The Supreme Court “is saving one of its biggest cases for last. The justices are hearing arguments Wednesday over President Donald Trump’s ban on travelers from several mostly Muslim countries. It’s the last case the justices will hear until October.
“The Trump administration is asking the court to reverse lower court rulings striking down the ban. The policy has been fully in effect since December, but this is the first time the justices are considering whether it violates immigration law or the Constitution.
“The court will consider whether the president can indefinitely keep people out of the country based on nationality. It will also look at whether the policy is aimed at excluding Muslims from the United States.” (AP)
DACA. “In the biggest setback yet for the Trump administration in its attempt to end a program that shields some undocumented young adults from deportation, a federal judge ruled Tuesday that the protections must stay in place and that the government must resume accepting new applications.
“Judge John D. Bates of Federal District Court for the District of Columbia said that the administration’s decision to terminate the program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, was based on the ‘virtually unexplained’ grounds that the program was ‘unlawful.’” (New York Times)
VOTER CONCERNS. “A study published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” is the latest “to suggest that Trump voters weren’t driven by anger over the past, but rather fear of what may come. White, Christian and male voters, the study suggests, turned to Mr. Trump because they felt their status was at risk.
“It’s much more of a symbolic threat that people feel,’’ said Diana C. Mutz, the author of the study and a political science and communications professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where she directs the Institute for the Study of Citizens and Politics.”
“In her study, Dr. Mutz sought to answer two questions: Is there evidence to support the economic anxiety argument, and did the fear of losing social dominance drive some voters to Mr. Trump? To find answers, she analyzed survey data from a nationally representative group of about 1,200 voters polled in 2012 and 2016.
“In both years, participants were asked the same wide-ranging set of questions. Party loyalty overwhelmingly explained how most people voted, but Dr. Mutz’s statistical analysis focused on those who bucked the trend, switching their support to the Republican candidate, Mr. Trump, in 2016.” (New York Times)
RNC. The Republican National Committee mocked the large potential field of Democratic presidential contenders by referring to them as the “50 Most Beautiful Democrats Running For President,” with a nod to The Hill‘s now-defunct list of attractive Capitol Hill denizens.
RNC Rapid Response Director Michael Ahrens: “So while 2020 is still a long way away, Democrats have reason to worry about what’s shaping up to be the largest primary field ever, even if it’s not quite 50.” (Washington Examiner)
CHRISTIE WATCH. “With Trump’s senior staff constantly in flux—and a major shakeup expected after the midterms, as Trump’s reelection campaign takes shape—10 current and former administration aides, Republicans close to the White House and people close to” former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) “say Christie is putting himself in a prime position to land a plum job in the administration.
“The president loves to hire people who go on TV to defend him … and Christie stands to benefit from being a familiar figure to a president who likes to surround himself with friends.”
“Christie has been mentioned as a potential replacement for chief of staff John Kelly, whose relationship with the president has recently grown strained, but it’s unclear whether Christie would be willing to work in the West Wing, with its reputation for chaos. The people close to Christie said he also would not work in a White House alongside Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, who advocated for firing him from the transition after Trump’s surprise 2016 victory.” (Politico)
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Ohio Democratic voters have filed suit against Ohio Governor John Kasich and other Republican state officials over alleged partisan gerrymandering in Ohio's electoral map. Despite capturing between 51 and 59 percent of the statewide vote in the past three elections, Republicans hold three-quarters of state congressional seats. "The U.S. Supreme Court is due by the end of June to issue major rulings in two partisan gerrymandering cases from Wisconsin and Maryland that could affect the Ohio suit."
An Iranian missile scientist, killed in a strike in 2011 along with his research center, oversaw the development of a secret, second facility in the remote Iranian desert that ... is operating to this day," according to a team of California weapons experts. "For weeks, the researchers picked through satellite photos of the facility. They found, they say, that work on the site now appears to focus on advanced rocket engines and rocket fuel, and is often conducted under cover of night."
"President Trump signed a bill Tuesday aimed at reducing the backlog of security clearance investigations — but later reserved the right not to comply with it on constitutional grounds. In a signing statement Tuesday night, Trump said provisions of the bill — the Securely Expediting Clearances Through Reporting Transparency Act of 2018, or SECRET Act — encroach on his authority as commander-in-chief."
"The FBI has repeatedly provided grossly inflated statistics to Congress and the public about the extent of problems posed by encrypted cellphones, claiming investigators were locked out of nearly 7,800 devices connected to crimes last year when...one internal estimate put the correct number of locked phones at 1,200." The FBI has maintained that the spread of encrypted software "can block investigators’ access to digital data even with a court order," whereas civil liberties advocates "argue that encryption prevents crime by protecting people’s data from hackers." One year before the larger estimate was made, "the FBI had claimed the figure was 880."