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Guy Verhofstadt LAUGHS as he considers Theresa May could be OUSTED in Brexit chaos

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Trump SCOTUS pick Amy Coney Barrett’s past critiques on Obamacare face scrutiny

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WASHINGTON — Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s expected Supreme Court nominee whose appointment could cement a conservative court majority for a generation, is on record criticizing past jurisprudence upholding the Affordable Care Act.

In a 2017 Notre Dame Law School article, Barrett quoted from the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who protested 2012 and 2015 rulings upholding core provisions of the law and lamented that Obamacare should be renamed “SCOTUScare.”

Barrett’s scholarly writings are giving fuel to Democratic arguments that her appointment could upend health coverage for 20 million Americans. They provide her opponents with a paper trail of comments on the politically salient health care law which they lacked with Trump’s prior Court nominees Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.

“For Justice Scalia and those who share his commitment to uphold text, the measure of a court is its fair-minded application of the rule of law, which means going where the law leads. By this measure, it is illegitimate for the Court to distort either the Constitution or a statute to achieve what it deems a preferable result,” Barrett wrote in the January 2017 article.

Regarding a 2012 ruling upholding the law’s individual mandate by a 5 to 4 margin, Barrett also criticized Chief Justice John Roberts, saying he had “pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute.”

Barrett would be Trump’s third appointment to the nation’s highest court; and with Republicans in control of the Senate, Democrats say they are clear-eyed about their limited procedural options for halting the appointment, which would come weeks — if not days — before an election Trump is already saying he expects to be decided by the Supreme Court.

With the nation experiencing a pandemic that’s already claimed 200,000 lives and left at least 6 million with potential COVID-related “pre-existing” conditions, Democrats are focusing on health care to persuade voters that Barrett’s appointment will have a direct impact on their lives, with a new lawsuit led by Texas, and supported by the Trump administration, coming before the Supreme Court on November 10.

Some legal scholars say Barrett’s past writings indicate sympathy for prior challenges to Obamacare, but don’t reveal how she’d rule in the upcoming case, which hinges on a different legal question.

Jonathan Adler, a professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law and an architect of the 2015 legal challenge to ACA subsidies, said Barrett’s passage evoking “SCOTUScare” was “a fairly straightforward description of the Scalia dissent.”

“Given her embrace of textualism, it might be fair to suggest she found his opinion more convincing than the majority,” he said. “The second indicates some disapproval for the Chief Justice’s NFIB opinion and its stretching of the text.”

But Adler said that wouldn’t be inconsistent with believing the pending Texas case should fail.

“Neither tells us much of anything about her views of the current ACA suit, however, as many of us who thought Roberts was wrong in NFIB, and that Scalia was correct in King, believe that Texas should lose the current case,” he said in an email.

Nicholas Bagley, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School and a critic of recent ACA litigation, said that Barrett’s article suggests she would’ve sided with Scalia in the 2012 case, but said it “doesn’t tell us anything about how she’d rule in a case that’s significantly weaker.”

Still, Bagley warned not to discount the legal danger Obamacare faces after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who voted in the majority in both cases involving the law.

“I think ACA supporters should be concerned,” he said in an email. “Not panicked: the lawsuit is weak and the Supreme Court is unlikely to endorse it. But a small risk of a bad thing is worth worrying about.”

Republicans have failed to undo the ACA legislatively, despite controlling Congress and White House for two years of Trump’s administration, and haven’t offered a replacement if the lawsuit succeeds.

“Where is that Republican substitute bill?” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., asked in a Judiciary Committee hearing this week.

Demand Justice, a progressive group that plans to spend as much as $10 million to build opposition to Barrett’s nomination, released an ad Friday warning that if Barrett “were on the Supreme Court, millions of Americans could lose their health insurance.”

A Senate Republican aide familiar with the nomination process said it’s a “fool’s errand to predict how judges will rule” on particular cases, such as the ACA lawsuit, after they’re confirmed. The aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity, indicated that Barrett is likely to address the issue during the process.

As a candidate, Trump criticized Chief Justice John Roberts for voting to uphold the ACA, tweeting: “My judicial appointments will do the right thing, unlike Bush’s appointee John Roberts on Obamacare.”

“We should be rightly concerned that he’s going to keep his word,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee said during a Thursday hearing.



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National Trust should SAY SORRY: MPs demand funding cut after Winston Churchill smear

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AN INFLUENTIAL group of Conservative MPs has demanded that the Government cuts off funding to the National Trust until it apologises for “smearing the name” of Winston Churchill and other British heroes.

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Trump unveils ‘Platinum Plan’ in Atlanta to attempt to boost lagging Black voter support

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President Trump on Friday unveiled his so-called “Platinum Plan” at an event in Atlanta, which is aimed at investing $500 billion in Black communities.

Trump did not disclose how the plan would be funded but that it would boost lending to Black-owned businesses, reduce taxes, and also include education, healthcare, and criminal justice reforms. He also said the plan would make Juneteenth, a holiday celebrated by Black Americans that marks the end of slavery in the U.S., a national holiday.

He said that the plan would focus on the prosecution of the Ku Klux Klan and antifa as well as designating the groups as terrorist organizations, and make lynching a national hate crime.

“When I ran for president four years ago, I looked at the shameful record of the Democrat party, and asked black Americans, ‘What the hell do you have to lose?’” Trump told the crowd. “I want to share what you have to gain from voting Republican on November 3rd – the biggest election of our lives. For decades, Democrat politicians like Joe Biden have taken Black voters for granted.”

In Georgia, a reliably red state, Trump and former vice president Joe Biden are near-deadlocked, according to recent polling. A New York Times/Siena poll shows both men at 45 percent and a Monmouth poll shows Trump at 4 percent and Biden at 46 percent among all registered voters.

Trump has also struggled among Black voters, who favor Biden over Trump by an 80 percent-to-6 percent margin in a July NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Trump has long made overtures to the Black community as a candidate and as president but has a dearth of Black senior staff members in his administration.

Much of his plan has already been introduced as legislation or contradicted by his own officials.

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., who is Biden’s running mate, has introduced legislation to make Juneteenth a national holiday, as well as other lawmakers from both sides. Harris’ legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime has also been repeatedly stalled by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., a staunch supporter of the president.

FBI Director Christopher Wray told lawmakers earlier this month that antifa — short for “anti-fascists” — is an ideology, not an organization, which put him at odds with Trump, who has repeatedly said he would designate it a terror group. Also, following the murder of George Floyd, millions signed petitions to name the KKK a domestic terrorist group, but the plan has yet to bear fruit.

“In 2016, President Trump asked Black Americans ‘What the hell do you have to lose?’ The answer was everything,” Biden’s campaign said in a statement on Saturday. “President Trump has been in office for nearly 4 years and the results have been devastating for Black Americans. Trump lied about the danger of COVID-19 and failed to contain the virus and tens of thousands of Black Americans have lost their lives.”

“Now with 39 days to the election, Trump is making more empty promises,” the statement said. “Black voters won’t fall for it.”

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