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US appeals court will not restore Trump asylum order

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A U.S. appeals court handed President Donald Trump a defeat on Friday when it refused to allow his order barring asylum for immigrants who enter the country illegally to take effect, while a court challenge proceeds.

Trump cited an overwhelmed immigration system for his recent proclamation that officials will only process asylum claims for migrants who present themselves at an official entry point. Civil rights groups sued, arguing that Trump’s Nov. 9 order violated administrative and immigration law.

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A San Francisco judge last month issued a temporary restraining order against the asylum rules, which applied nationwide. The U.S. Department of Justice called that ruling “absurd” and asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to allow Trump’s policy to take effect while the lawsuits proceed.

Trump has often attacked the 9th Circuit, which has more judges appointed by Democrat presidents than Republicans, accusing it of frustrating his policy initiatives, particularly on immigration.

The split 9th Circuit ruling on Friday was written by Judge Jay Bybee, an appointee of Republican president George W. Bush. Bybee agreed with the lower court that Trump’s policy likely exceeds his authority.

“The Executive has attempted an end-run around Congress,” Bybee wrote.

A Justice Department spokesman declined immediate comment, but reiterated a previous statement that the policy is a “well reasoned exercise” of Trump’s authority.

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9th Circuit Judge Andrew Hurwitz, an appointee of Democrat President Barack Obama, joined Bybee’s ruling while Edward Leavy, an appointee of Republican President Ronald Reagan, dissented.

Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Sandra Maler and Daniel Wallis

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Many Republicans privately admit their party is now ‘built largely on lies’: White House veteran

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In the wake of the first day of public hearings in the House impeachment inquiry into President Trump, contributor for The Atlantic and conservative think-tank fellow Peter Wehner wrote that yesterday's testimony from senior US diplomat Bill Taylor "was merely another massive boulder in the avalanche of evidence against the president."

"We are well beyond the point that any disinterested person can deny that the president abused his power and acted in a corrupt manner, in ways the American founders explicitly warned against," Wehner writes.

According to Wehner, yesterday's hearing only deepened the "complicity" of Republicans in Trump's latest scandal.

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Ohio GOP bill may bar teachers from penalizing students who give creationist answers on biology tests: ACLU

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A bill that passed Ohio's House of Representatives this week is being criticized by the American Civil Liberties Union for vague language that could prevent biology teachers from penalizing students who give creationist answers to questions about evolution.

Local news station WKRC reports that the legislation, which passed the House and is now awaiting debate in the Ohio Senate, states that "students can't be penalized if their work is scientifically wrong as long as the reasoning is because of their religious beliefs."

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Legal experts point out the giant flaw in Trump’s claims about rooting out Ukraine corruption

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Legal experts are noticing that President Donald Trump wasn't asking for a real investigation of Joe Biden, only one that could provide fodder for the news media.

Witnesses in the impeachment inquiry have testified that Trump wanted Ukrainian president to announce an investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter in an interview with CNN, in exchange for congressionally approved military aid or a White House visit.

"Trump demanding a Zelensky announce an investigation of Biden, 'in front of a microphone” gives the game away,'" tweeted Jennifer Taub, a professor at Vermont Law School. "If the real goal was to investigate corruption, a CNN announcement would be the wrong approach. Genuine investigations are kept secret."

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