Democratic Presidential Primary Debates
This week, millions of viewers tuned in to see a crowded field of Democratic presidential hopefuls face off for the first time on a debate stage in Miami. The debates were split over two nights to accommodate the 20 candidates who answered questions on issues ranging from single-payer health care to climate change. They also seized the spotlight to challenge each other over their records and policy positions on hot-button issues, including race and immigration. On Thursday night, California Sen. Kamala Harris came out swinging against former vice president and front-runner Joe Biden — for opposing busing as a young U.S. senator in the 1970s and for recent comments he made about working with Southern segregationists in the Senate.
- Seema Mehta, political writer, Los Angeles Times
- Joe Garofoli, senior political writer, San Francisco Chronicle
Detention Conditions Spark Outrage and Divisive Border Aid Bill
A team of lawyers described shocking conditions at a border patrol facility near El Paso, Texas, that they visited last week where hundreds of migrant children have been detained for weeks on end. The lawyers interviewed dozens of children there, from ages 2 to 17. They reported seeing up to 50 children confined in a single room, with toddlers being cared for by older children. Many of them hadn’t bathed and were wearing dirty clothes. Yesterday, the House passed a $4.6 billion border aid bill that was earlier approved by the Senate and has the backing of the White House. The vote revealed deep divisions among Democrats, especially progressives who felt the bill didn’t offer enough protections for migrant children held in border shelters.
- Professor Bill Hing, University of San Francisco School of Law
- Farida Jhabvala Romero, immigration reporter, KQED
Supreme Court Decisions
The U.S. Supreme Court ended its term yesterday with two big rulings that could affect elections and political representation for years to come. The court ruled 5-4 that federal courts cannot hear challenges to partisan gerrymandering, where a party in the majority draws voting district maps that unfairly favor their candidates in state elections. Although the ruling applies to both parties, the GOP currently controls more state legislatures and governorships than Democrats. Also this week, Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the court’s liberal wing in rejecting the reason given by the Trump administration for adding a citizenship question to the 2020 U.S. Census form.
- Professor Rory Little, UC Hastings College of the Law