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Head Start educator says she went 'through hell' fighting to keep job due to state, federal vax mandates

Head Start educator says she went 'through hell' fighting to keep job due to state, federal vax mandates

The administrator of a Head Start program in Washington state said she went “though hell” fighting to keep her job in the face of state and federal vaccine mandates for program staffers – which still remain even as the rest of the country rolls back pandemic restrictions.Sarah Werling, a Head Start center manager in Friday Harbor, Washington, told Fox News Digital that due to state regulations, she was barred from the classroom until this fall when Gov. Jay Inslee lifted the state’s coronavirus emergency. Last October, she was initially granted a religious exemption by her program, but was told she would need to be reassigned from her job. Werling said she pushed back against that decision before being allowed to keep her job, with an accommodation that barred her from coming into contact with “children, families and staff” – essentially exiling her from the classroom.However, even now with Washington’s regulations lifted, Werling says she is forced to get tested for COVID-19 once per week and must wear a mask when in the classroom, due to Head Start’s rules for religious exemptions. The testing requirement is consistent with guidelines laid out in the HHS interim final rule for religious exemptions. GOP WELCOMES END TO ‘DISASTROUS’ POLICY OF MASKING HEAD START TODDLERS”We’re working in early childhood education,” Werling said, speaking about the mask mandate’s effect on her students. “This is the prime time their brains are developing and all these social cues – they’re missing out.” 
The Department of Health and Human Services only recently removed its mask mandate for children in federal Head Start and Early Head Start programs. In many states, however, staff members are still required to be vaccinated in order to perform their duties without restrictions.
(AP Photo/Chris O’Meara, File)Werling, who is also an elected school board director on San Juan Island, also said she “still feel[s] excluded” by the terms of her religious accommodation, which forces her to wear a mask when others do not need to. Additionally, she said she is concerned for others who might not have been able to fight for their jobs the way she did.”I would have left two years ago, but I believe in it so much,” Werling said of Head Start. “I’ve put myself through hell.””Programs have lost quality staff for those that chose to remain unvaccinated, and programs have missed out on hiring quality staff due to the vaccination requirements for new employees,” Werling added. The Department of Health and Human Services still mandates staff in about half of the country’s Head Start programs to be vaccinated for COVID-19, despite loosening CDC guidelines and a recent legal injunction paused the mandate.HHS rolled back its masking mandate for toddlers in Head Start – an early childhood education program that serves vulnerable children – after political pressure last month. Shortly after that, U.S. District Court Judge Terry A Doughty ruled that the department had no authority to mandate masks or vaccines for program staff, which it did concurrently in an “interim final rule” last year. 
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra’s agency did not respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital asking whether it plans to roll back its vaccine mandate for staff members.
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)ARMY PENALIZING SOLDIERS SEEKING RELIGIOUS ACCOMMODATION TO VAX MANDATE: ‘TECHNIQUE OF COERCION’”There is nothing in [federal law] which would allow Agency Defendants to make medical decisions for employees and volunteers, and/or to require two (2), three (3), and four (4), year-old students to wear masks the majority of the day,” Doughty wrote in his ruling. However, Doughty limited the injunction he issued to just the 24 states behind the lawsuit against the coronavirus mandates. That left the rest of the country except Texas – which blocked the mandate’s enforcement via a separate case – still subject to a requirement that Head Start employees be vaccinated. Meanwhile, CDC guidelines no longer differentiates between vaccinated and unvaccinated people. The new guidelines cite the fact breakthrough infections regularly occur in vaccinated people, and that unvaccinated people often have natural immunity due to previous infection.
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., pressed the Biden administration to roll back the Head Start mask mandate. 
(Susan Walsh/Getty Images)CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPHHS, led by Secretary Xavier Becerra, did not respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital asking if it plans to rescind its vaccine mandate for staffers.Senate Minority Whip John Thune, R-S.D. who was one of the lawmakers pressing the Biden administration to abandon the Head Start mask mandate before it did so last month, said Tuesday the vaccine mandate should go as well. “Americans have had it with government mask and vaccine mandates,” Thune said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “If the pandemic is over, as the president himself declared, these misguided and outdated federal policies should end in every state today.”Fox News’ Nikolas Lanum contributed to this report. 

Republicans, pro-lifers victimized by political violence since Biden called Trump supporters ‘threat’ to U.S.

Republicans, pro-lifers victimized by political violence since Biden called Trump supporters ‘threat’ to U.S.

Several instances of political violence, many with victims supporting conservative causes, have occurred since President Biden warned of the alleged threat that supporters of former President Trump pose to the country, including attacks on anti-abortion activists and political canvassers and the murder of an 18-year-old in North Dakota.”Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic,” President Biden said during a September 1 speech in Philadelphia that earned widespread criticism from conservatives and even some on the left.”They promote authoritarian leaders, and they fan the flames of political violence that are a threat to our personal rights, to the pursuit of justice, to the rule of law, to the very soul of this country,” Biden said of supporters of the MAGA agenda in his speech.In the days leading up to the Philadelphia speech, Biden said that MAGA Republicans “embrace political violence” and their “entire philosophy” is “almost like semi-fascism.”HILLARY CLINTON PRAISES BIDEN’S ‘MAGA REPUBLICANS’ SPEECH AS ‘IMPORTANT SERVICE’ TO COUNTRY
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers a primetime speech at Independence National Historical Park September 1, 2022, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. President Biden spoke on “the continued battle for the Soul of the Nation.”  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)In the weeks following those comments, several instances of political violence have taken place, including an elderly woman in her 80s being shot in Michigan as she canvassed in support of a right-to-life group last week. Michigan State Police told Fox News Digital Saturday that the elderly woman was shot after a “verbal altercation while she was passing out pamphlets.” Another violent incident occurred last weekend in Texas when two volunteers on Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott’s re-election campaign were reportedly assaulted while knocking on doors in a Houston suburb.BIDEN BELIEVES ‘EXTREME’ MAGA IDEOLOGY HAS ‘TAKEN OVER’ REPUBLICAN PARTY, JEAN-PIERRE SAYSA suspect chased the two volunteers through a neighborhood in Humble, Texas, and ripped off the side-view mirrors of the car they were in while trying to pull them out of their vehicle. “Political violence is never acceptable. Mark Miner, a spokesperson for Texans for Greg Abbott, said in a statement on Sunday. “With just over a month until Election Day, the passion to win should never bubble over into something more dangerous. There is no place for this in Texas.” Multiple reports of GOP offices being vandalized have also been reported this month, including the offices of the Larimer County Republican Party in Fort Collins, Colorado, and the Ottawa County Republican Party in Hudsonville, Michigan.BIDEN’S ANTI-MAGA SPEECH IGNORES FIRST RULE OF POLITICS AND FAILS TO PERSUADE VOTERS
North Dakota man who ran down ‘Republican’ teen says he doesn’t want his own life, job jeopardized 
(Foster County Sheriff, Facebook)”(We) came out and found that all of the signs had been hacked to pieces, our building had been vandalized, our permanent sign on the outside of the building had been torn up,” Keith den Hollander, the interim chairman and vice chairman for Ottawa County GOP, said about the vandalism incident over the weekend. “Really disappointed to see this.”A GOP office in Seminole County Florida was vandalized in graffiti with the phrase “eat s*** fascists” days after Biden called MAGA Republicans “semi-fascists,” WOFL-TV reported.ZERO ARRESTS IN AT LEAST 17 JANE’S REVENGE ATTACKS ON PRO-LIFE ORGANIZATIONSWeeks later, a Democratic office in Seminole County was also vandalized with the word “Nazi” written in graffiti.Last week, WJBK-TV reported that a pregnancy center in Oakland County, Michigan was vandalized with the message “‘If abortion is not safe neither are you” which represents the second time this year the building has been targeted with authorities investigating whether the leftist pro-abortion group Jane’s Revenge is linked to the crimes.Earlier this month, 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson was killed when a 41-year-old allegedly struck him with his vehicle and later told a 911 dispatcher that he believed Ellingson was part of a Republican “extremist” group that was coming after him.VULNERABLE DEMOCRAT WARNS ‘MAGA REPUBLICANS’ WILL ‘OVERTURN EVERY ELECTION’ THEY LOSE AFTER DARK BIDEN SPEECH
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on what he calls the “continued battle for the Soul of the Nation” in front of Independence Hall at Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia, U.S., September 1, 2022. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
(Reuters)”President Biden condemns these attacks and has been clear that violence, threats of violence and vandalism are absolutely unacceptable – regardless of who is committing such acts or why,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates told Fox News Digital.Bates continued, “Like he said in Philadelphia, ‘There is no place for political violence in America. Period. None. Ever.’ The President believes that leaders in both parties should uphold that same principle, including when violence and threats are targeted against women seeking health care, members of law enforcement like the Capitol Police and the FBI, or the previous Vice President.” Conservatives have openly blasted Biden in the wake of Ellingson’s death and suggested his rhetoric in Philadelphia inflamed the political divide in the country.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP”Words can have violent consequences,” Kentucky Republican Rand Paul, who was the victim of political violence along with his wife outside the Republican National Convention in 2020, told Fox News Digital in a statement last week. “President Biden needs to realize that his vilification of his opponents is inflaming some of his supporters to violence. As a victim of political violence, both sides need to recognize the consequences of heated rhetoric.””Every chance they get, Joe Biden and Democrats divide, duck blame, and show how radical they have become,” RNC spokesperson Emma Vaughn told Fox News Digital. “With Biden as the divider-in-chief, Americans are united in their concern about Democrats’ tax increases, soft-on-crime agenda and the rising prices caused by their reckless spending.” 

2024 Watch: Youngkin 'testing the waters' at major donor retreat

2024 Watch: Youngkin 'testing the waters' at major donor retreat

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s cross-country campaign tour on behalf of fellow Republicans running in November’s elections resumes this week, with a stop Wednesday in New Mexico as the rising GOP star teams up with gubernatorial nominee Mark Ronchetti.But Youngkin, who’s been in demand on the campaign trail, took time off from his tour on Thursday and Friday, as he gathered with roughly 80 top dollar Republican donors for a two-day gathering at a luxury hotel outside of Charlottesville, Virginia.An attendee at what was dubbed the “Red Vest Retreat,” which refers to the red fleece vests that the governor often wears, said that Youngkin was repeatedly questioned about a potential 2024 GOP presidential nomination bid. The attendee, who asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely, told Fox News the governor reiterated that he’s focused right now on helping fellow Republicans in this year’s elections, on his 2023 agenda for Virginia, and on flipping the state Senate from blue to red in next year’s elections in Virginia.But according to the attendee, Youngkin also emphasized the political walk he’s taking, and that while he was not sure where that walk is going to lead, the governor asked the donors to stay with him on his trek. IS YOUNGKIN’S 2022 CAMPAIGNIGN A 2024 PRELUDE?
Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia speaks on behalf of GOP Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia at a Kemp re-election rally on Sept. 27, 2022 in Alpharetta, Georgia
(Fox News)The retreat included panel discussions as well as an address from former House Speaker and 2012 GOP presidential candidate Newt Gringrich, who according to the attendee said that there are three current leaders in the Republican Party — former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and Youngkin.The retreat, along with Youngkin’s busy itinerary on the campaign trail this summer and autumn, is fueling more speculation that the popular Virginia governor who as a first-time candidate was elected less than a year ago, is gearing up for a possible national campaign. Word of the retreat was first reported by the Washington Post.YOUNGKIN SAYS HIS FIGHT FOR SCHOOLS IS FAR FROM OVERWhen asked about a 2024 run, Youngkin told Fox News during a campaign stop in early September in Maine – to help raise money for former Maine Gov. Paul LePage as he runs for his old job – that “we’ll have to see how things pan out.” Youngkin also reiterated that he’s “incredibly flattered by this discussion” and “the fact that my name is in the national mix is pretty overwhelming.”Looking ahead to next year, when the next presidential race will get underway in earnest, the governor said “I gotta go to work in 2023 and deliver a big agenda in Virginia. And so we’ll have to see how things pan out but that’s where my attention is right now.”While he’s careful about saying much about 2024 in public, behind the scenes Youngkin has begun to make the moves one needs to make ahead of launching a presidential campaign.”He’s making the rounds. He’s calling people,” a Republican donor who asked for anonymity to speak more freely told Fox News. “He’s certainly testing the waters and I think he wants to go based on everything I’m hearing.”Pence returns to IowaFormer Vice President Mike Pence was back in Iowa on Thursday, where he served as the featured speaker at a prominent Republican family’s annual gathering.It was the former vice president’s second trip in a month to the state that for a half century has kicked off the presidential nominating calendar, another signal that the Pence is moving towards launching a likely 2024 White House campaign.PENCE MAKING HIGH-PROFILE STOPS IN IOWA AND NEW HAMPSHIREPence headlined the 15th annual Kaufmann Family Harvest Dinner, held Thursday, Sept. 29, in Wilton, a small town in eastern Iowa. Word of his visit was shared first nationally a week and a half ago. 
Former Vice President Mike Pence headlines the annual Kaufmann Family Harvest Dinner, on Sept. 29, 2022 in Wilton, Iowa. The event attracted Republican officials, politicians,  leaders, and activists.
(AP )The gathering was launched by longtime Republican Part of Iowa chairman Jeff Kaufmann during his years as a state lawmaker. The dinner is now hosted by his son, state Rep. Bobby Kaufmann. Money raised at the event — which attracted other Republican state legislative leaders and candidates — will go towards the younger Kaufmann’s 2022 re-election fund.Pence is no stranger to Iowa. He’s now made five visits to the state since his tenure as vice president came to a close at the end of the Trump administration in January of last year. Pence made a busy two-day swing through the Hawkeye State in August, including a visit to the Iowa State Fair, which is a must-stop for potential or actual White House contenders.PENCE RETURNS TO NEW HAMPSHIRE TO BOOST NEW GOP SENATE NOMINEEPence last month made his fifth trip over the past year and a half to New Hampshire, the state that for a century has held the first primary in the presidential nominating calendar. Pence headlined a fundraiser for former Army Gen. Don Bolduc, who a day earlier captured the GOP Senate nomination in the small but crucial general election battleground state. And in August the former vice president headlined “Politics and Eggs” at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics — another must-stop for White House hopefuls — during a jam-packed swing through the Granite State.The former vice president, who has been busy this year crisscrossing the country to campaign and help raise money for Republicans running in the 2022 elections, has also made multiple stops since early 2021 in South Carolina, which holds the third contest — and first southern primary — in the Republican presidential nominating calendar.Pence has told Fox News and other news organizations numerous times when asked about 2024 that after the midterm elections are over, “we’ll do as our family has always done. We’ll reflect and pray and consider where we might next serve.” On Thursday, Pence told reporters “when the time comes after the first of the year, we’ll take time to reflect on how we might serve in the future, the near-term or the long-term.”Tim Scott to Iowa next SaturdaySen. Tim Scott of South Carolina heads back to Iowa next weekend headline a fundraising event for the state Republican Party.The trip will spark more speculation that Scott, a rising star in the GOP and the only Black Republican in the Senate, is mulling a potential White House run in 2024.FIRST ON FOX: TIM SCOTT RELEASES THE FIRST AD OF HIS SENATE RE-ELECTIONScott will headline an event with Kaufmann on Oct. 8 in Sioux Center, in the solidly red northwestern corner of the Hawkeye State. Word of the event was shared first with Fox News last week. “Tim Scott has been a leading voice for the Republican Party on the national stage. I know Northwest Iowa is excited to hear his story of opportunity and optimism for America’s future,” Kaufmann said in a statement.
An invitation to a Iowa GOP event in Sioux Center on Oct. 8 that will be headlined by Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina
(Iowa GOP)The stop will be Scott’s second in Iowa in a month. He was in Central City, in the eastern portion of the state, in late August, to headline GOP Rep. Ashley Hinson’s annual BBQ Bash. Hinson is facing a potentially difficult re-election in November. And Scott was also in Iowa in June to headline the Iowa GOP’s Cedar Rapids fundraising reception.The senator has consistently downplayed any talk about a possible 2024 White House run. He told Fox News last year that his “only objective is to be the United States senator for the great state of South Carolina.” But Scott added that the 2022 race will be his last Senate campaign.Hogan returning to New HampshireRepublican Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland returns to New Hampshire on Thursday to headline the latest edition of “Politics and Eggs” at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics.LARRY HOGAN SAYS HE KNOWS WHY BIDEN KEEPS BLASTING ‘MAGA’ REPUBLICANS
GOP Govs. Larry Hogan of Maryland (right) and Chris Sununu of New Hampshire (center) at a fundraiser for Republican state representatives, on August 30, 2022 in Manchester, N.H.
(An America United )Hogan’s mulling a potential bid for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination and his participation in the speaking series at Saint Anselm College in Goffstown will generate more buzz about his national ambitions.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPHogan, who is term-limited and cannot run for re-election in blue state Maryland, has been crisscrossing the country in recent months on behalf of fellow Republicans on the ballot in November. Those travels took him twice to New Hampshire this summer, with stops in early July and late August. In between those two trips, he also visited Iowa and stopped by the state fair.The governor told Fox News in July that he will potentially launch a Republican presidential campaign if he sees “there’s a possible road to victory, that there’s a lane and I have an opportunity.”

National Archives says it hasn't received some Trump administration records

National Archives says it hasn't received some Trump administration records

The National Archives and Records Administration says that it is missing records from the Trump administration that it says were supposed to be turned over at the end of his term.”While there is no easy way to establish absolute accountability, we do know that we do not have custody of everything we should,” Archivist Debra Steidel Wall said in a letter to the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported.Wall explained that the National Archives does not have some messages sent and received by members of the Trump administration that were sent on unofficial accounts while doing business for the president.”NARA has been able to obtain such records from a number of former officials and will continue to pursue the return of similar types of Presidential records from former officials,” the letter said. “As appropriate, NARA would consult with the Department of Justice on whether ‘to initiate an action for the recovery of records unlawfully removed,’ as established under the Federal Records Act.”DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE SEEKS EXPEDITED APPEAL OF SPECIAL MASTER APPOINTMENT FROM 11TH CIRCUIT
Former President Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a rally to support local candidates on Sept. 3, 2022 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. 
(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)The letter declined to answer whether Trump surrendered all of his presidential records and instead directed that question to the Justice Department.In a statement to Fox News Digital, Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington said the Constitution and Presidential Records Act are on the former president’s side.”The National Archives didn’t seem to have a problem when previous presidents stored records at abandoned unsecured furniture warehouses across the street from a McDonald’s,” Harrington said, “but they do seem to have a problem with the Constitution which they put a ‘harmful content’ warning label on, and the Presidential Records Act, both of which are on President Trump’s side.”JUDGE OVERRULES SPECIAL MASTER ORDER FOR TRUMP TO GIVE ‘FINAL’ OBJECTIONS ON FBI SEARCH INVENTORY
Local law enforcement officers are seen in front of the home of former President Donald Trump at Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, on Aug. 9, 2022.
(GIORGIO VIERA/AFP via Getty Images)”Former President Trump and his senior staff have shown an utter disregard for the rule of law and our national security by failing to return presidential records as the law requires,” House Oversight and Reform Committee Chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat, said in a statement Saturday.”I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure that all presidential records from the Trump White House are returned to the custody of the government and to make sure these abuses never happen again,” Maloney added.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
This image contained in a court filing by the Department of Justice on Aug. 30, 2022, and redacted by in part by the FBI
(Department of Justice via AP)Trump is currently embroiled in a legal battle with the Department of Justice over documents that resulted in the FBI raiding his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida in August.

Summaries of high-profile Supreme Court cases

Summaries of high-profile Supreme Court cases

The Supreme Court is scheduled to decide several key cases in its 2022-23 term, which starts Monday.More than two dozen appeals are currently on the argument docket. Several dozen more are expected to be added in coming months. The caseload is usually settled by February, with the term effectively ending in late June.Other important appeals that may yet be added to the court’s calendar cover such issues as gun rights, vaccine mandates in schools and businesses and social media content restrictions.Important petitions already on the Supreme Court’s argument docket:AFFIRMATIVE ACTION: Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina and Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College
Demonstrators gather on the steps of the Montana State Capitol protesting anti-LGBTQ+ legislation on March 15, 2021, in Helena, Mont. 
((Thom Bridge/Independent Record via AP, File))BIDEN, HARRIS JOIN KENTANJI BROWN JACKSON AT INVESTITURE CEREMONY AHEAD OF JUSTICE FIRST TERMArguments Monday, Oct. 31AT ISSUE: Separate challenge over whether institutions of higher education can continue to use race as one of several “plus” factors in admissions, to achieve a diverse student body.THE CASE: A coalition of Asian-American students say they are unfairly being discriminated against, holding them to a higher college admission standard at the expense of Latino and Black students.THE ARGUMENTS: The organization representing the students urges the high court to overrule its 2003 precedent in Grutter v. Bollinger, which upheld “narrowly tailored” and “holistic” race-conscious affirmative action programs, so long as schools do not base such admissions decisions solely on race, or rely on a quota system. Affirmative action opponents say the universities are violating Title VI by penalizing a certain class of applicants, and rejecting workable race-neutral alternatives. The schools strongly deny any discrimination, and say their consideration of race is limited, noting lower courts agreed with their discretionary rationale. The Biden administration filed an amicus brief in support of Harvard’s admissions policies.THE IMPACT: Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in her 2003 majority ruling said race-conscious admissions policies must be limited in time, with the expectation they would no longer be necessary in 25 years’ time. The current case could have enormous nationwide implications in other areas like employment and government contracting. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson will not hear the Harvard case because she completed her term on the school’s Board of Overseers this spring.
People hold a rainbow flag during the 51st LGBTQ Pride Parade in Chicago, Illinois, on June 26, 2022. – The Pride Parade returned to the Lakeview and Uptown neighborhoods after a three-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic. 
(KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images)TEXAS GOV. ABBOT PRAISES OPERATION LONE STAR, HIGHLIGHTS HOW MANY MIGRANTS HE’S SHIPPED ACROSS COUNTRYWORKPLACE SPEECH/LGBTQ+ RIGHTS:  303 Creative LLC v. Elenis (Arguments TBA)AT ISSUE: Whether applying a public-accommodation law to compel an artist to speak or stay silent violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.THE CASE: Graphic artist Lorie Smith seeks an exemption to the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA), saying it would “force” her to design and publish custom wedding websites promoting messages that violate her personal beliefs, and prevent her from posting on her own company’s website an explanation of those beliefs, specifically her opposition to same-sex marriage. The state says its law is being applied fairly to all businesses, which makes it illegal to refuse public services based on “disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, or ancestry.”     THE ARGUMENTS: Lower courts have upheld CADA, saying the state has compelling reasons to protect the “dignity interests” of marginalized groups. The Supreme Court in 2018 ruled in favor of a Colorado baker in the “Masterpiece Cakeshop” case involving the same law — but on narrow grounds, sidestepping core questions over his religion and free speech rights. Both this and the website case are also limited in scope, dealing with businesses having an “artistic expression” component not applied to most employers.THE IMPACT: Despite Smith’s request, the high court specifically will not address whether that law also violates the artist’s sincerely held free exercise faith-based rights. The court’s conservative majority has been more receptive in recent years to upholding religious liberty in disputes over school choice funding plans and public employee prayers on school grounds. Separate appeals over wedding photographers could reach the justices in coming months that may address the religious liberty questions.KAMALA HARRIS SUGGESTS ‘YOU DON’T HAVE TO CHANGE YOUR FAITH’ TO AGREE WITH DEMOCRATS ON ABORTIONELECTION REDISTRICTING: Moore v. Harper (Arguments TBA)AT ISSUE: Whether state courts have improperly taken powers given by the U.S. Constitution to state lawmakers governing federal elections and congressional redistricting.        THE CASE: Involves a challenge by North Carolina Republicans to a state court ruling that threw out the congressional districts drawn by the General Assembly, which would have made GOP candidates likely victors in 10 of the state’s 14 congressional districts.THE ARGUMENTS: The Supreme Court is now being asked to invoke the “independent state legislature doctrine” for the first time. Backers of ISL say Article 1 of the Constitution — notably the “Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof” — gives state legislatures sole authority to regulate federal elections, without oversight by state courts or state constitutions. Civil rights groups call it an effort to inject hyper-gerrymandering into the redistricting process, and that the theory was used by some to challenge election results in the 2020 presidential election. The question for the justices will be defining the limits of the word “legislature.”
Akemi Vargas, 8, cries as she talks about being separated from her father during an immigration family separation protest in front of the Sandra Day O’Connor U.S. District Court building in Phoenix.
(The Associated Press)GINNI THOMAS, WIFE OF SUPREME COURT JUSTICE CLARENCE THOMAS, AGREES TO JAN. 6 COMMITTEE ‘VOLUNTARY INTERVIEW’THE IMPACT: The justices on Oct. 4 will hear a separate argument over Alabama’s GOP-friendly congressional map, which civil rights groups say dilute the voting power of minority voters — in a state with a 27% Black population. What the justices decide in both state disputes could have a major influence over the 2024 elections and beyond.  IMMIGRATION: U.S. v. Texas (Arguments November TBA)AT ISSUE: Challenge to a 2021 DHS policy halting most migrant deportations, and prioritizing removal only to those deemed a serious threat to public safety, or cases of terrorism or espionage.THE CASE: Following a lawsuit by Louisiana and Texas, a federal judge issued a nationwide injunction freezing the “Guidelines for the Enforcement of Civil Immigration Law” policy. The Biden administration then asked the high court to intervene.  THE ARGUMENTS: The GOP-led states say the situation along the Mexican border is a growing crisis, and that they are suffering financial, security, education, and health care problems associated with the new policy. 
Opponents of Alabama’s immigration law gather for a rally outside the Statehouse in Montgomery, Alabama.
(AP)CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPBut the Justice Department criticized a single federal judge’s injunction, saying it amounted to a “nationwide, judicially imposed overhaul” of the executive branch’s enforcement priorities, noting federal authorities are best equipped to handle the detention of illegal immigrants, with its limited resources.THE IMPACT: A number of both red- and blue-leaning states have challenged immigration policies in recent years involving both GOP and Democrat administrations. In the last Supreme Court term, the justices debated separate appeals over asylum seekers, and public benefits available to newly arrived migrants. Courts have traditionally limited the ability of states to challenge federal immigration enforcement policies — or implement their own. But the current high court conservative majority seems more eager to consider states challenges.

Abbott 'effectively' tied Beto O'Rourke to Biden in Texas gubernatorial debate, campaign strategist says

Abbott 'effectively' tied Beto O'Rourke to Biden in Texas gubernatorial debate, campaign strategist says

Incumbent Texas Gov. Greg Abbott effectively tied his Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke to the unpopular policies of President Biden in a debate between the two, according to an expert in campaign debate preparation.Abbott and O’Rourke squared off Friday at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, where the border was a major topic of discussion, along with abortion, gun control and energy.The apparent tactic of Abbott, like other Republicans in the 2022 midterm election cycle, was to tie O’Rourke to the president, who has struggled with underwater approval ratings for over a year and whose party faces historical headwinds and a slate of crises. According to Brett O’Donnell, an expert in advising political candidates to debate effectively, Abbott succeeded.”Beginning with immigration, which dominated the beginning of the debate, Abbott repeatedly blamed Biden for the crisis and tied O’Rourke as the representative for those failures in Texas,” O’Donnell told Fox News Digital.DURING TEXAS DEBATE WITH GOV. GREG ABBOTT, BETO O’ROURKE SUPPORTERS SOUND OFF
Texas gubernatorial candidates Greg Abbott, a Republican, and Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat.
(Brandon Bell, Jim Bennett/WireImage via Getty Images)O’Donnell, who helped seven GOP candidates win seats in the Senate in 2014 and did the same in 2016, said this midterm cycle is all about the sitting president. “In 2014, Barack Obama famously said that ‘his policies were on the ballot. Every single one of them.’ Almost every Republican in 2014 used that line with success and added that, in their district or state, the policies went by the name of their Democrat opponent. And while Joe Biden hasn’t said exactly the same, Republicans have played it as so,” O’Donnell said.BETO O’ROURKE BLAMES BIDEN FOR MORE TEXAS LATINOS VOTING GOP: ‘DIDN’T SPEND A DIME OR DAY’ IN BORDER REGIONOn immigration, O’Rourke, who sat on City Council in El Paso, where he still lives, attempted to blame the situation on Abbott. “We are eight years into his time as governor, and this is what we have on our border,” O’Rourke said.Abbott has taken fire for a program of bussing migrants to left-wing “sanctuary cities” in recent months, which critics say is a political stunt and takes advantage of the suffering of immigrants seeking better lives for their families. But, during the debate, Abbott suggested he would continue the program since the border situation allows unchecked flow of illegal immigration.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference in Austin, Texas, June 8, 2021.
(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)”There will be other cities in the future that also will be on the receiving end of migrants, because we will continue to have to move migrants because Joe Biden continues to allow more illegal immigrants to come into the state of Texas,” Abbott said.O’Rourke made much of the debate about abortion and gun control policies, following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade in June and the tragic shooting at Uvalde Elementary School in May. “O’Rourke wants to make this election about abortion — he said so in the debate,” O’Donnell said. BETO O’ROURKE EXPLODES AT HECKLER WHO LAUGHS OVER CRITIQUE OF GUNS AFTER UVALDE: ‘FUNNY TO YOU MOTHERF—ER’Abbott said his pro-life views originate from his Catholic faith and the adoption of his daughter and insisted he would govern from those principles.”This election is about reproductive freedom, but I’ve got to respond to this, this silliness on Plan B — this comment he made about eliminating rape in the state of Texas. This is an attack on women,” O’Rourke said, referring to a comment Abbott made that he wanted to “eliminate rapists” from Texas.
Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke speaks at a primary election gathering in Fort Worth, Texas, March 1, 2022. 
(AP Photo/LM Otero)There was one major midterm issue that didn’t make it into the discussion, O’Donnell said.TEXAS GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE BETO O’ROURKE DODGES TWICE WHEN ASKED IF HE WOULD ‘TAKE YOUR AR-15′”The two extensively debated immigration, guns, abortion, crime, the electrical grid and taxes, but oddly missing was an extensive discussion of the economy. Perhaps that’s because the Texas economy has been strong. But its very telling that the media panel omitted a discussion of inflation that is impacting the daily lives of every single Texan but spent multiple questions on abortion,” O’Donnell said.Abbott accused O’Rourke on several occasions of changing his position. “The ghost of 2008 John Kerry also was invoked as Abbott also repeatedly accused O’Rourke of flip-flopping on issues, beginning with his position on deploying troops to the border.”O’Rourke, who has been haunted in his campaign by his previous support for confiscating high-powered weapons while running for president in 2019, did not directly answer when asked if he still supported the position. “I’m for making progress,” he said Friday night.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP”Abbott effectively made it about Biden-O’Rourke,” O’Donnell said.The Texas gubernatorial election is Nov. 8.

Obama judge slaps down Stacey Abrams' election lawsuit in state Biden labeled ‘Jim Crow 2.0’

Obama judge slaps down Stacey Abrams' election lawsuit in state Biden labeled ‘Jim Crow 2.0’

A federal judge sided with the state of Georgia in a lawsuit filed by a group associated with Democrat Stacey Abrams challenging the constitutionality of its election practices. “Although Georgia’s election system is not perfect, the challenged practices violate neither the constitution nor the VRA,” U.S. District Judge Steve Jones, an Obama appointee, wrote, referring to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He detailed his reasoning in a 288-page order siding against Abrams’ Fair Fight Georgia group in a lawsuit filed four years ago alleging voter suppression and racial discrimination after she narrowly lost to the state’s current Republican Gov. Brian Kemp.Kemp, who was Georgia Secretary of State when the lawsuit was filed, applauded the ruling as a victory against an attempt by Abrams to weaponize the legal system for political gain.”Judge Jones’ ruling exposes this legal effort for what it really is: a tool wielded by a politician hoping to wrongfully weaponize the legal system to further her own political goals,” Kemp said in a statement.GEORGIA VOTING SHATTERING TURNOUT RECORDS AFTER MSNBC, CNN, OTHERS RAN WITH ‘JIM CROW’ ACCUSATIONS
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams speaks to the media during a press conference at the Israel Baptist Church as voters head to the polls during the Georgia primary on May 24, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia.
(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)”While the Court’s actions are not the preferred outcome, the conduct of this trial and preceding cases and legislative actions represent a hard-won victory for voters who endured long lines, burdensome date of birth requirements and exact match laws that disproportionately impact Black and Brown voters,” Abrams said in a statement.Abrams’ Fair Fight Action organization filed the lawsuit along with Care in Action, a nonprofit that advocates for domestic workers. Several churches later joined as plaintiffs. It was originally extremely broad and called for a significant overhaul of Georgia’s election system. By the time it got to trial, the scope had narrowed significantly after some allegations were resolved by changes in state law and others were dismissed by the court.GEORGIA ELECTION LAW PROVISION BLASTED BY DEMOCRATS ALLOWED TO STAND FOR MIDTERMS AMID LEGAL CHALLENGES
Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaks during his primary night election party at the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame on May 24, 2022, in Atlanta, Georgia.
(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)Georgia officials have created a landscape where it’s “harder to register, harder to stay registered and ultimately harder to vote,” Allegra Lawrence-Hardy, an attorney for Fair Fight and the other plaintiffs, said during her closing argument in late June. The barriers to voting aren’t caused by inevitable human errors but instead result from “choices designed to keep certain people from voting,” she said.”This is a voting rights case that resulted in wins and losses for all parties over the course of the litigation and culminated in what is believed to have been the longest voting rights bench trial in the history of the Northern District of Georgia,” Jones wrote.In a press release, Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger called the ruling a “win for all Georgia election officials who dedicate their lives to safe, secure and accessible elections.”WASHINGTON POST ADMITS ‘VOTING IS SURGING IN GEORGIA’ DESPITE PREVIOUS REPORTS, CLAIMS ABOUT VOTER SUPPRESSION
People use voting machines to fill out their ballots as they vote in the Georgia primary at the Metropolitan Library on May 24, 2022, in Atlanta, Georgia.
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)”Stolen election and voter suppression claims by Stacey Abrams were nothing but poll-tested rhetoric not supported by facts and evidence,” the statement added. The ruling comes as a lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice last year alleging discrimination continues to make its way through court. Both the DOJ and Biden White House declined to provide an update on that case last week when contacted by Fox News Digital.Biden has referred to the Georgia voting system as “Jim Crow in the 21st Century.”CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPRaffensperger’s office told Fox News Digital that 1.9 million eligible voters participated in the 2022 primary contest compared to 1.2 million in 2018, despite the DOJ’s allegation of voter suppression, and African-American turnout was 22% higher than any other primary election except for the 2020 presidential primary.Kemp and Abrams are set to square off in a rematch for Georgia governor next month in a race that Fox News polling shows Kemp leads by seven points.The Associated Press contributed to this report 

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