Law enforcement officers testify at inaugural January 6 committee hearing, updates

Officer Harry Dunn described the racial slurs he endured throughout the day on January 6. Specifically, Dunn said it was the first time he was ever called the n-word while wearing his uniform. 

Dunn said it is “disheartening that we live in a country with people like that, who attack you based on the color of your skin. Those words are weapons.”

Metro Police Officer Daniel Hodges repeatedly called members of the breaching crowd “terrorists,” saying, “To be honest, I did not recognize my fellow citizens who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 or the United States they claimed to represent.” 

Hodges additionally suggested that actions of the crowd were part of a coordinated operation, and not a spontaneous riot. 

D.C. Metro Police Officer Michael Fanone told the panel that the events of January 6 were “unlike anything I had ever seen, unlike anything I had ever experienced.” He detailed the physical abuse he endured after being pulled into a crowd and being beaten with “what felt like hard metal objects,” and tased multiple times.

Fanone slammed his hand on the table and and called the actions of those who have downplayed or denied the events of 1/6 “disgraceful.” On the day of the breach, Fanone was taken to receive medical treatment where he was diagnosed with a concussion, a heart attack, traumatic brain injury, and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Developing …

The select committee on January 6 has commenced with remarks from Committee Chairman Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), who opened with a dramatic statement claiming that a “peaceful transfer of power did not happen.” 

Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), one of just two Republican members on the panel, then said that no member of the legislative chamber should “defend the indefensible,” adding that “our children are watching,” and will know which side of history was right.

Notably, Cheney made it clear that she wants to understand a “minute by minute” play out of what happened at the White House on January 6. “We must get to objective truth,” she said. 

Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell was the first member of law enforcement to testify. “I was falsely accused of betraying my ‘oath’ and choosing my ‘paycheck’ over my loyalty to the U.S. Constitution.” 

Gonell, an immigrant to the United States, became visibly emotional as he described finding out that his wife and family had frantically been texting and calling him throughout the day, attempting to check in on his wellbeing. 

The inaugural hearing of the select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol siege will feature public testimony from four police officers who were on duty. that day. The officers will reportedly deliver highly personal accounts of what they endured that day, with as many as 800 people reportedly having entered the capitol. Watch here.

California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff has said that the hearing will begin with a round of statements from committee members prior to a round of questions for the officers from each member. 

At a press conference prior to the hearing, senior members of the GOP caucus, led by minority leader Kevin McCarthy praised officers who protected the Capitol on 1/6, but accused Speaker Pelosi of heading into the hearing with a predetermined set of conclusions. McCarthy, as well as House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Elisa Stefanik (N.Y.), blamed Pelosi for failing to properly address security concerns at the Capitol ahead of the January 6 breach. 

The hearing will reportedly last about two and a half hours. 



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Olympics-Skateboarding-Skaters debut at inaugural Olympics, fans hope for acceptance

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TOKYO — Skaters made their historic debut on the Olympic stage early Sunday, with men’s street heats kicking off the sport’s four-day competition under Tokyo’s blazing sun.

The inaugural event marks a turning point for skateboarding, which has its roots in youth street culture and has influenced everything from art to fashion.

The men’s street competition on Sunday will be a star-studded affair, with who’s who of international skating competing.

Jagger Eaton of the United States came first in the inaugural heat of the day, raking in 35.07 points ahead of France’s Vincent Milou.

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Eaton said it was “tough” to skate without the support of a packed crowd and used his Airpods to get into the zone. Most venues at the Tokyo Olympics will be without spectators as Japan tries to rein in an upsurge in COVID-19 cases.

“I always really get hyped by the crowd,” he told Reuters on the sidelines of the event, noting he was listening to a rap song as he began his run to hype himself up.

Even without the crowds, Eaton said it felt significant to represent his country at the Olympics.

“It just feels different,” he said.

In all, 20 skaters will compete in four heats before the event proceeds to the finals.

All eyes will be on Nyjah Huston of the United States and hometown favorite Yuto Horigome, who will skate on a concrete course designed with rails and benches emblazoned with the five Olympic rings.

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By adding skateboarding to its roster, the International Olympic Committee hope it can tap into its legions of young fans worldwide, who have built skateboarding into a multi-billion dollar industry.

For skating giant Tony Hawk, the sport’s inclusion into the Olympics is long overdue.

Tony Hawk, who is in town to act as a TV commentator, shredded the new waterfront bowl in Ariake this week and said he was surprised it took so long for the Olympics to embrace skateboarding.

“As a kid that was mostly lambasted for my interest in skateboarding, I never imagined it would be part of the Olympic Games,” Hawk wrote below an Instagram video he posted earlier this week.

Skateboarding, though extremely popular in Japan, is still discouraged in most parks and it’s uncommon to see skaters cruising down a street.

Just outside the skate park where the Olympics event is taking place on Sunday, a poster duck taped to the exterior white fence banned skateboarding for locals. (Reporting by Mari Saito; Editing by Stephen Coates)



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Trump inaugural committee chair Tom Barrack to be released on $250M bail

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The chair of former President Trump’s inaugural committee was ordered freed Friday on $250 million bail to face charges he secretly worked as an agent for the United Arab Emirates to influence Trump’s foreign policy.

Tom Barrack, 74, will be subject to electronic monitoring and largely confined to his residence after he is arraigned Monday in a New York courtroom. He was arrested Tuesday in Los Angeles near his home.

Barrack is expected to plead not guilty to conspiring to influence U.S. policy on the UAE’s behalf during Trump’s 2016 campaign and while Trump was president. Barrack, the founder of private equity firm Colony Capital, was among three men charged in the case.

Prosecutors said Barrack used his long personal friendship with Trump to benefit the UAE without disclosing his ties to the U.S. government.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Patricia Donahue in Los Angeles ordered strict conditions for Barrack‘s release. He must surrender his passport, wear a GPS-monitor to track his whereabouts, limit travel between Southern California and New York City and obey a curfew.

Barrack is charged with conspiracy, obstruction of justice and making multiple false statements during a June 2019 interview with federal agents. Matthew Grimes, 27, a former executive at Barrack’s company from Aspen, Colorado, and Rashid al Malik, 43, a businessman from the United Arab Emirates who prosecutors said acted as a conduit to that nation’s rulers, were also charged in the seven-count indictment.

Grimes was ordered released on $5 million bail. Al Malik fled the U.S. three days after an April 2018 interview by law enforcement and remains at large, authorities said. He and is believed to be living somewhere in the Middle East.

Barrack is one of several of the former president’s associates to face criminal charges, including his former campaign chair, his former deputy campaign chair, his former chief strategist, his former national security adviser, his former personal lawyer and his company’s longtime chief financial officer.

Barrack was an informal adviser to Trump’s 2016 campaign before becoming the inaugural committee chair.

He raised $107 million for the lavish celebration scrutinized both for its spending and for attracting numerous foreign officials and businesspeople looking to lobby the new administration. The inaugural committee was not implicated in the indictment.

After Trump took office, Barrack informally advised senior U.S. government officials on Middle East foreign policy. He also sought appointment as special envoy to the Middle East or U.S. ambassador to the UAE, prosecutors said.

He relayed sensitive information about developments within the Trump administration to UAE officials- including how senior U.S. officials felt about a yearslong boycott of Qatar conducted by the UAE and other Middle Eastern countries, prosecutors said.

He told al Malik that landing an official position within the administration would enable him to advance UAE interests, prosecutors said.

Such an appointment “would give ABU DHABI more power!” he wrote to al Malik, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors originally sought to detain Barrack because they said he owned a private jet and was a flight risk. They also noted he has citizenship in Lebanon, a country with no extradition treaty with the U.S.

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Tom Barrack, Trump inaugural committee former head, charged with acting as agent of UAE

NEW YORK — The chair of former President Donald Trump’s 2017 inaugural committee was arrested Tuesday on charges alleging that he and others conspired to influence Trump’s foreign policy positions to benefit the United Arab Emirates.

Thomas Joseph Barrack, 74, of Santa Monica, California, was among three men charged in New York federal court with trying to influence foreign policy while Trump was running in 2016 and later while he was president.

Matthew Herrington, an attorney for Barrack, did not immediately return an email seeking comment. Barrack was due to appear at an initial appearance in federal court in Southern California.

Barrack was charged with conspiracy, obstruction of justice and making multiple false statements during a June 20, 2019 interview with federal law enforcement agents. Also charged in a seven-count indictment in Brooklyn federal court were Matthew Grimes, 27, of Aspen, Colorado and Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi, 43, of the United Arab Emirates.

Grimes also was arrested Tuesday in California. A message for comment was sent to his attorney. The whereabouts of Alshahhi weren’t immediately clear.

“The defendants repeatedly capitalized on Barrack’s friendships and access to a candidate who was eventually elected President, high-ranking campaign and government officials, and the American media to advance the policy goals of a foreign government without disclosing their true allegiances,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Mark Lesko said in a release.

Lesko characterized the alleged conduct as “nothing short of a betrayal of those officials in the United States, including the former President.” 

“Through this indictment, we are putting everyone – regardless of their wealth or perceived political power – on notice that the Department of Justice will enforce the prohibition of this sort of undisclosed foreign influence,” the statement said.

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Jeff Bezos, world’s richest man, set for inaugural space voyage

FILE PHOTO: Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin and CEO of Amazon, speaks about the future plans of Blue Origin during an address to attendees at Access Intelligence’s SATELLITE 2017 conference in Washington, U.S., March 7, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

July 20, 2021

By Eric M. Johnson

VAN HORN, Texas (Reuters) -Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, is set on Tuesday to blast off aboard his company Blue Origin’s New Shepard https://graphics.reuters.com/SPACE-EXPLORATION/BLUEORIGIN/jbyprzzympe/blue-origin.jpg launch vehicle for a suborbital flight as part of a history-making crew – another milestone in ushering in a new era of private space travel.

The American billionaire is due to fly from a desert site in West Texas on an 11-minute voyage to the edge of space, nine days after Briton Richard Branson was aboard his competing space tourism company Virgin Galactic’s successful inaugural suborbital flight https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/science/virgin-galactics-branson-ready-space-launch-aboard-rocket-plane-2021-07-11 from New Mexico.

Branson got to space first, but Bezos is due to fly higher – 62 miles (100 km) for Blue Origin compared to 53 miles (86 km) for Virgin Galactic – in what experts call the world’s first https://www.blueorigin.com/news-archive/first-human-flight-updates unpiloted space flight with an all-civilian crew.

Bezos, founder of ecommerce juggernaut Amazon.com Inc, and his brother and private equity executive Mark Bezos will be joined in the flight by two others. Pioneering female aviator Wally Funk https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/science/trailblazing-female-pilot-will-go-space-age-82-with-jeff-bezos-2021-07-01, 82, and recent high school graduate Oliver Daemen https://www.reuters.com/article/us-space-exploration-blueorigin/teenager-to-fly-with-bezos-in-inaugural-space-tourism-flight-idUSKBN2EL1ZJ?feedType=RSS&feedName=technologyNews, 18, are set to become the oldest and youngest people to reach space.

“I am excited, but not anxious. We’ll see how I feel when I’m strapped into my seat,” Bezos said in an interview with Fox Business Network on Monday. “… We’re ready. The vehicle’s ready. This team is amazing. I feel very good about it. And I think my fellow crewmates feel good about it, too.”

Funk was one of the so-called Mercury 13 group of women who trained to become NASA astronauts in the early 1960s but was passed over because of her gender.

Daemen, Blue Origin’s first paying customer, is set to attend the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands to study physics and innovation management in September. His father heads investment management firm Somerset Capital Partners.

Barring technical or weather-related delays, New Shepard is due to blast off around 8 a.m. CDT (1300 GMT) from Blue Origin’s Launch Site One facility about 20 miles (32 km) outside the rural Texas town of Van Horn.

MINUTES OF WEIGHTLESSNESS

New Shepard is a 60-foot-tall (18.3-meters-tall) and fully autonomous rocket-and-capsule combo that cannot be piloted from inside the spacecraft. It is completely computer-flown and will have none of Blue Origin’s staff astronauts https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/bezos-blue-origin-make-history-with-unpiloted-civilian-space-flight-2021-07-14 or trained personnel onboard.

In contrast, Virgin Galactic used a space plane with a pair of pilots onboard.

New Shepard will hurtle at speeds upwards of 2,200 miles (3,540 km) per hour to an altitude of about 62 miles (100 km), the so-called Kármán line set by an international aeronautics body as defining the boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and space.

During the flight, the crew will unbuckle for a few minutes of weightlessness and gaze back at the Earth’s curvature through what Blue Origin calls the largest windows ever used in space travel. Then, the capsule falls back to Earth under parachutes, using a last-minute retro-thrust system that expels a “pillow of air” for a soft landing at 1 mph (1.6 km/h) in the Texas desert.

The reusable booster is due to return to the launch pad using drag brakes and ring and wedge fins for stabilization.

Tuesday’s launch marks another landmark in the “billionaire’s race” to establish a space tourism sector that Swiss investment bank UBS estimates will reach $3 billion annually in a decade. Another billionaire tech mogul, Elon Musk, plans to send an all-civilian crew on an even more ambitious flight in September: a several-day orbital mission on his Crew Dragon capsule.

On Twitter, Musk wished https://bit.ly/2TqOL9I the Blue Origin crew “best of luck” for the launch.

Blue Origin has not offered details on its longer-term pricing strategy or how quickly it will ramp up the frequency of its launches. Chief Executive Bob Smith has said the next flight is likely in September or October. Smith said the “willingness to pay continues to be quite high” for people interested in future flights.

The company appears to have a reservoir of future customers. More than 6,000 people from at least 143 countries entered an auction to become the first paying customer, though the auction winner who made a $28 million bid ultimately dropped out of Tuesday’s flight.

Bezos, who founded Blue Origin in 2000, has a net worth of $206 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index https://www.bloomberg.com/billionaires. He stepped down this month as Amazon CEO but remains its executive chairman.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Van Horn, Texas; Additional reporting Radhika Anilkumar; Editing by Will Dunham)





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Priest Who Held Biden’s Inaugural Mass Resigns From University Over Alleged Misconduct

The Jesuit priest who presided over President Joe Biden’s inaugural Mass resigned from his position as president of Santa Clara University in California, after an investigation found he engaged in inappropriate conversations with graduate students.

The private Jesuit university announced Wednesday that Father Kevin O’Brien had notified the school’s board of trustees of his resignation Sunday, and that the board had accepted his resignation. Acting University President Lisa Kloppenberg asked for “grace and space” following the news.

O’Brien was placed on leave in March pending an investigation into alleged misconduct. The investigation found he engaged in conversations during informal dinners, where alcohol was involved, with graduate students that were “inconsistent with established Jesuit protocols and boundaries.”

In his resignation letter, O’Brien wrote that his behavior “did not meet the highest standards of decorum” expected of him as a Jesuit, according to the Associated Press (AP). But neither O’Brien nor Santa Clara University have revealed further details about his alleged misconduct.

“After much prayer and thought and out of deep love for Santa Clara, I have concluded that the best service I can offer to our beloved university is to step aside now,” he wrote.

At the direction of Jesuit officials, O’Brien also began a therapeutic outpatient program to address personal issues such as alcohol use and stress counseling, according to the AP. He said he hopes to return to active ministry as a Jesuit priest after completing the program. (RELATED: Here’s Why Media Calls Biden A ‘Devout Catholic’ According To Theologians, Commentators)

O’Brien held Biden’s inaugural Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. The two have been friends for nearly 15 years and O’Brien held Mass ceremonies for Biden during his tenure as vice president in the Obama administration, according to The Hill.





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Biden Inaugural Committee Took in Millions from Corporations, Unions, Billionaires

President Joe Biden’s inaugural committee brought in millions of dollars from some of the largest companies and most prominent billionaires in the country, according to a report filed with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday.

The donors helped Biden reach nearly $62 million between Nov. 25, 2020, and April 19 to fund Biden’s inauguration activities, The Hill reported.

Lockheed Martin and Boeing, two of the largest defense contractors in the United States, donated $1 million each to the committee.

Uber, Comcast, AT&T, Bank of America, Pfizer and Qualcomm also gave the maximum donation of $1 million to the inaugural fund, according to Politico.

Inaugural committees, unlike presidential and congressional campaigns, are not prohibited from accepting corporate donations.

TRENDING: Psaki Explodes on Fox News Reporter, Struggles to Answer Simple Immigration Questions

Biden reportedly banned the committee from taking donations from lobbyists, foreign agents and fossil fuel companies.

However, corporate companies could contribute up to $1 million and individuals could donate up to $500,000.

At least 18 billionaires donated to the committee, Forbes reported.

These include Bill and Melinda Gates, who gave $500,000, and Citadel LLC founder and CEO Ken Griffin, who also gave $500,000.

Are you surprised by some of these donors?

Hearing aid billionaire Bill Austin gave $100,000 to the committee.

Griffin and Austin had both previously donated to former President Donald Trump. Griffin gave $100,000 to Trump’s inaugural committee in 2017 and Austin donated $1 million to a Trump fundraising committee in 2020.

Big Tech companies Amazon and Google contributed $276,000 and $337,000, respectively, to Biden’s committee, according to The Hill.

Politico reported other $100,000 donors include Ford, Airbnb, Doordash, Walmart, Verizon, Microsoft, PepsiCo, FedEx and General Motors.

The National Football League also gave $100,000 to the committee.

RELATED: Congress Spending on Personal Security Skyrocketed After Jan. 6

Unions hoping to get bills passed in their favor, including the United Association and The American Federation of Teachers, also contributed big money to Biden’s committee.

Those who gave $500,000 to Biden’s committee were told they would receive some exclusive perks as part of their “donor packages,” including an invitation to receive virtual signed photos featuring Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, VIP tickets to a nondisclosed in-person future event and exclusive merch, according to a document The New York Times reported on in December.

Biden surpassed former President Barack Obama’s inauguration fundraising amounts in both 2009 and 2013 but fell behind Trump’s record-setting $107 million from his 2017 inaugural fund.

Most of Trump’s donations came from billionaire mega-donors, including Sheldon Adelson who contributed $5 million, according to The Hill.

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The Inaugural 21c Artadia Award Will Offer $10,000 to Emerging Artists

21c Museum Hotel in Louisville, KY. 21c Museum Hotels

Every artist knows that when your career is in its incubation stage, the most important asset you need isn’t studio space or even stalwart institutional support: it’s money, and as much as you can get in order to fabricate the visions of artworks you’re holding in your mind. On Thursday, Artadia, a nonprofit grantmaker and nationwide visual art community, announced that they would be collaborating with 21c Museum Hotels in order to offer $10,000 to artists living in locations where the hotels are located via the inaugural 21c Artadia Award. The grant is also accompanied by lifelong access to the Artadia Network, an interconnected community that allows artists to make professional connections.

Additionally, the cities where the grants will be offered are thankfully not the standard coastal city favorites that the art world has come to expect. The inaugural grant will be offered to an artist in Louisville, Kentucky, and further awards are set to be offered in Kansas City, MO, Durham, NC and Nashville, TN.

“Artists are the foundation of a creative society and their artistic endeavors form the bedrock of our cultural legacy,” Carolyn Ramo, the Executive Director of Artadia, said in a statement. “At such a critical time for artists and arts communities, we are honored to be working with 21c to broaden our geographic reach and recognize the essential contribution of artists in these American cities with this impactful award.”

Artists interested in applying for the Louisville, Kentucky grant need only be aware that the Louisville award application is open call, it’s free to apply, and that it’s available to visual artists currently living and working within the Louisville Metro area. Applications for the award are open from May 15th through June 15th of this year, and once awarded, the $10,000 grant will surely change one young artist’s life forever and for the better.

The Inaugural 21c Artadia Award Will Offer $10,000 to Emerging Artists



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Congratulations to Steve Sachs, the inaugural Antonin Scalia Professor of Law at Harvard Law School – Reason.com

Stephen E. Sachs, a leading scholar of civil procedure and constitutional law, will join the faculty of Harvard Law School as the inaugural Antonin Scalia Professor of Law, effective July 1.

Sachs, who is currently the Colin W. Brown Professor at Duke Law School, researches a range of subjects including the law and theory of constitutional interpretation, the jurisdiction of state and federal courts, and the role of the general common law in the U.S. legal system.

“Professor Sachs is a thoughtful, creative, and impactful scholar who has offered fresh ways of thinking about law and interpretation and about the structure and content of U.S. law,” said John F. Manning ’85, the Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. “He is also a great teacher and colleague, and I am delighted that he is joining the HLS community.”

Said Sachs: “I am delighted to join the faculty of Harvard Law School, where I took my first law school class from Charles Donahue as a medieval history undergraduate, and where I spent many happy hours reading through old statutes in Langdell. I am particularly honored to serve as the inaugural Antonin Scalia Professor, in recognition of Justice Scalia’s legacy in the law.”

Harvard Law School established the Antonin Scalia Professorship of Law in 2017, in honor of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia ’60. Known for his jurisprudence advancing originalism and textualism, Scalia served as an associate justice for 30 years until his death in 2016.

Sachs joined the Duke faculty in 2011 as an assistant professor, after practicing in the litigation group of Mayer Brown in Washington, D.C. He received tenure in 2016. He also taught as a visiting professor at the University of Chicago Law School in the Winter of 2020, and at Harvard Law School during the 2015–2016 academic term.

He is a member of the Judicial Conference’s Advisory Committee on Appellate Rules, an elected member of the American Law Institute, and an adviser to the ALI’s project on the Restatement of the Law (Third), Conflict of Laws.

Sachs has written numerous articles, essays, and book chapters. His work has appeared in the Harvard Law Review, the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, the California Law Review, Constitutional Commentary, the Law & History Review, the Notre Dame Law Review, the Northwestern University Law Review, the Texas Law Review, the Virginia Law Review, and the Yale Law Journal, among others. His most recent work, “Originalism: Standard and Procedure,” is forthcoming in the Harvard Law Review in 2022.

In 2020, Sachs received the Federalist Society’s Joseph Story Award, which recognizes a young academic who has demonstrated excellence in legal scholarship, a commitment to teaching, a concern for students, and who has made a significant public impact in a manner that advances the rule of law in a free society.

In June 2013, Sachs wrote an amicus brief to the Supreme Court on forum selection agreements in civil cases. The Court ordered the parties in the case, Atlantic Marine Construction Co. v. U.S. District Court, to be prepared to address the brief, which was discussed at oral argument and in the Court’s opinion. The brief was later named among the “Exemplary Legal Writing of 2013” by the Green Bag Almanac & Reader legal journal.

Sachs clerked for Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. ’79 during the 2009–2010 Supreme Court term, and for the late Judge Stephen F. Williams ’61 of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 2007–2008.

Sachs received his J.D. from Yale Law School, where he was executive editor of the Yale Law Journal and served both as executive editor and articles editor of the Yale Law & Policy Review. A Rhodes Scholar, he graduated from Oxford University in 2004 with a first-class BA (Hons) degree in politics, philosophy, and economics. In 2002, he received his A.B. summa cum laude in history from Harvard University, earning the Sophia Freund Prize.

At HLS, Sachs will teach Civil Procedure, Conflict of Laws, and other public law courses.



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Translator for Amanda Gorman, Biden inaugural poet, rejected because he doesn’t meet specific racial “profile”

Publishers of Amanda Gorman, the first National Youth Poet Laureate who read her poem “The Hill We Climb” at President Joe Biden’s inauguration, have rejected translators of her work, including those chosen by Gorman herself, due to the fact that some of them are white.

Gorman’s Spanish translator Víctor Obiols, whose previous translations include the works of Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde, was commissioned to translate her poem and a foreword by Oprah Winfrey into Catalan. 

Obiols is now fighting back against his apparent cancellation on account of his supposed inability to translate an author who does not share his race and gender.

The editor of Barcelona-based publisher Univers received a request from the U.S.-based Viking Books for the translation to be performed by a “female activist of African-American origins, if possible,” reports the BBC

The cancelation of Obiols’ work soon follows after Gorman’s Dutch translator Marieke Lucas Rijneveld was forced to step down from performing a Dutch translation after woke journalist Janice Deul complained that the choice of Rijneveld was “incomprehensible.” Deul suggested that the translator should be similar to Gorman, in that she needed to be a “spoken word artist, young, a woman and unapologetically black.” 

“I’m not saying a black person can’t translate white work, and vice versa,” Janice Deul told the BBC. “But not this specific poem of this specific orator in this Black Lives Matter area, that’s the whole issue.”

“[Gorman] is someone who’s into slam poetry and slam poetry is about flow and rhythm,” argued Deul, who suggested that white people are incapable of “flow and rhythm.” 

“When you don’t know that, the whole form will have a different meaning and rhythm,” she said. 

In an interview with AFP, Obiols said “They told me that I am not suitable to translate it. They did not question my abilities, but they were looking for a different profile, which had to be a woman, young, activist and preferably black.”

“But if I cannot translate a poet because she is a woman, young, black, an American of the 21st century, neither can I translate Homer because I am not a Greek of the eighth century BC. Or could not have translated Shakespeare because I am not a 16th-century Englishman,” he argued. “It is a very complicated subject that cannot be treated with frivolity.”





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