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Sunday, July 14, 2024

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VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

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The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

SCOTUS presidential immunity decision puts democracy in peril, critic says

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Wednesday, July 10, 2024   

A U.S. Supreme Court decision on presidential immunity from prosecution is raising concerns about the power of the executive branch - and the future of democracy. In one of its final decisions of the term, the majority of justices ruled in Trump versus United States that presidents are immune from criminal prosecution when performing "official acts."

Adrienne Evans, executive director of United Vision for Idaho, said this means the president can break the law and not worry about being investigated.

"Do we trust whomever is elected next not to use that power? Because right now," she explained, "everything hinges not that the power has been granted but will there be a president that we have who will not use that power to their favor?"

In her dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that the ruling makes the president a "king above the law."

Evans noted this issue has been compounded by the politicization of the courts, and added that the courts have been weaponized to serve the party in power.

"We have always lived in a system where we had relatively stable systems of checks and balances. What this latest decision by the Supreme Court did was it put all of the power in the hands of the executive and, in subsequent rulings, also undermined the administration of the state," she continued.

Evans said Congress could take steps to rein in the Supreme Court by instituting term limits, creating an enforceable code of ethics and expanding the number of justices on the court, but added that Congress will have to act soon to prevent a worst-case scenario in which democracy erodes completely.

"It's going to take the will of the people demanding that their congressional representatives vote for those measures, that we take this moment as a dire warning that we have to reset course if we still believe that democracy is our best path forward," she said.

Disclosure: United Vision for Idaho contributes to our fund for reporting on Civic Engagement, Civil Rights, Community Issues and Volunteering. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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