Deborah Barfield Berry USA TODAY Published 9:45 PM EST Dec 10, 2018 WASHINGTON – With just weeks left in the legislative session, President Trump and key senators are pressing Republican leadership to "seize this opportunity" to act on a long-awaited bipartisan bill that aims to reduce the number of people in the nation's crowded prisons. An unusual coalition of Republicans and Democrats, conservative and liberals, civil rights groups, and the White House have rallied around criminal justice reform pushing for action on the latest effort – a Senate bill called the “First Step Act." “This is an opportunity we shouldn’t let anybody deter us from,” Sen. Chuck Grassley, Judiciary Committee chairman, said last Tuesday. “We have (a) once-in-a-generation opportunity to accomplish something on criminal justice reform. We should move on it." But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has yet … [Read more...] about The push is on for Congress to vote on criminal justice reform bill
Leadership conference on civil and human rights
Brett Kavanaugh emailed his White House colleagues in June 2003 with an alert: The U.S. Supreme Court was about to release opinions on the University of Michigan's use of race as a factor to admit students. It was an issue of great interest to his boss, President George W. Bush — who favored race-neutral admissions — and one Kavanaugh had followed for years. Staff prepared a response anticipating the practice would be struck down, saying, "We must be ever mindful not to use means that create another wrong and thus perpetuate our divisions" in the pursuit of diversity. But the next day, justices released a 5-4 opinion written by Reagan appointee Sandra Day O'Connor that upheld the university's law school admissions policy, a disappointment that prompted then-Bush policy adviser Joel Kaplan to email Kavanaugh, then a White House attorney: "What's going on???" In a separate 6-3 opinion, the court said race could be a factor in undergraduate admissions, but not the deciding … [Read more...] about Inside Kavanaugh’s record on civil rights issues
Now that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has met privately with almost every Republican senator, it's becoming increasingly clear President Donald Trump's pick for the bench is running into little GOP resistance to confirmation this fall. The conservative appellate judge is breezing past swirling questions over his views on executive power and his approach to gay marriage, abortion and other legal issues. Kavanaugh left some Republicans with the impression that his earlier reluctance to investigate sitting presidents would not impede the Russia investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller. Other senators avoided such queries, preferring more of a get-to-know-you session with the 53-year-old judge to hear his story. Ask the GOP senators what they're learning in their private chats and they'll tell you the following: Kavanaugh loves his family. Lives for the law. And, like the president he once worked for, George W. Bush, he's open and chatty, the kind of guy you'd like to have … [Read more...] about GOP senators gush over Brett Kavanaugh after private meetings
Richard Wolf USA TODAY Published 3:45 p.m. UTC Apr 30, 2018 WASHINGTON — There is no vacancy at the Supreme Court, but liberal and conservative activists are ready to do battle over one. The potential retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy — the deciding vote on dozens of controversial cases over a 30-year career — has energized both sides for what likely would be the most divisive confirmation battle in decades. Strategy sessions are being held with increasing frequency. Commercial messages are being crafted in favor and against any potential nominee. Moderate senators on both sides of the political aisle whose votes will be critical already have targets on their backs. Unlike last year, when Justice Neil Gorsuch of Colorado was confirmed to the seat of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a fellow conservative, any nominee chosen by President Trump would push the court further to the right. That has liberal interest groups … [Read more...] about No vacancy (yet): Liberals, conservatives prepare to battle for control of Supreme Court
opinion Vanita Gupta and Patrick McCarthy Opinion contributors Published 12:20 p.m. UTC Jun 27, 2018 Ten years is a long time to live with a mistake. In the span of 10 years, toddlers become teenagers. Businesses open and prosper, or struggle and close. Your community and our country will grow. Ten years would be an especially long time to live with a mistake of our own making, one that could overcrowd classrooms, shutter needed health clinics and clear the shelves of food pantries. We are on the verge of making such a mistake. It could cost almost every state billions of dollars in federal funding and harm millions of children. That mistake is undercounting young children in the Census. In 2010, the Census reflected a net undercount of about 1 million young children, and the conditions are in place for it to happen again. That is why we and other observers are sounding the alarm. Everyone needs an accurate Census, from parents caring for their kids to business owners and … [Read more...] about Count all kids in the 2020 Census. Getting it wrong will hurt children for 10 years.