US Supreme Court Asks Maryland to Bar Protests at Justices’ Homes

The U.S. Supreme Court’s top security officer has asked Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to enforce laws barring picketing outside the Maryland homes of high court justices, saying protests and “threatening activity” have increased.

Supreme Court Marshal Gail Curley made the request in a July 1 letter to Hogan, noting that Maryland law prohibits people from intentionally assembling “in a manner that disrupts a person’s right to tranquility in the person’s home.”

“I am writing to request that the Maryland State Police, in conjunction with local authorities as appropriate, enforce laws prohibiting picketing outside the homes of Supreme Court justices who live in Maryland,” Curley told Hogan, according to a copy of the letter posted on the Fox News website.

Abortion rights activists began protesting outside the Maryland homes of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh and the Virginia home of Justice Samuel Alito Jr. after the leak in May of a draft opinion indicating the court would overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision guaranteeing women the right to an abortion.

The court last month issued a final opinion that did just that.

Curley reminded the governor that in May, he said he was “deeply concerned” over picketing outside justices’ homes in his state. Hogan made the statement in a joint letter with Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland seeking enforcement of a federal law barring demonstrations intended to sway judges on pending cases.

“Since then, protest activity at Justices’ homes, as well as threatening activity, has only increased,” Curley told Hogan, adding that protesters have for weeks used bullhorns, chanted slogans, and banged on drums.

The letter also noted “an attempt on a Justice’s life,” an apparent reference to the arrest last month near Kavanaugh’s home of a California man armed with a handgun, a knife and pepper spray. 

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Democrats Swiftly Raised $80M After Court Overturned Roe

In the first week after the Supreme Court stripped away a woman’s constitutional right to have an abortion, Democrats and aligned groups raised more than $80 million, a tangible early sign that the ruling may energize voters.

But party officials say donors are giving much of that money to national campaigns and causes instead of races for state office, where abortion policy will now be shaped as a result of the court’s decision. That’s where Republicans wield disproportionate power after more than a decade of plunging money and resources into critical but often-overlooked contests.

The fundraising disparity offers an example of how a lack of long-term planning can lead to both a structural disadvantage and an exasperated Democratic base. Short of the votes to pass legislation through a gridlocked and narrowly divided Congress, the right to abortion now appears to be the latest issue ceded largely to the states. That’s after failed Democratic efforts to expand voting rights, limit gerrymandering and significantly stiffen gun laws.

“We can no longer afford Democrats’ systemic neglect of down-ballot races — not when Republicans are eager to intrude on our health care decisions, bedrooms and marriages,” said Gabrielle Chew, a spokesperson for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which helps finance state legislative races. “This should be a wake-up call.”

The massive $80 million fundraising haul was recorded by ActBlue, the Democrats’ online fundraising platform, which has a ticker that shows in real time the money passing through the organization. ActBlue took in over $20 million in the first 24 hours after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that determined abortion was a constitutional right. By Tuesday, the group had processed more than $51 million in donations, and by Friday, the total had reached $80 million.

In fact, all major Democratic campaign committees reported a surge in contributions after the ruling, including those working on state-level as well as federal races. Planned Parenthood did, too. But few have been willing to release hard numbers.

WinRed, the online fundraising portal for the Republican Party, did not respond to an inquiry about the party’s fundraising since the court’s decision.

The fundraising disparity is nothing new between Democratic groups working for state candidates and those focusing on national issues after a defining moment. For example, ActBlue took in more than $71 million in just 24 hours after the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, little of which went to groups working on state-level campaigns.

Consider the case of Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison, who in 2020 shattered fundraising records in his long-shot bid to oust Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and head to Congress in Washington. Harrison ended up losing the race by more than 10 points. He raised more than $57 million in the closing months of his campaign, including one 24-hour period in which he raised over $1 million.

But it’s a different story for statehouses. The Democratic Governors Association announced it had raised $200,000 online after the court’s decision last week. The organization said Thursday that it was on pace to raise $1 million before the start of the long Fourth of July weekend.

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which raises money for state races across the country, declined to say how much it has taken in since the court decision. But its past fundraising figures demonstrate how under-resourced the group is.

The DLCC raised $650,000 in the 48 hours after a leaked copy of the court’s decision surfaced in May. Earlier this year, it celebrated when announcing it had raised nearly $6 million in the final three months of last year.

Its GOP counterpart, the Republican State Leadership Committee, raised more than twice that during the same period last year.

“When Democrats [spend] 1-to-1 with Republicans in legislative races, we win them,” said Greg Goddard, a Florida Democrat who raises money for national and state campaigns. “But when it’s 3-to-1 or 4-to-1, we get clobbered.”

Amanda Litman, co-founder of the group Run For Something, which recruits candidates to run for school boards, city councils and legislatures, said Democrats have a woeful track record when it comes to investing in down-ballot races that also build a bench of future talent.

“The worst laws are going to come from the reddest states, and they are not going to stay in those red state borders. So what are you going to do to mitigate the harm?” Litman said after the abortion ruling. “I want to see Joe Biden doing fundraisers for the DLCC and the DGA.”

The Democratic fundraising ecosystem typically rewards social media stars, those who appear on popular liberal shows, like Rachel Maddow, or candidates who go viral online. That’s exceedingly difficult for candidates in races that don’t draw much attention away from home, like most legislative contests.

Meanwhile, big dollar donors have historically donated to national candidates, or groups focused on the presidency or Congress.

Still, some Democrats bristle at the suggestion that down-ballot races don’t get enough attention.

Sam Newton, a spokesperson for the governors association, said it has its own success story to tell. Democratic candidates in key states saw major donation surges after the court decision, he said. The group has also closed a 2-to-1 fundraising gap with Republicans that existed less than a decade ago, reaching parity last year.

Planned Parenthood is part of a joint effort with the abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America and EMILY’s List, which supports women running for office, that plans to spend $150 million up and down the ballot in the 2022 midterms, said Jenny Lawson, executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes.

Governors’ races will be a major focus, she said, citing Michigan and Wisconsin, in particular, where decades-old laws banning abortion are still on the books. (Michigan’s law dates to 1931; Wisconsin’s to 1849.) Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, both Democrats, are facing tough reelection battles.

“Those governors have stood in front of these Republican legislatures who want nothing more than to ban abortion and they have said ‘no,'” said Lawson. “These governors are on the front line, and we need to protect them.”

But others are skeptical that the effort will trickle down outside of high-profile races.

Litman said some party donors are warming up to the idea of giving to down-ballot contests. But there remains a culture in the party, particularly among megadonors, of chasing the “bright, shiny object,” she said. Republicans, meanwhile, treat political giving as a “business investment: you get your judges and tax cuts” and “you spend money patiently knowing it will pay off,” she said.

“We have to balance our short-term immediate electoral goals with a long-term mission to win back these seats,” Litman said.

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[PREMIERING at 3PM ET] Group Wants Lib White Host Fired for Criticizing Dems on Roe

The Palmer Report, a liberal online media outlet, started a campaign to have the MSNBC host fired and tried to get #FireChrisHayes to trend on Twitter, after he questioned Democratic leaders Monday in the wake of a series of Supreme Court rulings.
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Emerson Poll: Approval of Supreme Court, Congress Even Lower Than Biden

Job-approval ratings for Congress and the Supreme Court are even worse than that for President Joe Biden, Emerson College Polling results said Friday.

Only 19% of voters approve of the job being done in Congress, with a whopping 70% disapproving, Emerson College Polling (ECP) found.

That was slightly better than the Supreme Court, which earned a job-approval rating of 36% and a disapproval-rating of 54%.

“Independent voters align more with Democrats on Supreme Court approval: 71% of Democrats and 58% of Independents disapprove of the job that the Supreme Court is doing whereas a majority, 56%, of Republicans approve of the job they are doing,” ECP Executive Director Spencer Kimball said.

Biden, meanwhile, has just a 40% job approval — up two points from last month — and a 53% job disapproval.

Following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, 59% of voters think Congress should pass a law legalizing the right to abortion nationwide, Emerson found.

The support for the legislation was higher among women, with 62% — compared to 55% of men — saying Congress should pass a law legalizing the right to abortion.

“While a majority, 65%, of Republicans oppose Congress passing a law to legalize the right to abortion, the policy has majority support among Democrats and Independent voters, 81% of Democratic voters and 58% of Independent voters support federal legislative action to legalize abortion,” Kimball said.

Congressional legalization of the right to abortion has the highest support among voters aged 18-29 — 76% support a federal legalization of abortion.

That compared to 59% of voters aged 30-49, 50% of voters aged 50-64, and 56% of voters over 65.

The Emerson poll found that 46% of voters plan to vote for the Republican congressional candidate in the 2022 midterm elections while 43% plan to support the Democrat congressional candidate.

The Emerson survey also found that a majority (57%) said they or someone they knew have had an abortion.

The Emerson College Polling national poll of voters was conducted June 28-29 among 1,271 registered voters. The data sets were weighted by gender, region, age, education, and race/ethnicity based on 2022 turnout modeling.

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‘Grim Result’: Gorsuch Fumes Over Ruling Against Tribal Authority

Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch issued a flaming rebuke of the majority opinion in Wednesday’s high court ruling granting more power to states over Native American tribal land.

Writing in dissent, Gorsuch called the 5-4 ruling a “grim result for different tribes in different states,” but said its impact could still be limited by individual treaties and laws passed by Congress.

“One can only hope the political branches and future courts will do their duty to honor this nation’s promises even as we have failed today to do our own,” Gorsuch added.

The ruling in Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta gives Oklahoma officials jurisdiction over crimes that involve non-Native Americans in Native American territory.

The state already prosecutes crimes committed in the affected land in which no Native Americans are involved. Tribal courts handle crimes committed by and against Native Americans.

In the case, Victor Castro-Huerta was convicted in state court of neglecting his stepdaughter, who has cerebral palsy and is legally blind. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison. The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals last year threw out that conviction because of the 2020 precedent McGirt v. Oklahoma that granted prosecution power to tribal courts.

Castro-Huerta by then was already indicted for the same underlying offense by federal authorities, transferred to federal custody and pleaded guilty to child neglect. He has not yet been sentenced.

Thirty-five states are home to federally recognized tribes, according to the National Congress of American Indians. Before the Supreme Court ruling, 16 had already been given authority by Congress to assert jurisdiction over at least some tribal land for crimes involving Native Americans.

Gorsuch, who has long advocated for Native American legal rights, sided with the three liberal justices on the court. The decision overturned a 2020 ruling in which Gorsuch had written the majority opinion, Business Insider reported.

“Truly, a more ahistorical and mistaken statement of Indian law would be hard to fathom,” Gorsuch wrote in Wednesday’s dissent.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt called the ruling a “clear victory for all four million Oklahomans, the state of Oklahoma, and the rule of law.”

“Justice has been delayed and denied to thousands of Native victims in our state for no reason other than their race. Now Oklahoma law enforcement can help uphold and enforce the law equally, as we have done for over a century,” he added.

Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor, a Republican, said that as a result of the McGirt ruling many crimes were not being prosecuted by federal authorities.

“Now the state prosecutors can take up the slack and get back to what we have been doing for 113 years,” O’Connor added.

The head of the Cherokee Nation said he was “disappointed” with the ruling.

“The dissent today did not mince words — the Court failed in its duty to honor this nation’s promises, defied Congress’s statutes, and accepted the ‘lawless disregard of the Cherokee’s sovereignty,'” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said.

Tribes had welcomed the McGirt ruling as a recognition of their sovereignty. The Supreme Court in January rejected Oklahoma’s request to outright overturn it.

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Dershowitz to Newsmax: ‘We Need More Legislation, Less Administrative Action’

Constitutional law expert Alan Dershowitz told Newsmax Thursday that the Supreme Court’s ruling limiting the authority of the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has less to do with the environment and “much more to do with the power of administrative agencies.”

“The Republican majority has, for years now, indicated that it would like to pull back on what’s called the Chevron doctrine, which gives administrative agencies powers beyond what they were given legislatively, and this is part of that process,” Dershowitz said during an appearance on Newsmax’s “Spicer & Co.

“The impact was directly on the environment in this case, but this portends a series of cases in the future in which, if you want legislation, get it — don’t ask administrative agencies to do the job for you,” he continued.

In a 6-3 decision Thursday, the high court restricted the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from existing coal- and gas-fired power plants under the Clean Air Act anti-pollution law.

The ruling was based on the “major questions” legal doctrine, which requires explicit congressional authorization for action on issues of broad importance and societal impact.

Dershowitz said that the court has made suggestions about reining in administrative power before, but “today they were clearer than they ever were before and, in the future, they will be even clearer.”

“So, what we need is more legislation, less administrative action, and this is part of the dismantling of the administrative state,” he said.

When asked about the court’s decision that authorizes the Biden administration to end the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy, Dershowitz said the court’s message was clear.

“Well, again, if the legislature were to specifically set up rules for this, I think the court would be much more accepting of it and I think, again, this shows a rejection of administrative authority,” he said.


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U.S. Supreme Court Nixes Religious Challenge to New York Vaccine Mandate

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday declined to hear a challenge to New York’s mandate that healthcare sector workers be vaccinated against COVID-19 brought by a group of doctors, nurses and others who objected on religious grounds.

Turning away an appeal by 16 healthcare workers, the justices left in place a lower court ruling that rejected their claim that the mandate violates the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment prohibition against religious discrimination by the government. Most of the workers either resigned from their jobs, lost hospital admitting privileges or were fired for refusing the vaccine.

Conservative Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch dissented from the decision to deny the appeal.

The Supreme Court previously rejected other challenges to vaccine mandates including one focusing upon Maine’s lack of a religious exemption for healthcare workers.

New York’s Department of Health last Aug. 26 ordered healthcare professionals who come in contact with patients or other employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a safety measure during a pandemic that has killed more than a million Americans.

The state allows a narrow medical exemption for the small number of people with a serious allergic reaction to the COVID-19 vaccines.

The state has said that under the policy employers can consider religious accommodation requests and employees can be reassigned to jobs such as remote work. Healthcare workers in the state have also been subject to similar vaccine mandates measles and rubella, which also have no religious exemptions.

The dispute began when a group of doctors, nurses, therapists and other healthcare workers – mostly Catholics – sued in federal court under pseudonyms. Among the plaintiffs, three doctors lost admitting privileges, seven providers were fired or resigned, five chose to be vaccinated “under protest” and one eventually received a medical exemption.

Overall, nearly 37,000 New York healthcare workers either resigned, retired or were fired or furloughed for being unvaccinated, according to state data.

The plaintiffs have said they object to any COVID-19 vaccine whose testing or development relied on cell lines from aborted fetuses.

The COVID-19 vaccines used in the United States do not contain aborted fetal cells. Laboratory-grown cells that descended from the cells of an aborted fetus obtained decades ago were used in testing during the vaccine development process. The Vatican issued guidance to Catholics in 2020 that it is morally acceptable to use COVID-19 vaccines.

New York noted in a legal filing that use of such cell lines for testing is common, including for the rubella vaccination, which healthcare workers already take.

The Manhattan-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a bid by the plaintiffs for a preliminary injunction, finding last November that the mandate neutrally applied to everyone and likely was not biased against religion.

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Supreme Court Allows Biden Administration to End Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ Asylum Policy

The Supreme Court gave the Biden administration a green light this morning to end the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy that requires non-Mexican asylum-seekers arriving at the southern border to wait in Mexico for processing.

The decision to nix the program did not violate a 1996 migrant detention law, the court held, adding that the administration’s memorandum rescinding the program should have been examined by the lower courts.

The 5–4 opinion (pdf) in Biden v. Texas, court file 21-954, was written by Chief Justice John Roberts, and comes as record numbers of illegal aliens are streaming across the border with Mexico, overwhelming the capacity of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to process them.

Roberts’s opinion was joined by Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Brett Kavanaugh. Justices Samuel Alito and Amy Coney Barrett both filed separate dissenting opinions.

Texas and Missouri had argued that President Joe Biden broke the law by ending the program.

Upon taking office, Biden cut off enrollments in the program, part of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) created by Congress when Bill Clinton was president. The Trump administration had announced in 2018 that it would enforce the program in an effort to crack down on the practice known as catch-and-release, in which individuals would make fraudulent asylum claims knowing they would be let into the United States and be able to stay for years before their court appearance.

Under Biden, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a memorandum providing that as of Jan. 21, 2021, it would “suspend new enrollments in the [MPP] pending further review of the program. Aliens who aren’t already enrolled in MPP should be processed under other existing legal authorities.”

Days later, Biden signed three new executive orders aimed at undoing Trump-era immigration policies. One of them, Biden said, “orders a full review of the previous administration’s harmful and counterproductive immigration policies, basically across the board.”

But in August 2021, at the urging of the two states, Texas-based U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a Trump appointee, ordered the government to enforce the MPP policy until “lawfully rescinded.” The Biden administration had failed to properly justify ending the policy and failed to uphold a 1996 law requiring the detention of certain migrants, the judge held. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit affirmed Kacsmaryk’s ruling.

In his opinion, Roberts wrote that “the Government’s rescission of MPP did not violate” section 1225 of the Immigration and National Act,” and reversed the decision of the lower court and remanded the case “for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.


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Enes Kanter Freedom Risked His NBA Career; Border Crisis in Spotlight

The Biden administration kicked off its first sales for oil and gas leases on federal land, as environmental groups are pushing back in court. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is expected to release a ruling this week on the government’s role in environmental regulations.

The crisis on the southern border is back in the spotlight, and President Joe Biden is calling it political grandstanding. Former border state sheriff Richard Mack joins us to discuss.

Several candidates endorsed by former President Donald Trump secured their party nominations in the Tuesday primaries.

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle join forces at the largest gathering of religious freedom advocates. Who are they calling out, and what actions is the United States taking to defend this essential right around the world?

Enes Kantor Freedom was squeezed out of the NBA because of his strong stance on human rights abuses, specifically calling out the Chinese communist regime. We spoke to Freedom at the summit.

FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, a Trump appointee, told Google and Apple they should remove the TikTok app. Carr said that the app poses a national security threat.

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Justices Say Vet Who Lost Job as Texas Trooper Can Sue State

The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed a former state trooper to sue Texas over his claim that he was forced out of his job when he returned from Army service in Iraq.

The justices ruled for Army veteran Le Roy Torres under a federal law enacted in 1994 in the wake of the Persian Gulf war to strengthen job protections for returning service members.

By a 5-4 vote, the high court rejected Texas’ claim that it is shielded from such lawsuits. “Text, history, and precedent show that the States, in coming together to form a Union, agreed to sacrifice their sovereign immunity for the good of the common defense,” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote for the court.

Torres says he suffered lung damage from exposure to open burn pits on his base in Iraq.

He spent a year in Iraq and was discharged as a captain after nearly 19 years in the U.S. Army Reserve.

The state and Torres dispute what happened when he returned to Texas, unable to resume his job as a state trooper because of the damage to his lungs. He eventually resigned and later filed his lawsuit. A state appellate court dismissed it, and the justices stepped in.

Congress first allowed returning service members to sue states to keep their jobs in 1974, recognizing discrimination because of opposition to the Vietnam War.

In March, the court allowed the Navy to take account of sailors’ vaccination status in deciding on deployments, narrowing a lower court order. Three justices, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas, dissented from the high court’s order.

They also dissented Wednesday, joined by Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

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