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Judge Halts Deportation, Threatens Sessions With Contempt

Judge halts deportation of mother and daughter, threatens to hold Sessions in contempt. WaPo: "A federal judge in Washington halted a deportation in progress Thursday and threatened to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt after learning that the Trump administration started to remove a woman and her daughter while a court hearing appealing their deportations was underway. 'This is pretty outrageous,' U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan said after being told about the removal. 'That someone seeking justice in U.S. court is spirited away while her attorneys are arguing for justice for her?' Lead ACLU attorney Jennifer Chang Newell, who was participating in the court hearing via phone from her office in California, received an email during the hearing that said the mother and daughter were being deported. During a brief recess, she told her colleagues the pair had been taken from a family detention center in Dilley, Tex., to the airport in San Antonio for a morning flight. After being informed of the situation, Sullivan granted the ACLU’s request to delay deportations for Carmen and the other plaintiffs until the lawsuit is decided, and ordered the government to 'turn the plane around.'"

Court Overrules Trump EPA To Ban Pesticide

Court bans popular farm pesticide defended by Trump. Sacramento Bee: "In a rebuke to the Trump administration, an appeals court Thursday ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to ban a widely used farm pesticide that environmentalists say can damage the nervous systems of farmworkers, their children and even consumers. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals told the EPA to ban the chemical known as chlorpyrifos within 60 days. The ruling by the 9th Circuit is a major victory for environmentalists and a defeat for agricultural interests and the Trump administration, which had refused to ban the pesticide. In the late stages of the Obama administration, the EPA was in the process of banning the chemical. Shortly after President Donald Trump took office in 2017, then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced he was “reversing the previous administration’s steps” and would allow farmers to keep using chlorpyrifos. In a 2-1 decision, the court rejected the EPA’s arguments, saying the agency hadn’t demonstrated with “reasonable certainty” that the chemical is safe. The court declared there 'was no justification for the EPA’s decision in its 2017 order to maintain a tolerance for chlorpyrifos in the face of scientific evidence that its residue on food causes neurodevelopmental damage to children.'"

Trump Rule Change Gives Banks $2.5b Tax Break

Buried in the fine print, Trump rule would give $2.5b tax cut to big banks. Alternet: "As Wall Street banks continue to enjoy record profits thanks to President Donald Trump's $1.5 trillion tax scam, Trump's Treasury Department—headed by former Goldman Sachs executive Steve Mnuchin—quietly moved to hand big banks yet another major gift on Wednesday by hiding a $2.5 billion tax cut in the fine print of an "esoteric" new rule proposal. At first glance, the Trump administration's rule appeared to be little more than a mundane set of regulations aimed at providing owners of so-called pass-through businesses everything they 'need to comply with the Republican Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,' as Reuters put it. But Capital & Main journalist David Sirota decided to take the radical step of actually reading the proposal in its entirety, and he found that the White House's rule also seeks to exclude banking from the "financial services" category—a move that would allow thousands of large banks to take advantage of the controversial tax cut for pass-through income included in Trump's tax bill."

Kobach Tries To Decide Own Primary Outcome

KS governor calls on Kobach to stop advising election officials in his own race. ThinkProgress: "Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer (R) is calling on Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to stop advising election officials as the two are locked in a tight battle to be the state’s Republican gubernatorial nominee. As of Wednesday, Kobach was up by 191 votes, but on Thursday, news broke that a counting error had shortchanged Colyer 100 votes. As of Thursday evening, Kobach leads by just 91 votes out of more than 311,000 cast. The county clerk blamed the secretary of state’s office for the discrepancy. Despite the obvious conflict of interest, Kobach has not recused himself from the vote tabulation for his own race. As secretary of state, Kobach oversees voting in the state, but no law requires him to step aside and he says he sees no problem in staying in his role — even if a recount is requested. 'The recount thing is done on a county level, so the secretary of state does not actually participate directly in the recount,' Kobach said after initial results showed him winning by fewer than 200 votes. 'The secretary of state’s office merely serves as a coordinating entity overseeing it all but not actually counting the votes.' In a letter Thursday, however, Colyer argued that Kobach was advising county election officials, not serving as merely a coordinating entity. 'It has come to my attention that your office is giving advice to county election officials — as recently as a conference call yesterday — and you are making public statements on national television which are inconsistent with Kansas law and may serve to suppress the vote in the ongoing Kansas primary election process,' Colyer wrote in a letter addressed to Kobach."

Ranked-Choice Voting Can Elect More Progressives

Dems complain about split votes, but few back the obvious solution. The Intercept: "Ballots are still being counted in Ohio’s nail-biting special election in the 12th Congressional District, but it looks like Republican Troy Balderson will narrowly defeat Democrat Danny O’Connor. Of course, even with all of Manchik’s votes, O’Connor would still come up 435 votes short. But math hasn’t stopped Democrats from blaming the Green Party. But even if we were to credit the assessment that Green Party candidates are responsible for spoiling multiple presidential elections, and now, Ohio’s 12th District, it remains true that the Democratic Party has shown little interest in addressing the underlying cause of the spoiler effect: our first-past-the-post voting system. In our current system, the person who wins the most votes wins the election. As a result, if a third-party candidate who is ideologically similar to one of the main two parties enters a race, they can split the vote, causing the less popular platform to cary the day. However, in a ranked-choice voting system, voters “rank” the candidates in order of preference. If none of the parties get to 50 percent of the vote, the least popular candidate is stricken, and their votes are allocated according to the second choice of the voter."

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