Google extends its 5-day streak to 10% after US Supreme Court hands the tech giant victory in $9 billion battle with Oracle

Sundar Pichai Berlin Office
Sundar Pichai, Alphabet CEO.

  • Google extended its 5-day streak to 10% on Monday after a big legal victory over Oracle.
  • Oracle accused Google of stealing code to make its Android operating system compatible with Java software.
  • The US Supreme Court’s 6-2 majority decision in favor of Google ends a more than decade-long legal battle.
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Google stock extended its five-day streak to roughly 10% on Monday after the US Supreme Court handed the tech giant victory in its lengthy, $9 billion legal battle with Oracle.

The court overturned Oracle’s copyright win over Google in a six to two majority decision, with conservative justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissenting.

The court ruled that Google’s use of Java code, which was developed by Oracle, “did not violate the copyright law” and was done under “fair use” provisions.

Google traded up as much as 4.5% on Monday following the decision, continuing its week-long recovery after a rotation away from highly valued tech stocks hurt returns the month prior.

Oracle’s court case against the search engine giant began over a decade ago when Google used roughly 11,500 lines of Java code to make its Android operating system compatible with Java software.

Ever since, the two tech giants have been locked in a legal battle with Oracle stating damages could potentially top $9 billion.

A jury originally awarded Google a victory in the case citing fair use provisions, but the Federal Circuit then reversed the decision, concluding that Google’s copying was not fair use as a matter of law.

Now that decision has been reversed and Google execs are celebrating the victory.

Google’s SVP of Global Affairs, Kent Walker, took to Twitter to talk up the win, saying, “Today’s Supreme Court decision in Google v. Oracle is a big win for innovation, interoperability & computing. Thanks to the country’s leading innovators, software engineers & copyright scholars for their support.”

The case against Google has been one to watch for tech startups who often rely on the freedom to copy interfaces in order to compete against tech giants.

Dr. Arun Kumar, an assistant professor at UC San Diego who holds research funding from Oracle and Google, said the Court’s decision in Google’s favor was “a win for software interoperability. And for the fair use doctrine. Although vigilance and more scrutiny are still needed on monopolistic tendencies in BigTech,” in a Tweet on Monday.

The big court win for Google comes after the firm’s self-driving unit Waymo saw its CEO, John Krafcik, step down last week.

Google stock traded up 4% as of 12:22 p.m. ET on Monday.

Google chart
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Supreme Court rules Facebook’s automated text system doesn’t count as robocalling, handing major win to people who want to spam your phone

Supreme Court
In this Nov. 2, 2020, file photo an American flag waves in front of the Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Supreme Court punted on a case over whether the Trump administration can exclude people in the country illegally from the count used for divvying up congressional seats.

US Supreme Court ruled in favor of Facebook on Thursday in a case about what counts as an “automatic telephone dialing system” under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

The Supreme Court said in the ruling that Facebook’s text alerts on suspicious logins do not qualify as robocalls, and shot down a proposed class action lawsuit accusing the social media company of violating the 1991 act that was put in place in an attempt to curb telemarketing calls.

Billions of robocalls hit American cell phones every month, and the ruling in favor of Facebook can be seen as a major win for telemarketers.

The lawsuit was filed 2015 in California federal court by Noah Duguid, a Montana resident who accused Facebook of violating the TCPA’s restriction on using an automatic telephone dialing system to send him unsolicited text messages, despite not having a Facebook account.

The decision from the Supreme Court on Thursday was unanimous, and authored by Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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Trump says the Supreme Court ‘should be ashamed of themselves’ for not taking up election cases

supreme court trump
Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump wave a flag at the Supreme Court as the court reviews a lawsuit filed by Texas seeking to undo President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory in Washington, U.S., December 11, 2020.

  • Former President Trump said the Supreme Court “should be ashamed of themselves.”
  • Trump slammed all the justices, except for Justices Alito and Thomas, in an interview with Lisa Boothe.
  • The Court declined to take up several cases over the 2020 election results.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former President Donald Trump said the Supreme Court, including justices he nominated, “should be ashamed of themselves” for not taking up cases relating to the 2020 election in a podcast interview with Fox News’ Lisa Boothe released on Monday.

“The Supreme Court should be ashamed of themselves. Now Justice Thomas, Justice Alito, I’m going to take them about because they felt obviously different about what happened, but the Supreme Court should be ashamed of themselves,” Trump said.

In the interview, Trump continued to falsely claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him and pushed misleading claims that entire states’ election results were invalid because courts or other officials made changes to election rules without an act of legislation from a state legislature.

The Court declined to take up a last-minute, wide-ranging original jurisdiction lawsuit launched by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that sought to have the Court overturn election results in five states that voted for President Joe Biden on the basis that election rule changes were made without the approval of the state legislature.

The order dismissing the case cited Texas’ lack of standing in bringing the suit, stating that Texas had no “judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections.” Justices Alito and Thomas said that they would have agreed to take the case, but would “not grant any other relief.”

Both Trump and several Republican lawmakers signed on as amici in the suit.

The Court deadlocked 4-4 in a case where Republicans challenged the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s ruling to extend the deadline when mail ballots had to be received, from Election Day, November 3, to Friday, November 6. The Supreme Court’s tie left the lower court ruling in place, but the Court instructed Pennsylvania election officials to sequester all ballots that arrived in that timeframe.

Around 10,000 mail ballots arrived in that timeframe, not enough to affect the outcome of the election either way.

After the election, the Court also dismissed two remaining cases over Pennsylvania’s mail ballot deadline as moot in late February. Republican litigants in those cases advanced a theory known as the independent state legislature doctrine, which posits that only state legislatures and not courts or other officials have jurisdiction to change election rules.

In his dissent, Justice Thomas argued that the cases present a rare chance for the Court to definitively rule on a pressing issue in a case that isn’t taking place in the midst of an election cycle.

“These cases provide us with an ideal opportunity to address just what authority nonlegislative officials have to set election rules, and to do so well before the next election cycle. The refusal to do so is inexplicable,” he wrote.

Notably, the justices included in the group that Trump said “should be ashamed” included the three he nominated between 2017 and 2020: Justice Neil Gorsuch, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and Justice Amy Coney Barrett, nominations that Trump heavily emphasized throughout his presidency.

In the months leading up to the election, however, the Court handed down several rulings that sided with Republicans or GOP-controlled states in blocking election changes like extensions of mail ballot receipt deadlines, lessening of witness signature requirements, and expansions of curbside voting, for example.

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McConnell voted to confirm Merrick Garland as attorney general 2 years after saying blocking his Supreme Court nomination was the ‘most consequential thing I’ve ever done’

Biden-Garland
Judge Merrick Garland, right, was nominated by President Barack Obama to the US Supreme Court in March 2016 after the death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, but was subsequently blocked from hearings by Senate Republicans.

  • McConnell voted Wednesday to confirm Merrick Garland as attorney general.
  • The vote came five years after he stonewalled Garland’s nomination for a Supreme Court seat.
  • In 2019, McConnell called that decision “the most consequential thing I’ve ever done.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voted on Wednesday to confirm Judge Merrick Garland as US attorney general, just five years after he blocked Garland’s nomination for a Supreme Court seat.

Garland, a two-decade veteran of the DC Circuit Court, received broad, bipartisan support to lead the Justice Department, with 70 US senators voting in favor of his confirmation and 30 voting against.

Nineteen other Republican senators voted yes along with McConnell, who revealed last month that he would support Garland’s nomination.

Politico first reported on McConnell’s decision to support Garland for attorney general last month. When asked whether he intended to back the judge, McConnell said, “I do.” He did not elaborate.

The Kentucky Republican made headlines in February 2016 as Senate majority leader when, just an hour after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, he announced that he would not grant a Senate hearing to any nominee then-President Barack Obama selected to fill Scalia’s seat. McConnell vowed to keep the seat open for nearly another year, until a new president was elected.

“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice,” he said at the time. “Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.” Senate Republicans drew swift backlash for refusing to even grant the appeals-court judge a confirmation hearing and tanking his nomination before he had a chance to testify.

Nearly three years later, McConnell praised himself for the decision, telling The New York Times in a 2019 interview that blocking Garland’s nomination was “the most consequential thing I’ve ever done.” Scalia’s vacant seat was eventually filled by the conservative judge Neil Gorsuch, who President Donald Trump nominated shortly after taking office in 2017.

McConnell has frequently said that reshaping the federal judiciary is his biggest priority and touted the record number of conservative judges the GOP-controlled Senate was able to confirm during Trump’s tenure. The former president worked closely with McConnell and was able to appoint more than 200 judges to the federal bench and three justices to the Supreme Court.

Last year, McConnell faced backlash when he pushed through the confirmation of Trump’s third Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death just weeks before the November general election. Democrats pelted the GOP leader with allegations of hypocrisy over his refusal to grant Garland a confirmation hearing nine months before the 2016 election in order to honor the voters’ choice and doing the opposite in 2020.

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Democrats need to get serious about new ideas to transform the Supreme Court

supreme court justices at inauguration
Supreme Court Justices at the inaugural ceremony on January 20, 2021 in Washington, DC.

  • Michael Gordon is a longtime Democratic strategist, a former spokesman for the Justice Department, and the principal for the strategic-communications firm Group Gordon.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

With the Supreme Court taking up a case that effectively would kill the groundbreaking Voting Rights Act, this is a good time to take stock of the Court.

The current right wing majority reviewing the case was appointed by presidents who came to power without the popular vote. John Roberts and Samuel Alito were appointed in George W. Bush’s second term, but of course he won his first term in a disputed electoral squeaker while losing the national popular vote. Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett were appointed by Donald Trump, a significantly bigger loser when it comes to the national vote.

So five of the six conservatives who make up the 6 to 3 majority were appointed by presidents without majority support. And all of Trump’s appointees brought controversy: Gorsuch and Barrett through the twisted logic of the Republican Senate to ensure their appointments, and Kavanaugh under a cloud of sexual misconduct allegations.

So when the Republican Senate smashed all semblance of norms by holding up a Democratic Supreme Court appointee to jam through Gorsuch – and then jammed through Barrett with the opposite narrative, the question became how would Democrats respond. One highly discussed idea was that the party should add seats to the Supreme Court if they came to power in 2021, a concept called court packing. Well now we’re here, and the Democrats have the chance to give America a Supreme Court that represents America.

To pack or not to pack

Chief Justice Roberts has tried in some cases to steer a moderate course for the Supreme Court – despite its heavily conservative lean – in order to keep it out of political and media crosshairs. As a result, there have been some surprises over the past year where one or more conservative Justices joined the liberal wing on a major decision, including an extension of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to protect LGBTQ employees and a decision to uphold DACA.

Roberts knows that history has its eyes on him, but his work will be 20% harder with the Republican majority going from 5 to 4 to 6 to 3. If Barrett turns out to be as reactionary as Thomas and Alito, Roberts’ desire to stay above politics becomes irrelevant.

Combine that with the Republican Senate’s 2016 zig and 2020 zag on filling Supreme Court vacancies during an election year, and the idea of packing the Supreme Court has taken on new urgency.

There are a number of different ideas for reforming the Court beyond packing. One proposal suggests limiting terms to 18 years. Another proposes more regular appointments, with each President appointing a Justice in the first and third year of each term. President Biden has also called for a bipartisan commission to look at these and other possible reforms to the Court.

Substantively, drawing on one or more of these ideas to change how and when Justices are appointed can counter the Republicans’ naked power grab and put the makeup of the Court more in line with the American majority. But politically, making any changes to the court is a tough sell for the Democrats.

Political peril 

From a procedural perspective, adding judges to the Court is well within Congress’ power. The Constitution does not set a number for Supreme Court Justices but gives Congress the power to determine how many sit on the bench. 

The current makeup of the Supreme Court with nine Justices only began in 1869. Before then, the number fluctuated, with the original number in 1789 set at six, followed by changes down to five in 1801, up to seven in 1807, nine in 1839, and briefly ten during the Civil War, then back down to seven in 1866 until it landed on nine in 1869. Changing the makeup is surprisingly easy. Legislation to do so would need to pass both the US House of Representatives and Senate with simple majorities and then get the president’s signature. 

But the length of the current make up means every American knows only a Supreme Court with nine Justices – with many likely not realizing that change is doable – makes the Democrats’ narrative that much harder. It would be easy for the Republicans to put the Democrats on defense on this issue, and it would distract from the many other agenda items that President Biden wants to accomplish.

So if packing is too high a bar, there are other tactics the Dems can employ. The last two Democratic presidents had Supreme Court picks in their first year in office. If history holds, Justice Stephen Breyer will step down and make way for a new appointee. 

As a rule, the Republicans have been much better than the Democrats at appointing younger Justices to the Court, as well as throughout the federal judiciary. The average age of Trump’s appellate judge appointees, for example, was 47 – five years younger than Obama’s – and 76 of the youngest 100 federal appellate judges have been appointed by Republican presidents.

Two of the Republican Justices – Thomas and Barrett – were in their 40’s when they were confirmed. If he gets vacancies, President Biden needs to pick someone in their 40’s who can have a long life of influence on the Court.

In the past 52 years, there have only been four Justices appointed by Democratic Presidents. During that same period, there have been 16 Justices appointed by Republicans. Liberal Court members William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall both retired when George HW Bush was president, changing the balance and sway of the court to this day.

Democrats need to ensure that their Justices retire when they have the power to replace them. If they don’t take control of their fate, the Republicans will control it for them, as we saw with the replacement of Justice Ruth Ginsburg.

Democrats also should not hesitate to condemn the Supreme Court when it makes decisions that are out of step with the mainstream. They should be strong and remind Americans that this Supreme Court did not come to power via majority rule and does not adjudicate the will of the majority. If they start to play the long game that Republicans have played for a half century, the Democrats can begin to ensure that our nation’s highest court reflects our highest values.

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The Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a case that could further gut the Voting Rights Act and its protections for minority voters

arizona voters 2020 election
People wait in line to vote at a polling place at the Scottsdale Plaza Shopping Center in Scottsdale, Arizona, on November 3, 2020.

  • The Supreme Court heard arguments in crucial Voting Rights Act cases on Tuesday. 
  • Brnovich vs. Democratic National Committee will test Section 2 of the VRA.
  • The case centers around the legality of two Arizona voting restrictions.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The US Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in key voting rights cases out of Arizona that will test the limits of a provision of the Voting Rights Act that prohibits discrimination against minorities in voting. 

In the two lawsuits, Brnovich vs. Democratic National Committee and Arizona Republican Party vs. DNC, which were consolidated for Tuesday’s arguments, the court will determine whether two Arizona voting restrictions violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. 

Michael Carvin, representing the Arizona Republican Party, and Arizona attorney general Mark Brnovich argued for the petitioners, with Jessica Ring Amunson representing the Arizona Secretary of State’s office and Bruce Spiva, representing the Democratic National Committee, arguing for the respondents. 

Section 2 bans “any voting standard, practice, or procedure that results in the denial or abridgment of the right of any citizen to vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group.” In 1982, Congress expanded the scope of Section 2 to cover not just intentional discrimination, but cases where voting policies resulted in discriminatory impacts in the “totality of the circumstance of the local electoral process.”

This case is an important test of the Voting Rights Act, which suffered a major blow with the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling in Shelby County v. Holder. In that decision, the Court struck down the coverage formula used to determine which states needed to seek approval, or preclearance, from the federal government before enacting new voting policy changes under Section 5 due to histories of discrimination.

The stakes of this decision are elevated by lawmakers in dozens of states introducing over 100 bills aimed at restricting voting in 2021 legislative sessions. Many of those bills have been filed in battleground states like Arizona, which President Joe Biden won in November by a margin of only .3% of the total votes. 

The Shelby decision rendered Section 5 unenforceable, freeing Arizona from the preclearance requirement, and leaving Section 2 as one of the most powerful tools for plaintiffs to challenge discriminatory vote-dilution schemes and voting policies. 

“We are concerned that the Court could issue a ruling which would weaken or limit Section 2,” Sean Morales-Doyle, deputy director of the Voting & Elections Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, recently said on a call with reporters. “We simply cannot afford harm to Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act as we are entering a new redistricting cycle and we’ve seen a wave of restrictive voting laws introduced in state legislatures around the country.” 

Arizona voting
This Oct. 21, 2020, file photo shows election workers sorting ballots at the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office in Phoenix.

The justices on the Court probed both sides on the impacts of the voting laws on minority voters and what standards they think should be applied to determine whether a law is discriminatory and wrongly denies minorities the opportunity to vote in violation of Section 2. 

Justice Elena Kagan, for example, queried lawyers representing both sides of the argument with how they would approach hypothetical voting restrictions, like a county putting all its polling places in country clubs, that are facially neutral but have a racially disparate impact. 

The conservative majority on the Court appeared inclined to let the Arizona laws in question stand, and were skeptical of Amunson and Spiva’s arguments that Arizona’s policies constituted unlawful racial discrimination under Section 2. But it is unclear if or how the justices will rule on questions of Section 2’s scope and application. 

“What concerns me is that your position will make every voting rule vulnerable to attack under Section 2 to the same extent that the out-of-precinct policy was by the 9th Circuit,” Justice Samuel Alito said to Spiva. 

The cases began in 2016, when the DNC sued Arizona under Section 2 of the VRA over two voting restrictions passed by the state legislature: a law prohibiting provisional ballots that a voter cast in the wrong voting precinct from being counted in part or in full, and another barring third-party groups from returning voters’ mail ballots to election offices, sometimes referred to as “ballot harvesting.” 

While a US District Court sided with Arizona, the 9th Circuit overturned that ruling.

The appellate court found that both laws violated Section 2 and discriminatory impacts against Black, Latino, and Native American voters in Arizona. Applying a two-part results part, the Court found that the plaintiffs proved that the laws “imposed a significant disparate burden” on minority voters, and resulted from “social and historical conditions” that fostered hostile conditions for minorities’ voting rights. 

The 9th Circuit further ruled that the ban on third-party ballot collection was enacted with discriminatory intent, citing the state’s “long history of race-based voting discrimination,” the legislature’s prior attempts to restrict ballot collection, the increase in Latino and Native American voter turnout, false claims of fraud used as a basis to pass the law, and racially polarized voting patterns in the state. 

The partisan implications of the case were clearly delineated in Tuesday’s arguments. In response to a question from Justice Amy Coney Barrett questioning the Arizona GOP’s standing in the case, Carvin said that the 9th Circuit’s decision “puts us a competitive disadvantage relative to Democrats,” adding: “Politics is a zero-sum game. Every extra vote they get through unlawful interpretations of Section 2 hurts us.” 

Similarly, Spiva told Justice Clarence Thomas that the DNC’s standing “rests on organizational standing principles, because they have to expend resources in order to overcome the discriminatory effects of these laws.” 

Jacqueline De Léon, staff attorney at the Native American Rights Foundation, previously told Insider in November that while Native voters showed record turnout in Arizona in 2020, they still faced significant barriers to voting. 

Reservations are divided into chapter houses, or distinct communities within the reservation led by a chapter president. Chapter house boundaries, however, do not always align with the precinct boundaries set by the state, leading some voters to wrongly believe they could vote at their chapter house, a mistake that may force them to cast a provisional ballot.

Under Arizona’s out-of-precinct policy, even votes for statewide races at the top of the ticket like president, US senate, and governor, cast in the wrong precinct are not counted. 

Arizona election
The sun sets at a local polling station Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020 in Tucson, Ariz

Voters of color, and especially those who live on Native American reservations, also often lack traditional mailing addresses, experience unreliable mail delivery, and live further distances from ballot dropboxes and election offices than white voters. Those factors make third-party ballot collection drives critical get-out-the-vote tools for hard-to-reach voters in a state where the majority of voters cast ballots by mail, advocates argue. 

The Supreme Court hasn’t been the friendliest arena for voting rights advocates in recent years, and is poised to be even less so now with a 6-3 conservative majority. 

In addition to reversing the 9th Circuit, the Arizona attorney general, the Arizona GOP, and its allies have filed amicus briefs in the case seeking changes to how Section 2 is applied in the future.

Some of the respondents and their amici have asked the Court to further narrow Section 2’s reach, including by limiting Section 2 lawsuits to cases of intentional racial discrimination, and restricting the provision to challenge only racial gerrymandering and vote dilution, not to voting policies. 

“This case doesn’t have to approach anywhere close to the impact of the Shelby County decision if the Court does the right thing, and that’s what we’re hoping for here,” Morales-Doyle said. 

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The Supreme Court declined to hear Stormy Daniels’ appeal in her libel lawsuit against Trump

Trump
Then-President Donald Trump on June 5, 2019.

  • The Supreme Court declined to hear Stormy Daniels’ appeal in her libel lawsuit against Donald Trump.
  • Daniels’, legal name Stephanie Clifford, had sued Trump in federal court over a 2018 tweet.
  • In July 2020, a panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled that the tweet was not defamatory.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The US Supreme Court is declining to hear Stormy Daniels’ appeal in her libel lawsuit against former President Donald Trump.

Daniels, a prominent adult film actress whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, had sued Trump in federal court in California.

She argued he defamed her in a 2018 tweet where he questioned her story of being intimidated in a parking lot with her young daughter by a man who threatened her against going public with her claims that she had a sexual affair with Trump in 2006, an affair that Trump denies.

Daniels said that as was she planning to tell her story to a magazine in 2011, a man approached her and said “Leave Trump alone. Forget the story,” while threatening that bad things would happen to her if she went forward. 

It wasn’t until January 2018 that the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump was involved in arranging a substantial hush money payment and nondisclosure agreement with Daniels just weeks before the 2016 election.

“A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!” Trump tweeted on April 18, 2018, from his now-suspended Twitter account, quote tweeting a posting that suggested the man who Daniels said threatened her could have actually been her ex-husband.

After a US District Court dismissed Daniels’ suit, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Trump and rejected Daniels’ appeal of the dismissal in July 2020, ruling that the tweet was an expression of opinion based on another user’s tweet and not defamatory. Daniels filed an appeal up to the Supreme Court in October 2020.

“Viewed through the eyes of an objectively reasonable reader, the tweet here reflects Mr. Trump’s opinion about the implications of the allegedly similar appearances of Ms. Clifford’s ex-husband and the man in the sketch,” the 9th Circuit panel’s opinion said, characterizing Trump’s tweet as “an opinion” and noting that “statements of opinion cannot form the basis of a defamation claim.”

The 9th Circuit also rejected Daniels’ claim that Trump’s reference to a “total con job” amounted to accusing her of criminal fraud. 

“It would be clear to a reasonable reader that the tweet was not accusing Clifford of actually committing criminal activity,” the opinion said. “Instead, as used in this context, the term ‘con job’ could not be interpreted as anything more than a colorful expression of rhetorical hyperbole.”

stormy daniels
In this Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, file photo, adult film actress Stormy Daniels arrives for the opening of the adult entertainment fair “Venus,” in Berlin.

Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in August 2018 to five counts of tax evasion, one count of bank fraud, one count of making an unlawful corporate contribution, and one count of making an illegal campaign finance contribution on October 27, 2016.

Trump was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator, “Individual-1,” on some counts in the case.

The final two charges were related to hush money payments made to Daniels and the former Playboy model Karen McDougal before the 2016 election. Both women had threatened to go public with details of extramarital affairs they said they had with Trump in the 2000s.

Cohen said he facilitated a $130,000 payment to Daniels “at the direction of the candidate” and with the “purpose of influencing the election,” which violates campaign finance law by exceeding the maximum contribution of $2,800 that a person can give to a candidate for federal office.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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A group of Black Republicans are pressing the National Museum of African American History to properly ‘honor’ Clarence Thomas

Clarence Thomas
Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas.

  • A group of Black Republicans wants a Smithsonian museum to better reflect the legacy of Clarence Thomas.
  • The push was led by freshman GOP Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida.
  • “Black History transcends political correctness and partisanship,” Donalds wrote.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

A group of Black Republicans, led by freshman GOP Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida, have asked the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) to “honor” Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas by updating an exhibit that they say currently “falls short” in reflecting his legacy.

The letter was reported by Fox News and also signed by figures including Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the sole Black Republican in the upper chamber, along with Rep. Burgess Owens of Utah and Heritage Foundation president Kay Coles James, among others.

“This museum is a national treasure for our nation’s fabric – this is especially true for me as a Black American and Republican,” Donalds wrote. “Black History transcends political correctness and partisanship. Overall, the NMAAHC honors its mission, but it is unfortunate to see pitfalls likely driven by irresponsible bias.”

The museum, which opened in September 2016 and has a permanent collection of over 36,000 artifacts, is a Smithsonian Institution museum.

Thomas, an associate justice of the Supreme Court, was nominated for the position by then-President George H.W. Bush in 1991 to replace the retiring legal trailblazer Thurgood Marshall, who was the first Black American to serve on the Supreme Court.

Read more: Trump tested the Constitution and shredded traditions. Biden and the Democrats have big plans of their own about what to do next.

When the museum first opened, Thomas was largely mentioned only in connection with the contentious 1991 confirmation battle that involved allegations of sexual harassment by Anita Hill, a former Thomas staffer.

Thomas strongly denied the allegations and described his confirmation process as “a high-tech lynching.”

He was confirmed to the Supreme Court by a narrow 52-48 margin.

In 2017, a more substantive exhibit about Thomas was presented at the museum, but several conservatives, including insist it is insufficient. Donalds said the tribute to Thomas paled in comparison to that of Marshall.

“As a Black man who has a profound respect for the contributions Justice Thomas has propitiated for generations to come, this museum must encapsulate his life as it does for hundreds of other monumental Black figures,” Donalds wrote, adding that the museum currently doesn’t reflect his “achievements and life compared to his counterpart, the Honorable Justice Thurgood Marshall.”

Donalds also said “Black history cannot and should not be political,” and urged the museum to offer an “unbiased assessment” of Black historical figures. 

“The American people deserve an unbiased assessment of the trailblazers in the Black community – it is time to honor Justice Thomas with this long-overdue documentation of his whole life and history and not the disingenuous effort displayed today,” Donalds wrote. 

Owens echoed a similar sentiment about the Thomas exhibit to Fox News.

“As one of the only two Black men to serve on our nation’s highest and most distinguished court, US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas deserves unbiased recognition from the National Museum of African American History and Culture,” he told the outlet, adding the museum should “appropriately honor the continued legacy of Justice Thomas.”

The museum released a statement to Artnet News regarding the matter.

“While all our exhibitions are based on rigorous research, they are still open to interpretation,” the statement reads. “Through scholarship, publications, and education, the museum will continue to explore the rich contributions and complexity of African Americans.”

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Facebook’s ‘Supreme Court’ that has the power to overrule Mark Zuckerberg just handed down its first decisions – these are the Oversight Board’s first 20 members

Mark Zuckerberg at Georgetown University
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

  • In late 2018, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced an ambitious plan: to create an independent oversight board.
  • The board can overrule Facebook’s content moderation guidelines, and can even overrule Zuckerberg.
  • Last week, the group made its first rulings on disputed content. It overturned 4 out of the 5 cases it saw.
  • The board consists of 20 people, including a former prime minister, a Nobel laureate, and human rights experts.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

With more than 2 billion users, Facebook has a major content moderation problem on its hands.

Whether you’re talking about the platform’s use by Russian government-backed trolls in the 2016 US Presidential election, or to spread propaganda during the 2016 Rohingya genocide, or when a shooter livestreamed a mass shooting in New Zealand, Facebook has faced moderation issue after moderation issue across the past few years.

And the company is well aware of the enormity of its problem. “One of the most painful lessons I’ve learned,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in late 2018, “is that when you connect two billion people, you will see all the beauty and ugliness of humanity.” 

Read more: How Silicon Valley banished Donald Trump in 48 hours

As a result, Facebook established an oversight board that it says is outside of Facebook’s control, that can ultimately overrule Facebook’s own policies on content management. The company has even pledged $130 million to get the board funded and operational. It launched in 2020, and made it first rulings this past week.

The board will eventually swell to nearly double its current size, Facebook says, but these are the inaugural 20 members:

1. Tawakkol Karman

Tawakkol Karman
Journalist and Nobel laureate.

Tawakkol Karman is, “a journalist, civil rights activist and Nobel laureate.” She’s also the first Arab woman to win a Nobel prize, and is the co-founder of Women Journalists Without Chains. She was awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for her leadership of peaceful protests during the Arab Spring. 

2. Maina Kiai

Maina Kiai
Director, Human Rights Watch Global Alliances and Partnerships

Maina Kiai served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Assembly and Association, and currently leads the Global Alliances and Partnerships at Human Rights Watch. He’s known for his work in human rights, particularly through the medium of documentary film. 

3. Evelyn Aswad

Evelyn Aswad
Professor and Chair, University of Oklahoma College of Law

Evenlyn Aswad is a law professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Law and the director of the school’s Center for International Business and Human Rights. Prior to education, Aswad worked for the US Department of State and served as a law clerk on the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. 

4. Endy Bayuni

Endy Bayuni
Journalist.

Endy Baynui is a staffer and board member at The Jakarta Post; he’s been a journalist for over three decades, primarily focused on national politics and Islam, and serves as the executive director of the International Association of Religion Journalists. 

5. Pamela Karlan

Pamela Karlan
Professor, Stanford Law School

Pamela Karlan is a professor at Stanford Law School, and serves as co-director to Stanford’s Supreme Court Litigation Clinic. The focus of Karlan’s career has been voting and its application to the American political process. She began her career as a law clerk on the US Supreme Court and US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

6. Nighat Dad

Nighat Dad
Founder, Digital Rights Foundation

Nighat Dad is a lawyer and co-founder of Digital Rights Foundation — a non-profit that focuses on “cyber harassment, data protection and free speech online in Pakistan and South Asia.” She is an outspoken feminist known for her focus on women’s right in Pakistan, where she is from.

7. Emi Palmor

Emi Palmor
Advocate and Lecturer, Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, Israel

Emi Palmor is an Israeli lawyer and professor, and served as the Director General of the Ministry of Justice for five years. Her career has focused on anti-racism efforts, and she currently lectures on policy design, governance, and law at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya.

8. John Samples

John Samples, Cato Institute
VP, Cato Institute

John Samples serves as a VP at the Cato Institute, a Libertarian think tank founded by the Koch brothers. Samples focuses on free speech, the First Amendment, content moderation; to that end, he’s written several books on those subjects, including “The Struggle to Limit Government: A Modern Political History,” and “The Fallacy of Campaign Finance Reform.”

9. Catalina Botero-Marino

Catalina Botero-Marino
Dean, Law School at Universidad de Los Andes

Catalina Botero-Marino is a lawyer and dean of the Law School at Universidad de Los Andes, Colombia. Her career has focused on freedom of expression and human rights.

10. Michael McConnell

Michael McConnell
Professor and Director of the Constitutional Law Center, Stanford Law School

Michael McConnell serves as director of the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School. He also teaches he teaches a course on freedom of speech, press, and religion, and served for seven years as a circuit judge on the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. McConnell began his career as a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, Jr., and has argued 15 cases in the US Supreme Court.

11. Afia Asantewaa Asare-Kyei

Afia Asantewaa Asare-Kyei
Program Manager, Open Society Initiative for West Africa

Afia Asantewaa Asare-Kyei is a human rights lawyer whose career focuses on “supporting and developing transformational social programs and advocacy strategies,” primarily on her home continent of Africa.

12. Ronaldo Lemos

Ronaldo Lemos
Professor, Rio de Janeiro State University’s Law School

Ronaldo Lemos is a lawyer who focuses on “technology, intellectual property, media and public policy.” Lemos is a partner at the Brazilian law firm PNM Advogados, a visiting scholar at several prominent universities, and the co-creator of the Brazilian Internet Bill of Rights.

13. András Sajó

Andras Sajo
Founding Dean of Legal Studies, Central European University

Andras Sajo is a former judge and vice president at the European Court of Human Rights, professor Central European University, and a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He served as advisor on three separate constitutions: Ukraine, Georgia, and South Africa.

14. Sudhir Krishnaswamy

Sudhir Krishnaswamy
Vice Chancellor and Professor of Law, National Law School of India University

Dr. Sudhir Krishnaswamy is a law professor and serves as vice chancellor at the National Law School of India University, as well as the the secretary and rreasurer of the Consortium of National Law Universities of India. He focuses on public interest law, and is the author of “Democracy and Constitutionalism in India.”

15. Katherine Chen

Katherine Chen
Professor, National Chengchi University

Katherine Chen is a communications professor at National Chengchi University (NCCU), Taiwan. She previously served as the commissioner of the National Communications Commission of Taiwan, and is a published academic researcher whose work primarily focused on “media content and its effects, social media in elections, as well as mobile communication and privacy.”

16. Helle Thorning-Schmidt

Denmark's Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt is pictured in Copenhagen, Denmark, early June 19, 2015.  REUTERS/Bax Lindhardt/Scanpix Denmark
Former Prime Minister, Denmark

Helle Thorning-Schmidt is the former prime minister of Denmark, from 2011 to 2015, and currently serves as a member of a variety of foreigh policy think tanks: the US Council on Foreign Relations, the European Council for Foreign Relations, the International Crisis Group and the Atlantic Council International Advisory Board and Berggruen 21st Century Council.

17. Nicolas Suzor

Nicolas Suzor
Professor, School of Law at Queensland University of Technology

Nicolas Suzor is a law professor at Queensland University of Technology, and a member of the leadership at the school’s Digital Media Research Centre. His research focuses on, “the governance of the internet and social networks, the regulation of automated systems, digital copyright, and knowledge commons.”

18. Julie Owono

Julie Owono
Executive Director, Internet Sans Frontières

Julie Owono is executive director of Internet Sans Frontières, an open internet advocacy group. Her work primarily focuses on digital rights and expanding internet access. She is a self-professed, “advocate for Business and Human Rights principles in the technology industry.”

19. Alan Rusbridger

Alan Rusbridger
Principal, Lady Margaret Hall Oxford

Alan Charles Rusbridger is the Principal at Lady Margaret Hall, and former Editor-in-Chief of The Guardian, where he led the publication from 1995 to 2015. He earned a Pulitzer Prize in 2014 for public service, and, beyond his work in journalism, is the author of several children’s books.

20. Jamal Greene

Jamal Greene
Professor, Columbia Law School

Jamal Greene is a law professor at Columbia Law School. He’s taught classes on a variety of legal subjects, from constitutional law to the American federal courts. Before entering academia professionally, Greene served as a law clerk on the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and on the US Supreme Court.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump wanted the Justice Department to sue individual states to overturn their election results, but top officials refused, WSJ report says

trump pentagon
President Donald Trump.

  • Trump wanted the Justice Department to sue states directly in the Supreme Court to overturn the election results.
  • DOJ officials refused, prompting Trump to plot to replace the acting attorney general with a loyalist.
  • That effort was foiled by DOJ leaders when some threatened to resign if Jeffrey Rosen was removed.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump wanted the Department of Justice to file lawsuits in the Supreme Court against specific states in an attempt to overturn their election results, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal.

DOJ officials refused, prompting Trump to plot to remove the acting attorney general and replace him with a loyalist. The plot was blocked when a group of top DOJ leaders threatened to resign if acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen was removed.

Trump’s idea to sue states was pushed by his personal lawyers, The Journal reported.

“He wanted us, the United States, to sue one or more of the states directly in the Supreme Court,” a former administration official told The Journal.

DOJ officials refused to file the case, determining that there was no legal grounds and that “the federal government had no legal interest in whether Mr. Trump or Mr. Biden won the presidency,” according to The Journal.

The DOJ did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Read more: Trump didn’t pardon himself. Here’s the massive tsunami of legal peril that now awaits him.

Trump and his allies pursued dozens of legal challenges in the wake of the election in an attempt to overturn the results based on unsubstantiated claims of mass voter fraud. The Trump campaign and Republican officials filed lawsuits across battleground states, but virtually none of the challenges held up in court.

Trump’s own Justice Department, and ally Attorney General Bill Barr, said in December it had found no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would’ve affected the election outcome.

The Journal said the effort to sue states directly was ramped up after the Supreme Court on December 11 dismissed a lawsuit filed by Texas’ attorney general Ken Paxton in an attempt to overturn the results in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Georgia.

On the night of the election during a speech where he falsely claimed victory, Trump threatened to go to the Supreme Court over the election, though it was unclear why or on what legal basis he planned to do so.

When Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg died in September and Trump and Republicans were determined to fill her seat, Trump also suggested the election would be decided in the Supreme Court, though again it was unclear what exactly he thought would constitute litigation.

Trump successfully nominated and appointed Justice Amy Coney Barrett, making her the third Trump-appointee on the bench alongside Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, solidifying the court’s conservative majority with a 6-3 split.

After the Texas case was dismissed, Trump blasted the Supreme Court in a tweet, saying “no wisdom, no courage!”

Read the full report at The Wall Street Journal

Read the original article on Business Insider