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Joe Biden on Sunday used the sudden Supreme Court vacancy to reinforce his argument that the upcoming election should be a referendum on President Donald Trump's handling of health care and the coronavirus.

The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg jolted the presidential campaign just six weeks before the election and as several states are already voting. Trump has seized on the opportunity to nominate a new justice to motivate his most loyal voters. Biden kept the focus on health care, which has proven to be a winning issue for Democrats during previous elections and could be even more resonant amid the pandemic.

The Supreme Court will hear a Republican-led case seeking to throw out the Affordable Care Act, which the Trump administration supports, the week after the Nov. 3 election. Biden charged that Trump is seeking to undermine the protections for people with pre-existing conditions under the ACA, as well as its provisions covering preventative care for women.

“Millions of Americans are voting because they know their health care hangs in the balance," Biden said during remarks at Constitution Center in Philadelphia. “In the middle of the worst global health crisis in living memory, Donald Trump is before the Supreme Court, trying to strip health care coverage away from tens of millions of families.”

The Supreme Court could also hear cases on a few more particularly salient issues in the next few months: voting rights, and potentially who wins the November election.

Biden is expected to focus in the weeks ahead on the Democratic fight to prevent a nominee from being confirmed to the court, with a particular emphasis on the effect the court could have on health care and climate change. Biden aides stopped short of ruling out the possibility the campaign would advertise around the court fight, though that decision hadn’t been finalized.


Hoping to replicate a strategy long seen as key to his appeal among conservative voters, President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced he is adding 20 names to a list of Supreme Court candidates he's pledged to choose from if he has future vacancies to fill.

The list includes a trio of conservative Republican senators: Ted Cruz of Texas, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Josh Hawley of Missouri — all buzzed-about potential 2024 Republican presidential candidates — as well as Christopher Landau, the current ambassador to Mexico, and Noel Francisco, who argued 17 cases as the Trump administration’s top Supreme Court lawyer.

“Every one of these individuals will ensure equal justice, equal treatment and equal rights for citizens of every race, color, religion and creed," Trump said as he made his announcement at the White House.

Trump tried to cast the list in contrast with judges who could be nominated if his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, wins in November, warning Biden would select “radical justices” who would “fundamentally transform America without a single vote of Congress," even though Biden has never outlined his list of potential picks and the Senate must confirm any nominee.

The release, less than two months before the election, is aimed at repeating the strategy that Trump employed during his 2016 campaign, when he released a similar list of could-be judges in a bid to win over conservative and evangelical voters who had doubts about his conservative bonafides.

The list includes a number of people who have worked for Trump's administration, including Gregory Katsas, whom Trump nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Before that, Katsas served as a legal adviser on some of the president’s most contentious policies, including his executive orders restricting travel for citizens of predominantly Muslim countries and his decision to end a program protecting some young immigrants from deportation.

Francisco, the former solicitor general of the United States, also defended Trump’s travel ban, his unsuccessful push to add a citizenship question to the U.S. census and the decision to wind down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that protects hundreds of thousands of young people from deportation. He also argued that a landmark civil rights law didn’t protect gay, lesbian and transgender people from employment discrimination, a position the court ruled against 6-3 earlier this year.

Also on the list is Daniel Cameron, the Kentucky Attorney General who is currently deciding whether to criminally charge three Louisville police officers in the March shooting death of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black emergency medical technician who was killed when officers entered her apartment with a no-knock warrant during a drug investigation.


A federal appeals court has upheld the decision by Churchill Downs stewards that made Country House the winner of the 2019 Kentucky Derby. This year’s Derby is Sept. 5 after being rescheduled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati on Friday affirmed a U.S. District Court decision to dismiss a lawsuit by Gary and Mary West, who own Maximum Security. Their horse crossed the finish line first in last year’s Derby but was disqualified for interference. Runner-up Country House was declared the winner.

The Wests sued the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, its executive director, members and stewards after the race in May 2019. That November, federal Judge Karen Caldwell dismissed their suit seeking to challenge the decision to disqualify their horse.

The Wests sought to reverse the track stewards’ decision, contending it violated their rights to due process. They also wanted the $3 million Derby purse redistributed.

Maximum Security won the Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Aug. 22. The Wests switched the colt to Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert after Jason Servis, who previously trained Maximum Security, was indicted in March on federal charges of doping horses.

Country House never raced again after the Derby. He was retired in March because of laminitis, a hoof inflammation that can cause severe pain and lameness.


Scott Peterson’s conviction for killing his pregnant wife will stand, but the California Supreme Court on Monday overturned his 2005 death sentence in a case that attracted worldwide attention. The justices cited “significant errors” in jury selection in overturning the death penalty but welcomed prosecutors to again seek the sentence if they wish.

Laci Peterson, 27, was eight months pregnant with their unborn son, Connor, when she was killed. Investigators said that on Christmas Eve 2002, Peterson dumped their bodies from his fishing boat into San Francisco Bay, where they surfaced months later.

“Peterson contends his trial was flawed for multiple reasons, beginning with the unusual amount of pretrial publicity that surrounded the case,” the court said. “We reject Peterson’s claim that he received an unfair trial as to guilt and thus affirm his convictions for murder.”

But the justices said the trial judge “made a series of clear and significant errors in jury selection that, under long-standing United States Supreme Court precedent, undermined Peterson’s right to an impartial jury at the penalty phase.”

It agreed with his argument that potential jurors were improperly dismissed from the jury pool after saying they personally disagreed with the death penalty but would be willing to follow the law and impose it.

“While a court may dismiss a prospective juror as unqualified to sit on a capital case if the juror’s views on capital punishment would substantially impair his or her ability to follow the law, a juror may not be dismissed merely because he or she has expressed opposition to the death penalty as a general matter,” the justices said in a unanimous decision.

They rejected Peterson’s argument that he couldn’t get a fair trial because of widespread publicity after the proceedings were moved nearly 90 miles (145 kilometers) away from his Central Valley home of Modesto to San Mateo County, south of San Francisco.


The use of facial recognition technology by British police has violated human rights and data protection laws, a court said Tuesday, in a decision praised as a victory against invasive practices by the authorities.

In a case trumpeted as the first of its kind, Britain’s Court of Appeal ruled Tuesday in the case of civil rights campaigner Ed Bridges, who argued that South Wales Police caused him “distress’’ by scanning his face as he shopped in 2017 and as he attended a peaceful anti-arms protest in 2018.

The appeals judges ruled that the way the system was being used during tests was unlawful. The decision does not necessarily mean that facial recognition cannot be used at all, but that authorities should take greater care in how they deploy it.

The judges said they faced two question about how the technology is applied: who is captured in the video surveillance and where. “In relation to both of those questions too much discretion is currently left to individual police officers,” they said.

The judgment said there was no clear evidence that the software was biased on grounds of race or sex. But the judges said that police forces using the controversial and novel technology “would wish to satisfy themselves that everything reasonable which could be done had been done in order to make sure that the software used does not have a racial or gender bias.”

Megan Goulding, a lawyer for civil rights group Liberty, which supported Bridges’ claim, said the facial recognition systems are discriminatory and oppressive.

“The court has agreed that this dystopian surveillance tool violates our rights and threatens our liberties,’’ Goulding said. “Facial recognition discriminates against people of color, and it is absolutely right that the court found that South Wales Police had failed in their duty to investigate and avoid discrimination.’’

Police said they had already made some changes in the use of the technology in the time it has taken to hear the case. The chief constable of South Wales Police, Matt Jukes, described the judgement as something the force could work with and said the priority remains protecting the public while being committed to using the technology in ways that are “responsible and fair.’’

“Questions of public confidence, fairness and transparency are vitally important, and the Court of Appeal is clear that further work is needed to ensure that there is no risk of us breaching our duties around equality,’’ he said.



Four Oklahoma tribes are asking a federal court to void gambling compacts between the state of Oklahoma and two other tribes — agreements that the Oklahoma State Supreme Court recently invalidated.

The Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Citizen Potawatomie Nations filed a lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., asking for a declaration that the U.S. Department of Interior violated federal law by allowing the agreements Gov. Kevin Stitt signed with the Comanche Nation and the Otoe-Missouira Tribe to take effect.

“While the Oklahoma Supreme Court has declared those agreements invalid under Oklahoma law, their validity under Federal law must also be addressed to avoid damage to the integrity of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act,” attorneys for the tribes said in a statement. “The Tribes filed this suit to protect IGRA’s established framework and the Tribal operations conducted under it.”

Officials with the Department of Interior, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the governor’s office did not immediately respond to request for comment Saturday. The lawsuit was first reported by The Oklahoman.

The chairman of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association, Matthew Morgan, said the group supports the tribes’ efforts.

“As we have stated from the beginning, Governor Stitt never had the legal authority to enter into these gaming agreements,” Morgan said in a statement. “It is sad that Governor Stitt has placed the tribal governments in this position.”

Oklahoma’s high court ruled July 21 that Stitt overstepped his authority. The deals would have allowed the Comanche Nation and the Otoe-Missouira Tribe to offer wagering on sporting events and house-banked card and table games.

Republican state Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat and Republican House Speaker Charles McCall filed that lawsuit and are also seeking to invalidate compacts that the Republican governor signed with the Kialegee Tribal Town and Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians. Attorneys for the governor filed a brief in state court this past week arguing that their compacts are valid because they do not include sports betting or house-banked games.

The lawsuit “is the latest in a series of efforts by legislators to wrest away the executive authority of the governor to negotiate and enter into compacts with Indian Tribes and improperly vest such powers solely to the legislative in the legislative branch,” according to the brief filed Tuesday.

Treat and McCall allege Stitt ignored state law requiring gambling compacts be approved by the Legislature.

On July 28, a federal judge ruled that Oklahoma’s gambling compacts with the Cherokee, Choctaw and Chickaw nations signed 15 years ago automatically renewed on Jan. 1. Stitt had argued that the compacts had expired.


A court in the West African nation of Cape Verde has approved the extradition to the United States of a Colombian businessman wanted on suspicion of money laundering on behalf of Venezuela's socialist government, his lawyers said Tuesday.

The court made the decision to extradite Alex Saab on Friday, but his legal team said in a statement it was informed about the decision only on Monday. They said they would appeal.

Saab was arrested in June when his private jet stopped to refuel in the former Portuguese colony on the way to Iran.
Saab was waiting for the court to schedule a hearing at which he could argue against extradition, according to the statement sent by the legal team, which is led by former Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon.

The legal team described the extradition order as “alarming” and accused Cape Verdean authorities of denying him his legal rights. The defense lawyers plan to appeal to Cape Verde’s Supreme Court and, if necessary, the Constitutional Court, the statement said.

U.S. officials trying to reignite their campaign to oust Maduro believe Saab holds many secrets about how Venezuelan president, his family and top aides allegedly siphoned off millions of dollars in government contracts at a time of widespread hunger in the oil-rich nation.

Venezuela’s government had protested the arrest of Saab, 48, who it said was on a “humanitarian mission” to buy food and medical supplies. Saab came onto the radar of U.S. authorities a few years ago after amassing a large number of contracts with Maduro’s government.

Federal prosecutors in Miami indicted him and a business partner last year on money laundering charges connected to an alleged bribery scheme that pocketed more than $350 million from a low-income housing project for the Venezuelan government that was never built.

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