zimmytws/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday voted to grant an appeal from Texas abortion clinics that would have been shut down by restrictive state laws, allowing them to remain open until an appeal is completed.
The court order will remain in effect at least until it decides whether or not to hear a full appeal of a lower court ruling that approved the restrictive law. Had the justices voted in favor of the state, 10 of the 19 abortion clinics remaining in Texas would have been shuttered.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said that the state legislation was properly upheld by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. "Texas will continue to fight for higher-quality healthcare standards for women while protecting our most vulnerable -- the unborn," he said. "I'm confident the Supreme Court will ultimately uphold this law."
Photo by Kris Connor/ FilmMagic(WASHINGTON) -- First Lady Michelle Obama said on Monday that she hopes to continue her work on the Let Girls Learn initiative, which promotes education for young women in third world nations, after she leaves the White House.
Obama, along with the Peace Corps, have secured funding from numerous international powers for projects that provide young women around the world with educational opportunities. The funding also helps to keep those girls in school despite "cultural barriers."
"This is exactly the kind of work that I plan to do for my remaining time as first lady, and beyond," Obama said at More Magazine's Impact Awards luncheon at Washington, D.C.'s Newseum Monday.
Obama said that the initiative "can't just be the work of government."
In fact, the first lady says she sees herself in the women her initiative has helped, saying that she "wasn't any smarter or more talented than they are."
"Instead of having to work or support family, I got to go to school," Obama said.
ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- NBC on Monday ended its business relationship with business mogul and presidential candidate Donald Trump.
In a press release, NBC cites Trumps "derogatory statements...regarding immigrants." Trump said Mexican immigrants to the U.S. brought "drugs" and "crime" and included "rapists" when he announced his candidacy earlier this month. He also said that Mexico wasn't sending its "best" people to the U.S.
In the wake of those comments, Spanish language channel Univision said it would not carry the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, ventures partially run by Trump. NBC made similar comments on Monday.
The NBC press release further says that Trump will not participate in The Apprentice, but that Celebrity Apprentice is licensed by United Artists Media Group, allowing that show's relationship with NBC to continue.
Trump told reporters on Monday, following a speech in Chicago, that the relationship with NBA had to end "because my view on immigration is much different than NBC."
An official statement from Trump's campaign called NBC "weak" and said that "like everybody else is trying to be politically correct -- that is why our country is in serious trouble."
"If NBC is so weak and so foolish to not understand the serious illegal immigration problem in the United States, coupled with the horrendous and unfair trade deals we are making with Mexico, then their contract violating closure of Miss Universe/Miss USA will be determined in court," Trump's statement read.
Trump concluded by ripping NBC for their willingness to "stand behind lying Brian Williams, but won't stand behind people that tell it like it is, as unpleasant as that may be."
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- When Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff learned in 2013 that the National Security Agency was listening in on her phone calls and reading her emails, she was none too pleased.
She canceled a long-planned state visit to the United States and used an address at the United Nations General Assembly to blast the United States for what she called a “totally unacceptable” violation of her country’s sovereignty and accused the United States of breaking international law.
But Monday night, over two years later, Rousseff will be wined and dined by President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden during a private “working dinner” at the White House. It’s part of a two-day fence-mending trip and an opportunity for the two presidents to move beyond what the White House acknowledges as a “turbulent patch” between the Western hemisphere’s two largest economies.
The two leaders will participate Tuesday in a series of formal meetings and also hold a joint news conference.
Obama has found himself in this predicament often in the past two years as he has tried to restore relationships with key allies angry over the NSA surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden in 2013. The president has repaired his relationship with German Chancellor Angela Merkel with meetings, phone calls and even a beer after she expressed outrage about the NSA spying on her cellphone conversations.
Just last week, Obama called French President Francois Hollande to patch their relationship following reports the United States spied on him and his two predecessors. In the phone call, the president reiterated a commitment that the United States is “not targeting and will not target the communications of the French president.”
This will be the second meeting for Obama and Rousseff since the NSA spying revelations in 2013. They previously met on the sidelines of the Summit of Americas in Panama in April.
But even as the two leaders attempt to move beyond the spying that damaged their relationship, the White House won’t say whether Obama will formally apologize to Rousseff.
“We have not made it a practice to issue apologies related to our surveillance activities,” White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said during a conference call with reporters to preview Rousseff’s visit last week. “What the president has done is make changes based on our very thorough review of programs.”
Rousseff’s visit to the White House “signals the fact that we are moving forward in terms of our positive relationship” and will allow the two leaders to move forward on a number of “stalled” areas, Rhodes said.
The White House said the two leaders will discuss a wide range of topics, from climate change to trade, as well as defense and international cooperation. The two leaders will also discuss Cuba and Venezuela.
Official White House photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama signed two trade bills into law Monday, a victory for the president who faced embarrassing setbacks by members of his own party opposed to the measures.
“I think it's fair to say that getting these bills through Congress has not been easy,” Obama said to laughter. “They've been declared dead more than once. They have inspired long and passionate debates and that's entirely appropriate for our democracy. That's how this country's supposed to work. We're supposed to make sure that we air our differences and then ultimately Congress works its will, especially on issues that inspire strongly held feelings on both sides.”
“This is a good day,” the president said. “I'm very confident that we're going to be able to say at the end of the day that the trade agreements that come under this authorization are going to be improve the system of trade that we have right now and that's a good thing.”
The bills give Obama “fast track authority” to secure a Pacific trade deal as well as provides assistance to workers. The president thanked his unlikely allies -- House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell -- for working with him on the legislation.
As he signed the two bills, Obama seemed to relish the moment after spending weeks battling with members of his own party over the legislation.
“This is so much fun we should do it again,” he said.
“No thank you,” one of the men standing behind the president said.
“Well maybe not this particular piece of legislation,” Obama responded. “I do like signing bills though.”
Mike Levine(WASHINGTON) -- Three weeks after U.S. authorities determined foreign hackers may have stolen sensitive government records tied to tens of millions of people, the Office of Personnel Management has now shut down the system at the center of that breach, essentially bringing to a halt the way federal agencies have conducted background checks for years.
According to an "alert" posted on OPM's website Monday, the Electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing system -- or “e-QIP” -- "will be down for an extended period of time for security enhancements.”
“e-QIP allows the user to electronically enter, update and transmit their personal investigative data over a secure internet connection,” OPM’s website said.
As ABC News previously reported, the e-QIP system was one of several systems likely breached by hackers in China, and they stole forms -- known as “SF-86” forms -- submitted by federal employees and others seeking security clearances.
The forms require applicants to provide personal information not only about themselves but also relatives, friends and “associates” spanning several years.
The forms ask applicants about past drug use, financial history, mental health history and personal relationships. That type of information could be exploited to pressure or trick employees into further compromising their agencies, sources said.
ABC News previously reported the OPM hackers may have used information stolen last year from a private government contractor, KeyPoint Government Solutions, to ultimately break into federal systems.
Each month, OPM “thwarts” an average of 10 million “intrusion attempts,” OPM Director Katherine Archuleta recently said in testimony submitted to lawmakers.
bbourdages/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the use of midazolam in lethal injections was not in violation of the Eighth Amendment, allowing capital punishment in Oklahoma to continue.
The state had turned to midazolam after it was unable to obtain other drugs that it had long used in its lethal injections. Death row inmates filed a suit that was heard by the highest court in the nation claiming that the use of this alternate drug was a violation of their right against cruel and unusual punishment.
Inmates argued that the midazolam, meant to induce unconsciousness prior to the second and third drugs which inhibit movement and induce cardiac arrest, would not render them unable to feel pain.
The court decided, by a 5-4 vote, that the inmates "failed to identify a known and available alternative method of execution that presented a substantially less severe risk of pain" or that using midazolam "created a demonstrated risk of severe pain."
iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Supreme Court affirmed Arizona’s ability to appoint an independent commission to draw federal districts in a 5-4 decision Monday.
The Arizona legislature had filed suit against the state in an effort to get redistricting, which happens every 10 years, back under its control. That duty has fallen to the independent commission since 2000 when a state referendum passed in an attempt to get politics out of the redistricting process.
“The people of Arizona turned to the initiative to curb the practice of gerrymandering and, thereby, to ensure that Members of Congress would have ‘an habitual recollection of their dependence on the people,’” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in the majority opinion, quoting James Madison in the Federalist Papers. “In so acting, Arizona voters sought to restore ‘the core principle of republican government,’ namely, ‘that the voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around.’”
If the court had ruled the other way, it was possible that legislatures in Arizona and 12 other states that currently use nonpartisan redistricting methods, including California, could have had the opportunity to redraw districts as early as this summer because the decision would have rendered the 2010 districts invalid. Now, those 2010 lines stand.
John Moore/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The FBI and Department of Homeland Security issued a joint bulletin alerting authorities to the “heightened threat of attack by ISIL and its supporters” ahead of the Fourth of July holiday and this summer in general.
The bulletin, issued Friday, is titled “Holiday Celebrations Remain Attractive Target” and was sent to 18,000 law enforcement agencies around the country.
The document warns that that Independence Day celebrations and any activity which appears to defame the prophet Mohammed will “likely result in threats or plans to conduct violent extremist acts.”
FBI, DHS and National Counterterrorism Center officials "remain concerned about the difficulty in detecting violent extremists—especially lone offenders given the individualized nature of radicalization to violence,” the document states.
Syrian based ISIS members have been pressing through social media for adherents to carry out attacks wherever they are. The bulletin warns that attacks by “U.S. based ISIL supporters could happen with little to no warning.”
The document also cautions the U.S. government and military personnel to be mindful of their social media presence and any personal postings which could “attract violent extremists’ attention."
The bulletin comes after an attack by an ISIS supporter on a resort last Friday in Tunisia left 38 dead, many of them European tourists.
Cheryl Gerber/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Iowans are getting their introduction to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal — one of the latest Republicans to announce his presidential bid.
Believe Again, the super PAC supporting Jindal’s presidential candidacy released a new ad, titled “All Americans,” over the weekend that the group says will air in select markets in Iowa, including Des Moines, Sioux City and Cedar Rapids.
"Governor Jindal believes America should be a melting pot, where we all bring our strengths and adopt the nation's values. He has spoken often of the need to get away from the concept of hyphenated Americans. He believes we are all Americans,” Brad Todd, an adviser to the super PAC said in a statement.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Not surprisingly, last week's church shooting in Charleston has reignited the debate about gun laws in the U.S., a trend borne out by new figures from Google.
The online search engine's updated Trend tools revealed a change in searches from "gun shop" to "gun control" in the days after the Charleston church shooting.
As analyzed by The Huffington Post, the search for "gun shop" is usually more popular than "gun control," according to last year’s information gathered by the Trends tool. But within 72 hours of the Charleston shootings, searches in 45 states were for "gun control" instead of “gun shop.”
The five states that didn't follow the trend are South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, North Carolina and Kentucky.
While the shift in search trends does not necessarily reflect a shift in attitudes towards gun control, the HuffPost-YouGov poll found 49 percent of Americans think it's time to discuss stricter gun policies.
ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- On the heels of the terror attacks in Tunisia, Kuwait and France on Friday, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said there is “great concern” among law enforcement over the current security environment in the U.S. heading into the July Fourth holiday weekend.
“There's great concern. I would say there's probably more concern now than any time since Sept. 11,” said King, chairman of the House Counterterrorism and Intelligence subcommittee, on This Week Sunday.
On Friday, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin to local law enforcement warning of heightened concern over the potential for an ISIS-inspired attack approaching July Fourth celebrations next weekend.
While the agencies said no specific or credible threat had yet been identified, King told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, “Generally, they don't put those statements out so far in advance unless there's reason for concern.”
King referenced Friday’s overseas attacks as a reason to believe the terror group ISIS is able to coordinate its followers in various countries.
While both the Pentagon and State Department said last week there was no reason to believe the three attacks this past week were coordinated, ISIS has since claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing in Kuwait as well as the beach attack in Tunisia.
“ISIS is incomparable as far as terrorist organizations as far as being able to reach,” King said on ABC's This Week. “They can reach the disaffected, they can reach the deranged, they can also reach the ideologically committed.”
When asked about a recent report in The New York Times citing a survey of law enforcement expressing significantly more concern over anti-government violence than al Qaeda-inspired attacks, King disagreed.
“Every murder is horrible, but there is no comparison between these white supremacists and an internationally coordinated movement,” King said. “That's The New York Times at its worst.”
ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee suggested Sunday that Christians opposed to the Supreme Court's ruling in favor of gay marriage will carry out civil disobedience in response to it -- and that, if elected president, he might put up a nativity on the White House lawn.
"I don't think a lot of pastors and Christian schools are going to have a choice," the a former governor of Arkansas and Baptist minister said on ABC's This Week. "They either are going to follow God, their conscience, and what they truly believe is what the scripture teaches them or they will follow civil law."
The Supreme Court ruled Friday in a 5-4 decision that gay and lesbian couples had a constitutional right to marry.
Huckabee, who has long opposed gay marriage, said Christian business owners, university presidents and school administrators could be inspired by how Martin Luther King Jr. pushed back during the civil rights movement, and that county clerks shouldn't have to carry out the Court's decision and issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples.
"If they have a conscientious objection, I think they should be excused," he said.
Huckabee stopped short of saying that, as president, he would refuse to enforce the ruling, explaining he would wait to respond to any "enabling legislation" Congress passed.
"I'm not sure that every governor and every attorney general should just say, 'Well, it's the law of the land,' because there's no enabling legislation," he said.
Huckabee also took issue with the rainbow-colored lights that lit up the White House on Friday night.
"If I become president, I just want to remind people, that please don't complain if I were to put a nativity scene out during Christmas and say, 'You know, if it's my house, I get to do with it what I wish despite what other people around the country may feel about it,'" he said.
ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Independent who has risen quickly in the polls for the 2016 Democratic nomination, predicted with confidence Sunday that he’ll secure the Democratic nomination and be elected president in 2016.
“We are going to win New Hampshire. We’re going to win Iowa, and I think we’re going to win the Democratic nomination, and I think we’re going to win the presidency,” Sanders told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on This Week.
Sanders said his economic message targeting the middle class would help him secure the nomination.
“The American people are sick and tired of seeing the disappearance of the great middle class of this country. They're sick and tired of working longer hours for low wages while at the same time 99 percent of all new income generated is going to the top one percent,” Sanders said.
When asked about a recent poll showing his low support among non-white voters, Sanders told ABC News he has spent many years fighting for civil rights and added he believed his economic message would resonate with minority communities.
“I have a long history in fighting for civil rights. I understand that many people in the African-American community may not understand that,” he said.
“Given the disparity that we're seeing in income and wealth in this country, it applies even more to the African-American community and to the Hispanic community. And what we are going to do is make a major outreach effort to those communities, let people know my background, let people know my record, and I think we're going to do just fine in those communities,” Sanders added.
The Vermont Independent also dismissed any possible concern over his age should he be elected president. He would be 75 years old on Election Day.
“I don't think I've taken a day off because of sickness in several years. So I believe as somebody who has -- when he was a kid, a long distance runner, I'm blessed with endurance, I'm blessed with health,” Sanders said.
ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee called parts of President Barack Obama’s eulogy for the pastor killed in the Charleston church shooting two weeks ago “brilliant” and jokingly praised his singing voice – but also criticized the president for straying into politics during his remarks.
President Obama on Friday delivered the eulogy for Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was killed along with eight others in the June 17 shooting. He also surprised the crowd by leading them in a rendition of “Amazing Grace” after addressing race relations and gun violence in the U.S.
“I think so much of it was brilliant,” Huckabee said Sunday on This Week. “He has a wonderful voice. So post-presidential -- I see a recording contract in his future.”
But Huckabee, a former Baptist minister and governor of Arkansas, also criticized the president for politicizing the eulogy.
In his remarks, Obama touched on the debate over the Confederate flag, saying he supported taking it down, and said Americans have long “been blind to the unique mayhem that gun violence inflicts on this nation.”
“There were times when I think he strayed into more of a political agenda rather than a true eulogy,” Huckabee said. “I presided at a lot of funerals 30 years ago and before and I never used it as an occasion to do anything other than to focus on the person and the qualities of that person who was deceased and not to make it a time of cause."