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Major Shift At Supreme Court On Covid-19 Orders

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The Supreme Court signaled a major shift in its approach to coronavirus-related restrictions late Wednesday, voting 5-4 to bar New York state from reimposing limits on religious gatherings.

The emergency rulings, issued just before midnight, were the first significant indication of a rightward shift in the court since President Donald Trump’s newest appointee — Justice Amy Coney Barrett — last month filled the seat occupied by liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in September.

In May and July, the Supreme Court narrowly rejected challenges to virus-related restrictions on churches in California and Nevada, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the court’s Democratic appointees to stress that state and local governments required flexibility to deal with a dangerous and evolving pandemic.

But support on the high court for those rulings shrank with Ginsburg’s death. Wednesday night’s orders granting emergency relief to Roman Catholic churches and to Jewish congregations in New York demonstrated, as many suspected, that Barrett would side with the court’s most conservative justices in insisting on greater accommodation for religion even as the pandemic is again surging.

“Stemming the spread of COVID–19 is unquestionably a compelling interest, but it is hard to see how the challenged regulations can be regarded as ‘narrowly tailored,’” the court wrote in an unsigned opinion. “They are far more restrictive than any COVID–related regulations that have previously come before the Court, much tighter than those adopted by many other jurisdictions hard-hit by the pandemic, and far more severe than has been shown to be required to prevent the spread of the virus at the applicants’ services.”

Barrett did not write a separate opinion in the two New York cases, but the orders signaled that she was part of the majority backing the court’s controlling, unsigned opinion.

Roberts and the court’s three remaining Democratic appointees dissented, stressing that the emergency relief wasn’t necessary because Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently reclassified the areas in question in a color-coded system from “orange” to “yellow,” lifting the most onerous restrictions.

Under New York’s system, religious services held by congregations in “red” zones are limited to 10 people, while those in “orange” zones can host up to 25 people at a time. On Monday, Cuomo moved the areas occupied by the religious congregations involved in the litigation into the “yellow” zone, lifting the most onerous restrictions, but areas in Staten Island and in Monroe and Onondaga Counties are now under the “orange” limits.

Roberts said the limits on religious activities under “orange” or “red” restrictions in New York may violate the Constitution, but he warned against jumping into that issue when no such limits were currently in effect on the congregations who petitioned the court.

“It may well be that such restrictions violate the Free Exercise Clause. It is not necessary, however, for us to rule on that serious and difficult question at this time,” the chief justice wrote in a solo dissent. “The Governor might reinstate the restrictions. But he also might not. And it is a significant matter to override determinations made by public health officials concerning what is necessary for public safety in the midst of a deadly pandemic.”

“I fear that granting applications such as the one filed by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn … will only exacerbate the Nation’s suffering,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in a somber dissent joined by Justice Elena Kagan.

Sotomayor vigorously disputed the contention that the religious groups were being unfairly discriminated against, arguing that comparisons between religious services and liquor or big-box stores were overly facile because the virus-related health risks posed by what people do in those places are starkly different.

“Unlike religious services … bike repair shops and liquor stores generally do not feature customers gathering inside to sing and speak together for an hour or more at a time,” she wrote. “Justices of this Court play a deadly game in second guessing the expert judgment of health officials about the environments in which a contagious virus, now infecting a million Americans each week, spreads most easily.”

The latest virus-related ruling also triggered an unusually caustic exchange, albeit in writing, between Justice Neil Gorsuch and Roberts.

Gorsuch appeared to skewer and diminish Roberts’ concurring opinion in the California cases that went before the court on an emergency basis in May

As we round out 2020 and face the prospect of entering a second calendar year living in the pandemic’s shadow, that rationale has expired according to its own terms,” Gorsuch wrote. “Even if the Constitution has taken a holiday during this pandemic, it cannot become a sabbatical. Rather than apply a nonbinding and expired concurrence … courts must resume applying the Free Exercise Clause.”

Gorsuch also accused Roberts of “a serious rewriting of history” for now insisting that his May opinion did not rely on a century-old Supreme Court precedent that allowed mandatory smallpox vaccinations in Massachusetts.

“We may not shelter in place when the Constitution is under attack. Things never go well when we do,” Gorsuch warned.

But Roberts noted that Gorsuch on Wednesday devoted three pages of his opinion to “exactly one sentence” the chief justice wrote in May referring back to the 1905 smallpox vaccination case, Jacobson v. Massachusetts.

“What did that one sentence say? Only that ‘[o]ur Constitution principally entrusts “[t]he safety and the health of the people” to the politically accountable officials of the States “to guard and protect,”’” Roberts wrote.

“It is not clear which part of this lone quotation today’s concurrence finds so discomfiting … But the actual proposition asserted should be uncontroversial, and the concurrence must reach beyond the words themselves to find the target it is looking for.”

A Pasadena, Calif., church’s bid for emergency relief from that state’s Covid-19 restrictions is still pending at the court. After Wednesday’s ruling in the New York cases, the high court said the state’s deadline to respond from Friday afternoon to Monday afternoon, apparently to give lawyers time to digest the New York decision.

Author : Josh Gerstein

Source : Politico : Major shift at Supreme Court on Covid-19 orders

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Democrat Voters Are Already Having Buyers Remorse In Georgia

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With the Democrat Senate wins in the state, greedy Georgia voters could already feel that $2000 in their pockets. More free money just for electing Democrats. What could be simpler? Yes, they didn’t earn the money, and yes the Democrat stand on the issue was tantamount to a bribe, granted- as was the final stand of the two Republicans. But hey, now that the votes are in the $2000 is on the way, right? Wrong.

Joe Biden wants the amount to be $2000 in total, not in addition. As most Americans already have received $600, that makes the next check only for $1400. But that’s not what Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff promised and viciously campaigned on. Vote for us, they said, get the cash.

It recalls the line from Benjamin Franklin, “When the people find that they can vote themselves money that will herald the end of the republic.” Well, “the people” (such a nasty concept) have been voting themselves money since Ben’s day. So perhaps he went a little drama queen on us there. But the underlying sentiment is spot on.

FNC: “Georgia Democrats have reportedly already begun fuming over their two new senators, the Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, who were sworn in Wednesday by Vice President Kamala Harris, according to a new report. Both men narrowly won hard-fought races against Republican incumbents in the Peach State, winning control of the Senate for the Democrats in the process. But a major issue raised by critics is that President Biden espoused a coronavirus relief plan that would send $1,400 checks to many Americans – while Warnock and Ossoff campaigned on a $2,000 promise.”

“Warnock and Ossoff made it a point to endorse and exclusively say ‘$2,000 checks,’” Georgia Democrat Oscar Zaro told Mediaite. “A lot of the people in my district voted blue in the runoff for two main reasons. One: Loeffler and Perdue denying us relief during COVID while profiting millions themselves; and two, $2,000 checks.”

Author : Missy Crane

Source : Wayne Dupree : Democrat Voters Are Already Having Buyer’s Remorse in Georgia

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Florida Is New HQ Of The MAGA Movement

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Former President Donald Trump remains iffy on a 2024 return, but one thing is for sure: His new home of Florida will be “Trump Headquarters,” where he will manage the “Make America Great Again” movement that he started in 2015.

“Florida,” said former top aide Stephen Miller, “is really the perfect place to be the new HQ of the MAGA movement and a launching pad for the president’s next endeavor.”

While there have been many reports that the president, his family, and some top aides are moving to the Palm Beach area to be near him for support and friendship, insiders revealed to Secrets that there is a blueprint to run the political operation from there.

Initially, the plan is to play a role in the 2022 midterm elections, recruiting candidates to run in key House and Senate races and likely in Republican primaries against sitting members who voted to impeach Trump.

After that, and should he decide not to run in 2024, Trump wants to play the role of “kingmaker” and help choose the GOP nominee. He’s also looking at building a “Patriot Party.”

Said presidential historian and Trump expert Doug Wead, “If he wants to be a factor, he will be a factor.”

Aides suggested that Trump’s operation, now at his Palm Beach Mar-a-Lago resort, will be a revolving door of influence-makers and GOP officials. In addition to his daughters moving there, there are former aides such as Jared Kushner’s right hand Avi Berkowitz, the administration’s former special representative for international negotiations. There is also a media cadre that he talks to, including Rush Limbaugh, Tucker Carlson, and Newsmax boss Chris Ruddy.

“I absolutely think it’ll be Trump HQ, whether that’s for more kind of grassroots political influence and endorsements, a more high-dollar fundraising/PAC focus, or a hybrid of both. I think it will definitely be HQ for him and his team,” said political consultant and former Trump campaign Florida fundraiser Blair Brandt.
Unclear is whether the Trump corporation will uproot from New York and move to Florida. New York recently moved to cut ties with Trump’s organization.

Brandt, who is also a personal adviser to Lara Trump, the wife of Trump’s son Eric, said he would encourage a move. In addition to Florida being more welcoming to conservatives, he said that the state is also a good business haven.

“I think symbolically and practically, there’s no reason for them to be dealing with hostile agencies, attorneys generals, governors, and mayors up there when they have so much support and love down here. If they’re going to stimulate an economy right now with the types of jobs, revenues, and exposure they bring to an area, it should be in a place that kind of has their back and is more of a free, deregulated, and conservative environment with strong Republican leadership,” he told us.

Miller told us that Trump has much more to do politically, though he didn’t hint at which direction the 45th president would take.

“He leaves with the certain knowledge that he put everything you have into the mission,” said Miller. “This movement is beginning. This movement is a young movement. It’s still in its infancy and the president — his own journey is still only begun.”

Wead, who has written two books on Trump, said he would not be surprised if Trump ran again.

He compared Trump to former President Teddy Roosevelt, who ran after retiring. “Roosevelt left office but soon resented former President Taft, who didn’t do it the way T.R. wanted it. So, T.R. came back and ran again. That possibility hangs over the head of any Republican who wants to try in 2024. As you know, T.R. split the party and actually won more votes than Taft, the incumbent GOP president, giving the election to Woodrow Wilson. Trump can win or be a spoiler,” he said.

Author : Paul Bedard

Source : Washington Examiner : Florida is ‘new HQ of the MAGA movement’

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Sanders’ Mitten-Maker: My Business Plunged Because We Get Taxed To The Nth Degree

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The Bernie Sanders supporter who made the mittens Sanders wore to President Biden’s inauguration, mittens made famous by a photo of the democratic socialist senator sitting with his arms and legs crossed during the proceedings, revealed in an interview that she doesn’t “have much of a mitten business anymore because it really wasn’t worth it. Independent crafters get really taken for a ride by the federal government. We get taxed to the nth degree.”

In March 2020, The Wall Street Journal reported of Sanders’ tax-heavy plans for the U.S. economy:

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is trying to expand federal taxation on a scale not seen since World War II, pursuing policies that would end the nation’s run as one of the industrialized world’s lowest-taxed countries. Mr. Sanders’s combination of taxes on wealth, income, financial transactions, corporate profits, payrolls, estates and capital gains would hit rich Americans from every direction. If Congress were to pass all his plans, the total U.S. tax burden—including federal, state and local taxes—would resemble Canada’s or Germany’s rather than being near the bottom of the pack of rich nations.

Jen Ellis, from Essex Junction, Vermont, told Slate she was “totally delighted” when she found out Sanders had made her mittens famous. She recalled Sanders wearing her mittens a year ago during the presidential primary and some people on Twitter mistakenly gave credit to Sanders’ grandmother for making the mittens, so she tweeted that she had made them and added her Gmail account.

Ellis said that after the photo of Sanders at the inauguration went viral, “People have been contacting me thinking that they can get mittens, and actually they can’t. I don’t have any more, and I don’t have much of a mitten business anymore because it really wasn’t worth it. Independent crafters get really taken for a ride by the federal government. We get taxed to the nth degree, and it wasn’t really worth it pursuing that as a business, even.”

Asked if she thought Sanders’ grumpy face reflected an unhappiness that he was not president and Biden was, Ellis responded: “No, I don’t actually think he was grumpy. I bet he was really excited to be there, even though it was bittersweet, right? Because he wanted to be in Biden’s shoes, but I’m sure he recognized the importance of that day and this whole change of power in America and I bet he was glad to be there. He is who he is and not everyone has a resting pleasant face.”

Ellis said she was also delighted that a woman was now vice president, though she wishes she were actually the president.

“I’ve waited four decades of my life — I’m tearing up just thinking about it — to see a woman be vice president,” she said. “I wish that she was president, although I think Biden is pretty great. It was so powerful to sit there with my 5-year-old daughter who I love so much and be like, this is where you enter politics, right? We have shielded you from Trump as much as possible. But this is what we want you to see, a wonderful, successful woman and a woman of color in such a powerful position. It was great to share that with her and my partner who’s also a woman, so we’re just a huge feminist household celebrating this momentous occasion.”

The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.

Author : Hank Berrien

Source : Daily Wire : Sanders’ Mitten-Maker: My Business Plunged Because ‘We Get Taxed To The Nth Degree’

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