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NY Attorney General Issues Subpoena in Cuomo Book Investigation

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Letitia James

A grand jury subpoena has been issued as part of a criminal investigation into whether former Governor Andrew Cuomo violated state law by using his staff to work on his book. New York attorney general Letitia James’s office subpoenaed a state ethics board for the records “pertaining to former governor Andrew Cuomo’s memoir on the early months of the coronavirus pandemic” reports National Review.

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE), the state’s watchdog panel, approved Cuomo’s application to receive outside income from the memoir. “But critics have ripped the green light as opaque and improper, since it was subject to internal approval by JCOPE staffers, instead of by a full panel vote” reports The New York Post.

Republican-appointed JCOPE Commissioner Gary Lavine would not “confirm or deny what the subject of the subpoena is” but said it was received “several months ago, at the beginning of the summer.”

Lavine told the Post “there is a grand jury, otherwise, the subpoena would not have been issued. The subpoena was served on the commission. However, it has been interpreted to apply to each commissioner individually. In other words, the commission received the subpoena institutionally – I was never served a subpoena but it has been interpreted that the subpoenas apply to each commissioner including me.”

Lavine explained, “there’s a dispute going on about whether the rescinding of the book approval should be in the public or the private session.” The Post reports the criminal probe is investigating if Cuomo improperly used state resources for the book’s production, including “the drafting, editing, sale and promotion of the Governor’s book and any related financial or business transactions.”

“Cuomo’s office claimed state officials volunteered their time to work on the book during the summer of 2020, but it has been revealed that top staffers like SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras helped edit and fact-check the book, at the request of former Cuomo top aides Melissa DeRosa and Stephanie Benton” reports the Post.

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Politics

‘Every Word Of This Is False’: Ted Cruz Factchecks Ilhan Omar’s Attack On Coach Kennedy Prayer Case

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Rep. Ilhan Omar

On Monday night, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) factchecked Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) after she made multiple false claims about the Supreme Court ruling in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, in which the Court ruled 6-3 that a public high school football coach in Washington state had his First Amendment rights violated when he was punished by his school district for praying on the field after games where students could see.

As previously reported, “In 2008, high school football coach Joseph Kennedy began a tradition of praying at midfield after each game. Over time, his players and even members of the opposing team began to join him. In September 2015, a school administrator addressed the matter with Kennedy after an opposing team complained and the coach briefly stopped his prayers.”

“On October 14, 2015, Kennedy told the school district that he was planning on resuming his prayer tradition at the next game. The school district told the coach that his prayers violated the district’s policy, but Kennedy continued to pray at the next two games. The school district subsequently placed him on administrative leave, banned him from participating in the football program, and refused to renew his contract for the following season. Kennedy took the issue to federal district court, arguing that the school district had violated his First Amendment rights,” the report added.

In response to the Supreme Court ruling in favor of Kennedy, Omar tweeted, “The Supreme Court just ruled that public school teachers can pressure students to join in prayer at public school events but can also retaliate against those that don’t join in. Religious freedom is dead in America.”

“Every word of this is false,” Cruz responded.

Omar’s claim that the Supreme Court’s decision allowed to teachers to “pressure students to join prayer” is false. The Court’s ruling just protected Coach Kennedy’s religious freedom to pray publicly.

Omar was also incorrect in claiming that there would be retaliation against students who did not join Kennedy in prayer – the coach’s tradition of praying after games began with him praying alone at midfield after football games. Kennedy’s school district even noted that Kennedy had “not actively encouraged, or required, participation.”

Additionally, in contrast to Omar’s claim that “religious freedom is dead in America,” the Supreme Court ruling actually strengthened protections of religious freedom.

Writing for the majority opinion, Justice Neil Gorsuch explained, “Respect for religious expressions is indispensable to life in a free and diverse Republic—whether those expressions take place in a sanctuary or on a field, and whether they manifest through the spoken word or a bowed head.”

“Here, a government entity sought to punish an individual for engaging in a brief, quiet, personal religious observance doubly protected by the Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses of the First Amendment,” Gorsuch added. “And the only meaningful justification the government offered for its reprisal rested on a mistaken view that it had a duty to ferret out and suppress religious observances even as it allows comparable secular speech. The Constitution neither mandates nor tolerates that kind of discrimination. Mr. Kennedy is entitled to summary judgment on his First Amendment claims.”

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Leo Terrell: Not One Democrat Can Justify Roe V. Wade

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Leo Terrell: Not One Democrat Can Justify Roe V. Wade

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