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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

Judge Rejects Detroit Bankruptcy Filing - A Michigan Circuit Court Judge ruled Friday that Detroit's bankruptcy filing is unconstitutional and ordered the case be withdrawn from federal bankruptcy court.

But Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said in a statement soon after the decision that he intended an immediate appeal to the Michigan Court of Appeals and would seek to block this latest order from taking effect while the appeal is heard.

The order came in response to motions by lawyers for retirees and pension funds for city workers, who argue the state constitution prohibits cutting pension and retirement benefits, as has been proposed in the bankruptcy case.

The order was from Ingham County Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, the county that includes the state capital of Lansing. has more here.


Kerry Announces Israel-Palestine Agree to Restart Peace Talks - When Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Friday that Israel and the Palestinians had tentatively agreed to resume peace talks after three years, he did so standing alone as dusk fell over the Jordanian capital.

The image reflects both his achievement and his challenge: few people would have predicted success when he began his quest to get the parties into talks nearly six months ago; yet even as he heralded the planned negotiations, neither was at his side.

In a brief appearance at Jordan's Queen Alia International Airport, Kerry told reporters the Israelis and Palestinians had laid the groundwork to resume direct negotiations.

While acknowledging the agreement was still being "formalized," he said that "if everything goes as expected" the chief Palestinian and Israeli negotiators would come to Washington to start talks in the next week or so and to make a three-way announcement. has more here.


McAuliffe-Cuccinelli Hold First Debate in Virginia Governor Race - After months of assailing each other’s integrity from afar and by proxy, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II and businessman Terry McAuliffe traded direct attacks on stage Saturday in the opening debate of their heated race for Virginia governor.
In a 90-minute face-off, the candidates cast their arguments in sharply personal terms, accusing each other of bullying, influence peddling and “flimflammery.”

McAuliffe (D) dubbed Cuccinelli a conservative zealot on issues including gay rights and abortion and unsuited to govern the increasingly moderate commonwealth, while Cuccinelli (R) called McAuliffe a “Washington insider” with little understanding of the state and its voters.
From the start, Cuccinelli accused McAuliffe of looking out only for himself.
“Instead of putting Virginians first, you put Terry first, a common theme for you,” Cuccinelli said.  The Washington Post has more here.


Senate Nears Vote To Require Warrants for Email Searches - The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is pushing to fast-track legislation that would require police to obtain a warrant before accessing emails and other private online messages.

Sen. Patrick Leahy's (D-Vt.) goal is for the Senate to unanimously approve his bill before the August recess, according to one of his committee aides. Any opposition could delay a vote until after Congress returns in the fall.

He has secured unanimous support from his fellow Democrats and is in negotiations with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the Judiciary Committee's ranking member, and other Republicans to address their concerns. has more here.


Nate Silver Leaves NY Times, Hired By ESPN - Nate Silver, the statistician who attained national fame for his accurate projections about the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, is parting ways with The New York Times and moving his FiveThirtyEight franchise to ESPN, the sports empire controlled by the Walt Disney Company, according to ESPN employees with direct knowledge of his plans.

At ESPN, Mr. Silver is expected to have a wide-ranging portfolio. Along with his writing and number-crunching, he will most likely be a regular contributor to “Olbermann,” the late-night ESPN2 talk show hosted by Keith Olbermann that will have its debut at the end of August. In political years, he will also have a role at ABC News, which is owned by Disney.
An ESPN spokeswoman declined to comment on Friday night. Mr. Silver declined to comment. The employees, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that Mr. Silver’s deal could be announced as soon as Monday. The NY Times has more here.
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