Politics Biden nominates 'Living Constitution' voting rights activist to New York appeals court
Biden stays mum on state abortion laws with major test ahead for Roe
As more Republican-led states pass abortion bans with the easing of the Covid-19 pandemic, a heated debate has returned to center stage with abortion rights supporters warning of a looming threat to access and anti-abortion activists determined to keep up the momentum. © Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images US President Joe Biden speaks about the May jobs report on June 4, 2021, at the Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, Convention Center. - The US economy added 559,000 jobs in May and the unemployment rate dipped to 5.8 percent, the Labor Department said on June 4, 2021, as Covid-19 vaccines helped businesses reopen and rehire.
President Joe Biden on Tuesday nominated a prominent voting rights activist to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.
Biden tapped Myrna Perez, director of a voting rights program at the New York University School of Law, along with four other candidates to fill a growing number of judicial vacancies that have opened up since he took office. Perez was recommended for the seat by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, whoher as someone who will "restore the balance that many believe has been shifted way over to the hard right during the Trump years."
Group led by Stacey Abrams launches campaign for voting rights bill
The Hot Call Summer campaign will contact voters in 2022 battleground states that are moving controversial voting legislation.The campaign, called Hot Call Summer, will last throughout June, and will feature virtual events, a paid media campaign and plans to text at least 10 million voters in 2022 battleground states that have seen controversial voting legislation move in state legislatures.
Perez, who clerked on several federal courts before beginning her professorial career in 2006, became a familiar face on prime-time cable news during the Trump administration, commenting on the president's election fraud claims and his pushes to tighten voting laws. She also frequently weighed in on voting discrimination questions,before Congress as a Democratic witness on the issue.
Perez is also one of the leading voices of opposition in aawaiting a decision at the Supreme Court. That case, which pits the Democratic National Committee against Arizona Republicans, concerns whether two state laws violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which bans racial discrimination in voting procedures.
Fact check: Breaking down Mitch McConnell's spin on the John Lewis voting rights bill
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was asked Tuesday where he stands on the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, a Democratic bill that aims to prevent states from implementing racially discriminatory voting laws. © Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), joined by Senate Assistant Minority Leader John Thune (R-SD) (L) and Senate Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO), speaks following a Senate Republican Policy luncheon at the Russell Senate Office Building on May 18, 2021 in Washington, DC.
The DNC claims both encourage racial discrimination. The first law discounts ballots cast outside of a designated voting precinct. The second prohibits “ballot harvesting,” a practice by which third parties collect absentee ballots when voters are unable to mail them to the state. The two parties have been arguing over the laws since before the 2016 election, but the dispute gained new prominence last year when Arizona, long a Republican stronghold, flipped Democratic.
In Perez's brief, shethat the arguments Arizona Republicans made in favor of the laws are the same that "would permit states to return to similar Jim Crow-era restrictions." Perez also wrote that the party ought to know that even facially, neutral laws push racial discrimination.
"Petitioners’ proposal is completely divorced from the reality that lawmakers can (and do, especially in the context of contemporary voting procedures) capitalize on longstanding and obvious social or historical disparities," she wrote, adding that many voting laws exploit existing conditions among minorities to deny those groups "the right to vote."
Biden and his aviators greet queen on a sunny afternoon
WINDSOR, England (AP) — President Joe Biden and his aviator sunglasses met Queen Elizabeth II on bright Sunday afternoon. The queen hosted the president and first lady Jill Biden at Windsor Castle, her royal residence near London. Biden flew to London after wrapping up his participation in a three-day summit of leaders of the world's wealthy democracies in Cornwall, in southwestern England. He arrived at the castle aboard the presidential helicopter and was ferried to the queen in a black Range Rover.
In the wake of the 2020 election, Perez has also been critical of other Republican pushes for new election laws. Sheone effort in Texas as Republicans "figuring out how to stay in power."
Perez is an advocate of the "Living Constitution," a form of textual interpretation that presumes the Constitution is a document whose meaning changes as conditions within the country shift. In March, Perez praised this form of interpretation duringat Bowdoin University, noting that William Brennan, the late Supreme Court Justice who lends his name to her institute at NYU, coined the term.
“We spend a lot of time in what I would call the 'court of public opinion,'" Perez said of her work. "It is really exciting to be able to do this work because it’s founded in Justice Brennan’s ideas."
She added that her vision of law, and election law specifically, is similar to Brennan's "Living Constitution," which she called "not static or frozen in time but one that had to be evolving and dynamic in order to actualize its principles."
"That is the way the Brennan Center thinks about the world," she said. "It's changing and dynamic, and we need to be ready to meet whatever moment is with us."
Biden poised to double the number of Black women appeals court judges
Biden is on course to increase the number of Black women appellate judges to eight. Advocates say the added diversity builds trust in the federal bench.While advocates for greater diversity say the share is still too small, Biden is on track to grow the number of Black female appellate judges to eight from four, ensuring that at least one Black woman is serving on more than half the nation's circuit courts.
Perez's embrace of the "Living Constitution" sets her apart from many of Biden's other nominees. Most have been wary of addressing the issue when Republicans, who favor more orthodox methods of constitutional interpretation, have drilled them on it. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who is widely viewed as a potential Supreme Court nominee, for instance,that she had "not had any cases that have required me to develop a view on constitutional interpretation of text."
That statement, however, was enough to make most Republicans reject Jackson. Her confirmation on Monday was the closest of any judge whom Biden has nominated so far.
Conservatives on Tuesday reacted with censure to Perez's confirmation. Judicial Crisis Network President Carrie Severino, a key player in many of former President Donald Trump's nominations, criticized Perez in a, saying that she was the most "blatant" example of a "payback scheme" for the Trump era.
"Biden continues to nominate judges who he knows will deliver via the courts the policy outcomes that the Left desires, irrespective of the law," Severino said.
Perez did not respond to request for comment.
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Biden confronts the limits of an already limited arsenal on voting rights .
Gridlock awaits in Congress. So the White House is looking to use the bully pulpit to move the public, pressure businesses and put a spotlight on state laws.In April, standing inside the House chamber, Biden declared that the only way to restore the country's soul was "to protect the sacred right to vote.