Trump's Controversial Education Pick Swears In
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence swore in Betsy DeVos as U.S. secretary of education on Tuesday after casting the tie-breaking Senate vote to confirm President Donald Trump's controversial nominee. It was the first time in American history that a vice president had been needed to get a Cabinet pick approved.
DeVos pledged at her swearing-in to "support and defend the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic." In the words of her official vow, she also pledged to "well and faithfully" discharge the duties of her office.
The ceremony took place quickly and without fanfare, except for the whirring and clicking of cameras and other media equipment. After the short ceremony was over, a small audience of family and friends burst into polite applause.
Earlier in the day, two Republicans voted with a united Democratic caucus in opposition to DeVos. The result was a 50-50 split before Pence cast the deciding vote, as the Constitution mandates when the chamber is evenly divided.
Appeals Court Likely Decides on Trump Travel Ban Case Soon
A U.S. federal appeals court expects to issue a ruling sometime this week on the government's request to end a temporary pause of President Donald Trump's travel ban.
A lower federal court issued the temporary restraining order last week, saying the government could not enforce the 90-day entry ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries or the 120-day suspension on accepting refugees.
Now the three-judge panel on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is deciding whether to uphold that order, strike it down, or potentially send the case back to the lower court for further consideration. No matter their ruling this week, the case is likely to end up at the Supreme Court.
The judges heard arguments by telephone Tuesday from an attorney representing the states of Washington and Minnesota, which say the travel ban is unconstitutional and should be invalidated, and from a Department of Justice lawyer who said the president has the authority to issue such an executive order and protect national security.
If the 9th Circuit does rule on the case, rather than ordering it back to the lower court, that decision will have big implications for possible action by the Supreme Court.
The nation's highest court has been shorthanded since the death last year of Justice Antonin Scalia, and it is now evenly divided between four liberal-leaning justices and four conservative-leaning ones. It would take the votes of five Supreme Court justices to overturn the appellate court's ruling, meaning a 4-4 tie would let stand whatever the 9th Circuit decides.
The Supreme Court could also decline to hear the case.
For now, enforcement of the order is entirely suspended, and immigration advocates have been encouraging people who have obtained U.S. visas to board airplanes as soon as they can. Each day since the suspension, would-be immigrants have been doing just that.