Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy Announces Retirement; Pittsburgh Police Officer Charged with Homicide; Supreme Court Rules Against Unions; Trump-Putin Summit Scheduled In Next Few Weeks; Joe Jackson Passes Away at 89; Suspect in Charlottesville Car Plowing Charged with Federal Hate Crimes
Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Wednesday, June 27. Ready for news?
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy Announces Retirement
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, 81, announced today that he will retire and step down from the court on July 31. He served 30 years on the Supreme Court, he was nominated by former President Reagan.
Kennedy was the “swing vote” — he could either side with the conservatives or with liberals, and often cast the deciding vote on important issues. A big recent decision was to vote for same-sex marriage as a constitutional right.
Now that he is retiring, President Trump has another opportunity to nominate a new justice and push the court further to the right. Trump had success with nominating Justice Gorsuch, a conservative, last year, and will have another chance.
Trump said he wants to be quick on the nomination and not wait until after the midterm elections. He told the Portuguese President, who was visiting the White House, that the election of a justice for the Supreme Court was one of the most important events.
Trump did discuss the potential pick with Kennedy today at the White House. He already has a list of 25 conservative candidates to pick from. We’ll see who it is.
Many are expecting a brutal fight in the Senate on Trump’s nominee. Republicans have a one-seat majority in the Senate, 51 to 49, and Democrats will try hard to block the pick by having at least two Republican Senators side with them.
If the Senate is tied 50-50, the Vice President can break the tie by voting on behalf of the Republicans.
Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-Ky) said the Senate will vote this fall on Trump’s nominee.
This November is the midterm elections, and it is possible that the Senate could shift to Democratic control. But if Republicans move forward in the time now until then, they have a good chance of putting a justice they like, and that justice will stay on the court for many years ahead.
Pittsburgh Police Officer Charged with Homicide
The Pittsburgh police officer who shot and killed a 17-year old boy, Antwon Rose II, as he ran away after a traffic stop has been charged with one count of criminal homicide.
The officer’s name is Michael Rosfeld. He was arrested this morning and released after posting $250,000 bail.
Rosfeld is an experienced officer, but was just sworn in his job with the East Pittsburgh Police Department a few hours before the shooting.
He was looking for a car from an earlier shooting and when he saw one that matched the description, he pulled it over.
There were three people in the car, and when Antwon and another person ran away, the officer shot at him. Antwon was hit three times: one in the cheek, his right elbow from behind, and one in his middle back, which was the fatal shot.
Antwon was unarmed — and police later said he had an empty gun clip in his pocket.
The driver was not charged — he was a “taxi” driver for the other two.
The third person, Zaijuan Hester, is the only suspect of the earlier shooting and has been charged with attempted homicide.
The Pittsburgh area District Attorney said the only thing Antwon did was to be in that vehicle.
A lawyer for the family of Antwan said they have guarded optimism. They believe it is a step in the right direction, but that there will be a long road to a conviction and sentencing.
Supreme Court Rules Against Unions
Today the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that unions for government workers cannot collect fees from non-members.
There are some government/public workers who are required to pay “agency fees” to unions, even if they are not members, because all of the employees would benefit from union negotiations on salary, time off, or benefits. Because they benefit from it, they “should” pay the fees. But there has been a rule that the fees cannot be used for political activity.
But there were critics on this saying the unions’ negotiations with the government is “political activity.” Some non-members said they shouldn’t be forced to pay union fees if they don’t agree with their activities.
After a court battle, now the Supreme Court agrees with them in this 5-4 decision to say union fees are no longer required.
Unions say they now have a problem — that they will not be able to afford lawyers and other staff for negotiations if there are not enough members.
Trump-Putin Summit Scheduled In Next Few Weeks
President Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, met with Russian President Putin in Moscow to set up a Trump-Putin summit meeting scheduled within the next few weeks.
The plan is to meet at a different country, neither in the U.S. or in Russia. The exact time and place will be announced tomorrow.
This meeting is controversial because of the ongoing international political tensions with Russia for various reasons and Trump’s strained relationship with long-time allies of U.S. such as Germany, France, or Canada. So the timing is suspect.
There’s also the Russian investigation from the 2016 elections led by Mueller. So there is a lot of scrutiny on the meeting.
Bolton said Trump and Putin’s meeting would benefit the world.
Trump said they will talk about Syria, Ukraine, and many other subjects — that we’ll see what happens.
Joe Jackson Passes Away at 89
Joe Jackson, the father of the Jackson family which includes Michael and Janet Jackson, has passed away this morning from cancer at a Las Vegas hospital. He was 89.
He is considered as the most successful parent managing their children to stardom. But Michael and other siblings said he physically abused them and mismanaged them.
Joe said he did whip Michael with a stick and belt, but did not “beat” him. He said he was glad he was tough, pointing to the children’s success.
When Michael Jackson died, Joe was not a part of his will.
A representative for Michael’s estate told TMZ that they are deeply saddened by Mr. Jackson’s passing and extends their condolences to his wife, Katherine, and the family.
Suspect in Charlottesville Car Plowing Charged with Federal Hate Crimes
The alleged driver of a car that rammed into a crowd during last year’s white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia — James Alex Fields Jr — has been charged with federal hate crimes.
A woman, Heather Heyer, was killed. She was with a crowd of counter-protesters when she was hit by the car. Prior to this, there was a lot of fighting between the opposing sides.
James was already charged with first-degree murder in December, with that trial set for November. Now he has a federal charge of a hate crime resulting in Heyer’s death.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on behalf of the Justice Department, that this should send a clear message that they will aggressively prosecute violent crimes of hate that threaten the core principles of our nation.
Last year President Trump, after the incident, said the blame for the violence during the rally should be put on both sides, that one group was bad and the other group was violent. He later said the driver was a murderer and did a horrible, inexcusable thing.
That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light!