In a major setback for voting rights, the Supreme Court has ruled partisan gerrymandering cannot be challenged in federal courts. The decision came down in a 5-4 ruling on ideological lines with Chief Justice John Roberts writing the majority decision. In her dissent, Justice Elena Kagan wrote: “The practices challenged in these cases imperil our system of government. Part of the Court’s role in that system is to defend its foundations. None is more important than free and fair elections.” The decision will likely benefit Republicans since they control the majority of state legislatures, which draw election maps in most states.
The Supreme Court blocked the Trump administration from adding a question about citizenship to the 2020 census. Chief Justice Roberts sided with the liberal wing of the court, saying the Trump administration’s explanation for why the question was needed “appears to have been contrived.” But the court did not rule out allowing a citizenship question to be added in the future. President Trump responded by threatening to delay next year’s constitutionally mandated census.
California Senator Kamala Harris and former Vice President Joe Biden sparred on Thursday in the second night of the first Democratic presidential debate. Harris criticized Biden’s recent comments about working with segregationists in the Senate and for his opposition to busing students in an effort to integrate schools in the 1970s.
Sen. Kamala Harris: “It was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country. And it was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose busing. And, you know, there was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bussed to school every day. And that little girl was me.”
After Biden accused Harris of mischaracterizing his record, she directly asked him about his opposition to busing.
Sen. Kamala Harris: “Vice President Biden, do you agree today—do you agree today that you were wrong to oppose busing in America then?”
Joe Biden: “No.”
Sen. Kamala Harris: “Do you agree?”
Joe Biden: “I did not oppose busing in America. What I opposed is busing ordered by the Department of Education. That’s what I opposed.”
But that is not what Biden said in 1975, telling a Delaware newspaper, “I oppose busing. It’s an asinine concept, the utility of which has never been proven to me. I’ve gotten to the point where I think our only recourse to eliminate busing may be a constitutional amendment.” We will have more on the debate after headlines.
In news from Capitol Hill, 129 Democratic House lawmakers joined Republicans in passing a $4.6 billion bill for emergency aid at the southern border. The vote came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reversed her earlier pledge to push for more protections for migrant children to be included in the bill. Ninety-five Democrats opposed the legislation, including Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, who spoke out on CNN.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: “The problem right now and the question at hand right now is that Mitch McConnell sent us a bill, and we’re just putting a big checkmark on it, instead of even trying to negotiate.”
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus issued a statement saying, “When the Congressional Hispanic Caucus members see suffering at the border, we see our children and our grandchildren. What happened today is unacceptable, and we will not forget this betrayal.”
Environmental groups are accusing the United States, Saudi Arabia and Iran of blocking progress at a key international climate summit to discuss how to implement the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord. The summit was held in Bonn, Germany, in the midst of record heat waves being recorded across Europe. France has issued its first-ever “red” weather alert as temperatures are predicted to reach as high as 113 degrees Fahrenheit today. In parts of Spain, the temperature is expected to top 109 degrees Fahrenheit as Catalonia is battling its largest wildfire in decades. Authorities believe the fire began when a heap of manure self-ignited in the high heat.
World leaders gathered in Japan today for the opening of the two-day G20 summit, which is expected to focus on Iran and the U.S.-China trade war. Earlier today, President Trump met with Russian President Vladmir Putin. When a reporter asked if Trump would raise Russia’s meddling in U.S. elections, Trump smirked and then pointed his finger at Putin in a light-hearted way, telling him, “Don’t meddle in the election.”
Reporter: “Mr. President, will you tell Russia not to meddle in the 2020 election?”
President Donald Trump: “Don’t meddle in the election. Don’t meddle in the election.”
There was a shake-up on President Trump’s team heading to the G20. Trump’s chief of diplomatic protocol, Sean Lawler, has resigned, after he was accused of carrying a whip around his office and intimidating staff.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is facing a new crisis after a Brazilian Air Force officer was arrested for attempting to smuggle 86 pounds of cocaine into Spain. The officer had flown into the country on a presidential plane that was headed to the G20. Bolsonaro, who was not on board the flight, had campaigned on vowing to crack down on drug traffickers.
A pregnant woman in Alabama who was shot in the stomach has been charged with manslaughter because the shooting caused her pregnancy to end. Marshae Jones, a 28-year-old African-American woman, was charged on Wednesday and released Thursday after posting a $50,000 bond. Local police accused Jones of starting the fight that led to the shooting in the parking lot of a Dollar General store outside of Birmingham. The case has alarmed reproductive rights activists. The National Abortion Federation tweeted, “This is how people—especially women of color—are already being punished & having their pregnancies criminalized.” Alabama is one of 38 states to have a fetal homicide law.
In news from the Women’s World Cup, the co-captain of the U.S. women’s soccer team, Megan Rapinoe, is standing by her remarks that she would refuse to go to the White House if invited. Rapinoe first told Eight by Eight magazine, “I am not going to the f—ing White House.”
Megan Rapinoe: “I’m not going to the [bleep] White House. No, I’m not going to the White House. That’s—we’re not going to be invited.”
Reporter: “You’re not going to be invited?”
Megan Rapinoe: “I doubt it.”
On Thursday, Megan Rapinoe stood by her comments ahead of today’s World Cup quarterfinal match against France.
Megan Rapinoe: “I don’t think that I would want to go, and I would encourage my teammates to think hard about lending that platform or having that co-opted by an administration that doesn’t feel the same way and doesn’t fight for the same things that we fight for.”
Megan Rapinoe has also made headlines during the World Cup for refusing to sing the national anthem and put her hand on her heart ahead of games.
In Kansas City, Missouri, the body of a 32-year-old trans woman of color was found on Tuesday morning. Brooklyn Lindsey is believed to be at least the 11th trans woman of color to be murdered this year. The Kansas City Anti-Violence Project is holding a vigil for her this weekend.
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. On this day in 1969, the New York Police Department raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay- and trans-friendly bar in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. It triggered an uprising and helped launch the modern-day LGBTQ rights movement. In New York, two major marches are planned on Sunday: the New York City Heritage of Pride parade and the alternative, noncorporate Queer Liberation March.