Professor: Here's another card Trump could play to win

President Donald J. Trump speaks with military service personnel Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020, during a Thanksgiving video teleconference call from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House. (Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead)

President Trump has another card to play after the Supreme Court rejected the Texas lawsuit he called the “big one,” contends a George Mason university political science professor.

Jeremy D. Mayer, writing in The Hill, said it begins when the House and Senate meet together Jan. 6 to certify the Electoral College vote.

If one member of the House and one member of the Senate challenge any state ballots, the chambers must meet separately and vote on the challenge.

“Given that 126 members of Congress signed on to the Texas lawsuit to overturn Joe Biden’s victory, and that many GOP senators have not accepted Biden as the president-elect, some states are going to be challenged,” he wrote.

Where things “get interesting,” Mayer said is the possibility of a century-old law, the Electoral Count Act, coming into play.

He said the law is “opaque and has never been fully used,” and “may not even be constitutional.”

The New York Times, he noted, has insisted such a scenario would be futile for Republicans. Democrats maintain a narrow House majority, and Senate Republicans such as Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski likely would vote in Biden’s favor. And even if the Senate upholds a challenge, the ECA’s tiebreaking provision favors Biden, because if the two chambers disagree, the electors certified by the state’s governor prevail.

“But what if the Senate never finishes voting?” Mayer asked.

“The ECA limits each challenge to no more than two hours of debate,” he explained. “Four states were questioned in the lawsuit (Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania), making four challenges and eight hours of delay. Even in the Senate, eight hours of debate can’t last more than a couple days, can it?”

He argued the law envisions the ability to challenge electoral votes collectively or individually.

“Surely a crafty legal mind like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) would challenge, not each state, but each electoral vote separately. And as a delaying tactic, why wouldn’t the Trumpers challenge every Biden state, even Delaware?”

The objective, he said, would be to delay, noting that as the presiding officer under the ECA, Vice President Mike Pence could assist.

The endgame maneuver, he said, is the constitutional provision that if there is no Electoral College winner, the Senate chooses the vice president and the House picks the president.

The Senate would choose Pence and, because the House votes by state delegation — which the Republicans control — Trump would be president.

Mayer believes, however, that House Democrats would never let that vote happen, leaving the presidency empty and Democrats claiming, according to the line of succession, that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is president.

There are many scenarios, he said, with Biden likely prevailing, but “what we can say is that this isn’t over yet.”

Talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh discussed Mayer’s scenario at length on Wednesday.

“Look, all of this is a real, real long shot, but I’m just pointing out that they’re worried about it in the Senate,” he told his listeners.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, said Limbaugh, is “worried that somebody in the Republican Party is going to try to trigger this and hope for a long shot of upsetting the applecart and preventing Biden from being selected by the Electoral College.”

McConnell on Tuesday urged his colleagues not to object to the states’ electoral votes when they are received on the House floor.

Meanwhile, in an interview Wednesday, Trump campaign attorney Jenna Ellis said the legal team will continue to contest the election results even after the Jan. 6 meeting of Congress.

“We’re going to continue to press for these critical investigations and I’m happy to see, you know, that Michigan, and Georgia, and other states, and Arizona are starting to make some moves in their state legislatures,” she said told Newsmax.

She insisted it’s not a partisan issue.

“This is something that every American should be concerned with, so we’re going to continue to fight that battle,” she said. “We’re gonna fight regardless of what happens come January 6, and I hope that we do rectify the correct results of this election.”


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'Christmas Star' appears during Jupiter-Saturn conjunction hitting peak on winter solstice – St George News

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Source: Google News, ‘Christmas Star’ appears during Jupiter-Saturn conjunction hitting peak on winter solstice – St George News

Police told not to share immigration data of domestic abuse victims

Victims do not report crimes for fear of data being shared with Home Office, groundbreaking report says

Police officers with doubts over the immigration status of domestic abuse victims should not share their data with the Home Office, a groundbreaking investigation has concluded.

Three police oversight bodies have published a report into the first ever “super-complaint”, submitted by Liberty and Southall Black Sisters, about the police practice of sharing victims’ immigration information with the Home Office.

Continue reading…

Source: The Guardian Politics, Police told not to share immigration data of domestic abuse victims

Factbox: Who will spearhead Biden’s climate, energy and agriculture policies?

December 17, 2020

(Reuters) – President-elect Joe Biden is expected as soon as this week to name members of his core team to overhaul U.S. energy and environment policy to fight climate change, with a goal of bringing the economy to net-zero emissions by 2050.

A key part of his campaign, his climate and environmental justice plan includes ramping up clean energy technology and usage, reducing dependence on fossil fuels, federal procurement of clean energy technology and re-engaging the United States in a global pact to fight warming.

It also aims to tackle racial and economic inequality by addressing air and water pollution in minority, low-income areas located at the fenceline of major industrial facilities.

Here are the people who have made Biden’s shortlist for central roles in his energy and environment agenda:


* Michael Regan, Secretary, North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, since 2017:

Regan emerged as a surprise favorite to lead the agency. In his North Carolina role, he has been part of a push to hold big companies like Duke Energy Corp accountable for pollution and push utilities to adopt more renewable energy. Under his leadership of the state agency, Duke Energy agreed to the largest coal ash cleanup in the United States in January.

* Mary Nichols, chairwoman of California’s Air Resources Board:

As California’s top environmental regulator, she has worked with industry and environmental groups to craft the state’s ambitious environmental regulations, from an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to fuel efficiency requirements for vehicles. The former EPA assistant administrator during the Clinton administration told Reuters that California’s auto emissions deal could serve as a good template for federal standards

*Kevin de Leon, Los Angeles City Council Member:

A major advocate for California’s aggressive climate change policies during his time as president of the state Senate, he authored legislation that required utilities to meet stiff renewable energy targets and that directed cap-and-trade revenues to communities most impacted by pollution. De Leon, the son of a single, immigrant mother, has the backing of several environmental justice groups.

* Heather McTeer Toney, National Field Director of Moms Clean Air Force:

A former regional EPA administrator for the U.S. Southeast during the Obama administration, Toney is a favorite of progressives. She has trained diverse officials on leadership and climate in over 15 countries, including France, Kenya, Nigeria, Portugal and Senegal. She told Reuters the agency should explore how to better use the Civil Rights Act to protect poor and minority communities from pollution

* Collin O’Mara, chief executive officer of the National Wildlife Federation, the country’s biggest wildlife conservation organization:

The federation advocates for the protection of wild lands and animals, as well as for outdoor enthusiasts. Previously the youngest person to head up the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, from 2009 to 2014, O’Mara has been advising Biden’s transition team on policy.

* Richard Revesz, NYU School of Law Institute for Policy Integrity:

The law professor and former dean of NYU law school is an expert in environmental regulation and has been a constant critic of the Trump administration’s deregulatory agenda. Revesz has also been floated as a possible director of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, a key position that oversees regulations to ensure they can survive judicial review and legal challenges.


* Gina McCarthy, president, Natural Resources Defense Council:

McCarthy headed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the Obama administration, and was key to writing his signature climate change policy requiring steep emissions cuts from the electricity sector, the Clean Power Plan.


* Deb Haaland, U.S. representative, New Mexico:

The New Mexico Democrat has emerged as a favorite to run Interior, according to sources, and would be the first Native American to head a Cabinet agency. Her nomination to head the department, which oversees the millions of acres of federal and tribal land, has been pushed by members of Congress, Indigenous leaders and progressive activists. She told Reuters that Interior should be “promoting and increasing clean-energy leases” on federal land and should create more national monuments.

* Tom Udall, U.S. senator, New Mexico:

The son of former Interior Secretary Stewart Udall, Udall is a long-time Biden friend and former aide and is retiring from the Senate this year. He told Reuters that if nominated to the post, he would set a goal to make federal lands carbon-neutral by restoring and protecting forests and shrub lands so they absorb as much carbon as is produced on them, and that President Donald Trump’s moves to open new parts of the Arctic to drilling would be quickly challenged.

* Michael Connor, attorney, WilmerHale:

A Native American, Connor served as Deputy Secretary of the Interior Department under Obama. His early work there focused on negotiations with Indian tribes, state representatives, and private water users to secure water rights settlements. He works as a lawyer on tribal, environmental and energy issues at WilmerHale, alongside former Interior Secretary and Biden friend Ken Salazar.


* Jennifer Granholm, adjunct professor, University of California School of Law:

The former Michigan governor (2003–2011) set up a climate action policy for her state in 2007 and worked with the auto industry and the Obama administration on an auto industry bailout that would spur the deployment of low-emission or zero-emission vehicles. She wrote an opinion piece in the Detroit News about the need for a low-carbon COVID-19 economic recovery.


* Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of U.S. Dairy Export Council:

Biden plans to nominate the former Iowa governor, according to two sources familiar with the decision, a choice that would reassure farmers but disappoint climate and nutrition activists. Vilsack held the job under Obama (2009-2017) and actively campaigned for Biden in farm country, acting as his rural and agriculture adviser during the election bid.

(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici in Washington, Nichola Groom in Los Angeles and Christopher Walljasper in Chicago; Editing by Howard Goller, Aurora Ellis, Neil Fullick and Matthew Lewis)