SCOTUS, abortion and free speech

Mar 21, 2018

Supreme Court questions parts of California law requiring abortion notification


The Chronicle's BOB EGELKO: "The Supreme Court appeared likely Tuesday to roll back parts of a California law regulating hundreds of antiabortion clinics known as “crisis pregnancy centers.” But the justices gave no clear indication of whether they would strike down the core of the law, which requires the clinics to inform their clients about the availability of abortions."


"In the one-hour argument, two conservative justices, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, expressed agreement with the clinics’ view that the law violated their freedom of speech. Taking a contrary view, liberal Justice Stephen Breyer noted that the court has upheld other laws requiring abortion providers to advise patients of harms allegedly caused by the procedure."


"Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Californian and moderate conservative who has cast the deciding vote in past abortion cases, criticized a provision of the law that requires clinics offering reproductive care, with no doctor on their staff, to inform clients they are unlicensed by the state. Noting that the disclosure provision applies to advertising, Kennedy said it would require a clinic that has paid for a billboard that simply said “Choose Life” to also include the notification."


How Trump repeal of Obama-era school discipline guidelines could affect California 


From EdSource's DAVID WASHBURN: "If U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos decides to repeal Obama-era school discipline reform guidance — which she’s often hinted at, most recently during a 60 Minutes interview — the action could hamper discipline reform efforts in districts throughout California, especially in those where the pace of reform has been slow, say civil rights and youth advocates."


"However, any effort to roll back the federal guidelines would have no real effect on California’s statewide discipline policies or its newly established accountability measures, according to state officials."


“At the district level, and especially at the school level, we still see very harmful school climates and high suspension rates,” said Amir Whitaker, a staff attorney for the ACLU of Southern California. “The repeal at the federal level, although it won’t affect policy directly, sends the wrong message to schools.”


Was Cambridge Analytica a digital Svengali or snake-oil salesman?


LA Times's EVAN HALPER: "When Cambridge Analytica officials met GOP strategist Mike Murphy at the start of the 2016 presidential campaign, their pitch was slick and full of swagger — but after a little probing, Murphy ultimately found it to be full of nonsense."


"At the time, a meeting with Murphy was in high demand. He was heading Right to Rise, a PAC that was practically printing money, ultimately raising $118 million in its unsuccessful effort to elect Jeb Bush. Murphy's team concluded that Cambridge Analytica had nothing to offer other than hype."


"Disclosures this week that the firm used massive amounts of data from Facebook to develop profiles of American voters to help Donald Trump's campaign have generated a public image of Cambridge Analytica as devious masterminds of electoral manipulation. A secretly videotaped interview in which the firm's chief executive lays out how it could help clients blackmail rivals only fueled that perception."


READ MORE related to Psychological WarfareCalifornia elected officials dismayed at use of FB data -- The Chronicle's JOHN WILDERMUTHFacebook stock takes another hit amid reported probe, #DeleteFacebook campaign -- The Chronicle's TRISHA THADANIBreaking up with Facebook? It's harder than it looks -- AP's BARBARA ORTUTAYOP-EDMemo to Zuckerberg: Protect privacy -- ALASTAIR MACTAGGART in Capitol Weekly


John Burton, political icon, still on the move


CHUCK MCFADDEN in Capitol Weekly: "To say that John Burton is wrapped up in politics is a bit like saying the Pacific Ocean is a large body of water."


"Few California political figures can match his decades of back-and-forth between Washington and Sacramento.  Burton was elected to the Assembly in 1965 and served there until 1974; then he served in the House from 1974 until 1983; then he was back in the Assembly from 1988 until 1996; then he was in the state Senate from 1996 until 2004, serving as Senate leader from 1998 until term limits forced him out."


"And if that wasn’t enough, he was chairman of the California Democratic Party from April of 2009 through May of 2017."


The quest to save Stephen Hawking's voice


The Chronicle's JASON FAGONE: "Eric Dorsey, a 62-year-old engineer in Palo Alto, was watching TV Tuesday night when he started getting texts that Stephen Hawking had died. He turned on the news and saw clips of the famed physicist speaking in his iconic android voice — the voice that Dorsey had spent so much time as a young man helping to create, and then, much later, to save from destruction."


"Dorsey and Hawking had first met nearly 30 years earlier to the day. In March 1988, Hawking was visiting UC Berkeley during a three-week lecture tour."


"At 46, Hawking was already famous for his discoveries about quantum physics and black holes, but not as famous as he was about to be. His best-seller, “A Brief History of Time,” was a week away from release, and Californians were curious about this British professor from the University of Cambridge, packing the seats of his public talks, approaching him at meals. Hawking motored into buildings and onto stages in a wheelchair with a seat of maroon sheepskin, zooming around with the nudge of a joystick, grinning as he left journalists and his nurses in the dust."


CalPERS bites new watchdog at her second public meeting


Sacramento Bee's ADAM ASHTON: "A school district administrator who pledged to be a watchdog on the board that manages the nation's largest public pension fund was censured before her second public meeting for allegedly allowing a friend to misuse government resources."


"Margaret Brown was reprimanded by CalPERS Board of Administration President Priya Mathur because Brown last month allowed a guest into a restricted area of the CalPERS headquarters and the guest used CalPERS equipment for what appeared to be political activity."


"Cecile Nunley, a former Vallejo Unified School District business manager and Brown's guest, used a CalPERS copy machine to scan and email political fundraising documents, according to CalPERS. The documents were silent-auction bidding sheets for a Women Democrats of Sacramento County fundraiser. They showed people bidding on massages, dolls and yoga lessons."


SF supervisors prohibit sales of new fur garments in the city


The Chronicle's RACHEL SWAN: "Fur coats and stoles will soon be banned from store racks in San Francisco under a law that the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved Tuesday."


"The ordinance by Supervisor Katy Tang will make San Francisco the first major city in the country to shun these products, following West Hollywood, which passed a ban in 2011, and Berkeley, which approved one last year."


"San Francisco’s version will take effect next year, though merchants will have an additional year to sell off their existing fur inventory. Sales of secondhand fur garments would still be allowed."


On trial for causing climate change, oil companies don't plan to deny it's happening


McClatchy DC's STUART LEAVENWORTH: "A federal judge in San Francisco Wednesday will preside over the nation’s first-ever court hearing on the science of climate change, but don’t expect it to be a “Scopes Trial” for global warming research."


"The hearing stems from a state lawsuit that San Francisco and Oakland filed against the world’s biggest oil companies for their greenhouse gas emissions. U.S. District Judge William Alsup agreed to move the case to his court, and in so doing, he ordered both sides to present him with a five-hour “tutorial” Wednesday on climate change science."


"The hearing, first reported by McClatchy, is unusual and sure to be closely watched. But it promises to be far from a full-throated public debate on atmospheric science that some partisans have sought. Lawyers for Chevron, one of the defendants in the case, say the company accepts the international consensus that human activities are a main driver of the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and the resulting warming."


READ MORE related to Energy & Environment: Is it a 'March Miracle'? Atmospheric river heads for Sacramento area -- Sacramento Bee's DALE KASLER/BENJY EGEL; Here's what to expect this week as latest storm takes aim at state -- Sacramento Bee's BENJY EGEL; Battered by fires and floods, beleaguered Montecito braces for more potential destruction -- LA Times's MELISSA ETEHAD/JOSEPH SERNA/ALENE TCHEKMEDYIAN


Anti-sanctuary push could spread far beyond OC city


SGV Tribune's ROXANA KOPETMAN: "The County of Orange and several cities in Southern California soon might join Los Alamitos in its bid to opt out of a controversial state law that limits cooperation with federal immigration officials."


"Officials with the county as well as leaders in Aliso Viejo and Buena Park said Tuesday they plan to push for various versions of the anti-sanctuary ordinance approved in Los Alamitos late Monday by a 4-1 vote of that city council."


"There’s a pretty good amount of cities interested and they want to know about the process,” said Los Alamitos Mayor Troy Edgar, who spent Tuesday fielding calls and e-mails from officials in other cities and others interested in the push."


If Jerry Brown wants a satellite, these state scientists want a raise


Sacramento Bee's ADAM ASHTON: "Gov. Jerry Brown gave California scientists a big hug when they needed one a few weeks after President Donald Trump’s election."


"Back then, many of them worried that the new administration would make their jobs more difficult by restricting government-created climate data. Brown assured state scientists that they had his support when he a spoke to a conference in San Francisco."


"And, if Trump turns off the satellites, California will launch its own damn satellite,” Brown said. “We’re going to collect that data."


El Rancho Unified fires Gregory Salcido, teacher under fire for in-class anti-military rant


SGV Tribune's HAYLEY MUNGUIA: "The El Rancho Unified school board voted Tuesday to fire El Rancho High School teacher Gregory Salcido, who was heard in viral videos making comments critical of military members."


"Salcido will remain on paid leave, pending any appeals to the State Office of Administrative Hearings."


"Salcido did not immediately respond to a request for comment."


Peskin apologizes for tearing into SF fire chief while she was fighting blaze


The Chronicle's RACHEL SWAN: "San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin apologized Tuesday for lambasting Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White while her crews poured water on a burning building in North Beach."


"While I reserve the right to raise questions as more information comes out about SFFD leadership response to Saturday night’s fire, it was inappropriate to raise them on the scene,” Peskin said in a statement."


"Peskin blasted the chief Saturday night as they both stood in front of a burning residential and commercial building at Union Street and Columbus Avenue, in the commercial heart of Peskin’s district. The supervisor said that the Fire Department had been slow to pour water on the structure and that the chief had not answered his phone calls shortly after the fire started."


READ MORE related to Prisons & Public Safety: Police fired 20 times at South Sacramento man fatally shot while holding a cellphone -- Sacramento Bee's NASHELLY CHAVEZ/BENJY EGEL/ANITA CHABRIA; Sheriff tells Trump of 'spectular failures every single day' in California -- McClatchy DC's FRANCO ORDONEZ; Vasken Gourdikian, the Pasadena police officer indicted for illegal gun sales, resigns -- Pasadena Star News's JASON HENRY/RUBY GONZALES


SF misses deadline on goal set by late mayor of bringing 1,000 people into housing


The Chronicle's DOMINIC FRACASSA/KEVIN FAGAN: "Just weeks before his death late last year, Mayor Ed Lee pledged to get 1,000 homeless people off of San Francisco’s streets by the end of winter."


"Tuesday was the first day of spring, and despite creating a pipeline of shelter spaces expected to open in the coming months, it appears the city has fallen well short of Lee’s ambitious goal — 689 people short, to be exact."


"According to data from the city’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive Services, new initiatives sparked by Lee’s pronouncement in November were responsible for housing just 311 people between Dec. 1 and March 15. Most of those people — 227 — were brought to temporary pop-up shelters."


READ MORE related to Homelessness & Housing: Montebello citizens group asks state Supreme Court to overturn housing project -- Whittier Daily News's MIKE SPRAGUEHomeless mental patients given 'Greyhound therapy' from Las Vegas could get a payout -- Sacramento Bee's CYNTHIA HUBERT; Some OC residents are not happy about proposals to house homeless in their cities -- LA Times's ANH DO


TSA denies accessing data on electronic devices carried by domestic airline passengers


LA Times's HUGO MARTIN: "The Transportation Security Administration said Tuesday that its airport security agents do not scan or review the data held on electronic devices carried by passengers on domestic flights."


"The statement came in a letter to the American Civil Liberties Union chapter in San Francisco, which filed a lawsuit last week demanding that the TSA explain its procedures and policies when searching and scanning electronic devices carried on domestic flights."


"Despite the denial from the TSA, the ACLU said it continues to demand that the TSA provide documentation to prove the agency is not scanning electronic devices."


Austin bombing suspect dies after blowing himself up, police say


WaPo's KRISTINE PHILLIPS/MEAGAN FLYNN/MARK BERMAN: "The suspected serial bomber who terrorized Austin with a slew of exploding packages died early Wednesday after detonating an explosive device in his vehicle as police closed in on him, authorities said."


"Austin police and the FBI tracked the 24-year-old male to a hotel parking lot in Round Rock, about 18 miles north of Austin, where they found him inside his vehicle, Interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said. Officers wanted to wait for tactical units to arrive before engaging the suspect, but he started to drive away."


"The man stopped on the side of the Interstate 35 frontage road, and as Austin SWAT officers approached, the suspect detonated a bomb, knocking one of the officers backward and injuring him, Manley said."


Trump's national security advisers warned him not to congratulate Putin. He did it anyway.


WaPo's CAROL D LEONNIG/DAVID NAKAMURA/JOSH DAWSEY: "President Trump did not follow specific warnings from his national security advisers Tuesday when he congratulated Russian President Vladi­mir Putin on his reelection — including a section in his briefing materials in all-capital letters stating “DO NOT CONGRATULATE,” according to officials familiar with the call."


"Trump also chose not to heed talking points from aides instructing him to condemn the recent poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain with a powerful nerve agent, a case that both the British and U.S. governments have blamed on Moscow."


"The president’s conversation with Putin, which Trump described as a “very good call,” prompted fresh criticism of his muted tone toward one of the United States’ biggest geopolitical rivals amid the special counsel investigation into Russia’s election interference and the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russian officials."


READ MORE related to POTUS45/KremlinGate: Key Senate committee concludes Russian interference; calls for voting reforms -- The Chronicle's CAROLYN LOCCHHEADThe scientist who developed "Novichok": "Doses ranged from 20 grams to several kilos" -- The Bell's SVETLANA REITER/NATALIA GEVORKYANDMZ? Sweden? Washington? Trump-Kim summit site rumors swirl -- AP's ERIC TALMADGE; John Oliver trolls Pence with competing children's book about a bunny -- The Chronicle's RYAN KOST; Trump congratulates Putin on his reelection, and gets blistered by McCain -- LA Times's NOAH BIERMAN/TRACY WILKINSON; Trump meets with Saudi Crown Prince 'MBS' to push arms deals and challenge to Iran -- LA Times's TRACY WILKINSON/NOAH BIERMAN; Trump warns of dire consequences if Dmeocrats take House -- AP's JILL COLVIN


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