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Senate Set to Confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court on Monday

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Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett arrives Wednesday for the third day of her confirmation hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett arrives Wednesday for the third day of her confirmation hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

After only 30 days since Trump announced he was nominating Amy Coney Barrett for the seat left vacant by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Sept. 18, a Republican-controlled Senate is ready to confirm her as a Supreme Court justice.

What We Know:

  • The final vote occurred on Monday, October 26th at 7:30 pm EST. The final Senate vote was 52-48 in favor of confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court and a ceremony did end up taking place at the White House ceremony following the vote where Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas administered the constitutional oath to Coney Barrett.
  • President Trump spoke at the event, thanking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and calling today a “momentous day” for America, the constitution and the rule of law. He also praised Barrett’s intellect and poise during the confirmation process. Several Republican senators were also in attendance. Barrett must still take the judicial oath.
  • The significance of her confirmation now could be that Barrett could quickly be able to help decide applications from states for the court to settle disputes about voting methods, but she should not be able to give a vote on currently ongoing cases.
  • Moreover, the court has already made decisions regarding how to address several election-related disputes such as the previously blocked curbside voting in Alabama and imposed witness requirements in South Carolina. Her confirmation is a solid victory for Trump and a predominantly Republican Senate whose campaigning efforts have achieved a conservative majority on the court.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has said, “We made an important contribution to the future of this country. A lot of what we’ve done over the last four years will be undone sooner or later by the next election. They won’t be able to do much about this for a long time to come.”

  • Prior to the vote, Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski changed opinions over the weekend and stated she would vote in favor of Barrett even though she previously opposed swearing-in a new justice before Election Day. On the other hand, Republican Sen. Susan Collins, another Senate Republican running for re-election, made it clear she would vote against Barrett.

Democrats have signaled that in the wake of Barrett’s confirmation, several major changes could occur such as the end of the Affordable Care Act. It’s been reported that the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments over the health care law in November. Another fear is that she would vote for overturning Roe v. Wade, a landmark decision that made abortion legal.

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Javier Garay is a digital intern with Unmutedco. He graduated from the University of North Georgia with a Bachelor of Science (B.S) in Film/Digital Media with a concentration in Media Studies. He is a contributor and editor for Black News Alerts (BNA), a BNA and BossFM social media contributor, and is the lead of the BNA Daily Podcast Team.

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The European Commission Will Begin Antitrust Probe into Google’s Advertising Unit

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The European Commission believes Google favors its own display ad technology services. If the European Commission’s claims are true, this means Google breached antitrust rules.

What We Know:

  • The Commission’s Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager announced her intentions in a tweet. The probe will investigate Google’s restrictions on accessing data about user identity and behavior; usually, Google places these limitations on advertisers, publishers, and other third parties.

  • The Commission will also investigate complaints on Google not allowing competitors to broker ad buys on YouTube. Furthermore, Officials will examine if the corporation blocks user-tracking technologies on their platforms.
  • Google quickly responded to the claims via email. A spokesperson for Google wrote that thousands of European businesses use Google’s advertising products daily for their competitiveness and effectiveness. In addition, the spokesperson declared the tech company would “engage constructively” with the European Commission to answer their questions.
  • This is Google’s second investigation in one month. On June 7, CNBC reported that the French completion authority fined the tech giant €220 million, or $268 million, for abusing its market power in the ad industry. Google chose to pay the fine and also revealed it would give publishers more choice and better results when using its platforms.
  • Additionally, the European Commission already found Google guilty of breaching antitrust rules in 2019. Officials determined that Google imposed restrive clauses in contracts with third-party websites. The limiting sections prevented Google’s competitors from placing search ads on these pages. As a result, the Commission made Google pay €1.49 billion, or $1.77 billion.
  • The Commission does not know when it will finish its investigation on the tech titan.

Alongside Google, the European Commission also placed fines and punished other corporations such as Facebook for violating antitrust laws over the years.

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The Supreme Court Unanimously Rules the NCAA Cannot Bar Education-Related Benefits, Says It Violates Federal Antitrust Laws

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The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) specifically ruled that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) cannot enforce limits on Division I basketball and football players’ college-offered educational benefits.

What We Know:

  • Current NCAA rules state that colleges cannot pay student-athletes. In addition, institutions must cap scholarship amounts to the cost of attendance. The association implemented these rules because officials felt that if they paid athletes, fans would begin to criticize the players’ amateur statuses. This, in turn, would result in fewer admirers.
  • However, SCOTUS rejected their claims; the Justices unanimously ruled that the NCAA cannot restrict relatively modest payments to their players based on amateurism. Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the court’s opinion, citing that doing so violates antitrust laws.

“The NCAA is not above the law,” wrote Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

  • This case has been around for a while now. Last year, former players, including West Virginia football player Shawne Alston, sued the NCAA for their unfair laws. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco determined the collegiate association could not limit educational benefits. This decision permitted payments for things such as musical instruments, scientific equipment, postgraduate scholarships, tutoring, study abroad, academic awards, and internships.
  • Despite this, the appeals court did not allow the NCAA to provide athletes with a salary. Therefore, Alston and others took the case to SCOTUS.
  • The unanimous ruling did not directly imply if institutions can now compensate their players. Instead, Monday’s verdict permits those playing Division I men’s or women’s basketball or Bowl Subdivision football to receive cash/cash-equivalent awards based on their academics or graduation. Universities can now offer scholarships for students to complete undergraduate or graduate degrees. Students may also partake in paid internships once they complete their collegiate sports eligibility.
  • SCOTUS will not require schools to provide the benefits. Alongside this, conferences can impose prohibitions on the benefits if the member school chooses to. However, a conference cannot limit or prevent said assets.
  • With the new, multi-level, victory, the athletes feel ready to challenge other aspects of these rules. One lawyer, Steve Berman, already opened another case against the NCAA related to this one. He will ask for the courts to prevent the NCAA from maintaining rules that restrict the amount of name, image, and likeness (NIL) payments available to athletes.

Berman will also seek “unspecified damages” based on the share of television-rights money and social media earnings plaintiffs could have received if NIL compensation limits did not exist.

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Olympians Must ‘Avoid Unnecessary Forms of Contact’ During Games

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Athletes participating in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics must avoid anything that may provoke another COVID-19 wave across Japan, including engaging in sexual activities.

What We Know:

  • The International Olympic Committee (IOC) continuously emphasized last week that Olympic village citizens must observe social distancing guidelines. If someone does not obey the rules, they may face fines, disqualification, or deportation. After the information’s release, Japanese organizers began wondering if this meant they cannot distribute their 160,000 condoms throughout the village.
  • The issuing out of contraception became a tradition in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Officials wanted to motivate Olympians in the village to practice safe sex. Oftentimes, athletes tend to sleep with each other, or with natives.
  • Several companies and people expressed their concern over the new rules. Mountaineer Ken Noguchi said he “could not comprehend” why organizers can’t just hand out the condoms and ask the owners to “keep them under wraps”. Alongside this, four Japanese condom manufacturers expected to market their “specialty, ultra-thin” prophylactics; the contraceptives, made of polyurethane, are meant to heighten the pleasure of sex.
  • In light of the IOC’s declaration, Tokyo Olympics organizers stated they do not intend on passing out condoms for use inside the village. Rather, they want athletes to take the contraceptives home as a souvenir. Organizers claim that athletes can return to their nations and raise awareness on HIV and AIDS with the condoms.
  • The IOC’s warning stands despite the fact that 80% of Olympic and Paralympic athletes will be fully vaccinated by the time the games start on July 23. Additionally, officials placed extreme measures on athletes’ interactions outside of competitions. For example, although organizers intended on providing meals in “vast dining halls,” participants must now eat and sleep alone.

The IOC and Japan intend on minimizing any possible damage to the host country. Recently, Japan curbed its coronavirus rate and dropped restrictions. Japanese officials also ensured they will take precautions if numbers jump during the Olympics; this includes putting their state of emergency back into effect in the middle of the Games.

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