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US Supreme Court’s Brett Kavanaugh issues first opinion in arbitration case

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The U.S. Supreme Court’s newest member, Brett Kavanaugh, issued his first written opinion on Tuesday as the justices in a unanimous ruling bolstered companies’ ability to use arbitration to resolve disputes with customers or other businesses.

The court decided 9-0 to throw out a lower-court ruling that had kept a case involving dental equipment companies from being resolved through arbitration because the court had determined the demand for arbitration was groundless.

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Newly appointed justices are generally assigned non-controversial, unanimous cases as their first opinions.

Kavanaugh joined the court in October after a raucous confirmation process during which he had to fend off accusations of sexual assault by California university professor Christine Blasey Ford. He was the second conservative justice named to the court by Republican President Donald Trump, after Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Kavanaugh’s appointment solidified a 5-4 conservative majority on the court. He replaced retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, a conservative who sometimes sided with the court’s liberals on social issues like abortion.

The arbitration case involved price-fixing claims lodged by Plano, Texas-based dental equipment distributor Archer and White Sales Inc against other manufacturers and distributors.

It centered on whether courts can prevent arbitrators from deciding if an issue can be arbitrated at all. Companies prefer to arbitrate claims because it is cheaper and faster than litigation in court, which is harder to fight and carries a greater risk of hefty damages awards by juries.

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When a contract allows arbitrators to decide whether a dispute can be resolved through arbitration, “a court may not override the contract,” Kavanaugh said on Tuesday, explaining the decision.

Although Tuesday’s ruling was Kavanaugh’s first opinion for the court, his first known vote as a member of the court was in December when he joined other justices to reject appeals by Louisiana and Kansas seeking to end their public funding to women’s healthcare and abortion provider Planned Parenthood through the Medicaid program.

Reporting by Andrew Chung; Editing by Bill Trott

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2020 Election

Trump advisors futilely trying to get him to stop ranting about statues as his re-election prospects collapse: report

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According to a report focusing on Donald Trump's rally at Mt. Rushmore on the evening before the 4th of July, advisors to the president ate attempting to get him to start focusing on bread and butter issues that will get him re-elected instead of harping on statues being pulled down by protesters across the country.

As the Daily Beast report illustrates, their efforts appear to be futile based upon his Friday night speech.

With the president trying to fire up the crowd by insisting, “Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders. They think the American people are weak, and soft, and submissive,” the Beast reported that Trump, "decided to focus heavily Friday evening on protesters and Black Lives Matter activists who want various American monuments, including those honoring Confederate, white-supremacist, and slave-owning figures of history, torn down and destroyed for good. "

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Trump’s a traitor — and the Russian bounty scandal is the final straw

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The first story of the rest of Donald Trump's life was published last Friday in the New York Times, revealing that the Russian intelligence agency known as the GRU has been paying bonuses to Taliban fighters to kill Americans, and that this intelligence had been reported to Trump and had been known at least since March. The story was subsequently confirmed by the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and the AP.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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2020 Election

GOP scrambling to pay for Jacksonville convention after Trump yanked it from North Carolina: report

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According to a report from the New York Times, Republican officials are having difficulties getting donors to pay for the Republican National Convention to be held in Jacksonville, Florida after Donald Trump yanked the gathering out of Charlotte, North Carolina in a fit of pique over COVID-19 health restrictions.

At issue, the report notes, is that millions of dollars were spent in North Carolina where a smaller event will now be held, and now the party is, in essence, forced to pay for a second convention.

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