The UK’s Supreme Court handed down a decision on December 17 that overturned a previous ruling made in favor of two midwives in greater Glasgow, Scotland, who had objected to being forced to supervise abortions in the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow where both worked as labor ward coordinators.
A Census Bureau report released in the past week indicated that 65 percent of American children lived in households receiving aid from one or more federal programs, as of the fall of 2011. However, an earlier census report released in September showed that the poverty rate for children under 18 declined last year for the first time since 2000.
In an opinion filed on December 16, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, federal Judge Arthur Schwab said President Obama’s immigration actions are invalid, effectively count as “legislation” from the executive branch, and concludes that they are “unconstitutional.”
Speaking to both military and civilian personnel at Joint Base McGuire Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey on December 15, President Obama thanked the troops for their extraordinary service and noted that “after more than a decade of war, our nation is marking an important milestone.”
Senator Rand Paul today introduced the Preventing Executive Overreach on Immigration Act on December 12. The bill (which has not yet been assigned a bill number, but has been placed on the Senate’s legislative calendar) is companion legislation to Rep. Ted Yoho’s bill of the same name (H.R. 5759) that passed the House of Representatives on December 4, 2014 on a 219-197 vote.
Leon Rodriguez, the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), told Spanish-speaking reporters during a conference call that “undocumented” (illegal) immigrants should be able to start applying for deferred action granting them protection from deportation and work permits in February and May.
The fallout from the Senate Intelligence Committee’s December 9 release of the summary of its report on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program continues, as the report’s critics and defenders go toe-to-toe. Many Republicans have been critical of the report because it casts a program initiated during the administration of George W. Bush in a negative light and it was compiled by a committee chaired by Democrat — Dianne Feinstein. However, even a prominent Republican has praised the report and condemned CIA torture.
In a December 9 interview in Nashville with Telemundo’s news co-anchor, José Díaz-Balart, President Obama assured illegal immigrant viewers that if they meet certain qualifications, they "won't be deported."
The Senate Intelligence Committee on December 9 released its report on the torture — including “waterboarding” — of prisoners held by the Central Intelligence Agency during the George W. Bush administration. The report was ordered released by the Intelligence Committee chairman, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D.-Calif.) and a copy was posted on the committee’s webpage.
NATO’s International Security Assistance Force’s (ISAF) Joint Command lowered its flag today and formally ended its military deployment in Afghanistan on December 8. While 48 nations had contributed troops to ISAF, the United States provided 24,050 out of the total 34,512 (as of October) — more than all other nations combined. Far behind were the United Kingdom with 2,830 troops and Italy with 1,400.