NewsMax America

Adding more justices to the high court is "maybe an argument worth taking seriously," Christopher Scalia said Wednesday in response to some 2020 Democrats' push to do so.

Scalia, the son of the late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, also said some proposals were "unconstitutional," including an idea proposed by South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg to add five members who would "only be seated by unanimous agreement of the other 10."

"The problem with that," Scalia told "Your World with Neil Cavuto" during an interview on Fox News, "is, obviously Section 2, Article II of the Constitution makes very clear that the president has the power and authority to nominate and, with the advice and consent of the Senate, to appoint Supreme Court justices. So, I mean, I don't know what . . . these candidates are talking about, but they certainly can't have justices appoint their colleagues. So, that would require an [constitutional] amendment that I just don't think has a snowball's chance anywhere of being ratified."

Other Democratic presidential candidates have proposed changes to the high court, including Beto O'Rourke, who last week said he would be open to the idea of restructuring the court to have five Republican justices and five Democratic justices.

Source: NewsMax America

A new bill in the Florida State Legislature would make the practice of leaving animals behind during natural disasters illegal and punishable by a fine and possibly jail time.

According to the Miami Herald, Senate Bill 1738 was introduced by Republican Joe Gruters, a member of Florida's Senate, on March 1. Pet owners in violation of the law could be slapped with a $5,000 fine and up to one year behind bars because of an animal cruelty charge, which is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor.

The Florida Senate is considering the bill, which according to the Herald would go into effect on July 1 if it makes it through the legislative process. It already passed in the Senate Agriculture Committee on Monday by a 5-0 vote.

The law would be applicable during all natural disasters and during both mandatory and voluntary evacuations. Pet owners would be subjected to it if they retrain their animals outside and then leave the property to escape the storm.

"We want to give these dogs a fighting chance," Gruters said during Monday's Agriculture Committee hearing, according to The Palm Beach Post.

Source: NewsMax America

A growing number of Americans say immigration levels should remain the same or increase, according to a major U.S. survey, a shift that comes as the Trump administration has ramped up immigration enforcement.

At the same time, the latest data from the General Social Survey — a widely respected poll that has measured trends on American attitudes since the 1970s — shows a growing partisan divide on the topic over the past decade.

The 2018 survey was released this week and shows 34 percent of Americans want immigration levels to be reduced, down from 41 percent in 2016, according to an analysis by The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and GSS staff.

That's compared with 23 percent of Americans who want more immigration, up from 17 percent in 2016. Forty-one percent say they want immigration levels to stay the same.

It's the first time since the survey question was first asked in 2004 that more Americans want immigration to remain the same than to be reduced.

The survey is conducted every two years, and the question was last asked before President Donald Trump took office and made it harder for people to immigrate to the United States.

Trump — who made immigration enforcement a centerpiece of his election campaign — has repeatedly called for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, and his push for wall funding last year drove the federal government to a monthlong shutdown that furloughed hundreds of thousands of government workers.

The administration enacted a travel ban for citizens of mostly Muslim countries, including Iran and Yemen, that has torn many families apart. And officials last year separated immigrant parents from their children to prosecute illegal border crossers, a move that sparked an international outcry.

"People are more tolerant of immigration than the president and the far right would have us believe," said Louis DeSipio, a political science professor at the University of California, Irvine.

According to the survey, nearly three times as many Democrats as Republicans want more immigrants allowed into the country, while Republicans are more than twice as likely as Democrats to favor less immigration.

But fewer Republicans want a reduction in immigration than did in 2016. In 2018, 52 percent of Republicans said they wanted less immigration, down from 62 percent two years earlier.

Forty-four percent of Democrats say they want immigration levels to remain the same, while 34 percent want an increase in immigration.

The survey — which does not distinguish between illegal and legal immigration — also looked at Americans' views on the issue by race. About 41 percent of whites want a decrease in immigration, while only 24 percent of blacks and 22 percent of Hispanics say the same.

Trump has made immigration an intensely political issue, and also an issue of race, said Manuel Pastor, director of the University of Southern California's Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration.

"Trump is trying to create a Republican Party that's much more based in an older, white electorate in nonmetropolitan areas of the country," Pastor said. "The Democrats are trying to put together political coalitions that have a deep base in metropolitan areas, and that includes many more people of color."

The General Social Survey has been conducted since 1972 by NORC at the University of Chicago, primarily using in-person interviewing.

Sample sizes for each year's survey vary from about 1,500 to about 3,000 adults, with margins of error falling between plus or minus 2.2 percentage points and plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

The most recent survey was conducted April 12 through November 10, 2018 and includes interviews with 2,348 American adults. MARGIN OF ERROR?


Source: NewsMax America

A descendant of an American slave on Wednesday sued Harvard University to gain possession of photos of her great-great-great grandfather that the school commissioned in 1850 on behalf of a professor trying to prove the inferiority of black people.

The photos, depicting a black man named Renty and his daughter Delia, were taken as part of a study by Harvard Professor Louis Agassiz and are among the earliest known photos of American slaves. They are currently kept at the Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnography at Harvard's Cambridge, Massachusetts campus.

A representative for Harvard declined to comment and said the university had not yet been served with the complaint.

Tamara Lanier of Norwich, Connecticut, who claims to be the great-great-great-granddaughter of Renty, accused Harvard of celebrating its former professor who studied "racist pseudoscience" and profiting from photos that were taken without Renty and his daughter's consent.

"What I hope we're able to accomplish is to show the world who Renty is," Lanier said at a news conference in New York. "I think this case is important because it will test the moral climate of this country and force this country to reckon with its long history of racism."

Agassiz encountered Renty and Delia when he was touring plantations in South Carolina for a research project sanctioned by Harvard that sought to support his view that black people were a different species, according to the lawsuit.

Lanier, who filed the lawsuit in Middlesex County Superior Court in Massachusetts, established her relationship to the photographed slaves with family oral history and genealogical information, her lawyers said. She previously asked the university to give her the photos, but Harvard refused, she said.

"By denying Ms. Lanier's superior claim to the daguerreotypes, Harvard is perpetuating the systematic subversion of black property rights that began during slavery and continued for a century thereafter," the complaint said, referring to an early form of photography.

In addition to gaining possession of the photos, Lanier is seeking compensation for emotional distress and Harvard's acknowledgement that it was "complicit in perpetuating and justifying the institution of slavery."

Harvard is the latest elite academic institution criticized for its failure to reckon with a racist past. In 2016, a member of Yale University's kitchen staff shattered a stained glass window depicting slaves in a field, drawing national attention and overwhelming support from students who took up his protest against what they said was Yale's implicit endorsement of a racist history.

Source: NewsMax America

The Supreme Court was about to adjourn for the day Wednesday when a Georgia baritone politely inquired of the lawyer at the lectern.

Justice Clarence Thomas, the court's only African-American member and lone Southerner, broke a three-year silence at high court arguments with a couple of questions in a case about racial discrimination in the South.

The case involves a black Mississippi death row inmate who's been tried six times for murder and a white prosecutor with a history of excluding African-Americans from juries by using peremptory strikes, for which no explanation is required. The prosecutor excused five African-Americans from the jury in inmate Curtis Flowers' sixth trial.

"Would you kindly tell us whether you exercised any peremptories?" Thomas asked Sheri Lynn Johnson, Flowers' Supreme Court lawyer.

If so, Thomas wanted to know, "What was the race of the jurors?"

In Flowers' sixth trial, Johnson said, Flowers' lawyer excused three white jurors.

Even Thomas' conservative colleagues seemed to favor Flowers in the course of the hourlong session, and the justice's questions seemed intended to show that both sides can be conscious of race in jury selection.

In a similar case from Georgia in 2016, Thomas was the only dissenter when the court ruled for a black Georgia inmate. Thomas wrote then that the Supreme Court should not second-guess a trial judge who initially considered and rejected racial discrimination claims.

Before Wednesday, Thomas' last questions were in a case about the reach of a federal law that bans people convicted of domestic violence from owning guns. Those were his first questions in 10 years.

He is the only justice who does not regularly pose questions from the bench. Thomas has explained that he relies on the written briefs and thinks his colleagues interrupt lawyers too often. As in 2016, he only piped up after everyone else was done.

Source: NewsMax America

Proponents of gun control are misguided in their attempt to renew efforts on firearms restrictions in the United States in the wake of last week’s terror attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, where a gunman killed 50 worshipers in two mosques, says Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, USA reports.

In an opinion piece on Tuesday, Gottleib argues that gun control proponents hope American citizens “gripped by emotion, will overlook the obvious and agree that law-abiding gun owners should face additional restrictions on their rights.” He writes stricter gun laws would have no effect with people bent on doing harm, and said citizens needed to be able to protect themselves.

“The real lesson to be learned from the Christchurch massacre is that madmen aren’t deterred by gun control laws, or laws against murder. Morality doesn’t enter into their thinking, so honest people must be prepared for the unthinkable and be able to respond.

“The gun prohibition lobby hopes to capitalize on a terror attack half a world away in an effort to advance its agenda. Forget, for a moment, that the Second Amendment stands in their way. Focus on the irrational notion that somehow a defenseless victim is morally superior to an armed private citizen who can fight back and save lives,” he writes, adding, “Millions of law-abiding American gun owners should not be penalized because of murderers’ misdeeds.”

Instead, Gottlieb posits that the New Zealand attack “provides ample justification of our right to carry now exercised by millions of citizens who choose not to be victims.” He said Americans’ Second Amendment rights were “not negotiable.”

Gottlieb also notes that the New Zealand shooter acquired his firearms legally, as have most mass shooters in the U.S.

“We must not allow hysteria to overcome common sense. We must protect our right to defend ourselves, our families, and our communities from those to whom laws mean nothing,” Gottlieb concluded.

Source: NewsMax America

Expanding the Supreme Court is a "terrible idea" that only serve to increase the high court's politicization, Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said Wednesday, but he does agree adding term limits might be a good way to go.

"The highest court is supposed to be a neutral, objective, nonpartisan institution, as the chief justices said there are no Republican justices or Democratic justices," Dershowitz told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" about the growing calls from Democratic presidential candidates to add more justices. "That's really a wish rather than a reality."

Both parties are at fault for the current standoff, he added.

"Republicans are at fault for not letting Merrick Garland's nomination come to the floor," said Dershowitz. "The Democrats are at fault for the way they treated President [Donald] Trump's nominees."

Term limits could help with the court's politicization problems, said Dershowitz.

"The framers [of the Constitution] didn't intend for justices to sit on the Supreme Court for 40 or 50 years," said Dershowitz. "Life expectancy was in the 40s and 50s and people were appointed when they were 50. Now they're serving for lifetimes."

Dershowitz added he's concerned about the repercussions of tampering with the Supreme Court, as it raises political risks.

"There are some who say there should be five Republican justices, five Democratic justices and five Independent justices picked by the 10 partisan justices," said Dershowitz. "Every idea seems worse than previous ideas and worse than the status quo. We may, in the end, have to struggle to maintain the current law because fixing it may produce more problems than the problems that currently exist."

Source: NewsMax America

Cindy McCain on Tuesday posted a vile message she received from a person on Twitter who disliked her deceased husband, Sen. John McCain.

"Your husband was a traitorous piece of warmongering sh— and I'm glad he's dead," the person wrote.

The woman also compared McCain's daughter Meghan to Miss Piggy and said she hopes she "chokes to death."

"I want to make sure all of you could see how kind and loving a stranger can be,"Cindy McCain said in her post. "I'm posting her note for her family and friends could see."

The tweet came on the same day President Donald Trump disparaged her late husband over the late Arizona senator's vote against repealing Obamacare.

"I'm very unhappy he didn't repeal and replace Obamacare," Trump told reporters Tuesday in the Oval Office. "He campaigned on repealing and replacing Obamacare for years and then it got to a vote and he said, 'Thumbs down!'

"I was never a fan of John McCain and I never will be," he added.

Source: NewsMax America

One of the actors on "Game of Thrones" said in a new interview the fantasy drama mimics modern life under President Donald Trump.

Kit Harington spoke with Variety ahead of the show's eighth and final season and compared Trump to a boy-king on the show who relished in chaos before he was killed in the fourth season.

"I think it's always been about two things for me. About dysfunctional families — or families in general, always where the best drama is — and the everlasting idea that people who seek power are very often the last people who should have it," Harington said.

"Unfortunately, we're leaving 'Thrones' with a Joffrey as the president of the United States of America."

Harington added he is "deeply sad" about the current state of the world.

"I'm deeply sad of the state of the world as 'Thrones' ends," he said. "Because if it was prophetic, you'd hope that people would have watched 'Thrones' and tried to avoid some of the situations these characters find themselves in, and I feel like we are living in a more 'Thrones'-like world."

Source: NewsMax America

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is asking the FBI about news reports that suggest "foreign adversaries," a list that includes Russia, have created social media pages for fake veterans groups in an effort to target past and present members of the United States military.

Reps. Gilbert Cisneros, D-Calif., Ted Lieu, D-Calif., Don Bacon, R-Neb., and Greg Steube, R-Fla., wrote a letter to FBI director Christopher Wray asking if the bureau is looking into the claims.

They cited stories in the media and studies that found evidence of the practice by Russia and other foreign nations.

"As a Navy Veteran, it's troubling to see that foreign actors are distributing false information to our service members and their families, impersonating congressionally chartered [veteran service organizations], and deceiving the American people," Cisneros said in a press release.

"Our service members safeguard our country against threats to our democracy like the ones posed by these bad actors, and now it's time to safeguard our veterans and their families."

The congressmen asked Wray if the FBI is aware of the reports, if it has looked into them, and if it would be willing to meet with veterans groups.

"It is clear the FBI has a strong role to play in protecting our nation's veterans against these egregious attacks," the letter reads.

Source: NewsMax America

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