Syria, Gorsuch, Bill O’Reilly, a federal judge’s tribute to a transgendered teen, more ICE raids, MTV, and our own Professor Justin Levitt on the John Oliver Show. Just one week ago, the world learned the Syrian leader Bashar Assad used saran gas on rebel forces, killing over 70 people in the village of Khan Sheikhoun. Many of the victims were children. The following day, United States Ambassador Nikki Haley read a blistering speech at a United Nation’s Security Council meeting, condemning the Assad regime and its use of chemical weaponry. This was not the first time Assad had used such tactics. In 2013, Assad used saran gas to kill 1400 people in the Damascus suburbs. This outraged the world and resulted in Assad vowing to eliminate any such chemicals from its arsenal.
On Thursday, following the most recent attack using saran gas, the United States launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles targeting the Syrian air base used for deployment of aircraft involved in the attack. This was an apparent change in the Trump Administration’s policy of refraining from interfering in the Syrian conflict.
While all this was going on, Neil Gorsuch was confirmed as our newest Supreme Court Justice, replacing the seat vacated by Antonin Scalia. Yet the confirmation was not without controversy. Because the 60-vote threshold was not reached, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell used the “nuclear option,” which allowed for Gorsuch to be confirmed with a simple majority vote. Gorsuch is anticipated to cast the deciding votes in key cases currently pending before the Supreme Court.
Another story gaining national attention were revelations of numerous sexual harassment suits again Fox News commentator, Bill O’Reilly. Numerous sponsors have since canceled their sponsorship of O’Reilly’s news show.
But there is a ray of sunshine this week in a moving tribute for Gavin Green – the brave youth at the center of G.G. v. Gloucester County – written by Fourth Circuit Justice Andre Davis. Gavin’s case was recently remanded to Fourth Circuit by the Supreme Court after the Trump Administration rescinded guidelines drafted by the Obama Administration. (See discussion in April 4, 2017 Weekly Roundup.)
And while we’re still seeing open displays of animus against minorities world-wide. we’re also seeing powerful counter-responses, as reflected in the articles below. Similarly, there is support for addressing the aggressive ICE tactics toward undocumented immigrants, which have even included deporting Trump supporters. California took the first legal steps toward being a “Sanctuary State.” Similar legislation has been introduced in Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, and New York.
On a lighter note, Twitter and Trump are no longer at war. Trump dropped his lawsuit aimed at forcing Twitter to identify certain individuals voicing opposition to his presidency. And MTV has dropped gender-specific categories for its annual entertainment awards. You also might find interesting an article below relating to a controversy over Marvel comics and its lack of diverse characters.
And, as noted above, our own Professor Justin Levitt was featured on the John Oliver Show. John Oliver gives a hilarious – but very informative – explanation of gerrymandering.
Read Nikki Haley’s Remarks About Syria at the U.N.: http://time.com/4727499/nikki-haley-unsc-transcript-syria/
UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, secretary of State Tillerson contradict on assessments of U.S. Syria policy: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/sarin-gas-used-in-syria-attack-kerry-says/2013/09/01/4b657cb8-1304-11e3-b18a-e00deecb3b8e_story.html?utm_term=.f4f7cda74b40
Sarin gas used in Syria attack, Kerry says (2013 article): https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/sarin-gas-used-in-syria-attack-kerry-says/2013/09/01/4b657cb8-1304-11e3-b18a-e00deecb3b8e_story.html?utm_term=.f4f7cda74b40
Gorsuch may be decisive vote in divisive Supreme Court cases: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/gorsuch-may-decisive-vote-divisive-supreme-court-cases-073723271--politics.html
Gorsuch confirmation further politicizes the Supreme Court: https://gma.yahoo.com/neil-gorsuch-confirmation-further-politicizes-141900420.html
Read what Bill O’Reilly’s sponsors are saying about ‘disturbing allegations’ of harassment / Report on Fox News host spurs advertiser exodus: http://www.channel3000.com/news/money/oreillys-sponsors-on-disturbing-allegations-of-harassment/432726883
It’s Not Every Day That a Federal Judge Pens a Tribute to a Transgender Teen: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/04/federal-judge-just-made-moving-tribute-gavin-grimm
Link to court opinion: http://www.ca4.uscourts.gov/Opinions/Published/161733R1.P.pdf
Hate Crimes / Alt-Right:
People are loving this woman’s reaction to far right protestors. (Note ending line: “I don’t like seeing people getting ganged up on in my town.”)
California Woman Strikes Back at Racist, Trump-Supporting Airbnb Host (Note this involves a California law student who was refused a rental because she was Asian):
California Moves to Become ‘Sanctuary State,’ and Others Look to Follow: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/california-moves-to-become-%E2%80%98sanctuary-state%E2%80%99-and-others-look-to-follow/ar-BBzDszq?li=BBmkt5R&ocid=spartandhp
Donald Trump supporter’s shock as husband is deported to Mexico in immigration clampdown: http://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/donald-trump-supporters-shock-as-husband-is-deported-to-mexico-in-immigration-clampdown/ar-BBztHpm?li=BBoPRmx
Twitter Is No Longer Suing Trump Because Trump Backed Down: https://www.yahoo.com/news/twitter-suing-trump-administration-165657832.html
MTV – Gender-Neutral Awards:
MTV gets rid of gender specific categories for awards: https://gma.yahoo.com/mtv-gets-rid-gender-specific-categories-awards-142604126--abc-news-movies.html
Marvel Comics / Diversity:
The outrage over Marvel’s alleged diversity blaming, explained – Vox: http://www.vox.com/culture/2017/4/4/15169572/marvel-diversity-outrage-gabriel?yptr=yahoo
Justin Levitt / John Oliver Show:
Check back next week!