Com Senado bolsonarista, impeachment de ministros do STF fica ao alcance de Jair

Meet the Military Contractor Running Fare Collection in New York Subways — and Around the World

The Supreme Court Is On The Verge Of Killing The Voting Rights Act

Finally, a BP subsidiary will finish cleaning up the former smelting site it acquired in 1977

Barry Jones Is Running Out of Options. Will He Ever Leave Death Row?

Black Music Sunday: Much ado about Lizzo and James Madison's flute

Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: Hurricanes and Leadership

Fighting California’s fires requires carceral reform and a just transition

Even a pandemic didn't get paid sick days for most low-wage workers, this week in the war on workers

Ukraine update: Now that Lyman is liberated, Ukraine selects its next target

How immigration advocates are challenging discriminatory utility policies in the South

Biden admin faces pressure from U.N. human rights experts to end ICE's harmful 287(g) policy

Medical industry donations pour in for Texas AG Ken Paxton, other abortion ban supporters

Dark money swoops in to steal state supreme courts for the right. Help us defend them

New documentary by Disney family takes down Mickey—and the whole company along with him

Natural gas flaring is doing little to mitigate oil and gas methane emissions, study finds

'Conservative' now just means 'hates America' and CPAC made that brutally clear

Ukraine update: As Ukrainian forces enter Lyman, hundreds of Russians may still be trapped inside

Response to sinking of fishing boat in San Juans encouraging, but inadequate in nightmare scenario

The Trumpist claim that we're 'a republic, not a democracy' is even more dangerous than it sounds

House Republicans try to put a ring on it with their 'Commitment to America.' Voters run

Uproar over U of Idaho memo shows how right’s attack on abortion is also attack on free speech

Partidos investiram até sete vezes mais em campanhas de reeleição

Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: The struggles of the Republican party are real

Com Senado bolsonarista, impeachment de ministros do STF fica ao alcance de Jair 5

Com Senado bolsonarista, impeachment de ministros do STF fica ao alcance de Jair

Foto: Andressa Anholete/Getty Images Jair Bolsonaro está perdendo (por enquanto?), mas a extrema direita que personifica já é a grande vencedora das eleições gerais de 2022 no Brasil. Após 686 mil mortes…

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Pelosi’s Stock Ban Bill Isn’t Just Weak, It’s Dangerous

A wave of congressional stock trading scandals, ranging from suspiciously timed trades at the start of the pandemic to members of Congress failing to comply with transaction disclosure requirements, have prompted calls…

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Meet the Military Contractor Running Fare Collection in New York Subways — and Around the World 6

Meet the Military Contractor Running Fare Collection in New York Subways — and Around the World

In a cheerfully animated promotional video, a woman narrates Cubic Transportation Systems’ vision for the future. Travelers will pay fares using a ticket-free mobile account. Real-time data will be aggregated, linked, and…

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Democrats’ Position on Abortion, Not Immigration, May Help Them Hold Latino Voters

This article is part of The D.C. Brief, TIME’s politics newsletter. Sign up here to get stories like this sent to your inbox. The Democratic Party’s relationship with the Latino community is…

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Partidos investiram até sete vezes mais em campanhas de reeleição

O deputado federal Átila Lins é do PSD do Amazonas. Já o deputado federal Gonzaga Patriota é do PSB de Pernambuco. Em comum, além de serem colegas na Câmara dos Deputados, os dois buscam um novo mandato este ano. Não se trata de qualquer reeleição: tanto Lins quanto Patriota estão há 32 anos na Câmara e em busca de uma nona legislatura. Patriota entrou como deputado constituinte em 1987, ficou fora de 1991 a 1994 e, no ano seguinte, voltou. Lins chegou em 1991 e nunca mais saiu.

Além de confundirem-se com a paisagem do Congresso, os deputados têm também campanhas bem financiadas por seus partidos. O PSB já investiu R$ 2,5 milhões do Fundo Especial de Financiamento de Campanhas, o FEFC, na campanha de Patriota. Já Lins mordeu R$ 1,6 milhão do PSD, do mesmo fundo. Em busca de uma “cadeira cativa” como a de Lins e Patriota na Câmara dos Deputados, os partidos políticos chegam a investir até sete vezes mais em candidatos à reeleição do que em novatos. É o que revelam dados levantados pelo Intercept em parceria com a plataforma 72 horas.

Cada candidato à reeleição na Câmara recebeu, em média, R$ 1,748 milhão para suas campanhas, contra R$ 323 mil da média geral. Se considerarmos apenas os repasses para quem não concorre à reeleição, a média cai para R$ 239 mil por candidato. No Maranhão, 100% dos deputados federais eleitos tenta manter a vaga no domingo. Em São Paulo, o índice chega a 91%.

Até o início da última semana de campanha, R$ 2,486 bilhões foram transferidos pelos partidos para 7.683 campanhas. Desse montante. 30%, ou R$ 748 milhões, foram divididos entre as 428 campanhas de reeleição —apenas 5,5% dos candidatos. Quando uma sigla conquista uma vaga no Congresso, convém não perder mais — a distribuição do FEFC, do fundo partidário e, em última instância, a existência da agremiação dependem disso. Assim, é normal um investimento maior em candidaturas consolidadas. Mas, neste ano, existe um potencial de manutenção maior. Das 513 cadeiras, 87% serão disputadas por quem já as ocupa.

“Vemos uma tendência de não renovação acima do normal”, afirmou Amanda Brito, consultora na 72 horas. “A evidência numérica mostra um alto potencial de manutenção nas cadeiras para reeleição. O que torna ainda mais desafiador para a pessoa iniciante na política conseguir ocupar o cargo”. Brito acredita que a taxa fina de reeleição para a Câmara, que historicamente fica na casa dos 65%, tem tudo para ser maior neste ano.

Apesar disso, há exceções. E quanto melhor financiadas, melhor suas chances. Guilherme Boulos, por exemplo. Apesar de ser candidato veterano derrotado das eleições municipais de 2020 e presidenciais de 2018, nunca ocupou cargo político em nenhum governo e disputa pela primeira vez uma vaga no legislativo federal como aposta do PSOL para puxar votos em São Paulo. Como ali, pelo jeito, ninguém espera um milagre, o partido já depositou R$ 1,872 milhão do FEFC em sua empreitada eleitoral. Ao todo, o candidato novato já conta com R$ 2,348 milhões.

The post Partidos investiram até sete vezes mais em campanhas de reeleição appeared first on The Intercept.

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What to Know About the Oath Keepers’ Seditious Conspiracy Trial

In the most high-profile Jan. 6 case yet, the founder of the far-right Oath Keepers militia and four other members are facing charges of seditious conspiracy in a significant test for the Justice Department, which is seeking to successfully prosecute the rare charges for the first time in 30 years.

Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the Oath Keepers, and 10 fellow members of the group are alleged to have conspired to use force to prevent the certification of President Joe Biden’s electoral victory. The charge carries up to 20 years in prison. Jury selection began on Sept. 27, with opening arguments currently slated to start next week. The trial is expected to last more than a month. A second trial for the remaining co-defendants is scheduled for November.
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Here’s what to know about the case.

What will the prosecutors argue?

As they cast the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol as an attack on American democracy, prosecutors will be able to draw on the extensive documentation of the attack, including thousands of hours of footage. They are also likely to point to Rhodes’ call for an armed “civil war” to keep former President Donald Trump in power.

READ MORE: For the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, Jan. 6 Was Just the Start

Prosecutors allege that members of the Oath Keepers organized, trained, and equipped themselves months before Jan. 6, 2021. “We aren’t getting through this without a civil war. Too late for that. Prepare your mind, body, spirit,” Rhodes privately messaged a group of Oath Keepers in an encrypted app on Nov. 5, according to his indictment.

On Jan. 6, the group of Oath Keepers went to the Capitol ready “to answer Rhodes’ call to take up arms,” according to the indictment. They coordinated their actions on that day using encrypted messaging apps, hand signals, and walkie-talkies, and several were photographed wearing tactical vests, helmets, and other equipment as they breached the doors of the Capitol Rotunda.

What to Know About the Oath Keepers’ Seditious Conspiracy Trial 8
Victor J. Blue—Bloomberg/Getty ImagesDemonstrators attempt to breach the U.S. Capitol after they earlier stormed the building in Washington D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021.

What will the defense argue?

The rare charges are expected to be met with an even rarer defense. Rhodes’ lawyers have indicated they will argue that he believed Trump was going to lawfully invoke the Insurrection Act, a 1807 statute that allows the president to call up militias in the case of national emergencies.

“What the Government contends was a conspiracy to oppose United States laws was actually lobbying and preparation for the President to utilize a United States law to take lawful action,” Phillip Linder and James Bright, Rhodes attorneys, argued in a court filing.

READ MORE: Inside One Combat Vet’s Journey From Defending His Country to Storming the Capitol

Who is Stewart Rhodes?

A 57-year-old former Army paratrooper and Yale Law School graduate, Rhodes founded the Oath Keepers in 2009. He focused on recruiting current and former military and law enforcement officers into the self-styled militia, which encouraged members to consider themselves as “the last line of defense against tyranny,” according to Oath Keepers recruiting materials.

The motto of the organization (“not on our watch”) as well as its informal slogan, “Guardians of the Republic,” emphasize the idea that members of the Oath Keepers are being called on to defend the country against a perceived threat. A roster of 38,000 members, which leaked last fall, revealed dozens of elected officials as well as large numbers of police officers, sheriffs and military in the group’s ranks.

Prosecutors have alleged that Rhodes and fellow Oath Keepers’ ultimate aim is to undermine the U.S. government, which they see as having been “coopted by a cabal of elites actively trying to strip American citizens of their rights,” in the words of one indictment.

What are the stakes of the trial for the government?

If prosecutors fail to win a conviction in the highest-profile case emerging from the insurrection, it could undermine the Department of Justice’s argument that the Jan. 6 attack was a serious attack on American democracy, which Trump and his supporters have contested.

In the past 20 months, more than 900 people have been charged with various crimes for attempting to interfere with Congress’ certification of Biden’s victory. Nearly 400 people have pleaded guilty thus far in connection with the attack on the Capitol, which ultimately left five people dead and scores injured.

READ MORE: The Capitol Attack Was the Most Documented Crime in History. Will That Ensure Justice?

But none of those cases have involved charges this serious. The last time the Justice Department tried to prosecute seditious conspiracy was in 2010, when it accused members of the Hutaree militia in Michigan of an alleged plot to incite an uprising against the government. A judge dismissed the case, citing insufficient evidence of conspiracy. The last time seditious conspiracy was successfully prosecuted was in the 1990s, when Islamic extremists were convicted of the charge for plotting to bomb several New York City buildings, including the United Nations.

The trial is also significant because the Biden Administration has repeatedly emphasized the threat posed by groups like the Oath Keepers, and made combating the groups a key part of their strategy to fight domestic extremism.

A “key component of the threat comes from anti–government or anti–authority violent extremists,” says a strategy document issued by the National Security Council last summer. “This includes self–proclaimed ‘militias’ and violent extremists who take steps to violently resist government authority or facilitate the overthrow of the U.S. Government based on perceived overreach [and] sovereign citizen violent extremists, who believe they are immune from government authority and laws.”

The outcome of the case could determine the Oath Keepers’ future and that of similar groups. Since the events of Jan. 6, 2021 and the arrests and charges that followed, many of the Oath Keepers and their supporters have cast themselves as victims of political persecution by a tyrannical federal government. They have also used their notoriety to draw attention to anti-vaccine protests, political rallies and in support of gun rights initiatives.

About 35% of the more than 900 people charged in the assault on the Capitol had links to extremist groups and movements, according to an analysis by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland.

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How DeSantis Handles Hurricane Ian Will Shape His Political Future

This article is part of The D.C. Brief, TIME’s politics newsletter. Sign up here to get stories like this sent to your inbox.

Ron DeSantis is about to face the most consequential 72 hours of his political career.

With Hurricane Ian making landfall this afternoon and 2.5 million Florida residents under evacuation orders, the Florida governor is going to endure what his predecessors have navigated with varying competencies: a natural disaster with huge potential to make or break the public perception of a tenure, and which could become a defining piece of an expected White House run. Floridians often ignore the political posturing coming out of Tallahassee. That’s less possible when the power is out, state services are fractured, and the voice from the top is projecting anything but empathy.
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On that last point, many Republicans will keep a keen eye on DeSantis’s conduct. Given his brazen political stunts in recent weeks to move migrants to liberal enclaves with the goal of embarrassing Democrats unable to accommodate the newcomers, those betting DeSantis can effectively summon empathy are taking long odds. And having learned how a post-partisan storm recovery tour dogged New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s presidential campaign and became one of his tenure’s signature moment, it’s unlikely that a summit between DeSantis and President Joe Biden will unfurl as a sequel to Christie’s visit to the boardwalk with then-President Barack Obama.

Still, DeSantis is taking care not to seem like a naked partisan. He told reporters on Tuesday that he’s open to briefing Biden. “My view on all of this is, like, you’ve got people’s lives at stake, you’ve got their property at stake, and don’t have time for pettiness. … My phone line is open,” DeSantis said in Tallahassee. His public hostilities toward Biden took a similar break in July of last year, when 98 people died in a building collapse in Surfside and the president and governor sat next to each other during a briefing.

Americans largely give leaders the benefit of the doubt during hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and wildfires. Florida, in particular, has a competent corps of emergency responders; being surrounded by the sea on three sides tends to do that.

Getting crisis responses right can define an administration. Even in the wake of Sandy’s destruction, deep-blue New Jersey re-elected Christie, a Republican. And in New Orleans, when Katrina soaked Louisiana, sending residents to seek refuge inside NFL stadiums, then-freshman Rep. Bobby Jindal emerged as a leading source of answers and aid; two years later, he was elected governor. Jeb Bush used his handling of storms as Florida’s governor to try and illustrate why a technocrat like himself could handle the White House.

When leaders do find themselves in trouble, though, is when they don’t seem to understand the suffering. George W. Bush’s presidency never recovered from his seen-as-sluggish response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Former President Donald Trump was hardly a unifying figure when Hurricane Maria slammed Puerto Rico in 2017; his tone-deaf visit to the island, in which he tossed paper towels like basketballs, did him no favors.

DeSantis is on the ballot in just a few weeks. He has consistently led the Democratic nominee, Charlie Crist, a former Republican governor who wants the job back but is now wearing a blue jersey. Democrats are realistic about their chances, given Trump won Florida in 2020 by 3 points, up from the 1-point margin he posted four years prior. Democrats had hoped the one-two punch of potentially competitive Senate and gubernatorial races could help them gain buzz, but instead it has felt like a buzzsaw for many party strategists. As TIME’s Molly Ball reported recently from Tallahassee, Democrats’ most-feared contender in 2024 seems to have gotten a free pass.

DeSantis has positioned himself as the natural heir to Trumpism. In 2018, the then-president helped DeSantis overtake the Establishment’s pick of Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in the GOP primary. Talk to activists around the country, and they still have great affinity for Trump; they just worry that he’s now too damaged by his conduct after losing re-election in 2020, especially the Jan. 6 chaos.

DeSantis, however, remains largely untested. For three years, he’s been able to pick culture-war fights with teachers and Walt Disney World without the pesky distraction of serious governing. He doesn’t have a lot of the compassionate chits that his predecessors had stored up in advance. When Maria sent scores of Puerto Ricans into Florida, then-Gov. Rick Scott—another potential presidential aspirant in 2024 from his current post in the Senate—marshaled his state to welcome the newcomers with social services, starting at the airports and continuing into the community. Scott managed to win 45% of the Latino vote in 2018, a 10-point improvement over Trump’s showing with that bloc two years earlier. As a sincere student of all corners of his state’s demographics, the Hispanic and Latino communities at least knew Scott was making the effort.

DeSantis? It’s hard to give him the benefit of the doubt when he’s treating migrants like pawns. Still, he did carry 44% of the Latino vote in 2018 on the same ticket as Scott. This year, he’s on a ballot with Sen. Marco Rubio, who carried 48% of the Latino vote when he last faced voters, in 2016.

But once the storm surges retreat and all that’s left is the rebuilding, Florida’s famously fickle electorate could discover that their governor’s political ambitions have left behind a sour aftertaste.

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Prepare for Another Blockbuster Supreme Court Term

Months after reshaping wide swaths of American life with a series of landmark rulings, the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to issue more major decisions in its upcoming term on affirmative action, voting access, LGBTQ rights, immigration, and more.

The high court will begin its term on Oct. 3 facing dismal public faith in the institution. A June 23 Gallup poll found that only 25% of the American public has confidence in the Supreme Court—and that was before it overturned constitutional right to an abortion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. In August, after the abortion decision, Pew Research Center documented the widest partisan gap in views of the Supreme Court ever recorded in 35 years of polling. The court also faces internal strife and pressure: a draft opinion previewing the seismic Dobbs decision leaked in May and launched an investigation by the Marshal of the Court, with Chief Justice John Roberts declaring the leak a “betrayal.” And it confronts increasing calls for Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from election-related matters, amid reports that that his wife Ginni Thomas pushed GOP lawmakers to overturn President Joe Biden’s win.
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The bench will also include a new face this term: Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman to ever sit on the court. Jackson is expected to fall into the court’s liberal minority. When looking for swing votes, most eyes will be on Chief Justice Roberts, who was the lone justice in the court’s 6-3 conservative majority who did not vote to overturn Roe v. Wade at the end of last term.

Read More: What Ketanji Brown Jackson Could Bring to the Supreme Court

This term, the court will consider cases that deal with longstanding precedent and others that relate to contentious issues in the nation. Multiple cases, including on affirmative action and voting rights, deal with the extent to which race and ethnicity can be considered in American law and society. The fact that the court agreed to hear such cases “shows the court is not likely to act modestly, or at least is not inclined to act modestly,” said David Cole, the national legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, at a Sept. 22 press conference.

Here are the major cases to watch this fall in the upcoming Supreme Court term.

Affirmative action

The high court will hear two cases this term that could determine the constitutionality of race-conscious admissions policies—and the decision could fundamentally reshape higher education across America.

The high court will hear both cases on Oct. 31. The group Students for Fair Admissions, which says its mission is to help “restore colorblind principles to our nation’s schools, colleges and universities,” has brought both lawsuits, asking the court to preclude any consideration of race as a factor in admissions.

The first case, Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard College, alleges that Harvard’s race-conscious admissions policy discriminates against Asian American applicants, arguing that Asian Americans are significantly less likely to be admitted than similarly qualified Hispanic, Black, or white students. The plaintiffs argue Harvard’s policy violates Title VI of the federal Civil Rights Act, which bans racial discrimination in institutions that receive federal funding. Harvard responds that it does not discriminate against Asian American applicants, argues that the plaintiffs are citing misleading statistics, and contends that race-conscious admission policies are legal. Both the district court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit upheld Harvard’s admissions policy. (Jackson will recuse herself from the case, as she served on Harvard’s Board of Overseers.)

The second case, Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina, argues that UNC’s consideration of race in admissions not only violates Title VI, but also violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, which extends to public universities. The plaintiffs argue UNC discriminates against white and Asian applicants by awarding “racial preferences” to Black, Hispanic, and Native American students because they are classified by the school as underrepresented minorities. UNC responds that its policies are lawful and are intended to build a diverse, holistic student body.

If the Supreme Court strikes down the admissions policies at Harvard or UNC, it would overturn decades of precedent. In 1978, the Supreme Court ruled in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke that it is legal under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment for schools to consider race as a factor in their admissions policies, because fostering classroom diversity is a compelling state interest. That decision has been repeatedly upheld, most recently in 2016’s Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, in which Abigail Fisher, a white woman who was rejected by the University of Texas, challenged the school’s consideration of race in its undergraduate admissions system. The Supreme Court ruled that the University of Texas’ policy could stand. (Fisher founded Students for Fair Admissions, which brought both affirmative action cases this term, along with her father and conservative legal strategist Edward Blum.)

Voting rights

The court will consider two cases that could impact how congressional maps are drawn going forward.

On Oct. 4, the court will hear Merrill v. Milligan, which centers on the congressional redistricting map drawn by GOP Alabama lawmakers after the 2020 census, which included only one majority-Black district even though Black Alabamians make up over a quarter of the state. Black voters and advocacy groups sued, arguing the map was drawn in a such a way to dilute Black political power and thus violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. (Section 2 bans state or local governments from limiting voting rights on the basis of race, including “vote dilution” by either intentionally splitting communities of color up amongst several districts or lumping them all into one.) In January, a panel of judges threw out Alabama’s map, writing that “Black voters have less opportunity than other Alabamians to elect candidates of their choice to Congress,” and directed the state legislature to draw a new map with a second majority-Black district.

But in February, in a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court reinstated the map while the issue is litigated. As a result, this November, Alabamians will vote in congressional districts that a federal court ruled are likely illegal. Voting rights advocates worry the Supreme Court’s decision could gut the power of Section 2, one of the last remaining pillars of the Voting Rights Act.

Later in the term, the court will hear Moore v. Harper, which could strip state courts of the power to oversee federal elections. In February, the North Carolina Supreme Court struck down the new congressional map penned by GOP lawmakers, writing it was “egregious and intentional partisan gerrymandering” in favor of Republicans and violated the state constitution. Republican lawmakers have now brought the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing North Carolina’s supreme court doesn’t have the authority to strike down the map under the “independent state legislature” theory—the idea that only the state legislature can regulate federal elections, not state courts. If the Supreme Court agrees, it could give state legislatures much broader power over elections and allow federal elections to be conducted without oversight from state courts.

LGBTQ rights

In 2018, the Supreme Court narrowly ruled in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for same-sex couples on religious grounds. But the decision largely focused on Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission’s actions and ruled that the Commission had not acted with religious neutrality. The court dodged the central question of the case: whether state anti-discrimination laws that compel a baker to bake wedding cakes for same-sex couples violate the First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

A similar question faces the Supreme Court this term, once again arising out of Colorado. Lorie Smith, a graphic designer, wants to expand her graphic design business to include creating wedding websites. But she does not want to design wedding websites for same-sex couples on religious grounds, and wants to note this on her website for prospective clients. Colorado law bans businesses that are open to the public from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or announcing intention to do so.

The court will once again evaluate whether applying Colorado’s anti-discrimination law to compel an artist to speak or stay silent contrary to their religious beliefs violates the First Amendment’s right to free speech. But the question is coming before a more conservative court than it did four years ago—one that has repeatedly ruled in favor of requests for religious exemptions—and the justices may not skirt the central constitutional question this time.

Immigration policy

The high court will hear the latest in a string of lawsuits between GOP-controlled states and the Biden Administration over the executive branch’s power to shape U.S. immigration policy.

The litigation centers on the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Civil Immigration Enforcement priorities, which are guidelines for officers on arrests and charges. In a September 2021 memo, DHS directed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials to prioritize removing undocumented immigrants who pose a threat to national security or public safety. “It is estimated that there are more than 11 million undocumented or otherwise removable noncitizens in the United States,” the memo read. “We do not have the resources to apprehend and seek the removal of every one of these noncitizens. Therefore, we need to exercise our discretion and determine whom to prioritize for immigration enforcement action.”

Read More: Why Judges Are Basically in Charge of U.S. Immigration Policy Now

Texas and Louisiana sued, arguing the policy violated immigration law and the Administrative Procedure Act. A federal district court ruled in their favor in June and struck down the guidelines. The Biden Administration then appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, which declined to reinstate the guidelines in July and instead set oral arguments for the fall. If Texas and Louisiana prevail, it would be another major blow to the executive branch’s ability to set U.S. immigration policy.

Native American adoptions and tribal sovereignty

On Nov. 9, the Supreme Court will hear four consolidated cases that could not only determine the fate of Native American kids in the child welfare system, but also reshape the principles of tribal sovereignty more broadly.

The cases center on 1978’s Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), which set a federal standard to prioritize placing Native American children who are removed from their families with either extended family or other Native families. The law was intended to address the then-widespread practice by state child welfare and private adoption agencies to place Native children with white families, and in the words of the law “protect the best interests of Indian children” by creating a federal standard for “the removal of Indian children and placement of such children in homes which will reflect the unique values of Indian culture.” At the time of the law’s passage, between 25% and 35% of all Native children had been removed from their families, according to the Association on American Indian Affairs, in what Native American activists argued was an extension of centuries of U.S. policy forcibly assimilating Native children into white families to erase their culture.

ICWA has been repeatedly challenged over the decades, and this term the Supreme Court could determine its legality once and for all. Several white families who have attempted to adopt Native American children—along with the state of Texas—have asked the Supreme Court to declare the ICWA unconstitutional, arguing it violates the Constitution by discriminating on the basis of race and prevents children from being placed in the best homes. The law’s defendants, including Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, respond that ICWA’s prioritization of Native American families is not a race-based categorization, but instead a political classification.

If the Supreme Court adopts this logic, it could have broad implications for tribal sovereignty. Many laws encompassing tribal matters are based on tribal status, and if that status is deemed a racial classification rather than a political one, other tribal laws could theoretically be challenged for being racially discriminatory. Supporters of ICWA also argue it was enacted with the goal of preserving tribal political autonomy, and striking it down would be a major blow to those principles.

Federal water regulation

On Oct. 3, the Supreme Court will evaluate a case challenging the scope of 1972’s Clean Water Act, the primary federal law governing water pollution.

In 2012, Michael and Chantell Sackett appeared before the Supreme Court after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) told them they could not build a home on their property near Priest Lake, Idaho because it would violate the Clean Water Act. The issue got kicked back down to lower courts on procedural grounds.

Ten years later, and the Sacketts are back, this time asking the Supreme Court to revisit 2006’s Rapanos v. United States, which created the test that determines what counts as “navigable waters” covered by the regulation. In the 4-1-4 ruling, the justices were not able to reach a majority decision on what test should be used. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote a concurring opinion arguing for the law to have a broader scope, while Justice Antonin Scalia authored a plurality opinion arguing for a narrower view. The Sacketts have asked the court to revisit Rapanos and determine that Scalia’s proposed narrow test is the correct one. Environmental rights activists argue that if they succeed and Saclia’s test is adopted, it could leave tens of millions of acres of wetlands unregulated.

Animal-welfare laws

On Oct. 11, the court will hear a challenge to the constitutionality of California’s Prop 12, which banned the sale of pork that is kept in a gestation cage.

Over 60% of Californians voted to pass the measure—called the Prevention of Cruelty to Farm Animals Act—in 2018 to establish minimum requirements for farmers to provide more space for egg-laying hens, breeding pigs, and calves raised for veal. The proposition banned businesses from selling from farms that did not meet those standards.

The National Pork Producers Council has challenged the law, arguing it illegally burdens interstate commerce by requiring out-of-state pork producers to comply with California’s rules when they sell their products in the state. The result could not have implications for similar animal-welfare laws across the country and broader regulation of interstate commerce.

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Iranians Are Ready For A Different Approach to Religion and Government

Welcome to Pollapalooza, our weekly polling roundup.


Protests in Iran have been raging on for nearly two weeks because 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in the custody of the “morality police” after she allegedly failed to comply with the nation’s veiling laws. The protests that began on the streets of Saqqez, her hometown, have now spread to roughly 80 cities across the nation, as Iranian women lead demonstrations in defiance of a law that mandates they cover their hair and wear loose-fitting clothes while in public. At least 76 people have died, although the toll is likely higher as internet restrictions have made information harder to confirm.

Amini’s death may have sparked this recent uprising, but data shows Iranian opposition toward required veiling isn’t new. The Group for Analyzing and Measuring Attitudes in Iran, a Netherlands-based research foundation, conducted a comprehensive study in 2020 on Iranians’ opinions about religion and found that a whopping 72 percent of literate Iranians over age 195 disagreed with the government mandating that women wear the hijab in public, compared with only 15 percent who agreed with it. Over the years, those who have subverted the law have faced violent beatings and, in the case of Amini, fatal consequences at the hands of the government. 

These events have brought a simmering question to a boil: In a world increasingly secular and interconnected, what role do people think theology should play in determining law? 

While Iran is now associated with mandatory veiling, that was not always the case. In 1936, the penultimate shah of Iran, Reza Shah Pahlavi, decreed a ban on hijab in an attempt to promote European attire. Women who failed to comply with this prior law similarly faced punishments, such as imprisonment. The newer mandate, which Iranians are protesting now, was implemented when the pro-Western, secular monarchy was replaced with an Islamic theocracy after the 1979 revolution.

First, the veil was banned, and now it’s mandatory. But once again, most Iranians are proponents of change — not just for hijab law but also for the role of religion in government more broadly. Only 22 percent of literate Iranians over age 196 believe an Islamic republic is the most suitable governing structure for their country, according to a survey by GAMAAN conducted in February. Meanwhile, in a separate question, 88 percent agreed that having a democratic system would be a good idea. 

Also in that study, two-thirds said they did not want a government run according to religious law, which challenges the inherent premise of the country’s current governing structure. In contrast, according to a 2020 Pew Research Center study, half of all Americans thought the Bible should have at least some bearing on the law, despite this nation’s principles separating church and state

In the decades since its 1979 revolution, Iran has faced its fair share of political uprisings — due to claims of rigged elections and soaring gas prices, for example. But this current political moment has uniquely united Iranian women across socioeconomic, ethnic and regional lines. Furthermore, the recent demonstrations are not simply a protest of the current ruling politicians but also one that challenges how religion underpins the law overall.

Outside of Iran, however, the global trend has been toward repression of religion in the public sphere. Pew has tracked government limitations on religion since 2007. According to data published in 2021, Pew found that the global level of politically affiliated religious restriction was higher than it had been for most of the prior decade. Meanwhile, the history of Iran shows that both forced and forbidden faith can lead to dangerous consequences for citizens.

The ongoing internet shutdowns will likely keep international eyes from seeing everything happening in Iran, including the government’s violence toward those speaking up. But quashing protests will not necessarily mean quashing dissent. Although Ali Khamenei, Iran’s current supreme leader, has long posited outside influences, especially the U.S., as the greatest threat to his rule, this moment suggests that Iran’s own citizens — and its women in particular — could present a huge challenge to the power of theocracy.

Other polling bites

  • The share of Democrats who believe President Biden should run for office again has ticked up slightly over the past two months, per recent polling from Morning Consult/Politico. Fifty-nine percent of Democratic voters said they’d support his reelection campaign in a Sept. 23-25 survey, up from 51 percent in early July and 53 percent in early August. In the case that he does not run, however, a plurality of Democratic voters (28 percent) said they would support Vice President Kamala Harris instead, followed by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (13 percent). 
  • In light of Hurricane Ian, the Jan. 6 House Select Committee postponed its ninth hearing, which was scheduled for Sept. 28 and would have been the first since July. Though a new date has yet to be announced, 58 percent of Americans support resuming the hearings following those in the summer, according to a poll from Monmouth University conducted Sept. 21-25. Unsurprisingly, that number reveals a highly partisan divide: 83 percent of Democrats reported wanting the hearings to continue, but only 31 percent of Republicans agreed. And while 62 percent of Democrats said the hearings should carry on as long as necessary, 75 percent of Republicans said the investigation should conclude as soon as possible. 
  • On the heels of President Vladimir Putin granting Russian citizenship to former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, a Sept. 28 YouGov survey asked Americans about his notorious 2013 leak of top-secret information on government surveillance. Thirty-nine percent said Snowden’s actions constituted “the right thing to do.” Additional polling found that almost 6 in 10 Americans think it is “somewhat” (29 percent) or “very” (29 percent) common that the U.S. government surveils ordinary citizens who aren’t suspected of committing a crime. Nonetheless, a third question showed that only around a quarter of Americans (27 percent) take any precautions to avoid surveillance of their personal devices, although that number varies by age: While only 19 percent of adults 65 or over say they take such precautions, that share increases to 35 percent among those under 30. 
  • Overall, just 26 percent of Americans are at least somewhat interested in learning more about the metaverse, but according to polling from Morning Consult conducted Aug. 24-25, that share rises to 63 percent among moviegoers who frequent theaters at least three times a month. That’s even more than gamers (55 percent), sports betters (50 percent) or those with five or more streaming subscriptions (40 percent). Those moviegoers were also much more likely than Americans in general to report having read, heard or seen mentions of the metaverse.

Biden approval

Iranians Are Ready For A Different Approach to Religion and Government 9

According to FiveThirtyEight’s presidential approval tracker,7 42.0 percent of Americans approve of the job Biden is doing as president, while 52.2 percent disapprove (a net approval rating of -10.2 points). At this time last week, 42.5 percent approved and 53.0 percent disapproved (a net approval rating of -10.5 points). One month ago, Biden had an approval rating of 42.4 percent and a disapproval rating of 53.4 percent, for a net approval rating of -11.0 points.

Generic ballot

Iranians Are Ready For A Different Approach to Religion and Government 10

In our average of polls of the generic congressional ballot,8 Democrats currently lead Republicans by 1.3 points (45.3 percent to 44.1 percent). A week ago, Democrats led by 1.9 points (45.2 percent to 43.3 percent). At this time last month, voters preferred Democrats by 0.5 points (44.3 percent to 43.8 percent).

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