BETSY DEVOS TO ROLL BACK TITLE IX PROTECTIONS FOR STUDENTS WHO ARE SEXUALLY ASSAULTED: The Trump administration intends to rewrite the Obama administration’s directive on handling campus-based sexual assaults, saying the system has failed both victims and the accused, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Thursday. Her stance sets the stage for a dramatic reversal of how Title IX, the 1972 law that bars discrimination based on sex in education, is enforced. "Through intimidation and coercion, the failed system has clearly pushed schools to overreach. With the heavy hand of Washington tipping the balance of her scale, the sad reality is that Lady Justice is not blind on campuses today…," DeVos said. "Every survivor of sexual misconduct must be taken seriously. Every student accused of sexual misconduct must know that guilt is not predetermined."
TWO NC GOP CONGRESSMEN WHO SIGNED ANTI-GERRYMANDERING BRIEF BACK OUT: Both North Carolina Republican members of Congress whose names once appeared on a legal brief decrying the ills of partisan gerrymandering have now disavowed that brief, saying they never meant to sign on. Just what happened is unclear, but on Thursday U.S. Rep. Walter Jones joined U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows in saying his name was added to the brief by mistake. U.S. Rep. David Price, a Democrat, is now the only North Carolina member of Congress backing the brief, which was filed in a potential landmark case challenging the legality of partisan election map drawing. The amicus brief, part of a Supreme Court case out of Wisconsin, once featured a 50-50 bipartisan mix of 36 current and former members of Congress.
RALPH HISE DOWNPLAYS THE RELEVANCE OF PUBLIC COMMENTS AGAINST GERRYMANDERING: But N.C. Sen. Ralph Hise, a Republican from Mitchell County who leads the Senate’s redistricting committee, said the input of fewer than 5,000 people in a state of 10 million is hardly representative of what people think. He also blamed the judges who ordered the lines to be redrawn, saying they should’ve given North Carolina more time. “As you know, we were on a compressed deadline that was set by the court,” Hise said. “I regret the court-ordered timeline forced an abbreviated process that yielded only 4,300 comments out of roughly 10 million North Carolinians. While we appreciate those who took time to respond, most statisticians would probably not view that small sampling as a representation of public opinion for all of North Carolina.”
ALL IN THE FAMILY: APPEALS COURT RULES ON TRUMP TRAVEL BAN: A federal appeals court on Thursday rejected the Trump administration's limited view of who is allowed into the United States under the president's travel ban, saying grandparents, cousins and similarly close relations of people in the U.S. should not be prevented from coming to the country. The unanimous ruling from three judges on the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also cleared the way for refugees accepted by a resettlement agency to travel here. The decision upheld a ruling by a federal judge in Hawaii who found the administration's view too strict. "Stated simply, the government does not offer a persuasive explanation for why a mother-in-law is clearly a bona fide relationship, in the Supreme Court's prior reasoning, but a grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, or cousin is not," the 9th Circuit said.
TRUMP'S ABRUPT TURN TO EMBRACE DEMOCRATS LEAVES RYAN HOLDING EMPTY BAG: The tortured relationship between President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan has gone cool again, with the Republican president making clear he has no qualms about bucking the GOP leader to cut deals with his Democratic foes. The two men dined at the White House Thursday night, a get-together scheduled over Congress’ recess, long before the head-spinning events of this week. Trump cut a debt and disaster aid deal Wednesday with Democratic leaders as Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell watched on helplessly, after lobbying unsuccessfully for much different terms.