It's Friday: that means it's panel time, as we discuss the major stories of the week.
Just over 24 hours after announcing his presidential bid, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has already raised $6 million from more than 225,000 donors, his campaign said Wednesday morning. That amount far surpasses what any of his rivals have disclosed raising after their own announcements this year. I know that it is still very early in the game, but is this a data point that we should take note of? Previously, Senator Kamala Harris of California had claimed the biggest early fundraising haul that had been made public, with $1.5 million in 24 hours. In comparison, Sanders' campaign said its fundraising in the first 24 hours came to $5.9 million. Sanders' early fundraising success is not unexpected: After all, he raised well over $200 million when he ran against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination in the 2016 election, and his list of online donors dwarfs those of his rivals.
US President Donald Trump said Wednesday the United States would not re-admit an American-born woman Hoda Muthana, who traveled to Syria to join Daesh and now wants to come home. She does not qualify for citizenship and has no legal basis to return to the country, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said. In 2014, Muthana, then a 20-year-old student in Alabama, traveled to Turkey, hiding her plans from her family. She told them she was heading to a university event. In fact, she was smuggled into Syria, where she met up with Daesh. She has now seen the error of her ways and wants to come back home. Pompeo said Muthana did not have "any legal basis, no valid US passport, no right to a passport nor any visa to travel to the United States." Muthana says she applied for and received a United States passport before leaving for Turkey. And she was born in the United States — ordinarily a guarantee of citizenship. Muthana's father was a Yemeni diplomat, and children born in the United States to active diplomats are not bestowed birthright citizenship, since diplomats are under the jurisdiction of their home countries. What's at play here?
The Supreme Court struck an extraordinary blow for criminal justice reform on Wednesday, placing real limitations on what many have called policing for profit across the country. Its unanimous decision for the first time prohibits all 50 states from imposing excessive fines, including the seizure of property, on people accused or convicted of a crime. The Eighth Amendment guarantees that no "excessive fines" may be "imposed," an ancient right enshrined in the Magna Carta and enthusiastically adopted by the Framers of the US Constitution. Police in the US employ civil asset forfeiture, a process that we would call theft in any other context. Here's how it works: Prosecutors accuse an individual of a crime, then seize assets that have some tenuous connection to the alleged offense. What are real implications of this decision?
Three leading Democratic presidential candidates have recently signaled their support for some form of "reparations" for black Americans, broadly, if vaguely, backing the idea of compensating the descendants of enslaved people in the United States. Sens. Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), as well as former Obama administration housing official Julián Castro, have all said in recent weeks they support reparations for African Americans. How will this translate on the election trail, and is it a realistic focus?
Ariel Gold — National co-director for Codepink. She carries out creative actions for peace and justice in the US and throughout the world. Ariel has been published in The Forward, Huffington Post, Tikkun Magazine and more.
Bob Phillips — Executive director for Common Cause North Carolina, the Raleigh-based chapter of Common Cause, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization dedicated to encouraging citizen participation in democracy.
Teresa M. Lundy — Government affairs and public relations specialist and principal of TML Communications, LLC.
Eugene Craig III — Republican strategist, former vice-chair of the Maryland Republican Party and grassroots activist.
Colin Campbell — PhD student in the Department of Communication, Culture and Media Studies at Howard University's School of Communication. He has been a TV news reporter for more than 20 years. As a senior Washington, DC, correspondent since 2008, he has been a reporter-at-large, covering two presidencies, Congress and the State Department.
We'd love to get your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org