• Justice Anthony Kennedy Retires

    Justice Anthony Kennedy, a key moderate conservative swing vote on the Supreme Court, announced his retirement on Wednesday. His departure will give President Trump an opportunity to take another step in pushing the high court to the right, after appointing Justice Neil Gorsuch to a seat Republicans kept open by refusing to consider former President Barack Obama's nominee. The fight over that seat, left vacant after conservative stalwart Justice Antonin Scalia's death, offered a preview of what is expected to be a bitter battle over confirming Kennedy's successor. Liberals are concerned another hardline conservative could threaten abortion rights and set up an expansion of gun rights, but Democrats lack options to block a Trump nominee without help from moderate Republicans.

    Discussion Questions:

    • Why do you think Kennedy chose to retire now?
    • Who do you think Trump will appoint to replace Kennedy?
    • Do you think a Trump nominee will be able to survive the Senate? Why or why not?
  • Harley-Davidson to Move Some Manufacturing Overseas

    Harley-Davidson announced Monday that it planned to move production of motorcycles to be sold in the European Union to overseas factories due to President Trump's escalating trade war. The iconic American motorcycle manufacturer said that the EU's 25 percent tariff, imposed to retaliate against Trump's tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, would increase the average cost of its motorcycles in Europe by about $2,200. The unspecified number of manufacturing jobs will reportedly be moved to plants in India, Brazil, and Thailand, marking a setback for Trump's "America First" policy. Trump, who has touted Harley-Davidson as a domestic-manufacturing success story, accused the company of using the tariffs as "an excuse" for moving production overseas.

    Discussion Questions:

    • Why do you think Harley-Davidson has made this decision?
    • How do you think Trump will respond?
    • Do you think Harley will regret this choice? Why or why not?
  • Huckabee Sanders Removed from Restaurant in Virginia

    White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Friday was asked to leave a Virginia restaurant by its owner. The incident was first noted online by a social media user claiming to have been her server and later confirmed by Sanders herself. The owners' "actions say far more about her than about me," Sanders wrote on Twitter. Previously, senior policy adviser Stephen Miller was heckled while eating at a Mexican restaurant, and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen left a different Mexican establishment after about a dozen protesters surrounded her table.

    Discussion Questions:

    • Why do you think Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave?
    • Do you agree with the restaurant's decision? Why or why not?
    • What impact do you think this could have on the restaurant? Why?
  • North Korea and China to Increase Cooperation

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed ways to increase their "strategic and tactical" cooperation during Kim's third visit to China, which concluded Wednesday, North Korean state media reported Thursday. Kim also briefed the Chinese president on his summit with President Trump in Singapore last week. Some analysts said the warmth displayed by Kim and Xi amounted to a warning from Beijing that Trump will have to back off on his threat to hit China with more tariffs if he wants help pressuring North Korea to denuclearize. "China is sending a message to Trump ... You can't have both," former energy secretary and repeat U.S. envoy to Pyongyang Bill Richardson told CNN.

    Discussion Questions:

    • Why do you think China and North Korea are beginning to increase cooperation?
    • How do you believe this will impact the U.S.?
    • Do you think these efforts will be successful? Why or why not?
  • Trump Defends Separation Policy

    President Trump on Monday defended his administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policies against growing outrage over the separation of migrant children from their parents. Trump said tough action against illegal immigration was critical for U.S. security and sovereignty, declaring that he would not let the country "be a migrant camp" on his watch. Trump also said the policy was "the Democrats' fault" for lenient policies that made the U.S. a magnet for migrant families. Nearly 2,000 children have been separated from their parents under the policy in the last six weeks. Evangelical leaders and four former first ladies have joined lawmakers from both parties in condemnation, with many of the critics calling images of children in fenced pens a national disgrace. 

    Discussion Questions:

    • Do you agree with this policy? Why or why not?
    • How do you believe Trump is handling this criticism? Why?
    • Do you think the policy will change? Why or why not?
  • United States and South Korea to Curtail Military Drills

    The U.S. and South Korea will formally announce the suspension of "large-scale" military exercises this coming week, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported Sunday. While routine training is expected to continue, this will put an end to the "provocative, inappropriate, and expensive" war games President Trump promised to stop during his recent negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The suspension will likely specify conditions under which the exercises would resume if Kim fails to meet his obligations in the denuclearization process. Trump confirmed the pending announcement on Twitter Sunday.

    Discussion Questions:

    • Why do you think the U.S. and South Korea made this decision?
    • Do you agree with the decision? Why or why not?
    • Do you think this will be long-lasting? Why or why not?
  • Sanders and Shah Thinking of Leaving Administration

    White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her top deputy, Raj Shah, "are planning their departures," CBS News reports, citing sources inside the White House and close to the administration. Sanders has told friends she plans to leave at the end of the year, CBS News reported, while Shah hasn't set a date. Sanders declined to comment on the record, but tweeted: "Does @CBSNews know something I don't about my plans and my future? ... They ran a story about my 'plans to leave the WH' without even talking to me. I love my job and am honored to work for @POTUS." The departures would add to months of White House turmoil, and more departures are expected soon, a former official said.

    Discussion Questions:

    • Why do you think Shah and Sanders are considering leaving?
    • Do you think this will actually happen? Why or why not?
    • If Sanders leaves, who do you think would replace her? Why?
  • Trump and Kim Meet

    President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un concluded their summit in Singapore on Tuesday by signing a document in which Trump "committed to provide security guarantees" to North Korea, and Kim "reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula." Trump later said denuclearization would begin "very quickly — very, very quickly," although it would take many more meetings to hammer out terms of a lasting deal. Kim called the unprecedented summit "historic," and said that he and Trump had "decided to leave the past behind." Trump told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that they hadn't discussed withdrawing U.S. troops from South Korea, but said he would halt U.S.-South Korea "war games," because they're "very provocative."

    Discussion Questions:

    • What are your thoughts on the summit?
    • Do you believe this was successful? Why or why not?
    • How do you think North Korea will respond? Why?
  • Trump Goes After Trudeau at G7

    President Trump tweeted an angry critique of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Saturday evening, pairing the attack with an announcement that the United States would no longer be a signatory to the communique signed by the six other world leaders at the weekend's G7 summit in Canada. Trudeau "acted so meek and mild" in person, Trump alleged, only to express disagreement with U.S. trade policies after the president left. A response from Trudeau's office said his post-summit comments were no different from his statements in meetings with Trump. The communique pledged participants to oppose protectionism.

    DIscussion Questions:

    • How would describe Trump's rhetoric?
    • Do you believe Trump was fair in his assessment? Why or why not?
    • How do you see future American-Canadian relations based on this? Why?
  • Democrats Show Signs of Life

    Voters in eight states cast ballots Tuesday in this year's biggest day of primary elections. In California, where the top two candidates advance regardless of party, Democrats feared their numerous candidates would split the vote and leave the party locked out of some of the 10 GOP-held congressional districts they are targeting in their effort to regain control of the House, but preliminary results showed Democrats holding second place in all of those races. Democrats failed to control the governor's race, however, as Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) will face off against Republican businessman John Cox. In New Jersey, the national Democratic Party's favored candidates easily won key primaries, including in Republican incumbent Rep. Leonard Lance's district, as well as in the race for retiring GOP Rep. Frank LoBiondo's seat. The Democrats need to flip 23 seats to win the House.

    Discussion Questions:

    • How would you describe what occurred in these elections?
    • What do you think Democrats need to do in order to take the House in November?
    • Do you believe Democrats will take the House? Why or why not?
  • Supreme Court Rules for Baker in Battle over Making Cakes

    The Supreme Court on Monday ruled in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had not respected baker Jack Phillips' religious beliefs when it found he violated anti-discrimination laws. Kennedy wrote that the baker, as a business owner, "might have his right to the free exercise of religion limited by generally applicable laws," but "the delicate question of when the free exercise of his religion must yield to an otherwise valid exercise of state power"#mce_temp_url# can only be addressed when there is no "religious hostility" from the state. Only Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.

    Discussion Questions:

    • Why do you believe the Court ruled this way?
    • Do you agree with the decision? Why or why not?
    • What impact do you think this decision will have on future policy?
  • North Korea Summit Back On

    President Trump will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12 in Singapore after all, he said Friday after talking with a North Korean envoy in the Oval Office. The envoy delivered a large personal letter from Kim, and Trump said he expects the summit to be "very successful." "I don't even want to use the term 'maximum pressure' anymore," Trump said, "because I don't want to use that term because we're getting along." The summit was planned, then scrapped, then stuck in limbo after hostile statements from both parties. 

    Discussion Questions:

    • Why do you think this change occurred?
    • Do you think the summit will actually happen? Why or why not?
    • What do you think the goals of the summit are?
  • ABC Cancels Roseanne

    ABC on Tuesday canceled Roseanne, the popular reboot of the 1990s sitcom, after the show's biggest star, Roseanne Barr, posted a racist "joke" on Twitter in reference to former Obama administration official Valerie Jarrett, who is black. Barr apologized, saying her remark was in "bad taste." She later asked fans not to defend her or boycott ABC, calling her comments "indefensible." "It was 2 in the morning and I was Ambien tweeting," she said. ABC called her tweet "abhorrent, repugnant, and inconsistent with our values." Before ABC's announcement, one of the show's actors, Emma Kenney, and consulting producer Wanda Sykes, had decided to quit. Barr's talent agency, ICM Partners, also dropped her. 

    Discussion Questions:

    • Why do you think ABC made this decision?
    • Do you agree with the decision? Why or why not?
    • How do you envision public response to this decision playing out? Why?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpzClwOglyU

  • France Gives Citizenship to Hero

    French President Emmanuel Macron met Monday with Malian migrant Mamoudou Gassama, a day after the 22-year-old was hailed as a hero for rapidly climbing up four stories of an apartment building's balconies to save a 4-year-old dangling over a fifth-floor railing. Macron said Gassama, dubbed the "Spider Man" of Paris by admirers, had demonstrated astonishing selflessness and bravery, and that as a reward he would be given papers to stay in the country legally, if he wants. Macron also said "the Paris firefighters brigade would welcome him with a job." The rescue was caught on a video that went viral. "I ran. I crossed the street to save him," Gassama told Macron. "When I started to climb, it gave me courage to keep climbing." God "helped me. Thank God I saved him."

    Discussion Questions:

    • Do you agree with this decision? Why or why not?
    • Why do you think Marcon decided to grant citizenship?
    • How would you feel if the United States did something similar? Why?
  • South Korea Thinks North Ready to Denuclearize

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is still very much committed to his maybe on-again summit with President Trump in Singapore on June 12, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Sunday. The two Korean leaders met Saturday for an unannounced discussion of how to keep the summit and inter-Korean relations on track after Trump's surprise Thursday cancellation of the scheduled negotiations. Moon also reported Kim reaffirmed his promises to pursue "complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula." Meanwhile, Trump told reporters late Saturday that if the summit proceeds, the time and location will remain unchanged.

    Disucssion Questions:

    • Do you agree with South Korea? Why or why not?
    • Why do you think North Korea would consider giving up nuclear arms?
    • How could the world best assure North Korea denuclearizes?