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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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Trump is ignoring his duties to obsess over impeachment and panic about GOP betrayal: report

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According to a report from Politico, Donald Trump thinks of little else other than the ongoing impeachment hearings being conducted by the Democratic-controlled House and is in a constant of panic that Republicans may turn on him.

Te report notes that the president has put all policy initiatives aside to concentrate on pushing back on impeachment and running for re-election earlier than had been anticipated.

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Michael Steele hilariously shreds the RNC for spending $100K on Donald Trump Jr’s ‘dumb book nobody’s going to read’

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Michael Steele, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, trashed the organization he once led over revelations that donor money was used to boost sales of Donald Trump Jr.'s new book.

The former RNC chair told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that he wasn't a bit surprised by the reports, and said the GOP organization has been absolutely corrupted by President Donald Trump.

"Of course it was the RNC -- SOBs," Steele said. "Oh my god."

"Look, let me just tell you how screwed up this is," he continued. "Before I became national chairman, I had written a book on how the Republican Party can regroup after the 2008 shellacking, after the 2006, you know, bang-up at the polls, and move the party forward, and people looked at me and said, 'How dare you write a book and try to profit off of the RNC.'"

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The end of King Bibi? Indicted Netanyahu fights for future

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Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu's indictment on corruption charges prompted speculation Friday that the end of his decade-long tenure as 'King Bibi' is nigh.

The Jewish state woke up to an indicted sitting prime minister for the first time, after the country's attorney general announced late Thursday he had charged the 70-year-old with bribery, fraud, and breach of trust.

After months of speculation Avichai Mandelblit's decision was the worst possible outcome for Netanyahu, hitting him with the most serious charges.

Israel's longest-serving premier swiftly hit back, vowing to fight on and accusing the police and legal system of bias against the right-wing in an often angry speech.

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