An Israeli court ruled on Monday after years of legal wrangling that an ultra-Orthodox Jewish former school principal suspected of dozens of cases of sexual abuse of her pupils in Australia can be extradited to face trial.The ruling delighted her alleged victims as “a victory for justice”.The Jerusalem District Court, which in May determined Malka Leifer was mentally fit to stand trial, said in its ruling “the defendant can be extradited to Australia for the crimes attributed to her in the…
Minutes after the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the National Republican Senatorial Committee began selling “Notorious A.C.B.” T-shirts, a play on Ginsburg’s nickname, the “Notorious RBG.”US President Donald Trump officially announced his nomination of Barrett, a federal appeals court judge, on Saturday evening from the White House Rose Garden. The NRSC began tweeting about the shirts where Barrett is…
President Trump's nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court could threaten reproductive rights across the U.S., according to Planned Parenthood president and CEO Alexis McGill Johnson. Barrett, who once called abortion "always immoral," would give conservatives a decisive 6-3 advantage on the top court if she is confirmed by the Senate, and President Trump has openly promoted her nomination by suggesting she would help overturn the landmark 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion in the U.S. Barrett "would be a huge threat to reproductive rights" on the Supreme Court, says McGill Johnson. "Reproductive healthcare is healthcare. And the most immediate threat that we are facing in the time of a pandemic is the fact that the ACA, which has been one of the biggest advancements for women's health across the board, is also under attack."
Ivory Coast should allow former president Laurent Gbagbo, who has been barred from running in next month's key presidential election, to vote in the poll, the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights said Friday.
As President Trump appears poised to announce a nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, we speak with a former member of the secretive Catholic group People of Praise, known for its rigid gender roles and lifelong loyalty oaths, which apparent front-runner Judge Amy Coney Barrett is a member of. "Many call it a community, but I describe it as a cult," says Coral Anika Theill, who was a member of People of Praise from 1979 to 1984 and is now speaking out against the organization.
We look at the life and legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as well as the future of the Supreme Court, in a wide-ranging interview with Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor at Slate, where she is the senior legal correspondent and Supreme Court reporter. Ginsburg died September 18 at the age of 87 after serving 27 years as a Supreme Court justice, where she became the most prominent member of the court's liberal wing. Her death just 46 days before the November election sets up a major political battle over her replacement, with President Trump vowing to nominate her replacement by Saturday. In 2016, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to hold confirmation hearings for Merrick Garland, President Obama's pick to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died 269 days before the election. "Hypocrisy doesn't begin to touch on that," says Lithwick. "The court is profoundly misaligned both with popular opinion polling and with the will of this country."
A Japanese appeals court has said that the state and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) could have taken steps to prevent the Fukushima nuclear disaster, ruling they must pay one billion yen ($9.5 million) to 3,550 plaintiffs. Read Full Article at RT.com
The UAE has become a global symbol of tolerance – for financial corruption, money laundering and complicit courts. Is that a dealbreaker for Israeli business partners? Will the Emiratis clean up their act?
There’s a reason Donald Trump has never produced a health-care plan that protects consumers with preexisting medical conditions: Ending protections for the sick is the central mechanism that all GOP health-care proposals use to try to lower costs for the healthy.
Every alternative to the Affordable Care Act that Republicans have offered relies on the same strategy—retrenching the many ACA provisions that require greater risk- and cost-sharing between healthy and sick Americans—to lower the cost of insurance for healthier consumers. Put another way: Reducing protections for patients with greater health needs isn’t a bug in the GOP plans; it’s a key feature.
“Lowering premiums was a big theme of the Republican effort to repeal and replace the ACA, and central to their idea of lowering premiums was rolling back protections for people with preexisting conditions,” says Larry Levitt, the executive vice president for health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The contrast between the parties over health care is certain to come into sharper relief in the weeks leading up to Election Day, starting with tonight’s first presidential debate between Trump and Joe Biden. Trump’s nomination to the Supreme Court of Amy Coney Barrett, who has openly questioned the ACA’s legality and could provide a decisive vote on the Court against it, ensures that the Senate debate over her confirmation will focus intently on a Trump-backed lawsuit from Republican state attorneys general to strike down the law. With oral arguments for that case beginning before the Court shortly after the election, Biden and other Democrats have stressed Barrett’s potential threat to the ACA, and warned that if the Court overturns the law’s protections for preexisting conditions, insurers would likely treat long-term complications from the coronavirus as a reason to deny coverage.
Trump, along with House and Senate Republicans, has insisted that the GOP intends to protect patients with preexisting conditions even if the Court strikes down the ACA; the president signed an executive order last week that, without offering any specifics, affirmed his commitment to that goal. Almost all the Senate Republicans facing voters this fall are running ads touting their commitment to ensuring coverage for Americans with preexisting health problems, and many of them have co-sponsored legislation that they say will do just that.
But an array of experts I spoke with agree that none of these initiatives will protect patients with preexisting health needs nearly as effectively as the ACA does, because the GOP plans still allow insurers to treat them differently from healthy patients, sometimes overtly and sometimes more subtly. “When you look at all of the components of reform that the Republicans, including Trump, have advocated for years and years now, every single one of them would … separate the health-care costs of the healthy from the sick to a greater extent than we have under current law,” said Linda Blumberg, a fellow at the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center. More than 40 percent of U.S. households are estimated to have someone with a preexisting condition.
Before Barack Obama signed the ACA into law in 2010, people who were older or had greater health needs often found it impossible or unaffordable to buy coverage in the individual insurance market. Insurers would charge older consumers much more than younger consumers and women much more than men (because of the possibility that they would become pregnant). Insurers often excluded coverage altogether for people who had serious health conditions such as cancer or diabetes.
The ACA virtually ended all of that. It required insurers to offer coverage to people with preexisting conditions at affordable rates; blocked them from charging consumers more based on their health status (with an exception only for smokers); ended gender disparities in insurance pricing; limited how much more insurers could charge older people; barred annual and lifetime limits on costs (which previously had the effect of cutting off those with the greatest health needs); and required all plans to offer a broad package of essential benefits to every consumer (preventing insurers from charging extra for services needed mostly by people with serious medical problems).
Levitt told me that these provisions have proved extremely effective: “The ACA has far exceeded expectations in protecting people with preexisting conditions.” That success, though, has come at a cost. Healthy Americans are paying higher premiums than the law’s architects anticipated—or at least hoped for. “Democrats certainly don’t like to talk about the trade-offs that were involved in the ACA,” Levitt said. “But covering people with preexisting conditions isn’t free. It had to come from somewhere, and it came from higher premiums from people who are younger and healthier.”
The ACA’s approach to health care follows the Democrats’ philosophical guideposts. It involves a heavy role for government in regulating private-insurance companies, and it encourages—even demands—a high level of social solidarity. It asks younger and healthier adults to pay more, not only so that older and sicker Americans can have access now, but so that today’s young people can themselves have access later in life. (The single-payer proposals popular among many liberals, but not embraced by Biden, extend risk-sharing to its conceptual limit by placing all Americans in a single, government-run system and funding it with tax dollars rather than premiums.) The Democratic approach “is redistributive,” Blumberg said. “There is no way around it. When you force people to pool health-care costs, you are going to increase the costs for people when they would otherwise be perfectly healthy.”
The GOP health-care plans start from the opposite philosophical pole, stressing individual autonomy over solidarity and free-market competition over government regulation. While Trump hasn’t issued his own specific plan, he has offered a clear picture of his approach by endorsing both the ACA-replacement bill that House Republicans passed in 2017 and a contemporaneous proposal from GOP Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana. Trump endorsed the Graham-Cassidy approach again in the budget he released in 2019. “The president’s vision of health-care reform has been quite clear even if he hasn’t put out a detailed plan,” Levitt said.
Each of those plans was centered on the same core belief that the ACA went too far in requiring the sharing of cost and risk between the healthy and the sick. “Essentially, the [Republican] view is, your premiums should reflect the risk you pose to the insurer, and insurers should be able to assess that risk and then set a rate accordingly,” says Sabrina Corlette, a professor at the Center on Health Insurance Reforms at Georgetown University. “I think the problem with that is, ultimately, it means older, sicker folks, women of childbearing age, will pay more under that system.”
The House GOP and Graham-Cassidy plans unraveled most of the ACA’s risk-sharing requirements, including by allowing insurers to impose greater surcharges on older consumers. The House plan also expanded tax-free health savings accounts that encourage healthier people to ditch comprehensive coverage and buy bare-bones insurance plans. Most important, both GOP plans empowered states to free insurers from the ACA’s requirements to cover preexisting conditions and offer a robust package of benefits.
Each of those provisions would have advanced the GOP’s goal of reducing premiums for the healthy, but at the price of making coverage more expensive or unavailable for Americans with greater health needs.
While the House and Senate plans did include funds for states to create “high-risk pools,” which would subsidize coverage for those requiring more medical care, such pools have been tried in about 30 states and have uniformly failed. States found that they could not allocate anywhere near the amount of money necessary to make coverage affordable for patients with preexisting conditions, and experts say the plans’ funding was equally inadequate. “The cost would have to be tremendous, and that is precisely because of the skewed distribution of health-care spending,” Blumberg said. “In order to make that coverage affordable for the people who need it, you would have to throw huge amounts of money at those pools.”
More recently, many Senate Republicans have rallied behind 2019 legislation from Senator Thom Tillis, who is facing a tough reelection fight in North Carolina. His bill declares that insurers must continue selling coverage to patients with preexisting conditions at comparable prices to what they charge other consumers. But the bill contains huge loopholes that undermine that promise. It allows insurers to limit the benefits provided in such coverage, which could exclude the treatments a patient needs. It also doesn’t maintain the ACA’s limits on out-of-pocket costs, or its ban on annual and lifetime benefits caps, which means those with substantial health problems could easily generate bills that exceed their coverage. All of those provisions provide insurers “another way of excluding coverage of preexisting conditions,” Sarah Lueck, a senior policy analyst for health care at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, told me.
Meanwhile, with repeal of the ACA again wending its way through the courts, Trump has tried to advance the GOP goal of unraveling risk-sharing through regulatory action. His administration has authorized insurance companies to sell more short-term plans that are exempt from the ACA’s requirements to cover patients with preexisting conditions and offer comprehensive benefits. Those plans provide an escape route for healthier consumers to buy cheaper coverage, which could tilt the general individual market more toward the sick, raising their premiums.
The paradox in the contrasting GOP and Democratic approaches, as I’ve written, is that the Democratic plans ask more of the young—who mostly vote for Democrats—while the Republican plans impose greater costs on older Americans, most of whom are white and have leaned toward the GOP for the past few decades.
Biden’s proposals to significantly increase federal subsidies for consumers purchasing insurance in the ACA marketplaces represent a tacit admission that the law’s original design may have asked healthier consumers to shoulder too much of the cost of ensuring coverage for those who are older and sicker. Expanding subsidies could also entice more younger and healthier people into the insurance market, which would help restrain costs. By contrast, Trump and other Republicans are still resolutely denying the inescapable reality that their proposals will increase costs and reduce access for the sick, not as an unintended consequence, but as the central lever to lower premiums for the healthy.
Those Republican denials haven’t convinced most voters. In the 2018 election, exit polls found that a solid 57 percent of voters said they trusted Democrats more than Republicans to protect patients with preexisting conditions, and they overwhelmingly backed Democratic candidates, fueling the party’s midterm gains. Similarly, polling released last week by the nonpartisan Commonwealth Fund found that voters in all 10 major swing states strongly preferred Biden over Trump on protecting such patients.
The contrasts between Trump and Biden on the issue are sure to surface at tonight’s debate. And by fast-tracking the confirmation process for Amy Coney Barrett, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has triggered another dynamic. He’s guaranteed that every vulnerable Republican senator will now spend weeks debating how to replace the protections for patients with preexisting conditions that would be lost if an expanded conservative Supreme Court majority invalidates the ACA.
Filmmaker Julie Cohen on how she managed to gain access to the notoriously private Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life, and why every American woman is standing on this diminutive Jewish woman’s shoulders
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The passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is being marked across America, as she lies in repose today on the Lincoln Catafalque in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. Ginsburg died at her home in Washington, D.C., on September 18, at the age of 87, after a long battle with cancer. She was the 107th Supreme Court justice, and the second woman to serve on the high court. In her years on the Court, she became an influential icon to many. Chief Justice John Roberts called her “a jurist of historic stature.” Ginsburg will lie in repose at the Supreme Court today and tomorrow, then will be taken to the U.S. Capitol on Friday, where she will lie in state, becoming the first woman so honored. Collected below are images from her life, and from the memorials in recent days.
The Republican Party followed historical precedent in 2016 and is doing the same in 2020 when it comes to deciding on voting to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat, writes Sen. Ted Cruz. Furthermore, Cruz writes, we need a full court on Election Day, given the high likelihood we're going to see litigation that goes to the court. We need a nine justice Supreme Court that can give a definitive answer for the country.
In her later years, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was internationally known simply as her initials — RBG — and a 2018 documentary film by the same name about Ginsburg's legal career, personal history and unexpected celebrity became a surprise smash hit. We speak with Julie Cohen, co-director of the Academy Award-nominated documentary "RBG," about Ginsburg's early years and leadership in fighting for equal rights for women, including arguing a case before the Supreme Court with all male justices who were condescending to her. "She never let that condescension get her down," notes Cohen. "She was a deeply strategic person."
Friday was a perfect early-autumn evening in Washington, D.C., less than 50 days away from the election. Marjorie Dannenfelser, the head of the Susan B. Anthony List, arguably the most powerful anti-abortion group in Washington, had wrapped up her day on Capitol Hill. She and her kids packed cheese and crackers and headed to the lawn outside the Supreme Court building, a majestic spot for a picnic. Dannenfelser’s phone rang—it was one of her staffers calling strangely late for a Friday. He had news.
Call it coincidence. Call it fate. “I’ve literally never sat on the lawn at the Supreme Court,” Dannenfelser told me. But in the moment when she found out that the pro-life movement may be about to achieve everything activists have been working toward since 1973, when Roe v. Wade made abortion legal across the United States, Dannenfelser was literally gazing upon the institution she has worked so hard to influence. The thought of victory so close at hand “makes my heart race and my spirit soar,” she said.
For feminists who believe abortion access is essential to women’s health, advancement, and self-determination, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death was a gut punch. “Ruthie was my friend and I will miss her terribly,” Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren wrote. “We will use each day to carry forward her legacy,” tweeted Ria Tabacco Mar along with a broken-heart emoji; Ginsburg founded the group Mar leads, the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project. Rebecca Traister, the New York writer who covers abortion and women’s rights, chugged wine on MSNBC. As they mourned, these women also seemed to recognize what Ginsburg’s death could mean: Even if Democrats crush Republicans in November, a 6–3 conservative Court could dismantle abortion rights.
For anti-abortion activists, however, the solemnity of Ginsburg’s death was mixed with ecstasy: They believe they are about to taste victory. The next six weeks, which will almost certainly see a vicious Supreme Court confirmation battle amid the final race to Election Day, may determine the future of abortion in America for a generation. “I’m under no illusion that this isn’t the fight of our life,” Dannenfelser said.
If President Donald Trump succeeds in appointing a replacement for Ginsburg, he will solidify a six-person conservative majority on the Supreme Court that could last for a decade or more. The most fundamental issue at stake is the right to abortion, which the conservative wing of the Court has been openly agitating to revisit for years. The almost universally shared goal of the anti-abortion movement is to see Roe overturned so that the question of abortion can return to the states, where voters can directly influence whether their legislatures permit or regulate the procedure. Getting to this moment, in which the conservative justices on the Court may begin fully reimagining abortion jurisprudence, took years of careful planning. “The conservative legal movement has always made sure that it’s well prepared to deal with potential vacancies on the Court,” Leonard Leo, the former executive vice president of the Federalist Society and an architect of Trump’s judicial strategy, told me. His goal for judicial appointments has not been to impose a litmus test on nominees, making them vow to overturn Roe, but “to advance a principled judicial philosophy” that tends to line up with anti-abortion views.
In the years leading up to Trump’s election, pro-life political groups had a huge footprint in politics. Dannenfelser’s Susan B. Anthony List poured millions into electing strictly anti-abortion legislators to Congress, who were almost exclusively Republican; the group alsoattacked self-described pro-life Democratic legislators who voted for the Affordable Care Act in 2010. And the group has fully thrown its support behind Trump, vowing to help get him reelected in November. Dannenfelser calls him “the most pro-life president in history.” (Before he ran for president, Trump described himself as “very pro-choice.”) At the state level, groups such as Americans United for Life have drafted model legislation imposing incremental limits on abortion, teeing up the legal fights they hope will eventually lead to the end of Roe.
Catherine Glenn Foster, Americans United for Life’s president and CEO, was driving when she heard the news of Ginsburg’s death. She sent a few frenzied texts at the first stoplight she reached, then parked near the Potomac River and worked through dinner. The moment was emotionally complicated: Like Elizabeth Warren and many others, Foster sees Ginsburg as a feminist advocate who made it possible for women like her to advance in the ranks of the legal field. “I wish we could leave it at that. Then her legacy would be something that I could just unequivocally say, ‘She’s a legend,’” Foster told me. But Ginsburg was one of the Court’s most ardent defenders of abortion rights: “Eliminating or reducing women’s reproductive choices is manifestly not a means of protecting them,” the justice wrote in one particularly cutting dissent from a 2007 conservative-majority decision, Gonzales v. Carhart, regarding the issue of so-called partial-birth abortion. To Foster, Ginsburg’s support for abortion “does tarnish her legacy.”
Although Dannenfelser believes a new conservative justice will soon ascend the steps of the Supreme Court, she didn’t linger on Friday evening once she learned of Ginsburg’s death. She had recently appeared at the White House at a number of public events, and “if somebody does recognize me,” she thought, “it’s going to be a hindrance to them being able to grieve in the way that they need to grieve.” She left, and prayed alone.
As night fell, hundreds of people, many of them young women in sweatshirts and face masks, made their way to the Supreme Court steps, carrying bouquets and tea lights and American flags. Thank you, their signs read. That evening, a message Ginsburg had dictated to her granddaughter Clara Spera had begun circulating: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.” Presumably, Ginsburg equally hoped that her replacement will be someone who believes in the legal project that animated her life: advancing gender equality—which, in her view, had to include the right to have an abortion. Those who were there to mourn, not just Ginsburg but the vision of America that she stood for, were mostly solemn. But they also chanted: Honor her wish.
Presidential candidate Joe Biden has joined Democratic leaders in their appeal to Republican lawmakers to hold off on filling the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Supreme Court seat. Two Republican senators agree, and another GOP-held Senate seat could flip in November.
We look at President Trump's top pick for a woman to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who is a devout Catholic who has taken conservative stances on abortion, gun rights, immigration and LGBTQ rights. Barrett's involvement with the conservative Catholic group People of Praise, whose members pledge a lifelong loyalty oath to the group, has also raised questions about her ability to rule independently. "There's some real concerns about whether her involvement in there will affect her ability to be impartial and fair as a judge," says Heidi Schlumpf, executive editor of the National Catholic Reporter.