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- 07/01/18--14:05: _Maine Sen. Susan Co...
- 07/01/18--12:29: _French murder convi...
- 07/01/18--13:57: _The 19 best craft b...
- 07/01/18--15:17: _Looking to take a l...
- 07/01/18--15:54: _Tribune editorial: ...
- 07/01/18--15:44: _Man was seated, una...
- 07/02/18--07:56: _Mouse infestation a...
- 07/01/18--17:04: _E.J. Dionne: The on...
- 07/01/18--19:47: _LeBron James agrees...
- 07/01/18--18:06: _Hugh Hewitt: Trump ...
- 07/01/18--18:33: _Homeward bound: Sta...
- 07/01/18--21:38: _Wild: LeBron going ...
- 07/02/18--08:49: _Gehrke: An ambitiou...
- 07/02/18--06:00: _Letter: Let’s see y...
- 07/02/18--06:00: _Letter: Let’s use m...
- 07/02/18--06:00: _Letter: Those again...
- 07/02/18--06:00: _Letters: The streng...
- 07/02/18--06:00: _Letter: Emery Count...
- 07/02/18--12:44: _LGBTQ students want...
- 07/02/18--10:27: _Gov. Chaffetz? Form...
- 07/01/18--15:54: Tribune editorial: Find some common ground on Supreme Court
- 07/01/18--17:04: E.J. Dionne: The only way to win the Supreme Court fight
- 07/01/18--19:47: LeBron James agrees to four-year deal with the Lakers
- 07/01/18--21:38: Wild: LeBron going to the Lakers only adds to West test
- 07/02/18--06:00: Letter: Let’s see your birth certificates, Tribune editorial board
- 07/02/18--06:00: Letter: Let’s use math to solve Utah gerrymandering
- 07/02/18--06:00: Letter: Emery County proposal is not good enough for Utah’s land
Washington • Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a key swing vote on President Donald Trump’s next Supreme Court pick, said Sunday that she would not vote for any judge who wanted to end access to abortion in the United States by overturning Roe v. Wade.
“I would not support a nominee who demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade,” Collins said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” adding that Roe v. Wade established abortion as a “constitutional right.”
In another appearance, on ABC News’ “This Week,” Collins said that any judge who wants to overturn Roe has an “activist agenda” that she thinks goes against the fundamental tenets of U.S. law and the Constitution.
Trump has met with Collins to discuss potential candidates for the Supreme Court, and she said she let him know that she would not support some of the people on the list of 25 judges he’s considering for the critical role on the nation’s highest court. She said she urged him to expand his list.
On the 2016 campaign trail, Trump indicated he would take into account whether a judge would overturn Roe v. Wade when he considered them for a Supreme Court position, and his evangelical base is calling for him to honor his promise. But Trump has changed his rhetoric in the past week after Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced his retirement.
Collins said Trump assured her that he would not ask nominees whether they would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“The president told me in our meeting that he would not ask that question,” she said on CNN. In her ABC News appearance, Collins added that she feels it would be “inappropriate” for Trump to ask that question.
Supreme Court nominees must be confirmed by a majority in the Senate. Republicans have 51 votes, but Sen. John McCain’s health issues may prevent him from voting, meaning Trump would need every other GOP senator’s vote unless a Democrat crossed party lines. Collins and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, are widely considered the critical swing voters. Both women bucked Trump by voting against the health-care overhaul bill last summer, and they have tended to support abortion rights.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, appeared just after Collins on “This Week” and called her Republican colleague’s remarks in support of Roe v. Wade “very heartening.”
Trump has said that he views picking Supreme Court justices as the most important thing he will do as president outside of war and peace. He said at a rally in North Dakota last week that he wants to pick someone who will “be there for 40, 45 years.”
Trump said in an interview on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures” that Kennedy “ended up being a little more neutral than a lot of people would have preferred.” Kennedy cast several decisive votes in support of gay rights and abortion.
Collins has been one of the most bipartisan senators in recent years, and many say this could be one of the most consequential votes of her tenure, one that will test her core values.
“My colleagues on both sides of the aisle know that this vote could be one of the key votes of their entire career,” Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., said during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “If they vote for somebody who’s going to change precedent, it could be a career-ending move.”
Leonard Leo, a lawyer advising the president on his Supreme Court pick, tried to play down the possibility of overturning Roe, saying the matter was largely settled.
“The fact of the matter is — Roe v. Wade is a major precedent,” Leo said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Part of interpreting the Constitution is taking into account major precedents, and that’s going to happen.”
But many on the left and the right believe that Trump’s shortlist of candidates is made up of judges who would be open to scaling back abortion rights because they have been vetted by Leo and conservatives already, so the president doesn’t need to ask the question openly.
“Trump ran on a platform of anti-choice judges and the promise of overturning Roe v. Wade, so it’s hard to imagine how someone would be on that list who he didn’t believe was anti-choice,” said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond who focuses on federal judicial selection.
Paris • A notorious French criminal serving 25 years for murder made an audacious escape from prison Sunday after several heavily armed men landed a helicopter in a courtyard, freed him from a visiting room and carried him away.
It was the second daring escape by Redoine Faid, who once blasted his way out of a different prison with explosives hidden in tissue packs.
His latest escape, from Reau Prison, took only “a few minutes,” France’s Justice Ministry said. Unarmed guards said they could do nothing to prevent it.
Dressed all in black, two men wearing balaclavas and police armbands got off the chopper and entered the prison to look for Faid. They used a grinding machine to open the door to the visiting room, Martial Delabroye, a representative of the guards’ union, told BFM television.
The men set off smoke canisters to hide from video cameras, and the helicopter touched down in the only part of the complex that was not covered by anti-helicopter netting, said another union member, Loic Delbroc.
When the chopper arrived, Faid was meeting with his brother in the visiting room. A third man was holding the pilot at gunpoint, union members said.
French media reported that the three men took the pilot hostage at a flying club in the Paris region. He was later released with no physical injuries.
The helicopter was found burned in the town of Garges-les-Gonesse, in the northern suburbs of Paris. Faid was believed to have left by car along with his accomplices.
French prosecutors opened an investigation into the escape. Investigators were questioning Faid’s brother on Sunday afternoon.
The 46-year-old Faid was serving time for the 2010 death of a young police officer killed during a botched robbery. In the 1990s, he led a gang involved in robbing banks and armored vans. He was arrested in 1998 after three years on the run in Switzerland and Israel, according to French media reports.
Faid was freed in 2009 after serving 10 years. At the time, he swore that he had turned his life around, writing a confessional book about his life of crime and going on an extensive media tour in 2010.
Still, he was the suspected mastermind of the attempted armed robbery in 2010 that led to a high-speed chase and a shootout with police that killed 26-year-old Aurelie Fouquet. He was arrested in 2011.
Serious drinkers choose a beer based on taste.
The rest of us are enticed by an awesome name — especially one tied to Utah culture, scenic landscapes or odd liquor laws.
Utah brewers also know that a marvelous moniker can be marketing gold.
Playful and irreverent names are as old as the state’s craft beer scene. In the mid-1980s, Wasatch Brewing Co.’s Polygamy Porter poked fun at the state’s controversial past and asked: “Why have just one?”
Then there was Uinta Brewing Co.’s St. Provo Girl Pilsner, a take on the famous St. Pauli Girl brand — complete with a buxom blonde on the label. The Uinta name was too close to the original, though, and the company was forced to call the brew Provo Girl Pilsner to avoid a lawsuit.
Through the years, there have been dozens of other clever names, many with double meanings. Many names honor Utah’s most scenic places or its most notable quirks.
The Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control keeps things from getting derogatory or offensive as all beer names — and labels — sold in Utah first must get the state agency’s approval.
So what are Utah’s best craft beer names? Here a list of 19 favorites:
801 Pilsner • (Uinta Brewing Co.) This light-bodied brew dials up one of Utah’s most notable numbers — the 801 area code.
Allosaurus Amber Ale • (Vernal Brewing Co.) Utah’s official state fossil gets its own beer, produced near the dinosaur quarry where more than 50 Allosauraus specimens have been found.
Antelope Amber Ale • (Bonneville Brewing Co.) Not far from this Tooele brewery, the largest publicly owned bison herd roams freely on Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake.
Beckerman’s Brew • (Proper Brewing Co.) The dominant dreadlocks are gone, but Real Salt Lake captain and World Cup veteran Kyle Beckerman is still an inspiration for Utah soccer fans — and this game-day lager.
Blue Law Porter • (Epic Brewing Co.) Made with blackberry puree and spruce tips, it’s a nod to the state tree and the Utah’s conservative liquor laws.
Dead Horse Amber Ale • (Moab Brewery) Oh the irony. This refreshing beer is named for the scenic overlook near Canyonlands National Park where — legend has it — a herd of wild mustangs died of thirst with a view of the Colorado River below.
Elder Brett Saison • (Epic Brewing Co.) This barrel-aged beer, with a helmut-wearing missionary on the label, pokes fun at the proselytizing young men and women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, while also paying homage to Brettanomyces — or Brett — the wild yeast used to make the beer.
Faultline IPA • (Proper Brewing Co.) When the big one hits northern Utah — home to the 240-mile Wasatch Fault — at least we’ll have this hoppy red ale for comfort.
Happy Valley Hefeweizen • (Desert Edge Brewing) Young, refreshing and cheerful describes both this beer and the large Mormon population of Utah County — aka “Happy Valley.”
HipaCrit Sessions IPA • (2 Row Brewing) Sometimes it’s easy to mock the Utah Legislature, as the majority of its members abstain from alcohol for religious reasons, yet still regularly tinker with state liquor laws.
Lake Effect Gose • (Proper Brewing Co.) The Great Salt Lake has a powerful effect on Utah storms, weather patterns and birds. Take, for example, Randall Pink Floyd, the rogue flamingo that lived on the lake and graces the label of this German-style beer.
Marmalade Wheat • (Proper Brewing Co.) Orange peel and citrusy American hops are used to make this beer, named for Salt Lake City’s Marmalade District, where the streets have names like Apricot, Almond and other fruits and nuts.
Outer Darkness Russian Imperial Stout • (Squatters) Those who choose this rich, roasted barley stout — which registers a sinful 10.5 percent alcohol by volume — will no doubt be cast into “outer darkness,” another term for Mormon Hell.
Polygamy Porter • (Wasatch Brewing Co.) Why have just one of these dark beers, especially when you can poke fun at a time in Utah history when having several wives was legal?
Promontory Pale Ale • (Talisoman Brewing). This Ogden-made beer has a golden hue, just like the famous spike that, in 1869, connected the transcontinental railroads at Promontory Point in Northern Utah.
Provo Girl Pilsner • (Squatters) The young woman on the label, once a buxom German blonde, has hung up her lederhosen. Now she is a modern — and modest — female student carrying textbooks. She looks crisp and wholesome, just like this classic Utah beer.
Ready to Fly Amber Ale • (Shades of Pale) Named after the movie “Ready to Fly,” about the U.S. women’s ski jumping team and its successful fight to compete in the Winter Olympics.
RSAle • (Uinta Brewing Co.) Real Salt Lake gets its own American IPA with a mix of tropical fruit flavors and an extra kick of fresh pine.
Spiral Jetty IPA • (Epic Brewing Co.) Made with five types of hops, this bold beer is named for the American sculptor Robert Smithson’s iconic piece of art that juts into the Great Salt Lake.
In the past four weeks he’s spent in Salt Lake City, Tony Bradley has started to hear more feedback than ever about his summer project.
People around the Jazz practice facility have told the 20-year-old center that he looks stronger, more chiseled than he did when he was drafted a year ago out of North Carolina. His body fat percentage is down, his numbers in the weight room are up, and Bradley feels more confident about himself than ever.
“I just look more like an athlete,” he said. “I’ve been getting that a lot since I’ve been back here.”
How that translates to his game, starting Monday night in the Utah Jazz Summer League, will be a key question for Bradley going forward in his NBA career.
The spotlight of Utah’s three-game stretch at Vivint Smart Home Arena this week figures to be on first-round draft pick Grayson Allen, who will make his debut in a Jazz uniform. But summer league is arguably a more important opportunity for Bradley, who played just 29 minutes in nine NBA games last year.
Depending on how this month goes for the Jazz, Bradley figures to be the third (or fourth) center on the roster, not an ideal place for the 2017 No. 28 draft pick to get a significant rise in playing time. The Jazz acknowledged that they picked Bradley, who played just one year for a national championship Tar Heels team, based on the potential of his 6-foot-10 frame and 7-foot-5 wingspan, but at some point, the potential has to show.
It did, in spurts, last year for the Jazz G League affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars. He averaged 15.4 points and 10 rebounds per game while blocking 1.3 shots. But it’s a big jump to get from the Stars to the Jazz rotation, and Bradley has tried to get a head start on it this summer.
The fundamental key to his transformation is in his body, which was bound by baby fat when he first showed up in Salt Lake City. Utah’s strength and conditioning staff has spent a lot of time trying to help Bradley, a former point forward in high school, gain added coordination for his size.
“He was such a young guy last year, he’s just gotta catch up physically,” said assistant Mike Wells, who is coaching the Jazz summer league team this week. “Sometimes it takes the bigger guys just a little bit longer to physically mature to get where they can get everything in the same direction quickly.”
That means working on core strength; on getting a quick second jump; on muscling opponents in the post. Coming to the Jazz after a run to the national championship last season followed by an exhausting predraft process, Bradley didn’t have the same ability to hone in on those qualities as he did this summer.
“A lot slowed down coming into this year, just focusing on my body especially,” he said. “Just being stronger, you can move people in the post. I feel like I’m more powerful and more explosive, even running, even jumping.”
Teammates who played with him last year have been impressed, including Erik McCree, a two-way Jazz player last year who bonded with Bradley over their home state of Florida.
Some things have stayed the same, such as their video game sessions of “NBA 2K.” But there’s been a difference when McCree sees him on the court.
“He’s been working super, super hard,” McCree said. “He’s gonna have a big summer. He’s gonna be a good player.”
Summer league will be the first opportunity to see how well that prediction bears out. Bradley had some ups and downs last year, but as one of the more experienced guys this season, he’s hoping to be more impactful inside and show his NBA skill set. The Jazz appreciate his rebounding, his soft scoring touch and his upside as a rim-protector, but to ensure his place on the team, he’ll need to start translating that potential.
For now, that’s something Bradley is relishing. All he wants is an opportunity. Today, summer league. Tomorrow? Maybe something bigger.
“That’s one of the main things: To show improvement and try to get on the court next year,” he said. “Try to show that I’m ready.”
Utah Summer League schedule<br>The Jazz are hosting a six-game schedule at Vivint Smart Home Arena, with the Jazz playing three games through the week. All games will be broadcast on NBA TV, and all Jazz games will be broadcast on KJZZ. The schedule:<br>Monday<br>Atlanta Hawks vs. Memphis Grizzlies, 5 p.m.<br>Utah Jazz vs. San Antonio Spurs, 7 p.m.<br>Tuesday<br>Atlanta Hawks vs. San Antonio Spurs, 5 p.m.<br>Utah Jazz vs. Memphis Grizzlies, 7 p.m.<br>Thursday<br>Memphis Grizzlies vs. San Antonio Spurs, 5 p.m.<br>Utah Jazz vs. Atlanta Hawks, 7 p.m.
For a small state, Utah has an outsized role to play in filling the current vacancy on the Supreme Court of the United States.
Let’s hope it turns out to be a performance we can be proud of.
Senior Sen. Orrin Hatch, as a long-time member of the Judiciary Committee, will of course be consulted before the White House announces its choice to fill the seat of retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. And he will be a key player in the subsequent confirmation hearings.
Junior Sen. Mike Lee is not only a member of that same committee, but he is on the short list the president has been waving since before he was elected as suitable candidates for the high court. Lee has been in touch with the White House on the matter, though he has, judiciously, declined to disclose whether it is in his role as a candidate or as a senator.
And his brother, Thomas Lee, a member of the Utah Supreme Court, is also on that list.
Elections have consequences, and the party that controls the White House and the Senate has, through the democratic process, won the right to fill the vacancy.
But that doesn’t mean anybody needs to be a jerk about it. A little Utah calm and comity would be very useful in this process.
There is no doubt that any justice selected by this administration, and confirmed by this Senate, will be a conservative Republican. But even that tent includes a great many people with a wide array of skills, talents and experiences.
The politics of the moment are highly polarized, even by the recent standards of the culture wars, the tea party and the last election. It would be a wonderful tonic for the body politic if the coming confirmation process were an exception to that rule.
Surely, Utah’s legal experts could lead a process in which all efforts are made to find and approve a new justice who pleases the Republicans who hold the majority, but who can make a credible case to the Democrats, as well as to the nation, that he or she is a reasonable, thoughtful and well-read jurist.
Someone who may lean to the right but also respect the views of others, especially other members of the court, in seeking consensus rulings in as many cases as possible and resisting any urge to sweep aside standing precedents just because he can.
This would not only benefit the court and the nation. It could even be a good thing for the Republican Party.
The Democrats already feel as though they have a quiver full of emotional issues, issues that break their way, to take to the voters in November. A highly stressful Supreme Court confirmation process could feed those flames even more.
So, for the good of all, the message right now might be to find a nominee who is as close as possible to a consensus candidate.
Is too much to expect, perhaps. But it’s not too much to ask.
Sean Williams sat on the curb, arms outstretched, listening to the at times conflicting commands of the officers threatening to shock him with a Taser.
The male officer, Philip Bernot, the one with the black and yellow Taser trained on Williams’ back, repeatedly told him “legs out!” and “straight out!”
The female officer, Shannon Mazzante, off-camera but just as insistent, also was yelling: “Put your legs straight out and cross them now!”
Their wording — and Williams’ exact movements — mattered immensely because by around 10:30 Thursday morning, their commands had escalated to threats:
“Legs straight out or you’re getting Tased,” Bernot warned.
Moments later, Williams, whose legs were not fully extended, shifted his legs. Bernot then squeezed the trigger, sending Taser prongs and a current of electricity through Williams’s body — and sparking virulent protests about what many claim is an abuse of power against a person who never posed a threat to officers.
“I was tased and I shouldn’t have been tased,” Williams told Lancaster, Pennsylvania, NBC affiliate WGAL at a protest held on the steps of the county courthouse that drew hundreds. “Because I followed every direction that was given to me.”
Juan Almestica, the bystander who heard the commotion and recorded the video of the police interaction, told ABC News that Williams appeared confused at the conflicting commands.
“One of the officers is telling him to put his legs straight, and another one is telling him to cross his legs. There were so many people shouting at him, he didn’t know what to do. Then they tased him because they said he wasn’t listening.”
The video of Williams’ interaction with the officers has riled the city of Lancaster and become the latest exhibit in the debate about whether police are too quick to use physical force — especially against minorities.
Lancaster Mayor Danene Sorace said the video is “of great concern to me.” She pledged a thorough investigation by police and the district attorney’s office and said the incident has strengthened her resolve to put a body camera on every one of the city’s patrol officers.
But that did little to quell the outrage. More than 200 people gathered Friday evening on the steps of the Lancaster County Courthouse, holding signs that said “Police brutality must stop” and “Show us who you serve & protect,” according to Lancaster Online.
“The trust is broken in the community. We have to believe that if we comply with a police officer whether you’re guilty or innocent of anything, that we’ll be treated fairly,” Kevin Ressler, with the Lancaster Action Now Coalition, told WGAL.
The case illustrates a conundrum for police officers, who train extensively on using the right amount of force for each situation.
But how should officers deal with people who are not violent but are noncompliant?
The stakes are particularly high in an age when nearly everyone has a video camera attached to a cellphone and such an interaction can spark online outrage before a suspect is even in handcuffs.
In a statement about the incident, Lancaster police said the video was just a snapshot of a larger, more complex series of interactions.
It started around 10 a.m. Thursday. Someone called 911 saying a person with a baseball bat had “gone after” another person on a street in central Lancaster.
Mazzante was first to arrive, and three people told her that Williams had refused to leave them alone.
The officer told Williams repeatedly to sit down, but he refused to comply, the statement said, telling one of the women that he wanted his Social Security card back.
Bernot was the second officer on the scene and also began shouting instructions to Williams. The statement does not reflect that both officers were issuing commands to Williams at the same time, a detail that is evident in the recording.
According to the statement, the officers wanted Williams to stick his legs out in front of him and to cross his ankles.
“This is done as a measure of control to (ensure) that if someone is going to flee or offer physical resistance, they will have to move their legs under them to do so,” the statement said. “Non-compliance is often a precursor to someone that is preparing to flee or fight with Officers.”
The police department said that officers talked to the people with whom Williams was interacting and that they claimed he was looking to fight, even going home to switch shoes.
Williams maintains that he was not violent or combative with officers at the point of arrest — an assertion reflected in the charges he faced that day.
He was arrested on drug possession and public drunkenness charges — both from a warrant unrelated to Thursday’s call.
Update • The Salt Lake County Health Department allowed this restaurant to reopen on June 29, 2018.
June 27, 2018 • A mouse infestation and other “health hazards” forced the closure of a well-known Chinese restaurant in Salt Lake City on Wednesday.
The Ho Ho Gourmet, 1504 S. State, was shut down by the Salt Lake County Health Department because “there are numerous mouse droppings in the basement preparation and storage areas,“ a report on the website states.
“Open rodent bait stations are stored in the service area,” the report shows.
In all, the Chinese restaurant had 37 violations — 16 that were considered “critical” to human health.
The restaurant will remain closed until the owner has time to fix the problems and health inspectors consider it safe for customers.
Other critical problems found by the health department:
• The walk-in cooler is unable to hold potentially hazardous foods at or below 41 degrees, which can cause bacteria growth.
• The walls in the walk-in cooler are moldy.
• Raw chicken, leaf greens and fried tofu are being held at too high a temperature on a counter.
• Sauces, raw meats and various foods are being held at too high a temperature in the walk-in cooler.
|• The inlet of the crab tank is below the water line.|
• The hand sink is being used for other purposes.
• A chemical spray bottle is not labeled with the common name.
• A food container is being used to store sanitizers, a toxic material.
Boston • When Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., quickly tweeted: “This is the fight of our lives.”
She’s right. But how will the fight be defined and how it can be won?
With Republicans in control of the Senate, the odds favor anyone President Trump picks to fill Kennedy’s seat. But as the mass mobilization to preserve the Affordable Care Act demonstrated, progressives can win battles in the Senate if Democrats hold together and if a handful of Republicans are persuaded that going along with their party will have high political and substantive costs. There is no choice but to mobilize.
Supporters of abortion rights were among the earliest to speak out forcefully against a right-wing nomination from Trump — and his list of possible choices includes only right-wingers. The abortion question takes on a special urgency because Kennedy, while deeply conservative in so many areas, was a relative moderate on social issues. A harder-line conservative could join with the other four conservatives on the court to overturn or substantially roll back Roe v. Wade.
Moderate and liberal voters who had not weighed court appointments heavily in their ballot-box decisions may do so now that the threat to Roe is not theoretical but real. This could also further boost turnout among women strongly opposed to Trump, whom Democrats are counting on this November.
More immediately, Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, will be crucial to stopping a Trump nominee, or at least delaying a vote until after the election. Both support abortion rights and both played important roles in saving the ACA. The pressure on them will be immense.
But for Collins and Murkowski to make a difference, Democratic senators will have to stay united, and opposing a Trump pick could be difficult for those on the ballot this fall in pro-Trump states, particularly three who voted to confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch: Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
They need to be prepared to make a broader argument about how the lives of the people they represent will be affected by the radical nature of conservative jurisprudence.
It would use states’ rights and other doctrines to invalidate environmental, economic and social legislation. With abortion often at the forefront, it’s easy to overlook the judicial right’s goal of bringing the country back to the pre-New Deal days. That’s when justices relied on strict interpretations of property and contract rights — and a narrow view of federal authority — to strike down laws on wages, hours and other forms of business regulation.
As Duke law professor Jedediah Purdy noted in The New York Times, “What is at stake is whether American democracy can overcome the new Gilded Age of inequality and insecurity.”
Senators such as Donnelly, Heitkamp and Manchin need to argue to those who are ambivalent about abortion or even against it that right-wing judges would sanction a plutocratic government with little capacity to defend their interests.
In framing their appeal, they might revisit a series of speeches underscoring the threat of conservative legal thinking given by former Vice President Joe Biden in 2000, when he was a senator.
“The Supreme Court, in case after case, is freely imposing its own view of sound public policy — not constitutional law, but public policy,” Biden told me at the time. “What is at issue here is a question of power, whether power will be exercised by an insulated judiciary or by the elected representatives of the people.”
Speaking on the Senate floor, Biden acknowledged that the phrase “judicial activism” has “often been used by conservatives to criticize liberal judges.” But “the shoe is plainly on the other foot: It is now conservative judges who are supplanting the judgment of the people’s representatives and substituting their own.”
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., showed how this larger point can be made in his initial response to Kennedy’s retirement. “The existing Court’s assault on voting rights, collective bargaining and religious liberty is awful enough — just imagine how bad working people will have it if another right-wing justice joins the Court.” He warned of the court “taking a vicious, anti-worker, anti-women, anti-LGBT, anti-civil rights turn.”
The future of abortion rights is central to the coming battle. But so are civil rights, corporate power and our democratic capacity to correct social injustices. Conservatives should not be allowed to distract attention from the aspects of their agenda that would horrify even many who voted for Donald Trump.
E.J. Dionne writes about politics in a twice-weekly column and on the PostPartisan blog. He is a government professor at Georgetown University, a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution and a frequent commentator on politics for National Public Radio and MSNBC. He is most recently a co-author of “One Nation After Trump.”
Cleveland • LeBron James is leaving home for Hollywood and an iconic team.
The Los Angeles Lakers have a new superstar — L.A.-Bron.
The four-time NBA MVP announced Sunday night that he has agreed to a four-year, $154 million contract with the Lakers, joining one of the league’s most storied franchises and switching conferences to try and dethrone the Golden State Warriors and grow his own legacy.
For the second time in his career, James is saying goodbye to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who drafted the teenage sensation from Akron in 2003 and have to be satisfied with winning just one title in the 11 years they had him.
Unlike his two previous forays in free agency, James did not drag out his decision and made the announcement less than 24 hours after NBA free agency opened.
This Summer of LeBron was barely a fling.
His management agency, Klutch Sports Group, announced his agreement with the Lakers with a simple, short release. It was a stark contrast from eight years ago, when a poorly conceived TV special to announce his departure from Cleveland backfired and damaged James’ image.
James isn’t planning any more comments and there won’t be a welcoming press conference or celebration in Los Angeles, a person familiar with his plans said Sunday night on the condition of anonymity. James will make his next public comments on July 30 in Akron when he opens a public school started by his family foundation.
It was all different this time.
The game’s biggest star will now lead a young Lakers team — run by Lakers Hall of Famer Magic Johnson — that has been overmatched in recent years while rebuilding. But the Lakers will instantly rise with James, a three-time champion who after being swept by the Warriors in this year’s NBA Finals said he is still driven and very much in “championship mode.”
The Lakers’ rich legacy is something that appealed to James and it wasn’t long after his announcement that he heard from Kobe Bryant, who won five titles during 20 seasons with Los Angeles.
“Welcome to the family (at)KingJames,” Bryant said on Twitter . “(hash)lakers4life (hash)striveforgreatness.”
James and Bryant were Olympic teammates and there has been a perceived rivalry between the pair of alpha males. They’re now linked like never before and if James wants to prepare for his eventual life after basketball, who better to learn from than Johnson, who has made a fortune as a business entrepreneur, or Bryant, an Academy Award winner.
The massive Los Angeles market will also provide James with a grander platform for his philanthropy and social activism. He already owns two homes in Southern California and has a film production company.
This is the third time in eight years James has changed teams. After bolting from Cleveland in 2010, he returned in an emotional homecoming four years later, determined to make the Cavs champions. The 33-year-old had previously said he wanted to finish his career in Ohio, and although he’s leaving again, Cavs fans are more forgiving after he ended the city’s 52-year sport title drought in 2016.
Shortly after the announcement, which came in a surprising manner, James posted a three-photo tribute to Cleveland fans on his Instagram account.
“Thank you Northeast Ohio for an incredible four seasons,” James wrote. “This will always be home.”
But there will always be a portion of Cleveland fans disappointed that James left again and that he wouldn’t give the Cavs a longer commitment. His deal with the Lakers is his longest since he signed for six years with Miami in 2010.
James informed the Cavs on Friday that he was not exercising his $35.6 million option and becoming a free agent. While in Los Angeles following a family vacation, he spoke to Cavs general manager Koby Altman moments after free agency opened on Sunday, and it appears that was more a courtesy than a chance for Cleveland to make one last pitch.
Cleveland’s roster was exposed during this year’s finals, and James may not have seen a way for it to improve enough to win a fourth title.
The decision to join the Lakers was not a surprise to his innermost circle, with one person telling AP that it had been presumed for some time that he was headed to Los Angeles next season. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no one authorized that detail be released publicly.
James gave Cleveland something to remember in his final season. He played in all 82 regular-season games and then somehow carried a team that underwent several transformations to a fourth straight conference title and matchup against the Warriors.
As has been the case in the past, James didn’t have enough help as the Cavs were swept, dropping him to 3-6 in the NBA Finals — a record sometimes used to compare him to Michael Jordan.
His stay with the Cavaliers will best be remembered for 2016, when he rallied the Cavs from a 3-1 deficit in the finals to stun the Warriors. James helped seal a Game 7 win with a chase-down block of Andre Iguodala, the signature moment of a career that has shown no signs of decay.
With the Lakers, James will be playing in the Western Conference for the first time and just down the Pacific Coast Highway from the Warriors, the team that has stymied him three times in the past four finals.
The chance to play for one of America’s most storied franchises is a new challenge for James, who prides himself on knowing the game’s history. In Los Angeles, championships are the standard and he’ll feel new pressure in upholding the legacies of Johnson, Bryant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West and other Lakers greats.
It’s now his turn.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is just following the rules. In 2013, then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., used a simple-majority vote to change the Senate’s rules, allowing confirmation of judicial nominees to non-Supreme Court posts by the same simple-majority vote. At that moment, the politics of judicial confirmations entered their end stage: The Senate’s majority now rules on when and who will get confirmed to the federal courts. When McConnell adopted “the Reid Rule” last year for Supreme Court nominees to break Democrats’ filibuster against the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch, he was merely allowing the majority of the Senate to advise and consent.
And when confronted for the first time in decades by a vacancy on the Supreme Court during a presidential election year McConnell invoked the “Biden Rule.” In a June 1992 speech, then-Judiciary Committee chairman Joe Biden said, “It is my view that if a Supreme Court justice resigns tomorrow, or within the next several weeks, or resigns at the end of the summer, President [George H.W.] Bush should consider following the practice of a majority of his predecessors and not - and not - name a nominee until after the November election is completed.”
The “Biden rule” was the Senate equivalent of Supreme Court “dicta,” but McConnell’s “no hearings, no votes” stance in 2016 is an actual precedent. But it is a precedent limited on its facts to vacancies occurring because of a sudden death of a justice in a presidential election year.
The left, clearly hoping for some sort of an upset in the Senate races in the fall, wants to invoke the McConnell precedent to try to generate public opposition to moving forward with a nominee to fill Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat this summer and early fall. It won’t work. The president will quickly nominate a Kennedy replacement. Barring some unforeseen miss in the background check, the nominee will be confirmed, and probably with votes to spare given how many Senate Democrats are facing stiff re-election in states carried by President Donald Trump. Some Democrats, facing the certainty of confirmation, will side with the nominee (and their states’ voters) and try to hang on to their jobs.
The process toward “the majority rules” rules began with the “Borking” of Robert Bork in 1987, when politics entered the confirmation process. That process became even more embittered in the Clarence Thomas hearings. In the subsequent two decades, both parties escalated the use of filibustering and slow-walking nominations. Senate Democrats’ blockade of key nominees in 2001 and 2002 when they held the majority and their serial filibusters of nominees in 2003 and 2004 led to the first threat of the “nuclear option” by then Majority Leader Bill Frist that was averted by the “Gang of 14.” An uneasy peace descended on the Supreme Court nomination process, and though hearings and votes on Justice Samuel Alito were particularly heated, the nominations of Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan proceeded peacefully.
Then came “the Reid Rule.” Clearly, Reid was counting on holding the Senate through 2016 at least, and perhaps beyond. But suddenly the sharpest of double-edged swords was in the GOP’s hands when Republicans took back the Senate in 2014 and with that, control of the confirmation process. They paid back Reid with interest, slowing nominations to a crawl and in 2016, when McConnell declared even before President Barack Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland that no nominee, whatever his or her background, would receive a hearing or a vote.
The people voted. Trump won. Justice Gorsuch filled the Scalia seat, and a Trump nominee will fill the Kennedy seat.
Where we have ended up in 2018 is actually where the framers began when they declared in Article II, Section 2 that the president “shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint . . . judges of the Supreme Court.” The Senate is a majoritarian body now on all nominations and will likely stay that way. If an originalist majority settles in for a long run on the Supreme Court, everyone can send thank-you notes to Reid.
Hugh Hewitt, a Washington Post contributing columnist, hosts a nationally syndicated radio show and is author of “The Fourth Way: The Conservative Playbook for a Lasting GOP Majority.”
John Tavares needed to post only one picture on his Twitter account to explain the grip the Maple Leafs have had on him since he was a youngster growing up in suburban Toronto.
The photo featured a not-yet-10-year-old Tavares in bed, asleep on a pillowcase and under a blanket adorned with Maple Leafs logos, and accompanied by a note that read: “Not everyday you can live a childhood dream.”
In bidding farewell to the New York Islanders, where he was the captain and face of the franchise since being drafted with the No. 1 pick in 2009, Tavares chose Toronto and agreed to a seven-year, $77 million contract about an hour after the NHL’s free-agency signing period opened Sunday.
The 27-year-old Tavares spent last week assessing offers from the Islanders, San Jose, Toronto, Dallas, Tampa Bay and Boston. He called his decision the toughest of his life in choosing between staying in New York or taking “a calculated leap of faith into an opportunity I believe will be special to me and my family.”
In the end, he was unable to avoid the lure Toronto presented, and informed the Maple Leafs he had chosen them late Saturday night.
“I just felt this opportunity was just so rare, the timing of where the organization’s at, and obviously the connection being from here,” Tavares said. “I really believe there’s a big window here to win, to be part of something special. It just felt right.”
Tavares, whose 306 points over the past four seasons rank sixth among players over that span, was the highest-profile player to hit the market since the Minnesota Wild signed both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to matching 13-year, $98 million contracts.
Tavares’ signing led to a domino effect in player movement.
Toronto lost two forwards in free agency. James van Riemsdyk left the Maple Leafs after six seasons to return to Philadelphia, where he signed a five-year, $35 million contract. The Leafs also lost center Tyler Bozak, who signed a three-year, $15 million contract with St. Louis, which later on beefed up down the middle by acquiring Ryan O’Reilly in a blockbuster trade with the Buffalo Sabres.
Some of money the Lightning saved by not landing Tavares was spent on signing defenseman Ryan McDonagh to a seven-year, $47.25 million extension, which kicks in next summer.
Paul Stastny caused another ripple of moves in the Western Conference. He left Winnipeg to sign a three-year, $19.5 million contract with the Stanley Cup finalist Vegas Golden Knights — a spot left open after David Perron returned to St. Louis by signing a four-year, $16 million deal.
Vegas forward James Neal is among the more high-profile free agents still unsigned.
In Nashville, the Predators will turn their attention to negotiating a contract extension with defenseman Ryan Ellis, who is entering the final year of his contract. The Ottawa Senators are expected to do the same with their captain, Erik Karlsson.
Tavares’ signing has the potential of shifting the balance of power in the Eastern Conference.
He joins a young, talented group that already features Auston Matthews, the 2016 draft’s No. 1 pick, a veteran presence in Patrick Marleau and a top coach in Mike Babcock.
The Leafs, who haven’t won a championship since their last Stanley Cup Final appearance in 1967, have made strides in three years since Babcock’s arrival. Toronto has made the playoffs in each of the past two seasons after qualifying just once in the previous 11. And yet, they have not advanced past the first round since 2004.
Tavares specifically referenced Matthews and 21-year-old center Mitchell Marner, who led the Leafs with 69 points last season as reasons to be optimistic.
“They’ve accomplished so much in such little time. You can only think about the trajectory they’re on, and that’s what gets me excited,” Tavares said.
The Islanders experienced struggles even with Tavares by qualifying for the playoffs just three times in nine seasons.
Now they face a daunting uphill climb minus their unquestioned leader and point-a-game producer. In a bid to retain Tavares, the team underwent an organizational makeover in recent months. They hired Lou Lamoriello as president of hockey operations and fresh Stanley Cup winner Barry Trotz as coach.
“The New York Islanders would like to thank John Tavares for everything he has done for the franchise throughout his nine seasons,” Lamoriello said in a statement released by the team. “We wish him and his family all the best.”
Bruins GM Don Sweeney expressed one lament in losing out on signing Tavares.
“I would have preferred it not be in our division,” Sweeney said, referring to Tavares making the switch from the Metropolitan to Atlantic Division. “We put our best foot forward. It just didn’t fall our way.”
Other notable deals:
• Veteran defenseman Jack Johnson signed a five-year, $16.25 million contract with Pittsburgh. The 31-year-old Johnson is a 12-year NHL veteran, who spent the past six-plus seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
• The Colorado Avalanche added two former Blue Jackets in signing defenseman Ian Cole and forward Matt Calvert to three-year deals. Cole gets $12.75 million and Calvert gets $8.4 million.
• The Sabres filled a need at goaltender by signing former St. Louis Blues backup Carter Hutton to a three-year, $8.25 million deal. Hutton will share the starting duties with Linus Ullmark, who is pegged to make the jump to Buffalo after three seasons in the minors.
• The Arizona Coyotes signed All-Star defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson to an eight-year contract extension that averages $8.25 million per year.
• The San Jose Sharks announced a $64 million, eight-year extension with center Logan Couture.
• The New York Rangers agreed to sign restricted free-agent forward Vladislav Namestnikov to a two-year, $8 million deal.
Kevin Durant, Paul George and Chris Paul all made quick decisions to stay put and remain in the Western Conference.
And now LeBron James is joining them.
Just like that, the West got even wilder.
Day 1 of NBA free agency was not lacking for fireworks or firepower, led by James’ decision to leave Cleveland for a second time and join the Los Angeles Lakers. James agreed to a four-year deal worth $154 million, meaning his streak of eight consecutive Eastern Conference championships — four with Miami, four with the Cavs — will end next year.
He could still go to the NBA Finals, of course. He’s just going to have a much tougher time getting there out of the West.
Compared to his past free-agent decisions, James moved super swiftly — it took him eight days to reveal in 2010 that he was going to Miami, 11 days in 2014 to say he was going back to Cleveland. This time, it took about 20 hours.
Durant, George and Paul were way faster than that.
The bonanza started Saturday night when Durant decided to sign a two-year, $61.5 million deal with the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors, one where he’ll make $30.5 million this season. The terms were confirmed by a person familiar with the situation who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal cannot become official until the league’s offseason moratorium ends this week.
The deal comes with a player option for 2019-20, so Durant can — and likely will — become a free agent again next summer.
George and Paul made their announcements known not long afterward. George told a party in Oklahoma City that he’s staying with the Thunder, after agreeing to terms on what is a $137 million, four-year deal that comes with an option for the final season. Paul made his intentions known on Twitter at exactly midnight EDT Sunday, saying he’s staying with the Houston Rockets after agreeing to a four-year contract worth $160 million.
All three of those players will have designs on a title next season.
As if getting through one another won’t be tough enough, James is now coming to join the party. By the time he announced, just over $900 million worth of new deals had been agreed upon, based on figures confirmed to the AP by people involved in the various decisions — almost all of that money getting committed by teams in the West.
And all those clubs — Golden State, Oklahoma City, Houston, the Lakers, even Denver by locking up Nikola Jokic for $150 million and Will Barton for $54 million — could definitively say they were thrilled. More big moves in the West are possible, especially with DeMarcus Cousins still available in free agency and a candidate to return to New Orleans.
Durant’s move means the Warriors not only got to keep the 2017 and 2018 NBA Finals MVP, but they also get some financial flexibility in the deal since he could have gotten more money had the deal been structured differently.
For the Thunder, the win was that their risk paid off. Trading for George a year ago was panned by some critics, presumably because of the belief that he was already focused on joining his hometown Los Angeles Lakers in free agency.
That move isn’t happening.
Not now, anyway, and barring a trade not for at least three years in what will be considered a massive victory for the Thunder and general manager Sam Presti.
“I’m here to stay,” George told the crowd at the party.
In Houston, Paul has told Rockets fans the same thing.
“UNFINISHED BUSINESS,” Paul wrote on Twitter at the exact moment that the calendar flipped to July 1 in the East, meaning the NBA’s free agency frenzy was officially open for the summer.
Houston took Golden State to seven games in the Western Conference finals back in May. Paul missed the last two games of that series with an injury, and the Rockets wasted big leads in both of those games — then had to watch the Warriors sweep Cleveland for the NBA title.
Paul averaged 18.6 points and 7.9 assists last season with the Rockets, who went 65-17 led by Paul and newly minted NBA MVP James Harden. ESPN reported he is signing a four-year deal that will be worth $160 million.
They were the initial wave. Sunday evening, James made his move.
He flew to Los Angeles on Saturday, creating a frenzy without saying a word.
Turns out, James was flying to his new home James spent the week vacationing in Anguilla. He’s the next superstar to follow in the legacy that Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson built for the Lakers.
Philadelphia star Joel Embiid weighed in on Twitter saying, “The Lakers are FOREVER gonna be Kobe’s and Magic’s team.... Process that.”
The 76ers met with James’ representatives Sunday, obviously to no avail. Embiid’s opinion notwithstanding, the Lakers are James’ team now.
And the East, for the first time in nearly a decade, will have a new king next spring.
Back when I would still occasionally swing a golf club, Wingpointe was my Kryptonite. Thanks to my unshakable snap hook, the little pond in the center of the course gobbled up at least six balls in one round alone and ended up with my 4-iron in its murky depths.
Today, my old nemesis has fallen into a sorry state after it shut down in 2015. The once-vexing greens are just dirt and dead grass, and weeds have overrun the fairways.
But an effort is underway by a group of well-connected political types and golf nuts to revive and even improve the old links into a championship-caliber course. It won’t be easy — it will take an act of Congress, not to mention somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 million, to bring it back to life.
And this is a crucial point: If they were looking for taxpayers to foot the bill, no way. Taxpayers pay enough to subsidize golfers already. They’re planning to do all of it without any government money. Several major corporate sponsors have been approached and discussions are ongoing.
The notion is getting at least conditional support from Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski.
“This is one of those that hits me in the heart and I really want to see this golf course come back to life,” she said.
The first step, the mayor said, is getting a business plan so she and the City Council can work out details with the airport authority board.
There will be plenty to do and not a lot of time to do it.
The goal is to reopen the course in conjunction with the completion of the reconstruction of the Salt Lake City International Airport in 18 months, which means work has to begin by February, said Terry Buchen, a golf agronomist.
The entire course will have to be redesigned, said Steve Forrest, a noted golf course architect who partnered with Arthur Hills on Wingpointe’s original design and toured the course this week.
Originally, the course was designed based on the assumption top-flight golfers would hit about 270 yards off the tees; players can now drive the ball 300 yards or more — or as I call it: three wedge shots and a Mulligan.
The irrigation system will have to be rebuilt, cart paths pulled up, greens resurfaced and bunkers replaced.
The airport bought the land in 1970 and had leased it to the city for $1 per year. But the Federal Aviation Administration told the airport it had to start charging fair-market value. The lease was eventually renegotiated, but in the meantime it went without maintenance, the irrigation system sprung a leak and the greens withered.
Rep. Chris Stewart added a rider to the Federal Aviation Administration’s budget bill that would allow the FAA to sign a long-term lease to the land. Right now, that bill is waiting for a vote in the Senate, which could come in September or October, said Gary Webster, Stewart’s district director.
There are a couple of other novel twists in the planning, as well. Maintenance work and groundskeeping on the course would be done by inmates at the new state prison, being built about 2 miles away, as part of a work-training program.
The University of Utah golf team wants to use the revitalized course as a practice facility, said coach Garrett Clegg. And a nonprofit, First Tee of Utah, wants to run youth programs for kids in the surrounding Glendale and Rose Park neighborhoods, said executive director Paul Pugmire.
“Golf is an institution for me to be able to help minority kids. This is a game that will help kids learn life lessons,” said Kelepi Finau, the father of professional golfer Tony Finau, who taught his sons to play at Wingpointe and other neighborhood courses.
And really, what else can we do with that land around the airport that could someday be surrounded by the envisioned inland shipping port?
So I’m hoping they can pull this off and maybe by 2020 I can get another shot at conquering the reviled Wingpointe golf course.
The Tribune challenges me to prove that I am a citizen? (“Due process for all,” June 26).
Can you please explain how a birth certificate could “prove” my citizenship? I have a certificate showing that a person of the name I use was born in the United States on the date that I claim as my birthday. But there’s nothing to connect me to that person. I cannot “prove” that I am he.
I challenge birthers (and the editorial board) to prove their own citizenship!
W. Paul Wharton, Salt Lake City
If we are going to have an unbiased, nonpartisan commission to create voting districts, let’s actually set it up so representation is as local as possible.
There are some simple mathematical ways to create the smallest geographic districts possible with equal populations. One method is to determine how many districts are needed and divide the populations equally, and then require that the sum of the distances from each citizen to the center of his/her district be minimized.
Alternatively, the total length of the boundaries of the districts could be minimized. Either way, we will have districts that are as local as they can be, and the algorithms are simple to implement and completely unbiased.
Alan K. Jones, Millcreek
The group that launched a petition to stop construction on the old Cottonwood Mall site has a vision without a plan to back it up. This piece of land has always been zoned commercial but there is no way it will be 100 percent retail. The public would not support such a far-fetched venture.
The area near Highland Drive and Murray-Holladay Road is bounded on the east by a power substation, the south by a vacant commercial property, the west by a strip mall and the north by another strip mall. No views are being blocked; that is a lame excuse. It has also been shown that traffic patterns would be less than when the Cottonwood Mall was thriving. Face up to the fact that not everyone is going to leave home at the same time. The petition proponents indicate a population of 3,000 people at this site but have not provided any information as to how they arrived at this figure.
After many planning sessions and considerable public input, a final plan had unanimous support of the city council. Our city government worked very hard with the developers to find the best plan for Holladay. They were elected to do just that — let them do their job! The alternative is a flat, weedy pile of dirt for another 10 years or longer.
We have been residents for 55 years and love our city. Let’s not take a step backward now.
Bernice and Lynn Anderson, Holladay
Trump is not going away anytime soon, as syndicated columnist Rich Lowry so aptly described in a June Tribune op-ed.
And since intelligent appeals to reason, in deference to Mr. Lowry, haven’t worked for nearly a quarter-century with others of Trump’s ilk, it seems highly unlikely that such overtures will have any effect on the president. And let’s face it, folks, there’s never been anything quite like the Donald when it comes to lying, cheating, financial corruption and the merciless vilification of our most esteemed institutions.
Amazingly, Trump’s opposition (i.e., the so-called fake media) did much aiding and abetting of their own through their senseless coverage of Trump events. But most damaging of all has been the shameless way top officials have given tacit approval to these outrages.
Now, America finds itself at the crossroads. Trump’s opposition can either continue down its current path of politeness, hand-wringing and righteous indignation or pursue a more aggressive course. Maybe there are even a few starry-eyed optimists out there who believe a juggernaut will emerge to slay the beast that is Donald Trump.
After all, a strong message means nothing if the messenger is weak. But if the Democrats are waiting for a knight in shining armor to carry their message and save the day, they’d better think again, because the strength of America has always been through mass protest. The juggernaut that America so desperately seeks is America itself. The masses have conquered bigger obstacles than Donald Trump and they will conquer yet another. But time is of the essence.
Thomas R. Smith, Salt Lake City
I was appalled to hear that there was only one witness — an Emery County spokesman — at a hearing last week for a bill that will determine the fate of public lands in Emery County, including the San Rafael Swell, a geologic wonderland beloved by many.
Do we need again to remind Sen. Orrin Hatch and Rep. John Curtis that public lands are also that heritage of Utahns outside Emery County and all Americans, and that legislation for this treasured area should reflect our interests too?
In an email responding to my phoned complaint, Rep. Curtis described the bill as "striking a delicate balance.” In reality, it caters utterly to the wishes of Emery County officials.
It enshrines in place a thousand miles of roads and routes that slice up the wild character of the Swell, making an end run around a court settlement that requires a new review of how these routes harm cultural artifacts, natural values and the simple quiet. It designates less Bureau of Land Management land as wilderness than is already being protected as wilderness study areas or natural areas, leaving nearly 900,000 acres of wilderness-quality lands vulnerable to future degradation.
I say: “Not good enough!” Will anyone listen?
Thomas H. Laabs-Johnson, Sandy
Brigham Young University has 257 recognized clubs on its private and conservative Provo campus. There’s the Abracadabra magician society, a band of Shakespeare enthusiasts, six a cappella choirs, a rollerskating league and one group that calls itself Unraveling Pornography.
An additional 97 are listed on the school’s student association website as “not recognized.” For reasons unknown, that includes the Jane Austen Regency Club and the scuba team. (The “Weird Al” Yankovic Fan Club falls under the equally nebulous “restricted” category; the university did not return calls for clarification.)
But at least one group, Understanding Same Gender Attraction, doesn’t appear anywhere — not even named among the unofficial clubs — though the LGBTQ group formed in 2010, has 100 members and has met almost every week since.
The school has yet to act on its application, which was submitted three years ago. The delay, frequently cushioned by promises from administrators that it will get approved soon, maybe next month, maybe this fall, has begun to feel intentional. Did they think the students might eventually give up? Did they ever plan to give them the green light?
“We’ve been talking with BYU for a long time and still nothing has happened,” said Liza Holdaway, the club’s current president. “We’ve never been given concrete answers of what we should change or what we should do.”
Now, in the quiet of summer semester and with mounting frustration, members are renewing their efforts with the hope of finally getting recognized. Their sights are set on approval by the end of the year.
‘We want them to have a place’
BYU is owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As such, its policies must be in accordance with the faith’s practices. (Its board of trustees, for instance, is made up, in part, by the church’s president, officers of the First Presidency and members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.)
The Mormon church teaches that same-sex attraction is not a sin but that acting on it is. Accordingly, BYU’s stringent Honor Code forbids “not only sexual relations between members of the same sex, but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings.” Students who don’t abide by it — say, they are seen holding hands or kissing — are widely expected to be disciplined.
But even those who do follow the guidelines say it’s easy to feel ashamed or unworthy, isolated or unwelcome. And leaving the application for Understanding Same Gender Attraction pending for so long, Holdaway said, only adds to the potluck of lousy emotions for LGBTQ students.
“We want them to have a place. We want them to get that love that they need.”
BYU formed a working group in late 2016 to study the club’s proposal, as well as other ways to support gay, bisexual and transgender students. A year later, a few club members were invited to participate and provide input.
At least three times since then, club members say, the working group’s administrators and faculty led them to believe they were on the verge of being approved. The biggest letdown came in March after the group planned two landmark on-campus forums — with attendance that filled the auditoriums, aisles and overflow rooms — to discuss how to reconcile gender identity with faith.
That was supposed to be a sort of kickoff event that would precede an announcement. Then the students were told it wouldn’t happen until fall. Then they were told it likely wouldn’t happen this year after all.
“They kind of just strung us along over time,” said Robert McClellan, who drafted the group’s first application in 2015. “They would hold out these carrots, but … I don’t think they ever actually intended to work with us.”
In a written statement, Casey Peterson, BYU’s associate dean of students, said he has met with the club’s leaders for several years and also “other great students seeking to educate, support, strengthen and assist LGBTQ and [same-sex attracted] individuals and allies.”
“By endorsing one group of students and formally bringing them on to campus, I have worried about hurting other groups of students equally invested in assisting and serving,” he said.
It’s unclear what other groups he’s referring to. Understanding Same Gender Attraction is the only established organization of LGBTQ students studying at BYU.
Holdaway said the club is planning to push back, mostly out of frustration, but hopefully with workable compromises to have some kind — any kind — of physical representation on campus. Meanwhile, the administration has asked the group to focus more on planning events like the panels rather than continuing to fight for a club. The reason: The board of trustees is in transition now with a new LDS president, Russell M. Nelson, this year.
But even without that major change in the church, there’s always been something to point to, said Addison Jenkins, a current urban planning student and Understanding Same Gender Attraction president from 2015 to 2017. Before the new church president, he was told they couldn’t form the club because of a 2006 interview with two church leaders — Elders Dallin H. Oaks and Lance B. Wickman — who discouraged people “getting involved with any group or organization that foster living a homosexual lifestyle.”
“I don’t even know what ‘living a homosexual lifestyle’ means,” Jenkins said with a laugh while strongly suggesting that even if he did, this group is not fostering it. It’s not a support group, not an advocacy organization, not a hookup club and definitely not an underground meeting of atheists, as he said has been rumored.
“We are a service organization that speaks to saving and improving the lives of LGBT students at BYU.”
Why, he wonders, is that such a problem?
‘Screaming at a brick wall’
Currently, the group meets off campus every Thursday at the Provo City Library. Some students won’t attend because they don’t have transportation. Others won’t because they fear it’s not BYU-approved and they’ll be turned in to the Honor Code Office.
“BYU is sending the message that its LGBT students are not good enough or not worthy enough to be able to start their own club,” Jenkins said. “I think that’s an incredibly damaging message.”
The group has drafted a new charter that outlines how it upholds school policy and the faith’s beliefs. It has a website mocked up and byu.edu server space waiting. It has picked out faculty advisers (who did not return calls for comment).
All of that was submitted in February, a few weeks before the big student panels. They’re ready. They’re just waiting for the OK that never comes.
“It feels like we’re screaming at a brick wall,” said JD Goates, a recently graduated student and former president of the group. “I really hope that they move along. I am sad and I am angry that it couldn’t happen when I was there.”
Goates attended BYU from 2011 to 2018, with a two-year break to serve a church mission. He’s astounded that in seven years, there was no movement, despite his telling the school about several LGBTQ students who felt unable to find a community that supported them and who would rather have been straight and dead than gay and alive.
“There are people wanting to kill themselves,” he said, “and they are doing nothing about it.”
Jordan Sgro, chief program officer at Encircle, a resource center in Provo for queer individuals, said she sees BYU students come in every day. “There’s this feeling at BYU that if you’re LGBTQ, then you’re on the outside.”
Sgro, who is gay, attended the school and promised never to go back after graduation. The environment has improved a bit, she said, but more can be done to foster inclusivity — including accepting Understanding Same Gender Attraction.
‘It would mean a lot’
As soon as she left the meeting, Kaitlynn Wright knew one thing: “that I wanted to go back.”
It had taken a year for her to attend a Understanding Same Gender Attraction event. She’d seen the group on Facebook in December 2015. She’d wanted to go. But, after growing up in the church, she had suppressed her attraction to women because she felt it was “evil.”
By January 2017, though, she had come out to herself as gay and decided to check out the off-campus club.
“It was really great to find other people who understood where I was coming from,” she said. “But there was a lot of fear knowing that it wasn’t BYU official.”
Wright, who graduated in April, participated in the March student panels and helped draft the club’s new charter. She’s also a member of the working group that has been studying the issue. She was told that if the administration does decide to allow an LGBTQ group on campus — which has been routed to the board of trustees while every other club goes only through the BYU student association for approval — it likely would be a newly formed organization, not Understanding Same Gender Attraction.
While that’s not ideal, she said, at least it would be something, at least she would know the school had actually looked at the proposal, that it was decisive in wanting to make things better for students.
“I think it would mean a lot for people like me to know that there’s something official, that’s BYU approved.”
Holdaway and Jenkins said much the same. After years of submitting applications and waiting, they just want to see a club under the “recognized” list on the school’s website.
And they intend to continue fighting until they do.
One year after retiring from Congress, former Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz says he’s a “definite maybe” on running for governor in 2020.
And a new poll, commissioned by The Salt Lake Tribune and the Hinckley Institute of Politics, suggests Chaffetz could be an early frontrunner if that “maybe” switches to a “yes.”
“I’m truly humbled by the trust people continue to put in me,” Chaffetz, a Fox News contributor, said of the poll results. “We’ll wake up a year and a half from now and see where we’re at.”
Out of 510 Republican and unaffiliated voters, 25 percent indicated they would mostly likely support Chaffetz out of a list of five presumed and potential 2020 Republican candidates.
Chaffetz was followed by Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox (with 16 percent), Attorney General Sean Reyes and Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah (both with 9 percent), and Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper (3 percent). All of these men have been rumored to consider a run. The poll focused on Republican candidates, as the state skews conservative and no high-profile Democrat has yet hinted at a run.
“Those are all good names on the list and inevitably there’s somebody that hasn’t let their name surface,” Chaffetz said. “There are a number of people who could do this.”
An additional 37 percent of poll participants indicated either “don’t know” or “other” when asked about the candidate list.
The poll was conducted by the Hinckley Institute between June 11 and June 18. This question has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.
Cox said “it seems crazy” to talk about 2020 in the middle of the 2018 election cycle.
“The governor and I are focused on serving as we were elected to do,” he said. “But it’s safe to say that a farmer from Sanpete County would enter any statewide race as an underdog.”
Gov. Gary Herbert has stated that he will not seek re-election in 2020, when his current term ends.
Hughes is in his final year as a member of the Utah House. And Bishop, a member of the U.S. House since 2003, has said that November’s election will be his last for that office.
Kyle Palmer, Bishop’s campaign manager, said the only election on Bishop’s mind is his current congressional race.
“He hopes to represent the 1st District of Utah and is also working to help re-elect conservatives across the country so Republicans can maintain control of the House,” Palmer said.
Alan Crooks, a campaign advisor for Reyes, said “we don’t give a flip about a Salt Lake Tribune poll.”
Hinckley Institute Director Jason Perry said the poll suggests more about name recognition than potential campaign success. Between now and 2020, he said, candidates should watch for how their numbers increase or decrease on this type of polling.
“At this point in the cycle, those are really numbers that reflect whether their names are known in the community,” Perry said. “That can be instructive in lots of ways.”
Chaffetz was preferred by both men and women, and across all age groups sampled by the poll. But unaffiliated voters preferred Cox — 17 percent to 14 percent — while 30 percent of Republican voters supported Chaffetz compared with 16 percent for the lieutenant governor.
Hughes did not respond to a request for a comment.
The results are similar to those of an October 2017 poll, conducted for The Tribune by Dan Jones and Associates. At the time, Chaffetz was supported by 24 percent of participants out of a list of seven candidates that included Democrat Ben McAdams, who is currently running for Utah’s 4th Congressional District against Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah.
The earlier poll also included responses from registered Democrats, compared with the focus on Republican and unaffiliated sample in the latest results.