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Court rules in favor of Texas AG Ken Paxton, declares $1.7T omnibus package unconstitutional

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton receives huge win with court ruling delivered on Tuesday deeming the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending package passed in 2022 unconstitutional. This victory marks a pivotal moment in Paxton’s challenge against the legislation, highlighting concerns over the bill’s approval process.

The court’s decision underscores the legal complexities surrounding federal spending and legislative procedures, setting a precedent for future debates and challenges regarding government funding measures. Paxton’s success in contesting the omnibus spending package showcases the role of state attorneys general in upholding constitutional principles and ensuring adherence to legal frameworks within the realm of federal governance.

In December of the previous year, President Joe Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, consolidating the federal budget for the year by combining 12 annual appropriations bills into one piece of legislation. However, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton contested the constitutionality of the bill’s passage in the House, arguing that less than half of its members were physically present to vote, with many voting by proxy. Paxton specifically challenged provisions in the bill that impacted Texas.

“Like many constitutional challenges, Texas asserts that this provision is unenforceable against it because Congress violated the Constitution in passing the law. In response, the defendants claim, among other things, that this Court has no power to address the issue because it cannot look to extrinsic evidence to question whether a bill became law,” the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Lubbock Division wrote. “But because the Court is interpreting and enforcing the Constitution—rather than second-guessing a vote count—the Court disagrees. The Court concludes that, by including members who were indisputably absent in the quorum count, the Act at issue passed in violation of the Constitution’s Quorum Clause.”

Quorum Clause opinion

Article I, Section 5 of the U.S. Constitution states:

Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.

Paxton, for his part, celebrated the decision, saying that “Congress acted egregiously by passing the largest spending bill in U.S. history with fewer than half the members of the House bothering to do their jobs, show up, and vote in person.”

“Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi abused proxy voting under the pretext of COVID-19 to pass this law, then Biden signed it, knowing they violated the Constitution. This was a stunning violation of the rule of law. I am relieved the Court upheld the Constitution,” he concluded.

The Texas Public Policy Foundation served as co-counsel in the case.

“The Court correctly concluded that the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 violated the Quorum Clause of the U.S. Constitution because a majority of House members was not physically present when the $1.7 trillion spending bill was passed. Proxy voting is unconstitutional,” TPPF senior attorney Matt Miller said.

Biden Administration

Former Obama-Biden Advisor Claims “The First Amendment Is Out of Control,” Hinders Government Action

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In a controversial opinion piece published recently, Tim Wu, an advisor to both the Obama and Biden administrations, argued that the First Amendment is becoming a significant obstacle to effective governance. The essay, titled “The First Amendment is Out of Control,” has sparked widespread debate and criticism.

Wu’s argument centers on the assertion that the First Amendment, designed to protect free speech, is now being exploited by powerful entities, including Big Tech companies, to resist regulation and oversight. He cites recent Supreme Court rulings regarding Texas and Florida laws aimed at regulating social media platforms as examples of this exploitation.

According to Wu, the collaboration between the government and major social media platforms is often hindered by the First Amendment, which is used as a defense to protect free speech in digital public forums. He suggests that this constitutional protection is being misused to prevent necessary government action aimed at safeguarding citizens.

Critics, however, argue that Wu’s perspective misinterprets the fundamental purpose of the First Amendment. They contend that the amendment’s role is precisely to protect citizens from government overreach and censorship, ensuring that free speech remains a cornerstone of democracy. The idea that the First Amendment is an obstacle rather than a protector is seen by many as a dangerous and misguided interpretation.

Furthermore, Wu’s essay touches on the issue of banning platforms like TikTok and implementing age verification laws, such as California’s Age-Appropriate Design Code. He suggests that the First Amendment stands in the way of these actions, which he believes are necessary for national security and protecting minors online. Critics counter that these measures, if implemented, could set precedents for broader and potentially harmful censorship practices.

Wu’s reference to the First Amendment as a “suicide pact,” borrowing language from a 1949 dissenting opinion in the Terminiello v. City of Chicago case, underscores the dramatic tone of his argument. He suggests that the amendment, while intended to safeguard freedoms, can also be interpreted in ways that undermine societal safety and security.

In conclusion, Tim Wu’s essay has reignited the debate over the balance between free speech and governmental regulation. While Wu argues that the First Amendment’s current application hinders effective governance and protection of citizens, his critics maintain that the amendment is essential for safeguarding democratic principles and preventing government overreach. As this debate continues, the interpretation and application of the First Amendment remain at the forefront of discussions about free speech and public safety in the digital age.

SOURCE: NEW YORK TIMES

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DHS and FBI Issue Warning About Large Fourth of July Events as ‘Attractive’ Targets for

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a warning on Wednesday regarding potential threats to large Fourth of July celebrations. According to an internal bulletin obtained by ABC News, these events are considered “attractive” targets for lone offenders and small groups with malicious intentions.

The bulletin emphasizes the risk posed by individuals and small groups who might exploit the gatherings for terrorism or other harmful activities. The warning comes as the nation prepares for Independence Day festivities, which traditionally draw large crowds to public spaces.

The FBI and DHS are urging local law enforcement and event organizers to increase vigilance and security measures. The agencies highlight the importance of public awareness and cooperation, encouraging individuals to report any suspicious activities immediately.

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Biden is 7 Times More Popular with Ukrainians than Trump, Poll Reveals

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In a recent poll conducted by The Counteroffensive/Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, President Joe Biden emerges as significantly more popular among Ukrainians compared to former President Donald Trump. This inaugural poll offers insights into Ukrainian sentiment towards American leadership during their ongoing conflict with Russia.

According to The Hill, a striking 46.7 percent of Ukrainian respondents expressed a preference for President Biden as the leader they believe would better support Ukraine’s war effort. In contrast, only 6.5 percent of those polled favored Trump in this regard.

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