By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear Arizona's appeal of a lower-court ruling that declared unconstitutional a state law banning abortions beginning at 20 weeks of fetal gestation, meaning the restrictive measure is struck down. The Arizona law, signed by Republican Governor Jan Brewer in 2012, had been considered one of the toughest in the United States in imposing limits on abortion. A May 2013 ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco invalidated the law, saying it violated "unalterably clear" legal precedents. The high court justices' decision not to review the state's appeal means the lower-court ruling remains intact. Brewer's spokesman, Andrew Wilder, said the Supreme Court was wrong not to hear the state's appeal, saying the action was "a clear infringement on the authority of states to implement critical life-affirming laws." Abortion rights activists praised the Supreme Court's action, but expressed alarm at efforts at the state level in the to impose limits on abortion. The U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide in 1973, but lawmakers in more conservative states in recent years have enacted laws that seek to place restrictions on the procedure, especially on late-term abortions. These lawmakers have cited hotly debated medical research suggesting a fetus feels pain starting at 20 weeks of gestation. Lawyers for Arizona offered those arguments before the Supreme Court. The Arizona law prohibited physicians from performing abortions starting at 20 weeks of pregnancy, except in medical emergencies, and could send doctors who perform them to jail. Abortion rights groups said the Arizona law was more restrictive than similar ones in other states because the way it measures gestation means it would bar abortions two weeks earlier than in other states that set the limit at 20 weeks. Three abortion providers challenged the Arizona law in court. The appeals court had earlier blocked the law from taking effect, pending the legal challenge. Wilder said Brewer was seeking to make Arizona "one of the most pro-life states," adding: "Governor Brewer will continue to fight to protect Arizona women, families and our most vulnerable population: unborn children." 'BLATANTLY UNCONSTITUTIONAL' The president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Cecile Richards, said in a statement: "A dangerous and blatantly unconstitutional law like Arizona's abortion ban should have never passed in the first place. "Today, the court did the right thing, but women's health is still on the docket - not only at the Supreme Court, but in active cases all across the country," Richards added. Nancy Northup, head of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said women's rights must not be "legislated away by politicians who are hell-bent on restricting access to the full range of reproductive health care." The Supreme Court justices, as is their custom, did not explain why they refused the Arizona appeal. The last time the high court took up an abortion case was 2007, when it ruled 5-4 to uphold a federal law banning a late-term abortion procedure. The high court on Wednesday tackles a related matter when it hears arguments in a challenge by anti-abortion protesters to a Massachusetts law that seeks to ensure access for patients at clinics that offer abortions. The law imposed a 35-foot (11-meter) zone at clinics that only patients, staff, passersby and emergency services are allowed to enter. The protesters said this violated their constitutional rights, including freedom of speech, by preventing them from standing on the sidewalk and speaking to people entering clinics. In the landmark Roe v. Wade case in 1973, the court said that women have a right to have an abortion up until the time when the fetus becomes viable. In a 1992 ruling, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the court clarified that an abortion regulation can be legal as long as it does not impose an "undue burden" on women seeking the procedure. Arizona's law bans abortions up to a month before the point of viability, which medical experts say is around the 23-to-24-week mark. The state has a separate law banning abortions after a fetus is viable except when the mother's life is in danger. Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, who argued on behalf of the law before the lower courts, called the Supreme Court's refusal to hear the state's appeal disappointing. "Nevertheless, safeguarding the health and welfare of mothers and defending the dignity of life at all stages is a just cause and a duty of government. Today's decision does not relieve government of that duty," Montgomery said. Several states, including Texas, have recently enacted laws restricting abortions. One of the provisions of the Texas law, which has also been challenged, requires doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic where the abortion is performed in case there are complications. The Arizona case is Horne v. Isaacson, U.S. Supreme Court, 13-402. (Additional reporting by David Schwartz in Phoenix; Editing by Will Dunham, Jonathan Oatis and Dan Grebler)
- Yahoo News
Since he changed his legal address from Trump Tower in New York City to his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., some have assumed that’s where he'll go after leaving Washington. There’s just one problem.
- The Daily Beast
Earlier this week, Project Veritas released the first of what it promised would be many shocking revelations from CNN’s internal editorial meetings, which founder James O’Keefe appears to have infiltrated and recorded over the course of several weeks.First, the right-wing group tried to make hay out of the fact that one high-level CNN staffer considered Fox News host Tucker Carlson to be racist—while simultaneously misidentifying the staffer in question. Their latest bombshell? CNN President Jeff Zucker thinks Rudy Giuliani is “crazy.”According to Project Veritas’ website, O’Keefe believes it will be “virtually impossible for the American public to take CNN’s reporting seriously after listening to these tapes.” And yet, once again, nothing that Zucker has said should surprise anyone who has been paying attention to Giuliani, especially in the weeks since Trump lost the presidential election to Joe Biden.“There is a term for what Rudy Giuliani is suspected of being, which is ‘useful idiot,’” a voice identified as Zucker’s can be heard saying in a tape made just a couple of days after the man formerly known as “America’s mayor” started pushing material supposedly obtained from Hunter Biden’s laptop.He goes on to call Giuliani’s efforts to undermine the election a “really important story,” adding, “It gets tied to the Hunter Biden email disinformation campaign. That’s the way we do this, because it’s all tied and part-and-parcel of one. I know Washington is working on putting that all together.”In a more recent call, when another staff member suggests that the “real craziness is the client,” referring to President Trump, “not the lawyers,” the voice ID’d as Zucker agrees before saying, “I think you raise a good point about not just pawning it off on the crazy legal team, but the client is the one who is directing the crazy legal team.”Other comments from Zucker that seem to have outraged Project Veritas concern the baseless allegations of pedophilia against Biden that circulated online, especially among QAnon Facebook groups, in the run-up to the election.“The president of the United States has just retweeted a post accusing Joe Biden of being a pedophile to his 86 million followers which is just beyond,” he says on another tape. “You know it also is just unacceptable that the president of the United States is trafficking in this and doing it.”Once again, an exposé intended to make Zucker and CNN look bad has only revealed that they are simply adhering to reality.Project Veritas’ CNN Sting Uncovers Explosive News That Tucker Carlson Is RacistRead more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- Associated Press
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has named Tina Flournoy, a veteran Democratic strategist and aide to the Clintons, as her chief of staff, the transition team announced Thursday. Flournoy's appointment as Harris' top staffer adds to a team of advisers led by Black women. Harris, who is of Jamaican and Indian heritage, is the nation's first female vice president.
- The Week
Florida attorney reportedly under investigation after telling Republicans to change 'your address for the next 2 months' for Georgia runoffs
A Florida attorney is reportedly under investigation after trying to register to vote in Georgia ahead of the January runoff election and encouraging other Republicans to change "your address for the next two months" so they can vote in the state as well, WSB-TV reports.Attorney Bill Price in a Facebook video that has since been deleted was reportedly seen speaking to members of the Bay County GOP in Florida last month, saying "we have to do whatever it takes" to "hold the Senate" and that he's "moving to Georgia" for the January runoff."And if that means changing your address for the next two months, so be it," Price says. "I'm doing that. I'm moving to Georgia and I'm gonna fight and I want you all to fight with me."Price reportedly says in the video he's "moving to my brother's house in Hiram, Georgia and I'm registering to vote." Then, he reportedly tells the Florida Republicans his brother's name and his address, and when a woman asks if they "can truly register at that address," he reportedly responds, "Sure."Georgia's office of Secretary of State told Fox News that "registering without the intention of permanent residency is a felony," as "only permanent residents are eligible to vote in Georgia." According to Fox, Price says in the video he will "move back to Florida on Jan. 6." Price told WSB-TV these were just "humorous comments" and that he "did not change my voter registration." But according to the report, he did register to vote using his brother's Georgia address the day after he made the remarks, and he's now under investigation. Price admitted to Fox News that he filled out the voter registration but claimed, "I wanted to see how easy it was to do it. I'm not actually moving to Georgia. I was joking." Read more at WSB-TV. > "If that means changing your address for the next two months,so be it.I'm doing that. I'm moving to Georgia."Our 6 investigation reveals deleted video-a FL attorney telling GOP members how to move to GA,vote in runoffs. It's illegal.There's more,& an investigation @wsbtv gapol pic.twitter.com/or2PgWQrT1> > -- Nicole Carr (@NicoleCarrWSB) December 2, 2020More stories from theweek.com 5 absurdly funny cartoons about Trump's desperate fraud claims Trump reportedly derailed a GOP meeting about the Georgia Senate runoffs by praising QAnon Biden says he'll ask Americans to wear masks for 1st 100 days he's in office
- NBC News
The Bond Fire started with flames at one home, before it reached nearby vegetation and spread out of control.
- USA TODAY
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been a top official dealing with the pandemic.
- The Telegraph
Former US president Bill Clinton did visit Jeffrey Epstein's infamous private island despite his claims to the contrary, his former associate has claimed. Doug Band, who worked for Mr Clinton for around two decades, claimed the former president flew on Epstein's jet dozens of times and visited the convicted sex offender's private Carribean island in January 2003. Although ignorant of Epstein's crimes at the time, Mr Band claimed in an interview with Vanity Fair that he attempted to keep his boss away from the financier after a 2002 trip to Africa. Mr Band told the magazine the trip had left him with a bad impression of Epstein and he advised Mr Clinton to end his relationship with the multimillionaire financier. The two men were friends in the 2000s, with Mr Clinton taking several trips on Epstein’s private jet, which has come to be known as the "Lolita express" after it was alleged that the financier used the jet to traffic underage girls between his various properties.
- The Week
The Wisconsin Supreme Court declined to hear a case from President Trump's legal team that seeks to challenge the state's presidential election results, The Washington Post reports.On Thursday, the court ruled that Trump's team should have taken up the matter with a lower court. The ruling is yet another blow to Trump's longshot effort to overturn his election loss in several states; he has claimed voter fraud led to President-elect Joe Biden's victory, but there is no evidence of widespread fraud.Trump lost to Biden in Wisconsin by more than 20,000 votes. The campaign alleges that Wisconsin election officials improperly accepted thousands of ballots in two of the state's most Democratic counties. Read more at The Washington Post.More stories from theweek.com 5 absurdly funny cartoons about Trump's desperate fraud claims Florida attorney reportedly under investigation after telling Republicans to change 'your address for the next 2 months' for Georgia runoffs Trump reportedly derailed a GOP meeting about the Georgia Senate runoffs by praising QAnon
- Reuters Videos
Hong Kong media tycoon and pro-democracy campaigner Jimmy Lai was denied bail on Thursday. Lai, and two of his senior executives, are facing a charge of fraud relating to the lease of a building that houses Lai's Apple Daily, an anti-government tabloid. Authorities have intensified a crackdown on key opposition figures in the Chinese-ruled city, following Beijing's imposition of a national security law on June 30. The new law punishes anything China considers subversion, secession, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces. Lai, and his colleagues are accused of falsely representing the use of their office to their landlord. While the fraud charge does not fall under the new law, the case marks another crackdown on pro-democracy figures. Lai's appearance in court came just a day after one of Hong Kong's most prominent activists, Joshua Wong, was jailed for more than 13 months for his role in an unlawful anti-government rally in 2019. Back in August, Lai was arrested after about 200 police raided his offices. Hong Kong police later said they had arrested nine men and one woman for suspected offenses, including collusion with a foreign country to endanger national security. Lai has been a frequent visitor to Washington, where he's met with senior officials to rally support for Hong Kong's democracy, prompting Beijing to label him a "traitor."
- Associated Press
Arizona Democrat and former astronaut Mark Kelly was sworn into the Senate on Wednesday, narrowing Republican control of the chamber and underscoring his state's shift from red to blue. Kelly, 56, defeated GOP Sen. Martha McSally in last month's election, making her one of only three incumbents to lose. If Democrats win both, they will command the 50-50 chamber for the new Congress that begins in early January because Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would cast tie-breaking votes.
Man, 41, had no teeth and could barely speak after his mother locked him in their suburban apartment for 28 years, say reports
A 70-year-old Swedish woman has been arrested for imprisoning her son in her Stockholm flat. He was found by a relative covered in wounds and pus.
- The Week
FBI directors are appointed for 10-year terms, largely to insulate them from political pressure, and presidents rarely cut those terms short. President Trump did, firing FBI Director James Comey soon in May 2017 — prompting the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller — and he has come close to firing Comey's successor, Christopher Wray, several times, The New York Times reports. President-elect Joe Biden plans on returning to the regular norms and customs. Wray, like Comey, is a Republican.Biden is "not removing the FBI director unless Trump fired him," a senior Biden adviser tells the Times. Advisers also said Biden is leaning toward appointing David S. Cohen as CIA director, though he hasn't made any final decision. Cohen, a former deputy CIA director, is backed by Biden's choice for director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, the Times reports, and "ensuring an easy partnership between Ms. Haines and the CIA director is a priority of the new administration."Trump soured on Wray soon after appointing him, and it took an intervention by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Attorney General William Barr to talk Trump down from firing him over the summer, the Times reports. Trump reportedly told advisers in the fall that he would fire Wray right after the election. If he follows through, Biden will be able to pick a director of his choosing.More stories from theweek.com 5 absurdly funny cartoons about Trump's desperate fraud claims Florida attorney reportedly under investigation after telling Republicans to change 'your address for the next 2 months' for Georgia runoffs Trump reportedly derailed a GOP meeting about the Georgia Senate runoffs by praising QAnon
Israel edged closer on Wednesday towards a fourth national election in two years after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's main governing partner, Benny Gantz, backed an opposition move to dissolve parliament. Parliament gave preliminary approval to a dissolution bill, but the legislation needs to pass three as yet unscheduled votes to become law, giving Netanyahu and Gantz, the defence minister, more time to work out differences over a national budget. The coalition crisis could plunge Israel into more political uncertainty as it prepares for a new U.S. administration led by Joe Biden, deals with the coronavirus pandemic and awaits Iran's next moves after the assassination of its top nuclear scientist last week, a killing that Tehran blamed on Israel.
- Associated Press
Authorities in Bangladesh have begun relocating thousands of Rohingya refugees to an isolated island despite calls by human rights groups for a halt to the process, officials said Thursday. The United Nations has also voiced concern that refugees be allowed to make a “free and informed decision” about whether to relocate to the island in the Bay of Bengal. The island's facilities are built to accommodate 100,000 people, just a fraction of the million Rohingya Muslims who have fled waves of violent persecution in their native Myanmar and are currently living in crowded, squalid refugee camps.
- The Week
Several Republican lawmakers are showing enthusiasm for a potential 2024 run from President Trump, Politico reports.Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) went so far as to say he would support Trump's candidacy if he chooses to run, while Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said he "should run and would have the support" of the Republican Party.Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Rick Scott (R-Fla.), both of whom have had their names floated as potential presidential candidates, also indicated to Politico that they'd back Trump's effort to return to the White House, as did Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who said the U.S. "would benefit tremendously" from another Trump term. Blackburn, though, is still holding out hope Trump will win his doomed battle to overturn the 2020 results.Not everyone was overtly enthusiastic, however, including some of Trump's notable allies like Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who declined to comment. Cotton is another senator many speculate could launch his own bid, so he may be keeping things close to the vest. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), meanwhile, said he doesn't talk about hypotheticals, a point echoed by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), John Cornyn (R-Texas), and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) may have been the hardest to read. He repeated his opinion that Trump would be the clear favorite if he ran, but didn't hint one way or another how he'd feel about it. "I know it's an interesting story, but I have no idea," he told Politico.More stories from theweek.com 5 absurdly funny cartoons about Trump's desperate fraud claims Florida attorney reportedly under investigation after telling Republicans to change 'your address for the next 2 months' for Georgia runoffs Trump reportedly derailed a GOP meeting about the Georgia Senate runoffs by praising QAnon
In September, a senior Iranian commander made an unannounced visit to one of Shi'ite Islam's holiest sites in the southern Iraqi city of Kerbala. Hassan Pelarak, a top officer in the Revolutionary Guards' elite Quds Force, had recently been sanctioned by the U.S. for weapons smuggling. The vast, $600 million expansion at the Imam Hussein shrine, which is revered as the place of martyrdom of the Prophet Mohammed's grandson, will swell the capacity of what is already the world's largest annual pilgrimage, dwarfing the Hajj to Saudi Arabia's Mecca.
- Architectural Digest
From a private island to a tiny Vermont tree houseOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- The Independent
'Take the shot if you have it, but don't hit that f*cking…'
- The Guardian
Twitter users compared Melissa Carone to an SNL character after she made bizarre allegations of fraud before the Michigan houseThe quixotic quest by Donald Trump’s legal team to overturn the results of the election have birthed an unlikely star this week: Michigan resident Melissa Carone.Carone, a contract worker for Dominion Voting Systems, appeared before a Michigan house panel on Wednesday and insisted, without providing evidence, that tens of thousands of votes had been counted twice.It was the manner of her claims, however, that made her a social media hit, with numerous Twitter users comparing Carone to a Saturday Night Live character.Carone repeatedly talked over a Michigan representative as he tried to get to the bottom of her allegations of voter fraud.Those claims seemed to amount to vague accusations of ballot recounting and poll tampering, apparently by the Republican-controlled house.> Anyone who’s ever worked the Saturday night shift in a newsroom has gotten a call from someone just like this Republican pollwatcher > > pic.twitter.com/Nr8eshGFH2> > — Bill Grueskin (@BGrueskin) December 3, 2020Responding to Carone’s assertions that she saw ballot workers count a batch of 30,000 votes multiple times, Steve Johnson, a Republican Michigan state representative, said:“We’re not seeing the poll book off by 30,000 votes.”Carone, who repeatedly spoke over Johnson as he attempted to understand her claims, was unmoved.“What’d you guys do, take it and do something crazy to it?” Carone said.“I’m just saying the numbers are not off by 30,000 votes,” Johnson replied.“I’d say that poll book is off by over 100,000 [votes],” Carone said.In her appearance before the house, Carone earned the rare distinction of making claims that were too bizarre for Rudy Giuliani, who has become a fount of unhinged election conspiracy theories in recent weeks.Giuliani, who sat next to Carone at the Michigan hearing, was heard shushing her as she loudly spoke over a state representative, and could be seen wincing during some of her account of witnessing fraud.On 13 November a Wayne county judge had decided that Carone’s claims “simply are not credible”, but that did not stop Trump’s team from bringing her to Wednesday’s hearing, where Carone added of the vote total:“It’s wildly off, and dead people voted, and illegals voted.”Carone, who has been doing the rounds on rightwing media in recent weeks, claimed on Wednesday night she “had to get rid of social media” in the wake of her public appearances.That statement also seems to be false, given a Facebook account in her name still exists on the site.> Melissa Carone did not have to get rid of her social media https://t.co/wwjNMjHbcs pic.twitter.com/J7gGXLHy13> > — Joshua Pugh (@JPughMI) December 3, 2020
- Associated Press
President-elect Joe Biden says it is important that President Donald Trump attend his inauguration only in the sense that it would demonstrate the nation’s commitment to a peaceful transfer of power between political rivals. Trump aides have expressed skepticism that the president would attend Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration. Trump has continued to falsely claim victory and spread baseless claims of fraud to try to explain away his loss.