U.S. Senate Confirms Barrett to Supreme Court, Giving Conservatives a 6-3 Majority

The U.S. Senate confirmed Amy Coney Barrett to be an associate justice on the nation’s highest court Monday. 

Barrett fills the vacancy of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in September at the age of 87 from complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer. 

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Mass Data Collection of License Plate Numbers Upheld by Virginia Supreme Court

The Virginia Supreme Court has ruled Fairfax County’s mass collection of vehicle license plate numbers does not violate legal privacy protections in a decision criticized by civil liberty advocates.

The Fairfax County Police Department won a lawsuit that challenged its use of automated license plate readers, which tracks times and locations of drivers. Because the court ruled the information the readers compile is not legally protected as personal, identifying information, Fairfax Police and other police departments in the commonwealth can continue to use them.

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Report: Some Public Schools Obstructing Parents’ Efforts to Withdraw Children for Home-Schooling

Some public schools are telling parents they can’t withdraw their children to home-school or aren’t following the TEA guidelines for withdrawal, according to a new report published by the Texas Home School Coalition Association (THSC).

The largest statewide advocacy organization for home educators in the state sent a written notice to 9,500 school administrations in August, clarifying the Texas Education Agency policy for student withdrawal.

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Trio of Cities Take Trump to Court Over ‘Anarchist Jurisdictions’ Designation

Seattle, Portland, and New York City are suing President Donald Trump and his administration over legal actions that have put future federal funds on the line.

The joint lawsuit is in response to a memo issued by the Trump administration last month requesting U.S. Attorney General William Barr review a list of cities that could be considered hotbeds for civil unrest.

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Court Ruling Reverses Trump Administration’s SNAP Changes

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Sunday blocked a Trump administration change to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that could have removed eligibility for almost 700,000 unemployed, able-bodied Americans.

A lawsuit filed in January by a multistate coalition alleged a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) rule wrongly reversed a decades-old policy that allowed states to waive SNAP work requirements. The previous rules granted waivers for larger geographic areas by lumping certain regions with lower unemployment with locations registering higher unemployment, as well as carryover unused exemptions.

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Third Degree Murder Charge for Derek Chauvin Dropped, All Others Charges Remain

A Hennepin County District Court Judge on Wednesday night chose to sustain eight of the nine total charges against the four defendants in the death of George Floyd while he was in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department. 

In a 107-page ruling, Judge Peter A. Cahill dropped Derek Chauvin’s third-degree murder charge, but sustained second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges against the former Minneapolis police officer.

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Reports: Biden’s Tax Plan Would Increase Taxes Across the Board, Estimates Vary by How Much

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s proposed tax increases of nearly $4 trillion over the next 10 years, if passed, “would be the highest in American history – indeed, in world history,” an analysis of his plan determined.

Lew Uhler, founder and chairman of the National Tax Limitation Committee and National Tax Limitation Foundation (NTLF), and Peter Ferrara a senior policy adviser to NTLF, made that conclusion in a new report published by The Hill.

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Virginia Lawmakers Pass Bill Allowing Jury Trials With Judge Sentencing

Virginia lawmakers passed legislation Friday that allows those accused of a crime to receive a jury trial and a judge’s sentence, which proponents believe will reduce sentence lengths.

Under current law, a defendant must opt for a jury sentence if he or she requests a jury trial, which can often result in longer sentences than guidance normally would suggest. The law allows a judge to reduce the sentence, but this happens in only about 8.1% of cases.

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Pew: At Least 17 States Have Drawn from Their Rainy Day Funds This Year to Cover Fiscal Shortfalls

At least 17 states have authorized and or made withdrawals from their rainy day funds this year in order to fill budget holes, according to a new analysis by The Pew Charitable Trusts. Some withdrawals were small, others were more than half of what was set aside.

In fiscal 2020, at least 36 states had planned to make additional rainy day fund deposits but were constrained by fiscal and economic difficulties resulting from their respective state COVID-19 shutdowns, which resulted in increased unemployment and decreased revenue.

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Senators Introduce Bill to Amend Rule Over Third-Party Internet Content

In the wake of allegations of big tech companies suppressing political speech and news stories on their platforms, Republican senators and congressmen introduced legislation to amend Section 230, part of a federal code that regulates third-party content on the internet.

Federal Communication Communications (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai also weighed in on Thursday after senators announced they were subpoenaing Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey.

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Nearly 900,000 U.S. Workers File New Unemployment Claims

Nearly 900,000 American workers filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week, an increase of 53,000 new claims from the week prior and a sign that the U.S. economy has a long way to go to recovery.

According to U.S. Department of Labor satistics released Thursday, 898,000 new claims were filed in the week ending Oct. 10, when seasonally adjusted. That’s up from the previous week’s revised level of 845,000 claims.

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