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Republican lawmakers in two states are trying to give themselves power to overrule courts

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Two state legislatures are considering measures that would allow lawmakers to overrule decisions by Supreme Court majorities — and one Florida Republican wants to change the U.S. Constitution to allow Congress to do the same.

In Florida, state Rep. Julio Gonzalez (R-Venice) has filed two bills that would allow the state legislature or the U.S. Congress “to override or nullify court decisions.”

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House Joint Resolution 121 would allow lawmakers to undo any state court decision by a two-thirds vote for up to five years, and House Memorial 125 would permit Congress to propose a similar constitutional amendment to give themselves the power to nullify federal court decisions.

Gonzalez, an orthopedic surgeon, said the bills are necessary because judges are often unaccountable to voters and unable to decide cases without considering their practical or political impact.

“(The legislation) would curtail the tendency of activist judges to manipulate the law to suit their political views and agendas,” Gonzalez said. “Equally as important, this would force the people to engage the Legislature in enacting rectifications to current laws that they see as objectionable or flawed, restoring the natural relationship between the people and their legislative bodies. This would also force the electorate to more carefully look at their candidates and their actions during times of re-election.”

Washington is considering a similar measure that would allow lawmakers to “reject the determination of the court” by a simple majority on cases where the state’s Supreme Court rules an act unconstitutional.

State Rep. John Koster (R-Arlington Heights), one of the bill’s co-sponsors, said he supports the measure because he believes the court overstepped its authority in deciding a lawsuit on education funding.

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“It’s a worthy effort to tap (judges) on the shoulder and remind them of separation of powers,” said Koster, who admits the bill might not pass.

Gonzalez identified rulings on public displays of religion — including holiday celebrations and school prayer — and laws against flag-burning as his justification for the bills.

“The argument that the Legislature’s newly acquired authority would encroach upon the judiciary’s power actually turns reality upon its head, as, presently, it is the judiciary that is improperly encroaching upon the people and their legislatures, and it is that encroachment that this amendment is designed to correct,” Gonzalez said.

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Meanwhile in Alabama, two lawmakers — one Democrat and one Republican — have proposed legislation that would prohibit judges from imposing the death penalty when juries recommend life imprisonment.

Alabama is the only state that allows judges to override a jury’s recommendation in death penalty cases after Delaware’s Supreme Court struck down its state law in August as unconstitutional.

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The Kansas Senate approved a bill last year that would have allowed Supreme Court justices to be impeached for discourteous conduct or “attempting to usurp” legislative power, but that measure died in a House committee.

New Jersey lawmakers have also considered measures in recent years that would have given them additional power over the judicial branch.


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Trump supporters lose their minds when church shows Nativity scene in immigrant cages

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MAGA supporters are losing their minds after a photo of the Nativity scene at Claremont United Methodist Church was posted to Facebook.

The scene depicts Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus separated and put in their own cages, a reference to the families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border. Inside the church, the family is shown as reunited.

Senior minister Karen Clark Ristine shared the image on Facebook with the message hoping that everyone in the United States could see the photo and read the story for Christmas.

"The theological statement posted with the nativity: In a time in our country when refugee families seek asylum at our borders and are unwillingly separated from one another, we consider the most well-known refugee family in the world," she wrote. "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, the Holy Family. Shortly after the birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary were forced to flee with their young son from Nazareth to Egypt to escape King Herod, a tyrant. They feared persecution and death."

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Columnist nails Republicans for only caring about Hunter Biden now that his father is running for president

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One of the critical questions that must be answered by Republicans, according to one Washington Post columnist, is why they didn't care about Hunter Biden's position at Burisma for so many years.

In a Sunday piece, James Downie asked why Republicans didn't do anything about Hunter Biden five years ago when it was first revealed that vice president's son was on the board of a Ukraine energy company. The House and the Senate were being run by Republicans until this year. They haven't had problems with other partisan investigations against high-profile leaders. There were ten investigations into the Benghazi attacks, three hearings, 29 witnesses, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified for 11 hours. Yet, it was only after Joe Biden announced he was running against President Donald Trump that Republicans discovered an issue.

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Republican staffer caught spying on Democrats during Judiciary Committee meetings

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A Republican staffer from the Ways and Means committee was caught spying on Democrats during their work over the weekend.

According to a Judiciary Committee source, the female staffer was ultimately discovered and ran out of the committee room once it was discovered she was there, tweeted Olivia Beavers, a writer at "The Hill."

"A Judiciary source says the committee, which has been practicing for their Monday impeachment hearing this whole weekend, came across a female GOP Ways and Means staffer in the hearing room today, but that she ran out once discovered," she tweeted.

https://twitter.com/Olivia_Beavers/status/1203784487559213056

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