06 26 2016
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  • ST. LOUIS (AP) — A draft of the Democratic Party's policy positions reflects the influence of Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign: endorsing steps to break up large Wall Street banks, advocating a $15 hourly wage, urging an end to the death penalty. Hillary Clinton's supporters turned back efforts by Sanders' allies to promote a Medicare-for-all single-payer health care system and a carbon tax to address climate change, and freeze hydraulic fracking. While the platform does not bind the Democratic nominee to the stated positions, it serves as a guidepost for the party moving forward. Party officials approved the draft early Saturday. The Democratic National Convention's full Platform Committee will discuss the draft at a meeting next month in Orlando, Florida, with a vote at the convention in Philadelphia in late July. Sanders said Friday he would vote for Clinton, the presumptive nominee, in the fall election, but so far has stopped short of fully endorsing the former secretary of state or encouraging his millions of voters to back her candidacy. The Vermont senator has said he wants the platform to reflect his goals — and those representing him at a St. Louis hotel said they had made progress. "We lost some but we won some," said James Zogby, a Sanders supporter on the committee. "We got some great stuff in the platform that has never been in there before." Added Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., a Sanders ally: "We've made some substantial moves forward." Deliberating late into Friday, the group considered language on the Israel-Palestinian conflict, an issue that has divided Democrats. The committee defeated an amendment led by Zogby that would have called for providing Palestinians with "an end to occupation and illegal settlements" and urged an international effort to rebuild Gaza. The draft reflects Clinton's views and advocates working toward a "two-state solution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict" that guarantees Israel's security with recognized borders "and provides the Palestinians with independence, sovereignty, and dignity." In many cases, Clinton's side gave ground to Sanders. The document calls for the expansion of Social Security and says Americans should earn at least $15 an hour, referring to the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour as a "starvation wage," a term often used by Sanders. Sanders has pushed for a $15-an-hour minimum wage. Clinton has supported efforts to raise the minimum wage to that level but has said states and cities should raise the bar as high as possible. Sanders' allies wanted the draft to specify calls for a $15 per hour minimum wage indexed with inflation. Clinton's side struck down a direct link, noting the document elsewhere included a call to "raise and index the minimum wage." The committee also adopted language that said it supports ways to prevent banks from gambling with taxpayers' bank deposits, "including an updated and modernized version of Glass-Steagall." Sanders wants to reinstate the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act, which prohibited commercial banks from engaging in investment banking activities. Clinton does not, but says her proposed financial changes would cast a wider net by regulating the banking system. Also in the draft is a call for the abolition of the death penalty. Clinton said during a debate this year that capital punishment should only be used in limited cases involving "heinous crimes." Sanders said the government should not use it. Sanders, a vociferous opponent of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, was unable to get language into the document opposing the trade deal. As a result, the party avoided an awkward scenario that would have put the platform at odds with President Barack Obama. Clinton and Sanders have opposed the deal. Committee members backed a measure that said "there are a diversity of views in the party" on the pact and reaffirmed that Democrats contend any trade deal "must protect workers and the environment." In a setback for Sanders, the panel narrowly rejected amendments that would have imposed a tax on carbon and imposed a national freeze on fracking. The panel deliberated for about nine hours following several late nights and long hours of policy exchanges between the two campaigns and the Democratic National Committee. Sanders, in a statement, said he was "disappointed and dismayed" that the group voted down the measure opposing the TPP. But he was pleased with the proposals on Glass-Steagall and the death penalty — and vowed to fight on. "Our job is to pass the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party," he said.
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(CNN) -- A federal judge is once again weighing arguments over the "show me your papers" provision in Arizona's controversial immigration law.

The provision was the only one of four major parts of the law upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in June.

But opponents argued in U.S. District Court on Tuesday that new evidence shows that a federal judge should block enforcement of the provision.

"It is infected with racial discrimination," attorney Karen Tumlin of the National Immigration Law Center said outside the courthouse Tuesday, according to CNN affiliate KPHO.

Attorney John Bouma, representing Arizona, argued that the law does not discriminate.

"If Hispanics happen to be the people who are the highest percentage who come across the border illegally, believe it or not, they're probably the highest percentage that will be prosecuted under the statute," he said, according to KPHO.

The "show me your papers" provision allows local law enforcement, when performing other state law enforcement functions, to check on the immigration status of those people they stop for another reason. Supreme Court justices said they upheld that part because it complements existing federal policy.

When it upheld the provision, the Supreme Court was careful to say that depending on how this is implemented, it could very well be overturned one day.

On Tuesday, the National Immigration Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union were among the groups to challenge this part of the law on what they said were new grounds.

As part of their argument, they pointed to e-mails from Arizona Sen. Russell Pearce, a Republican who authored SB 1070 and then was ousted from office in a recall election in his suburban Phoenix district last year.

"It's very clear that they were pushing the implementation of SB 1070, and they have racially discriminatory motivations for doing so," said Alessandra Soler, executive director at the ACLU of Arizona. "Race, ethnicity and stereotypes about Latinos were the driving force behind the passage of SB 1070."

Attorneys representing Arizona have countered that claim.

"The legislative history speaks for itself and does not support a finding of discriminatory intent," they said in a court filing.

Pearce has contended that dozens of other states are trying to pass similar legislation, showing the popular support and need for such measures.

In June, he said that accusations of possible racial profiling as a result of the law were "demeaning to law enforcement."

The civil rights organizations presented three new arguments against the Arizona law Tuesday, Tumlin said. The first was that the provision should be blocked because it would result in unconstitutional detainment under the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures.

The opponents of the law also argued that the provision is inappropriately motivated by race, violating equal protection laws, she said.

Finally, Tumlin said, the civil rights groups presented new evidence that the provision encroaches on the federal government's responsibilities to enforce immigration laws.

Attorneys representing Arizona have argued in court filings that the civil rights' organizations evidence was "entirely speculative" and that "evidence demonstrates that (the provision) can and will be implemented in a constitutional manner."

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