WASHINGTON ― The Senate confirmed Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on Saturday, ending an ugly, painful, weekslong Senate fight over whether women’s sexual misconduct allegations against him were credible and mattered.
Kavanaugh was narrowly confirmed, 50-48. Every Republican but one, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), voted for him. Every Democrat but one, Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), voted against him.
The vote would have been 51-49, but Murkowski, whose vote will be recorded as “no,” agreed to vote “present” during the actual vote as a favor to Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), who supports Kavanaugh but was away at his daughter’s wedding. By voting “present,” and with Daines out, the final tally was 50-48. Their paired vote, as it’s called, maintains the same two-vote margin and does not change the outcome.
Kavanaugh’s fate ultimately came down to four senators who were undecided on how they would vote until the very end: Susan Collins (R-Maine), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Murkowski and Manchin. Murkowski was the only one of the four who did not support him.
Anti-Kavanaugh demonstrators in the Senate balcony shouted protests throughout the vote.
“You are a coward! You’re a total coward!” one protester yelled at Flake as he voted for Kavanaugh.
“Shame on you,” two female protesters shouted at Manchin as he voted yes. “How dare you prioritize him over us.”
Capitol Police on Saturday arrested 164 demonstrators, including 13 people who screamed at lawmakers inside the Senate gallery.
Students Defrauded By For-Profit Colleges Win Big Victory Set Up By Obama
WASHINGTON (AP) — Students defrauded by for-profit colleges scored an important victory on Tuesday, when a court cleared the way for an Obama-era policy that will make it easier for them to get their student loans forgiven.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had said the regulation, known as borrower defense, made discharging loans too easy and was unfair to taxpayers. The rule was due to take effect in July 2017, but DeVos froze it while she worked on devising a new regulation.
But U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss ruled last month that DeVos’ delay was unlawful. On Tuesday, he denied a request by an organization representing for-profit colleges in California, to further postpone the rule, thus paving the way for borrower defense to enter into force.
“The rule is finally in effect. No more excuses. No more delays,” said Julie Murray, an attorney with Public Citizen, who is representing the defrauded students in their suit against DeVos.
Education Department spokeswoman Liz Hill said DeVos “respects the role of the court and accepts the court’s decision” and will soon provide information about how the regulation will be implemented.
But DeVos continues to regard the regulation as “bad policy” and will continue writing a new rule “that protects both borrowers and taxpayers,” Hill said in a statement Tuesday.
The ruling marks a significant setback for DeVos, who has made deregulating the for-profit college industry a top priority. The decision means that the Obama rule, which DeVos has fought hard to scrap, could be in effect until July 2020, when any new rule written by DeVos would enter into force.
Under the Obama rule, students whose school closed mid-program or shortly after completion, will become eligible for automatic loan discharge. The Century Foundation, a progressive think tank, estimates that Tuesday’s decision will affect tens of thousands of students at over 1,400 schools who will now be eligible for $400 million in automatic debt relief across the nation.
Other provisions in the rule allow students to apply for loan discharge as a group. It also prevents schools from forcing students to sign away their rights to sue the program and makes sure that the schools, not just tax payers, bear financial responsibility in case the schools end up shutting down.
Over 100,000 students who say they have been swindled by their schools are currently waiting for the Education Department to consider their applications for loan forgiveness. James Kvaal, president of the Institute for College Access and Success, said that the agency must immediately halt debt collections and wipe out the loans of those borrowers whose schools have been shut down.
“This is a major victory for students across this country in the ongoing battle against the Department of Education and the for-profit college industry,” said Toby Merrill, director of the Project on Predatory Student Lending at Harvard University that also took part in the lawsuit.
But Steve Gunderson, president of Career Education Colleges and Universities, the industry lobbying group, described Judge Moss’ ruling as “disappointing as it will only create further confusion for students and schools” and urged the Education Department to provide as much as guidance as possible while it finishes writing the new rule.
Gunderson added, “Many will look at this ruling where a Judge appointed by President Obama upholds a rule created by the Obama Department of Education and see further evidence of the politicization of our court system.”
The group, whose motion to delay the rule was denied Tuesday, the California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools, did not return a request for comment.
WTH!!! Minnesota GOP Senate Contender Comparing Michelle Obama To A ‘Chimp’on Facebook
Republican Karin Housley, a state senator running to represent Minnesota in the U.S. Senate, compared then-first lady Michelle Obama to a “chimp” in 2009.
In an April 2009 Facebook post, Housley criticized the first lady’s posture when she met Queen Elizabeth II.
“Michelle is soooo far from cool. Don’t we expect our First Ladies to at least stand up straight? (And my dear sister, know the proper etiquette and DO NOT TOUCH THE QUEEN!),” Housley wrote on her Facebook wall.
In the comment thread on her post, Housley said the chimpanzee in the 1951 film “Bedtime for Bonzo,” starring then-actor Ronald Reagan, likely had better posture than Mrs. Obama.
“I do miss Nancy Reagan. Ronald even more. Speaking of Bedtime for Bonzo, I think even that chimp stood up straighter than Michelle,” Housley wrote. “Uh-oh, someone is going to make a comment.”
Comparing African-Americans to apes, even obliquely, as Housley did, has been a longstanding feature of racist American innuendo. ABC canceled “Roseanne” at the end of May after star Roseanne Barr tweeted that Valerie Jarrett, an African-American who advised former President Barack Obama, looked like the child of “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes.”
Housley is challenging Sen. Tina Smith (D), Minnesota’s former lieutenant governor. Gov. Mark Dayton (D) appointed Smith to fill the Senate seat vacated by Al Franken, who resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct in December.
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Hillary Clinton Says Bill Clinton’s Affair With Monica Lewinsky Was Not An Abuse Of Power
Hillary Clinton said Sunday that her husband, former President Bill Clinton, was right not to resign over his affair with then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky and the subsequent scandal that rocked his administration in the late 1990s.
“Absolutely not,” Hillary Clinton, a champion of the Me Too movement, told CBS’ “Sunday Morning” when asked whether Bill Clinton should have stepped down.
The former secretary of state and 2016 Democratic nominee for president denied that her husband’s sexual relationship with Lewinksy, who was 22 when it began, should be considered an abuse of power.
When CBS’ Tony Dokoupil noted that critics say it’s impossible for a president to have a consensual relationship with an intern, Hillary Clinton responded that Lewinsky was “an adult,” then steered the conversation toward the numerous sexual misconduct allegations against President Donald Trump.
“Let me ask you this, where’s the investigation of the current incumbent against whom numerous allegations have been made and which he dismisses, denies and ridicules?” Clinton asked. “So there was an investigation and it, as I believe, came out in the right place.”
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