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Oklahoma Supreme Court rejects appeal, orders removal of Ten Commandments stone at Capitol

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Oklahoma’s Supreme Court on Monday said the state must remove a Ten Commandments stone monument first placed at its Capitol in 2012, rejecting an appeal to reconsider an earlier decision.

The justices denied a request by the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission to rethink the court’s June 30 decision that the statue’s placement violates the state constitution’s ban on the use of state property for the benefit of religion.

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Earlier in July, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, a Republican, had said she would keep the monument in place while lawmakers sought a way to block the decision.

The 6-foot-tall (1.8-meter) monument was paid for with private money and is supported by lawmakers in the socially conservative state. Some lawmakers had threatened to impeach the justices or amend the constitution.

“We carefully consider the arguments of the commission and find no merit warranting a grant of rehearing,” Chief Justice John Reif wrote.

After the Ten Commandments monument went up, other groups including Satanists and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti

Monster, applied to erect their own monuments on Capitol grounds to mark what they say are historical events.

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The Satanic Temple unveiled its bronze Baphomet sculpture in Detroit on Saturday after failing to have it installed near Oklahoma’s Ten Commandments monument.

Jex Blackmore, director of the Satanic Temple Detroit chapter, said members plan to ship the sculpture to Arkansas, where a law authorizing a Ten Commandments statue on capitol grounds was approved earlier in 2015.

A spokesman for Fallin said the state has not received a final order to remove the monument, which would come from district court.

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“In the meantime, the state is reviewing what legal options are available for preserving the monument,” spokesman Alex Weintz said.

(Reporting by Heide Brandes in Oklahoma City; Editing by David Bailey and Eric Walsh)

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WATCH: White House official grilled on Trump’s lie that children are ‘almost immune’ to COVID-19

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On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows was grilled by anchor Wolf Blitzer over President Donald Trump's lie that children are "almost immune" to coronavirus.

"Let's talk about schools while I have you, Mark," said Blitzer. "The president once again said schools should reopen because, in his words, and he said this today, I was surprised to hear it when he said it on 'Fox & Friends,' kids are virtually immune to the virus. They can get it and they can transmit it, especially if they're ten years and older, they can come home, even if they're totally asymptomatic, they can spread it to their parents, their grandparents, to other adults. These are serious situations we're watching right now. But the president seems to be giving a false sense of security."

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CIA ignores request to brief GOP senators trying to dig up dirt on Joe Biden’s son: report

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On Wednesday, Politico reported that the Central Intelligence Agency is ignoring a request to brief the Republican senators mounting an investigation into Hunter Biden's business dealings in Ukraine.

"The spy agency’s resistance comes amid intelligence officials’ deep skepticism of the probe, which is being led by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and focuses on Hunter Biden’s role on the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma," reported Andrew Desiderio and Natasha Bertrand. "Democrats argue the investigation is based on Russian disinformation aimed at tipping the outcome of the election toward President Donald Trump — a charge that Johnson rejects."

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Five lawmakers sue Gov. Greg Abbott over $295 million contact tracing deal

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“The Texas Constitution requires a separation of powers, and that separation leaves policy-making decisions with the Texas Legislature,” argues a lawsuit from five of the Legislature’s most conservative members.

Five of the Texas Legislature’s most conservative members are suing Gov. Greg Abbott and state health officials, claiming Texas leaders overstepped their bounds when they awarded a major contract for tracking Texas’ coronavirus outbreak to a little-known technology firm.

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