the runoff 1.1
Last Friday President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order suspending the “Issuance of Visas and Other Immigration Benefits to Nationals of Countries of Particular Concern.” The so-called “Muslim ban” would bar from entry into the US people from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. On Saturday, amid nationwide protests and global denouncements (including this memorable speech at SeaTac airport by Washington governor Jay Inslee), a federal judge issued an emergency stay for those in transit or detained at US airports.
On Monday former President Obama released a statement many believe to be critical of the immigration ban (the statement did not reference the executive order or Trump), claiming he “fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith.” Nearly 1,000 current State Department officials have, likewise, signed a “Dissent Channel” memo criticizing the executive order.
Also on Monday: after acting Attorney General Sally Yates directed the Justice Department not to defend the immigration ban, she was removed from her office and replaced with Dana Boente. By Thursday the Justice Department had released a memo approving the immigration ban.
For a balanced report from The Atlantic on what the ban does and does not do, click here.
A different kind of ban
Lost in the controversy surrounding Trump’s immigration ban is another executive order barring administration officials from (1) lobbying their own government agencies for five years after their contract of service, (2) lobbying any government appointee for two years, or (3) ever lobbying on behalf of foreign governments. “Draining the swamp” was a key message of Trump’s campaign.
Restoring meaningful democracy
A panel of three federal judges ruled that Wisconsin legislative maps as currently drawn are unconstitutional, and ordered the Wisconsin legislature to redraw more balanced maps by November 1, 2017. This was the first significant victory in an ongoing nationwide legal battle to eliminate gerrymandering.
‘An act of terrorism’
On Sunday a man walked into a mosque in Quebec City and opened fire, killing six people and wounding eight. The alleged shooter, Alexandre Bissonnette, holds far-right views and is an admirer of Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right political party National Front and a candidate for the French presidency.
On Tuesday night Donald Trump officially nominated federal appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the Supreme Court vacancy. Gorsuch is a self-described “originalist” with “eerie” parallels to recently deceased Justice Antonin Scalia, according to SCOTUSblog. A Bush administration appointee in 2006, Gorsuch is known for the lucid writing style of his legal opinions. His nomination has received support from both conservative and liberal quarters, most notably from Norm Eisen and Neal Katyal, who both served in the Obama administration.
To learn more about Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, take a look at this story from POLITICO.
The hashtag #StopPresidentBannon was trending on Twitter after Donald Trump gave senior White House strategist Steve Bannon a spot on the National Security Council while effectively demoting the director of national intelligence and the joint chiefs of staff to “as needed” attendees. Bannon’s appointment was criticized by both Republican and Democratic officials, including John McCain and Bernie Sanders.
For more on Steve Bannon, we recommend "#PresidentBannon," the recent podcast episode from On the Media.
Trump puts Iran ON NOTICE via Twitter following an Iranian missile test and rips Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull for an Obama-era agreement concerning Australian refugees, calling it “the worst deal ever”…UC Berkeley cancels a Milo Yiannopoulos speaking engagement after protests turn violent…Rex Tillerson confirmed as Secretary of State…Betsy DeVos’s nomination as Education Secretary in danger after two Republican Senators say they’ll vote against her.