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Sherrod Brown becomes 4th Dem this week to pass on 2020 White House run

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Sherrod Brown becomes 4th Dem this week to pass on 2020 White House run

Add Sen. Sherrod Brown to the growing list of Democrats passing on a 2020 presidential bid.

The progressive populist senator from Ohio, who had been meeting with Democratic lawmakers, activists and voters in the early-voting primary and caucus states the past month, announced on Thursday that he’s decided “the best way” for him to keep fighting for workers is to continue serving in the Senate.

SCHULTZ HIGHLIGHTS BLOOMBERG DECISION TO PASS ON 2020 BID

Taking aim at Republican President Trump, Brown said: “I will keep calling out Donald Trump and his phony populism. I will keep fighting for all workers across the country. And I will do everything I can to elect a Democratic President and a Democratic Senate in 2020. The best place for me to make that fight is in the United States Senate.”

Brown – who called his visits to the early-voting states a “dignity of work” tour – touted that the current Democratic presidential contenders are carrying the mantle.

“We’ve seen candidates begin taking up the dignity of work fight, and we have seen voters across the country demanding it – because dignity of work is a value that unites all of us. It is how we beat Trump, and it is how we should govern. That’s why I’m confident it will continue to be a focus for Democrats in 2020, and I plan on making sure that happens,” Brown said.

Brown is a former Ohio secretary of state and congressman who last November was re-elected to a third term representing the Buckeye State in the Senate.

MERKLEY PASSES ON WHITE HOUSE RUN

He becomes the fourth potential Democratic presidential contender this week to announce they would not run for the White House. The others are Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg and former Attorney General Eric Holder.

The crowded Democratic 2020 field currently stands at 14.

The roster includes Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Kamala Harris of California, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Kirsten Gillibrand of New  York.

Former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who served as Housing and Urban Development secretary under President Barack Obama, is also running, as are Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland, and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

And in the past few days, Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper launched campaigns.

A number of other Democrats are moving toward White House bids, including former Vice President Joe Biden, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas, and Rep. Eric Swalwell of California.

BROWN TOUTS POPULIST CRED

During a stop in New Hampshire last month, as he was considering a White House bid, Brown pushed back on talk that with Sanders and Warren in the race, there wasn’t room for another populist.

“I put my record up against anybody for fighting for workers,” the Democrat from Ohio told Fox News. “I’ve been a progressive populist my whole career. I’ve fought for the dignity of work. It’s who I am.”

Asked by Fox News if the possible entry into the race by Biden would be a factor in his decision, Brown quickly responded: “I will get in based on family issues and my own thoughts. Whether the former vice president gets in is immaterial to me.”

While Brown’s decided against a White House bid, another working-class lawmaker from Ohio – Rep. Tim Ryan – is still considering a presidential run.

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Ocasio-Cortez blasts ‘injustice’ that prestigious New York City high school admitted few black students

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Ocasio-Cortez de-listed from board of Justice Democrats after controversy

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., charged on Tuesday that a selective New York public high school should have admitted more black applicants this year, saying their relatively low admit rate was an “injustice” and a “system failure” — although an objective state-mandated test is used to determine admissions decisions, and low-income Asian students took most of the spots.

In her fiery social media post, Ocasio-Cortez pointed to news reports that only seven black applicants secured offers of admission to Stuyvesant High School this year, out of 895 available slots.

“68% of all NYC public school students are Black or Latino,” Ocasio-Cortez began. “To only have 7 Black students accepted into Stuyvesant (a *public* high school) tells us that this is a system failure. Education inequity is a major factor in the racial wealth gap. This is what injustice looks like.”

The progressive New York Democrat cited a Monday New York Times report, which noted that the population of black students at Stuyvesant was seemingly decreasing: 10 were admitted in 2018, and 13 in 2017.

At the highly selective Bronx High School of Science, meanwhile, only 12 black students received offers of admission, compared with 25 in 2018.

But the report also mentioned several facts Ocasio-Cortez did not — including that “low-income” Asian students are a majority at New York City’s most selective schools. At Stuyvesant, for example, 74 percent of current students are Asian-Americans who performed very well on the admissions test, known as the Specialized High School Admissions Test, which is used by eight of New York City’s most selective high schools.

Approximately 19 percent of the students are white and 3 percent are Hispanic, according to school data.

HARVARD APPEARS TO PENALIZE ASIAN APPLICANTS, BOOST BLACK STUDENTS, EXPERT SAYS

The Times noted that state efforts to help students prepare for the test — including free test prep for minority students — have not helped change the admissions numbers in favor of black applicants.

“The numbers are abysmal; we knew that.”

— NYC public advocate Jumaane Williams

As a result, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio last year called for a new admissions system to New York’s most prestigious schools, which would simply scrap that test, and instead ensure that top students from each local middle school received admissions offers.

“These numbers are even more proof that dramatic reform is necessary to open the doors of opportunity at specialized high schools,” de Blasio said, responding to the Times’ report.

In an op-ed last year, de Blasio elaborated: “Eight of our most renowned high schools – including Stuyvesant High School, Bronx High School of Science and Brooklyn Technical High School – rely on a single, high-stakes exam. The Specialized High School Admissions Test isn’t just flawed – it’s a roadblock to justice, progress and academic excellence. If we want this to be the fairest big city in America, we need to scrap the SHSAT and start over.”

He added: “Right now, we are living with monumental injustice. The prestigious high schools make 5,000 admissions offers to incoming ninth-graders. Yet, this year just 172 black students and 298 Latino students received offers. This happened in a city where two out of every three eighth-graders in our public schools are Latino or black. … Can anyone defend this?”

Stuyvesant High School in New York, in JuneMARY ALTAFFER / AP

Stuyvesant High School in New York, in JuneMARY ALTAFFER / AP

But his proposal to eliminate the test remains unpopular in New York. A spokesperson for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said only that there were “two sides” to the issue, and Jumaane Williams, the city’s public health advocate, told the Times that he opposed scrapping the test.

“The numbers are abysmal; we knew that,” Williams, who is black, told the Times. “The question is what do we do about it, how do we do it without needlessly pitting communities against each other?”

Asian-Americans, backed by the Trump adminstration, have increasingly challenged what they characterize as Democrats’ insensitivity to racism directed at them by institutions and individuals. In one closely watched case, the Justice Department last year filed court documents siding with Asian-American students who allege Harvard discriminates against them in its admissions process.

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William Fitzsimmons, the 30-year dean of admissions at Harvard, who oversees the screening process of about 40,000 applicants and narrows them down to 2,000 acceptance letters that are handed out each year, testified during the trial that African-Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanic high schoolers with mid-range SAT scores out of a possible 1600 combined math and verbal, are sent recruitment letters with a score as low as 1100, whereas Asian-Americans need to score at least 250 points higher – 1350 for women and 1380 for men.

“That’s race discrimination, plain and simple,” argued John Hughes, a lawyer for Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA).

Fox News’ Caleb Parke contributed to this report.

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Democrats’ calls to revamp Electoral College, Supreme Court reveal panic: Lara Trump

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Democrats' calls to revamp Electoral College, Supreme Court reveal panic: Lara Trump

President Trump’s senior campaign adviser and daughter-in-law Lara Trump blasted Democrats on Tuesday, including Democratic presidential contenders, after they called for changing the Electoral College and revamping the Supreme Court.

“I think it’s very clear that people are still upset on the left that their chosen candidate did not win in 2016.  They want to find any way they can to beat Donald Trump because I think they know it’s going to be incredibly hard, almost impossible to beat this president in the 2020 election,” Lara Trump said.

Her comments came after one 2020 contender, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., called for ending the Electoral College.

“My view is that every vote matters. And the way we can make that happen is we can have national voting, and that means get rid of the Electoral College,” Warren said in Mississippi Monday.

Trump said talk of changing the Supreme Court is another sign of panic among Democrats.

“I think that it’s pretty clear that these folks are very upset that this president has had two Supreme Court placements now,” Trump said in response to various Democratic candidates calling for changes to how Supreme Court justices are selected.

“And quite likely if he gets a second term he will get a third.  So, I think you’re seeing … panic mode now on the Democrat side.”

“I think we need to fix the Supreme Court. I think they stole a Supreme Court seat,” Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., said on MSNBC Monday. He appeared to be referring to President Barack Obama’s late-term nomination of Merrick Garland for a Supreme Court seat, a nomination that did not get a confirmation hearing from a Senate then led by a GOP majority.

TRUMP FIRES BACK AT DEMS COURT PACKING PUSH

I think you’re seeing … panic mode now on the Democrat side.

— Lara Trump

Trump believes many of the candidates looking to secure the Democratic nomination are too far left with their platforms to beat President Trump in the general election.

“I really think when you look at the field these people are generally very, very far-left,” Trump told co-host Sandra Smith. “You look at people who are running in some cases on an almost socialist or fully socialist platform, that is not something I think the average person can get behind.”

Trump also addressed her father-in-law’s disapproval rating with women, saying she didn’t trust the polling and that many women are afraid to admit they support or voted for the president.

“They might not like all his tweets, they might not like everything he does, but at the end of the day I think they know he’s going to keep this country safe and prosperous,” Trump said.

SOMEONE IN THE STATE DEPARTMENT LIKELY INVOLVED IN THE BID TO TAKE DOWN TRUMP: HERRIDGE

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U.S. judge rebuts Trump on transgender troop limits

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U.S. judge rebuts Trump on transgender troop limits

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A federal judge on Tuesday contradicted the Trump administration’s “incorrect” claim that no legal blocks remain for it to enforce a contentious policy to restrict many transgender individuals from the U.S. armed forces starting on April 12.

FILE PHOTO – Members of the Army march up 5th Avenue during the Veterans Day Parade in New York November 11, 2012. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

In a three-page notice, U.S. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said an injunction that she issued against the policy in 2017 remains in place.

“Defendants were incorrect in claiming that there was no longer an impediment to the military’s implementation” of the transgender policy, the judge wrote.

A spokeswoman for Pentagon said it was consulting with the U.S. Justice Department, which declined to comment.

Three other injunctions issued by judges in separate cases have already been lifted, in part by a Jan. 22 U.S. Supreme Court decision and subsequent action by a federal judge in Maryland.

That prompted the U.S. Defense Department to sign a memo on March 12 that would enforce its service limitations on transgender people, effective one month later.

Kollar-Kotelly’s injunction, however, had been set aside by a three-judge panel of the District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Jan. 4. The panel said it would hold off on issuing a “mandate” to finalize the higher court’s decision until it resolves any request by the plaintiffs who challenged the transgender policy as a violation of the U.S. Constitution to rehear their appeal.

“The Trump administration cannot circumvent the judicial process just to fast track its baseless, unfair ban on transgender servicemembers,” said attorney Jennifer Levi of the anti-discrimination group GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, who represents the plaintiffs.

President Donald Trump in 2017 announced a plan to ban transgender people from the military, reversing Democratic former President Barack Obama’s policy of allowing transgender troops to serve openly and get medical transition care.

In March 2018, Trump backed a revised policy from then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. It banned, in some circumstances, transgender people with gender dysphoria, or distress due to internal conflict between physical gender and gender identity.

The Mattis policy also banned transgender people who seek or have undergone gender transition steps.

Reporting by Andrew Chung; Editing by Richard Chang

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