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Thomas, Gorsuch say court should revisit libel standard for public figures

Thomas, Gorsuch say court should revisit libel standard for public figures

Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch disagreed with the high court’s decision to turn away a case that challenged libel protections for journalists and the media.Both justices said today’s news media environment played a role in their view the court needed to reassess libel protections.  A landmark 1964 case determined that public figures had to prove false statements made about them in the media were intentionally harmful. Thomas questioned the “actual malice” standard from the New York Times vs. Sullivan case. The case determined that public figures had a higher burden to prove defamation than private ones. Public figures have to prove that a statement made was known to be false and made with disregard for its accuracy. The case has made it difficult for libel cases to succeed. The court declined to take up an appeal Shkelzën Berisha, the son of a former Albanian prime minister, over his portrayal in the 2015 book “Arms and the Dudes,” which was later turned into the 2016 film ‘War Dogs.’ A lower court ruled in favor of the book’s author Guy Lawson and publisher Simon & Schuster because it determined that Berisha could not prove allegations made about his involvement in an arms-dealing scandal were the product of “actual malice.” SUPREME COURT DECLINES TO HEAR CASE OF FLOWER SHOP OWNER SUED FOR NOT SERVING GAY WEDDING Thomas and Gorsuch argued the court should have taken up the case. Thomas cited the “Pizzagate” conspiracy, which claimed that a D.C. pizzeria concealed a pedophile ring led by Hillary Clinton. “Public figure or private, lies impose real harm,” he said.”Instead of continuing to insulate those who perpetrate lies from traditional remedies like libel suits, we should give them only the protection the First Amendment requires,” Thomas wrote. Thomas called for the court to reassess libel standards back in 2019, though Gorsuch offered new support for the cause. Gorsuch argued that the actual malice standard might have been appropriate when there were fewer yet more reliable news sources, conveyed by outlets “employing legions of investigative reporters, editors, and fact-checkers.””Large numbers of newspapers and periodicals have failed,” he wrote. “Network news has lost most of its viewers. With their fall has come the rise of 24-hour cable news and online media platforms that ‘monetize anything that garners clicks.’SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS ARIZONA VOTER FRAUD PROTECTIONS”What started in 1964 with a decision to tolerate the occasional falsehood to ensure robust reporting by a comparative handful of print and broadcast outlets,” he wrote, “has evolved into an ironclad subsidy for the publication of falsehoods by means and on a scale previously unimaginable.” He also said the line between public and private figures was blurred as private citizens can become public figures on social media “overnight.” CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP”Rules intended to ensure a robust debate over actions taken by high public officials carrying out the public’s business increasingly seem to leave even ordinary Americans without recourse for grievous defamation,” Gorsuch concluded.  “At least as they are applied today, it’s far from obvious whether Sullivan’s rules do more to encourage people of goodwill to engage in democratic self-governance or discourage them from risking even the slightest step toward public life.”

Biden calls top donor NEA ‘one of America’s indispensable organizations’

Biden calls top donor NEA ‘one of America’s indispensable organizations’

President Biden said Friday that the National Education Association, among the very most generous donors to his campaign and liberal causes, is “one of America’s indispensable organizations.” Biden’s campaign raked in just over $232,000 from teachers unions during the 2020 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics’ “Open Secrets” website. The site says the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) “account for practically all” political spending from teachers unions.The second-highest recipient was Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who got $50,996. The amount of money that went directly to any one candidate, however, pales in comparison to the money teachers unions donated to liberal groups in general — over $23.5 million from the NEA and over $14 million from the AFT. Combined, those two groups spent $43 million in political expenditures during the 2020 election cycle, according to Open Secrets. They both endorsed Biden for the presidency in March.CRITICAL RACE THEORY TO BE TARGETED, ‘RESEARCHED’ BY NEA TEACHER’S UNION In remarks in Washington to the NEA, of which his wife Jill is a member, Biden joked: “If I didn’t support the NEA, I’d be sleeping in the Lincoln Bedroom alone-and that’s not where we sleep. We don’t sleep in the Lincoln Bedroom, I’d be sent down to it.” He recounted the struggles of remote learning he’d watched the first lady face over the past year as she taught full-time. Teachers unions forcefully pushed back on plans to reopen schools they deemed unsafe during the Covid-19 pandemic. To members of the union, he said: “You deserve a raise, not just praise.””Over the last year, the entire country has witnessed the extraordinary dedication and resolve of the NEA members: teachers, professionals,” he said, heaping on acclaim. The NEA has over 3 million members, according to its website. Critics slammed the NEA and AFT’s influence over the Centers for Disease Control in May when communications obtained by the New York Post through a Freedom of Information Act request by conservative group Americans for Public Trust showed numerous emails between top CDC officials and the union just days before the administration released school reopening guidelines in February. NEA TO VOTE ON MANDATORY VACCINATIONS, MASKS FOR UPCOMING SCHOOL YEAR The lobbying efforts were a reported success as the Post found at least two instances when “suggestions” were used nearly word-for-word within the CDC’s guidelines.The CDC had been prepared to allow in-school instruction regardless of transmission rates. But at the suggestion of the union, the guidelines were adjusted to include a provision that said, “In the event of high community-transmission results from a new variant of SARS-CoV-2, a new update of these guidelines may be necessary.”CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPThe union further requested that teachers be granted remote work access for those “who have documented high-risk conditions or who are at increased risk.” Similar provisions were included for “staff who have a household member” that is considered high risk to the virus.Fox News’ Tyler Olson and Evie Fordham contributed to this report. 

Psaki defends Biden snapping at reporters over Afghanistan questions: He was 'done'

Psaki defends Biden snapping at reporters over Afghanistan questions: He was 'done'

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that President Biden snapped at reporters questioning him on the Afghanistan drawdown because he was “ready to be done answering questions.” As U.S. forces withdraw from the region after 20 years, reporters questioned the president on Friday about the potential of an Afghan fall to the Taliban. “I’m not gonna answer any more questions about Afghanistan,” Biden said. ” Look. It’s 4th of July. I’m concerned that you guys are asking me questions that I’m gonna answer next week…I’ll answer all your negative questions, not negative, legitimate questions.” “I want to talk about happy things, man,” the president said. BIDEN ANNOYED BY REPEATED QUESTIONS ON AFGHANISTAN “I think what trying to convey he is heading into the July 4th weekend, a weekend for family, a weekend to celebrate America, he was ready to be done answering questions,” Psaki told reporters who pressed her to clarify the president’s dodging. “I think people are a little over-reading into his response,” she added later, saying that he’d already answered three questions on Afghanistan. Psaki reiterated that the president doesn’t think the war in Afghanistan could be won “militarily,” and the U.S. will continue to engage in diplomatic negotiations. She also said that the administration has identified a group of Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants who served as interpreters for the U.S. military and whose lives are now in danger as they’re targeted by the Taliban. She said that group will be relocated outside Afghanistan before troops withdraw. The Islamist group has gained momentum in the region since Biden’s announcement that all troops would be gone by Sept. 11. In recent weeks, nearly a quarter of Afghanistan’s districts have fallen to the Taliban. BIDEN TELLS AFGHAN LEADERS ‘WE’RE GOING TO STICK WITH YOU’ AS HE WITHDRAWS NEARLY ALL US FORCES A recent U.S. intelligence assessment, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, concluded that the government of Afghanistan could fall within six months of the U.S. departure.Still, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani said last week Afghans “respect” the administration’s decision to withdraw. “The decision of President Biden has been a strategic decision,” the Afghan leader said as he visited Washington to meet with Biden and leaders in Congress. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP”We respect that decision. It’s dealing with the new chapter of our friendship, our strategic relationship and our people-to-people relationship and government-to-government relationship that we have focused.””We’re going to stick with you,” Biden promised Ghani at the time. Hours earlier, the U.S. had launched two drone strikes aimed at Taliban strongholds in northern Afghanistan. 

Biden raises global warming as a possible contributor to Surfside condo collapse

Biden raises global warming as a possible contributor to Surfside condo collapse

President Biden raised concerns about global warming during remarks on what could have potentially contributed to the Surfside Condo collapse near Miami last week. The president said he doesn’t have any “firm proof” on what caused the collapse that left 18 dead and 145 still missing, but that there was all kinds of “rational speculation,” including “whether or not rising sea levels had impact.” Biden spent three hours with the families of the victims, after touring the scene of the 12-story collapse, and said he was surprised how many of them talked about the impact of global warming. “I didn’t raise it. But many of the survivors and many families talked about the impact of global warming,” the president said. “They didn’t know exactly but they talked about sea levels rising, a combination of that and concern about incoming tropical storms.” VIDEO SHOWS WATER GUSHING INTO GARAGE BEFORE BUILDING FELLBiden said the victims’ loved ones are “going through hell” right now. “It’s hard enough to lose somebody but the hard part, the really hard part, is to just not know whether they’re surviving or not,” he added in a nod to the so many who are missing. He said the families were “very realistic” about the slimming chances of survival with each passing day. “They had basic, heart-wrenching questions, ‘Will I be able to recover the body? How can I have closure without getting to bury them?” Biden said of the families he spoke with. He said speaking with the victims called to mind his own experience with personal tragedy, having lost his daughter and wife in a car crash and his son Beau to cancer. Search and rescue efforts were paused in the middle of the night due to concerns about building stability after a large column hanging from a structure had shifted. An engineering firm in 2018 had identified key structural deficiencies requiring major costly repairs in 2018, but a former municipal official assured the condo’s board members that the building was in “very good shape.” LIVE UPDATES: BIDEN PRAISES BIPARTISANSHIP IN CONDO COLLAPSEBiden also thanked Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida Republican Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio and Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, as well as all first responders on the scene. There’s been “no disagreement, no bickering everybody’s on the same page. That’s what America is all about.” The president met with the GOP governor during his trip to Florida and other local officials. He told Florida officials the federal government stood ready to assist however it was needed. “This is your show – we just want to make sure whatever you need,” he said. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) said it will conduct a “full technical investigation” into what caused the Champlain Towers South condo building collapse. Fox News’ Greg Norman contributed to this report. 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom recall vote set for Sept. 14

California Gov. Gavin Newsom recall vote set for Sept. 14

The recall election for California Gov. Gavin Newsom is set for Sept. 14.Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis chose the date just hours after the recall was formally certified. On Sept. 14, California voters will be asked two questions: 1. if they want to recall Newsom, and 2. if so, who should replace him. If 50% or more of voters answer “yes” to the first question, the candidate with the most votes in question two becomes the next governor of the U.S.’s most populous state. After elections officials verified more than 1.5 million signatures on the recall petition last week, the state had 90 days to hold the special election. The recall petition garnered over 1.7 million signatures, of which only 43 were withdrawn, leaving the effort well above the 1.5 million threshold.NEWSOM RECALL BECOMES OFFICIAL The Newsom recall was a result in large part of Californians fed up with the state’s highly restrictive lockdowns and school closures, though the state is now on its way out of lockdown after the state’s mask mandate in most settings was lifted two weeks ago.Newsom’s recall effort will be the second that comes to a vote in Golden State history. The first brought Arnold Schwarzenegger into office in 2003.So far, at least 60 candidates have filed preliminary paperwork to run in the race, the most notable being Republican former Olympian and Keeping up with the Kardashians star Caitlyn Jenner. Other notable Republicans include former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, multimillionaire businessman John Cox, and former House Rep. Doug Ose. CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APPDemocratic challengers include Kevin Paffrath, a real estate agent and social media personality, former U.S. House hopeful Frank Wade, and more than a half-dozen others.On Monday, Newsom signed a bill put forth by Democrats to move up the timeline for the recall and allow it to proceed 30 days earlier than under previous state law. Republicans cried foul, accusing Democrats of trying to take advantage of what they view as favorable conditions for the California governor as the state moves on from lockdowns. “Shout out to California Democrats for manipulating their own recall rules. Now Californians only have to wait until September 14 to recall the worst governor in California history,” California GOP chairwoman Jessica Milan Patterson said in a statement. 

California gasoline tax increases to over 50 cents

California gasoline tax increases to over 50 cents

California, where the cost of a gallon of gasoline is more than $1 above the national average, increased its gas tax on Thursday. The increase is small – six-tenths of a cent – but brings the already highest-in-the-nation gas tax to 51.1 cents. The average cost of a gallon of gas is $4.28, compared to $3.10 across the U.S., according to AAA. The hike is part of a road repair bill the California legislature passed in 2017 that increases gas taxes and vehicle registration fees to pay for bridge and road repairs. The tax is increased based on the California Consumer Price Index. ELON MUSK TO SELL LAST REMAINING CALIFORNIA HOME When the bill took effect in November 2017, it raised the state’s gas tax by 12 cents. Prices went up another 5.6 cents in 2019 and 3.2 cents in 2020.At the same time as the tax increase, California is facing a historic $75 million budget overflow, thanks to a booming Silicon Valley, a thriving stock market and high taxes on high earners. Meanwhile, California is due to receive $26 billion in federal aid. The surplus drove Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is fighting against a recall election, to propose sending cash payments to middle-class residents. Republican lawmakers last week called for a suspension of the excise tax on gas, noting the budget surplus. GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO BY CLICKING HERE”Rather than allowing Governor Newsom to run around the state handing out millions of dollars in free lottery tickets and other chum, we should instead use the budget surplus to reduce the obscene excise tax on gasoline purchases,” state Sen. Brian Jones, R-Santee, said. The California Republican party too decried Thursday’s hike. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ON FOX BUSINESS”California already has the highest gas prices and highest gas tax in the nation, but Gavin Newsom and Sacramento Democrats didn’t think that was high enough,” California GOP Chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson said in a statement. “Despite a budget surplus, Democrats ignored the calls for a Gas Tax Holiday, instead taking more from hard-working Californians who are simply trying to make their daily commute. Newsom’s California is oppressively unaffordable due to Democrat policies. We deserve a true leader who doesn’t think the answer to good governing is more taxes.”

AOC bill would highlight data on ethnicity, race and sexuality of Biden appointees

AOC bill would highlight data on ethnicity, race and sexuality of Biden appointees

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday introduced a bill that would publicly report data on ethnic background, race, and sexual orientation of political appointees in an effort to ensure diversity in the Biden administration.The Political Appointments Inclusion and Diversity (PAID) Act would compel the Office of Personnel Management to publish a summary of the overall demographics of appointees, which is already available to the public but would be made more accessible. The report would include self-identified data on race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, tribal affiliation, disability, veteran status and age. The report would not identify individual appointees. Last week, the New York Democrat slammed a group of 21 bipartisan senators who were negotiating an infrastructure deal with the president for being too White. AOC RIPS SENATE INFRASTRUCTURE NEGOTIATORS’ LACK OF DIVERSITY “The diversity of this ‘bipartisan coalition’ pretty perfectly conveys which communities get centered,” the New York Democrat wrote on Twitter, “and which get left behind when leaders prioritize bipartisan dealmaking over inclusive lawmaking (which prioritizes delivering the most impact possible for the most people).”In subsequent messages, Ocasio-Cortez asserted that having the infrastructure deal be bipartisan wasn’t enough. She argued the plan needed to be more broadly inclusive as well.BIDEN SIGNS EXECUTIVE ORDER TO BOOST DIVERSITY”This is why a bipartisan pkg alone isn’t acceptable,” she wrote. “The exclusion& denial of our communities is what DC bipartisan deals require. That’s how you get GOP on board : don’t do much/any for the working class & low income,or women, or poc communities, or unions,etc. We must do more.”Just days ago, President Biden signed an executive order aimed at boosting diversity within the federal workforce. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPThe executive order establishes an initiative led by the Office of Personnel Management and the Office of Management and Budget to advance employment opportunities among people of color, women, first-generation professionals and immigrants, individuals with disabilities, LBGTQ+ individuals, Americans from rural areas, older Americans, and others.All agencies have 100 days to review how members of underserved communities are currently represented within their workforce and are encouraged to establish chief diversity officer roles.

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