Thursday, September 8, 2016

For 2305 today

Checks and balances:

- Cruz kicks off Internet oversight countdown with subcommittee hearing.
Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz today announced that he’ll hold a Senate subcommittee hearing to explore the “dangers” of an Obama administration plan to turn over technical internet oversight to a nonprofit just weeks before the plan is to take effect.
There are just 23 days left until the U.S. Commerce Department cedes oversight of the technical functions that make the internet work to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). But the plan is not guaranteed to go through, given that Republicans, led by Cruz, continue to fight it.
Cruz’s latest move is scheduling a Sept. 14 hearing of the Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts, which he chairs, to investigate the “possible dangers” of the transition plan, he announced Sept. 7.
- Click here for the subcommittee's website.

And more checks and balances:

5 Texas judge nominees have broad support but won't be confirmed anytime soon.
Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz lavished praise on them. President Barack Obama said they had displayed an “unwavering commitment” to justice and integrity. They are desperately needed in Texas, where 10 long-standing vacancies on the federal bench have created a lengthy backlog of cases.

But when will the five recent nominees to serve as Texas district judges get a confirmation vote in the Senate?
“We’re going to have to work that out,” Cornyn said Wednesday. “If we can’t get it done before the election, then perhaps after the election that’s something we could work on.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings for the five nominees, ostensibly providing hope that the long-open vacancies could soon be addressed.
Texas has more judicial openings than any other state. All 10 have been designated “emergencies” by the federal government, based on the backlog of cases each district faces, and seven have been empty more than a year.
- Click here to see the hearing - if you wish.
- Click here for American Association for Justice - which was mentioned in the article.
- Judicial Confirmation and the Constitution.

A story about federalism:

- Closure of private prisons could hit Texas in pocketbook.
Thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in lucrative government contracts could be in jeopardy in Texas with the Department of Justice's decision to phase out the use of privately run prisons.
Of the 14 private prisons facing the loss of federal contracts, five are in Texas - the most of any state. The impact will be felt not only in prison yards but also in the tax rolls and cash registers of small towns and local communities.
"We are very concerned about what is going to happen," said Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman in Big Spring, where the GEO Group employs 480 people at its detention facility.
Wiseman said she fears that nearly all the jobs at the prison will be lost when the company's federal contract expires in March.
"These are our friends and neighbors; these are people who coach Little League baseball and belong to our civic organization," she said. "They will leave a hole not just in our economy because they pay taxes, but in our community."
The Department of Justice recently directed the Bureau of Prisons to phase out its business with private corporations as contracts expire over the next five years. The Department of Homeland Security followed the move by announcing it would also evaluate its partnerships with private companies in running more than two dozen immigrant detention centers.
- Click here for the website of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
Review of the Federal Bureau ofPrisons’ Monitoring of Contract Prisons.

And one more about federalism.

- In Debate Over ‘Sanctuary Cities,’ a Divide on the Role of the Local Police.
Mr. Trump is coming down on one side of a vigorous partisan debate over the degree to which local law enforcement should be involved in enforcing immigration laws. There is a deep split among law enforcement officials, not to mention elected officials. Just last year, after a young woman was shot by an immigrant here illegally with a criminal record who had been released by the authorities in San Francisco, the Republican-led House voted to withhold some federal funding from jurisdictions that shield undocumented immigrants from federal officials. In the Senate, Democrats this summer blocked a similar bill, which the White House had vowed to veto.
In limiting cooperation with the federal immigration authorities, some local law enforcement officials contend that they are making their jurisdictions safer by encouraging undocumented immigrants to take the risk of coming forward to report crimes. But those who see immigration violations as serious offenses contend that such policies lead to criminality.
The issue has bedeviled the Obama administration for years. In his first term, President Obama expanded nationwide a program allowing the Department of Homeland Security to receive the fingerprints of every person booked by the state and local police. After many immigrant communities rebelled, the administration canceled some of its efforts in 2014, and replaced them with a single, less intrusive one, hoping to court big cities to cooperate rather than to coerce them.

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