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Trump’s Travel Ban Is Upheld by Supreme Court




The Supreme Court upheld President Trump’s ban on travel from several predominantly Muslim countries, delivering to the president on Tuesday a political victory and an endorsement of his power to control immigration at a time of political upheaval about the treatment of migrants at the Mexican border.

In a 5-to-4 vote, the court’s conservatives said that the president’s power to secure the country’s borders, delegated by Congress over decades of immigration lawmaking, was not undermined by Mr. Trump’s history of incendiary statements about the dangers he said Muslims pose to the United States.

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said that Mr. Trump had ample statutory authority to make national security judgments in the realm of immigration. And the chief justice rejected a constitutional challenge to Mr. Trump’s third executive order on the matter, issued in September as a proclamation.

The court’s liberals denounced the decision. In a passionate and searing dissent from the bench, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the decision was no better than Korematsu v. United States, the 1944 decision that endorsed the detention of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
She praised the court for officially overturning Korematsu in its decision on Tuesday. But by upholding the travel ban, Justice Sotomayor said, the court “merely replaces one gravely wrong decision with another.”

The court’s travel ban decision provides new political ammunition for the president and members of his party as they prepare to face the voters in the fall. Mr. Trump has already made clear his plans to use anti-immigrant messaging as he campaigns for Republicans, much the way he successfully deployed the issue to whip up the base of the party during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Mr. Trump, who has battled court challenges to the travel ban since the first days of his administration, hailed the decision to uphold his third version as a “tremendous victory” and promised to continue using his office to defend the country against terrorism, crime and extremism.

“This ruling is also a moment of profound vindication following months of hysterical commentary from the media and Democratic politicians who refuse to do what it takes to secure our border and our country,” the president said in a statement issued by the White House soon after the decision was announced.
The vindication for Mr. Trump was also a stunning political validation of the Republican strategy of obstruction throughout 2016 that prevented President Barack Obama from seating Judge Merrick B. Garland on the nation’s highest court after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, Mr. Trump’s choice to sit on the court, was part of the majority upholding the president’s travel ban.

The decision came even as Mr. Trump is facing controversy over his decision to impose “zero tolerance” for illegal immigration at the United States’ southwestern border, leading to politically damaging images of children being separated from their parents as families cross into the country without proper documentation.

But as Mr. Trump celebrated his travel ban victory, a federal judge in California ordered the government to stop separating children from their parents at the border and to reunite families already separated.

Late Tuesday night, the judge said that all families must be reunited within 30 days and that children under 5 must be returned to the custody of their parents within two weeks.

The judge’s order came as the president faces a second legal challenge about the family separations. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit on Tuesday in federal court seeking to stop the practice.

Mr. Trump and his advisers have long argued that presidents are given vast authority to reshape the way that the United States controls its borders. The president’s attempts to do that began with the travel ban and continues today with his demand for an end to the “catch and release” of unauthorized immigrants.

In remarks on Tuesday in a meeting with lawmakers, Mr. Trump vowed to continue fighting for a wall across the southern border with Mexico — his favorite physical manifestation of the legal powers that the court says he rightly wields.
“We have to be tough and we have to be safe and we have to be secure,” he said, adding that construction of the wall “stops the drugs.”

“It stops people we don’t want to have,” the president said.

Several hundred angry protesters gathered in Washington on the court’s marble steps with signs that read, “No Ban, No Wall,” “Resist Trump’s Hate” and “Refugees Welcome!”
In New York City, about three dozen activists, government officials and concerned citizens declared at a midday news conference that the court was on the “wrong side of history.” Bitta Mostofi, the commissioner of immigrant affairs for the New York mayor’s office, called the ruling an “institutionalization of Islamophobia and racism.”

Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, wrote that “today is a sad day for American institutions, and for all religious minorities who have ever sought refuge in a land promising freedom.” The Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty said in a statement that “we are deeply disappointed by the Supreme Court’s refusal to repudiate policy rooted in animus against Muslims.”

Mr. Trump’s ban on travel had been in place since December, when the court denied a request from challengers to block it. Tuesday’s ruling lifts the legal cloud over the policy.

Chief Justice Roberts acknowledged that Mr. Trump had made many statements concerning his desire to impose a “Muslim ban.” He recounted the president’s call for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” and he noted that the president has said that “Islam hates us” and has asserted that the United States was “having problems with Muslims coming into the country.”

But the chief justice said the president’s comments must be balanced against the powers of the president to conduct the national security affairs of the nation.

“The issue before us is not whether to denounce the statements,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote. “It is instead the significance of those statements in reviewing a presidential directive, neutral on its face, addressing a matter within the core of executive responsibility.”

“In doing so,” he wrote, “we must consider not only the statements of a particular president, but also the authority of the presidency itself.”

The chief justice repeatedly echoed Stephen Miller, Mr. Trump’s top immigration adviser, in citing a provision of immigration law that gives presidents the power to “suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens” as they see necessary.

The provision “exudes deference to the president in every clause,” the chief justice said.

He concluded that Mr. Trump’s proclamation, viewed in isolation, was neutral and justified by national security concerns. Chief Justice Roberts wrote it is “expressly premised on legitimate purposes: preventing entry of nationals who cannot be adequately vetted and inducing other nations to improve their practices.”

Even as it upheld the travel ban, the court’s majority took a momentous step. It overruled the Korematsu case, officially reversing a wartime ruling that for decades has stood as an emblem of a morally repugnant response to fear.
Chief Justice Roberts said Tuesday’s decision was very different.

“The forcible relocation of U.S. citizens to concentration camps, solely and explicitly on the basis of race, is objectively unlawful and outside the scope of presidential authority,” he wrote. “But it is wholly inapt to liken that morally repugnant order to a facially neutral policy denying certain foreign nationals the privilege of admission.”

“The entry suspension is an act that is well within executive authority and could have been taken by any other president — the only question is evaluating the actions of this particular president in promulgating an otherwise valid proclamation,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote.

Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. also joined the majority opinion.

In her dissent, Justice Sotomayor lashed out at Mr. Trump, also quoting many of the anti-Muslim statements. She noted that, on Twitter, he retweeted three anti-Muslim videos as president and tweeted that “we need a TRAVEL BAN for certain DANGEROUS countries.”

“Let the gravity of those statements sink in,” Justice Sotomayor said. “Most of these words were spoken or written by the current president of the United States.”

She dismissed the majority’s conclusion that the government succeeded in arguing that the travel ban was necessary for national security. She said that no matter how much the government tried to “launder” Mr. Trump’s statements, “all of the evidence points in one direction.”

Justice Sotomayor accused her colleagues in the majority of “unquestioning acceptance” of the president’s national security claims. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined Justice Sotomayor’s dissent. Justice Sotomayor accused the court of inconsistency, noting that a stray remark from a state commissioner expressing hostility to religion was the basis of a ruling this month in favor of a Christian baker who refused to create a cake for a same-sex wedding.

“Those principles should apply equally here,” she wrote. “In both instances, the question is whether a government actor exhibited tolerance and neutrality in reaching a decision that affects individuals’ fundamental religious freedom.”
In a second, milder dissent, Justice Stephen G. Breyer, joined by Justice Elena Kagan, questioned whether the Trump administration could be trusted to enforce what he called “the proclamation’s elaborate system of exemptions and waivers.”

Justice Kennedy agreed that Mr. Trump should be allowed to carry out the travel ban, but he emphasized the need for religious tolerance.

“The First Amendment prohibits the establishment of religion and promises the free exercise of religion,” he wrote. “It is an urgent necessity that officials adhere to these constitutional guarantees and mandates in all their actions, even in the sphere of foreign affairs. An anxious world must know that our government remains committed always to the liberties the Constitution seeks to preserve and protect, so that freedom extends outward, and lasts.”

The court’s decision, a major statement on presidential power, is the conclusion of a long-running dispute over Mr. Trump’s authority to make good on his campaign promises to secure the United States’ borders.

Only a week after he took office, Mr. Trump issued his first travel ban, causing chaos at the country’s airports and starting a cascade of lawsuits and appeals. The first ban, drafted in haste, was promptly blocked by courts around the United States.

A second version, issued two months later, fared little better, although the Supreme Court allowed part of it go into effect last June when it agreed to hear the Trump administration’s appeals from court decisions blocking it. But the

Supreme Court dismissed those appeals in October after the second ban expired.
In January, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge to Mr. Trump’s third and most considered entry ban, the one issued as a presidential proclamation. It initially restricted travel from eight nations — Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad, Venezuela and North Korea — six of them predominantly Muslim. Chad was later removed from the list.

The restrictions varied in their details, but, for the most part, citizens of the countries were forbidden from emigrating to the United States, and many of them are barred from working, studying or vacationing here. In December, the Supreme Court allowed the ban to go into effect while legal challenges moved forward.

The State of Hawaii, several individuals and a Muslim group challenged the latest ban’s limits on travel from the predominantly Muslim countries; they did not object to the portions concerning North Korea and Venezuela. They said the latest ban, like the earlier ones, was tainted by religious animus and not adequately justified by national security concerns.

The challengers prevailed before a Federal District Court in Hawaii and in San Francisco before a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The appeals court ruled that Mr. Trump had exceeded the authority Congress had given him over immigration and had violated a part of the immigration laws barring discrimination in the issuance of visas. In a separate decision that was not directly before the justices, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va., blocked the ban on a different ground, saying it violated the Constitution’s prohibition of religious discrimination.


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Cynthia Nixon Loses New York Primary to Incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo




cynthia nixon

Cynthia Nixon’s gubernatorial primary bid against incumbent Andrew Cuomo has come to an end.

Going into the primaries, Cuomo had a greater amount of support from the Democratic party, as well as greater financial resources than Nixon, and pre-primary polls suggested the incumbent governor had more support from New York voters.

The Associated Press called the race for Cuomo based on projected totals at 9:30 p.m. ET. With nearly 50 percent of total votes counted, the 60-year-old career politician held an insurmountable 66.3 percent lead over Nixon’s 33.7 percent.

Following the defeat, Nixon took to Twitter to thank her followers and fans for their support. “Thank you all for believing and fighting and leaving it all on the field,” she wrote. “We started something here in New York, and it doesn’t end today. This is just the beginning. And I know that together, we will win this fight.”

Nixon first announced that she would be running for governor, and challenging the two-term establishment Democrat, in March, when she released a video explaining her motivation and inspiration to throw her hat in the political ring.

“New York is my home. I’ve never lived anywhere else. When I grew up here it was just my mom and me in a one-bedroom, fifth floor walk-up. New York is where I was raised and where I am raising my kids. I’m a proud public school graduate and a prouder public school parent. I was given chances I just don’t see for most of New York’s kids today,” the 51-year-old actress said at the time. “Our leaders are letting us down. We are now the most unequal state in the entire country. With both incredible wealth and extreme poverty… How did we let this happen?”

Nixon first announced that she would be running for governor, and challenging the two-term establishment Democrat, in March, when she released a video explaining her motivation and inspiration to throw her hat in the political ring.

“New York is my home. I’ve never lived anywhere else. When I grew up here it was just my mom and me in a one-bedroom, fifth floor walk-up. New York is where I was raised and where I am raising my kids. I’m a proud public school graduate and a prouder public school parent. I was given chances I just don’t see for most of New York’s kids today,” the 51-year-old actress said at the time. “Our leaders are letting us down. We are now the most unequal state in the entire country. With both incredible wealth and extreme poverty… How did we let this happen?”

ET’s Nischelle Turner was with Parker on Thursday morning, hours before the results of the primary were determined — at the launch of her new brick-and-mortar shoe store, SJP By Sarah Jessica Parker, in the Seaport District of New York City — and the actress-turned-fashion mogul said she was standing by her friend.

“We had to be [at the store opening] super early but we’re we’re gonna go [cast our votes] when I finish,” shared Parker, who said she’d been texting with Nixon the night before the primaries kicked off.


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How the outcome of the AG primary could affect tech in NY




attorney general eric schneiderman

This week, New York Democrats will line up to vote for one of four candidates vying to replace state Attorney General Barbara Underwood. In doing so, they’ll also decide who will take on the responsibility of regulating the state’s technology industry – a sector that has become an integral part of New York’s economy and increasingly dependent on state policy makers.

Underwood, who was appointed as former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s replacement after he stepped down in May, has been an advocate for net neutrality on a national level, but has stayed relatively quiet on tech companies’ relationship with New York officials. Schneiderman, on the other hand, had a more complicated relationship with the tech community, taking on sports betting disruptors FanDuel and DraftKings and home-sharing service Airbnb during his tenure.

Now more than ever, the local tech community likely wants an attorney general who will have a proper understanding of the sector and the issues that affect it. Perhaps more importantly, the industry would want the next attorney general to be unaffected by the preferences of groups with roots in the city, and those groups’ relationships with city officials (see: the recent cap on the number of cars licensed by ride-hailing companies like Uber that have disrupted the well-connected New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission).

So how does each Democratic attorney general candidate fare in both categories? Considering the limited conversation around tech during the campaign, it’s hard to say definitively. But their past lives and their responses to a room full of NYC techies during a panel hosted by Axios, Tech:NYC and WeWork back in August provide some details.

Two of the four candidates have actually worked for a technology company. One of them, Leecia Eve, is a lobbyist for Verizon and on leave from her post as its vice president of government affairs for the tri-state region. She said during the panel that she understands “the role of technology better by far than (her) opponents,” alluding to her executive role at a telecommunications company, but her background also puts her in a complicated position. She, like all three of her opponents, presents herself as a strong proponent of net neutrality. “My company, Verizon, has never engaged and never will engage in paid prioritization,” she said at the WeWork panel in August. “No blocking. No throttling.” But Verizon has been called out for that exact offense – and against California firefighters who thought they had unlimited data, no less. Democratic senators in Washington have since asked the FCC to investigate, and while Eve isn’t directly responsible, it does speak to the complicated nature of her loyalties.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, meanwhile, was the chief operating officer of a New York-based software startup called Kiodex, Inc. from 2000 to 2003. He’s able to speak fluently about the importance of H1B visas to tech companies and of innovation to New York City, spoke most vehemently against the Uber cap during the panel, and told eager attendees more than once that the attorney general should be their partner. He displayed a strong understanding of the issues associated with trying to marry emerging tech with an established (sometimes antiquated) governing system.

“I’ve spent 10 years practicing law in this city … but it doesn’t mean you can’t stand on your own two feet and answer a simple question like whether you support the cap or not,” Maloney said. “Because what’s really going on with that question is whether you support the old school political bosses and political interests in this city or whether you support innovation and you are willing to deal with the disruptions and manage them as you go, because if you put an artificial cap on it, you are going to retard the creative atmosphere that all of you are working so hard to create it. And I’m opposed to it.”

On the other hand, it would be risky to assume that the congressman would prioritize these issues should he win, completely unaffected by the needs or wants of outside groups. “Maloney my guess is probably personally the most pro-tech of that group, so that’s good,” political strategist and venture capitalist Bradley Tusk told City & State. “But you know, he’s also very political.”

With the exception of net neutrality, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James has been perhaps the least committal of the candidates on tech issues. She said she thinks Uber raises a lot of social justice issues but “disagree(s) with the approach of the vote (and) think(s) there should have been more analysis.”

On data privacy, she said she believes in government access to open data to address social justice issues in New York, says it’s important that business disclose what data they gather, and that personal data not be abused and “is clearly protected.”

If Maloney appeared to be the most informed candidate, James came away looking as the least. And aside from presiding over the New York City Council during votes like the one on the Uber cap, her background has little to no connection to the tech industry.

Zephyr Teachout was the only one of the four candidates has explicitly come out in support of the Uber cap bill. “I support the Uber cap bill,” she said on Twitter. “We need to reduce congestion, break up concentrated power, and support drivers. Too many drivers have been squeezed out by big tech companies that steal all the money – and the dignity – from drivers.”

She avoided weighing in on the Uber cap during the WeWork panel, although she was asked many times to take a side. Instead, she repeated the need for an AG to prioritize, outlining her own priorities as being voting, corruption, campaign finance reform and mass incarceration – basically, nothing tech-related. She spoke out forcefully against monopolies too, and expressed her concern about the concentration of tech in New York City.

But when it comes to enforcing the law, Teachout – an associate law professor at Fordham Law School who has never been in elected office or had any company affiliation – gives the tech community reason to think she would regulate fairly. An added advantage? Tim Wu, the man who coined the term “net neutrality,” was her running mate during her 2014 gubernatorial campaign, and her allegiance to net neutrality doesn’t stop there. She told the panel attendees that she “did a crowd-sourced brief defending the open internet” – bonus points for tech lingo.


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De Blasio says Cuomo lacks ‘a positive vision for New York City’




de blasio

It’s a Democratic demolition derby.

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday tore into Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s handling of New York City’s needs, a day after the governor faced off against his primary rival Cynthia Nixon in a televised debate.

In the face-off with the left-wing actress-activist, Cuomo had been asked about two issues that have raised tensions with the mayor: funding the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the increased deployment of state police officers to the city.

In the debate, the governor repeated previous claims that the city in fact owns the subway system and bears responsibility for it—the former is legally true, though the MTA is a gubernatorially-controlled entity and manages the system—and that his officers are simply in place to catch those attempting to evade tolls at state and MTA-controlled bridges and tunnels.

The mayor, however, argued that governor has failed to take the city’s best interests into account when setting policy, despite it containing 43% of New York’s population. He alluded to several episodes in their ongoing feud, including the governor’s sudden decision to shut down the subways system ahead of an anticipated snowstorm, an action taken without notifying City Hall.

“I think it’s been part of a pattern of the governor not having a positive vision for New York City and how to work with New York City,” the mayor complained. “No other state in America has a single city with a higher percentage of its population than we have in New York City, in New York state. We’re almost half of the state’s population. Why not start with a positive vision for how to help New York City, for how to work with me as mayor and my administration, and how to get things done for New York City? That’s not what I get. I get sudden announcements, and plans that are often made without taking New York City’s needs into account.”

De Blasio continued to withhold any endorsement in the primary between Cuomo and Nixon, the latter of whom supported him for office in 2013 and hired consultants tied to his campaign. But he praised her performance in the bitter, carping exchange with the incumbent, and slapped at the governor’s “tone.”

“By the standard of how much experience each one had debating, I would say she won, because her performance far exceeded expectations. I would also say she offered some very powerful views that I thought resonated. And I was surprised at some of the governor’s tone,” he said. “His tone was negative and I didn’t understand how someone who is doing well in the polls and has $30 million [in campaign contributions] and is an incumbent would take such a negative tone.”

In a response Thursday afternoon, Cuomo’s team slapped at the governor’s rival and former ally, whom the governor professed to “love” at the debate. In particular, the Cuomo camp highlighted internal emails reporters forced City Hall to release that showed Nixon used her access to de Blasio to pass along complaints about helicopter traffic over Shakespeare in the Park performances and a message from the owner of a Manhattan tea house patronized by “Sex and the City” co-star Sarah Jessica Parker.

“As evidenced by the way he approaches governing, we’re not surprised that the mayor thinks Ms. Nixon has the experience and qualifications to be chief executive,” said campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith, whose romance with former Gov. Eliot Spitzer derailed her appointment to a job in de Blasio’s administration. “Clearly, he and Ms. Nixon—one of his large donors—have a very close relationship, as evidenced by the access she has had to him as mayor, which allowed her to call in favors for her wealthy friends and co-stars. Nice to see she can still call in those favors with him today.”


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