Here are the main events that occurred in Politics this week:
1.In A Sign Of A Shifting Middle East Dynamic, Israel & Bahrain Sign Agreement Normalizing Diplomatic Ties
President Donald Trump announced on September 11 that Bahrain would establish full diplomatic relations with Israel, following the United Arab Emirates, in another sign of shifting Middle East dynamics that are bringing Arab nations closer to Israel. President Trump announced the news on Twitter, releasing a joint statement with Bahrain and Israel and calling the move “a historic breakthrough to further peace in the Middle East.” Speaking to reporters, the President said the 9/11 attacks‘ anniversary was a fitting day for the announcement. “There’s no more powerful response to the hatred that spawned 9/11,” he said. The announcement came after a similar one last month by Israel and the United Arab Emirates that they would normalize relations on the condition that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel did not follow through with plans to annex portions of the West Bank. Trump administration officials said they hoped that agreement would encourage other Arab countries with historically hostile, though recently thawing, relations with Israel to take similar steps. The deal, which isolates the Palestinians, comes as Trump tries to position himself as a peacemaker before the elections in November.
2. US Median Income Hit Record Level In 2019, Census Data Shows
US median household income hit a record high in 2019, and the poverty rate fell, according to a government survey released on September 15 that offered a snapshot of the economy before millions of American jobs were destroyed by the Coronavirus pandemic. Census officials cautioned, however, that the Coronavirus pandemic impacted their data collection, which was conducted after lockdowns this year, and may have skewed the results. “Given data-collection challenges during the pandemic, we are concerned about bias in the 2019 estimate,” the census agency officials wrote in a blog post, explaining that lower-income and minority household response to the survey dropped.
3. US Appeals Court Rules In Favor Of President Trump’s Plan To Phase Out Immigrant Humanitarian Protections
A US appeals court on September 14 sided with President Donald Trump over his administration’s decision to end humanitarian protections for hundreds of thousands of immigrants, many of whom have lived in the US for decades. In a 2-1 ruling, a panel of three judges in the California-based 9thCircuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court decision that had blocked President Trump’s move to phase out so-called Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for people from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan. The ruling is expected to affect the status of people from Honduras and Nepal, who filed a separate lawsuit that was suspended last year pending the outcome of the broader case. The appeals court ruling means that those immigrants will be required to find another way to remain in the US legally or depart after a wind-down period at least until early 2021. Judge Consuelo Callahan, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, wrote in a 54-page opinion that the Trump administration decisions to phase out the protections were not reviewable and, therefore, should not have been blocked. Judge Callahan also rejected a claim by plaintiffs that President Trump’s past criticism of non-white, non-European immigrants influenced the TPS decisions. “While we do not condone the offensive and disparaging nature of the president’s remarks, we find it instructive that these statements occurred primarily in contexts removed from and unrelated to TPS policy or decisions,” she wrote.
4. In Major Victory For Coronavirus Lockdown Opponents, Federal Judge Rules Unconstitutional Lockdown Measures Put In Place In Pennsylvania
On September 14, a federal judge ruled as unconstitutional some of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s orders to control the Coronavirus outbreak, including limits on crowd sizes, requirements that people stay home, and non-essential businesses close down. Ruling on a lawsuit brought by business owners and Republican politicians, District Judge William Stickman IV, a Trump appointee, said the restrictions were executed with good intentions but were arbitrary and violated individual rights. While some of the limits have been lifted since the lawsuit was filed in May, the Democratic governor has maintained some restrictions on gatherings and on bars and restaurants. Previous legal challenges to some of the governor’s pandemic-related restrictions had been unsuccessful.