Attorney and legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern of Slate joins us to break down the full 4th Circuit Court of Appeals' potentially landmark decision upholding the state of Maryland's ban on semi-automatic "weapons of war" and the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling today on a race-based death penalty case out of Texas.
On MD's ban on military-style assault weapons, enacted by the legislature following the 2012 Sandyhook Elementary school massacre, the full court's majority ruling, including a number of Republican-appointed judges, soundly rejected the opponents argument that, as Stern says, "once enough people own a certain type of gun, the 2nd Amendment magically begins to protect it." He explains what may happen next with this case as it moves toward the Supreme Court and offers his thoughts on why GOPers and the NRA are suddenly unconcerned with their "states rights" arguments when it comes to guns.
On the SCOTUS death penalty case, granting a repreive, for now, to a Texas man on death row since 1997, Stern explains how the case underscores that "people who are sentenced to death in this country get the worst lawyers sometimes…It's really quite shocking." Incredibly enough, Chief Justice John Roberts eloquently agreed — at least in this case.
And more encouraging news also covered today…
- A federal court in Texas blocks the state's attempt to defund Planned Parenthood;
- North Carolina's Democratic governor moves to withdraw the state's appeal to SCOTUS, filed by his Republican predecessor seeking to overturn a federal appeals court finding that the state's election reform law unconstitutionally discriminated against African-Americans "with surgical precision";
- An FEC commissioner refuses to back down in the face of legal threats from Koch Brothers'' funded group after her demand to see Trump's alleged evidence of thousands of illegal votes cast in New Hampshire's 2016 Presidential election;
- Another new poll finds Trump's approval ratings "sinking like a rock";
- A Muslim group raises $90 thousand (so far) to help repair the desecrated Jewish cemetery in St. Louis, MO;
- A people continue to exercise democracy, whether Republicans and Donald Trump like it or not, by showing up in huge numbers at Congress member town halls across the country…
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