the Web Editors 06-23-2016

The Supreme Court tied 4-4 in the crucial immigration case U.S. v. Texas.

“The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court,” the one-sentence opinion reads.

the Web Editors 06-22-2016

The Supreme Court is expected to hand down as early as this week a decision in U.S. v. Texas, a lawsuit brought by 26 states against the Obama administration for its executive actions allowing certain undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S.

A ruling in the Obama administration’s favor, allowing DAPA and expanded DACA to proceed, could affect up to 4 million undocumented immigrants. A large majority of Americans support DAPA.

the Web Editors 04-01-2016

Frederic Legrand - COMEO / Shutterstock

“Now let me be clear—I consider it part of my responsibility as president of the United States to help this country in extraordinary moments of need, and I believe this is one such moment now. My colleagues in the Department of Justice have assured me this move is constitutional. So has Michelle. Look, we pledged to stay in D.C. until Sasha's graduation anyway, and let's not pretend you all don't wish I'd done this months ago.”

the Web Editors 03-11-2016

1. PLAYING GO(d): AI Just Outmatched the Human Brain, 10 Years Ahead of Schedule

If eternity really is found in the hearts of men, it may look something like a game of Go. And Google just won it.<

2. This Is a Good Story About Growing Up Evangelical 

“It is easy to be cynical about in-group dynamics and communities; cynical is something I have been about the church. Underneath that cynicism, though, I give my assent: It IS good and pleasant—very good, even—when people who love each other live in unity.”

3. White Working-Class Nostalgia, Explained by John Wayne

“Though Donald Trump has made it easy to see white backlash purely in terms of anger and prejudice, I think it's a useful exercise, intellectually and empathically, to try and understand what reactionary white voters crave, what they feel is missing.”

Image via jamalbryant/Twitter

Black clergy from across the country are expressing moral outrage about the Republican-led Senate’s vow to block any nominee President Obama picks to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court, saying it reflects racism and disrespect. The Rev. Freddy Haynes of Dallas said on March 4 that Senate Republicans have condemned statements about racism by the leading GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump but he said they need to act on those words.

the Web Editors 02-23-2016

Vice President Biden and President Obama with Defense Secretary Ash Carter. Screenshot via White House

President Obama promised to close the Guantánamo Bay detention facility at the beginning of his presidency. Seven years later — nearly to the day — he released a plan to do it.

“For many years it’s been clear that the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay does not advance our national security,” Obama said.

“It undermines it.”

Richard Wolf 02-15-2016

The death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is a major setback for the conservative legal movement, as will become clear in the months ahead.

This was to be the term conservatives roared back after one in which the court’s liberal bloc won most of the important cases, such as same-sex marriage and Obamacare. On tap to be decided in the next four months are cases affecting abortion rights, affirmative action, voting rights, the power of labor unions and President Obama’s health care and immigration policies — and conservatives stood at least a chance of winning them all.

Rick Herron 02-03-2016

Image via Megan Cagle/Church World Service

With chants of “Hey, Obama, don’t deport my mama!” and "Que queremos? Justicia! Cuando? Ahora!" a diverse group of immigration activists and leaders made their way from St. John’s Episcopal Church at Lafayette Square to rally at the White House on Tuesday. They were there to demand that the Obama administration stop deporting Central American asylum seekers and instead grant them Temporary Protected Status. With them they carried boxes full of more than 136,000 petition signatures calling for the same.

Screenshot via the White House

In times of rising Islamophobia, President Obama made a plea for religious tolerance at the first visit to an American mosque of his presidency. A lot of Americans have never been to a mosque, the president said as he began his speech, shoeless per Muslim tradition, in the Islamic Center of Baltimore’s prayer hall on Jan. 3.

Image via /Shutterstock.com

The White House has announced plans to add an evangelical-turned-Episcopal blogger, a Ferguson, Mo., activist, and a Methodist megachurch pastor to President Obama’s list of faith-based advisers.

the Web Editors 01-29-2016

Image via /Shutterstock.com

President Obama signed an executive action Jan. 29 requiring large companies to disclose to the government how much they pay employees, broken down by race, gender, and ethnicity. This executive action, which applies to companies with 100 or more employees, is aimed in part at reducing the gender wage gap in the U.S., which leaves women earning 79 cents for every dollar earned by men.

President Obama with Steven Spielberg and Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer. Image via REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/RNS

President Obama warned of growing anti-Semitism in the United States and the world as he honored two Americans and two Poles who helped save Jewish lives during World War II.

“Here, tonight, we must confront the reality that around the world, anti-Semitism is on the rise. We cannot deny it,” Obama said at a Holocaust remembrance ceremony at the Israeli embassy Jan. 27. He cited Jews fleeing European cities; attacks on Jewish centers in Mumbai, India and Overland Park, Kan.; and swastikas on college campuses.

Saeed Abedini with his family. Image via American Center for Law and Justice/RNS

An Iranian-American pastor released by Iran last weekend is expected back in the U.S. after more than three years in prison there. Saeed Abedini, who since has been at a U.S. military hospital in Germany, is scheduled to arrive on American soil Jan. 21 evening, according to a Facebook post made Jan. 20 by his wife, Naghmeh Abedini. She described him in “very good condition.”

Micah Bales 01-14-2016

For his final State of the Union address, President Obama delivered a characteristically eloquent and passionate speech. He issued a heartfelt call for unity and cooperation in a country whose political climate is just a few notches short of civil war. He asked us to consider how we might move forward as one nation, affirming our highest ideals rather than the hateful rhetoric of would-be despots.

Obama’s final State of the Union was in many ways a masterpiece of American political theater. He reminded us of the best of our tradition, calling us to live up to our history of welcoming the outsider and being a land of opportunity for all people. Despite the fact that this canonical history is to a great degree aspirational rather than actual, I was at many points uplifted to hear the president invite us to live into the more beautiful aspects of the American Dream.

the Web Editors 01-08-2016

1. WATCH: Gun Owner (and Vice President) Joe Biden Clears Up Apparent Confusion on Obama’s Executive Orders

No … Obama’s not taking your guns.

2. Sandra Bland’s Family: Trooper Perjury Charge a ‘Slap on the Wrist’

"Where is the indictment for the assault, the battery, the false arrest?"

3. Open Letter to the Leadership of #Urbana15 and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

Add your voice to the growing list of people of faith saying “thank you!” to InterVarsity for supporting Black Lives Matter.

Image via  / Shutterstock.com

President Obama supports the right of Muslim Americans to celebrate religious holidays, the White House said Dec. 11. He just can’t give them the day off.

Responding to a petition on the White House’s “We the People” site, the White House declined to declare federal holidays for the Muslim holy days of Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr.

That’s because Congress has only designated 10 federal holidays each year: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

“Proposals for new permanent federal holidays are typically the province of Congress,” the White House said.

Image via REUTERS / Saul Loeb / Pool / RNS

President Obama sought to reassure the nation amid renewed fears of terrorism the night of Dec. 6, saying the terrorist threat has “evolved into a new phase” of attacks hatched at home by extremists “poisoning the minds” of killers already on American soil.

“I know how real the danger is,” said Obama.

“The threat from terrorism is real, but we will overcome it. We will destroy ISIL and any other organization that tries to harm us,” Obama said.

the Web Editors 12-01-2015

Rosa Parks' fingerprints from her arrest. Public domain image

Rosa Parks held no elected office. She was not born into wealth or power. Yet sixty years ago today, Rosa Parks changed America. Refusing to give up a seat on a segregated bus was the simplest of gestures, but her grace, dignity, and refusal to tolerate injustice helped spark a Civil Rights Movement that spread across America. Just a few days after Rosa Parks’ arrest in Montgomery, Alabama, a little-known, 26 year-old pastor named Martin Luther King Jr. stood by her side, along with thousands of her fellow citizens. Together, they began a boycott. Three-hundred and eighty-five days later, the Montgomery buses were desegregated, and the entire foundation of Jim Crow began to crumble.

the Web Editors 11-16-2015

Image via  / Shutterstock.com

"The people who are fleeing Syria are the most harmed by terrorism, they are the most vulnerable as a consequence of civil war and strife. They are parents, they are children, they are orphans. And it is very important — and I was glad to see that this was affirmed again and again by the G20 — that we do not close our hearts to these victims of such violence and somehow start equating the issue of refugees with the issue of terrorism.

"When Pope Francis came to visit the United States, and gave a speech before Congress, he didn’t just speak about Christians who were being persecuted. He didn’t call on Catholic parishes just to admit to those who were of the same religious faith. He said, protect people who are vulnerable."