In case you missed ’em—here are some of the stories making headlines this week.
Judge Dismisses Student Loan Forgiveness Lawsuit
A conservative judge in Wisconsin has tossed out a lawsuit challenging President Biden’s program to forgive up to $20,000 in debt for millions of borrowers who make less than $400,000 per year.
The Wisconsin Institute of Law & Liberty (WILL) argued the program was illegal Executive overreach that put an undue burden on taxpayers.
However, Court of Appeals Judge William C. Griesbach, who was a President George W. Bush appointee, argued that WILL does not have the grounds to sue, writing in his decision, “The Supreme Court has repeatedly held, however, that the payment of taxes is generally not enough to establish standing to challenge an action taken by the Federal Government.”
WILL Deputy Counsel Dan Lennington responded in a statement that the association will appeal to higher courts, “and then the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.”
U.S. Intel: Dugina Killed By Ukrainian Assassins
U.S. intelligence agents say they now believe parts of the Ukrainian government authorized the August bombing near Moscow that killed Russian media personality, Daria Dugina, the daughter of a hardline Russian nationalist.
U.S. officials said they were not aware of the operation, nor did they take part in it. They further would not disclose to reporters which elements of the Ukrainian government they believed to have authorized the attack, nor whether President Volodymyr Zelensky was involved.
Some U.S. officials did tell reporters they are holding to earlier suspicions that Dugina’s father, Alexander Dugin, popularly referred to as “Putin’s Brain,” was the intended target of the assassination, as he was initially supposed to be in the car that detonated.
Moreover, while Russia has not enacted a specific retaliation against the bombing, the U.S. has expressed concern that a Ukrainian attack inside Moscow could widen the parameters of the war.
Appeals Court Rules Against DACA—But It Stays for Now
The conservative leaning 5th Circuit court of appeals has stayed a lower court’s ruling calling unlawful the Obama Administration program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, that protects migrants brought to this country as children, known as “Dreamers.” However, the court sent the case back to a lower court to consider a new Biden Administration regulation.
The ruling allowed the current 594,000 DACA enrollees to maintain their status but continues to block new applicants.
The court’s decision stems from a 2018 lawsuit by Texas and a coalition of GOP attorneys general who sued to end DACA. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has not commented on the ruling.
A DOJ spokesperson said the Justice Department “respectfully disagrees with the decision and will vigorously defend the lawfulness of DACA as the case proceeds.”
Trump Asks Supreme Court to Weigh in on Mar-a-Lago Case
Former President Trump on Tuesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in his dispute with the Department of Justice over documents marked classified that were taken by the FBI in the execution of its August 8 search warrant on his country club residence, Mar-a-Lago.
Trump asked the Court to reverse an 11th Circuit order that allowed the DOJ to review the seized documents, arguing that the appellate court lacks jurisdiction.
The former President wants the Court to ensure that the more than 100 documents marked as classified are part of the special master’s review. The request, if granted, could bolster the Trump’s attempt to legally challenge the search and have the documents returned to him.
Justice Clarence Thomas oversees the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit. He has given the DOJ until next Tuesday, October 11, at 5pm to respond to Trump’s application.
White House and Oil Companies Feud as Gas Prices Tick Up Again
Gas prices had been on a 99-day decline, but now they’re starting to tick up again, by as much as 60 cents per gallon in some areas, according to The Washington Post.
This has the Biden Administration looking for solutions—and to lay blame—less than five weeks before Election Day. That, in turn, has ExxonMobil chafing at pressure from the White House to redirect some of its energy from exporting fuel around the world to shoring up inventories at home.
In response, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a recent statement, “[A] company that made nearly $200 million in profit every single day last quarter misreads the moment we are in. These companies need to focus less on taking every last dollar off the table, and more on passing through savings to their customers.”
The American Petroleum Institute and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers then responded to Granholm, accusing the Administration of “contradictory energy policies and rhetoric.”
Candidate Says He’ll Sue Over Abortion Reports
U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker (R-GA) said Tuesday he would sue over what he called a “Democrat attack” and a “flat-out lie,” following a report in The Daily Beast that he paid for an abortion for a former girlfriend in 2009. Walker has said he is pro-life.
The Beast reported, “The woman has receipts—and a ‘get well’ card she says the football star, now a Senate candidate, sent her.”
After Walker appeared on Fox News and said he did not know the woman “at all,” The Daily Beast reported Wednesday that she agreed to reveal that she is also the mother of one of Walker’s children.
Florida GOP Lawmakers Voted Against FEMA Funding
Hill watchers are noting that when Congress passed a stopgap funding bill last Thursday to avoid a government shutdown, it contained $18.8 billion in FEMA funds to cover climate-fueled worsening natural disasters that hurricane-embattled states can use to speed recovery.
The bill passed despite widespread Republican opposition—including opposition from all 16 Republican U.S. House Representatives from Florida, now recovering from category 4 Hurricane Ian. Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) also voted against the bill while Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was not present for the vote.
Report: Florida Contractors Recruiting Venezuelan Migrants
The New York Post is reporting that “scores of Venezuelan migrants,” most of whom have been living in shelters since arriving in New York City, have been piling into vans that recruiters are telling them are heading to Florida to do hurricane clean-up.
Texas officials have been sending thousands of migrants to cities like New York in protest over President Biden’s border policies.
One migrant, who said a woman approached him with a flier, said they were promised $15 per hour, overtime and $15 for food daily.
A van driver told the Post he was under contract with a water and debris company, but attempts by the Post to call the company were unsuccessful.
FEMA told the Post it’s not involved in this recruitment.
Iran’s Ayatollah Blames U.S. & Israel for Protests
Breaking his silence for the first time since protests were sparked across Iran over the death of a woman arrested for improperly wearing her hijab, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday condemned what he called the “rioting” and accused the U.S. and Israel of planning the Iranians’ taking to the streets. He went on to claim the protests were a foreign plot to destabilize his country.
The Ayatollah called 22-year-old Mahsa Amini’s death while in police custody a “tragic accident.”
On Tuesday Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi took a slightly different tone, admitting the Islamic Republic had “weaknesses and shortcomings” while appealing for “national unity.”
However, Raisi also pinned the blame for the protests on Iran’s foreign enemies.