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Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged madam, Ghislaine Maxwell photographed at California burger joint: report

Westlake Legal Group Ghislaine-Maxwell-GettyImages-590696434 Jeffrey Epstein's alleged madam, Ghislaine Maxwell photographed at California burger joint: report fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/person/jeffrey-epstein fox news fnc/us fnc df55cdae-697d-5c34-9ed1-29a86cbe741a Danielle Wallace article

Jeffrey Epstein’s mysterious, alleged madam surfaced Thursday at a California In-N-Out Burger, where a photographer snapped her reading a spy novel while scarfing down a burger and fries.

Ghislaine Maxwell, 57, allegedly provided Epstein with underage sex slaves. Court documents allege Maxwell, who is the daughter of the late, disgraced publishing tycoon Robert Maxwell, also participated in threesomes with Epstein and underage girls, according to multiple women who have come forward in the case.

EPSTEIN ACCUSER’S LAWYER: GHISLAINE MAXWELL WAS A ‘PRINCIPAL CONSPIRATOR’ IN ALLEGED SEX-TRAFFICKING RING

On Wednesday, one of Epstein’s alleged victims sued Maxwell and three other unidentified female staff members for allegedly conspiring to allow her to be raped, the New York Post reported.

Jennifer Araoz alleged in an op-ed for the New York Times that Maxwell and the other defendants helped Epstein lure her to his mansion when she was a 15-year-old high school freshman under the guise that he would help her career and family. Epstein allegedly forcibly raped her when she refused to have sex with him.

Araoz was first to file a lawsuit after New York’s Child Victims Act went into effect Wednesday. The new law removed a statute of limitations and permits victims to file lawsuits against those who sexually assaulted them as children until they turn 55-years-old.

The elusive former associate of Epstein could face criminal prosecution, and is believed to have valuable information about Epstein’s illicit activities. Epstein was found dead in his prison cell early Saturday. Authorities said it appeared he committed suicide, but an autopsy has raised questions about his cause of death.

Maxwell was photographed sitting alone in the outside patio area of a Los Angeles In-N-Out Burger restaurant Thursday. She is seen reading an opened book with a burger and fries on the table in front of her, the Post reported.

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The front cover of the book, which was not visible in the photograph, featured the title “The Book of Honor: The Secret Lives and Deaths of CIA Operatives.” The best-selling work of investigative reporting written by Ted Gup uncovered the untold stories of CIA agents who died anonymously serving the country.

Maxwell has not been photographed in public since 2016, the Post reported. It was reported Wednesday that Maxwell was hiding out in her boyfriend Scott Borgerson’s home in Massachusetts.

Westlake Legal Group Ghislaine-Maxwell-GettyImages-590696434 Jeffrey Epstein's alleged madam, Ghislaine Maxwell photographed at California burger joint: report fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/person/jeffrey-epstein fox news fnc/us fnc df55cdae-697d-5c34-9ed1-29a86cbe741a Danielle Wallace article   Westlake Legal Group Ghislaine-Maxwell-GettyImages-590696434 Jeffrey Epstein's alleged madam, Ghislaine Maxwell photographed at California burger joint: report fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/person/jeffrey-epstein fox news fnc/us fnc df55cdae-697d-5c34-9ed1-29a86cbe741a Danielle Wallace article

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A ragged Federer stunned in Cincinnati; Djokovic advances

Westlake Legal Group 1f99918a35574c0aa2f44d4555e45f72-1 A ragged Federer stunned in Cincinnati; Djokovic advances fox-news/sports/tennis fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 782a10b2-81ae-5d05-b171-465274ca8a64

For Roger Federer, it was one big blur. The seven-time champion was ousted from one of his favorite tournaments in barely over an hour, falling in straight sets to a 21-year-old qualifier he’d never faced.

Andre Rublev — with only one career win over a top-five player to his credit — took advantages of Federer’s numerous mistakes for a 6-3, 6-4 victory Thursday that further depleted the top of the men’s bracket in the Western & Southern Open.

“The biggest and the most emotional win,” Rublev called it.

And shockingly fast, too: Federer’s quickest defeat on the tour since 2003.

“To be honest, it’s tough when it’s fast like this to tell you, well, I could have done this or that,” he said.

Federer has won the tournament more than anyone, using it as a springboard to the U.S. Open. He had 16 unforced errors against the 70th-ranked Rublev , who raised both fists and wiped a teary eye in celebration after Federer’s forehand sailed long to end it.

Struggling with his serve, Federer got broken twice in the first set.

“And there you have it. It set the tone for the match a little bit,” Federer said. “He was super clean — offense, defense, serving well. He didn’t give me anything.”

Federer, who lost a classic five-set match for the Wimbledon title to Novak Djokovic, thinks he’s in good shape heading into the U.S. Open despite the upset in Cincinnati.

“I played 45 matches this year, so I think I should be fine,” he said, smiling.

But oh, this last one.

And oh, what about that Big Four reunion?

The tournament originally had Djokovic, Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray together again for the first time since January. Nadal, the second seed, withdrew after winning the Rogers Cup in Montreal on Sunday, citing fatigue.

Murray returned to singles for the first time since another hip operation in January and lost his first match. Federer was gone before the weekend. Djokovic — the last one standing — reached the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Pablo Carreno Busta.

“All in all, it was a very good, quality match,” Djokovic said. “I’m pleased I’m going in the right direction and looking forward to the next one.”

The men’s bracket has become a qualifier’s dream.

Qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka followed his upset of sixth-seeded Kei Nishikori — a player he called his hero — by beating Alex De Minaur 7-5-6-4. It’s the first time in 10 years that two qualifiers have reached the quarterfinals of an ATP Masters 1000 event.

The day began with the ATP fining Nick Kyrgios $113,000 for expletive-filled outbursts that included smashing rackets, insulting a chair umpire and refusing to get ready to return serve during a second-round match the previous night.

In the women’s bracket, top-seeded Ashleigh Barty reached the quarterfinals, joined by a resurgent Venus Williams.

Barty beat Anett Kontaveit 4-6, 7-5, 7-5, raising her fist in triumph after fighting off one match point to take the 2-hour, 10-minute match. She was down a break in the second set before rallying on a day when she struggled to find consistency.

“The best thing is when my back was against the wall, the tennis was there,” Barty said. “It may not have been there the whole match, but we were able to find it when we needed it.”

Barty, the French Open champion and currently ranked No. 2, can move up to the top spot by reaching the final.

With the crowd cheering for her, Williams recovered from a rough first set and beat Donna Vekic 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, her best stretch of tennis in since she won three straight matches in March at Miami.

After a first-round loss in Toronto last week, her ranking slipped to No. 65, her lowest in seven years. With sister Serena cheering courtside, Venus reached the semifinals.

“I mean, I’m pretty pumped,” Venus Williams said. “When you’re winning, it’s fun.”

Serena Williams withdrew from the tournament because of back spasms. She calmly watched her sister advance.

“I think she believed in me,” Venus Williams said. “She was rooting hard but didn’t seem panicked at all after I lost the first set.”

Second-seeded Naomi Osaka and No. 3 Karolina Pliskova also advanced. Madison Keys got a 6-1, 3-6, 7-5 win over No. 4 Simona Halep, still hobbled by a sore left Achilles that caused her to drop out of the Toronto quarterfinals last week. Keys will face Williams in the quarterfinals.

Westlake Legal Group 1f99918a35574c0aa2f44d4555e45f72-1 A ragged Federer stunned in Cincinnati; Djokovic advances fox-news/sports/tennis fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 782a10b2-81ae-5d05-b171-465274ca8a64   Westlake Legal Group 1f99918a35574c0aa2f44d4555e45f72-1 A ragged Federer stunned in Cincinnati; Djokovic advances fox-news/sports/tennis fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 782a10b2-81ae-5d05-b171-465274ca8a64

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Stanton, Yankees targeting September return from knee injury

Giancarlo Stanton wants to return from his knee injury in time to fine-tune that powerful swing for October.

Sidelined nearly all season, the New York Yankees slugger is hitting indoors and throwing as he rehabs from a sprained right knee that’s been slow to heal since he got hurt June 25. The next step will be jogging and running outside before ramping up baseball activities.

General manager Brian Cashman originally targeted August but now says the AL East leaders hope to get Stanton back sometime in September.

“Once I start moving around, just see how it bounces back. But I do want to have a few weeks of at-bats before October, for sure,” Stanton said Thursday in his first comments to reporters in a while. “I want to be out there for a couple weeks, just the game routine and having whatever amount of at-bats I can.”

The 2017 NL MVP said he’s confident he’ll return to health this season but has no particular date in mind.

“I’m doing everything I can to get there, so that’s what this process is and that’s what I’m working for,” he explained.

“The deadline is when my knee is ready to play major league games,” Stanton added. “So if something happens to that, then I can always get at-bats, non-big league at-bats, but by close to big league pitching, to catch me up if need be. But that is the deadline — not any rush past when my knee is ready.”

Stanton strained his left biceps on March 31 in his third game of the season, strained a shoulder and calf during his rehabilitation and returned June 18. He quickly went down again and is batting .290 with one home run and seven RBIs in nine games this year.

The outfielder and designated hitter was transferred to the 60-day injured list Sunday.

“It’s been brutal on my side, but it’s been really good to see the team playing so well. I mean, that’s what’s really kept it not so bad for me is just to watch everyone bringing together wins in all different type of ways, not one hero every night,” Stanton said. “That’s what I’ve been focusing on. Not poor me, all this stuff. I’m just watching how good we’ve been playing and just, what strategy for me to come file in. Not to just be back playing, but to get another little boost to what we’ve already been doing really well.”

Despite a cavalcade of injuries to All-Stars and other accomplished players, the streaking Yankees began the day tied for the best record in the majors with the Los Angeles Dodgers at 81-41.

Pointed toward the playoffs, New York held a 10-game lead in the AL East with 40 to play.

“I’m definitely glad to be hitting and moving around. Still got a lot of work to do, but I’m definitely glad for that,” Stanton said. “Just waiting on this knee to be full go and then we’ll be ready.”

Westlake Legal Group MLB-Giancarlo-Stanton4 Stanton, Yankees targeting September return from knee injury fox-news/sports/mlb/new-york-yankees fox-news/sports/mlb fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 8f4406c2-be5e-5eff-9005-469832bc2b40   Westlake Legal Group MLB-Giancarlo-Stanton4 Stanton, Yankees targeting September return from knee injury fox-news/sports/mlb/new-york-yankees fox-news/sports/mlb fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 8f4406c2-be5e-5eff-9005-469832bc2b40

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Rutgers University asks Louisiana high school to change logo

New Jersey’s flagship university has asked a high school in Louisiana to change its logo because it’s identical to the block “R” that Rutgers has trademarked.

Lincoln Parish Schools official Ricky Durrett tells the Courier News of Bridgewater the company that manages Rutgers’ brand requested Ruston High School stop using it.

Rutgers says the high school has 10 years to replace the logo on gear, social media platforms and on the school’s website.

Rutgers spokeswoman Dory Devlin says the university addresses trademark infringement issues to avoid confusion among brands and to ensure its logos are used for their intended purpose.

Durrett says Rushton Bearcats supporters frequently purchased Rutgers Scarlet Knights athletics gear and apparel for the logo.

Westlake Legal Group CFB-Montre-Hartage Rutgers University asks Louisiana high school to change logo fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/louisiana fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox-news/us/education/high-school fox-news/sports/ncaa-fb fox-news/sports/ncaa fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 858bdf24-313c-5a1f-b3c6-b91466d9e507   Westlake Legal Group CFB-Montre-Hartage Rutgers University asks Louisiana high school to change logo fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/louisiana fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox-news/us/education/high-school fox-news/sports/ncaa-fb fox-news/sports/ncaa fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 858bdf24-313c-5a1f-b3c6-b91466d9e507

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Rep. Rashida Tlaib gets Israeli minister’s OK to enter country to visit grandmother: report

Westlake Legal Group Rashida-Tlaib Rep. Rashida Tlaib gets Israeli minister's OK to enter country to visit grandmother: report fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/politics fox-news/person/rashida-tlaib fox news fnc/politics fnc d3c30c2d-effa-53ea-bc03-faff7f285bad Brie Stimson article

Israel’s interior minister has reportedly approved a request from Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., to visit Israel just hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., were barred from entering the country this weekend due to their support of an anti-Israel boycott movement.

In a letter sent to Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, Tlaib requested being able to visit her Palestinian grandmother who lives in the West Bank, according to the Jerusalem Post.

“This could be my last opportunity to see her,” Tlaib wrote of her grandmother, who is in her 90s. “I will respect any restrictions and I will not promote any boycotts against Israel during my visit.”

It was not immediately clear if the visit would include any political activities.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Westlake Legal Group Rashida-Tlaib Rep. Rashida Tlaib gets Israeli minister's OK to enter country to visit grandmother: report fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/politics fox-news/person/rashida-tlaib fox news fnc/politics fnc d3c30c2d-effa-53ea-bc03-faff7f285bad Brie Stimson article   Westlake Legal Group Rashida-Tlaib Rep. Rashida Tlaib gets Israeli minister's OK to enter country to visit grandmother: report fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/politics fox-news/person/rashida-tlaib fox news fnc/politics fnc d3c30c2d-effa-53ea-bc03-faff7f285bad Brie Stimson article

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National Rum Day: The fascinating history of how the spirit came to be — and what it was originally called

“But where did all the rum go?”

Despite Captain Jack Sparrow eulogizing rum throughout the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, a pirate’s hip, ship, or the inside of a coconut are not the only places the spirit can be found.

THE THINGS EVERY BOURBON FAN NEEDS TO KNOW

Rum has a rich history and commands about 9.4 percent of the total spirits market in the U.S. (21.6 million 9-liter cases of rum were consumed in the U.S. in 2018), while globally, rum makes up about 4.6 percent of the total global spirit market (146.4 million 9-liter cases were consumed globally in 2018), according to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis.

In other words, Captain Jack’s preferred spirit is truly worldwide.

Westlake Legal Group RumOrigins2 National Rum Day: The fascinating history of how the spirit came to be — and what it was originally called fox-news/food-drink/drinks/spirits fox news fnc/food-drink fnc Emily DeCiccio d161c2f1-45b8-5b8f-962b-317e2fb05a17 article

At 9.4 percent, rum takes a big swig out of the total spirit market in the U.S.

So where did rum originally come from? Mauricio Solórzano, the Global Ambassador for Flor de Caña rum, has answers. Solórzano, who has been in the rum business for over twenty years, said it all began with sugarcane.

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“There is no other agricultural product, rum has to be from sugarcane,” Solórzano said. “The origins of sugarcane came from a galaxy far far away in the 15th century BC, when we first knew about this plant in Papua New Guinea.”

Solórzano said that through trade, the plant made its way into India, Saudi Arabia and Spain. Then, it was apparently Christopher Columbus who introduced sugarcane to the Americas.

“Columbus brought sugarcane to America during his second trip in 1493, basically to produce sugar export to Spain,” he said.

The African slaves that were later forced to harvest the crop started to notice that the juice of the plant would ferment naturally, according to Solórzano.

“The sugarcane juice, after three days in contact with the yeast in the environment, started to ferment naturally, and they started to drink it and suddenly saw a change in their mood,” Solórzano said. “So, they first began to call this root spirit ‘Kill Devil.’”

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As “Kill Devil” gained popularity, people started taking notice. And yes, that included pirates.

“Pirates began looting ships and became interested in having rum for their long trips between the Caribbean and Europe,” Solórzano said.

Westlake Legal Group RumOrigins1 National Rum Day: The fascinating history of how the spirit came to be — and what it was originally called fox-news/food-drink/drinks/spirits fox news fnc/food-drink fnc Emily DeCiccio d161c2f1-45b8-5b8f-962b-317e2fb05a17 article

Mauricio Solórzano, the Global Ambassador for Flor de Caña rum, breaks down the history of this sensational spirit.

It wasn’t until the 16th century, however, that rum was transformed into the spirit that we drink today.

“The technology to clean and distill the alcohol in a proper way was brought from Europe to America, so the rum became what we know now, and houses like Flor de Caña began producing rum on a large scale,” he said.

Solórzano said that rum gained popularity in the 20th century when people started mixing it with sodas and fruits, which lead to staple drinks like the Cuba Libre, the mojito and the pina colada. In fact, a new survey conducted by Mount Gay Rum found that 92 percent of consumers aged 21 and up associate rum with mojitos or rum-and-cola cocktails. The Mount Gay study additionally found that people don’t only enjoy rum as a mixed drink, and more people (75 percent) sip rum neat than sip whiskey neat (65 percent).

For more about how rum is made and the spirit’s history, watch rum expert Mauricio Solórzano’s full interview above.

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Emily DeCiccio is a video producer and reporter for Fox News Digital Originals. Tweet her @EmilyDeCiccio.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6073365505001_6073365011001-vs National Rum Day: The fascinating history of how the spirit came to be — and what it was originally called fox-news/food-drink/drinks/spirits fox news fnc/food-drink fnc Emily DeCiccio d161c2f1-45b8-5b8f-962b-317e2fb05a17 article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6073365505001_6073365011001-vs National Rum Day: The fascinating history of how the spirit came to be — and what it was originally called fox-news/food-drink/drinks/spirits fox news fnc/food-drink fnc Emily DeCiccio d161c2f1-45b8-5b8f-962b-317e2fb05a17 article

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Whitney Ward Dillon and Mariel Lane on why ‘Racing Wives’ will change people’s opinion about NASCAR

Whitney Ward Dillon and Mariel Lane are longtime best friends, so when they were approached about turning their lives into a reality TV show, it was a no-brainer.

They star on CMT’s “Racing Wives,” which peels the curtain back on the lives of NASCAR’s most prominent wives, and the personal and professional demands they face, such as balancing businesses with family time and grappling with the danger their significant others face on the track.

Ward Dillon, wife of NASCAR’s Austin Dillon, and Lane, who is engaged to a member of Austin’s pit crew, also want to shine a light on and break stereotypes about the wildly popular sport.

‘THE HILLS’ STAR WHITNEY PORT SAYS SHE ONCE TURNED DOWN LEONARDO DICAPRIO: ‘I WAS TOO NERVOUS’

According to Ward Dillion, it all started with a DM and a few Skype interviews. She and Lane came aboard right away and then went into their friend group and racing community to fill out the cast.

“It ended up being girls that we do like and we were friends with,” she joked to Fox News.

Westlake Legal Group racing-wives-season-1-ktrp Whitney Ward Dillon and Mariel Lane on why 'Racing Wives' will change people's opinion about NASCAR Jessica Napoli fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/genres/reality fox-news/entertainment/features/exclusive fox-news/auto/nascar fox news fnc/entertainment fnc ff0367fd-3a89-5d74-ac84-a151bd0e894b article

Mariel, left, and Whitney. (CMT)

Lane admitted that being in front of TV cameras felt different than being a NASCAR model.

“Usually we’re putting on a persona,” she said. “This is more so going into your real life. You’re making yourself more vulnerable.”

“We had a lot of fun though!” Ward Dillon chimed in.

DALE EARNHARDT JR., FAMILY HOSPITALIZED AFTER SMALL PLANE CRASH IN TENNESSEE, SISTER SAYS

In terms of breaking through some NASCAR stereotypes, Lane said, “I think [people] think it’s more a closed-off group but in actuality, NASCAR is one of the most loving sports — the people and the fans embrace you wholeheartedly. It’s very passionate .”

“I do think we bring a lot to the sport,” Ward Dillon added. “We make everything a little more lighthearted because it’s so intense with the competition.”

The friends are also business partners with a jewelry line, and look forward to highlighting their shared passion. Ward Dillon finds balancing everything “very difficult” because besides the jewelry business the pair run a blog together, “travel 36 weeks out of the year,” they now film the show, too.

Westlake Legal Group racing-wives-season-1-pb6z Whitney Ward Dillon and Mariel Lane on why 'Racing Wives' will change people's opinion about NASCAR Jessica Napoli fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/genres/reality fox-news/entertainment/features/exclusive fox-news/auto/nascar fox news fnc/entertainment fnc ff0367fd-3a89-5d74-ac84-a151bd0e894b article

The cast of ‘Racing Wives’ on CMT.  (CMT)

“You see how crazy this life is,” she said. “You see the ups and the downs.”

One thing Lane thinks the show does well is showcase the castmates’ varied personalities.

“I mean you take five women and you put us all together, of course, we’re all gonna kind of butt heads with like different personalities. But at the end of the day, I do feel like there’s a sense of respect amongst all of us just because we kind of know where each one of us is coming from,” she explained.

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And she also hopes that at the end of each episode, the audience learns a little more about the sport “because I don’t feel like people actually get to see everything that goes on this world,” as well as feel a sense of community.

“As long as you have the people that are there for you, you can conquer anything”

“Racing Wives” airs Fridays at 10/9c on CMT. 

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6073382009001_6073375299001-vs Whitney Ward Dillon and Mariel Lane on why 'Racing Wives' will change people's opinion about NASCAR Jessica Napoli fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/genres/reality fox-news/entertainment/features/exclusive fox-news/auto/nascar fox news fnc/entertainment fnc ff0367fd-3a89-5d74-ac84-a151bd0e894b article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6073382009001_6073375299001-vs Whitney Ward Dillon and Mariel Lane on why 'Racing Wives' will change people's opinion about NASCAR Jessica Napoli fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/genres/reality fox-news/entertainment/features/exclusive fox-news/auto/nascar fox news fnc/entertainment fnc ff0367fd-3a89-5d74-ac84-a151bd0e894b article

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Today on Fox News, Aug. 16, 2019

STAY TUNED

On Fox News: 

Fox & Friends, 6 a.m. ET: Special guests include: U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis.; Lauren Green, Fox News religion correspondent; Geraldo Rivera, Fox News roaming correspondent-at-large; Christian rock band Newsboys United performs in the latest installment of Fox & Friends’ All-American Summer Concert Series.

On Fox Business:

Mornings with Maria, 6 a.m. ET: Juan Williams, co-host of “The Five”; Cabot Phillips, media director for Campus Reform.

Varney & Co., 9 a.m. ET: Tammy Bruce, president of Women’s Independent Voice and Fox Nation host.

Lou Dobbs Tonight, 7 p.m. ET: Corey Lewandowski, former Trump 2016 campaign manager.

On Fox News Radio:

The Fox News Rundown podcast: “The Democratic Herd Thins” – Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper ended his 2020 presidential campaign on Thursday. With six months to go before the Iowa caucuses, who in the Democratic field actually has a chance of winning the nomination? And who should be the next to bow out?  Juan Williams, co-host of “The Five,” sizes up the remaining 20-plus Democratic candidates.

Also on the Rundown: John Ratzenberger’s decades-spanning acting career includes his portrayal of know-it-all mailman Cliff Clavin on the classic sitcom “Cheers” and voicing characters in every Pixar film. Ratzenberger joins the Rundown to discuss his life on the screen and why he has partnered with GOP strategist Ryan Erwin to help American manufacturers.

Don’t miss the “good news” with Fox News Tonya J. Powers. Plus, commentary by Lauren Simonetti, Fox Business Network anchor and host of “We’re Momming Today” podcast.

Want the Fox News Rundown sent straight to your mobile device? Subscribe through Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Stitcher.

The Todd Starnes Show, Noon ET: Todd talks about the biggest news of the day with Fox News’ Todd Piro.

Westlake Legal Group fox-news-channel-logo Today on Fox News, Aug. 16, 2019 fox-news/media fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 74f693c9-7372-52c9-afa0-390cff719937   Westlake Legal Group fox-news-channel-logo Today on Fox News, Aug. 16, 2019 fox-news/media fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 74f693c9-7372-52c9-afa0-390cff719937

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Jipping and von Spakovsky: Dems improperly play politics with Supreme Court, threatening its independence

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-cef6b41d9a654632837b840f8b483898 Jipping and von Spakovsky: Dems improperly play politics with Supreme Court, threatening its independence Thomas Jipping Hans von Spakovsky fox-news/politics/senate/democrats fox-news/politics/judiciary/supreme-court fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 8551ac37-b3c9-5466-8238-8348b735cf82

In an extraordinary and outrageous move endangering the constitutionally mandated independence of the U.S. Supreme Court, five Democratic senators are threatening political retaliation against the court unless it denies the Second Amendment rights of New Yorkers in its first gun case in a decade.

Not since 1937 – when newly reelected Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt proposed adding additional justices to the Supreme Court in a blatant move to produce decisions more favorable to his New Deal agenda – has there been such a serious attempt to change the way the judicial branch of government operates in order to change the outcome of its decisions.

In fact, going back even further in history, the threat the Democratic senators are posing to the judiciary’s independence is arguably the greatest since that made by Britain’s King George against the 13 British colonies before they became the United States. Our Declaration of Independence lists these threats as one justification for the American Revolution.

SENATE DEMS DELIVER STUNNING WARNING TO SUPREME COURT: ‘HEAL’ OR FACE RESTRUCTURING

Back in 1937, the Senate Judiciary Committee – led by Roosevelt’s fellow Democrats – refused to go along with what became known as his court-packing scheme. This committee stated in a report on Roosevelt’s legislative proposal that it was “nothing more than the declaration that when the Court stands in the way of a legislative enactment, the Congress may reverse the ruling by enlarging the Court.”

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Fast forward to today’s similar situation. Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Richard Durbin of Illinois, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York have replaced Roosevelt in the role of trying to manipulate the Supreme Court.

The Democratic senators are threatening the independence of the Supreme Court because they are determined to curtail the constitutional right of Americans to keep and bear arms in a case called New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. City of New York.

The legal brief filed in the case by the senators not only threatens the independence of the judiciary – it threatens the rule of law. The senators are engaging in a form of extortion, warning justices that grave harm will befall the Supreme Court if the justices don’t rule the way the senators want.

As they fashioned our unique system of government, America’s founders singled out several elements they considered critical to its success. Alexander Hamilton, for example, wrote that the “independence of the courts” is “peculiarly essential.”

The five senators would be wise to heed Hamilton.

In fact, going back even further in history, the threat the Democratic senators are posing to the judiciary’s independence is arguably the greatest since that made by Britain’s King George against the 13 British colonies before they became the United States.

This case before the Supreme Court that has prompted the senators’ move against the high court challenges a New York state law that allows a licensed gun owner in New York City to transport a handgun (even if locked up and unloaded) outside his or her home only to one of a few shooting ranges in the city.

The five Democratic senators want the high court to uphold the law, even though it clearly makes a mockery of our Second Amendment rights. But they can’t demand that result just because they want it.

The brief filed by the senators asserts: “The Supreme Court is not well. And the people know it.”

The lawsuit by the senators cites polls supposedly showing that a narrow majority of Americans believe that Supreme Court decisions are “motivated by” or “too influenced by” politics.

The final paragraph of the senators’ legal brief concludes with this ominous warning: “Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be ‘restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.’ Particularly on the urgent issue of gun control, a nation desperately needs it to heal.”

There you have it. These legislators have fired a shot across the judiciary’s bow. Change your ways, ignore the constitutional protections that we don’t like – such as the Second Amendment – or we will change you. Start making decisions that further our political agenda, or we will create a judiciary that will.

Compared to these senators, King George and President Franklin Roosevelt were amateurs in their attacks on the judiciary.

The warning from the senators comes on the heels of growing calls to pack the courts – as Roosevelt tried and failed to do – and an obviously unconstitutional proposal to “rotate” Supreme Court justices in and out of the high court, analyzed here and here.

These – and the five senators’ not-so-subtle threat to “restructure” the judiciary – are not about appointing judges who follow a particular approach to deciding cases. Every president does that.

No, the threat here is to literally manipulate the structure of the judicial branch itself, to reconfigure it to deliberately produce more desirable results in certain cases based on politics – not the law.

In August 1997, then-Attorney General Janet Reno spoke to the American Bar Association House of Delegates, warning against “heated rhetoric” about the judiciary, including criticism that can “undermine the very credibility of the judiciary.”

The ABA took up the cause, creating a commission on judicial independence that held hearings on the issue. Its report warned about criticism that, even if it does not influence court decisions, can undermine “public confidence in the judiciary and judicial independence.”

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Where is the ABA today? If it was concerned about criticism undermining judicial independence, how can it be silent when senators threaten to restructure the judicial branch to obtain the decisions they want?

Don’t be misled by the spin from those like the five Democratic senators, who today threaten a hostile judicial takeover. They define decisions they don’t like as proof that the judiciary has been “politicized” because that sounds better than saying they want judges who will deliver the political goods no matter what the law says or what the actual facts are in a case.

Four of the five senators threatening to restructure the judiciary today are current members of the Judiciary Committee – the same committee that killed Roosevelt’s court-packing scheme.

Suppose that we, as lawyers, filed a friend of the court brief in state court where judges are elected, threatening to work against them in their next election unless they ruled our way. We would justifiably be subject to severe sanctions. Yet the five Democratic senators are hiding behind the authority of their elected positions to do the very same thing.

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Judicial independence, especially from political manipulation, remains “peculiarly essential” to the system that provides the liberty we all enjoy. It remains, as the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist said, one of the “crown jewels” of our system of government.

All Americans, as well as judges on any court, should reject such attempts to manipulate the judicial system for political gain.

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Hans von Spakovsky is a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-cef6b41d9a654632837b840f8b483898 Jipping and von Spakovsky: Dems improperly play politics with Supreme Court, threatening its independence Thomas Jipping Hans von Spakovsky fox-news/politics/senate/democrats fox-news/politics/judiciary/supreme-court fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 8551ac37-b3c9-5466-8238-8348b735cf82   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-cef6b41d9a654632837b840f8b483898 Jipping and von Spakovsky: Dems improperly play politics with Supreme Court, threatening its independence Thomas Jipping Hans von Spakovsky fox-news/politics/senate/democrats fox-news/politics/judiciary/supreme-court fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 8551ac37-b3c9-5466-8238-8348b735cf82

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Trump pushes background checks as huge majority favors tighter law

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6073393781001_6073394626001-vs Trump pushes background checks as huge majority favors tighter law Howard Kurtz fox-news/politics fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/media fnc f9574449-4319-546e-9e81-cdad6d773515 article

The tide may be turning on some gun control measures, at least in the court of public opinion.

But whether that tide rises to the halls of Congress, which has been famously deadlocked on the issue for a quarter century, is another question.

A Fox News poll found that “overwhelming and bipartisan majorities of voters” support background checks on gun buyers, as well as taking guns from people who could pose a danger.

The numbers are indeed overwhelming, in the wake of the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton.

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For starters, 90 percent of those surveyed favor criminal background checks on all buyers, and 81 percent want “red flag” laws that allow police to seize guns from people shown to be a danger to themselves or others.

But even with President Trump expressing support for such measures, this is hardly a slam dunk.

That’s because many gun owners feel passionately about protecting their rights, and the clout of the NRA, even if it’s been diminished by internal warfare. By the time Congress returns in September, emotions may have cooled as other stories rise to the top of the agenda. And while this may be changing, many Democrats remain wary of touching this third rail, which is why Barack Obama and Joe Biden couldn’t pass gun control even with Democratic control of Congress.

Still, Trump told reporters that Mitch McConnell “wants to do background checks,” although the majority leader has committed only to examining the issue. And Trump has spoken to Sen. Chris Murphy, the Connecticut Democrat who has been a gun control crusader since the Sandy Hook massacre in his state.

If the president sticks with the issue, rather than drop it as he did after the Parkland high school shootings, there’s a good chance he could make something happen.

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In the Fox survey, two-thirds also support a ban on assault rifles and semiautomatic weapons. But most of them are Democrats, although such a ban is backed by a majority of gun-owning households, and Republicans split 46-46 on the issue. A quarter century after the Clinton administration outlawed assault weapons, that one is unlikely to pass.

Who is to blame for the plague of mass shootings? Fifty-six percent blame easy access to guns, and an equal proportion blame lack of mental health services for mentally ill people with violent tendencies. Forty percent point the finger at expressions of white nationalism, and about a third blame sentiments expressed by Trump or anti-immigration sentiments. Twenty-three percent blame violent video games, and 15 percent rhetoric by Democratic leaders.

Then we come to the partisan divide. While Democrats most often blame easy access to guns (79 percent), white nationalism (62) and Trump (59), Republicans point to inadequate mental health services (60 percent) and bad parenting (54); just 32 percent fault easy access to guns.

On just about any other issue, 90 percent approval would translate into congressional action. But the politics of gun control have always been treacherous, and as even the most horrendous mass shooting—Las Vegas, Orlando, and so many others—fades into the past, Washington politicians find it easier not to act.

Footnote: The Fox poll gave President Trump a 43 percent approval rating, and found his disapproval rating jumped five points to 56 percent, one point below the record high in that survey.

Still, that keeps the president well within the range he’s been for a very long time, despite the controversies that continue to swirl around him.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6073393781001_6073394626001-vs Trump pushes background checks as huge majority favors tighter law Howard Kurtz fox-news/politics fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/media fnc f9574449-4319-546e-9e81-cdad6d773515 article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6073393781001_6073394626001-vs Trump pushes background checks as huge majority favors tighter law Howard Kurtz fox-news/politics fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/media fnc f9574449-4319-546e-9e81-cdad6d773515 article

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