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Justice Kennedy, the pivotal swing vote on the Supreme Court, announces retirement

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Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced Wednesday that he is retiring from the Supreme Court, a move that gives President Trump the chance to replace the court’s pivotal justice and dramatically shift the institution to the right, setting up a bitter partisan showdown on Kennedy’s successor.

“It has been the greatest honor and privilege to serve our nation in the federal judiciary for 43 years, 30 of those years on the Supreme Court,” Kennedy, who is stepping down July 31, said in a statement.

Kennedy, 81, joined the court in 1988 and has been its most important member for more than a decade. The Californian, who was chosen by President Ronald Reagan, has cast the deciding vote on the court’s controversial Citizens United campaign finance decision, the constitutional right to same-sex marriage and the continued viability of affirmative action.

On almost every major issue that has faced the court in recent years, neither the court’s liberal, Democratic-appointed justices nor Kennedy’s fellow ­Republican-appointed conservative colleagues could prevail without his swing vote.

His decision likely will make Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. the central justice on the nine-member court. Roberts, 63, has shown himself to be well to the right of Kennedy.

Washington could be in for an epic battle over Kennedy’s replacement. While Senate Democrats lack the numbers to deny the seat to whoever Trump chooses, they will ratchet up the stakes of the choice.

It will be the first time since Justice Clarence Thomas replaced Thurgood Marshall more than 25 years ago that a new justice could radically change the direction of the court. Since then, new members added to the court have replaced justices of the same general ideology.

Kennedy is a courtly presence on the court, with a gentlemanly demeanor and a jurisprudence based on the respect the Constitution provides for individual liberty and dignity.

He was a compromise choice for Reagan, who had first nominated the more controversial conservative Judge Robert Bork for the position. The Senate voted him down.

Kennedy has been a disappointment to the right, which has been unable to forgive his vote to uphold the basic underpinnings of Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed a woman’s right to choose an abortion. And Kennedy has written each of the court’s major gay rights decision, including Obergefell v. Hodges, which said the Constitution requires that gay couples be allowed to marry.

Liberals came to value Kennedy because he was the best they could hope for. But Kennedy most often votes with the court’s conservatives: He is further to the right on law-and-order issues than Justice Antonin Scalia was, he is comfortable with the court’s protective view of business, and he shared the losing view that the entire Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional.

His belief that campaign finance regulation often violates free speech was exemplified in his authorship of the opinion in Citizens United, which has opened the door for an explosion of big money in elections.

Whoever Trump nominated to fill Kennedy’s seat will likely share those views, but not his liberal opinions on social issues.

Trump convinced evangelicals and other conservatives to support him based on the next president’s ability to shape the Supreme Court, a promise he has already begun to fulfill. Early in his term, he successfully place conservative Neil M. Gorsuch on the bench, and he could have the chance to fill more openings.

Of the court’s four liberals, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 85 and Justice Stephen G. Breyer turns 80 this summer.

Gorsuch’s appointment returned the court to the status quo that existed before Scalia died. But a court without Kennedy would be a different place.

With Kennedy on board, a five-member majority struck down a Texas law that it said used protecting women as a pretext for making abortion unavailable, and the court continued a limited endorsement of affirmative action.

Many if not all of those holdings would be at risk in a court with five consistent conservatives, the oldest being 69-year-old Justice Clarence Thomas.

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Jennifer Lopez flaunts her abs ahead of 50th birthday: ‘Queen of aging backwards’

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Jennifer Lopez is gearing up to celebrate her 50th birthday in a matter of days. But fans are predicting that she might actually be aging backward after she posted a photo on Instagram on Thursday with her abs on full display.

The singer, who’s currently on her It’s My Party tour, took to her social media to give a shout-out to the fast-approaching Leo season while posing in a workout set.

“How is it fair to be this good looking,” one person commented, while another said, “Yes mama shine like no other.”

Fellow singer Kacey Musgraves also took to Lopez’s comments to deem her the “Queen of aging backward.”

Lopez, whose birthday is on July 24, won’t be taking to the stage on her birthday. It’s likely she’ll be celebrating the milestone year in Florida, where she’ll perform in Orlando on July 23, and then in Miami on July 25. Her fourth concert tour, which she recently started documenting on her YouTube channel, ends on August 11.

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TV ONE’S ORIGINAL MOVIE “SINS OF THE FATHER” PREMIERES TONIGHT AT 8 P.M. ET/7C

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New Thriller Kicks Off Month-Long Slate of LOVE, LIES & MURDER Movies and Features Deitrick Haddon, A.J. Johnson, Clifton Powell, Terayle Hill, Angela Davis, and Danny Pardo
Watch An Exclusive Clip Here!

(ATLANTA) – July 7, 2019 – TV One’s original film SINS OF THE FATHER premieres Sunday, July 7 at 8 P.M./7C, immediately followed by an encore presentation at 10 P.M./9C. The film stars Deitrick Haddon (The Gospel), A.J. Johnson (Baby Boy), Clifton Powell (Ray), Terayle Hill (Merry Wishmas), Angela Davis (I Feel Pretty) and Danny Pardo (SEAL Team). SINS OF THE FATHER is the first movie to kick off TV One’s month of LOVE, LIES & MURDER films which features a series of stories that explore the dark side of love including deceit, betrayal, obsession, and jealousy.

Inspired by TV One’s true crime programming, SINS OF THE FATHER follows Detectives Phylicia Richardson (Johnson) and Perez (Pardo) as they investigate the vicious murder of first lady Karen Burnett (Davis), the beloved wife of Pastor Clarence Burnett (Haddon). The crime sends shock waves through the couple’s close knit Atlanta community and the police are forced to take a deeper look into the Burnett’s inner circle, including Pastor Burnett’s son Robert Banks (Hill). As the interrogation unfolds, family secrets of abuse, infidelity, lust and cruelty are revealed within the Burnett household. The detectives soon discover that the ungodly actions of one person can have a deadly impact on many.

“In a culture where #ChurchHurt has been the trending topic, this film will give the viewer insight on how wolves in sheep’s clothing operate,” said gospel artist and film star Haddon. “Buckle your seatbelt because it’s about to get real!”

SINS OF THE FATHER is written by Katrina O’Gilvie and directed by Jamal Hill, with Leah Daniels-Butler and George Pierre as Casting Directors. The film was produced by Swirl Films, with Eric Tomosunas serving as Executive Producer. Keith Neal, James Seppelfrick, Ron Robinson and Darien Baldwin serve as producers. For TV One, Karen Peterkin is the Executive Producer in Charge of Production, Donyell McCullough is Senior Director of Talent & Casting, and Brigitte McCray is Senior Vice President of Original Programming and Production.

(more…)

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LAPD opens internal affairs inquiry in Nipsey Hussle murder

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Los Angeles police have opened an internal affairs investigation into why the woman who drove the getaway car in the aftermath of rapper Nipsey Hussle’s killing was sent home when she tried to turn herself in during the manhunt for the shooter.

The LAPD’s Office of the Inspector General confirmed Monday that the Internal Affairs Group is investigating a desk officer’s response at the 77th Street station. Capt. Gisselle Espinoza, an LAPD spokeswoman, said the matter is under administrative investigation and she couldn’t release more details.

FILE - This April 4, 2019 file photo shows Eric Holder, the suspect in the killing of rapper Nipsey Hussle in Los Angeles County Superior Court with his attorney Christopher Darden. Holder is charged with murder and two counts of attempted murder in connection with the attack outside Hussle's The Marathon clothing store. Court documents show that Hussle and Holder had a conversation about “snitching” shortly before Hussle was shot. (Patrick T. Fallon/Pool via AP)© Provided by The Associated Press FILE – This April 4, 2019 file photo shows Eric Holder, the suspect in the killing of rapper Nipsey Hussle in Los Angeles County Superior Court with his attorney Christopher Darden. Holder is charged with murder and two counts of attempted murder in connection with the attack outside Hussle’s The Marathon clothing store. Court documents show that Hussle and Holder had a conversation about “snitching” shortly before Hussle was shot. (Patrick T. Fallon/Pool via AP)

Grand jury testimony shows the woman who drove the suspect, Eric R. Holder, away from the March 31 shooting had gone to the station because her car and license plate were on the news.

“Oh my God,” the woman, whose name has not been released, testified that she told her mother. “My car is on here and everything, and I didn’t do anything. I didn’t know this boy was gonna do this.”

Her mother called police but was told detectives wouldn’t be available until 6 a.m. the next day, grand jury transcripts show.

When they arrived at the station the next morning, the front desk officer said “don’t worry about it” and “don’t listen to the news,” the transcript shows. The woman left the station, returning later to speak to detectives after her mother called police again.

LAPD Detective Cedric Washington testified that the woman had been turned away.

“That is true according to the desk officer that I spoke to about it,” Washington said.

“OK. He apparently missed a briefing in the chief’s press conference that day, I guess,” Deputy District Attorney John McKinney said.

Josh Rubenstein, an LAPD spokesman, said Monday in an email that the internal investigation began a few days ago.

“While the initial indications pointed to a miscommunication, we have initiated an administrative investigation to ensure all policies and procedures were followed,” Rubenstein wrote. “We will review all statements that have already been given, interview all of the individuals involved, and look for any potential body cam video that may have captured the interchange.”

Rubenstein told the Los Angeles Times last week there didn’t appear to be any misconduct.

“She was not making herself clear of what she was doing,” Rubenstein said, noting that the officer believed the woman was reporting that someone was just recording video of her car on television.

A grand jury on May 9 returned an indictment charging Holder, 29, with murder, attempted murder and other felonies. He has pleaded not guilty.

The woman testified that Holder was a friend she had known for about a month and that she believed the two were just stopping at a shopping center for food.

She saw Hussle standing outside his South Los Angeles clothing store, The Marathon, expressed her excitement and took a picture with him after overhearing Holder and Hussle’s conversation about “snitching.”

The woman and Holder had pulled out of the shopping center and into a nearby gas station when Holder loaded a gun, told her he would be back and walked back to the shopping center, the woman testified.

She said she heard two gunshots, and Holder returned moments later telling her to drive. She said she didn’t learn Hussle had been shot until later that night.

Witnesses heard Holder and Hussle, both of whom have ties to the Rollin’ 60s street gang, discussing “snitching” minutes before Hussle was shot, according to the transcripts.

Holder was arrested two days later about 20 miles (32 kilometers) from the crime scene.

Hussle, 33, whose real name is Ermias Ashgedom, was a long-respected rapper who had just broken through with a Grammy-nominated album before he was shot and killed.

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