Hello and welcome to the Top 5 by Sam Jenkins. The Top 5 consists of the top five things happening right now in politics. Be sure to click that like button, leave a comment, or let me know if I’m #FakeNews. Thank you for reading!
1 Big Thing: Who is Brett Kavanaugh?
Image Credit: [Hamza Bashir Ahmad/Flickr](https://www.flickr.com/photos/152814849@N04/29446075618/in/photolist-LUPt51-292MMpp-28WMXyJ-28WFe5N-27DcAoZ-LTn7uw-291JM5i-27Vf7dN-291Ej7D-26fE1Vo-27CFEpp-291vGf4-26fAbG5-291fnAF-27DW3dv-292F4uz-26gJwo7-291yrEB-27V7StN-291yrfP-291yr5Z-26fze4w-28VRj1f-291btXg-Km4oTx-LSd5KJ-27BPMuX-LS3QoW-KkM9oH-26eMZLE-28ZJmzT-28ZHP9X-27BMwhr-LRYPgo-KkE3vV-28ZzKjZ-26eAav3-27U4TmS-28V6FKL-27TYxz7-28V1vU3-26esaww-27Tvekq-27PuBX5-28SfG7M-27Ut44m-26eKfaL-LRCFko-28UTET9-28UTEhj)
On Monday, President Trump announced his nominee to the United States Supreme Court: Brett Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh, who has an extensive conservative record, will now try to attain 51 votes in the U.S. Senate to be confirmed to the Court.
- To start, Kavanaugh is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School. From there, he clerked for Justice Anthony Kennedy and was later appointed to the United States Court of Appeals by President George W. Bush.
- Kavanaugh is close to conservative circles in D.C. For example, he served as a prosecutor in Independent Counsel Ken Starr’s office, where he investigated President Bill Clinton. He also worked for Bush 43 in the 2000 Florida election recount case as well as in his eventual administration.
- In his speech on Monday night, Kavanaugh stated judges “must interpret the law, not make the law.” Kavanaugh practices this originalist tenet as he has a staunchly conservative judicial record. Although conservatives were skeptical of some of his opinions like the one involving an undocumented immigrant who was trying to get an abortion.
Trump in Europe
On Wednesday, President Trump arrived in Brussels for a week-long trip to Europe. On this trip, he will discuss the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Russia and the European Union (EU):
- Trump has been critical of NATO because the member countries are not contributing their fair share of money to the defense community. Additionally, he has questioned the value of the organization itself.
- Following the NATO meeting, Trump will meet with Russian President Vladamir Putin, where he will discuss the U.S.-Russia relationship in the context of the NATO alliance.
- Despite the security focus of Trump’s visit, the U.S. and European countries are still in the midst of tense trade relations as they both are threatening tariffs upon one another.
Thai Soccer Team Rescue
On June 23rd, a youth soccer team known as the Wolf Boars became trapped in a cave in Thailand. On Tuesday, the entire group was finally rescued from the cave by special forces.
- The coach and the 12-member team survived on snacks they initially brought into the cave and water dripping from the cave walls. The rescue was extensive as it spanned three days and over 100 people. Moreover, it was treacherous as the cave presented many obstacles.
- This international story drew attention towards a regional issue: stateless people in southeast Asia. For example, 400,000 people in Thailand, including some members of the soccer team, are not a part of a nation. Because of this, these people are negatively affected in various ways such as the threat of detainment at any time and their lack of rights in general.
On Thursday, the U.S. government reunited 57 of the 103 children under 5 years old that were in U.S. detention with their parents. However, the government missed the imposed reunification deadline of Tuesday from a U.S. District Judge.
- Because the Trump administration missed the deadline, U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw will determine if the government will be punished.
- However, Sabraw did agree with the administration as he acknowledged that not all of the children could be reunited because some situations weren’t possible. For example, families shouldn’t be reunited if a parent was a threat to their kid.
- Sabraw ordered the Trump administration to reunify the kids with their parents in stages. The children reunited this week were part of the first stage. Then, in the second stage, 2,000 more children must be reunited by July 26th.
In Texas, incumbent U.S. Senator Ted Cruz is running against Democrat Beto O’Rourke for reelection. Both candidates are interesting characters. For example, Cruz recently faced off in the Blobfish Basketball Challenge against Jimmy Kimmel. On the other hand, O’Rourke hosts mobile town halls, where he and constituents run on a trail together. Then, along the way, they stop so the constituents can ask him questions.
Currently, Cruz leading in the polls. But O’Rourke, without accepting any PAC money, has raised nearly double the amount of money Cruz has. These political dynamics, along with the interesting candidates, have led to a great campaign in Texas.