Headlines for July 9, 2018

Future of Affirmative Action in Jeopardy with New DOJ Order & Retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy

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The Trump administration is ending Obama-era policies calling on schools and universities to consider race as a factor in admissions, in the latest blow to affirmative action programs. The move doesn’t change the law, but it rescinds guidelines set by the Obama administration to foster diversity in elementary and secondary schools and on college campuses. The move comes as the Trump administration is reportedly planning a challenge to Harvard University’s admissions practices and as President Trump is nearing a decision on a Supreme Court nominee to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, who was long considered a swing vote on affirmative action. In 2016, Kennedy wrote the majority opinion when the court upheld the University of Texas at Austin’s race-conscious admissions program. We speak to Dennis Parker, director of the Racial Justice Program at the American Civil Liberties Union.

New EPA Chief Andrew Wheeler, Former Coal Lobbyist, Aims to Continue to Dismantle EPA from Inside

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Following Scott Pruitt’s resignation, EPA Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler will become the agency’s acting administrator. Wheeler is a former lobbyist for Murray Energy, the nation’s largest underground coal mining company. He’s also the former chief of staff for Oklahoma Republican Senator Jim Inhofe, who is known as the most notorious climate-denying lawmaker in Washington. In one of his most famous stunts, Inhofe brought a snowball onto the Senate floor in 2015 in order to prove that global warming was a hoax.

Meet the Mother Who Confronted Scott Pruitt & Urged Him to Resign—Three Days Later, He Did

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On Monday, Scott Pruitt fled a restaurant in Washington after he was confronted during lunch by a mother and teacher named Kristin Mink. Mink was holding her 2-year-old son when she went up to his table. Video of the interaction has since gone viral. We speak to Mink about what she did and Pruitt’s resignation just days later.

As Scott Pruitt Resigns, Former EPA Officials Warn His Radical, Anti-Science Agenda Harmed Nation

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Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has resigned, amid an onslaught of financial and ethics scandals and widespread opposition to his campaign to roll back key environmental protections. President Trump announced Pruitt’s resignation via Twitter. Trump later told reporters, “Scott Pruitt did an outstanding job inside of the EPA. We’ve gotten rid of record-breaking regulations, and it’s been really good.” At the time of his resignation, Pruitt was facing more than a dozen federal investigations into ethical misconduct, ranging from lavish spending to asking subordinates to help his wife find a job. Just earlier this week, CNN reported Pruitt kept a secret calendar and schedule in an attempt to hide his meetings with many industry executives.

Headlines for July 6, 2018

Concentration Camps in the U.S.: Andrea Pitzer Decries Tent Cities for Detaining Kids Without Trial

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Has the Trump administration set up concentration camps in Texas for migrants? The answer is yes, according to at least one expert: Andrea Pitzer, the author of “One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps.” In one of her latest articles, Pitzer writes, “While writing a book on camp history, I defined concentration camps as the mass detention of civilians without trial, usually on the basis of race, religion, national origin, citizenship, or political party, rather than anything a given individual has done. By this definition, the new child camp established in Tornillo, Texas, is a concentration camp.” We speak with Andrea Pitzer in Washington, D.C.

As Gov’t Struggles to Reunite Families, Detained Mothers Are Organizing to Find Their Kids

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While the government struggles to reunite families who have been separated at the border under President Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, one detained Honduran woman has been organizing mothers behind bars to help find their children. The New Yorker reports that Mabel Gonzales has carefully documented the cases of mothers who have been separated from their children at a detention facility in El Paso, Texas, where she is currently jailed. Gonzales herself was separated from her two teenage sons eight months before the Trump administration announced its “zero tolerance” policy. She records the details of other separated mothers despite not being allowed to have a notebook while detained. She then shares the information with the Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center in El Paso to help separated mothers locate their children. We speak with Linda Rivas, executive director and lead attorney of Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center.

From Separating Families to Jailing Asylum Seekers, Trump Admin Accused of Criminalizing Migration

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The Department of Health and Human Services still has not disclosed how many migrant children they are holding who have been separated from their parents at the border. Last week, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said 2,047 separated minors were still in the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement. But the department has refused to give updated numbers, even though the Trump administration is facing a July 10 court-imposed deadline to reunite all separated children under the age of 5 with their parents. Meanwhile, CNN is reporting the Department of Homeland Security has been taking DNA samples of immigrant children. Immigration officials have reportedly been swabbing DNA from the cheeks of children as young as 2 months old, without consent, ostensibly in a bid to later reunite children with their parents. Rights groups have condemned the move, saying it could allow the federal government to track young immigrants for the rest of their lives. We speak with Linda Rivas, executive director and lead attorney of Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, an organization working with asylum seekers along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Asylum Seekers Win in Court as Federal Judge Rules Against Indefinite & Arbitrary Detention

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A federal judge has ruled that the Trump administration may not arbitrarily detain people seeking asylum. U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled asylum seekers who have passed a credible fear interview should be given humanitarian parole, not indefinite detention. The suit was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights First and the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies. We speak with Eunice Lee, co-legal director at the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies.

Headlines for July 5, 2018

James Forman Jr. on “Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America”

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Yale University law professor and writer James Forman Jr. won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in the general nonfiction category for his new book, “Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America.” The prize committee praised the book for its “examination of the historical roots of contemporary criminal justice in the U.S., based on vast experience and deep knowledge of the legal system, and its often-devastating consequences for citizens and communities of color.” Forman is the son of civil rights activists James Forman Sr. and Constancia Romilly, who met in the 1960s while organizing with SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

“What to the Slave Is 4th of July?”: James Earl Jones Reads Frederick Douglass’s Historic Speech

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In a Fourth of July holiday special, we begin with the words of Frederick Douglass. Born into slavery around 1818, Douglass became a key leader of the abolitionist movement. On July 5, 1852, in Rochester, New York, he gave one of his most famous speeches, “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro.” He was addressing the Rochester Ladies Antislavery Society. This is actor James Earl Jones reading the speech during a performance of historian Howard Zinn’s acclaimed book, “Voices of a People’s History of the United States.” He was introduced by Zinn.

“What to the Slave Is 4th of July?”: James Earl Jones Reads Frederick Douglass’s Historic Speech

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In a Fourth of July holiday special, we begin with the words of Frederick Douglass. Born into slavery around 1818, Douglass became a key leader of the abolitionist movement. On July 5, 1852, in Rochester, New York, he gave one of his most famous speeches, “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro.” He was addressing the Rochester Ladies Antislavery Society. This is actor James Earl Jones reading the speech during a performance of historian Howard Zinn’s acclaimed book, “Voices of a People’s History of the United States.” He was introduced by Zinn.

“What to the Slave Is 4th of July?”: James Earl Jones Reads Frederick Douglass’s Historic Speech

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In a Fourth of July holiday special, we begin with the words of Frederick Douglass. Born into slavery around 1818, Douglass became a key leader of the abolitionist movement. On July 5, 1852, in Rochester, New York, he gave one of his most famous speeches, “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro.” He was addressing the Rochester Ladies Antislavery Society. This is actor James Earl Jones reading the speech during a performance of historian Howard Zinn’s acclaimed book, “Voices of a People’s History of the United States.” He was introduced by Zinn.