Clinton to Name Human Rights Activist as Assistant Secretary of State

Emily Douglas

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton plans to name human rights activist Michael Posner to the position of assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights, and labor.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton plans to name human rights activist Michael Posner to the position of assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights, and labor, Bloomberg News reports.  Posner is currently the director of Human Rights First.  Reports Bloomberg:

Posner’s organization works with activists in countries
including Guatemala, Russia, Zimbabwe and Indonesia. He drafted
and campaigned for a 1992 U.S. law called the Torture Victim
Protection Act, designed to give victims of the most serious
abuses a remedy in U.S. courts, according to the Human Rights
First Web site.

In 1998, Posner led the group’s delegation to a Rome
conference where the statute for the International Criminal Court
was adopted, according to a short biography on the Web site. The
Obama administration has signaled support for the ICC, a tribunal
the Bush administration said didn’t offer adequate protections
against politically motivated prosecutions.

 

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News Politics

With Primary Wins, Clinton Is First Woman to Become Presumptive Nominee of Major Party

Ally Boguhn

Celebrating her victory at a rally in Brooklyn Tuesday night, the former secretary of state pointed to the historic nature of her campaign. "Thanks to you, we've reached a milestone: the first time in our nation's history that a woman will be a major party's nominee," declared Clinton.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared herself the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee for the 2016 presidential election after a string of Tuesday night primary victories and a survey of superdelegates conducted by the Associated Press (AP).

Celebrating her victory at a rally in Brooklyn Tuesday night, Clinton pointed to the historic nature of her campaign. “Thanks to you, we’ve reached a milestone: the first time in our nation’s history that a woman will be a major party’s nominee,” declared Clinton. “Tonight’s victory is not about one person. It belongs to generations of women and men who struggled and sacrificed and made this moment possible.”

Going on to praise rival Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for “the extraordinary campaign he has run,” Clinton pointed to the shared goals of the two campaigns. “Let there be no mistake, Senator Sanders, his campaign, and the vigorous debate that we’ve had about how to raise incomes, reduce inequality, increase upward mobility, have been very good for the Democratic party and for America.” 

Clinton went on to pivot to the general election, criticizing presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump as “temperamentally unfit to be president and commander in chief.” Clinton then spoke of the road ahead: “The end of the primaries is only the beginning of the work we are called to do,” she said. “But if we stand together, we will rise together, because we are stronger together.”

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Tuesday’s presidential primaries boosted Clinton’s delegate lead over Sanders, with wins in California, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota. Sanders won both Montana and the North Dakota caucuses. NBC News reported that night that, projecting a win in California, Clinton had secured more than half of all pledged delegates in the Democratic primary:

Based on initial vote reports from California, NBC News has allocated 140 delegates to both Clinton and rival Bernie Sanders. That gives Clinton 2,043 delegates, more than half of the pledged delegates up for grabs throughout the primary season.

NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue, whose organization endorsed Clinton in January, reiterated the organization’s support for the former secretary of state in a Tuesday night statement. “Secretary Clinton’s victory tonight is a victory for all women because she is the model of a true champion for reproductive freedom,” said Hogue. “NARAL will be out in force to make sure Hillary Clinton is our next president—not Donald Trump.”

Clinton has been a vocal supporter of reproductive rights while on the campaign trail, though the Democratic candidate has also signaled her support for restrictions on some later abortions.

The former secretary of state reportedly spoke of the historical significance of a potential win Tuesday night during a campaign stop in California, prior to reports that she had become the party’s presumptive nominee.

“My supporters are passionate. They are committed. They have voted for me in great numbers across the country for many reasons,” said Clinton Monday according to the Washington Post. “But among the reasons is their belief that having a woman president would make a great statement—a historic statement—about what kind of country we are, what we stand for. It’s really emotional.”

Tuesday also marked the eight-year anniversary of Clinton’s speech conceding the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama, which similarly mentioned the progress her campaign had made for women. “Although we weren’t able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you it’s got about 18 million cracks in it and the light is shining through like never before,” said Clinton that night, urging her supporters to back her rival in the race for president.

AP first projected Clinton as the presumptive nominee Monday after conducting a “count of pledged delegates won in primaries and caucuses and a survey of party insiders known as superdelegates,” ultimately concluding that the Democratic candidate had the required 2,383 delegates needed to secure the nomination.

Sanders and his supporters swiftly condemned the media for calling the race before Tuesday’s primaries results were in. “It is unfortunate that the media, in a rush to judgment, are ignoring the Democratic National Committee’s clear statement that it is wrong to count the votes of superdelegates before they actually vote at the convention this summer,” said Sanders spokesperson Michael Briggs in a Monday statement.

“Secretary Clinton does not have and will not have the requisite number of pledged delegates to secure the nomination,” continued Briggs. “Our job from now until the convention is to convince those superdelegates that Bernie is by far the strongest candidate against Donald Trump.”

As the New York Times’ The Upshot blog explained, this is not the first time a count including superdelegates was used to declare a presumptive nominee. “The news networks projected that Mr. Obama was the presumptive nominee in the 2008 Democratic primary based on the same rules for tabulating superdelegates,” noted writer Nate Cohn Tuesday.

Politico reported last week Sanders would need “to persuade nearly 200 Hillary Clinton superdelegates to bolt from her camp” in order to win the nomination—a difficult feat given that thus far no superdelegates have made that switch and only about 30 changed candidates in 2008.

Even as Tuesday night’s results came in, Sanders pledged to continue his fight for the Democratic nomination. “Next Tuesday we continue the fight in the last primary in Washington, D.C. … And then we take our fight for social, economic, racial, and environmental justice to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,” said Sanders during a rally in California.

News Law and Policy

Another Effort to Strip State-Assisted Abortion Funding Introduced in Oregon

Nicole Knight

The proposed ballot measure would limit state money for the procedure to cases of rape, incest, or medical necessity, similar to the federal Hyde Amendment.

An anti-abortion petition in Oregon aims to strip the health-care procedure of state funding, with the potential to affect thousands of impoverished women each year.

The proposed ballot measure would limit state money for the procedure to cases of rape, incest, or medical necessity, similar to the federal Hyde Amendment.

The Oregon Health Authority covers abortion for women who typically make no more than $1,800 per month, a spokeswoman said. The Oregon Health Plan paid for 3,556 abortion procedures in 2013-2014, the most recent fiscal year for which data is available, at a total cost of nearly $1.8 million.

Jeff Jimerson, co-author of the petition and director of Oregon Life United, told Rewire he doesn’t want women to end their pregnancies on taxpayers’ dime.

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“We’re not against paying for things that are good for the community, but the destruction of human life is not something I want to pay for, and many thousands of Oregonians don’t want to pay for,” Jimerson said.

On Friday, Oregon Life United announced in a statement it delivered 1,459 signatures to the Oregon Secretary of State, an early-stage requirement in the ballot process. The petition needs 117,578 signatures to go before voters in 2016.

Amy Casso, program manager of the Western States Center and the BRAVE Coalition, said the proposed measure would limit reproductive health access among the state’s poorest.

“By denying coverage for abortion, we would be taking away a low-income individual’s ability to make important personal decisions based on what is best for their circumstances,” Casso said in a statement.

The number of abortions that the state has paid for is down from 2002, when 4,105 were covered.

Past attempts to get the measure on the the ballot fell short. Jimerson said they gathered about 98,000 signatures in 2014, and 72,000 in 2012.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 32 states and the District of Columbia restrict state funding of abortion to cases of life endangerment, rape, and incest, although Oregon does not. The use of direct federal funds is illegal in all 50 states except in rare circumstances.

Reproductive health providers call the proposed initiative a “scam.”

“The ballot measure sponsors seek to push their narrow political agenda of ending access to abortion,” Mary Nolan, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon, said in a statement. “This measure would unfairly penalize low-income Oregonian women seeking abortion.”

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