How the Supreme Court shifted power in favor of GOP lawmakers working to dismantle voting laws

After losing the presidency, the House, and the Senate, Republican lawmakers have taken aggressive action to ensure they are never placed in a similar predicament again. Although it may come at the cost of America's democracy, the Los Angeles Times breaks down how the U.S. Supreme Court actually contributed to the shift that gave Republicans a lawmaking advantage.

According to the publication, Chief Justice John G. Roberts' 2013 ruling to toss out a key section of legislation in the Voting Rights Act subsequently gave Republican lawmakers the green light to introduce potentially damaging voting legislation to disenfranchise Black voters.

Prior to Roberts' ruling, states with a history of discriminatory voting practices against Black voters were under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Justice. This provision prohibited those states from passing new voting laws without being cleared by the DOJ. But, now, that is not the case.

Per the Los Angeles Times:

Under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., the Supreme Court threw out the part of the Voting Rights Act requiring states with histories of discriminating against Black voters to clear election rule changes with the U.S. Justice Department. Writing for a 5-4 majority in 2013, Roberts called the section outdated and said it did not fit with "current conditions."

Chief Justice Earl Warren in 1964 noted the duty that justices have to uphold the fundamental rights of voting.

"The right to vote freely for the candidate of one's choice is of the essence of a democratic society, and any restrictions on that right strike at the heart of representative government," Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote in Reynolds vs. Sims.

However, now it appears the constitutional paradigm has shifted. Roberts' ruling suggests the power of state legislators takes precedence over citizens' constitutional right to vote. USC law professor Franita Tolson also weighed in with a similar sentiment about the changes that have titled power over the last few decades.

"It's a very different court now," Tolson said adding, "They are privileging the status quo of 1787 when the electorate was mostly white men and ignoring the more egalitarian Reconstruction Amendments."

Mary Trump explains how former president will throw his kids under the bus

In a Monday night interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo, the niece of former US President Donald Trump predicted her uncle would sacrifice his own kids to save himself from prosecution.

Cuomo began the interview by asking Mary Trump if her uncle would "take one for his kids" if they were investigated by prosecutors focused on criminal activity in the Trump Organization -- where both Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump are still on the payroll.

"No, he wouldn't...I think if that were to happen, if prosecutors were to go after his children, he would fully expect them to take a hit for him, to benefit him. What he probably doesn't understand is that's not really how it works. [Prosecutors] "always try to get people to flip so they can go after the bigger target," said Mary Trump.

"But Donald would never imagine in a million years that his children would do that, although I'm fairly sure they would," the former president's niece added. "So if that indeed happens, it's going to be fascinating because he would never do anything to protect them if it were at his expense."

Cuomo then asked, "How do you know?"

Mary Trump responded, "I've known him my whole life and unfortunately, I've had to analyze him pretty closely over the last four or five years..This is somebody who's never changed. He doesn't evolve. And as you said earlier, he has one thing he cares about, and that's himself. That will never, ever change, no matter who gets in his way, no matter who gets hurt, even if it's his kids."

A 2020 scientific report from US national laboratory found it plausible Covid-19 leaked from Wuhan lab

A study prepared by Lawrence Livermore Lab's "Z Division" in May 2020 "concluded that the hypothesis claiming the virus leaked from a Chinese lab in Wuhan is plausible and deserves further investigation, according to people familiar with the classified document," the Wall Street Journal reports.

The study was used as the basis of a State Department inquiry into the pandemic's origins during the last year of the Trump administration.

Lawrence Livermore's "Z Division" is the Lab's intelligence arm. Citing an unnamed source, Forbes notes, "Lawrence Livermore has considerable expertise on biological issues. Its assessment drew on genomic analysis of the SARS-COV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19."

Reuters reports that "U.S. intelligence agencies are considering two likely scenarios - that the virus resulted from a laboratory accident or that it emerged from human contact with an infected animal - but they have not come to a conclusion..."

Central Park dog walker Amy Cooper files lawsuit against former employer -- claiming racial discrimination over firing

Amy Cooper, who ignited a firestorm after she called 911 to falsely accuse Christian Cooper -- a Black Central Park bird watcher -- of threatening her life, has filed a lawsuit against her former employer, Franklin Templeton. She claims she is the victim of racial discrimination.

Following backlash when video of the incident went viral, Cooper was initially charged by NYPD for making a false report. But after she "completed a therapeutic educational program that included instruction about racial biases," the charges were dropped.

In the lawsuit, Cooper maintains that Franklin Templeton cast her as a "racist" when it fired her. She also complains her former employer did not conduct its own independent investigation into the incident. Cooper claims she was fearful and not racist.

As Axios points out, the lawsuit states, "This confrontation became international news as a racial flashpoint, characterized as a privileged white female 'Karen' caught on video verbally abusing an African American male with no possible reason other than the color of his skin."

In a statement to the media on Wednesday, Franklin Templeton said it would defend "these baseless claims ...We believe the circumstances of the situation speak for themselves and that the Company responded appropriately," the company said.

How Stanford College Republicans worked with right-wing media to get an AP reporter fired

Former Associated Press reporter Emily Wilder was fired from the international media company late Thursday following a pressure campaign by right-wing media, including publications such as The Federalist and The Washington Free Beacon, working in tandem with the Standford College Republicans. Wilder was "canceled," if you will, for pro-Palestinian activism during her years in college — not at the AP.

The campaign to have Wilder fired started on Monday with the Stanford College Republicans taking to Twitter to bill the reporter's past pro-Palestine demonstrating as controversial, coming to the verdict that she would never be able to be impartial while covering national news.

"Recently, we discovered that the Associated Press has hired former Stanford anti-Israel agitator, Emily Wilder, who referred to the late Sheldon Adelson as a 'naked mole rat' as one of their 'journalists,'" the college Republican organization tweeted. The series of tweets from the Standford Republican chapter went onto claim that the reporter, who is Jewish, during her college years belonged to a "Students for Justice in Palestine," on-campus group. The college Republicans - who appear to have their own questionable Twitter activity - further took offense to Wilder calling right-wing provocateur Ben Shapiro a "little turd" and Sheldon Adelson a "naked mole-rat."

But from there, the right-wing outrage machine got ahold of the story, including The Federalist, The Washington Free Beacon, and Fox News were in news reports the right-wing outlets billed the reporter as being "anti-Israel." Notably, the Free Beacon ran their hit-piece with no attached byline and didn't return Salon's request for comment as to why they did that.

On Thursday, an all-staff email from AP News director Peter Prengaman to employees read: "A not to say that news associate Emily Wilder is no longer with the AP.

But the Associated Press claims it wasn't her activism in college. "While AP generally refrains from commenting on personnel matters, we can confirm Emily Wilder's comments on Thursday that she was dismissed for violations of AP's social media policy during her time at AP," an AP spokesperson told The Wrap.

"Amazing how quickly a talented young reporter's career can be snuffed out by a Twitter mob that decided to feign outrage over some college tweets. And if @vv1lder somehow violated @AP's social media rules, the solution is to offer guidance, not termination, to a new reporter," The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler wrote on Twitter following the ouster.

Responding to her firing, Wilder told SFGATE that her firing was nothing more than a right-wing outrage mob that reportedly distains "cancel culture," doing what they claim to resent.

"There's no question I was just canceled," told SFGATE reporter Eric Ting on Thursday following the news of her firing. "This is exactly the issue with the rhetoric around 'cancel culture.' To Republicans, cancel culture is usually seen as teens or young people online advocating that people be held accountable over accusations of racism or whatever it may be, but when it comes down to who actually has to deal with the lifelong ramifications of the selective enforcement of cancel culture — specifically over the issue of Israel and Palestine — it's always the same side."

In her interview with SFGATE, Wilder noted an "onslaught of absolutely vile messages" she received after right-wing media began running with the story. Wilder didn't immediately return a request for comment from Salon.

While The Associated Press might have folded to the demands of the right-wing mob, many journalists on Twitter voiced their support for the young journalist. "Shame on @AP @peterprengaman. I stand with Emily. Her reporting at our newspaper was excellent. Reverse your decision NOW," The Arizona Republic's reporter Rebekah Sanders wrote. The Washington Post's Dave Weigel responded: "'Hire @vv1lder' is something more and more people are saying."

"Every journalist should be outraged about @AP firing [Wilder] over college activism in favor of freedom for Palestinians. The industry is rife with clear double-standards on this," Los Angeles Times investigative reporter Adam Elmahrek commented on the firing. The Daily Beast's senior politics reporter Will Sommer replied, "It's crazy that editors are still falling for these bad-faith campaigns from right-wing media."

The decision to out Wilder comes on the heels of right-wing pundits cheering the Israeli airstrike that leveled a building in Gaza on Saturday, housing several international news outlets, including The Associated Press.

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