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.
A Brazilian model who had joined the Ukrainian army and trained as a sniper to help fight against invading Russian forces has been killed in combat, according to media reports. Thalita also took part in humanitarian missions and fought the Islamic State in Iraq, according to a report by the Daily Mail. Ex-Brazilian soldier Douglas Burigo, 40, who returned to find Thalita was the only soldier left after the first strike took place, British publication Daily Mail claimed.
China's capital Beijing will introduce a vaccine mandate for certain public venues from July 11, the first in the country, as millions in China face new curbs and the country tackles fresh Covid-19 clusters including a karaoke lounge-related outbreak in Shanghai and a spreading one in the tourist city of Xian. Restaurants and public transport are exempt. Those who have health problems and cannot be vaccinated are exempt from the mandate.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson defied growing calls for him to step down on Wednesday, telling lawmakers he would "keep going" following a wave of resignations from his government including those of two key ministers. Johnson made the remarks in parliament in response to a question from a lawmaker in his own party who asked if the prime minister thought there were any circumstances in which he should resign.
An Indian-origin Malaysian drug trafficker, Kalwant Singh, is to be executed early Thursday after a Singapore court dismissed a last-minute appeal to delay his sentence. This comes two months after authorities executed another Indian-Malaysian drug trafficker - Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, 34 - whose lawyers and family appealed on grouDharmalingam, who had been on death row for over a decades he was mentally disabled. He had sought a review on grounds he had given information that helped arrest a key suspected drug trafficker.
The university responsible for curating the programme and the museum that provided it a platform issued an apology on Tuesday after uproar over a film with a poster found offensive by Hindu groups in Canada. On the other hand, York University, where the film's director is studying, has supported Leena Manimekalai's artistic freedom. A spokesperson for the university also said its logo was used on the controversial poster “without permission”.