The 81-year-old’s planned departure on July 31 could allow President Donald Trump to significantly alter the court’s direction. On the bench since 1988, Kennedy often provided the decisive swing vote in narrowly divided cases, thanks in part to his moderately conservative slant. If Trump selects a more conservative justice to replace Kennedy, it would swing the court to the right. While Democrats lack the voting power to block the president’s choice, experts nevertheless predict an intense political battle over the future appointment.
The Presidential Daily Brief
In a decision observers say is a major setback for the U.S. labor movement, the country’s top court concluded today that public worker unions can’t compel nonmembers to pay collective bargaining fees. The ruling overturns a 41-year-old decision and represents a victory for conservatives who’d wanted to scrap “fair share fees” currently featured in two dozen states. Those dues are a critical source of income and political influence for unions. “Big loss for the coffers of the Democrats!” President Trump tweeted.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old former organizer on Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign whose uphill battle was profiled by OZY in May, defeated long-time Rep. Joe Crowley in New York’s 14th District in a shock upset. Crowley had been seen as a possible successor to Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. Ocasio-Cortez campaigned on a message of generational and ideological change in the party ahead of November’s midterms. Crowley immediately endorsed the political newcomer — and dedicated an impromptu performance of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” to her.
A federal judge in California said yesterday that authorities must not split families caught illegally crossing the border, and that those already separated must be reunited within 30 days — or two weeks for children under the age of 5. President Trump reversed his family separation policy last week, but left many details unresolved, including the issue of the 2,000-plus children already separated. Meanwhile, 17 states have sued the government to force it to reunite split families, accusing the administration of denying immigrants rights to due process and asylum.
A Sudanese appeals court has found Noura Hussein, who was forced to marry at 16, guilty of manslaughter for killing her husband after he allegedly raped her. She was sentenced to five years, reversing a previous sentence of death by hanging. Her case sparked global outcry, drew celebrity support from activists like Emma Watson and Rose McGowan, and collected a million signatures on petitions to save her life. Hussein, now 19, said, “When I get out of here, I want to study law to defend other oppressed people.”
The White House has been promising to roll out new investment restrictions on China by the end of this month, leading to a market tumble in recent days. But yesterday, while President Trump maintained that “people come and steal” American technology, he said investment rules could be handled by the existing Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. — which has just been awarded new powers by Congress to review Chinese tech investments. It’s seen as a victory for administration figures who have attempted to cool Trump’s burgeoning trade war.
Know This: The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to uphold President Trump’s travel ban on majority Muslim countries. A Japanese spacecraft has arrived at a diamond-shaped asteroid after a four-year journey. An expert gave a lecture advising bloggers on dealing with online harassment shortly before being stabbed by someone who’d trolled and bullied him online. And today, OZY’s Around the World campaign takes you to Paraguay: Check out this soccer star making a splash in the U.S.
Look at This: Satellite imagery indicates that North Korea is continuing to upgrade its single nuclear reactor, despite vague pledges made during a summit with the United States.
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While much of South America has embraced LGBT causes in recent years, the resurgence of Paraguay’s conservative Colorado Party has coincided with campaigns attempting to keep “homosexual influence” out of schools and legislators crafting laws that would tie the definition of family to procreation. While new projects like Somos Gay and It Gets Better Paraguay continue to agitate for LGBT issues, hopes for legalizing gay marriage have crumbled. Activists worry that women’s rights will also suffer, with newly elected President Mario Abdo Benítez expected to double down on Paraguay’s conservative trajectory.
They’re on their way. Reversing a previous citywide ban, a judge has ruled the ride-sharing service can operate on a 15-month license in the British capital. Uber will have to provide an independent audit every six months, notify authorities of all serious safety complaints, offer training to drivers, and keep regulators informed about any policy changes. Still, Tuesday’s decision is a major success for CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and the embattled firm — which has been tainted by reports of serious driver offenses — as Uber prepares to go public next year.
Maybe the skies aren’t so friendly. A new Harvard study of over 5,300 U.S. cabin crew members showed they had a greater risk of a range of cancers compared to the general population. That includes a 50 percent higher risk of breast cancer and as much as a 300 percent higher risk for some skin cancers. The cause isn’t known, but the authors’ theories include exposure to high-altitude radiation and disrupted sleep, which has already spurred the Association of Flight Attendants to demand better regulations and working conditions.
A New York crisis consulting firm tallied reports of celebrities being accused of sexual misconduct starting with Bill Cosby’s December 2015 charges. Over the next 22 months, just 38 were accused until the #MeToo floodgates opened when the Weinstein story broke in October 2017. Since then, 379 high-profile people have been accused, an 11-fold increase, though 69 of them faced no repercussions. Meanwhile, actor Terry Crews testified before Congress on the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights, saying he was threatened professionally for speaking out about a Hollywood agent’s assault.
Did he party too hard? The soccer legend — who led Argentina to a 1986 World Cup victory — was treated by paramedics yesterday following his country’s dramatic 2-1 win against Nigeria to avoid elimination. Throughout the match, the 57-year-old attracted attention with emotive celebrations, including flashing his middle fingers on camera after Marcos Rojo scored the winning 86th-minute goal. Though the colorful star apparently needed assistance leaving the stadium, Maradona reassured fans he was fine and en route to Argentina’s next match against France on Saturday.