The Washington Post - 03.03.2020

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HAPPenIng todAy

For the latest updates all day, visit

All day | Fourteen states and one territory vote in the presidential
primaries on super tuesday. Visit for details.

All day | the American Israel Public Affairs Committee continues with
speeches from republican and Democratic leaders. For developments,

10 a.m. | the supreme Court hears arguments in s eila Law LLC v.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
, a case regarding the separation of
powers; and Liu v. Securities and Exchange Commission , a case involving
securities law violations. Visit for details.

10 a.m. | officials with HHs, the cDc a nd the FDa testify at a senate
hearing on the coronavirus. For developments, visit

11 a.m. | President trump addresses the National association of
counties. Visit for details.


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JUstICe dePArtMent

High court rejects
bump-stocks appeal

The Supreme Court on
Monday rejected an appeal of the
federal ban on bump stocks,
devices that allow semiautomatic
firearms to fire rapidly like
machine guns.
The justices did not comment
in declining to review a lower-
court ruling that upheld the ban,
which took effect nearly a year
President Trump said the
government would move to ban
bump stocks following a 20 17
shooting in Las Vegas in which a
gunman attached bump stocks to
assault-style rifles he used to
shoot concertgoers from his
hotel room. By using the devices,
which allow shots to be fired
more rapidly, the gunman was
able to fire more than 1,
rounds in 11 minutes. Fifty-eight
people were killed, and hundreds
were injured.
The Trump administration’s
move was an about-face for the
federal Bureau of Alcohol,
To bacco, Firearms and
Explosives. In 2010, under the
Obama administration, ATF
found that the devices were legal.
But under the Trump
administration, officials revisited

that determination and found it
incorrect. The revised regulation
requires owners either to destroy
their bump stocks or surrender
them. The government estimates
that h undreds of thousands of
the devices have been sold.

The revised regulation was
met with resistance from gun
rights advocates, including the
groups and gun owners who filed
suit in Washington and whose
appeal the court turned away
Monday. T he administration,

which typically supports gun
rights, argued the court should
not take up the case.
— Associated Press


Man sentenced for
cyberstalking victims

A California man who is on the
autism spectrum was sentenced
Monday to more than five years
in prison for cyberstalking
families of Parkland, Fla., school
shooting victims.
U.S. District Judge Rodolfo
Ruiz imposed the sentence on
Brandon Fleury, 22, of Santa Ana,
Calif., rejecting a request by
prosecutors for the maximum
20-year sentence.
Fleury was convicted by a jury
in October of three counts of
cyberstalking and one count of
transmitting a kidnapping
Trial evidence showed that
between December 2018 and
January 2019, Fleury used
several Instagram accounts to
threaten and harass families of
victims of the Valentine’s Day
2018 shooting at Marjory
Stoneman Douglas High School,
which left 17 dead and 17
In some messages, he claimed
kinship with and even
impersonated shooting
defendant Nikolas Cruz. In
others, he invoked the names of
infamous serial killers such as
Te d Bundy.
“I killed your loved ones
hahaha,” one message said. “Did
you like my Valentines gift?” “I
killed your friends,” said another.
Cruz, 21, faces the death
penalty if convicted in the
Parkland shooting. His lawyers
have said he would plead guilty
in exchange for a life prison
sentence, but prosecutors have
rejected the offer.
Cruz’s trial is expected to begin
later this year.
— Associated Press


MIcHael Mccoy/reuters
Nipponzan Myohji stops to change socks during a reenactment Monday of the march from Selma
to Montgomery, Ala., for voting rights. During the 1965 march, participants were attacked by police.


When Maine’s voters head to
the polls in the presidential pri-
maries T uesday, t hey a lso w ill cast
a vote on a n issue m any physicians
wish had n ever b een politicized —
a referendum to overturn a new
law that would allow unvaccinat-
ed children to attend school only if
they have received a waiver from a
medical professional.
The new law, which would take
effect in September 2021, aims to
boost immunization among
school-age children in a state
where just over 5 percent of kin-
dergartners are unvaccinated not
only for medical reasons but be-
cause of their parents’ religious or
philosophical beliefs. That puts
Maine below the 9 5 percent
threshold that public health offi-
cials say is necessary to stop the
spread of preventable and some-
times deadly diseases like the
The referendum was added to
Tuesday’s ballot after opponents
of the new law gathered sufficient
signatures to trigger a vote. In
many states, misinformation
campaigns have raised fears a bout
the alleged dangers of immuniza-
tion, which extensive research has
shown are unwarranted.
“Certainly, r eferendums are not
my ideal method for determining
public health policy,” said Laura
Blaisdell, a pediatrician and vice

president of the Maine Academy
of Pediatrics, who said the new
law had become necessary after
efforts to educate parents in the
exam room and in the community
had failed “to stem the dangerous
“Our perspective is that it’s a
massive overreach on the part of
the state to take away parents’
rights,” countered Cara Sacks,
campaign manager for Yes on 1.
The group has found another
boogeyman in “Big Pharma,”
which Sacks blames “for driving
the mandates.” She said she is
“cautiously optimistic” that her
grass-roots movement will win
The t wo have been locked in a
battle over hearts and minds and
ultimately the ballot box, appear-
ing in town h alls, on l ive T V and in
radio talk shows.
The debate — and the forum in
which it will be decided — has
exposed the delicate relationship
between the law and public
health. Legislation has long
helped normalize safe behaviors
like wearing seat belts. But some
supporters of immunization ar-
gue that stringent laws can be
blunt instruments when applied
to an issue like vaccines that plays
on people’s fears, even if they are
“They risk creating a backlash,”
said Daniel Salmon, director of
the Institute for Vaccine Safety at
the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg
School of Public Health, motivat-
ing worried parents to look for
other ways to avoid immuniza-
tions they mistakenly believe are
“Parents may not be right, but if
that is what you believe, your

choice is to home-school, move
out of state or find a doctor to
write a medical exemption,” S alm-
on said.
T he problem that needs to be
addressed, p hysicians say, i s wide-
spread misinformation. Salmon
says that as many as one out of
every three or four parents has
concerns about the ingredients in
vaccinations, the number of im-
munizations given at one time,
and rumored links to autism that
are not supported by science.
Maine’s law was passed last
year amid heightened concern
about measles outbreaks, follow-
ing a drop in vaccination rates in
several communities, including
Eastern European immigrants
outside Portland, Ore., the Somali
community in Minnesota and ul-
tra-Orthodox Jews in B rooklyn.
The h ighly contagious and
sometimes fatal illness was elimi-
nated in t he U nited S tates i n 2000,
according to the Centers for Dis-
ease Control and Prevention. Be-
tween January and September of
last year, 1,249 c ases were report-
ed, the highest annual number
since 1992. Te n percent needed to
be hospitalized.
New York p assed legislation
eliminating the religious exemp-
tion for public school students.
Washington state chose a narrow-
er approach — removing the per-
sonal belief exemption only for
the measles, mumps and rubella
The referendum in Maine
comes amid fears about a new
disease — covid-19, caused by c or-
onavirus — for which there is not
yet a vaccination and probably
won’t be one for a year or more.
“Right now, unimmunized

American children are at far
greater risk of severe disease and
death from measles than corona-
virus,” said Ruth Karron, a pedia-
trician, professor at the Johns
Hopkins Bloomberg School of
Public Health a nd founding direc-
tor of the Johns Hopkins Vaccine
Vaccines are often victims of
their own success, she said, ex-
plaining that parents who have no
memory of the misery caused by
polio or measles are sometimes
reluctant to i mmunize their chil-
dren. O n the other hand, she said,
people’s fears of the unknown can
increase demand for a vaccine. In
the wake of 9/11, amid worries
about bioterrorism, people began
requesting a smallpox vaccine,
even though that particular vacci-
nation can have serious side ef-
If the Maine law is overturned
by popular vote, it would not only
set back the state’s attempts to
protect the population from com-
mon childhood diseases but high-
light what some physicians see as
the risk of mixing public health
with politics.
“I’m very concerned about the
politicization,” said Karron, be-
cause of the danger of clouding
the scientific message.
“I really think that the public
has a right to unfettered and clear
communication f rom our best sci-
entists,” she said. “That’s what it
means to live in a democracy.”
“Political issues are divisive,”
Salmon said. “In vaccines, we
need almost everybody’s support.
If we end up with 50 percent for
and 50 percent against, we’ll have
raging disease.”
[email protected]

Vaccination law in Maine up for vote

Critics say requirement
for medical waiver takes
away parents’ rights

Justice in Indian
this eye-opening report is the
product of a year-long investigation
into how the legal system in Indian
country fails some of america’s
most vulnerable citizens — and
what is being done to begin to rectify
an ongoing tragedy. sari Horwitz,
recipient of the asNe award for
Distinguished Writing on Diversity,
traveled to an Indian reservation in
Minnesota to interview a Native
american woman who had been
sexually assaulted, as had her
mother and daughter. In each case,
the assailants, who were not Native
american, were not prosecuted due
to loopholes in the laws on
jurisdiction of criminal prosecution
on Indian reservations. this report
set her off on a journey across the
country, into remote villages and
tribal lands where Horwitz
uncovered the widespread failures
of the american legal system and its
inability to protect Native american
women and children.

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