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* Ian Millhiser writes that, “While Gorsuch was testifying, the Supreme Court unanimously said he was wrong.”
Under Gorsuch’s opinion in Luke P., a school district complies with the law [Individuals with Disabilities Education Act – or IDEA] so long as they provide educational benefits that “must merely be ‘more than de minimis.’”
“De minimis” is a Latin phrase meaning “so minor as to merit disregard.” So Gorsuch essentially concluded that school districts comply with their obligation to disabled students so long as they provide those students with a little more than nothing.
All eight justices rejected Gorsuch’s approach. IDEA, Chief Justice Roberts wrote, “is markedly more demanding than the ‘merely more than de minimis’ test applied by the Tenth Circuit.” Indeed, Roberts added, Gorsuch’s approach would effectively strip many disabled students of their right to an education.
* According to the latest whip count at The Hill on tomorrow’s scheduled vote on the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, there are 25 “no” votes and 6 who are likely/leaning no. If that is accurate, the bill will fail to pass the House.
* Chris Jacobs writes about a technical amendment in the Republican bill that could affect millions of veteran’s health coverage. It is hard to summarize with a quick excerpt. So if you are interested, I’d suggest you go read what Jacobs has written.
* This probably won’t surprise anyone, but it is nevertheless disturbing.
Muslim special agents and intelligence analysts at the FBI are reporting a climate of fear inside the agency coinciding with the political ascendance of Donald Trump, the Guardian has learned.
FBI officials from Muslim-majority countries, a minority in a predominantly white bureau, say they are subject to an organizational culture of suspicion and hostility that leadership has done little to reform. At least one decorated intelligence analyst has been fired this year after a long ordeal which began with a routine foreign visit to see his family.
His case and others in which Muslim agents have reported a workplace culture that includes open-ended investigations predicated on their backgrounds were brought to the personal attention of the FBI’s director, James Comey, throughout 2016.
Muslim FBI officials are alarmed that their religion and national origin is sufficient for the bureau’s security division to treat them as a counterintelligence risk, a career-damaging obstacle that their native-born white FBI colleagues do not encounter.
* For anyone that still has an functioning irony meter, this should put an end to that:
The 2016 election was just a month away when Steve Curtis, a conservative radio host and former Colorado Republican Party chairman, devoted an entire episode of his morning talk show to the heated topic of voter fraud.
“It seems to me,” Curtis said in the 42-minute segment, “that virtually every case of voter fraud I can remember in my lifetime was committed by Democrats.”
On Tuesday, Colorado prosecutors threw a wrench into that already dubious theory, accusing Curtis of voter fraud for allegedly filling out and mailing in his ex-wife’s 2016 ballot for president, Denver’s Fox affiliate reported.
Curtis, 57, was charged in Weld County District Court with one count of misdemeanor voter fraud and one count of forgery, a Class 5 felony, according to local media.
The case is the only voter fraud investigation related to the 2016 election that has resulted in criminal charges in the state, the Colorado secretary of state’s office told Denver’s ABC affiliate.
* Finally, Peter Bart says that Donald Trump is like “Being There” all over again.
“I like to watch.” In uttering that line in the 1979 movie Being There, Chauncey Gardiner (Peter Sellers) was confessing his addiction to television. Now we have Donald Trump, who also likes to watch, except he watches Fox News and believes it; that gets him into trouble — witness the Comey hearings. Of course, Chauncey could neither read nor write, but his ignorance brought him great wealth and power. Sound familiar?
While Trump’s every tweet fires up his opposition, Chauncey Gardiner rose to power in Being There through his benign comments about his garden. When he predicted “spring will bring new growth,” his comment was interpreted as a comforting metaphor for economic expansion. When he noted, “I don’t read newspapers, I watch TV,” supporters applauded his shrewd critique of newspaper journalism. When Chauncey exchanged friendly comments with the Russian ambassador at a state banquet, the meeting triggered infighting between the CIA and FBI because neither could figure out Chauncey’s background or motivation. None of his supporters seemed to understand that Chauncey was really just a gardener — “one who had rice pudding between his ears,” in the words of the kindly housekeeper who brought him up.