins, of Maine, claimed that those Red Flag Laws, also called Extreme Risk Protection orders, can be balanced with due process rights.

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                        Unlike Prior Generations, Analysis Shows Millennials Are Not Getting More Conservative As They Age

                          A recent study revealed that millennial voters, both in the U.S. and the U.K., are not following the typical rule that as people get older they become more conservative, but instead becoming more liberal over time.

                          The millennial generation was born between 1981 and 1996, is known for loving their pets more than their children and was the last generation to grow up without the internet, according to The Washington Post. Traditionally, voters follow a regular pattern of leaning more liberal until they are 35 and then move toward more conservative beliefs as they age, but millennials are breaking the mold, according to an analysis by the Financial Times.

                          Millennials in the U.S. appeared to be on track to move toward conservatism until about 30 but dropped sharply away from conservatism by the time they were 40, according to the Times. In Britain, millennials never truly moved toward conservatism and have steadily dropped farther away from it as they age.

                          In the 2022 midterm elections, 63% of younger millennials, 25-29, voted for Democrats in the House of Representatives and in the 2020 election 62% voted for Democrats, according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE). CIRCLE also noted that the youth vote was the highest it had been in three decades.

                          Members of Generation X in both countries also showed an increasingly liberal trajectory until they hit their early 40s, according to the Times. However, in both countries, Gen X rapidly moved towards conservatism like their older counterparts once they reached 45.

                          The analysis indicated that at 35, millennials were 15 points less conservative than the Boomer and X generations were at the same age, according to the Times. The voting patterns could not pinpoint specific events or causes that pushed millennials toward the significant shift to the left, but one possibility could be connected to growing financial stress.

                          U.S. data showed that those millennials who were in their late 20s during the financial crisis of 2008 were more likely to favor left-leaning economic policies, according to the Times. The oldest millennials today are 40 and the youngest are 25.

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                          USCIS Lengthens Work Permit Automatic Extension Period to Address Adjudication Delays

                          U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a temporary rule last week that automatically extends employment authorization for certain noncitizens waiting for USCIS to process their work permit renewal applications. As of December 2021, over 80,000 noncitizens had lost or would soon lose the right to work because of adjudication delays and a growing backlog.

                          Effective May 4, 2022, work authorization for certain renewal applicants is extended for 540 days. This is up from 180 days under the old rule.

                          Some noncitizens, like green card holders, are automatically authorized to work. But many noncitizens living lawfully in the United States must apply for a work permit to legally work. USCIS issues time-limited work permits. For example, asylum applicants generally receive work permits that are valid for two years. If their asylum application is still pending after two years—as many are—then the person must apply to renew that work permit.

                          Under a rule issued in 2016, certain noncitizens would receive a 180-day automatic extension of their work authorization if they timely applied for renewal. The rule was designed to prevent gaps in employment authorization.

                          But starting in 2021, 180 days proved insufficient to protect thousands of noncitizens from losing their jobs. By December 2021, USCIS was taking upwards of 11 months to process renewals for noncitizens with pending green card and asylum applications.

                          USCIS anticipates that without the longer extension period, approximately 14,500 people would lose their employment authorization each month.

                          The new rule became effective immediately. Under the rule, anyone who received an automatic extension had that extension increased to 540 days. The rule applies to people whose automatic extension had already expired but are still waiting for a decision on their renewal application. Those who lost employment authorization because their 180-day automatic extension expired now have employment authorization again for a total of 540 days.

                          The rule is temporary. Only people who submit renewal applications on or before October 26, 2023, can benefit from the 540-day extension period. USCIS states that it will use the next one and a half years to address the backlog and return processing times to normal levels.

                          In issuing this temporary rule, USCIS acknowledged that immigrants are important contributors to the U.S. workforce. As demand for workers outpaces the number of available workers, USCIS recognized the burden placed on employers forced to suddenly find replacement staff due to USCIS’ delays.

                          The agency also described the harm to noncitizens who, through no fault of their own, lose their livelihood and the ability to support their families. People need a valid work permit for essential protections, like a driver’s license and health care.

                          USCIS focused on asylum seekers in particular. The agency noted that a gap in employment authorization “exacerbates the often-precarious economic situations asylum seekers may be in as a result of fleeing persecution in their home countries.” USCIS explained that access to health care, and especially mental health services, is key for asylum seekers “due to the prevalence of trauma-induced mental health concerns, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).” The ability to work may also be essential to pay for an immigration attorney, as there is no right to a government-funded lawyer.

                          Though the rule is effective immediately, USCIS has given the public an opportunity to submit comments until July 5, 2022.

                          The rule represents a long-overdue and essential protection as the agency works its way through a large and growing backlog. It’s important to recognize that the backlog is a result not only of the obstacles brought on by the nationwide pandemic but also USCIS’ own past policy decisions designed to make it more difficult for noncitizens to pursue legal status.

                          Pro-choice activists claim abortion bans violate their religious freedom in new lawsuits

                          Pro-choice activists across the United States have filed lawsuits against states with post-Roe v. Wade abortion restrictions, arguing that the new laws violate their religious freedom.

                          A new report from Arleigh Rodgers of The Associated Press and Report for America highlights several different cases in which lawyers have claimed new abortion restriction laws infringe on the religious beliefs of women.

                          Courts in five separate states have issued rulings in cases related to abortion and religious freedom lawsuits since the Dobbs v. Jackson ruling in late June. There are currently 34 active lawsuits filed against 19 states’ abortion laws, according to a litigation tracker published by the Brennan Center for Justice and Center for Reproductive Rights.

                          In Indiana, the advocacy group Hoosier Jews for Choice, as well as the lawyers for five anonymous women of various religious backgrounds, including Jewish and Muslim, used this argument earlier this year.

                          Their lawsuit, filed in September, specifically notes that Jewish law prioritizes the mother’s life and health over that of a fetus and that Jewish studies often only refer to a fetus as a living person at birth.

                          On December 2, a judge ruled that Indianapolis’ abortion law violates the state’s religious freedom law, signed by former Republican Gov. Mike Pence in 2015, and could not be instituted. The state’s attorney general’s office recently appealed a ruling which sided with the group of women and is expected to head to the State Supreme Court.

                          The state Supreme Court is also scheduled to hear another abortion ban lawsuit in January, which claims that the new abortion laws violate the state constitution by way of individual rights protections clauses.

                          Separate lawsuits have also honed in on religion as the basis for their religion, asserting that the state is imposing a law on citizens who do not share the same beliefs, and is thus implementing their own religion.

                          In Kentucky, three Jewish women made a similar argument and said state laws on abortion violate their religious beliefs under the state constitution. They claim that Kentucky’s legislators unconstitutionally imposed “sectarian theology” with their abortion restrictions. The restrictions remain in effect while the state Supreme Court examines other cases challenging the law.

                          Law experts have said that lawsuits arguing that state legislators are establishing their own religion may be more effective in court versus an argument on the free exercise of religion violations. Planned Parenthood used the former argument successfully in Utah in July.

                          In both Wyoming and Florida, lawsuits focused on religious-liberty clauses and the state constitution’s privacy protections to bring an end to new abortion restrictions. The Wyoming law is now blocked, and the state’s high court has not indicated they would weigh in on the ban. Florida’s restrictions remain in effect and may head to the Florida Supreme Court, despite clergy members of five religions suing the state over the law which criminalized abortion after 15 weeks.

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