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GOP Sen. Tim Scott to deliver GOP response for Biden address to Congress

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The decision will give Scott, the lone Black Republican senator and the lead Republican negotiator on Congress’ policing reform efforts, a prominent national platform from which to speak to the country and counter Biden’s message.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy announced on Thursday that Scott had been chosen to give the speech.
“Senator Tim Scott is not just one of the strongest leaders in our Senate Republican Conference. He is one of the most inspiring and unifying leaders in our nation,” McConnell said in a statement.
Biden will address lawmakers in a joint session of Congress where he will deliver his first remarks to both chambers nearly 100 days after taking office.
Biden was formally invited to speak to Congress by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who wrote in a letter earlier this month to the President that she was extending the invitation so he could “share your vision for addressing the challenges and opportunities of this historic moment.”
As part of the announcement that he will be delivering the Republican response, Scott said in a statement that he is “excited and honored for this opportunity to address the nation.”
“We face serious challenges on multiple fronts, but I am as confident as I have ever been in the promise and potential of America. I look forward to having an honest conversation with the American people and sharing Republicans’ optimistic vision for expanding opportunity and empowering working families,” he said.
Scott has served in the Senate since 2013 and previously served in the House of Representatives representing South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District.
The GOP senator has spoken in the past in personal and emotional terms about his life experience and how he has faced unfair police scrutiny as a Black man.
“In many cities and towns across America, there is a deep divide between the Black community and law enforcement. A trust gap, a tension that has been growing for decades. And as a family, one American family, we cannot ignore these issues,” Scott said in a speech on the Senate floor in 2016.
This story has been updated with additional developments Friday.
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See Don Lemon's reaction to new deadly shooting video

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New York City office space hits lowest level in three decades

As many companies continue to work from home, data from global real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield (CWK) shows that the office vacancy rate in Manhattan reached 16.3% in the first quarter of 2021 — the highest since 1994. That’s up from 11.3% a year ago.
The report — assessing office space in Manhattan — noted that office space leased since last year has also declined.
Cushman & Wakefield expects vacancies to continue to increase to “unprecedented levels in the coming months.” However, the report also notes that rising vacancies will drive asking rents down “substantially.”
Our aversion to a 'return to normal' goes beyond just the office. Here's whyOur aversion to a 'return to normal' goes beyond just the office. Here's why
In fact, Manhattan’s overall asking price for rents has declined for the past two consecutive quarters, falling to the lowest price per square foot in three years. But some analysts think that lower rents are not just due to demand, and that costs depend on the situation.
“Landlords have adjusted their expectations and are already being much more aggressive than they were before COVID,” said Michael Cohen, president of the tri-state region at Colliers International. “But their specific reactions depend on their individual circumstances. For example, developers of newer office buildings are more likely wait to make deals if they don’t want to lower their rents further.”
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Supreme Court ruling will make it easier to sentence juveniles to life sentence without parole

Justice Brett Kavanaugh penned the decision for his conservative colleagues, holding that a sentencer will not have to make a separate finding that the juvenile offender was incapable of being rehabilitated.
The ruling will make it easier for those who committed their crime under the age of 18 to be sentenced to prison for life without parole.
Sotomayor: 'This is the scariest of times, and the most exciting times'Sotomayor: 'This is the scariest of times, and the most exciting times'
It also highlights the impact of the court’s new conservative majority. Starting in 2005 when then-swing Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote an opinion barring the death penalty for juvenile offenders, the court had been putting limits on sentences for juvenile offenders. Thursday’s decision, with three of former President Donald Trump’s nominees in the majority, reverses that trend.
Thursday’s case concerned Brett Jones, who was charged with killing his grandfather in 2004 in Mississippi when Jones was 15 years old. The two men were engaged in an argument and Jones stabbed his grandfather eight times. Jones’ lawyers had argued that before imposing a sentence, a sentencer must make a separate finding, based on facts, that there is permanent incorrigibility.
But Kavanaugh wrote that the court had “unequivocally” stated that a “separate factual finding of permanent incorrigibility is not required before a sentencing of life-without parole.” He said under court precedents a juvenile offender could be sentenced to life without parole — but only if the sentence was not mandatory.
“In a case involving an individual who was under 18 when he or she committed a homicide, a State’s discretionary sentencing system is both constitutionally necessary and constitutionally sufficient,” Kavanaugh wrote.
Kavanaugh added that “any homicide” is a “horrific tragedy” and that determining the proper sentence “raises profound questions of morality and social policy.”
Judges are split on how seriously to take John Roberts' abortion opinionJudges are split on how seriously to take John Roberts' abortion opinion
Justice Sonia Sotomayor, writing for her liberal colleagues Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan, penned a stinging dissent charging the majority with gutting recently decided cases without directly saying so.
“Time and again, this court has recognized that children are constitutionally different from adults for the purposes of sentencing,” Sotomayor wrote.
The court’s conclusion, she wrote, would come as a “shock” to the court’s recent holding that “a lifetime in prison is a disproportionate sentence” for all but a few.
“A sentencer must actually make the judgment that the juvenile in question is one of those rare children for whom LWOP [Life without parole] is a constitutionally permissible sentence,” she said.
If a sentencing discretion “is all that is required, far too many juvenile offenders will be sentenced to die” in prison and that the sentences will “not fall equally,” Sotomayor wrote. She pointed specifically to the fact that 70% of all youths that receive such sentences are “children of color.”
Justice Clarence Thomas suggests US should regulate Facebook, Google and TwitterJustice Clarence Thomas suggests US should regulate Facebook, Google and Twitter
In 2012 the court held that a mandatory sentence of life without parole for juvenile offenders violated the Constitution’s bar on cruel and unusual punishment. In 2010 it held that the Constitution prohibits life without parole for offenders who were under 18 and committed non homicide offenses.
CNN Supreme Court analyst and University of Texas Law School professor Steve Vladeck pointed to the change in the court’s makeup since the earlier cases.
“With two members of that majority replaced by two of the justices in today’s majority, the court now says that states don’t need any special reason to impose life without parole on juveniles; all that matters is that the judge has the option of not doing so,” Vladeck said.
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Alternate juror in Derek Chauvin trial says medical expert convinced her of ex-officer's guilt

“Dr. Tobin was like the turning point for me,” said Lisa Christensen. “I appreciate him explaining it in the way that all of us could understand it. I understood what he was saying. I thought it was very powerful — probably the most important witness they had.”
Tobin, a pulmonologist who studies the physiology of breathing, testified that Floyd died of low oxygen due to Chauvin’s restraint. Christensen praised the way he narrated key, specific moments in the video that might have otherwise been missed.
“I feel like he could actually point out, going through the video, saying, ‘Hey at this instance right here is where Mr. Floyd lost his life,’ ” she said.
Lisa Christensen, an alternate juror in Derek Chauvin's trial, said she felt he was guilty.Lisa Christensen, an alternate juror in Derek Chauvin's trial, said she felt he was guilty.
As an alternate juror, Christensen sat through the entire trial but was dismissed prior to deliberations, so she was not one of the 12 jurors who voted to convict Chauvin on two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter.
Still, her comments are the first public indication of what jurors in court every day felt and thought of the case against the former Minneapolis Police officer. Her analysis also fits neatly with what court viewers and legal analysts said of the most powerful witnesses.
In a press conference as well as in an interview on “CBS This Morning,” she said she believed Chauvin was guilty.
“I didn’t know if he was going to be guilty on all counts, but I would have said guilty,” she told CBS.

Sympathy and praise for 17-year-old bystander

In the CBS interview, she also praised Darnella Frazier, the teenage bystander who took clear and intimate video of Floyd’s final moments. At the trial, Frazier testified she lost sleep at night apologizing to Floyd for not doing more to save him.
“She feels responsible in a way, and I feel really bad for her, but I commend her for taking the video because without her I don’t think this would have been possible,” Christensen said.
By contrast, she didn’t think the defense witnesses had a good impact and she had negative views of defense attorney Eric Nelson.
Derek Chauvin is in a prison's segregated housing unit for his safety while he awaits sentencingDerek Chauvin is in a prison's segregated housing unit for his safety while he awaits sentencing
“I think he over-promised in the beginning and didn’t live up to what he said he was going to do,” she said.
Nelson has not commented to CNN since the verdict.
Christenson also expressed discomfort with Chauvin himself, who appeared in court every day but did not testify.
“We locked eyes quite a few times and I was pretty uncomfortable,” she said.
Christensen said watching the video of Floyd’s death, which she hadn’t seen in full before, left her in tears a couple times. And she expressed her continued confusion about how a suspected fake $20 bill got so out of hand.
“I just don’t understand how it got from a counterfeit $20 bill to a death,” she said. “It kind of shocks me.”
The jurors in the high-profile case were unnamed and unseen on camera to protect their identity.
In jury selection, Christensen, a White woman in her 50s, said she worked until recently in customer service in a suburban business that was damaged in the civil unrest after Floyd’s death. She said she had a “somewhat negative” view of Chauvin, but generally trusts police and believes people who follow their instructions have nothing to fear.
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Why celebs have a right to run for office

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NYC subway bomber sentenced to life in prison for terror attack

Akayed Ullah could be seen on footage in an underground tunnel walkway detonating a bomb on his person during morning rush hour December 11, 2017. Six people were injured in the blast. Ullah injured his hands and stomach.
The tunnel connects two subway lines beneath the Port Authority Bus Terminal, a major transit hub in Manhattan that accommodates 220,000 passenger trips a day.
The 31-year-old Bangladeshi man was convicted on six counts after a one-week trial in the Southern District of New York in 2018. Two of the charges, including using a weapon of mass destruction, carried a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Akayed Ullah after his bomb detonated.Akayed Ullah after his bomb detonated.
On the morning of the lone-wolf bombing attack, shortly before detonating his bomb, Ullah posted a statement on Facebook referring to then-President Donald Trump.
“Trump you failed to protect your nation,” the post said.
Ullah also posted an ISIS slogan so that ISIS would know that he had carried out the attack on the terror group’s behalf, according to the criminal complaint.
According to authorities, the bomb was composed of a battery, wires, metal screws and a Christmas tree light bulb.
“Ullah’s motive was clear and unambiguous: a deeply held ideological hatred for America,” Manhattan US Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a statement Thursday. “Ironically, Ullah’s actions resulted only in reaffirming the greatness of America by displaying the fairness and impartiality for which our justice system stands. Ullah received a speedy, fair, public trial, and was convicted by a jury of his peers. Akayed Ullah’s message of hatred clearly backfired; his just sentence of life in prison only exemplifies that cowardly acts of terrorism will be met with law enforcement’s unwavering resolve to protect our core values of freedom and democracy.”
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Federal officials weigh extending mask mandate for mass transportation

The early February order from the Transportation Security Administration applies to airplanes, buses, trains and ferries, and transportation hubs like airports.
The agency is currently consulting with health experts, said the official, who declined to predict whether the order will be renewed or allowed to expire as scheduled on May 11.
TSA has received nearly 2,000 reports alleging violations from across the multiple modes of transportation, the official said. The agency disclosed in mid-February that it had received “fewer than 1,000” reports alleging non-compliance.
Michigan man sues federal government for placing him on no-fly listMichigan man sues federal government for placing him on no-fly list
The agency has also reached the point of sending citations to alleged violators, the official said. The official could not say how many have been issued. There are multiple investigatory and review steps before a citation is ultimately issued.
Voices within the aviation industry that had pushed both the Biden and Trump administrations for such an order have called for it to be renewed. They said the Biden administration’s order in February added teeth and consistency to a patchwork of local orders that applied to buildings like airports, and company policies requiring masks on airplanes and other vehicles.
“We do think it should maintain the mask mandate,” Nick Calio, who leads the industry association Airlines for America, said at a Senate hearing on Wednesday. “It has helped considerably on airplanes and in airports.”
Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, said the government can support her members enforcing the order by “making it very clear to the public” that masks remain a requirement.
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Some governors have rescinded orders or allowed mask requirements in their states to expire. President Joe Biden has taken a different approach: Soon after taking office in January, he directed the TSA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Transportation Department, and other agencies to require masking.
At the Wednesday hearing, Sen. Roger Wicker, a Mississippi Republican who has been photographed not properly wearing a mask on aircraft, said passengers should do so “until the government changes the requirement.”
“It does seem, though, sometime in the future that this thing needs to end,” Wicker added.
Dr. Leonard Marcus, who has studied coronavirus transmission on airplanes at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told Wicker that the circulation of variants makes it difficult to say how long masks will be needed in enclosed spaces.
“For sure, when we’re on the plane, when we’re going through the airport buildings, when we’re indoors, let’s keep those masks on,” Marcus said. “We want to make this crisis end as soon as possible.”
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LeBron James deleted a tweet about Ma'Khia Bryant's killing but repeats call for accountability

The Ohio teen was killed Tuesday, about 30 minutes before the verdict was delivered in the killing of George Floyd.
On Wednesday, James, an Ohio native, tweeted a photo of a Columbus police officer who was on the scene of Ma’Khia’s shooting with the caption, “You’re next. #accountability.” CNN has not confirmed whether the officer pictured in the deleted tweet was the officer who fired shots at Ma’Khia.
The NBA titan later deleted the tweet, saying it was being used “to create more hate.”
“This isn’t about one officer,” he tweeted Wednesday. “It’s about the entire system and they always use our words to create more racism. I am so desperate for more ACCOUNTABILITY”
Ohio officials release more body cam video of fatal police shooting of Black teen and urge community to await the factsOhio officials release more body cam video of fatal police shooting of Black teen and urge community to await the facts
While he tweeted that “gathering all the facts and education” do more good than anger, he said his “anger is still here for what happened (to) that lil girl.”
CNN has reached out to James for comment.
Why it's rare for police officers to be convicted of murderWhy it's rare for police officers to be convicted of murder
Police bodycam footage from Tuesday showed Ma’Khia holding a knife in her right hand and lunging at a girl, who fell to the ground. An officer opened fire when Ma’Khia appeared to attempt to lunge at a second person, firing four shots at Ma’Khia.
The 16-year-old then slumped to the ground with the knife by her side while officers summoned a medic.
The fatal shooting devastated and outraged many demonstrators who’ve protested police killings of Black Americans and other people of color, particularly because, according to bodycam footage, the officers who responded didn’t appear to de-escalate the situation and fired on Ma’Khia, a teenager, while she was holding a knife.
Black Lives Matter protesters march through downtown Columbus, Ohio, in response to the police shooting of Ma'Khia Bryant on Tuesday.Black Lives Matter protesters march through downtown Columbus, Ohio, in response to the police shooting of Ma'Khia Bryant on Tuesday.
“People, including LeBron James or including others … I know many people feel as though they did not witness police work,” said Ibram X. Kendi, author of “How to Be an Antiracist” and director of Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research, in a Thursday appearance on CNN’s New Day. “They witnessed someone being killed and even potentially murdered.”
Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo, also speaking to New Day, said that Columbus police responded the way they did because “other lives were at risk.”
Ma’Khia’s death is the second high-profile killing of a teenager by police in the last month. At the end of March, Chicago police fatally shot Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old boy. Police said less than a second passed between the moment Toledo was seen holding what police claim was a handgun and the moment an officer shot him.