Bill pushes feds to notify families of sick, dying inmates
New legislation in the Senate requires the Justice Department to establish guidelines for the federal Bureau of Prisons and state correctional systems to notify the families of inmates if their loved one has a serious illness, a life-threatening injury or if they die behind bars.
What's next in the investigation of the Supreme Court leak?
Chief Justice John Roberts, in ordering an investigation into an “egregious breach of trust” in the leak of a Supreme Court draft opinion on abortion, has tasked a relatively unknown court official to carry out what could be one of the most high-profile investigations in decades.
Jackson heading for likely confirmation despite GOP darts
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson faced down a barrage of Republican questioning about her sentencing of criminal defendants on Wednesday, as her history-making bid to join the Supreme Court veered from lofty constitutional questions to attacks on her motivations as a judge.
Opposition from GOP senator threatens Biden judicial pick
Republican Sen. Ron Johnson's opposition to President Joe Biden's judicial nominee in Wisconsin has surprised Democrats and is providing the latest test to the Senate tradition of letting home state senators block district court judges from advancing.
Senate confirms Merrick Garland to be US attorney general
Judge Merrick Garland, President Joe Biden's pick to be attorney general, answers questions from Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., as he appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee for his confirmation hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. Garland will now inherit a Justice Department embattled by a turbulent era under Trump, who insisted that the attorney general and the department must be loyal to him personally, battering the department’s reputation. In the last month of Trump's presidency, Attorney General William Barr resigned after refuting Trump's false claims that widespread electoral fraud had led to his defeat. Ad“Let’s hope our incoming attorney general applies that no-nonsense approach to the serious challenges facing the Department of Justice and our nation,” McConnell said. “So I very much want to be the kind of attorney general that you’re saying I could become, and I’ll do my best to become that kind of attorney general.”___Associated Press writer Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report.
Senate panel votes to advance Garland's nomination to be AG
Judge Merrick Garland, President Joe Biden's pick to be attorney general, answers questions from Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., as he appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee for his confirmation hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. Scott Applewhite)WASHINGTON – The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Monday to advance the nomination of Merrick Garland, President Joe Biden’s nominee for attorney general. The committee voted 15 to seven in favor of Garland's nomination at a meeting on Monday afternoon. The committee’s vote puts him on track for a quick confirmation, potentially within days. AdThe committee’s top Republican, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, said he also intends to support Garland’s nomination.
Native American nominee's grilling raises questions on bias
The label of Haaland as a "radical" by Republican lawmakers is getting pushback from Native Americans. The exchange, coupled with descriptions of the Interior secretary nominee as “radical” — by other white, male Republicans — left some feeling Haaland is being treated differently because she is a Native American woman. “As much as I would love to see a Native American be on the president’s Cabinet, I have concerns about her record. Critics also have targeted Vanita Gupta, an Indian American and Biden’s pick to be associate attorney general, and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as Health and Human Services secretary. That was seen in Haaland's response when asked about her motivation to be Interior secretary.
Despite GOP outcry, Cassidy 'at peace' with impeachment vote
Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., talks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021, on the fourth day of the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump. – Trashed on social media and censured by Louisiana Republicans, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy described himself Wednesday as “at peace” with his vote to convict former President Donald Trump at his impeachment trial and dismissed the scorching GOP backlash he's received. Ad“I’ve received comments from folks who are Republican who object to the vote,” Cassidy said. They've called for Republicans to ban Cassidy from their events, and several local Republican groups have joined the executive committee of the state GOP in condemning Cassidy's vote to convict Trump. Asked whether his vote to convict Trump could damage his chances of reelection in 2026, Cassidy replied: “It is six years off, but that's immaterial.
HHS pick says pandemic is top job, but agenda is broader
“To meet this moment, we need strong federal leadership," Becerra said at the first of two hearings on his nomination. AdAppearing before the Senate health committee, Becerra seconded President Joe Biden’s goals of 100 million vaccine shots in his first 100 days, increased coronavirus testing, ramped-up DNA mapping of the virus to track worrisome mutations and reopening schools and businesses. Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, the ranking Republican on the health committee, left no doubt that Becerra faces tough scrutiny. California took pride in viewing itself as the resistance to Trump, and Becerra embodied that ethos. AdLack of medical experience doesn't disqualify a nominee for HHS secretary, though it can be a plus.
GOP senator flips on impeachment trial, rips Trump lawyers
The second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump began Tuesday. – Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana joined Democrats in voting against ending Donald Trump's impeachment trial Tuesday, a surprise reversal that Cassidy said was a response to the former president's lawyers doing “a terrible job” of arguing their case. Cassidy was among six Republican senators who sided with Democrats on the question of whether a former president can be tried after leaving office. The Louisiana senator's position was a switch from January, when he voted to end the proceedings on the grounds that they were unconstitutional. The Republican Party of Louisiana quickly issued a statement Tuesday criticizing Cassidy for his vote and praising Louisiana's junior GOP senator, John Kennedy, for voting against moving ahead with the impeachment trial.
HUD nominee pledges action to prevent home loss in pandemic
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)WASHINGTON – Housing secretary nominee Marcia Fudge told senators Thursday that she would take “extraordinary actions” to prevent people from losing their homes due to the coronavirus pandemic. Fudge championed homeownership as a classically American “ticket to the middle class” and endorsed federal financial assistance to expand the ranks of minority homeowners. And we are in extraordinary times,” said Fudge, speaking remotely from Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland. Fudge also endorsed direct federal financial assistance to help prospective minority homeowners with the down payment on a mortgage. When Kennedy asked her directly whether she believed Republicans cared about Black Americans, Fudge tersely answered, “I do, some, yes.”Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, defended Fudge.
Donor backlash fuels GOP alarm about Senate fundraising
The GOP already faces a difficult Senate map in 2022, when 14 Democratic-held seats and 20 Republican ones will be on the ballot. That includes at least two open seats that Republicans will be defending because of the retirements of GOP Sens. One of those lawmakers, Florida Sen. Rick Scott, is the new chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, a post that makes him the public face of the Senate Republican fundraising efforts. But two senior Republican strategists involved in Senate races say the cumulative effect of the companies' decisions could have a bigger impact. That puts more pressure on the NRSC and the leading Senate Republican outside group, Senate Leadership Fund, to cover the difference.
Pro-Trump mob storms US Capitol in bid to overturn election
Some Republican lawmakers were in the midst of raising objections to the results on his behalf when the proceedings were abruptly halted by the mob. Together, the protests and the GOP election objections amounted to an almost unthinkable challenge to American democracy and exposed the depths of the divisions that have coursed through the country during Trump’s four years in office. Before dawn Thursday, lawmakers completed their work, confirming Biden won the presidential election. In the aftermath, several Republicans announced they would drop their objections to the election, including Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., who lost her bid for reelection Tuesday. Some House lawmakers tweeted they were sheltering in place in their offices.
Dividing party, Republicans poised to challenge Biden win
Eleven Republican senators saying they will not be voting Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, to confirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory include Wyoming's newly sworn in Sen. Cynthia Lummis, a Cheyenne-area rancher and former congresswoman. It is unclear just what the Republican senators will do, but the process could drag into the night as the two chambers will have to consider each objection individually. And more than a dozen Republican senators have said they will not support the effort. Facing the criticism from many in his own party, Cruz has attempted to put a finer point on his challenge. The commission remains his focus, he has said, not to undo the election results, even though that would be the practical effect of a successful objection.
Trump says he'll 'fight like hell' to hold on to presidency
Though he got nothing but cheers Monday night, Trump's attempt to overturn the presidential election i s splitting the Republican Party. Trump himself is whipping up crowds for a Wednesday rally near the White House. Trump said in Georgia: “I hope that our great vice president comes through for us. Two current Republican senators, Rob Portman of Ohio and Mike Lee of Utah, joined the growing number who now oppose the legislators' challenge. Larry Hogan of Maryland; Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third-ranking House GOP leader; and former House Speaker Paul Ryan — have criticized the GOP efforts to overturn the election.
Republicans condemn 'scheme' to undo election for Trump
Of the more than 50 lawsuits the president and his allies have filed challenging election results, nearly all have been dismissed or dropped. Other prominent former officials also criticized the ongoing attack on election results. Cruz's coalition of 11 Republican senators vows to reject the Electoral College tallies unless Congress launches a commission to immediately conduct an audit of the election results. The convening of the joint session to count the Electoral College votes has faced objections before. States choose their own election officials and draft their election laws.
Congress takes aim at climate change in massive relief bill
The energy and climate provisions, supported by lawmakers from both parties, were hailed as the most significant climate change law in at least a decade. “Make no mistake,'' he said, the new legislation "will soon be some of the most significant climate solutions to pass out of Congress to date.'' Marty Durbin, a senior vice president at the Chamber of Commerce, called the package — the first major energy bill in more than a decade — “truly historic” and among the most significant action Congress has ever taken to address climate change. The bill will not only address climate change, but also "promote American technological leadership and foster continued economic growth,'' Durbin said. The dramatic if gradual reduction of HFCs in particular “will bring significant climate relief relatively quickly,'' said Matt Casale, director of environment campaigns for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.
Harris highlights stakes of election in Barrett hearings
(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Unable to block President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Sen. Kamala Harris used three days of confirmation hearings this week to remind voters of the stakes of the Nov. 3 election and how Democratic nominee Joe Biden would govern differently if he were in the White House. Known for her tough questioning of Trump's nominees, Harris took a lower key approach and avoided sparring matches with Republicans. Her messaging was muted in part because she appeared via video conference from her office, not the Senate hearing room, due to coronavirus concerns. “Democrats are wise not to play into their hand.”Republicans took note of the disciplined approach by Harris and the Democrats. GOP Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana, who was next in line for questioning after Harris on Wednesday, asked Barrett a series of questions meant to rebut Harris.
Barrett deflects senators' questions on climate change
On Wednesday, pressed at her confirmation hearing by Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California, Barrett framed acknowledgment of manmade climate change as a matter of policy, not science. Scientists say climate change is a matter of established fact and that the damage is mostly caused by people burning oil, gas and coal. Acknowledging and dealing with climate change are politically laden issues. "I’ve read about climate change,” Barrett answered. “And you have some opinions on climate change that you’ve thought about?” Kennedy asked.
'Rock star' appeals judge Allison Rushing in high court mix
President Donald Trump indicated that Rushing is on his short list of four or five nominees to succeed the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the U.S. Supreme Court. Born in 1982 and the mother of a toddler, she'd be the first millennial serving at the Supreme Court, where the current youngest justice Neil Gorsuch is 15 years her junior. But as an appellate specialist while in private practice at the Williams & Connolly law firm in Washington, Rushing filed scores of briefs with the Supreme Court. Circuit Court of Appeals. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia in March 2019.
Senate panel now likely to back questionable Trump Fed pick
The committee's support would move Shelton's nomination to the full Senate, which would have until the end of the year to confirm or reject it. Late Monday, Sen. John Kennedy, Republican of Louisiana, said he would support Shelton's nomination, essentially guaranteeing that she would win the votes of all 13 GOP senators on the committee. Toomey said he would support Shelton after she had reassured him that she would not seek to lower the value of the dollar. Since Shelton's hearing in February, the coronavirus pandemic has plunged the U.S. economy into its worst downturn since the Depression. In addition to Shelton, Trump has nominated Christopher Waller, research director at the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, for a second vacancy on the seven-member Fed board.
John Lewis, lion of civil rights and Congress, dies at 80
(AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson, File)ATLANTA John Lewis, a lion of the civil rights movement whose bloody beating by Alabama state troopers in 1965 helped galvanize opposition to racial segregation, and who went on to a long and celebrated career in Congress, died. Lewis was the youngest and last survivor of the Big Six civil rights activists, a group led by the Rev. Lewis joined King and four other civil rights leaders in organizing the 1963 March on Washington. Later, when the presidency of Donald Trump challenged his civil rights legacy, Lewis made no effort to hide his pain. If necessary, Im prepared to go to jail.In a speech the day of the House impeachment vote of Trump, Lewis explained the importance of that vote.
Senate GOP rushing police changes, votes possible next week
Scott Applewhite)WASHINGTON Senate Republicans could vote as soon as next week on proposed policing changes, an abrupt shift of GOP priorities in an election year as the party rushes to respond to nationwide protests over the deaths of black Americans in interactions with law enforcement. The emerging legislative package, along with President Donald Trump's executive actions announced Tuesday, are perhaps the most ambitious law enforcement changes considered by Republicans in decades. A Republican familiar with the planning but unauthorized to discuss it said voting could happen as soon as next week. We are at the point in the United States where we are at a crossroads, Booker said during a floor speech. Scott's proposal, set to be released Wednesday, shifts money into police training and sets up an officer accreditation system and database of conduct.
Controversial nominee gets through Senate Judiciary Committee
(CNN) - The Senate Judiciary Committee voted a controversial judicial nominee out to the full Senate on Thursday over the vigorous dissents of Democrats, but the panel held over another at the request of the White House. His nomination will now move to the full Senate, which will vote on his life time appointment in the coming weeks. But Judge Halil Suleyman "Sul" Ozerden, who had been nominated for a seat on the conservative Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will be held over at the request of the White House. Ozerden's nomination is on thin ice after he lost the support of Republicans on the committee including Sens. Before serving in the White House, Menashi worked as Acting General Counsel at the Department of Education.