Cases on gay and transgender rights hit Supreme Court
The Supreme Court on Tuesday is scheduled to hear arguments in three cases involving gay and transgender rights, which are among the most significant of the court’s 2019 term that began on Monday. The cases will test whether the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which bans job discrimination on the basis of sex, applies to gay and transgender workers. The answer will be particularly important in 28 states that do not have their own protections. The cases pick up from the same-sex marriage battle in 2015, when the court ruled 5-4 that states cannot ban gays and lesbians from getting married.But the author of that decision and others favoring gay rights, Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, retired last year and was succeeded by Brett Kavanaugh.
The Supreme Court is tackling a heated topic early in their session on October 8, when an LGBTQ rights case has oral arguments. Richard Wolf reports.
GOP donor-turned-diplomat next witness in impeachment inquiry
Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, is scheduled to give a deposition Tuesday to three committees – Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight as part of the House impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump. The whistleblower said Sondland, along with Kurt Volker, then the special representative to Ukraine had met with Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to try to “contain the damage” his efforts on former Vice President Joe Biden were having on U.S. national security. Text messages the committees released show Bill Taylor, the top diplomat in Ukraine, asking: “Are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?” Sondland texted back: “Call me.”
US President Donald Trump says the impeachment inquiry is a “scam” that is driving his poll numbers higher and he says he sort of thrives on it, but admits it “makes it harder to do my job.” (Oct. 7)
Democrats seek grand-jury evidence underlying Mueller report
A federal judge will hear arguments Tuesday from the House Judiciary Committee, which is demanding the grand-jury evidence behind special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The panel subpoenaed the evidence as part of the wide-ranging impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump. The Judiciary Committee is focusing on potential obstruction of justice, as described in 10 episodes in the Mueller report. But Attorney General William Barr redacted grand-jury evidence from the report and argued against disclosing it under the subpoena. U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell, the chief judge for the D.C. district who oversees the grand jury, is hearing the case. Her ruling could resolve a key dispute about the status of the House’s investigation of Trump.
The White House said President Trump’s outreach on William Barr’s behalf was a legitimate effort to assist the inquiry into the Mueller investigation.
Montgomery, Alabama faces potential historic mayoral election
Voters will cast their ballots Tuesday in Montgomery, Alabama’s mayoral runoff election between Steven Reed and David Woods, potentially making history by electing the city’s first black mayor. The two candidates were among six front-runners, many with deep financial backing, including Reed and Woods themselves spending thousands of dollars to attract voters’ attention. Reed, 45, was elected Montgomery County’s first African American probate judge in 2012.Woods owns three TV stations and has never held political office, but ran for Congress in 2008. In an Aug. 27 election to get to Tuesday’s runoff, Reed and Woods finished as the top two vote-getters in a field of 12 candidates. Reed gained almost double the votes, 42 percent, as Woods, who finished at around 24 percent. The winner will be sworn in as mayor Nov. 12 at Montgomery City Hall.
Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur begins
Yom Kippur begins Tuesday evening and marks the holiest day of the Jewish year — a day of atonement after the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah. On this day, Jews ask God for forgiveness for their sins to secure their fate. More than half of Jews will observe the holiday by fasting, according to a Pew Research Center survey. It is believed the first Yom Kippur occurred after God gave Moses the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai. When Moses came down from the mountain, he found the Israelites worshiping a gold idol calf. After they atoned for their sin, God forgave them and offered Moses a second set of tablets.
Iran is home to the Middle East’s largest Jewish population outside of Israel. While they are free to worship, they face some limitations.
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