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Wake Up To Politics - June 19, 2020

Good Friday morning. It’s June 19, 2020. 137 days until Election Day. Have questions, comments, or tips? Email me.

Supreme Court blocks Trump attempt to end DACA

The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled against the Trump administration’s attempt to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, protecting roughly 650,000 unauthorized immigrants known as “Dreamers” who came to the United States as minors.

The court’s decision was 5-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the liberal bloc — Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor — in upholding the Obama-era program.

Roberts penned the majority opinion, ruling that the Trump administration failed to offer adequate reasoning for ending DACA, a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) of 1946.

“The dispute before the Court is not whether [the Department of Homeland Security] may rescind DACA,” Roberts wrote. “All parties agree that it may. The dispute is instead primarily about the procedure the agency followed in doing so.”

In his dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas accused the majority of making a politicized ruling.  “Today’s decision must be recognized for what it is: an effort to avoid a politically controversial but legally correct decision,” Thomas wrote. “The court could have made clear that the solution respondents seek must come from the legislative branch.”

It was the second Supreme Court ruling this week that enraged conservative activists and delighted liberals, coming on the heels of a 6-3 ruling to prohibit workplace discrimination against LGBT Americans. Justice Neil Gorsuch, a Trump appointee, wrote the opinion on LGBT rights, joining Roberts and the liberal justices.

The DACA decision was also the second time in as many terms that the Supreme Court blocked a Trump administration because of “sloppiness in the policymaking process,” as Reuters put it. The first such case was a June 2019 decision (also 5-4, with Roberts in the majority) in which the court found that the administration illegally sought to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 census.

In both the census and DACA cases, the court found that the Trump administration violated the same law: the APA, which requires agencies to provide detailed explanations for their decisions and prohibits governmental actions from being “arbitrary and capricious.”

DACA was created by President Obama in 2012; the program shields “Dreamers,” who were brought to the U.S. illegally when they were children, from deportation. President Trump sought to undo the program in September 2017, sparking immediate lawsuits.

Although Trump did not react strongly to the LGBT decision earlier in the week — “They’ve ruled and we live with their decision,” the president said — he fired off eight tweets related to the Supreme Court on Thursday.

“These horrible & politically charged decisions coming out of the Supreme Court are shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives,” he declared in one such broadside.

In another, he asked, “Do you get the impression that the Supreme Court doesn’t like me?”

Top immigration advocates, meanwhile, celebrated the decision. “Today, justice prevailed for every Dreamer who has worked hard to help build our country — our neighbors, teachers, doctors, and first responders,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who led a coalition of 21 attorneys general in defending DACA before the Supreme Court, in a statement. “Today, America told the Dreamers that this is their home.”

2020 Central

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) withdrew herself from consideration to be Joe Biden’s running mate on Thursday, urging Biden to pick a woman of color. “I truly believe, as I told the vice president last night, that I believe that this is a moment to put a woman of color on that ticket,” she said in an interview on MSNBC.

Klobuchar, who sought the Democratic presidential nomination before endorsing Biden earlier this year, had seen her VP prospects fade as police brutality protests following the death of George Floyd in her home state led to increased scrutiny of her record as a prosecutor.

A number of women of color are known to be under consideration to join Biden on the ticket, including Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), Rep. Val Demings (D-FL), Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, and former national security adviser Susan Rice

President Trump will hold his first campaign rally since March in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday. The event was originally supposed to take place today, but it was postponed to avoid conflicting with Juneteenth, an annual holiday marking the end of slavery in the United States.

Trump told the Wall Street Journal in an interview Thursday that when he polled advisers before scheduling the rally, none of them had heard of Juneteenth. “I did something good. I made it famous. I made Juneteenth very famous,” he said, taking credit for popularizing a holiday that has been celebrated since the 1860s. “It’s actually an important event, it’s an important time. But nobody had heard of it.”

Attendees of the rally were required to sign a waiver absolving the Trump campaign of responsibility if they contract COVID-19 at the event. Tulsa’s top health official has expressed concern about hosting such a large rally as the pandemic rolls on; Oklahoma reported its largest-yet increase of new coronavirus cases on Thursday.

The president’s return to the campaign trail comes at a harrowing time for his re-election bid: two more polls released Thursday showed likely Democratic nominee Joe Biden with a significant advantage over Trump. A Fox News poll found Biden leading Trump by 12 points, 50% to 38%; a Quinnipiac poll found Biden leading by 8 points, 49% to 41%.

Trump Administration

A series of top Trump administration officials have left their posts this week, as the president finds himself consumed by a variety of crises. Mary Elizabeth Taylor, the assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs, was the latest to head for the exits, submitting her resignation Thursday.

“The President’s comments and actions surrounding racial injustice and Black Americans cut sharply against my core values and convictions,” Taylor, one of the administration’s highest-ranking Black officials, wrote in her resignation letter, according to the Washington Post.

Other top officials to step down this week include Solicitor General Noel Francisco, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division Jody Hunt, Acting Defense Department Comptroller Elaine McCusker, Acting Assistant Defense Secretary for International Security Affairs Kathryn Wheelbarger, and Voice of America Director Amanda Bennett.

Corrections: I want to correct two typos that appeared in the lead story of Wednesday’s newsletter, “The most explosive claims in John Bolton’s new book.”

The second claim should have read, “Trump offered to halt U.S. investigations into authoritarian governments to ‘give personal favors to dictators he liked.’”

The fourth should have read, “Trump did pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate Joe Biden, and held up military aid as a result.”


*All times Eastern

President Donald Trump will receive his intelligence briefing at 12:30 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence will meet with Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett and Chief of Space Operations John Raymond at 2:30 p.m. He will lead a Coronavirus Task Force meeting at 4 p.m.

The House and Senate are not in session.

The Supreme Court is not in session.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will attend a virtual fundraiser.

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth will hold oral arguments on the Trump administration’s lawsuit to block publication of a forthcoming memoir by ex-national security adviser John Bolton at 1 p.m.

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