Trump Appointees Take Legal Action Against Biden Administration for ‘Unprecedented Decision to Oust Them’

Two former Trump administration officials who were removed from the Board of Visitors for the U.S. Naval Academy earlier this month are suing the White House over what they called an “unprecedented” and “illegal partisan power-grab.”

Earlier this month, President Joe Biden removed 18 military school board members who were appointed by former President Donald Trump.

Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer and former Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought were among the appointees, as was former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway.

The 18 people targeted were sent letters on Sept. 8 demanding their resignations or they would face termination that evening.

On Thursday, Spicer and Vought sued the Biden administration. In a news release from America First Legal, which is representing them, they slammed Biden for purging them over their apparent political leanings.

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“Today, America First Legal sued President Biden on behalf of former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and former Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought over the Biden Administration’s unprecedented decision to oust them from their duly-appointed positions on the Board of Visitors of the U.S. Naval Academy,” the news release stated.

“As outlined in the complaint, President Biden has no lawful authority to terminate members of the Board of Visitors. Historically, such term-limited board members remain in their positions for the duration of their term, notwithstanding a change in administrations. Unlike Presidential Advisory Boards, the Academy board is a statutory board enacted in law by Congress to provide oversight responsibilities.”

“Furthermore, for over a year, the Biden Administration has prevented these boards from meeting, obstructing necessary and important business from happening,” America First Legal continued, calling the terminations an “illegal partisan power-grab”

The group also said the terminations were “another example of the Biden Administration breaking longstanding bipartisan norms and traditions.”

Do you think this purge is part of a larger plan to politicize the military?

“For a President who has pledged to unify the country, terminating two highly qualified individuals from serving on this Board instead of focusing on the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan that left Americans stranded, is clearly an attempt to distract the American people,” said America First Legal Vice-President and General Counsel Gene Hamilton.

“The Administration is clearly trying to avoid the oversight that Congress set out to achieve.”

The lawsuit lists Biden, White House Presidential Personnel Office officials Catherine Russell and Katherine Petrelius, Naval Academy Board Chair Charles Ruppersberger and board Designated Federal Officer Raphael Thalakottur as defendants.

Asked on Sept. 9 about the termination of former Trump administration officials from military academy boards, White House press secretary Jen Psaki took a shot at the people targeted by the purge. She called out Spicer and Conway by name.

“I will let others evaluate whether they think Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer and others were qualified, or not political, to serve on these boards,” she said. “But the president’s qualification requirements are not your party registration. They are whether you’re qualified to serve and whether you are aligned with the values of this administration.”

Related:

Former Trump Press Secretary Sean Spicer Launches Cable Talk Show

Conway responded on Twitter to the letter she received, and took the opportunity to tell Biden to resign.

Vought was also among those who stated publicly he would not submit a resignation.

In the lawsuit filed on Thursday, America First Legal defended Spicer’s qualifications to sit on the board of the Naval Academy.

“Mr. Spicer served for 22 years in the United States Navy Reserve and earned a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College,” the lawsuit said.





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CDC Director’s New Decision on Booster Shots Raises Even More Questions – RedState

Earlier this month, Joe Biden got out over his skis and promoted that adults over the age of 16 should get booster shots.

He even said distribution would begin on a certain date – September 20.

Except the problem was that the FDA wasn’t quite on board with it all. While they endorsed it for those who were 65 years and over, as well as those at high risk of severe disease, they didn’t endorse it for everyone else. That blew up Biden’s plans for a huge roll-out. Two senior FDA officials even quit last month, reportedly over what they felt was a rush to push out the shots for everyone in the country.

The FDA then issued an emergency use authorization for the booster shot for those 65 and over, as well as those at risk of severe disease. They also included a third group — those 18-64 “whose frequent institutional or occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2 puts them at high risk of serious complications of COVID-19 including severe COVID-19.”

Then the CDC got involved.

On Thursday, the CDC’S Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended that booster shots be given to older Americans, and younger individuals who are at higher risk for severe cases of COVID-19.

The recommendation, however, did not include health care workers, teachers, and others whose jobs place them at heightened risk.

So, they didn’t include the FDA’s third group.

But then the CDC Director Rochelle Walensky overruled the agency panel recommendation, a very unusual move.

Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, an infectious disease specialist at Stanford and a liaison to the CDC panel from the American Academy of Pediatrics told the New York Times, “I am surprised that Dr. Walensky overturned one of the four ACIP votes today, and I believe others will be as well.”

So basically, what it came down to was Walensky overruling her own people. Was that to be more in line with the Biden effort to push out the booster shots to as many people as possible? Because that’s surely what it looks like. And we still don’t have any real data as to the necessity.

Former Bush official Ari Fleischer even pointed out the timing of Walensky’s actions, in relation to Joe Biden’s speech this morning about booster shots.





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PennEast Abandons Plans to Use Eminent Domain to Seize State-Owned Land in Case that Resulted in a Major Supreme Court Decision – Reason.com

Earlier this week, the PennEast Pipeline Company abandoned its plans to use eminent domain to take state-owned land in New Jersey for purposes of building a new interstate gas pipeline:

On Monday, September 20, the State of New Jersey submitted a letter to Third Circuit Court of the U.S. Court of Appeals stating it has reached an agreement in principle with the PennEast pipeline company that is seeking to abandon condemnation of 42 state lands for construction of an interstate gas pipeline. This announcement comes on the heels of PennEast taking the State of New Jersey all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to defend its right to condemn these lands preserved by the state for public benefit.

“PennEast claims they aren’t abandoning the project, but actions speak louder than words, and this move clearly suggests the polluting pipeline won’t happen,” said Tom Gilbert, campaign director, New Jersey Conservation Foundation and ReThink Energy NJ. “The news that PennEast won’t move ahead with trying to condemn state lands to develop an unneeded fossil gas pipeline is a huge and welcome development. We applaud the Murphy Administration for successfully defending and preserving our public lands for future generations.”

The planned condemnation was the subject of an important closely divided 5-4 Supreme Court decision issued in June, in which the federal government’s power of eminent domain prevailed over state sovereign immunity, thereby empowering the federal government to delegate the power of eminent domain to private firms in situations where the latter want to use it to seize property owned by state governments.

While PennEast won the case in the Supreme Court, they appear to have lost the broader political struggle over the pipeline. It’s possible they will yet find a way to go ahead with the pipeline without using eminent domain, or by condemning privately owned land. But the whole point of the effort to take state property was precisely that the company claimed there was no other practical way to complete the project.

Regardless of the fate of this particular project, the Supreme Court decision remains on the books, and the federal government can continue to use the power the ruling gives it. But, as PennEast learned, seizing property from hostile state governments is a tougher proposition than taking it from private owners. Most of the latter lack the political influence of the former, and they also usually don’t have the resources for a prolonged legal and political battle of the kind New Jersey successfully waged in this case.

Politics aside, I still believe this was a terrible case that both sides deserved to lose. Both the majority opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts and the principal dissent by Amy Coney Barrett have very serious weaknesses. I went over many of them here.

Interestingly, the case cut across conventional ideological lines among the justices. The ruling divided both the liberal and conservative blocs on the Court. Conservative justices Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh joined the Chief Justice’s majority opinion, as did liberals Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer. Conservatives Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett were all in dissent, joined by liberal Elena Kagan.



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Judicial Watch Sues for Information Concerning Justice Department’s Decision to Challenge Georgia’s Voter Integrity Bill

(Washington, DC)Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for records of communications between the DOJ and various left-wing groups and individuals concerning the DOJ’s decision to challenge Georgia’s election integrity law (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:21-cv-02427)).

Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit on September 15, 2021, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, after the DOJ failed to respond to a July 26, 2021, FOIA request to the Justice Department’s Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division for the following records:

  • All documents and communications between (1) the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, or any of their officers, employees, members, agents, or affiliates, and (2) any of the following people and organizations, including any of their officers, members, agents, parent organizations, affiliated entities, branches, subordinate organizations, or chapters, concerning the U.S. Department of Justice’s Voting Rights Act Section 2 lawsuit against the State of Georgia, et al., in the Northern District of Georgia, Civ. No. 21-2575:

ACLU Foundation of Georgia, American Civil Liberties Union, League of Women Voters, Brennan Center for Justice, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Common Cause, NAACP, Georgia State Conference of the NAACP, Campaign Legal Center, Fair Fight, Fair Fight Action, Stacy Abrams, Perkins Coie LLP, Marc Elias.

The Justice Department’s lawsuit challenging Georgia’s election law asks the court to strike down major parts of the act, including strengthened voter ID requirements for voting by mail.

“The leftists who control the Justice Department have a long record of working hand in glove with extremist and partisan interest groups who oppose any efforts to make it harder to steal votes and elections,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

A week after DOJ filed its lawsuit against Georgia, on July 1 of this year, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld two Arizona voting provisions that Democrats and civil rights groups had challenged as disproportionately burdening minority voters. Judicial Watch and the Allied Educational Foundation filed amici curiae (friends of the court) briefs in support of Arizona’s law. The court’s decision is what Fitton called “a knockout blow to the Left’s tsunami of harassing lawsuits challenging virtually any effort by any state to modestly increase the security of elections and minimize the impact of voter fraud.” In response to the Supreme Court ruling, the Left appears to have become, in Fitton’s words, “desperate to short circuit the efforts of states to implement security measures such as voter ID.”

Judicial Watch remains front and center in the fight for clean elections, from its historic election integrity victory in L.A. County, to the current election-related lawsuits in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Colorado.

In 2018, the Supreme Court upheld a voter-roll cleanup program that resulted from a Judicial Watch settlement of a federal lawsuit with Ohio. Kentucky began cleaning up hundreds of thousands of old registrations in 2019 after it too entered into a consent decree in 2018 to end another Judicial Watch lawsuit.

Based on this research, in 2020, a federal court ordered the State of Maryland to produce complete voter registration records for Montgomery County that include the registered voters’ dates of birth.

In September 2020, Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Illinois Conservative Union (ICU) and three of its officers, after Illinois state officials refused to allow them to obtain a copy of the state’s voter registration database. In June 2021, a federal court ruled the lawsuit could proceed.

Judicial Watch Attorney Robert Popper is the director of Judicial Watch’s clean elections initiative.

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High School Reverses Decision To Block Students From Painting An American Flag For A Fundraiser

  • A San Diego high school reversed its decision to deny approval to students seeking to paint an American flag on purchasable parking spots for a fundraising auction, CBS 8 reported.
  • The district originally denied the students’ designs, citing concerns over whether it was “appropriate treatment of the flag” to paint it on the ground.
  • The school district consulted local veterans’ perspectives on the matter and found numerous support, despite the initial pushback of some veterans at Granite Hills High School. 
  • “I told her immediately that I didn’t have any disagreement with it,” Tom Dorsey with the VFW Post 2275 in El Cajon, California, told CBS 8. “I thought it was great that there are six young patriots out at Granite Hills High School that are proud to display the American flag.”

A San Diego high school reversed its decision to deny approval to students seeking to paint an American flag on purchasable parking spots for a fundraising auction, local outlet CBS 8 reported.

A group of students at Granite Hills High School wanted to paint American flags on their parking spaces that are auctioned off as part of a program for senior students to raise money for school programs, Fox News reported. The district originally denied the students’ designs, citing concerns over whether it was “appropriate treatment of the flag” to paint it on the ground.

“One thing is crystal-clear though: every action the Principal took in this matter was out of deep respect for the flag and our veterans,” the Grossmont Union High School District told Fox News on Thursday.

“I wanted to do an American flag because I love representing my country,” said Dane Gilbert, a senior at Granite Hills High School, CBS 8 reported. “I love my country, and red, white and blue are my favorite colors.”

“I got pretty upset about it because I love my country and I like to represent it everywhere I can,” Dane said. “They said, wait on it because of flag code and other veterans in the school were not liking that the flag was on the ground.”

An average spot can go for $300 or $400, which seniors are allowed to paint themselves once their design is approved, CBS 8 reported.

“The idea that Granite Hills High School, at any point in this process, intended to censor their students’ patriotism rather than celebrate it is a gross mischaracterization of the facts,” Grossmont Union High School District said in a statement to Fox News Thursday. “Principal Fowler described his pride in the ‘six patriotic Granite Hills seniors who wish(ed) to express their deep love of our country by painting the American flag on their parking spot.’”

Dane’s mother was angry when she heard her son was prohibited from painting a flag on his parking spot at first, CBS 8 reported.

“Immediate anger set in and it wasn’t a good conversation, I can tell you that,” Wendy Gilbert said. “No American citizen or anybody should have to ask permission to show their patriotism in this country. This flag means freedom and nobody can take that away from us.”

The school district consulted local veterans’ perspectives on the American flag being painted on the ground, asking “whether they believed our seniors’ painting of the American flag on their parking spot would be honoring and respectful toward our flag and the men and women who have fought and given the last full measure of devotion to ensure that our flag will forever fly and represent the land of the free and the home of the brave,” Fox News reported.

“I told her immediately that I didn’t have any disagreement with it,” Tom Dorsey with the VFW Post 2275 in El Cajon, California, told CBS 8. “I thought it was great that there are six young patriots out at Granite Hills High School that are proud to display the American flag.”

With the opinions of the VFW in mind, the school’s principal told parents Monday that the American flag designs could be done, CBS 8 reported. (RELATED: School Investigates Teacher Who Said She Removed American Flag, Had Students Pledge Allegiance To Pride Banner Instead)

“Oh it was great,” said Dane. “On my birthday and it was a great birthday present.”

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.





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Fourth Circuit Decision Affirming Second Amendment Rights of 18-20 Year Olds Vacated as Moot – Reason.com

In July, in Hirschfeld v. ATF, a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that the right to keep and bear arms enshrined in the Second Amendment applies to 18-20 year olds. Observers expected the Fourth Circuit might rehear the case en banc. Instead the decision has been vacated as moot, as none of the plaintiffs are 18-to-20-years old anymore. [Here are prior posts on the case from me and Eugene.]

Judge Richardson wrote a brief opinion for the court explaining the dismissal, joined by Judge Agee. He writes:

Plaintiff Natalia Marshall, while under the age of 21, wished to purchase a handgun from a federally licensed firearms dealer and sued to challenge the constitutionality of the federal laws and regulations which prohibited her from doing so while she was 18–20 years old. A divided panel of this court found those laws violated the text, structure, history, and tradition of the Second Amendment. After the opinion issued but before the mandate, Marshall turned 21. And that made her claims moot. Despite efforts to add parties and reframe her claimed injuries, it is too late to revive this case. So it must be dismissed as moot.

Once a case is rendered moot on appeal, we customarily vacate the opinions and remand with direction to dismiss. See United States v. Munsingwear, Inc., 340 U.S. 36, 39–40 (1950); . . . After weighing the equities, we follow that custom here.

I. This case is moot

We, of course, have only the power to adjudicate “Cases” and “Controversies.” U.S. Const. art. III, § 2. A “Case” or “Controversy” under Article III no longer exists “when the issues presented are no longer ‘live’ or the parties lack a legally cognizable interest in the outcome.” . . . The case is instead moot and  must be dismissed, “[n]o matter how vehemently the parties continue to dispute the lawfulness of the conduct that precipitated the lawsuit.” . . . Here, Marshall challenged the prohibition on buying a handgun from a federally licensed firearms dealer while she was under 21. Once she turned  21, nothing prohibited her from buying the handgun she desired from a dealer of her choice. So her original claims are now moot.

To try to breathe new life into her claims after they became moot, Marshall alleged for the first time that she wishes to sell handguns to friends under 21. Those private sales would not typically be affected by the challenged laws and regulations. But Marshall seeks to bring those sales within this court’s purview by alleging that she wishes to use a federally licensed firearm dealer to facilitate the sales (by, for example, running background checks on her friends).

This newly alleged injury was raised for the first time on appeal, and only after the case became moot, so we refuse to consider it here. A second effort to revive this case by adding new parties also fails. Surely recognizing the mootness concern, Plaintiff’s attorney moved in the district court on July 24—the day before Marshall turned 21—to join new parties that might keep the case alive. But the district court lacked jurisdiction to grant the motion. Plaintiff’s attorney only submitted a motion to our court on July 27, two days after Marshall turned 21. By that time, the case was moot. And we cannot grant a motion to join new parties that was filed after a case is moot. . . . So the requests to join new parties are denied. This case is moot and must be dismissed.

II. The opinions are vacated

As the case is moot and must be dismissed, the government asks that we also vacate both the panel opinions and district court opinions. This is indeed our customary practice. . . . But it is not, as once commonly thought, mandatory. . . . Rather, it is an “equitable tradition” informed by equitable reasoning. Id. In determining whether to exercise the discretion to vacate our panel decision (and that of the district court), we are “informed almost entirely, if not entirely, by the twin considerations of fault and public interest.” . . .

We cannot assign fault to either party here. Marshall was bound to turn 21 in time. And though the efforts to remedy mootness came at the eleventh hour, they do not reflect any fault in Marshall’s original case. So our decision turns on the public interest.

There are strong reasons to avoid vacatur here. The constitutional interests implicated and the short timeframe in which to challenge the restrictions mean there is a strong public interest in this precedent. And “[j]udicial precedents are presumptively correct and valuable to the legal community as a whole.” . . .

Yet the public interest still favors vacating the opinions. To begin, our “customary practice when a case is rendered moot on appeal is to vacate the moot aspects of the lower court’s judgment” and remand with directions to dismiss. . . . Adherence to our custom promotes the “orderly operation of the federal judicial system” and thus protects the public interest. . . .This course also “clears the path for future relitigation of the issues between the parties.”  . . . That the case became moot by happenstance also favors vacatur. . . . And we are reluctant to leave a preclusive judgment standing against a federal agency responsible for enforcing federal law while cutting off the appellate process, particularly where the panel is split in its views.

Finally, we note that the public and the “legal community as a whole,” . . . will still retain some benefit from the panel opinion even if vacated, because the exchange of ideas between the panel and dissent will remain available as a persuasive source. . . .

As a result, we deny the motion to intervene or join new parties; we reject the attempt to recast Marshall’s injuries; we find the case moot; we remand to the district court with directions to dismiss as moot; and we vacate the prior panel opinions and the opinions of the district court.

Judge Wynn, who dissented from the original panel decision, concurred separately.

I join my fine colleague’s opinion in adhering to our usual practice of vacatur in mooted cases like this one. I write separately to emphasize that while, thanks to today’s technology, all vacated opinions remain available in the public sphere, they have no legal value. . . . The outcome here is that not only is the panel opinion vacated, but the entire matter including the district court’s decision is moot and therefore vacated. That is, this action from its inception is mooted.

To be sure, vacated opinions do not even bear the label of dicta. So if there is any persuasive value arising from vacated opinions, it can be no more than the value of newspaper editorials. Thus, my fine colleagues’ statement that “the panel and dissent will remain available as a persuasive source” means, like newspaper editorials, readers may themselves be persuaded one way or the other by our exchanges, but these vacated opinions have no persuasive value whatsoever as to how this Court would decide this issue.

This point is especially important here, where the opinions arising from our deeply divided panel became moot before the Court’s en banc process could be undertaken. It stands to reason that because the now-vacated panel majority opinion created a circuit split while overturning a fifty-year-old federal law, this matter surely met the requirements of Rule 35 for en banc review.

With that said, I join in the dismissal of this matter as moot and the vacatur of the panel opinions. Perhaps our circuit will again confront this issue, but today is not that day.



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Lloriqueo: Univisión tilda decisión de parlamentaria contra inmigración de “golpe bajo”

​La decisión de la parlamentaria del senado de sacar la inmigración del proyecto de ley por reconciliación, cuyo costo asciende a unos $ 3.5T, parece haberle dolido a Univisión, donde su corresponsal en Washington, D.C., Edwin Pitti, primero tildó la determinación de “golpe bajo”, y luego de “golpe bajo doble” según progresó el programa matutino de la cadena, Despierta América.

Vea cómo Univisión lamenta el “revés migratorio” (de nuevo):

Despierta América, Univisión 20/09/2021

KARLA MARTÍNEZ: Y en la capital del país, la principal asesora del senado rechazó una solicitud de los demócratas de incluir en el paquete presupuestario del 2022, la legalización de millones de inmigrantes indocumentados.

EDWIN PITTI: Esta decisión de la parlamentaria del senado se convierte en un golpe bajo no solamente para demócratas, sino también para los familiares de millones de inmigrantes indocumentados que en los últimos años han pedido acción.

El rechazo de la parlamentaria del senado, Elizabeth McDonald, para que se pueda legalizar a casi ocho millones de inmigrantes indocumentados se convierte en un golpe bajo doble.

Fiel a su misión como un PAC de inmigración de extrema izquierda con una licencia de transmisión, la cadena describió la decisión de la parlamentaria del senado Elizabeth McDonald como un revés en la lucha para legalizar a unos 8 millones de inmigrantes indocumentados; lo que no dijo es que, de aprobarse esta promesa de campaña de los demócratas, el déficit de la nación engordaría por unos $ 139,000,000,000.

Ayude al Centro de Investigación de Medios a luchar contra el sesgo desenfrenado en las noticias. Puede comenzar escribiendo a anunciantes como Capital One para expresarles su sentir al respecto.



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Fauci Flips on FDA’s Booster Vaccine Decision After Only a Few Days

After previously saying it would be a mistake for a Food and Drug Administration panel to reject a proposal to give vaccine boosters to a wide range of Americans, Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday seemed to backpedal.

On Friday, the FDA panel said boosters should only be given to those over 65 or at high risk of getting a severe case of COVID-19. Although that decision is not binding, its recommendation will likely be followed.

Two days before, Fauci had said “there’s very little doubt that the boosters will be beneficial,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

“If they say, ‘We don’t think there’s enough data to do a booster,’ then so be it. I think that would be a mistake, to be honest with you,” he said.

Fauci said that on the subject of vaccine boosters, “there is less disagreement and conflicts than seem to get out into the tweetosphere,” CNN reported.

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On Sunday, Fauci made the rounds of talk shows to say the decision he claimed would be a mistake less than a week earlier actually was not.

“I don’t think they made a mistake,” he said on CNN.

“No, I mean, I — you know, when I was saying that [would be a] mistake, my own personal looking at this — again, just because I look at the data and say I would do it this way, that’s the reason why we have qualified groups of people who together as a committee examine all the data and make a decision.

“So I have no problem at all with their decision. The thing that I’m saying is that data will continue to come in and I believe you’re going to see an evolution of this process as we go on in the next several weeks to months.”

Fauci did a similar balancing act on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“I understand why there might be confusion because I think people were not understanding the difference of planning for something and actually what element of that, what proportion of it you’re actually going to roll out, and that’s exactly what happened,” he said.

When asked whether the FDA’s decision was a mistake on ABC’s “This Week,” he said, “No. Not necessarily at all.”

Related:

Fauci Calls for ‘Many, Many More’ Vaccine Mandates

He said the proposed Sept. 20 booster launch date was always just a target in a best-case scenario.

“The plan was that we have to be ready to do this as soon as a decision is made,” he said. “And when you have a plan, you put a date on it, and you say, ‘We want to be able to get ready to roll out on the week of September the 20th.’”





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Bureau of Land Management moving back to Washington, D.C., reversing Trump-era decision

WASHINGTON — Interior Secretary Deb Haaland is moving the national headquarters of the Bureau of Land Management, which oversees 245 million acres in Western states, back to the nation’s capital after two years in Colorado.

The land management agency lost nearly 300 employees to retirement or resignation after President Donald Trump’s administration moved its headquarters to Grand Junction, Colorado, in 2019.

The bureau has broad influence over energy development and agriculture in the West, managing public lands for uses ranging from fossil fuel extraction, renewable power development and grazing, to recreation and wilderness. Its staffing has remained in turmoil after four years without a confirmed director.

The agency’s space in Grand Junction will become its western headquarters, Haaland said. The Grand Junction office will reinforce western perspectives in decision-making and “have an important role to play in the bureau’s clean energy, outdoor recreation, conservation, and scientific missions,” the Interior Department said in a news release.

The changes, which will be done in coordination with Congress, will improve the function of the land management agency, help provide clarity for the BLM’s 7,000 employees across the country and enable the bureau to better serve the American public and fulfill its mission as the steward of nearly one-fifth of the nation’s public lands, Haaland said.

“The Bureau of Land Management is critical to the nation’s efforts to address the climate crisis, expand public access to our public lands and preserve our nation’s shared outdoor heritage,” she said in a statement.

“There’s no doubt that the BLM should have a leadership presence in Washington, D.C. – like all the other land management agencies – to ensure that it has access to the policy, budget and decision-making levers to best carry out its mission,” Haaland said. BLM’s presence in Colorado and across the West will continue to grow, she added.

“The past several years have been incredibly disruptive to the organization, to our public servants and to their families,” Haaland said, referring to actions by her predecessors, Ryan Zinke and David Bernhardt, to move the BLM to rural Colorado, sparking criticism that the Trump administration intended to gut the agency that oversees vast tracts of public lands in the West. Hundreds of longtime employees chose not to move to Colorado. Only three workers ultimately relocated.

Haaland, who opposed the move as a member of Congress from New Mexico, visited the Colorado headquarters in July.

Zinke, Trump’s first interior secretary, initiated the Colorado move, calling it a reorganization that put top agency officials closer to the nearly quarter-billion acres of public lands it oversees. The move was completed under Bernhardt, who succeeded Zinke in 2019.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and members of Colorado’s congressional delegation have urged the Biden administration to keep the BLM based in Grand Junction. Democratic U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper, who invited Haaland to visit Grand Junction, has said the headquarters relocation was “done in haste” and let down the city, which hoped for an economic boost.

President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the bureau, former Democratic aide Tracy Stone-Manning, received no Republican support in a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee vote on her nomination in July. The GOP has lambasted Biden’s pick over alleged links to a 1989 environmental sabotage investigation.

Stone-Manning will face a full Senate vote in order to become the new director. It would take every Senate Republican plus at least one Democratic lawmaker to block her confirmation in the evenly divided chamber. Haaland, who would be Stone-Manning’s boss, reiterated her full support for the nominee during her Colorado visit.

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Anthony Fauci named ‘The Sexiest Man Alive’ by the Guardian — and folks aren’t taking the newspaper’s decision so kindly

Dr. Anthony Fauci — director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases — has been named “The Sexiest Man Alive” by the British-based publication the Guardian.

But some are wondering if the title bestowed upon the 80-year-old in charge of America’s response to the coronavirus during the last 18 months is a joke of some kind.

What are the details?

The Guardian’s Instagram post about Fauci’s latest accolade said the “scientist, doctor and public servant … has become an unlikely cult hero for millions of people during the COVID pandemic.”

The post added that Fauci — whom the Guardian also called a “pop culture phenomenon” — is “the focus of a documentary, appropriately titled: Fauci.”

Oh, about that documentary…

TheBlaze reported on the “Fauci” doc earlier this week, particularly in regard to the manner in which it’s getting savaged online. “Pure garbage,” “Worst doc ever,” and “This man belongs in prison” are just a few of the descriptions observers offered.

But the Guardian gave some ink to the doc’s creators on the Instagram post.

“At the core of Tony’s popularity is that people intuit that this is a man who is speaking the truth and will not let anything stand in the way,” John Hoffman, co-director, told the newspaper. “Tony is the signal amid the noise. People are able to sense that there’s a lot of noise, and their ears are trying to find the signal, and Tony is the signal.”

How are folks reacting to Fauci’s ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ title?

The following are the first 10 reactions as of 5 p.m. EST seen at the top of Instagram post:

  • “You must be joking.”
  • “Nope.”
  • “Tell me more about glorification.”
  • “Yikes.”
  • “Are you joking?”
  • “Wait, what?”
  • “Satire, I assume?”
  • “Wouldn’t trust him with a brush.”
  • “Is this the plot of a Twilight Zone episode?”

And number 10 may be the best reply of the bunch: “The sexiest gain of function researcher funder.”

You get the idea.

Anything else?

More than 28,000 people signed a Change.org petition last year asking People Magazine to name Fauci the Sexiest Man Alive.

“His comforting and intelligent demeanor has helped to lessen our national anxiety. He speaks truth to power, a strength few have at this time. His kind face and manner of speaking bring calm during the storm,” the petition description read. “For sapiophiles and many others, he is the definitive Sexiest Man Alive in 2020.”

The New York Post reported that actor Michael B. Jordan received People’s title last year.





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