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July 11, 2024

The Supreme Court Has Made It Official: US Presidents Are Now Monarchs

The Supreme Court’s “Trump v. United States” ruling gives Donald Trump “legal” cover for past and future lawbreaking.

On July 4, Americans celebrate Independence Day, commemorating the Declaration of Independence when the colonists threw off the yoke of King George III. When they crafted it, the framers of the Constitution established three co-equal branches of government to check and balance each other.

But the Supreme Court’s shocking decision in Trump v. United States takes us back to the bad old days of the monarchy. The reactionary supermajority held that presidents have absolute immunity from criminal prosecution for core official acts, and presumptive immunity for all other official acts.

Donald Trump is charged in federal court with conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding, and conspiracy against the right to vote for his acts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the six right-wingers, assured us that “the president is not above the law.” But he then proceeded to carve out a zone of immunity even broader than the one Trump’s legal team had sought.

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SCOTUS Furthers Right-Wing Agenda of Deconstruction of the Administrative State

Eliminating Chevron deference will harm consumers, workers, health, safety and environment, but will help corporations.

On June 28, the six reactionary members of the Supreme Court put a final nail in the coffin of Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council, in the companion cases of Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo and Relentless, Inc. v. Department of Commerce.

By overruling Chevron, the court dramatically curtailed the power of federal agencies to interpret statutes they administer, ruling that courts should provide their own interpretations of ambiguous statutes. This decision will imperil the rights of workers and consumers and threaten the environment and our health and safety, while providing a boon to corporations.

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June 29, 2024

Julian Assange Is Finally Free, But Let’s Not Forget the War Crimes He Exposed

Contrary to US government claims, WikiLeaks’s revelations actually saved lives — and drove demand for US accountability.

After a 14-year struggle, including five years spent in Belmarsh, a maximum-security prison in London, WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange is finally free. Under the terms of a plea deal with the U.S. Department of Justice, Assange pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to obtain documents, writings and notes connected with the national defense under the Espionage Act. Assange was facing 175 years in prison for 18 charges in the indictment filed by the Trump administration and pursued by the Biden administration.

The Justice Department agreed to the plea bargain a little over a month after the High Court of England and Wales ruled that Assange would be allowed to appeal an extradition order. The High Court found the U.S. government didn’t provide satisfactory assurances that Assange could rely on a First Amendment defense if extradited and tried in the U.S. The Justice Department, now fearful it would lose the case, scrambled to strike a deal with Assange.

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June 25, 2024

SCOTUS’s Anti-Immigrant Ruling Imperils Marriage Equality and LGBTQ Lives

“Department of State v. Muñoz” could be used to undermine the right to same-sex marriage.

In a 6-3 ruling, the reactionary majority of the Supreme Court placed the right to marriage equality squarely on the chopping block. The court held that U.S. citizens have no constitutional right to have their noncitizen spouses enter the United States, so the government doesn’t have to give a reason for excluding them.

Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson, noted in dissent that “there is no question that excluding a citizen’s spouse burdens her right to marriage, and that burden requires the Government to provide at least a factual basis for its decision.” They accused the majority of issuing an unnecessarily broad ruling that could be used to strike down the right to same-sex marriage. “The burden will fall most heavily on same-sex couples and others who lack the ability, for legal or financial reasons, to make a home in the noncitizen spouse’s country of origin,” Sotomayor wrote.

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June 15, 2024

Palestinians Ask Federal Court to Rule Biden Is Complicit in Israeli Genocide

“Genocide can never be a legitimate foreign policy choice,” plaintiffs argue in case against Biden, Blinken and Austin.

A lawsuit accusing U.S. President Joe Biden and some of his top officials of complicity in genocide had its latest hearing this week after being dismissed earlier in the year. On June 10, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco heard arguments in the plaintiffs’ appeal in Defense for Children International – Palestine v. Biden.

The lawsuit was filed on November 13, 2023, by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) on behalf of Palestinian human rights organizations Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P) and Al-Haq, as well as three Palestinian individuals who live in Gaza and five Palestinian Americans who have family in Gaza.

“It is unfathomable that we are still here today,” plaintiff Waeil Elbhassi stated at a press conference following the appellate argument. Although CCR filed this lawsuit in November, “the genocide continues with the same intensity, with the same cruelty,” he noted, adding that many more of his relatives have been murdered in the last six months. “People are trying to flee because they’re fleeing death. They’re literally trapped in a killing field,” he said.

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June 14, 2024

Active-Duty US Service Members Issue Appeal to Congress to Stop Funding Genocide

As Israel continues its genocide against the Palestinians, the number of US conscientious objectors is increasing.

On June 4, a coalition of active-duty service members, veterans and G.I. rights groups launched a campaign called Appeal for Redress V2 to encourage military personnel to tell Congress to stop funding genocide in Gaza. Israel’s genocidal operation, now in its ninth month, has killed more than 37,000 Palestinians and wounded nearly 85,000.

The campaign is sponsored by Veterans For Peace (VFP), the Military Law Task Force of the National Lawyers Guild, About Face: Veterans Against the War and the Center on Conscience & War. It is modeled after the 2006 Appeal for Redress issued during the occupation of Iraq. During that campaign, almost 3,000 active-duty, Reserve and Guard personnel sent protected communications to their members of Congress urging an end to the wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Appeal for Redress V2 was formulated to help G.I.s directly tell their representatives that they oppose U.S. support for Israel’s genocide in Gaza.

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June 2, 2024

Following ICJ and ICC Actions, Sanctions and Arms Embargo Are Crucial Next Steps

The ICJ ordered Israel to halt its Rafah assault and the ICC prosecutor sought arrest warrants for Israeli officials.

Seven months into its genocidal campaign, Israel’s assault on Rafah led the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to issue a preliminary order on May 24. The court called on Israel to “Immediately halt its military offensive, and any other action in the Rafah Governorate, which may inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.” It also ordered Israel to keep the Rafah crossing open and permit United Nations investigative commissions to enter Gaza and investigate allegations of genocide.

In addition, mounting Israeli atrocities propelled Karim Khan, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), to seek arrest warrants on May 20 against top Israeli officials.

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May 30, 2024

In a Victory for Assange and First Amendment, UK Court Grants Right to Appeal

From the First Amendment to the European Convention on Human Rights, Assange’s defense relies on freedom of expression.

On May 20, a two-judge panel of the High Court of England and Wales handed WikiLeaks founder and publisher Julian Assange a significant victory. Justice Jeremy Johnson and Dame Victoria Sharp granted him leave to appeal the U.K.’s extradition order on two grounds. The High Court will now schedule a hearing at which Assange will be allowed to argue that his rights to freedom of expression and to be free from discrimination based on his nationality would not be protected if he were extradited to the United States.

In the U.K., the right to appeal is not automatic. While they didn’t rule on the merits of Assange’s claims, Johnson and Sharp determined that the two issues have sufficient legal merit to be reviewed by the High Court.

“I welcome the High Court’s decision to allow the case to proceed to a full appeal,” said Alice Jill Edwards, UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. “This is a terribly complex case, but at the heart of it are issues around human rights and values we hold as a society and the protections afforded to those who disclose potential war crimes.”

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May 21, 2024

US-Backed Philippine Government Committed War Crimes, People’s Tribunal Finds

The Philippine government carried out atrocities against Filipinos with direction, arms and training from the US.

Gaza is not the only place where Joe Biden’s government is aiding and abetting atrocities. Following a hearing on May 17-18, the International People’s Tribunal on War Crimes in the Philippines found Philippine President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr., former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, U.S. President Joe Biden, and the U.S. government guilty of war crimes and violations of international humanitarian law against the Filipino people.

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May 8, 2024

Students Demanding Divestment: You’re on the Right Side of History

The following are remarks I delivered on Saturday, May 4, 2024 at the 55-year reunion of the Stanford University antiwar movement, in which I participated. On April 3, 1969, an estimated 700 Stanford students voted to occupy the Applied Electronics Laboratory (AEL), where classified research on electronic warfare was being conducted at Stanford. That spawned the April Third Movement (A3M), which holds reunions every five to 10 years. The sit-in at AEL, supported by a majority of Stanford students, lasted nine days. Stanford moved the objectionable research off campus, but the A3M continued with sit-ins, teach-ins and confrontations with police in the Stanford Industrial Park.

This reunion comes at an auspicious time, with college campuses erupting all over the country in solidarity with the Palestinian people. Once again, 55 years later, Stanford students are rising up for peace and justice. They have established a “People’s University” encampment and they are demanding that Stanford: (1) explicitly condemn Israel’s genocide and apartheid; (2) call for an immediate ceasefire, and for Israel and Egypt to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza; and (3) immediately divest from the consumer brands identified by the Palestinian BDS National Committee and all firms in Stanford’s investment portfolio that are complicit Israeli war crimes, apartheid and genocide.

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