On Tuesday, a federal appeals court refused to lift a temporary hold on President Barack Obama’s executive action that would prevent as many as 5 million immigrants illegally living in the U.S. from being deported, according to the AP. The hold allows the deportations to continue.
The U.S. Justice Department had asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse a Texas judge who agreed to temporarily block the president’s plan in February, after 26 states filed a lawsuit alleging Obama’s action was unconstitutional. However, on a two-one vote, a panel of the court denied it, writes the AP.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans made the decision that the executive action must be delayed until the lawsuit is resolved.
It wasn’t clear if the government would appeal, either to the full appeals court in New Orleans or to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The states suing to block the plan argue that Obama acted outside his authority and that the changes would force them to invest more in law enforcement, health care and education.
The White House has said the president acted within his powers to fix a “broken immigration system.”
According to The Huffington post, in a 5-4 decision on Wednesday, the Supreme Court upheld the right of states to ban elected judges from soliciting campaign contributions for their own campaigns. The majority decision was written by Chief Justice John Roberts and joined by the court’s four liberal justices, writes the HuffPost.
So, states have the right to ban elected judges from receiving money for their campaigns.
Oddly, the decision comes after a long string of court rulings that overturned campaign finance regulations, among them the well-known 2010 Citizens United and the 2014 McCutcheon cases. The ruling, by contrast, maintains the ability of the states to uphold campaign finance reform in regards to elected judges. It does so by making a strong distinction between the role of the judiciary and the role of elected legislative and executive officials.
The distinction seemed weak. Roberts, writing for the majority, said: “A State’s interest in preserving public confidence in the integrity of its judiciary extends beyond its interest in preventing the appearance of corruption in legislative and executive elections. As we explained in [Republican Party of Minnesota v. White], States may regulate judicial elections differently than they regulate political elections, because the role of judges differs from the role of politicians.”
In the case before the court, Florida judicial candidate Lanell Williams-Yulee had signed her name to a fundraising solicitation letter while running for office in 2009. She did so despite Florida’s ban on fundraising solicitation by judicial candidates.
Candidates like Williams-Yulee are allowed to raise money through campaign committees, but they may not ask for the funds themselves. Williams-Yulee challenged the law as a restriction of her First Amendment right to free speech.
NPR claims that Hillary Clinton has said she supports the idea of a constitutional amendment to restrict or eliminate big money in politics. But will she “walk the walk?”
The notion of amending the Constitution has been discussed for decades, but Clinton is joining a new, if small, chorus of prominent politicians who are mentioning it.
“We need to fix our dysfunctional political system and get unaccounted money out of it, once and for all, even if that takes a constitutional amendment,” she said at a roundtable discussion at Kirkwood Community College near Monticello, Iowa.
Campaign finance reform is one of four pillars, “four big fights,” of her campaign, she said, along with help for families and communities; a stronger, more balanced economy; and a strong national defense.
Wolf PAC is an organization founded by TYT Network that attempts to stop campaign finance money from controlling our politicians (and our lives.) Wolf PAC has moved through several states already and recently helped pass a bill in the Delaware senate to create an Amendment to the Delaware constitution that would limit the money corporations can give to politicians.
Senator and possible presidential contender for 2016 Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is planning to offer an amendment to the GOP budget next week that would impose a new “war tax” on millionaires to finance U.S. military operations, according to The Hill.
Sanders is ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee.
“The Republicans took us into protracted wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — and ran up our national debt by trillions because they chose not to pay for those wars. Instead, they put the cost of those wars on our national credit card,” Sanders said in a statement Friday.
The “war tax” will be one of the first Sanders will introduce during a large number of votes next week. During the back-to-back votes, senators are allowed to submit an unlimited amount of amendments.
Senate Republicans added a provision to their plans Thursday that would increase defense spending next year by pumping up the Pentagon’s “war funding account” to $96 billion.
The overseas contingency operations (OCO) account has funded the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and now pays for operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Republicans are depending on OCO – which falls outside the Defense Department’s base budget – to increase military spending, according to The Hill.
The budget would keep sequestration budget caps in place next year for the Pentagon’s base budget.
It seems to be a “way around” the budget caps – a way to increase the defense budget by simply putting money in another category.
Sanders slammed the proposal from right-wing Senators. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), which matches what House Republicans are seeking in their separate budget resolution. Sanders called their use of OCO a “gimmick.”
A Great Falls representative is proposing that candidates for the Montana Legislature be allowed to receive more money from political action committees.
Republican Rep. Steve Fitzpatrick introduced House Bill 502 in the House State Administration Committee Friday, according to the Great Falls Tribune. It would increase the amount that state Senate candidates can receive from PACs from $2,150 to $5,500, and the amount that House candidates can receive from $1,300 to $3,300.
Fitzpatrick said that politicians need more money to “reflect the increasing cost of running for office.”
“Campaigns are expensive, they cost a lot of money,” Fitzpatrick said. “Every time I have to return a PAC check, that just means it’s more pressure on me to go fundraise and ask people for more money.”
Mary Baker, the program supervisor for the commissioner of political practices, said a built-in inflation factor already adjusts the cap every year.
According to TPM, government shutdown wars are back with a vengeance.
House Republicans started up a possible new standoff on Wednesday with passage of legislation that overturns President Barack Obama’s executive actions on deportation relief for millions of undocumented immigrants.
The bill passed 236-191, with 10 Republicans voting against it and 2 Democrats supporting it.
The legislation passed on Wednesday is tied to the funding of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which expires on Feb. 28. According to TPM, the department will partially shut down if a bill isn’t enacted by then.
However, PoliticusUSA states that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) have toned down conservative expectations over the idea of a possible DHS shutdown.