Category Archives: World

politics news

Judges Decline to Immediately Toss Pennsylvania Congressional map

A new congressional map in Pennsylvania on Friday survived a request from eight of the state’s Republican congressmen that federal judges throw it out immediately, but the case remained far from settled days before candidates will start collecting signatures to get on the primary ballot.

Hours after they were appointed to the case, a three-judge panel declined to temporarily hold up implementation of the map put in place by the state Supreme Court on Monday. The new map substantially overhauls a Republican-drawn one that has helped produce a predominantly Republican delegation and was widely viewed as among the nation’s most gerrymandered.

The three federal judges laid out a schedule for the parties to elaborate on their legal positions, including a March 9 hearing in Harrisburg.

Congressional candidates in Pennsylvania are scheduled to start collecting signatures Tuesday to get their names on the primary ballot.

The GOP congressmen and two Republican state senators sued two high-ranking state elections official Thursday, asking the federal court to require the use of a Republican-drawn 2011 congressional district map for this year’s primary and general elections.

They argued the map the state justices produced was biased in favor of Democrats, and that the state court did not give state lawmakers sufficient time to produce a replacement map.

A lawyer for Democratic Governor Tom Wolf wrote the court Friday on behalf of the elections officials, noting that two other Republican leaders in the Legislature had a request for a stay of the new map pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Deputy General Counsel Thomas Howell asked the federal court to defer action on the congressmen’s lawsuit until that request has been resolved.

‘Rife’ with errors

Howell claimed that the lawsuit against Wolf’s acting secretary of state and the head of the Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation had “significant hurdles” and was “rife with legal and factual errors.”

The judicial panel, named pursuant to a federal law governing constitutional challenges to congressional reapportionment, consists of Judge Christopher Conner, a Pennsylvania-based district judge; Judge Jerome Simandle, a senior district judge from New Jersey; and Judge Kent Jordan, a circuit judge who was formerly a district judge in Delaware.

Conner and Jordan were chosen for the federal bench by President George W. Bush, while Simandle was nominated by President George H.W. Bush.

In the parallel case, House Speaker Mike Turzai and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati on Wednesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to put the new map on hold, arguing state justices had overstepped their authority. On Thursday, the leaders also asked the state Supreme Court to delay the map. Wolf and other parties were given until noon Monday to weigh in.

The 2011 map has helped Republicans maintain a 13-5 edge in the congressional delegation for three elections.

The Democrats who are the majority on the state Supreme Court ruled in January that the 2011 map violated the state constitution’s guarantee of free and equal elections. After lawmakers did not enact a Wolf-supported plan during a two-week window, the judges drew their own map.

Democrats have about 800,000 more registered voters in Pennsylvania, but President Donald Trump, a Republican, narrowly defeated Hillary Clinton in the state during the 2016 election.

Democrats are hopeful that new Pennsylvania congressional districts will help them flip enough Republican seats to retake majority control of the U.S. House this year. Six Pennsylvania congressmen elected in 2016 are not running again, an unusually large number.

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

Judges Decline to Immediately Toss Pennsylvania Congressional map

A new congressional map in Pennsylvania on Friday survived a request from eight of the state’s Republican congressmen that federal judges throw it out immediately, but the case remained far from settled days before candidates will start collecting signatures to get on the primary ballot.

Hours after they were appointed to the case, a three-judge panel declined to temporarily hold up implementation of the map put in place by the state Supreme Court on Monday. The new map substantially overhauls a Republican-drawn one that has helped produce a predominantly Republican delegation and was widely viewed as among the nation’s most gerrymandered.

The three federal judges laid out a schedule for the parties to elaborate on their legal positions, including a March 9 hearing in Harrisburg.

Congressional candidates in Pennsylvania are scheduled to start collecting signatures Tuesday to get their names on the primary ballot.

The GOP congressmen and two Republican state senators sued two high-ranking state elections official Thursday, asking the federal court to require the use of a Republican-drawn 2011 congressional district map for this year’s primary and general elections.

They argued the map the state justices produced was biased in favor of Democrats, and that the state court did not give state lawmakers sufficient time to produce a replacement map.

A lawyer for Democratic Governor Tom Wolf wrote the court Friday on behalf of the elections officials, noting that two other Republican leaders in the Legislature had a request for a stay of the new map pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Deputy General Counsel Thomas Howell asked the federal court to defer action on the congressmen’s lawsuit until that request has been resolved.

‘Rife’ with errors

Howell claimed that the lawsuit against Wolf’s acting secretary of state and the head of the Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation had “significant hurdles” and was “rife with legal and factual errors.”

The judicial panel, named pursuant to a federal law governing constitutional challenges to congressional reapportionment, consists of Judge Christopher Conner, a Pennsylvania-based district judge; Judge Jerome Simandle, a senior district judge from New Jersey; and Judge Kent Jordan, a circuit judge who was formerly a district judge in Delaware.

Conner and Jordan were chosen for the federal bench by President George W. Bush, while Simandle was nominated by President George H.W. Bush.

In the parallel case, House Speaker Mike Turzai and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati on Wednesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to put the new map on hold, arguing state justices had overstepped their authority. On Thursday, the leaders also asked the state Supreme Court to delay the map. Wolf and other parties were given until noon Monday to weigh in.

The 2011 map has helped Republicans maintain a 13-5 edge in the congressional delegation for three elections.

The Democrats who are the majority on the state Supreme Court ruled in January that the 2011 map violated the state constitution’s guarantee of free and equal elections. After lawmakers did not enact a Wolf-supported plan during a two-week window, the judges drew their own map.

Democrats have about 800,000 more registered voters in Pennsylvania, but President Donald Trump, a Republican, narrowly defeated Hillary Clinton in the state during the 2016 election.

Democrats are hopeful that new Pennsylvania congressional districts will help them flip enough Republican seats to retake majority control of the U.S. House this year. Six Pennsylvania congressmen elected in 2016 are not running again, an unusually large number.

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

Trump: White House Chief of Staff to Decide Fate of Kushner Security Clearance

It will be up to the White House chief of staff to decide whether the U.S. president’s son-in-law is able to maintain his security clearance.

That is what President Donald Trump told reporters Friday, declaring that his daughter’s husband, Jared Kushner, had “been treated very unfairly.”

Trump, during a joint news conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, was asked whether Kushner would still be allowed access to classified information.

Chief of Staff John Kelly, in a memo last week, said White House personnel whose clearances had been pending since last June would no longer have access to top-secret documents.

Kushner falls into that category.

Federal process

Trump expressed frustration with the federal government’s process for security clearances, calling it a “broken system and it shouldn’t take this long.”

“People without a problem in the world” are facing unreasonable delays to receive clearances, he said. 

Trump could personally intervene and grant his son-in-law an exemption, but he replied Friday — the day interim clearances are being revoked — that he would not do that.

“I will let General Kelly make that decision and he’s going to do what’s right for the country and I have no doubt he’ll make the right decision,” Trump said.

In a lengthy response in the East Room during the nationally televised news conference, Trump praised Kushner, 37, saying he is “a high-quality person” who “doesn’t get a salary.”

Kushner, a second-generation real estate developer, is “working on peace in the Middle East and some other small and very easy deals.”

Trump said the U.S. effort to make a deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians is “actually making great headway.”

Administration officials are said to be examining ways that Kushner can continue to be engaged in sensitive discussions and his diplomatic missions, which have also included China, without needing a top-level security clearance.

Visiting Seoul, Pyeongchang

Kushner is married to the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, who is currently engaged in her own diplomatic foray.

She received a red-carpet welcome in Seoul on Friday before dining with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the presidential compound.

Ivanka Trump is leading the presidential delegation to Sunday’s closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. 

A top North Korean official is also scheduled to be at the event.

When asked whether the president’s daughter or any other member of the U.S. delegation would be meeting with Kim Yong Chol — vice chairman of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party Central Committee — a senior U.S. official succinctly responded, “No.”

Donald Trump on Thursday and Friday, when asked by VOA during brief encounters with reporters whether he wanted his daughter to meet the North Koreans, did not respond.

During Friday’s news conference he said, “We cannot get a better representative” than Ivanka Trump in South Korea.

The current administration has not nominated an ambassador to Seoul. The top diplomat at the embassy there is interim U.S. Charge d’Affaires Marc Knapper, a top-ranking career foreign service officer.

While in Seoul, Ivanka Trump said she was there “to reaffirm our bonds of friendship and partnership.” But she explained she wanted to “reaffirm our commitment to our maximum-pressure campaign to ensure that the Korean Peninsula is denuclearized.”

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

Trump Recites Inflammatory, Anti-immigrant ‘Snake’ Song

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday recited the lyrics of a song seen as anti-immigration called “The Snake” to drive home his point about restricting immigration — an inflammatory move that harkened back to his days on the campaign trail.

In a speech to conservatives at a convention outside Washington, he also bashed opposition Democrats for failing to back his proposal for putting 1.8 million so-called Dreamer immigrants on a pathway to citizenship in exchange for tightening border security and severely restricting legal immigration.

During his hourlong address, Trump pulled a piece of paper from his pocket and read “The Snake,” a ballad by Al Wilson about a reptile who repays a “tender woman” that nurses it back to health with a deadly bite.

During his campaign, as well as in a speech early in his presidency, Trump used the song, based on one of Aesop’s fables, as a less-than-subtle allegory about immigrants entering the United States. 

Some Republicans recoil

On Friday, he made no secret about the comparison he was making.

“Think of it in terms of immigration,” he urged attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) as he launched into the song.

“You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in,” he said, reading the final line of the song, before returning to his speech.

“And that’s what we’re doing with our country, folks — we’re letting people in, and it’s going to be a lot of people. It’s only going to be worse.”

Some mainstream Republicans have recoiled at Trump’s continued recitation of the lyrics.

“Trump’s snake story is vicious, disgraceful, utterly racist and profoundly un-American,” tweeted Steve Schmidt, a former campaign aide for president George W Bush.

Democrats ‘totally unresponsive’

In his wide-ranging speech, Trump warned that efforts to reach a deal on the status of undocumented migrants brought to the US illegally as children could fail — and blamed his opponents.

“The Democrats are being totally unresponsive. They don’t want to do anything about DACA, I’m telling you,” he said, referring to negotiations on Capitol Hill on replacing an expiring program that defers deportation for some undocumented migrants.

“It’s very possible that DACA won’t happen.”

Former president Barack Obama launched the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, whose recipients were given legal permission to work, live and go to school in the United States. 

DACA-related bills

Last September, Trump announced he was rescinding DACA and called on Congress to craft a solution before March 5, setting off months of bipartisan negotiations.

The Senate held votes on several DACA-related bills last week, but none of them advanced. 

Many conservatives in Congress including Senator Ted Cruz have been outspoken in their opposition to any legislation that provides “amnesty” to people who are in the United States illegally. 

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

Report: Trump, Officials to Discuss Changes to Biofuels Policy

U.S. President Donald Trump has called a meeting early next week with key senators and Cabinet officials to discuss potential changes to biofuels policy, which is coming under increasing pressure after a Pennsylvania refiner blamed the regulation for its bankruptcy, according to four sources familiar with the matter.

The meeting comes as the oil industry and corn lobby clash over the future of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), a decade-old regulation that requires refiners to cover the cost of mixing biofuels such as corn-based ethanol into their fuel.

Trump’s engagement reflects the high political stakes of protecting jobs in a key electoral state. Oil refiner Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES), which employs more than 1,000 people in Philadelphia, declared bankruptcy last month and blamed the regulation for its demise.

Oil, farm state senators

The meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, will include Republican Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst of Iowa, along with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, and potentially Energy Secretary Rick Perry, according to the four sources, who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

One source said the meeting would focus on short-term solutions to help PES continue operating. PES is asking a bankruptcy judge to shed roughly $350 million of its current RFS compliance costs, owed to the EPA which administers the program, as part of its restructuring package.

The other sources said the meeting will consider whether to cap prices for biofuel credits, let higher-ethanol blends be sold all year, and efforts to get speculators out of the market.

Officials at the EPA, Agriculture Department, and Energy Department declined to comment. A White House official, Kelly Love, said she had no announcement on the matter at this time.

The offices of Cruz, Ernst and Grassley did not immediately return requests for comment.

The sources said the options moving forward would be constrained by political and legal realities that have derailed previous efforts at reform.

The Trump administration has considered changes to the RFS sought by refiners this year, including reducing the amount of biofuels required to be blended annually under the regulation or shifting the responsibility for blending to supply terminals, only to retreat in the face of opposition from corn-state lawmakers.

​Narrow options, broad resistance

The EPA is expected to weigh in officially in the coming weeks on request by PES to the bankruptcy judge to be released from its compliance obligations. But any such move would likely draw a backlash from other U.S. refiners, who have no hope of receiving a waiver.

Under the RFS, refiners must earn or purchase blending credits called RINs to prove they are complying with the regulation. As biofuels volume quotas have increased, so have prices for the credits, meaning refiners that invested in blending facilities have benefited while those that have not, such as PES, have had to pay up.

PES said its RFS compliance costs exceeded its payroll last year, and ranked only behind the cost of purchasing crude oil.

Other issues may have contributed to PES’ financial difficulties. Reuters reported that PES’ investor backers withdrew from the company more than $594 million in a series of dividend-style distributions since 2012, even as regional refining economics slumped.

Regulators and lawmakers have been considering how to cut the cost of the RFS to the oil industry.

In recent months, for example, the EPA has contemplated expanding its use of an exemption available to small refineries, a move that would likely push down RIN prices, but which both the oil and corn industries have said would be unfair.

Cruz last year proposed limiting the price of RINs to 10 cents, a fraction of their current value — an idea that was roundly rejected by the ethanol industry as a disincentive for new ethanol blending infrastructure investment.

Senator John Cornyn, also a Texas Republican, is preparing draft legislation to overhaul the RFS in Congress that would include the creation of a new specialized RIN credit intended to push down prices, but it too faces resistance from both the corn and oil lobbies.

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

Report: Trump, Officials to Discuss Changes to Biofuels Policy

U.S. President Donald Trump has called a meeting early next week with key senators and Cabinet officials to discuss potential changes to biofuels policy, which is coming under increasing pressure after a Pennsylvania refiner blamed the regulation for its bankruptcy, according to four sources familiar with the matter.

The meeting comes as the oil industry and corn lobby clash over the future of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), a decade-old regulation that requires refiners to cover the cost of mixing biofuels such as corn-based ethanol into their fuel.

Trump’s engagement reflects the high political stakes of protecting jobs in a key electoral state. Oil refiner Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES), which employs more than 1,000 people in Philadelphia, declared bankruptcy last month and blamed the regulation for its demise.

Oil, farm state senators

The meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, will include Republican Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst of Iowa, along with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, and potentially Energy Secretary Rick Perry, according to the four sources, who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

One source said the meeting would focus on short-term solutions to help PES continue operating. PES is asking a bankruptcy judge to shed roughly $350 million of its current RFS compliance costs, owed to the EPA which administers the program, as part of its restructuring package.

The other sources said the meeting will consider whether to cap prices for biofuel credits, let higher-ethanol blends be sold all year, and efforts to get speculators out of the market.

Officials at the EPA, Agriculture Department, and Energy Department declined to comment. A White House official, Kelly Love, said she had no announcement on the matter at this time.

The offices of Cruz, Ernst and Grassley did not immediately return requests for comment.

The sources said the options moving forward would be constrained by political and legal realities that have derailed previous efforts at reform.

The Trump administration has considered changes to the RFS sought by refiners this year, including reducing the amount of biofuels required to be blended annually under the regulation or shifting the responsibility for blending to supply terminals, only to retreat in the face of opposition from corn-state lawmakers.

​Narrow options, broad resistance

The EPA is expected to weigh in officially in the coming weeks on request by PES to the bankruptcy judge to be released from its compliance obligations. But any such move would likely draw a backlash from other U.S. refiners, who have no hope of receiving a waiver.

Under the RFS, refiners must earn or purchase blending credits called RINs to prove they are complying with the regulation. As biofuels volume quotas have increased, so have prices for the credits, meaning refiners that invested in blending facilities have benefited while those that have not, such as PES, have had to pay up.

PES said its RFS compliance costs exceeded its payroll last year, and ranked only behind the cost of purchasing crude oil.

Other issues may have contributed to PES’ financial difficulties. Reuters reported that PES’ investor backers withdrew from the company more than $594 million in a series of dividend-style distributions since 2012, even as regional refining economics slumped.

Regulators and lawmakers have been considering how to cut the cost of the RFS to the oil industry.

In recent months, for example, the EPA has contemplated expanding its use of an exemption available to small refineries, a move that would likely push down RIN prices, but which both the oil and corn industries have said would be unfair.

Cruz last year proposed limiting the price of RINs to 10 cents, a fraction of their current value — an idea that was roundly rejected by the ethanol industry as a disincentive for new ethanol blending infrastructure investment.

Senator John Cornyn, also a Texas Republican, is preparing draft legislation to overhaul the RFS in Congress that would include the creation of a new specialized RIN credit intended to push down prices, but it too faces resistance from both the corn and oil lobbies.

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

GOP Congressmen Challenge New Pennsylvania District Map

Pennsylvania’s highest court overstepped its authority in drawing new congressional district lines and did not give state lawmakers enough time to produce a map of their own, eight Republican congressmen said in a lawsuit filed Thursday.

The complaint in Harrisburg federal court argued against the legality of the map put in place Monday by the state Supreme Court, and said a 2011 Republican-crafted map should remain in use this year.

The plaintiffs are suing top elections officials under Democratic Governor Tom Wolf, asking for an injunction to prevent the Department of State from implementing the new plan.

“Far from being free of politics, it appears every choice in the court-drawn plan was to pack Republicans into as few districts as possible, while advantaging Democrats,” the plaintiffs alleged.

The Philadelphia-based Public Interest Law Center, which helped argue the successful case against the 2011 map in the state courts, on Thursday called the Republican lawsuit “baseless” and in a federal court filing said independent analysts found the court’s map shows no sign of partisan bias. The law center also said that Republicans who control the state Legislature never tried to pass a replacement map in the time allotted by the court.

A separate legal challenge to the new map by two senior Republican legislative leaders is currently awaiting action by the U.S. Supreme Court.

A spokesman for Wolf said he and the elections agency “are complying with the court’s order to implement the remedial map and assuring the commonwealth is prepared for the primary election.”

The 2011 map is widely considered among the nation’s most gerrymandered, a mélange of jagged lines and odd shapes that include one likened to the cartoon character Goofy kicking Donald Duck. Some Republicans acknowledge the map was gerrymandered, but say that is not unconstitutional.

It has proven to be a political winner for the GOP, helping the party maintain a 13-5 edge in the state’s congressional delegation over three straight election cycles. Democrats have about 800,000 more registered voters and a recent winning record in statewide elections, although Republicans hold wide majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly. Republican President Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania in 2016.

‘Partisan skew’

An analysis conducted through PlanScore.org concluded the state court’s redrawn map would eliminate “much of the partisan skew” favoring Republicans on the old GOP-drawn map, but not all of it.

Democrats hope a new map in Pennsylvania will help them retake majority control of the U.S. House this year. Six congressmen elected in 2016 are not running again, an unusually large number that has helped draw a slew of would-be candidates seeking to replace them.

The plaintiffs include seven Republican members of Congress who are expected to seek re-election: Reps. Ryan Costello, Mike Kelly, Tom Marino, Scott Perry, Keith Rothfus, Lloyd Smucker and Glenn Thompson.

Not among them is U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, a Republican from the Philadelphia suburbs who wants to turn over redistricting to an independent, non-partisan commission.

Incumbents said they have already spent money on re-election campaigns in their existing districts, and that ongoing work to help constituents they may no longer represent is likely to be disrupted.

Legal scramble

The federal lawsuit was filed the day after Republicans asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the court-ordered map from being implemented. Some of the same lawyers worked on both filings, and the approaches are notably similar.

In throwing out the 2011 map in January, all five Democrats on the state Supreme Court sided with Democratic voters who challenged the map, saying it ran afoul of the state constitution’s guarantee of free and equal elections. One of the Democratic justices, Max Baer, has been critical of the compressed time frame. The new lawsuit drew heavily from the minority opinions in the state case filed by Baer and the court’s two Republican justices, Thomas Saylor and Sallie Mundy.

The legal scramble comes on the eve of a very busy time for congressional candidates hoping to get on the May 15 primary ballot. Congressional candidates have from Feb. 27 to March 20 to collect and submit enough signatures to qualify.

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

GOP Congressmen Challenge New Pennsylvania District Map

Pennsylvania’s highest court overstepped its authority in drawing new congressional district lines and did not give state lawmakers enough time to produce a map of their own, eight Republican congressmen said in a lawsuit filed Thursday.

The complaint in Harrisburg federal court argued against the legality of the map put in place Monday by the state Supreme Court, and said a 2011 Republican-crafted map should remain in use this year.

The plaintiffs are suing top elections officials under Democratic Governor Tom Wolf, asking for an injunction to prevent the Department of State from implementing the new plan.

“Far from being free of politics, it appears every choice in the court-drawn plan was to pack Republicans into as few districts as possible, while advantaging Democrats,” the plaintiffs alleged.

The Philadelphia-based Public Interest Law Center, which helped argue the successful case against the 2011 map in the state courts, on Thursday called the Republican lawsuit “baseless” and in a federal court filing said independent analysts found the court’s map shows no sign of partisan bias. The law center also said that Republicans who control the state Legislature never tried to pass a replacement map in the time allotted by the court.

A separate legal challenge to the new map by two senior Republican legislative leaders is currently awaiting action by the U.S. Supreme Court.

A spokesman for Wolf said he and the elections agency “are complying with the court’s order to implement the remedial map and assuring the commonwealth is prepared for the primary election.”

The 2011 map is widely considered among the nation’s most gerrymandered, a mélange of jagged lines and odd shapes that include one likened to the cartoon character Goofy kicking Donald Duck. Some Republicans acknowledge the map was gerrymandered, but say that is not unconstitutional.

It has proven to be a political winner for the GOP, helping the party maintain a 13-5 edge in the state’s congressional delegation over three straight election cycles. Democrats have about 800,000 more registered voters and a recent winning record in statewide elections, although Republicans hold wide majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly. Republican President Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania in 2016.

‘Partisan skew’

An analysis conducted through PlanScore.org concluded the state court’s redrawn map would eliminate “much of the partisan skew” favoring Republicans on the old GOP-drawn map, but not all of it.

Democrats hope a new map in Pennsylvania will help them retake majority control of the U.S. House this year. Six congressmen elected in 2016 are not running again, an unusually large number that has helped draw a slew of would-be candidates seeking to replace them.

The plaintiffs include seven Republican members of Congress who are expected to seek re-election: Reps. Ryan Costello, Mike Kelly, Tom Marino, Scott Perry, Keith Rothfus, Lloyd Smucker and Glenn Thompson.

Not among them is U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, a Republican from the Philadelphia suburbs who wants to turn over redistricting to an independent, non-partisan commission.

Incumbents said they have already spent money on re-election campaigns in their existing districts, and that ongoing work to help constituents they may no longer represent is likely to be disrupted.

Legal scramble

The federal lawsuit was filed the day after Republicans asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the court-ordered map from being implemented. Some of the same lawyers worked on both filings, and the approaches are notably similar.

In throwing out the 2011 map in January, all five Democrats on the state Supreme Court sided with Democratic voters who challenged the map, saying it ran afoul of the state constitution’s guarantee of free and equal elections. One of the Democratic justices, Max Baer, has been critical of the compressed time frame. The new lawsuit drew heavily from the minority opinions in the state case filed by Baer and the court’s two Republican justices, Thomas Saylor and Sallie Mundy.

The legal scramble comes on the eve of a very busy time for congressional candidates hoping to get on the May 15 primary ballot. Congressional candidates have from Feb. 27 to March 20 to collect and submit enough signatures to qualify.

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

Widow Disgusted by Indiana Immigration Ad Featuring Husband

The widow of an Uber driver killed in a suspected drunken driving crash said her family has been “devastated” by a political ad featuring her deceased husband, an Indianapolis Colts player who was also killed and the Guatemalan immigrant charged with their deaths.

Deb Monroe, the widow of driver Jeffrey Monroe, told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday that Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike Braun should take his ad off the air.  

“Why would you do this? He has not even been in the ground two weeks,” said Monroe. “You could have had the decency to wait and let us deal with our loss.”  

The ad by Braun, who has yet to address to Monroe’s concerns, comes in the midst of a heated GOP Senate primary. And it’s just the latest example of a political figure, among them President Donald Trump, seizing on the Feb. 4 deaths of Monroe and Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson. 

The two were struck while standing outside Monroe’s car along Interstate 70 after Jackson, 26, became ill while Monroe, 54, was transporting him for the ride-hailing company, police said.

​Trump tweeted about the tragedy, calling it “disgraceful” that the man charged with the crime, Manuel Orrego-Savala, 37, was a twice-deported immigrant in the country illegally. Braun’s GOP primary rivals both released statements in the wake of the fatal crash. 

The ad, which is narrated by Braun, displays Orrego-Savala’s mug shot as well as pictures of Monroe and Jackson.

“Politicians in Washington have ignored this issue for far too long,” Braun intones. “We must build the wall, ban sanctuary cities and put an end to chain migration. There are lives at stake.”

Deb Monroe said calls for a crackdown on immigrants are beside the point. 

“Immigration didn’t kill my husband,” said Monroe, 62, of Avon, Indiana. “The idiot that chose to drink and get behind the wheel of a 5,000 pound vehicle did.”

She added: “If he had been sober and gone by them on the road, you wouldn’t even know he was in the country.”

Furthermore, she said her husband of 26 years was against building a wall along the southern U.S. border. 

“He felt the wall was a waste of money, that it could be used better someplace else,” she said. 

Immigration has been a hot button issue in Indiana’s Republican Senate primary, which features two sitting congressman squaring off against Braun. Rep. Todd Rokita has embraced Trump’s anti-immigration stances and Rep. Luke Messer recently sharpened his own tone. 

But the ad by Braun, a businessman and former state lawmaker, takes it to a new level. 

Monroe said she phoned Braun’s campaign to request that they take the ad off the air, but they have not returned her call. 

Campaign spokesman Josh Kelley declined to address questions about whether Braun would heed her request, or if they plan on returning her call. 

“Mike Braun believes that Washington needs to stop illegal immigration, build the wall, and keep criminal illegals like the one that killed Jeffrey Monroe and Edwin Jackson out of Indiana,” Kelley wrote in an emailed statement. He added: “Mike and his family are praying for the families of the victims.”

Deb Monroe said politicians have been all too happy to “exploit” her husband’s death.  

“Everyone is upset over this,” Monroe said. “I can’t let them do this to his name. I just can’t.” 

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

Widow Disgusted by Indiana Immigration Ad Featuring Husband

The widow of an Uber driver killed in a suspected drunken driving crash said her family has been “devastated” by a political ad featuring her deceased husband, an Indianapolis Colts player who was also killed and the Guatemalan immigrant charged with their deaths.

Deb Monroe, the widow of driver Jeffrey Monroe, told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday that Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike Braun should take his ad off the air.  

“Why would you do this? He has not even been in the ground two weeks,” said Monroe. “You could have had the decency to wait and let us deal with our loss.”  

The ad by Braun, who has yet to address to Monroe’s concerns, comes in the midst of a heated GOP Senate primary. And it’s just the latest example of a political figure, among them President Donald Trump, seizing on the Feb. 4 deaths of Monroe and Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson. 

The two were struck while standing outside Monroe’s car along Interstate 70 after Jackson, 26, became ill while Monroe, 54, was transporting him for the ride-hailing company, police said.

​Trump tweeted about the tragedy, calling it “disgraceful” that the man charged with the crime, Manuel Orrego-Savala, 37, was a twice-deported immigrant in the country illegally. Braun’s GOP primary rivals both released statements in the wake of the fatal crash. 

The ad, which is narrated by Braun, displays Orrego-Savala’s mug shot as well as pictures of Monroe and Jackson.

“Politicians in Washington have ignored this issue for far too long,” Braun intones. “We must build the wall, ban sanctuary cities and put an end to chain migration. There are lives at stake.”

Deb Monroe said calls for a crackdown on immigrants are beside the point. 

“Immigration didn’t kill my husband,” said Monroe, 62, of Avon, Indiana. “The idiot that chose to drink and get behind the wheel of a 5,000 pound vehicle did.”

She added: “If he had been sober and gone by them on the road, you wouldn’t even know he was in the country.”

Furthermore, she said her husband of 26 years was against building a wall along the southern U.S. border. 

“He felt the wall was a waste of money, that it could be used better someplace else,” she said. 

Immigration has been a hot button issue in Indiana’s Republican Senate primary, which features two sitting congressman squaring off against Braun. Rep. Todd Rokita has embraced Trump’s anti-immigration stances and Rep. Luke Messer recently sharpened his own tone. 

But the ad by Braun, a businessman and former state lawmaker, takes it to a new level. 

Monroe said she phoned Braun’s campaign to request that they take the ad off the air, but they have not returned her call. 

Campaign spokesman Josh Kelley declined to address questions about whether Braun would heed her request, or if they plan on returning her call. 

“Mike Braun believes that Washington needs to stop illegal immigration, build the wall, and keep criminal illegals like the one that killed Jeffrey Monroe and Edwin Jackson out of Indiana,” Kelley wrote in an emailed statement. He added: “Mike and his family are praying for the families of the victims.”

Deb Monroe said politicians have been all too happy to “exploit” her husband’s death.  

“Everyone is upset over this,” Monroe said. “I can’t let them do this to his name. I just can’t.” 

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!
1 2 3 56