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The Senate’s top Democrat is recommending President Joe Biden nominate two prominent voting rights attorneys to serve as judges on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and on the federal bench in Manhattan.

Sen. Chuck Schumer has recommended the president nominate Myrna Perez, who serves as the director of voting rights and election programs at NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice, for the appeals court post, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press on Monday.

He is also recommending Biden nominate Dale Ho, who leads the Voting Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, as a federal judge in the Southern District of New York, the person said. The person could not discuss the matter publicly ahead of a formal announcement and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

If confirmed, Perez would be the only Latina on the court — one of the most prominent judicial posts in the country. Perez would also be the first Hispanic woman to serve on the court since Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor served on the panel. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over the federal courts in New York, Connecticut and Vermont.

Schumer’s recommendation that Biden nominate highly experienced litigators in voting and election law is also a calculated political move for Democrats, who have made voting rights one of their biggest priorities.

Days ago, Biden reemphasized a plea for sweeping legislation in Congress to protect the right to vote as Republican-led lawmaking bodies in Texas and other states pass new restrictions making it tougher to cast ballots.

As majority leader, Schumer has been pushing to keep with the president’s pledge to bring on a diverse group of judicial nominees to represent the demographic diversity of the nation.

Democrats, narrowly controlling the Senate for the first time in six years, are eager to turn the page from the Trump administration, especially when it comes to judges. President Donald Trump appointed mostly white men to fill the jobs, and now more than one-quarter of the federal judiciary is made up of his appointees. Trump, a Republican, also nominated three members of the Supreme Court: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.


A town court in southern Nevada was closed Tuesday after officials said several workers were exposed to a person who tested positive for the new coronavirus.

The two judges in the Nye County community of Pahrump issued an order saying all staff members will be tested Wednesday for COVID-19, and no in-person hearings will be held at the courthouse.

Pahrump Justice Court will continue to conduct initial appearances, bail hearings and arraignments with detainees and attorneys appearing by telephone or video conference.

Applications for protective orders can be made by internet or at the Nye County sheriff’s office.

The court in the community about 60 miles west of Las Vegas also closed for several days in April after an employee tested positive and other workers were exposed to the virus.

The court order said officials anticipate reopening after staff members have tested negative.

State health officials report that more than 22,000 people have tested positive for the virus statewide and at least 537 have died.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms for up to three weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems can face severe illness and death. The vast majority recover.


Voters in Wisconsin will face a choice Tuesday of participating in a presidential primary election or heeding warnings from public health officials to stay away from large crowds during the coronavirus pandemic.

Hours after Democratic Gov. Tony Evers issued an order postponing the election for two months, the conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court on Monday sided with Republicans who said he didn’t have the authority to reschedule the race on his own. Conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court quickly followed with a ruling blocking Democratic efforts to extend absentee voting.

The decisions leave Wisconsin as the only state with an election scheduled in April that is proceeding as planned. As other states prepare to vote in May or June, Wisconsin will be closely watched for signs that fears of the coronavirus may depress turnout or cause other problems at the polls.

Evers said he had no other options after the state court ruled against him. “There’s not a Plan B. There’s not a Plan C,” Evers said earlier Monday.

Joe Biden already has a commanding delegate lead over Bernie Sanders and the Wisconsin results aren’t likely to slow his march to the Democratic presidential nomination. But the tumult in one of the most critical general election battlegrounds was a reminder of how the coronavirus has upended politics during an election year. Beyond the shifts in the primary calendar, Biden and President Donald Trump have not been able to hold in-person campaign events and have moved most of their operations online. Sanders called Tuesday’s election “dangerous” and said his campaign will not engage in any traditional get-out-the-vote efforts.

The tension in Wisconsin over whether and how to proceed with the election has been building for weeks. Evers and Republicans initially agreed it was imperative for the election to proceed because thousands of local offices are on the ballot Tuesday for terms that begin in two weeks. There is also a state Supreme Court election.


Myanmar’s government rejected the International Criminal Court’s decision to allow prosecutors to open an investigation into crimes committed against the Rohingya Muslim minority.

Government spokesman Zaw Htay said at a Friday night press conference that Myanmar stood by its position that the Netherlands-based court has no jurisdiction over its actions. His statement was the first official reaction since the court on Thursday agreed to proceed with the case.

Myanmar has been accused of carrying out human rights abuses on a massive scale in the western state of Rakhine in 2017 during what it described as a counterinsurgency campaign.

Zaw Htay cited a Myanmar Foreign Ministry statement from April 2018 that because Myanmar was not a party to the agreement establishing the court, it did not need to abide by the court’s rulings.

“It has already been expressed in the statement that the investigation over Myanmar by the ICC is not in accordance with international law,” he told reporters in the Myanmar capital Naypyitaw.

The court’s position is that because Myanmar’s alleged atrocities sent more than 700,000 Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh for safety, it does have jurisdiction since Bangladesh is a party to the court and the case may involve forced deportation.

Last year’s statement charged that the court’s prosecutor, by claiming jurisdiction, was attempting “to override the principle of national sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of other states.”

The 2018 statement also said Myanmar’s position was that it “has not deported any individuals in the areas of concern and in fact has worked hard in collaboration with Bangladesh to repatriate those displaced from their homes.”

However, there still has been no official repatriation of the Rohingya, and human rights activists charge that Myanmar has not established safe conditions for their return.


The Democratic chairmen of two House committees pledged Friday to investigate a report that President Donald Trump directed his personal attorney to lie to Congress about negotiations over a real estate project in Moscow during the 2016 election.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said “we will do what’s necessary to find out if it’s true.” He said the allegation that Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie in his 2017 testimony to Congress “in an effort to curtail the investigation and cover up his business dealings with Russia is among the most serious to date.”

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, said directing a subordinate to lie to Congress is a federal crime.

The report by BuzzFeed News, citing two unnamed law enforcement officials, says that Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress and that Cohen regularly briefed Trump and his family on the Moscow project — even as Trump said he had no business dealings with Russia.



Justice Sonia Sotomayor says reading helped her reach the Supreme Court.

Sotomayor on Sunday celebrated the release of her two children's books by speaking to parents and children at the Newark Public Library in New Jersey.

The Star-Ledger of Newark reports she said she never dreamed she would become a Supreme Court justice because she didn't know what one was when she was a child. She says her mother made sure books were part of her upbringing.

Sotomayor's books, "Turning Pages: My Life Story" and "The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor!" examine how her family and her determination moved her through life.



Federal judges in New Jersey have struggled with a workload approaching 700 cases each, nearly double what's manageable, because of judicial vacancies. In Texas, close to a dozen district judgeships remain open, more than in any other state.

Senate confirmation of President Barack Obama's nominees slowed to a halt this election year, a common political occurrence for the final months of divided government with a Democratic president and a Republican-controlled Senate. The vacancy on the Supreme Court attracted the most attention as Republicans refused to even hold confirmation hearings for Merrick Garland, insisting that the choice to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February rests with the next president.

But more than 90 vacancies in the federal judiciary are taking a toll on judges, the courts and Americans seeking recourse. Obama has nominated replacements for more than half of those spots, including 44 nominees for the district court and seven for the appeals court. Yet the Senate has confirmed only nine district and appeals court judges this year — and only four since Scalia died.

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