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Supreme Court Rejects Challenge Over Merrick Garland Nomination, Shows Why ‘Emoluments’ Suit Against Trump Will Fail

On Monday morning, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the case of Michel v. McConnell, where the courts below rejected a citizen’s effort to sue senators for inaction on D.C. Circuit Chief Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

The lower courts’ opinions explain why another controversial dispute, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) v. Donald J. Trump, will also fail—with only days left until the government’s response is due in that case.

Disappointed with the process of the Senate’s refusal to hold a vote on Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court, Steven S. Michel sued Sens. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, for allegedly violating his constitutional right “to elect his senators by depriving his home-state senators of a voice” in the nomination process.

A Political Issue

The U.S. Court of Appeals found, as did the district court below, that Michel “lacked standing to bring this action because he failed to demonstrate an injury in fact.” It found his “alleged injury—the diminution of the effectiveness of his votes for Senators—is ‘wholly abstract and widely dispersed.’”

As the district court wrote, Michel suffered only “the type of undifferentiated harm common to all citizens that is appropriate for redress in the political sphere,” not the courts. The Supreme Court appropriately denied Michel’s petition for review.

Lawyers with CREW face similar problems in their lawsuit, filed in January in the Southern District of New York, against President Donald Trump, because they also raise claims that do not touch their lives in any materially different way from any other citizen—except, perhaps, at the ballot box.

CREW argues that Trump violates the U.S. Constitution’s little-known Foreign Emoluments Clause whenever any of his businesses engage in any commercial transaction with any foreign state agent.

For several reasons related to its text and history, it is improbable that the clause—which was designed to keep ambassadors off of foreign states’ doles—is that broad. Nor is it so selective: Past presidents from George Washington to Barack Obama would likely have violated CREW’s far-reaching interpretation of that clause (explained here).

A ‘Silly’ Claim

As Michel v. McConnell clarifies once again, standing requires a plaintiff to show a specific and concrete injury—not a mere distaste for or disagreement with a politician. CREW claims, however, that Trump has injured the group because the costs it absorbed in suing him “diverted” resources it could have used to sue other politicians for ethics violations.

The injury CREW alleges is roughly equivalent to the “injury” that its complaint has imposed on the court and the Trump administration—which too must divert scarce governmental resources to respond to and hear the suit. Stanford Law School professor Michael McConnell told CNN, “The idea that a group has standing because it has to spend time on this more than other things is just so silly that I can’t believe they put it on paper.”

Well before Michel v. McConnell, the Supreme Court had “repeatedly held that such a ‘generalized grievance,’ no matter how sincere, is insufficient to confer standing.” And in Clapper v. Amnesty International USA (2013), Justice Samuel Alito wrote that plaintiffs “cannot manufacture standing merely by inflicting harm on themselves.”

The lawyers at CREW seek to avoid Michel’s fate by arguing that they are not suing as individuals, but as an organization. They base their argument on two cases: Havens Realty Corp. v. Coleman, a 1982 Supreme Court decision, and Ragin v. Harry Macklowe Real Estate Co., a 1993 opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.

Neither does the job.

Both cases arose under the Fair Housing Act of 1968, in which Congress sought to end racially segregated housing. The law authorized citizens to bring civil lawsuits and lowered ordinary standing requirements in order to more liberally enforce remedial policies.

In Havens Realty Corp., Justice William Brennan, writing the majority opinion, stated that “Congress intended standing under [the law]” to be lax, and “[w]ith this understanding,” found that a small nonprofit, Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME), had standing to sue the Havens Realty Corp. One of the latter’s employees denied housing to the former’s client on the basis of race, which compelled HOME employees “to devote significant resources to identify and counteract … racially discriminatory steering practices”—not to its ordinary “counseling and referral services.”

The very discrimination the law barred was hitting HOME’s bottom line, and HOME asked the court only to return “lost” funds and litigation expenses.

CREW’s lawyers, by contrast, argue that they cannot as robustly fulfill their mission to sue other politicians when they voluntarily pay to sue a politician. And unlike HOME’s humble request for sunk costs, CREW seeks broad declaratory and injunctive relief designed to transform novel and far-reaching constitutional theories into binding law.

In a concurring opinion, Justice Lewis Powell provided another reason why CREW’s reliance on Havens is misplaced. The district court had originally dismissed HOME’s lawsuit because the group lacked standing. And by the time their case reached the U.S. Supreme Court, Powell wrote, HOME had advanced only “meaningless averments concerning the disputed question of standing.”

That does not bode well for CREW.

Ragin likewise is of no help to CREW.

Like CREW’s case, Ragin was filed in federal court in the Southern District of New York. There, “individual plaintiffs [testified] that they were offended when they saw” housing advertisements featuring only white models, and filed suit under the same law.

The court saw “no significant difference between the statutorily recognized injury” in Havens and Ragin. In fact, it cited Havens for “the long-held principle that” the kind of injury the Supreme Court found absent in Michel v. McConnell “may exist solely by virtue of ‘statutes creating legal rights, the invasion of which creates standing.’”

Because CREW’s lawyers do not claim that Trump has violated their rights under the Fair Housing Act or any other statute that might grant them standing, it is unclear how these cases support them. The opposite may be true.

A Tidal Wave of Lawsuits

Powell’s concurrence in Havens notes “a high price” to the liberal pleading standard in that case “in terms of a severe imposition on already overburdened federal courts as well as unjustified expense to the litigants.”

If the courts were to change the well-settled standing rules in CREW’s favor, then any organization—and maybe even Michel—could get away with suing any politician or group of politicians because (1) the organization disagrees with them and (2) filing a lawsuit costs money.

If that were so, the judiciary would likely face a tidal wave of lawsuits and few federal policies would ever be implemented without first having to clear hurdles erected by some angry and litigious group or individual (although the Center for Consumer Freedom notes that CREW, for its part, almost exclusively sues Republican officials).

For these reasons, Robert Kelner, a partner at Covington & Burling, said that CREW’s standing claim “barely passes the laugh test,” and “[t]he courts will toss this one out.” Michel v. McConnell shores up that bet. As Powell stated in his Havens concurrence: “One can well understand the impatience of the District Court that dismissed the complaint.” (For more from the author of “Supreme Court Rejects Challenge Over Merrick Garland Nomination, Shows Why ‘Emoluments’ Suit Against Trump Will Fail” please click HERE)

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UC Berkeley Rewards Liberal Violence by Not Allowing Coulter Speech

Apparently the lesson University of California, Berkeley learned from the violent protests surrounding writer Milo Yiannopoulos’ speech earlier this year was … you shouldn’t let controversial figures give speeches.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that commentator Ann Coulter’s upcoming speech had been canceled “for security concerns.”

“UC Berkeley officials say they were ‘unable to find a safe and suitable’ venue for the right-wing provocateur who was invited to speak by campus Republicans on April 27,” the AP report added.

This shouldn’t be acceptable.

UC Berkeley canceled Yiannopoulos’ Feb. 1 speech. The level of violence and destruction that greeted Yiannopoulos—who was rightly condemned shortly after the Berkeley violence for remarks he made months earlier about teens, adults, and sexual relationships—was astonishing. Just look at these pictures:

No doubt it’s quite a headache for a university to figure out how to cope with thugs who are willing to act like this, just because they want someone silenced. Although the fact that UC Berkeley appears to have arrested only one person in the aftermath of the protests suggests a lack of seriousness about holding protesters accountable for their actions.

(Update: In an email to me received after publication, Sgt. Sabrina Reich, a public information officer at University of California, Berkeley Police Department, wrote: “To date, there have been two arrests and one student is facing school discipline … but the investigative efforts continue.”)

The point is, no college should reward violent protesters by refusing to allow controversial speakers to appear.

Because this isn’t really about Coulter or Yiannopoulos or author Charles Murray, who was greeted by violent protests when he arrived to speak to Middlebury College in Vermont.

It’s about whether we as a society protect free speech—or not.

Yes, free speech can make some people, including college students, feel sad or threatened or dozens of other unpleasant emotions.

But it can also force them to realize a new insight or perspective that might challenge their values, might make them re-think their views on a certain issue. Or sometimes it works the other way: The weakness of the opposition’s argument makes someone surer that her own perspective is right.

Regardless, if we believe in a reason-driven society—one where arguments, not violence, drive our perspective—we need to allow a diversity of voices to communicate their views. We need to let people, hopefully guided by reason and a good education, to decide what they think is right—not force them, by silencing some perspectives, to adopt a certain viewpoint by default.

College students, like all Americans, deserve a chance to hear a variety of views—and then make up their own minds.

Once, colleges understood that. But U.C. Berkeley’s decision here suggests that at least this university is prioritizing some views over others. (For more from the author of “UC Berkeley Rewards Liberal Violence by Not Allowing Coulter Speech” please click HERE)

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Poll: Joe Miller Dominates among 2018 Hopefuls for Alaska’s Governorship

Yesterday, we told you how some Democrats would do in their 2018 gubernatorial primary if it were held today. Today is the Republicans’ turn. Well, Republicans and Gov. Bill Walker.

But before we give you all the numbers, just as we did yesterday, we’ll tell you about the poll itself. The survey was conducted by Harstad Strategic Research, Inc. and sampled registered voters in Alaska between March 22 – April 2. You can see the sample breakdowns here:

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The poll asked voters who say they normally vote in GOP primaries who they would vote for if their choices for Governor were former Speaker of the House Mike Chenault, former candidate for U.S. Senate Joe Miller, former gubernatorial candidate John Binkley, current State Senators Mike Dunleavy and Peter Micciche, and current Governor Bill Walker.

Walker’s inclusion in the poll is interesting. We’ve told you in recent months that we believe if at least 3-4 candidates get in the GOP primary — Alaska GOP Vice-Chairman Rick Whitbeck has said on numerous occasions he has a list of about 50 names of people who could run — then Walker would likely have a path to victory if he jumped in.

The rest of model looks like a good mix of names. There are candidates from various areas of the state including Kenai, Mat-Su, Valdez, and Fairbanks, current legislators and those who can play the “outsider” card, and a blend of business conservatives, social and fiscal conservatives, and moderates. The pollster gave Republican voters options that varied in enough ways to see where they really stand.

Here is how numbers came out:

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Joe Miller dominates with 25% of the vote, with Walker coming in just behind him at 19%. The rest barely make a blip. That is likely because despite being well-known names in political circles most voters likely have never heard of them.

Now, here’s where things get really interesting. Look at what happens when respondents are asked their second choice, or who they would vote for if Miller or Walker (the top two picks) weren’t in the election.

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Interestingly, Joe Miller is Walker voters’ top second choice (19%), and in what will come as a shock to many, Walker is the second choice of a full quarter of Miller voters. It should come as no surprise, then, that when either Walker or Miller are taken out of the race, the other takes a commanding position. Miller gets 37% without Walker, three times his closest competitor, and Walker comes in with 25% without Miller, two and half times anyone else.

Finally, if Walker and Miller went head to head, Miller would start off 12 points ahead at 33% to 21%, with a hefty 46% undecided.

The conclusion has to be that if the GOP primary attracts more than one credible candidate other than Walker, the Governor would have a plausible path to victory if he chooses to go that route for reelection. The only Republican currently positioned to disrupt such a move is everyone’s favorite beard, Joe Miller. (For more from the author of “Poll: Joe Miller Dominates among 2018 Hopefuls for Alaska’s Governorship” please click HERE)

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5 Takeaways From Jeff Sessions’ Border Enforcement Trip

“We hear you and we have your back.”

That is the message Attorney General Jeff Sessions shared with Customs and Border Protection personnel in Nogales, Arizona, on the U.S. southern border Tuesday.

In a speech Tuesday, Sessions announced five changes to immigration prosecution and enforcement:

1. A crackdown on individuals who transport and harbor illegal immigrants. Sessions said, according to his prepared remarks, “We are going to shut down and jail those who have been profiting off this lawlessness—people smuggling gang members across the border, helping convicted criminals re-enter this country, and preying on those who don’t know how dangerous the journey can be.”

2. Aggressive punishments for individuals crossing the border. Sessions said, “Where an alien has unlawfully entered the country, which is a misdemeanor, that alien will now be charged with a felony if they unlawfully enter or attempt [to] enter a second time and certain aggravating circumstances are present.”

3. Serial border crossers will face harsher charges. Sessions said, “Aliens that illegally re-enter the country after prior removal will be referred for felony prosecution,” with a priority given to those who show “indicators of gang affiliation, a risk to public safety, or criminal history.”

4. An inclusion of fraud and identity theft charges. Sessions said, “Where possible, prosecutors are directed to charge criminal aliens with document fraud and aggravated identity theft—the latter carrying a two-year mandatory minimum sentence.”

5. Law enforcement officers will be protected. Sessions said, “I have directed that all 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices make the prosecution of assault on a federal law enforcement officer—that’s all of you—a top priority.”

In addition to these prosecution adjustments, Sessions announced several other changes to the Department of Justice and its nationwide offices.

Sessions said that “each U.S. attorney’s office, whether on the border or interior, will designate an assistant United States attorney as the border security coordinator for their district.”

In an effort to reduce the backlog of illegal immigration cases, Sessions said, “We will put 50 more immigration judges on the bench this year and 75 next year.”

Praising President Donald Trump’s efforts to make immigration enforcement a priority, Sessions cited that in March of this year “we saw a 72 percent drop [in illegal crossings] compared to the month before the president was inaugurated.” He added, “That’s the lowest monthly figure for at least 17 years.”

Sessions made it very clear that these policies will be strictly enforced, saying, “For those that continue to seek improper and illegal entry into this country, be forewarned: This is a new era. This is the Trump era.” (For more from the author of “5 Takeaways From Jeff Sessions’ Border Enforcement Trip” please click HERE)

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3 Reasons Democrats Just Made a Dumb Mistake

Now that the judicial filibuster in the U.S. Senate has been nuked, it’s time to look at the political fallout going forward. And for Democrats, the news is all bad. Here are three reasons why Democrats just made a dumb mistake by filibustering Neil Gorsuch.

1. The GOP is now free to put real Scalia-Thomas types throughout the judiciary

The argument for years as to why Republicans needed stealth Supreme Court candidates like David Souter, Anthony Kennedy, and John Roberts (who have all gone on to be disappointments to varying degrees) was the filibuster.

However, now that it’s no longer necessary to get 60 votes for confirmation, there’s no need to appoint another Gorsuch-type whose record on Roe v. Wade is a gaping void. Nor is there anymore need to “play the game” during confirmation hearings, either, by having the “conservative” appointee approvingly repeat progressive talking points back to Democrats in an effort to gain their support.

Since it only requires a simple majority now, the GOP can freely confirm real heirs to Antonin Scalia. Where this could be a real benefit is throughout the federal circuit and district courts, which need an overhaul after decades of stockpiling progressives.

2. Let’s face it: Republicans were never gonna have the stones to partisan filibuster Democrat judicial nominees anyway

There’s literally no tradeoff here for Democrats, because we all know Republicans weren’t gonna have the stones to partisan filibuster in the future anyway. The GOP is the party that actually nominates for president the people who support — and vote for — the Democrats’ most progressive judicial nominees after all (see John McCain).

So this isn’t a case of “what goes around comes around” that benefits Democrats in the future; this is being too smart by half, and negotiating against yourself. In other words, this is a case of Democrats tactically acting like Republicans for once. They needlessly cornered the GOP into a position that forced them to actually draw a line in the sand, which isn’t exactly the GOP’s thing. (They ain’t called the “surrender caucus” for nothing.)

By doing so, Democrats helped set a precedent that will only benefit Republicans from here. For they gave Republicans leverage they never would’ve asserted on their own, while at the same time Democrats gave away leverage they’ve had all along.

3. This literally did nothing to elevate any Democrats politically

Even if you think the “Stand with Rand” and “Make DC Listen” filibusters by Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, respectively, were publicity stunts doomed to fail, at the very least both of those events inspired the GOP grassroots and elevated the national profiles of two of the party’s emerging stars.

Unfortunately for Democrats, the Gorsuch filibuster didn’t even do that. For example, the lackluster attempt by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., at filibustering this week didn’t generate nearly the attention Paul and Cruz’s did, even from a more-than-sympathetic media.

At the very least, if you’re going to contrive political theater, have someone who excites your base and could be your future standard-bearer as the face of it. Instead, Democrats came out of a fake fight without any real stars to rally behind. A missed opportunity, especially with the country already seeming to start to tire of President Trump.

In short, the Democrats’ Gorsuch filibuster accomplished more for Republicans than it did for Democrats, because it accomplished nothing for the latter. If this is what the “resistance” looks like, it’s going to have to try a lot harder. (For more from the author of “3 Reasons Democrats Just Made a Dumb Mistake” please click HERE)

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College May Punish Students Who Disrupted Conservative’s Speech

Claremont McKenna College officials have announced possible repercussions for students who protested a conservative speaker’s speech last week.

Protesters successfully blocked students and professors from entering an on-campus building to hear Heather Mac Donald’s pro-police speech, as reported by The Daily Signal last Friday. Mac Donald is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank.

In response, Hiram Chodosh, the president of Claremont McKenna College, or CMC, released a statement Friday, saying, “Blocking access to buildings violates College policy. CMC students who are found to have violated policies will be held accountable.”

Joann Young, director of media relations for CMC, elaborated on Chodosh’s statement, telling The College Fix in an email that students could face a variety of repercussions, including “temporary or permanent separation from the college.”

Steven Glick, a senior at Pomona College, one of the five undergraduate institutions that make up the Claremont Colleges alongside CMC, covered the protests as editor-in-chief of The Claremont Independent, an “independent journal of campus affairs and political thought” that is dedicated to “upholding truth and excellence at the Claremont Colleges,” according to its website. The publication receives no school funding.

“I wasn’t able to speak with many of the protesters and about what they were doing,” Glick said. “Several protesters prevented me from conducting interviews by pushing me, putting their hands and clothing in front of the camera, and shouting over anyone who did try to talk to me. Another correspondent from The [Claremont] Independent was threatened with physical violence while he attempted to interview protesters.”

Glick’s interactions with protesters were shared on The Claremont Independent’s Facebook page through Facebook Live.

Glick said it was evident many protesters “had no clue what was going on.”

“They chanted about Palestine for quite a while, which had nothing to do with Heather Mac Donald’s planned lecture,” Glick said. “It seems that protesters simply viewed Ms. Mac Donald as an opponent of progressivism, and felt it apt to chant about any progressive cause they could think of.”

Since CMC is one of eight institutions that make up the Claremont Colleges, many of the protesters were not students of CMC, and some, according to Glick, were not students at all. “Some of the protesters were middle-aged people who were clearly just there to help organize the protest,” Glick said.

When asked how students have responded to the protest, Glick said, “I get the sense that most students were disappointed that the protests led to the cancellation of the event, whether they agreed with Heather Mac Donald or not.”

As The Daily Signal previously reported, Peter Uvin, vice president of academic affairs for Claremont McKenna College, said in an email to students after the incident that he understands that “words hurt” and “people have strong opinions and different—often painful—experiences with the issues Heather Mac Donald discusses.”

Uvin went on to add that he “could not accept” students’ attempts “to make it impossible for her to speak, for you to listen, and for all of us to debate.”

In reaction to the administration’s response, Glick said:

The CMC administration should have had a bigger presence at the protest and told the students what consequences, if any, they would face for their actions. By remaining largely absent from the scene, they effectively gave the protesters a free pass.

(For more from the author of “College May Punish Students Who Disrupted Conservative’s Speech” please click HERE)

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PC Kills: Will the West Ever Wake up From the Delusional Approach to Jihad?

A jihadist attacks individuals in the public square of a Western town.

The media refuses to provide a description of the attacker, reporting only the weapon he used.

A physical description of a man of African, South Asian, or Middle Eastern descent leaks out in the ensuing hours.

Law enforcement authorities deliver a press conference confirming the attacker’s Islamic name and stating that at this time, his motive is unclear.

Rumors on social media percolate about the man screaming “Allahu Akbar.”

Mainstream reporters ask local Muslim community leaders and neighbors about the attacker. They express universal shock, describing him as a decent man who might have been rough around the edges but never showed signs of being a terrorist. The man came from a middle-class family, liked playing video games with friends, and by all accounts lived a normal existence. Toward the end of the stories, those close to the attacker note that he had grown increasingly devout in recent years.

Bloggers begin to research and quickly find that the attacker was a member of a mosque led by an imam who had been recorded preaching hatred and violence toward the West. The attacker posted violent verses from the Quran and railed against the “Crusaders’” wars in the Levant on social media pages captured by screenshot before they were taken down. It emerges that he had spent months in the Middle East during recent years.

Several days later, law enforcement authorities report that the attacker in fact appears to have been a terrorist. But he had no direct ties to IS or Al-Qaeda, so there is no reason for alarm.

Politicians plead with the public that this man perverted one of the world’s great religions – Islam, “the religion of peace” – and that his acts were “non-Islamic.” They urge us all to come together in a shared belief in tolerance and diversity. Love trumps hate. Lone wolves are a fact of life, and their efforts only underscore the need for community engagement to “counter violent extremism.”

How many times are we in the West going to see the above script play out before something changes?

How long will we live a naïve fantasy in which we act as if all is well as the global jihadist movement metastasizes, bringing the violent murder of infidels to our shores?

If the murder of 3,000 innocents on American soil has not caused the West to openly and honestly examine who the enemy is and what animates him, and to develop a comprehensive strategy that mobilizes all of our resources and capabilities to defeat him, do we expect anything to change the next time we experience a mass attack?

Meanwhile, those who do understand the enemy are dismissed as cranks or called bigots. Those who assert that jihad is the motive – that violent subversion with the goal of world domination is justified by core Islamic texts, as the jihadists themselves clearly illustrate – are told to pipe down.

If you offend by speaking truth, you will cause violence. Shut up, and maybe you can keep your head.

Government service predicated on an understanding of the theopolitical Islamic supremacism that animates jihadists is simply out of the question. Heaven forbid that national security and foreign policy officials have any understanding of the Sharia law that both de facto and de jure governs the lives of hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

What will it take for the West to flip this script?

To date, murder, bloodshed, and fear abound. In spite of that fact, much of the West would rather cling to a narrative that makes it feel good about itself than recognize the reality of a global jihadist menace that threatens its very survival. This insane delusion will continue to have fatal consequences until we wake up. (For more from the author of “PC Kills: Will the West Ever Wake up From the Delusional Approach to Jihad?” please click HERE)

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UN Takes a Key Step to Address Humanitarian Crisis in Burma

The United Nations approved a resolution on March 24 authorizing a fact-finding mission into human rights violations in Burma. The resolution is the most serious intervention thus far in Rakhine State, where the majority of the 1.2 million Rohingya Muslim population resides.

The resolution, adopted by consensus, addresses a wide range of human rights concerns.

For one thing, it urges the Burmese government to continue its efforts to eliminate statelessness and institutionalized discrimination against members of ethnic and religious minorities, including the Rohingya minority.

It also calls upon the government to amend or repeal all discriminatory legislation and policies, and takes measures to ensure a safe return of all internally displaced people and refugees.

In light of the severe human rights crisis faced by Rohingya displaced in Rakhine, the resolution marks a major step toward securing fundamental rights, such as citizenship and freedom of movement.

Human Rights Watch estimates that nearly 1 million internally displaced Rohingya are currently living in squalid, prison-like conditions in camps within Sittwe, the second-poorest state in Burma, where their movements are restricted and the access to livelihoods is limited.

The resolution also authorized the president of the U.N. Human Rights Council to dispatch an independent, international fact-finding mission. The investigation will examine allegations of arbitrary detention, torture, rape, and other forms of sexual violence, and destruction of property by Burmese security forces to ensure “full accountability for perpetrators and justice for victims.”

The resolution was introduced after Yanghee Lee, U.N. special rapporteur, called for a “prompt, thorough, independent, and impartial” international investigation into the crimes against humanity allegedly committed by the Myanmar government against the Rohingya Muslims.

Researchers at The Heritage Foundation have repeatedly called on Burma to recognize Rohingya as citizens.

“The U.S. should encourage Burma to recognize Rohingya and other displaced minorities as citizens,” urged the report. “ … If Burma seeks to improve its record on human rights and religious liberty, it should guarantee that minority populations enjoy the same legal protections as all other citizens of Burma.”

In spite of Burma’s recent turn toward reform, it goes without saying that there is still a long road ahead.

To this point, the Burmese government failed dismally to act on recommendations to seek U.N. assistance for an investigation into violence against Rohingya, let alone carry out a credible investigation of its own.

The result is clear: The humanitarian crisis in Rakhine State is worsening each day. For all the pressure the resolution is bound to put on Aung San Suu Kyi’s government, further attention and action is crucial to ensure tangible changes are made. (For more from the author of “UN Takes a Key Step to Address Humanitarian Crisis in Burma” please click HERE)

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Two Activists Who Filmed Undercover Videos of Planned Parenthood Charged With 15 Felonies

The two antiabortion activists who mounted a hidden-camera investigation against Planned Parenthood officials have been charged with 15 felony counts of violating the privacy of health-care providers by recording confidential information without their consent.

In announcing the charges against David Robert Daleiden and Sandra Merritt on Tuesday, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the duo used manufactured identities and a fictitious bioresearch company to meet medical officials and covertly record the private discussions they initiated.

“The right to privacy is a cornerstone of California’s Constitution, and a right that is foundational in a free democratic society,” Becerra said. “We will not tolerate the criminal recording of confidential conversations.”

The criminal complaint alleges that on 14 occasions, between October 2013 and July 2015, Daleiden and Merritt filmed people without permission in Los Angeles, San Francisco and El Dorado counties. The activists face a felony count for each person covertly recorded, and an additional felony charge for criminal conspiracy to invade privacy. (Read more from “Two Activists Who Filmed Undercover Videos of Planned Parenthood Charged With 15 Felonies” HERE)

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Teens Abusing Opioids Are Getting Their Painkillers Legally

A majority of teens abusing opiate based painkillers began their addictions through legally prescribed medication from a doctor, according to a new study in the journal Pediatrics.

Researchers gathered data from 1976 through 2015 and found a correlation between painkiller abuse and previous prescriptions. Roughly eight percent of teens are currently abusing opioid medication, according to the researchers from the University of Michigan. The majority of those abusing the pills were found to have previously been prescribed opioids by a doctor, reports Live Science.

Hospitals are experiencing steep increases in the number of teens and children admitted for opioid poisoning and experts blame over-prescribed pain medications. The number of prescription pills saturating the U.S. market quadrupled since 2000, sparking the opioid epidemic and predisposing young individuals to severe addiction. Hospitalizations for opioid poisoning are up 176 percent among people ages 15 to 19 years old.

“Health professionals who prescribe opioid medications to adolescents can play an important role in reducing prescription opioid misuse,” Sean McCabe, study author and research professor at the University of Michigan, told Live Science. “We consider any rate of non-medical use of prescription opioids alarming, based on the known adverse consequences associated with this behavior.”

The majority of new heroin addicts begin with a dependence on prescription painkillers, before transitioning after building high tolerances that make the pills too expensive. Heroin use among U.S. teens more than doubled over the past 10 years. Officials with the Drug Enforcement Administration say four out of five heroin addicts started with painkillers. (Read more from “Teens Abusing Opioids Are Getting Their Painkillers Legally” HERE)

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