National Roundup 05-17: Joe Biden to Visit N.J. to Campaign for Phil Murphy; Lawsuit Over Synagogue’s Chicken Slaughter Dismissed
The following is a round-up of national news from several major states across the country that will be featured on our site on a daily basis:
Joe Biden to Visit N.J. to Campaign for Phil Murphy: Former Vice President Joe Biden will travel to New Jersey over Memorial Day weekend to campaign for Phil Murphy, the Democratic front-runner for governor, NJ Advance Media has learned.
Biden is scheduled to appear at two events in Bergen County on May 28 to stump for Murphy — a private fundraiser in Edgewater and a public rally in Lyndhurst, according to Murphy’s campaign. Further details were not provided.
The visit marks the first time that a major political figure will wade into the crowded race to succeed Gov. Chris Christie, a term-limited Republican who is scheduled to leave office in January.
It will also come nine days before the June 6 primary and could provide a boost of attention to the race. Though New Jersey is one of only two states with a gubernatorial election his year, along with Virginia, polls show more than half of Democratic and Republican voters have yet to decide which candidate to support. [NJ Advance]
Christie Defends Trump Amid Crises, FBI Director Vacancy: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie fiercely defended on Wednesday President Donald Trump’s right to fire FBI Director James Comey and argued that reports of a bombshell Comey memo on Trump were “speculation.”
Speaking at a NJ Transit facility, Christie at first told reporters he would not comment on events in Washington that he’s “not involved in.” Following some prodding, however, Christie defended Trump’s actions to fire Comey.
“I think the President has been underserved by his staff. I think I’ve said that two or three times, but the fact is that what I do know as someone who has run two pretty large operations is that those decisions need to be made by the executive,” Christie said. “Only the person who is being served day-to-day knows for sure how well they are served and knows any perception of success or lack of success.”
Christie, a former federal prosecutor, denied speculation that he may be vying for the now-open FBI director role with an emphatic “no,” adding that he’ll be finishing out his term, which ends next January. He seemed to offer some veiled advice to the administration in an apparent reference to the deluge of leaks plaguing the White House. [CNN]
Chicago Police Release Final Version of Use-of-Force Policy: Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson is releasing the final version of the department’s new use of deadly force policy.
The new policy announced on Wednesday comes in the wake of the release of a video showing a white officer fatally shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald. The video sparked public outrage and led to a U.S. Justice Department report that was critical of the department’s use of excessive force.
The final policy closely resembles the draft Johnson released in March that revised a previous draft that rank-and-file police officers complained was too restrictive. Still, it’s more restrictive than the policy that’s been in place for years. Officers will be required to undergo de-escalation training. The policy also puts in place new restrictions on when officers may shoot a fleeing crime suspect. [AP]
Lawsuit Over Synagogue’s Chicken Slaughter Dismissed: A federal judge has tossed out an animal rights group’s lawsuit against a California synagogue that practices the ritual slaughter of chickens.
Judge Andre Birotte Jr. ruled that Chabad of Irvine doesn’t engage in an unfair business practice by charging for the killing and disposal of chickens used in the rite called kapparot or kaporos.
United Poultry Concerns, a Virginia-based group, argued that the $27 fee was well above the actual cost, making it a profit-making venture. But Birotte said in the ruling Friday that the synagogue “does not participate nor compete as a business in the commercial market by performing a religious atonement ritual that involves donations,” the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.
“We hope this victory will encourage everyone to live in peace and tolerance of everyone’s religious beliefs,” Rabbi Alter Tenenbaum of Chabad of Irvine said in a statement. [AP]
Billboard: ‘Rubio Refuses to Do Town Hall Meetings’: Indivisible activists continue to hound Sen. Marco Rubio, and have paid for a billboard to greet him Friday when he’s in Pinellas County for a speech.
Rubio is headlining the county GOP’s Lincoln Day dinner, to be held at Hilton St. Petersburg Carillon Park.
“Rubio refuses to do town hall meetings,” reads the billboard on Ulmerton Road. “Floridians deserve to be heard. So we made this billboard.”
Rubio says he doesn’t do town halls because,”they are designed to basically heckle and scream at me in front of cameras.” [Tampa Bay]
Little Havana’s First Museum Targets Winter Opening: Little Havana’s first museum, El Museo de Little Havana, is expected to open on Calle Ocho this winter, according to the Miami New Times.
Located at 1637 SW 8th Street, the space will “aim to showcase the social, cultural, and political importance that the area brings to South Florida.” The project was announced yesterday onsite by Barlington Group and HistoryMiami Museum. The latter will provide resources for the exhibits in the form of photos and artifacts, which will show the area’s dynamic transformation over many decades.
“The museum will depict the history of the area going back to the beginning, when you had people from the south, Bahamians, who were fairly prevalent in the area,” said Dr. Paul George, the resident historian of HistoryMiami Museum. “And then it morphs through the late ’20s, ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s into a large Jewish presence. And then you begin to see the Cubans coming in, with the Batista dictatorship in the early ’50s, which, of course, accelerates when Fidel Castro takes power in 1959. Then, what that also leads to, within a decade or two or three, is the tremendous presence of other Spanish-speaking people and other Hispanics in the neighborhood, like Nicaraguans in particular.” [Curbed]