Supreme Court dismisses GOP lawsuit; Biden names Austin as defence secretary
US Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit filed by President Donald Trump’s Republican allies from Pennsylvania seeking to overturn the election outcome in the state, even as President-elect Joe Biden announced retired Gen Lloyd Austin as his nominee for secretary of defence.
Austin will become the first Black person to lead the Pentagon if he is confirmed by Senate. Announcing the nomination, Biden said Austin had shown “exemplary leadership, character, and command”.
He also spoke about having worked with the general as vice-president in the Obama administration.
Biden also presented his health team to lead his administration’s fight against Covid-19 and announced a three-step drive for his first 100 days in office — to urge everyone to wear masks, ensure the widest distribution of vaccines and safe and secure reopening of schools.
Trump’s efforts to overturn his defeat to Biden suffered a severe blow with the nine justices of the Supreme Court, including the three nominated by him, dismissing the lawsuit with a terse one-line order: “The application for injunctive relief presented to Justice (Samuel) Alito and by him referred to the Court is denied.”
This was the first case seeking to the dispute the 2020 White House race to reach the highest court of the nation.
Biden’s team had no direct response to the order. But Ron Klain, his chief of staff, retweeted a post that summed up the situation succinctly: “Biden won again today so that’s kinda great.”
Trump might have hoped for a somewhat different outcome. “Now, let’s see whether or not somebody has the courage, whether it’s a legislator or legislatures, or whether it’s a justice of the Supreme Court, or a number of justices of the Supreme Court — let’s see if they have the courage to do what everybody in this country knows is right,” he had said at a White House event just ahead of the court’s order.
Trump’s Republican allies in Texas have also filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court asking it to declare the election results Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia to be declared “unlawful”. The court has asked the four battleground states that the president lost to respond by Thursday.
The president is still in no mood to give up yet, but his legal challenges have been futile, as are his political attempts to get state legislatures and Republican legislators to overturn the results.
Democrats keeping a count said the president and his allies’ scorecard is one legal victory to 50 defeats. And now Rudolph Giuliani and Jenna Ellis, his lawyers spearheading those legal challenges and the political machinations, have both tested positive for Covid-19.
The United Nations' AIDS agency on Sunday called some reporting on the monkeypox virus racist and homophobic, warning of exacerbating stigma and undermining the response to the growing outbreak. UNAIDS said "a significant proportion" of recent monkeypox cases have been identified among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. The disease is considered endemic in 11 African nations.
Quebec and Ontario power utilities are working to restore services to around 900,000 customers facing outages after thunderstorms caused severe damage and left eight people dead. A very strong line of thunderstorms developed near Sarnia, close to the border with Port Huron, Michigan, late Saturday morning and tracked northeastward over Southern Ontario. The dead toll rose to eight, the CTV News television channel said on its website Sunday citing police reports.
Australia's Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese will be sworn in as the country's new prime minister on Monday as he promised a "journey of change" vowing to tackle climate change and rising living costs. Albanese and Penny Wong in foreign affairs then head to Japan later on Monday to attend a key meeting of the "Quad" security grouping in Tokyo. Some predicted Labor might get enough seats to govern on their own.
Police in Nigeria have discovered the severed head of a state legislator who went missing last week in the southeastern state of Anambra, where the government accuses separatists of carrying out a spate of killings and kidnappings, police said on Sunday. The southeast, homeland of the Igbo ethnic group, is agitating to secede from the rest of Nigeria and the banned Indigenous People of Biafra group has been leading those calls.
A Canadian Pacific Railway freight train carrying potash derailed east of Fort Macleod in southern Alberta on Sunday morning, the company said. There were no injuries reported and there are no public safety concerns, CP Rail said. The cause of the derailment in the western Canadian province is under investigation, the company said. "CP personnel have responded to the scene and recovery operations are under way," the company said in a statement.