Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney also resigned from a planning committee in protest. Caucus members said they will also boycott the rest of a weeklong series of events marking the 400th anniversary and have instead planned alternative commemorations Tuesday in Richmond, Virginia’s capital. Trump’s comments about Cummings were the latest rhetorical shot at a lawmaker of color to spark outrage. Earlier this month, Trump drew bipartisan condemnation following his call for four Democratic congresswomen of color to get out of the U.S. “right now.” Caucus chair Del. Lamont Bagby said in an interview the group unanimously reached the boycott decision more than a week ago. But he said the president has “continued his attacks” since then and his remarks about Cummings’ district were more of the same. Virginia’s black state lawmakers announced Monday they will boycott a ceremony this week commemorating the beginnings of American democracy because President Donald Trump is scheduled to attend. Trump will join national and state leaders and dignitaries at Tuesday’s event, a commemorative session of the Virginia General Assembly at which Trump is to deliver remarks. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Monday that the caucus was pushing “a political agenda.” “The commemoration of the birth of this nation and its democracy will be tarnished unduly with the participation of the President, who continues to make degrading comments toward minority leaders, promulgate policies that harm marginalized communities, and use racist and xenophobic rhetoric,” the caucus said in a statement. The convening of a legislative assembly in 1619 formed the basis of today’s representative system of government in the United States. The Virginia General Assembly is considered the oldest continuously operating legislative body in North America. The caucus’ statement did not specifically mention Cummings but said Trump’s “repeated attacks on Black legislators and comments about Black communities makes him ill-suited to honor and commemorate such a monumental period in history.” When the Richmond Times-Dispatch first reported earlier in the month that Trump would take part in the event, top Democratic lawmakers said they would not attend. Republican Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment said at the time that their decision was “disappointing and embarrassing.” The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus said its members would not attend Tuesday’s event in historic Jamestown marking the 400th anniversary of the first representative assembly in the Western Hemisphere. The boycott comes after Trump’s weekend comments referring to Maryland Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings’ majority-black Baltimore-area district as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.” Tuesday’s events are just one part of a yearlong commemoration called American Evolution meant to honor key milestones in the state’s colonial history, including the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first recorded Africans in English North America. “President Trump passed criminal justice reform, developed opportunity zones securing record-setting investment in distressed communities, and pushed policies that created the lowest unemployment rates ever for African Americans, so it’s a bit confusing and unfortunate that the VLBC would choose to push a political agenda instead of celebrate this milestone for our nation,” she said in a statement.
The Supreme Court is gearing up to decide next term whether states can ban students from using student-aid programs to attend religious institutions – an education dispute that could have major ramifications for the school choice movement.
The justices announced at the end of last month’s session that they will take up the case of Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue — which concerns whether states can ban student-aid programs that allow families to choose religious schools for their children. In December 2018, the Montana Supreme Court struck down a tax-credit scholarship program in the state, saying the program violated the state constitution’s “No-Aid clause” barring government money for religious schools because it had allowed students to use the money for that purpose.
“Every parent should have the right to choose where they send their kids to school,” Kendra Espinoza, one of the plaintiffs challenging the Montana decision, told Fox News.
Others see the case as an assault on the separation of church and state.
“The decision by the court to review the Montana case signals that the majority may be gunning for the strong provisions in most state constitutions that bar public school funds from going to religion or religious schools,” the Freedom from Religion Foundation, a liberal advocacy group, said in a June 28 statement.
Government money going to religious schools doesn’t necessarily violate the First Amendment, but appeals courts are split on whether excluding such schools from programs like Montana’s violates religious freedom.
The tax-credit scholarship program, passed in May 2015, gave Montanans up to a $150 credit for donating to private scholarship organizations, which helped students pay for their choice of private schools.
It’s similar to many programs across the U.S., and other states have proposed tax-credit scholarship programs but not passed them due to confusion about their legality.
FFRF attorney Patrick Elliott says the Supreme Court should leave decisions on these programs to state courts.
“I think this case involves interference with state rights,” he told Fox News. “States can adopt constitutional protections without federal interference.”
Espinoza said she enrolled her daughters in a private Christian school because she wanted a values-based education that would challenge them academically, but she has trouble paying for tuition and relies on scholarships. She planned to use Montana’s tax-credit scholarship program.
“I’ve been working two and three jobs just to make ends meet,” she said. “There was a question of whether I could afford it.”
But the Montana Department of Revenue said providing tax credits for donations that later help pay tuition at private schools amounts to indirect funding of religious education by the state, in violation of the “No-Aid clause” – also known as a Blaine Amendment. It made a rule preventing Espinoza or other religious school families from receiving the scholarships.
Espinoza and the libertarian Institute for Justice sued the department over that rule in December 2015, but the Montana Supreme Court invalidated the entire program last year. Espinoza’s lawyers say the program was voided simply because it afforded a religious option, and the U.S. Supreme Court should restore what the Montana legislature passed.
“The federal Constitution prohibits that kind of animus toward religion and the fact that animus is codified in the Montana Constitution in the Blaine Amendment only makes things that much worse,” Institute for Justice senior attorney Michael Bindas said.
Blaine Amendments originated in the 1870s when, as Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in a 2000 case, “it was an open secret that ‘sectarian’ was code for ‘Catholic.’” Thirty-seven states have Blaine Amendments today, but Bindas calls them, “vestiges of 19th century anti-Catholic bigotry.”
Espinoza’s lawyers also cite Trinity Lutheran, a Supreme Court case from 2017 that ruled Missouri couldn’t deny a church a grant to resurface its playground simply because it was a church.
But Elliott said Blaine Amendments don’t mention a specific religion and have operated without bias.
“No funding of religious education was something states decided early on because they didn’t want to have a religiously segregated school system,” he said. “Public schools are open regardless of religious background. That’s not always the case with private schools.”
If the justices reverse Montana’s decision, it could open the door to more scholarship and voucher programs across the U.S.
“This case has the potential to remove Blaine Amendments as a barrier to school choice throughout the country,” Bindas said.
How Many Times Do We Have To Warn Iran? Trump Says If He Is Forced To Do Something It’s Going To Be A Large Response.
After showing military restraint, Trump warns Iran in ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ interview
President Trump, after calling off a military strike on Iran following the downing of an American drone last month, delivered a stern warning to the regime during an interview with Fox News. Speaking exclusively with Tucker Carlson, Trump said he “built up a lot of … See More great capital” after his decision — but said that means “if something should happen, we’re in a positionto do far worse by not doing it.” He quickly added, “But, hopefully, we don’t have to do anything.” The president’s comments on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” were made before it was reported on Monday that Iran has exceeded the threshold for the Islamic Republic’s low-enriched uranium stockpile agreed upon in the 2015 nuclear deal. But at a White House event on Monday, he said Iran was “playing with fire.”
During the “Tucker” interview, President Trump also shared his plans to combat rising homelessness and mental illness in America.
Cory Booker unveils plan to ‘virtually eliminate immigrant detention’
Sen. Cory Booker, trying to jolt his 2020 presidential campaign, is unveiling a comprehensive plan to “virtually eliminate immigrant detention” and expand protections for illegal immigrants through executive order — bypassing Congress entirely — “on day one of his presidency.” The aggressive proposal comes as polls consistently have shown Booker trailing many fellow Democrats in the White House race, including Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Although several of his rivals already have announced similar proposals and even endorsed decriminalizing border crossing entirely, Booker’s plan was unique in focusing on the immigrant detention facilities that have attracted national attention in recent weeks.
Booker’s plan comes as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is facing a lingering political backlash from liberal House Democrats over his role in the passage of a bipartisan border bill last week, which saw House Speaker Nancy Pelosi forced to back down from a push to include restrictions on immigration enforcement. It also comes amidoutrage over claims made by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., that women at a southern border facility are being forced to drink “out of toilets.” U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officials have strongly denied AOC’s allegations.
Report: Nike dropped Betsy Ross-themed Fourth of July sneaker after Colin Kaepernick complained
Just don’t do it. That was the message ex-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick delivered to Nikeover the planned release of a USA-themed sneaker, which featured a Betsy Ross flag on the heel, according to a report. Nike nixed the released of the Air Max 1 USA after having already sent the sneakers to retailers because the protesting quarterback said he felt the use of the Betsy Ross flag was offensive and carried slavery connotations, sources told The Wall Street Journal.
Accused Navy SEAL’s fate in jury’s hands
Jurors will begin their first full day of deliberations in the court-martial of a decorated Navy SEAL accused of murdering a wounded ISIS war prisoner in Iraq. Jury deliberations started Monday following closing argumentswhere military prosecutors said Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher’s words and actions proved he murdered a member of the Islamic State terror network in May 2017. The defense argued the prosecution’s case had “huge gaping holes” and that Gallagher was a subject of “fixation” by military prosecutors. “They started with a conclusion … [and] … ignored everything that didn’t fit,” Timothy Parlatore told the jury of five Marines and two sailors during his closing argument.
Charlie Kirk launches GOTV campaign to enlist 1 million ‘Students for Trump’ in 2020
Conservative activist Charlie Kirk is launching a massive get-out-the-vote campaign Tuesday aimed at identifying and enlisting 1 million student supporters of President Trump ahead of the 2020 election. The “Students for Trump” campaign will look to target students on more than 300 campuses, in what Kirk describes as the biggest operation of its kind. “This is the most aggressivevoter identification GOTV program targeting students on college campuses for a Republican president ever,” Kirk told Fox News.
TUNE IN: Charlie Kirk will appear on “Fox & Friends” today at 6:30 a.m. ET
Hunter Biden didn’t invite father, Joe, to his recent wedding: report.
Camping World CEO: ‘I’d rather go to jail’ than yield to city in American flag controversy.
No foul play suspected in sudden death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, 27.
MINDING YOUR BUSINESS
These are the best and worst run cities in the US, report finds.
US economy breaks record with post-recession expansion.
Apple CEO Tim Cook disputes ‘absurd’ report on Jony Ive’s exitfrom company.
#Mueller May Have Quit, But The Democrats Won’t Give Up On Their #Trump #Impeachment Dreams! Whos Campaign Does This Really Hurt?
How Robert Mueller may have set the tone for the 2020 election
As Mueller bows out, more Democrats call for Trump’s impeachment
If Robert Mueller thought his only public remarks since being appointed special counsel would put the Russian collusion allegations and Democrats’ calls to impeach President Trump to rest, he was mistaken. If anything, … See More Mueller’s statement Wednesdaymay have assured that the debate over whether to impeach Trump will be a dominant issue heading into the 2020 president election.
Speaking from the Justice Department, Mueller announced the closing of his office and told reporters he did not plan to testify before Congress. He explained that his team did not have the “option” to charge President Trump with a crime, citing longstanding Justice Department policy that a sitting president cannot be indicted. However, Mueller also stressed that there “was not sufficient evidence to charge a conspiracy” with regard to whether members of the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election.
On the question of obstruction, Mueller said, “If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that. We did not determine whether the president did commit a crime.” Prominent Democrats seized on Mueller’s words to call for Trump’s impeachment. House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said that all options were “on the table” and that it was up to Congress to hold Trump accountable for any alleged crimes. 2020 Democratic presidential candidates such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., and Beto O’Rourke all called for impeachment proceedings to begin.
Pelosi under new impeachment pressure
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., walked a fine line on Wednesday as she tried to assure party colleagues that lawmakersin the House will continue looking into impeaching President Trump, while advocating against rashness. Pelosi, speaking hours after Mueller’s statement, praised his work but promised to continue investigating Trump. The House speaker has maintained that Democrats should not begin impeachment proceedings against Trump, but has faced increasing pressure from members in her caucus to reverse course. Fellow Democrats have accused Pelosi of holding off on impeachment for political reasons.
Mystery over USS John S. McCain ‘out of sight’ directive as Meghan McCain blasts Trump
A mystery continues to surround a reported U.S. military email that called for the USS John S. McCain to be “out of sight” during President Trump’s recent visit to U.S. troops stationed in Japan, where the ship was docked. On Wednesday, both President Trump and acting Defense SecretaryPatrick Shanahan denied any knowledge of the order, which led to the ship’s name first being covered with a tarp and then being obscured by a paint barge prior to Trump’s visit over Memorial Day weekend. The Wall Street Journal, which reported the story, directlycontradicts Shanahan. The Journal cites an unnamed U.S. official as saying that Shanahan was aware and approved measures to ensure the ship did not interfere with the president’s trip.
The ship is named for the father and grandfather of the late U.S. Sen. John S. McCain III, with whom Trump had feuded prior to the Arizona Republican’s death from cancer last year at age 81.The Journal feature apparently infuriated Meghan McCain, daughter of the late senator, who tweeted, in part, the following: “Trump is a child who will always be deeply threatened by the greatness of my dads [sic] incredible life … Trump won’t let him RIP. So I have to stand up for him.”
Private company building border fence gets cease-and-desist order
A legal dispute unfolded this week between private contractors who have built a half-mile fence between a New Mexico city and Mexico, and the mayor of that city who is arguing that the fence didn’t get proper authorization. “We Build the Wall,” began construction of the border fence on private land in Sunland Park, N.M., last Friday using money raised through crowdfunding, the Dallas Morning News reported. The city shares a border with El Paso, Texas, and Mexico. The company had planned to finish construction by Friday, but Sunland Park’s Mayor Javier Perea said Tuesday that the 18-foot fence surpasses the city’s maximum height of 6 feet. On Wednesday, he issued a cease-and-desist order.
CNN’s Chris Cuomo faces backlash for appearing to mock armed rape survivor
CNN anchor Chris Cuomo responded to several critics who slammed him Wednesday over a tweet they said appeared to mock a National Rifle Association (NRA) member and rape survivor. Kimberly Corban appeared in an NRA ad advocating her Second Amendment right after going into detail how she survived a rape when she was 20 years old. “I’m a mother of two, and if a predator or anyone else tries to harm me or my family, they have to come through my firearm first,” Corban said. Cuomo reacted to the ad, tweeting “Only in America.”
Gregg Jarrett: The two faces of Robert Mueller, and Trump’s presumption of guilt.
LAPD employee contracts contagious bacteria that causes deadly typhoid fever.
Ashton Kutcher testifies in trial of alleged serial killer accused of murdering his friend.
MINDING YOUR BUSINESS
Stocks slump to three-month lows, bonds rally, as recession fears rise with trade war.
AOC’s minimum wage push to land her behind the bar once again.
This city is home to the ‘nation’s hottest housing market’ this season.
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Demand Free Speech Reception: Trump Hotel July 3 w/@RogerStone
Everyone I hope to see you in DC in July – Here’s your chance to mingle with Roger Stone and other VIPs (TBA) at Trump Hotel July 3 – Demand Free Speech Reception Fundraiser 9:30pm – 11:30pm 2 hours open bar and great food! Please share! #MAGA Tickets through Facebook & Eventbrite MagaGala.com email firstname.lastname@example.org for questions please share! magagala.com
Demand Free Speech Reception: Trump Hotel July 3 w/@RogerStone
June 15 – MarchForTrump.net Greensboro NC
July 3 – #DemandFreeSpeech Reception @TrumpDC Tickets MagaGala.com
July 6 #DemandFreeSpeech Rally (VIP party after) DemandFreeSpeech.org
Oct 4-6 TRUMPSTOCK