SCOTUS conservatives limit class arbitration in divided decision

Roberts argued that under the court’s precedent arbitration is a matter of “consent,” and that consent cannot be inferred from an agreement that is ambiguous. “Today’s opinion is rooted instead in the majority’s belief that class arbitration ‘undermine[s] the central benefits of arbitration itself,’ she wrote. A federal court in California permitted Lamps Plus to force Varela into arbitration, but granted his request for class arbitration. Arbitration cases have taken on increased significance i


Roberts argued that under the court’s precedent arbitration is a matter of “consent,” and that consent cannot be inferred from an agreement that is ambiguous. “Today’s opinion is rooted instead in the majority’s belief that class arbitration ‘undermine[s] the central benefits of arbitration itself,’ she wrote. A federal court in California permitted Lamps Plus to force Varela into arbitration, but granted his request for class arbitration. Arbitration cases have taken on increased significance i
SCOTUS conservatives limit class arbitration in divided decision Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-04-24  Authors: tucker higgins, mark wilson, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, workers, divided, class, court, scotus, courts, consent, limit, law, conservatives, decision, opinion, arbitration, cases


SCOTUS conservatives limit class arbitration in divided decision

The Supreme Court on Wednesday handed a victory to business in a 5-4 ruling along ideological lines that held that workers are not entitled to resolve disputes through class arbitration in cases where their arbitration agreement is ambiguous.

The closely-watched case is the latest in a long string of rulings at the top court strengthening the power of firms to compel their employees to resolve disputes through individual arbitration, a practice that businesses argue is more efficient and worker advocates say enables abuse to go unchecked.

Arbitration is a dispute resolution mechanism that is less formal than the court system which generally favors employers.

The decision follows the court’s landmark ruling on the issue in the 2018 case Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, which held, also 5-4, that arbitration agreements requiring workers to submit to individual arbitration must be enforced.

The opinion drew a flurry of criticism from the court’s liberal wing, with each of the four Democratic appointees penning a dissent. But Chief Justice John Roberts, in his opinion for the court, downplayed the criticism, arguing that the “opinion today is far from the watershed” the dissenters claimed it to be.

Roberts argued that under the court’s precedent arbitration is a matter of “consent,” and that consent cannot be inferred from an agreement that is ambiguous. The decision overturned a ruling from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which held that, under state law, ambiguity in a contract should be resolved against the party that drafted the agreement.

Read more: The Supreme Court could make it harder for workers to sue over issues like sexual harassment and pay discrimination

Justice Elena Kagan said the 9th Circuit’s reasoning was based on “a plain-vanilla rule of contract interpretation.”

“Today’s opinion is rooted instead in the majority’s belief that class arbitration ‘undermine[s] the central benefits of arbitration itself,’ she wrote. “But that policy view—of a piece with the majority’s ideas about class litigation—cannot justify displacing generally applicable state law about how to interpret ambiguous contracts.”

The case involved Frank Varela, an employee at a lighting company, Lamps Plus. In 2016, Varela’s tax information was stolen by a hacker in a breach that affected hundreds of other employees.

Varela filed a lawsuit against the company on behalf of himself and others whose data was stolen. A federal court in California permitted Lamps Plus to force Varela into arbitration, but granted his request for class arbitration. That decision was affirmed by the Ninth Circuit.

“This is a win for employers,” said Lauren Novak, a partner at the law firm Schiff Hardin. “The decision provides clear guidance to the lower courts – the right to proceed as a class cannot be inferred, it will be permissible only if the employer expressly consented to it in the arbitration agreement.”

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in a dissent, said the court was straying “treacherously” from the court’s previous rulings on what was meant by consent in arbitration cases. She wrote that it was ironic to use the principle of consent “to justify imposing individual arbitration on employees who surely would not choose to proceed solo.”

“The widely experienced neglect [Varela] identified cries out for collective treatment,” Ginsburg wrote. “Shut from the Court’s sight is the ‘Hobson’s choice’ employees face: ‘accept arbitration on their employer’s terms or give up their jobs.'”

Arbitration cases have taken on increased significance in recent years because of added attention to worker disputes over sexual harassment in the workplace. A 2018 report by the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank, found that the share of workers subject to forced arbitration agreements has doubled in recent decades and now includes more than half the country’s workforce.

Emily Martin, vice president for education and workplace justice at the National Women’s Law Center, told CNBC in the fall that workers are less likely to come forward with such complaints if they are forced to resolve them as individuals, rather than groups. Raising the funds, and gathering the necessary information, are among the hurdles.

“If you feel like you are the only one, you are much less likely to come forward and say, I deserve better, you can’t treat me like this,” she said.

A number of companies in recent years, including Google and Facebook, have sought to address the issue by ending forced arbitration in cases involving sexual harassment. Ginsburg said those efforts “ameliorate some of the harm” caused by the court’s arbitration decisions, but re-iterated her stance that congressional action is “urgently in order.”


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-04-24  Authors: tucker higgins, mark wilson, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, workers, divided, class, court, scotus, courts, consent, limit, law, conservatives, decision, opinion, arbitration, cases


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Obama White House counsel Greg Craig charged with lying to prosecutors about foreign lobbying

After the indictment was announced, Craig’s lawyers said “it is itself unfair and misleading” and “ignores uncontroverted evidence to the contrary.” “Mr. Craig had no interest in misleading the FARA Unit because he had not done anything that required his registration. Craig is charged with lying during an Oct. 19, 2017, interview with the special counsel’s office about the nature of work he did for the Ukrainian government in 2012 and 2013, while he was a senior partner at the law firm Skadden A


After the indictment was announced, Craig’s lawyers said “it is itself unfair and misleading” and “ignores uncontroverted evidence to the contrary.” “Mr. Craig had no interest in misleading the FARA Unit because he had not done anything that required his registration. Craig is charged with lying during an Oct. 19, 2017, interview with the special counsel’s office about the nature of work he did for the Ukrainian government in 2012 and 2013, while he was a senior partner at the law firm Skadden A
Obama White House counsel Greg Craig charged with lying to prosecutors about foreign lobbying Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-04-11  Authors: christina wilkie, kevin breuninger, mark wilson, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, skadden, report, register, prosecutors, white, obama, lobbying, house, foreign, firm, yanukovich, craig, ukrainian, counsel, tymoshenko, lying, greg, work, law


Obama White House counsel Greg Craig charged with lying to prosecutors about foreign lobbying

Anticipating the DOJ’s announcement, Craig’s attorneys said in a statement to news outlets that their client’s case had already been referred to federal authorities in the Southern District of New York who did not bring charges.

After the indictment was announced, Craig’s lawyers said “it is itself unfair and misleading” and “ignores uncontroverted evidence to the contrary.”

“Mr. Craig had no interest in misleading the FARA Unit because he had not done anything that required his registration. That is what this trial will be all about,” his representatives said.

Craig is charged with lying during an Oct. 19, 2017, interview with the special counsel’s office about the nature of work he did for the Ukrainian government in 2012 and 2013, while he was a senior partner at the law firm Skadden Arps. Craig left the firm in April of 2018.

Skadden was originally hired in 2012 by the government of then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, a Kremlin ally, to prepare a formal report effectively justifying Yanukovich’s decision to prosecute and imprison his political rival, Yulia Tymoshenko, a former prime minister.

The prosecution of Tymoshenko caused international outrage at the time, and the Yanukovich government was eager for a Western law firm with a sterling reputation like Skadden to produce a report which it could share internationally, in an attempt to relieve some of the pressure it had come under from human rights groups and nongovernmental organizations.

In 2012 and 2013, while Skadden was working for the Yanukovich government, the Justice Department approached the firm to inquire whether the work constituted foreign lobbying, which would require that Skadden register as an agent of the Ukrainian government under FARA.

According to the indictment, in February 2012 Craig emailed a law firm partner and said, “I don’t want to register as a foreign agent under FARA. I think we don’t have to with this assignment, yes?”


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-04-11  Authors: christina wilkie, kevin breuninger, mark wilson, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, skadden, report, register, prosecutors, white, obama, lobbying, house, foreign, firm, yanukovich, craig, ukrainian, counsel, tymoshenko, lying, greg, work, law


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Special counsel Mueller has no sealed indictments as Russia probe ends: NBC News

Special counsel Robert Mueller has concluded his investigation and will not file any more indictments in connection with his inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, NBC News reported on Friday, citing a senior U.S. law enforcement official. But Mueller has no more indictments waiting under seal, and he will not recommend any further indictments, multiple outlets reported. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller to oversee the investigation into any links between


Special counsel Robert Mueller has concluded his investigation and will not file any more indictments in connection with his inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, NBC News reported on Friday, citing a senior U.S. law enforcement official. But Mueller has no more indictments waiting under seal, and he will not recommend any further indictments, multiple outlets reported. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller to oversee the investigation into any links between
Special counsel Mueller has no sealed indictments as Russia probe ends: NBC News Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-03-22  Authors: tucker higgins, mark wilson, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, ends, counsel, rosenstein, inquiry, indictments, nbc, report, russia, probe, mueller, sealed, campaign, investigation, special, trump, russian


Special counsel Mueller has no sealed indictments as Russia probe ends: NBC News

Special counsel Robert Mueller has concluded his investigation and will not file any more indictments in connection with his inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, NBC News reported on Friday, citing a senior U.S. law enforcement official. There are no sealed indictments.

It is possible that leads uncovered during the special counsel’s inquiry and handed off could lead to charges brought by state prosecutors or other parts of the Department of Justice. But Mueller has no more indictments waiting under seal, and he will not recommend any further indictments, multiple outlets reported.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller to oversee the investigation into any links between President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and the Russian government in May 2017.

Since then, Mueller’s investigation has led to nearly 200 criminal charges and has secured convictions or guilty pleas from top Trump advisors, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Trump, who has waged a fierce, years-long campaign to discredit the special counsel, has denied any wrongdoing.

Attorney General William Barr told lawmakers on Friday that he received a report from Mueller and will share its conclusions possibly as soon as this weekend.

Barr said he will consult with Rosenstein and Mueller “to determine what other information from the report can be released to Congress and the public consistent with the law.”

The White House has said that the next steps are up to Barr. Democratic leadership has pressed for the report to be made available to Congress and the public.

“I think we should wait for the full report to be issued before jumping to any conclusions,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said at a press conference Friday evening after a reporter asked about reports that there would be no new indictments.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-03-22  Authors: tucker higgins, mark wilson, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, ends, counsel, rosenstein, inquiry, indictments, nbc, report, russia, probe, mueller, sealed, campaign, investigation, special, trump, russian


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Why the dollar could keep rising this year even if the Fed doesn’t hike — further vexing Trump

“The dollar has stayed bid on the back of safe-haven demand,” said Peter Ng, senior FX trader at Silicon Valley Bank. “The global slowdown is affecting everyone and at the current moment, it doesn’t seem like there are any good replacements for the dollar.” Investors across the globe and asset classes are fretting over the possibility of a slowdown in economic growth amid weakening data. In the U.S., jobs creation came to an almost screeching halt in February as only 20,000 jobs were added. In E


“The dollar has stayed bid on the back of safe-haven demand,” said Peter Ng, senior FX trader at Silicon Valley Bank. “The global slowdown is affecting everyone and at the current moment, it doesn’t seem like there are any good replacements for the dollar.” Investors across the globe and asset classes are fretting over the possibility of a slowdown in economic growth amid weakening data. In the U.S., jobs creation came to an almost screeching halt in February as only 20,000 jobs were added. In E
Why the dollar could keep rising this year even if the Fed doesn’t hike — further vexing Trump Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-03-12  Authors: fred imbert, getty images, chris goodney, bloomberg, mark wilson
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, vexing, slowdown, bank, doesnt, 11, dollar, growth, rising, added, economic, current, trump, hike, fed, 2019, jobs


Why the dollar could keep rising this year even if the Fed doesn't hike — further vexing Trump

Westpac sees the US dollar ’tilting higher’ in 2H of 2019 4:21 AM ET Mon, 11 March 2019 | 03:20

The dollar’s rise defies the consensus from earlier in the year that the U.S. currency would go down as the Federal Reserve signaled fewer rate hikes. New tame inflation data on Tuesday supported the Fed’s new tack.

“The dollar has stayed bid on the back of safe-haven demand,” said Peter Ng, senior FX trader at Silicon Valley Bank. “The global slowdown is affecting everyone and at the current moment, it doesn’t seem like there are any good replacements for the dollar.”

Investors across the globe and asset classes are fretting over the possibility of a slowdown in economic growth amid weakening data.

Chinese exports dropped 20.7 percent in February from the year-earlier period, missing expectations.

In the U.S., jobs creation came to an almost screeching halt in February as only 20,000 jobs were added. Economists polled by Refinitv expected the U.S. economy to have added 180,000 jobs last month. Some experts, however, attributed some of the hiring weakness to factors like weather and lingering effects from the government shutdown.

In Europe, the European Central Bank slashed its euro zone growth forecast for 2019 to 1.1 percent from 1.7 percent. ECB President Mario Draghi said Thursday there is a “sizable moderation in economic expansion that will extend into the current year.”


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-03-12  Authors: fred imbert, getty images, chris goodney, bloomberg, mark wilson
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, vexing, slowdown, bank, doesnt, 11, dollar, growth, rising, added, economic, current, trump, hike, fed, 2019, jobs


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Equifax, Marriott CEOs testify in Senate over data breaches

Begor joined Equifax’s chief information security officer, Jamil Farshchi, and Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson to discuss private-sector data breaches at a hearing Thursday in front of the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Investigations. The Senate report says that unlike Equifax, the company’s competitors Experian and TransUnion “were able to avoid a similar data breach.” “During its investigation, the Subcommittee learned that Equifax employees conducted substanti


Begor joined Equifax’s chief information security officer, Jamil Farshchi, and Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson to discuss private-sector data breaches at a hearing Thursday in front of the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Investigations. The Senate report says that unlike Equifax, the company’s competitors Experian and TransUnion “were able to avoid a similar data breach.” “During its investigation, the Subcommittee learned that Equifax employees conducted substanti
Equifax, Marriott CEOs testify in Senate over data breaches Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-03-07  Authors: kate fazzini, mark wilson, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, breach, equifax, ceos, legal, 2017, lync, marriott, hold, data, report, testify, breaches, security, senate, information


Equifax, Marriott CEOs testify in Senate over data breaches

Equifax’s new CEO Mark Begor told senators Thursday that the credit ratings agency has made many changes since its 2017 breach of the personal information of 143 million people, but he also defended the company against a harsh new Senate report about the incident.

“The fact that Equifax did not have an impenetrable information security program and suffered a breach does not mean that the company failed to take cybersecurity seriously,” he said in a prepared statement.

Begor joined Equifax’s chief information security officer, Jamil Farshchi, and Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson to discuss private-sector data breaches at a hearing Thursday in front of the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Investigations.

“Before the cyberattack, I understand that the [Equifax’s] security program was well-funded and -staffed, based on a robust set of policies, standards, and procedures, and supported by general and specialized training,” he said.

The Senate report says that unlike Equifax, the company’s competitors Experian and TransUnion “were able to avoid a similar data breach.”

Begor said that in 2018, the more than 1,200 data breaches against U.S. corporations showed that companies of all types were falling victim to these crimes.

“These attacks are no longer just a hacker in the basement attempting to penetrate a company’s security perimeter, but instead are carried out by increasingly sophisticated criminal rings or, even more challenging, well-funded nation-state actors or military arms of nation-states,” he said.

Equifax has added four new directors and created an “audit framework” meant to give the board of directors security benchmarks that they understand and that can make it easier to record progress, Begor said. The company has also planned to spend $1.25 billion more between 2018 and 2020 on security and information technology as a result of the incident.

The report also criticizes Equifax for not properly saving records of internal conversations about the breach. Employees used an internal chat service called Microsoft Lync, which was set to not preserve conversations. Although this is a typical data retention practice, companies often adopt different standards surrounding events that may lead to legal action, specifically enacting a “legal hold” on any employee conversations about the incident.

“During its investigation, the Subcommittee learned that Equifax employees conducted substantive discussions of the discovery and mitigation of the data breach using Microsoft Lync, an instant messaging product,” the report says. “After discovering the data breach on July 29, 2017, Equifax did not issue a legal hold for related documents until August 22, 2017. Despite the legal hold, Equifax did not change the default setting on the Lync platform and begin archiving chats until September 15, 2017.”


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-03-07  Authors: kate fazzini, mark wilson, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, breach, equifax, ceos, legal, 2017, lync, marriott, hold, data, report, testify, breaches, security, senate, information


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Robert Mueller notifies judge that Roger Stone shared Instagram image

Special counsel Robert Mueller on Monday notified a federal judge about an Instagram post by President Donald Trump’s friend Roger Stone that could be in violation of the judge’s strict gag order on Stone. The filing by Mueller cited CNBC’s story on Sunday detailing the post by Stone, which contained an image of him under the words “Who framed Roger Stone.” Mueller did not ask Judge Amy Berman to find the self-described “dirty trickster” Stone in violation of her gag order in the case. Stone del


Special counsel Robert Mueller on Monday notified a federal judge about an Instagram post by President Donald Trump’s friend Roger Stone that could be in violation of the judge’s strict gag order on Stone. The filing by Mueller cited CNBC’s story on Sunday detailing the post by Stone, which contained an image of him under the words “Who framed Roger Stone.” Mueller did not ask Judge Amy Berman to find the self-described “dirty trickster” Stone in violation of her gag order in the case. Stone del
Robert Mueller notifies judge that Roger Stone shared Instagram image Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-03-04  Authors: dan mangan, mark wilson, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, order, roger, framed, instagram, image, judge, robert, book, gag, stones, notifies, mueller, stone, shared, filing


Robert Mueller notifies judge that Roger Stone shared Instagram image

Special counsel Robert Mueller on Monday notified a federal judge about an Instagram post by President Donald Trump’s friend Roger Stone that could be in violation of the judge’s strict gag order on Stone.

The filing by Mueller cited CNBC’s story on Sunday detailing the post by Stone, which contained an image of him under the words “Who framed Roger Stone.”

Mueller did not ask Judge Amy Berman to find the self-described “dirty trickster” Stone in violation of her gag order in the case.

Stone, 66, is barred from criticizing Mueller’s team of prosecutors under the gag imposed on Feb. 21 after the longtime Republican operative posted an Instagram image of Jackson’s face next to a rifle scope’s crosshair.

If Stone, who is currently free on a $250,000 signature bond, is found by Jackson to have violated that order, she could have him jailed without bail pending his trial on charges of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing justice.

Stone deleted the “Who framed Roger Stone” image from a series of other rotating images on his Instagram story Sunday shortly after CNBC sent an email to his lawyer asking about it.

The other images suggested that people donate to Stone’s legal defense fund, with one saying “I am committed to proving my innocence. But I need your help,” and another saying, “I’ve always had Trump’s back. Will you have mine?”

“We note for the Court that according to public reporting, on March 3, 2019, the defendant’s Instagram account shared an image with the title ‘who framed Roger Stone.’ A copy of the image is submitted under seal as Exhibit C. 1,” Mueller said in the court filing in federal court in Washington, D.C.

CNBC’s story on the image is referenced in a footnote in that filing.

Stone’s posted the “Framed” Instagram image two days after Jackson ordered his defense lawyers to explain why they did not tell her about the planned publication of a book by Stone that could violate her gag order. The book is entitled “The Myth of Russian Collusion: The Inside Story of How Trump Really Won.”

Jackson’s gag order prohibits Stone from “making statements to the media or in public settings about the Special Counsel’s investigation or this case or any of the participants in the investigation or the case.”

The gag covers “posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other form of social media,” as well as other forms of communication.

Mueller’s spokesman, who declined to comment on Stone’s post on Sunday, did not immediately return a request for comment. Stone’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Earlier Monday, Stone’s attorneys told Jackson in a filing that they belived his new book, which has an updated introduction discussing his case, should be allowed to be published because it was written and edited before the judge issued her gag order.

But Mueller’s filing afterward noted that, “A preview of the defendant’s book, including the updated Introduction referenced in the defendant’s Motion to Clarify, is currently publicly available on Amazon.com and Google Books.”

Stone was arrested in January. He has pleaded not guilty in the case.

Mueller claims Congress about his alleged effort to get the document collection group WikiLeaks to release emails hacked by Russian agents from Democrats, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Stone is alleged to have been in contact with top-ranking Trump campaign officials about efforts to leak damaging information about Clinton.

– Additional reporting by Kevin Breuninger


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-03-04  Authors: dan mangan, mark wilson, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, order, roger, framed, instagram, image, judge, robert, book, gag, stones, notifies, mueller, stone, shared, filing


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Senate confirms Trump’s attorney general pick William Barr, who will now oversee Mueller probe

President Donald Trump’s attorney general nominee William Barr was confirmed in the Senate on Thursday to take over the Justice Department as attorney general, where he will oversee special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. Bush’s administration, and had passed procedural hurdles in the Senate Judiciary Committee and the full Senate in recent votes. 1 law enforcement official in the country would also give him the responsibility to oversee Mueller’s investigation. The previous permanent att


President Donald Trump’s attorney general nominee William Barr was confirmed in the Senate on Thursday to take over the Justice Department as attorney general, where he will oversee special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. Bush’s administration, and had passed procedural hurdles in the Senate Judiciary Committee and the full Senate in recent votes. 1 law enforcement official in the country would also give him the responsibility to oversee Mueller’s investigation. The previous permanent att
Senate confirms Trump’s attorney general pick William Barr, who will now oversee Mueller probe Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-02-14  Authors: kevin breuninger, mark wilson, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, special, senate, muellers, william, sessions, mueller, general, trumps, oversee, judiciary, investigation, confirms, barr, attorney, pick, probe


Senate confirms Trump's attorney general pick William Barr, who will now oversee Mueller probe

President Donald Trump’s attorney general nominee William Barr was confirmed in the Senate on Thursday to take over the Justice Department as attorney general, where he will oversee special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

Barr, 68, was confirmed in a 54-45 vote that largely fell along party lines. He will be sworn in Thursday afternoon in the Oval Office by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, the White House told NBC News.

Barr was widely expected to be confirmed by the Republican-majority Senate on Thursday. He had served in the same role more than two decades earlier in President George H.W. Bush’s administration, and had passed procedural hurdles in the Senate Judiciary Committee and the full Senate in recent votes.

A few senators broke with their party in the final vote, however. Among Democrats, Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Doug Jones of Alabama — both of whom represent deep-red states — voted for Barr, as did first-term Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul was the only Republican to vote against Barr’s nomination.

Barr, a Justice Department veteran, came under heavy scrutiny during his confirmation process. Democrats in particular grilled Barr during congressional testimony about how he would handle Mueller’s ongoing probe of Russia’s election interference and possible collusion with Trump campaign-related officials.

Barr’s rise to become the No. 1 law enforcement official in the country would also give him the responsibility to oversee Mueller’s investigation. The previous permanent attorney general, Jeff Sessions, recused himself from the government’s Russia probes in March 2017 following reports about his contacts with Russia’s then-ambassador to the U.S.

Oversight duties fell to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — a circumstance that vexed Trump, who viciously and publicly criticized Sessions’ over his recusal until the beleaguered Sessions left the administration in November.

Trump selected Matthew Whitaker, a former U.S. attorney in Iowa, to fill the role in an acting capacity following Sessions’ departure. He inherited oversight duties in the Mueller probe, which alarmed Democrats and other critics who were skeptical of his past comments about it. For instance, Whitaker notably argued in an August 2017 op-ed for CNN that Mueller’s investigation is “dangerously close to crossing” the so-called red line not to look into the Trump family’s finances.

Barr, in contrast, has said that he considers Mueller a friend, and vowed to make the conclusions of the special counsel’s probe as public as he could manage. He even pushed back on Trump’s oft-repeated characterization of the Russia investigation as a “witch hunt” during his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in mid-January.

“I don’t believe Mr. Mueller would be involved in a witch hunt,” Barr told Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., when asked directly in his committee hearing.

That wasn’t enough to assuage some Democrats’ concerns about the fate of the special counsel investigation in Barr’s hands.

“Despite repeated questions and follow-up letters he failed to respond to, Bill Barr refused to commit to allowing the American people to see the full report submitted to him by Special Counsel Mueller,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the Judiciary Committee’s top democrat. “I consider that disqualifying.”

Still, she added: “While I opposed Bill Barr’s nomination, it’s my hope that he’ll remember he is the people’s lawyer, not the president’s lawyer.”


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-02-14  Authors: kevin breuninger, mark wilson, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, special, senate, muellers, william, sessions, mueller, general, trumps, oversee, judiciary, investigation, confirms, barr, attorney, pick, probe


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US Supreme Court blocks strict Louisiana abortion law

A divided U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday stopped a Louisiana law imposing strict regulations on abortion clinics from going into effect in its first major test on abortion since the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy last summer. The court on a 5-4 vote granted an emergency application by Shreveport-based abortion provider Hope Medical Group for Women to block the Republican-backed law from going into effect while litigation continues. Kennedy backed abortion rights in two key cases. Justice


A divided U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday stopped a Louisiana law imposing strict regulations on abortion clinics from going into effect in its first major test on abortion since the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy last summer. The court on a 5-4 vote granted an emergency application by Shreveport-based abortion provider Hope Medical Group for Women to block the Republican-backed law from going into effect while litigation continues. Kennedy backed abortion rights in two key cases. Justice
US Supreme Court blocks strict Louisiana abortion law Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-02-08  Authors: mark wilson, getty images news, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, law, vote, key, medical, effect, justice, roberts, court, abortion, strict, louisiana, blocks, supreme, kennedy


US Supreme Court blocks strict Louisiana abortion law

A divided U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday stopped a Louisiana law imposing strict regulations on abortion clinics from going into effect in its first major test on abortion since the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy last summer.

The court on a 5-4 vote granted an emergency application by Shreveport-based abortion provider Hope Medical Group for Women to block the Republican-backed law from going into effect while litigation continues.

The four liberal justices were joined by conservative Chief Justice John Roberts in the majority, suggesting that Roberts, as Kennedy used to be, is now the key vote on the issue.

Kennedy backed abortion rights in two key cases. Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who President Donald Trump appointed to replace Kennedy, joined the court’s four other conservatives in dissent.

Hope Medical Group challenged the law’s requirement that doctors who perform abortions must have an arrangement called “admitting privileges” at a hospital within 30 miles (48 km) of the clinic.

The court on Feb. 1 temporarily blocked the law, which was due to go into effect on Feb. 4, while the justices decided how to proceed.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-02-08  Authors: mark wilson, getty images news, getty images
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Chief Justice Roberts protects abortion — but sets up 2020 showdown

Chief Justice John Roberts shocked court watchers by siding with the liberal wing of the bench in a decision that blocked a restrictive Louisiana abortion law from going into effect. But he also set up a potential showdown over abortion next year, in the thick of the 2020 presidential campaign. In an unusual after-hours order Thursday night, the conservative Roberts joined the court’s four Democratic appointees in granting a stay of the Louisiana law. Reproductive-rights activists argued that th


Chief Justice John Roberts shocked court watchers by siding with the liberal wing of the bench in a decision that blocked a restrictive Louisiana abortion law from going into effect. But he also set up a potential showdown over abortion next year, in the thick of the 2020 presidential campaign. In an unusual after-hours order Thursday night, the conservative Roberts joined the court’s four Democratic appointees in granting a stay of the Louisiana law. Reproductive-rights activists argued that th
Chief Justice Roberts protects abortion — but sets up 2020 showdown Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-02-08  Authors: tucker higgins, mark wilson, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, law, sets, louisiana, court, 2020, protects, showdown, presidential, rights, abortion, chief, state, justice, stay, granting, roberts


Chief Justice Roberts protects abortion — but sets up 2020 showdown

Chief Justice John Roberts shocked court watchers by siding with the liberal wing of the bench in a decision that blocked a restrictive Louisiana abortion law from going into effect.

But he also set up a potential showdown over abortion next year, in the thick of the 2020 presidential campaign.

In an unusual after-hours order Thursday night, the conservative Roberts joined the court’s four Democratic appointees in granting a stay of the Louisiana law. Reproductive-rights activists argued that the law would cripple abortion access in the state. The high court had found a similar law unconstitutional in Texas three years ago, in a case in which Roberts dissented.

The law required abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic, which would have left only one provider in a state with a population of nearly 5 million, according to the plaintiffs.

The decision to block the law was temporary. That means that the upshot of the justices’ 5-4 vote granting a stay, issued without a ruling on the merits, is a likely battle over the court’s abortion rights precedents during the most heated months of the 2020 presidential election next year.

The court is now expected to take up a formal petition from the Center for Reproductive Rights, which represented two abortion doctors and a clinic in the case, to hear arguments on the matter in its term beginning in October.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-02-08  Authors: tucker higgins, mark wilson, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, law, sets, louisiana, court, 2020, protects, showdown, presidential, rights, abortion, chief, state, justice, stay, granting, roberts


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The Sanders-Schumer proposal to limit buybacks could be a very big negative for the stock market

A Democratic proposal that would limit stock buybacks takes dead aim at one of the market’s main pillars of support for the past decade. The trillions spent on share repurchases since the current bull market began in March 2009 have helped keep a floor under Wall Street even when times got bad. While the measure seeks to address the wealth gap, Wall Street pros worry about its disruptive potential for markets. Big tech companies and Wall Street banks are usually the leaders in gross purchases. “


A Democratic proposal that would limit stock buybacks takes dead aim at one of the market’s main pillars of support for the past decade. The trillions spent on share repurchases since the current bull market began in March 2009 have helped keep a floor under Wall Street even when times got bad. While the measure seeks to address the wealth gap, Wall Street pros worry about its disruptive potential for markets. Big tech companies and Wall Street banks are usually the leaders in gross purchases. “
The Sanders-Schumer proposal to limit buybacks could be a very big negative for the stock market Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-02-04  Authors: jeff cox, mark wilson, getty images news, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, street, trillions, wall, york, proposal, sandersschumer, big, negative, buybacks, trillion, companies, limit, wealth, stock, market, times


The Sanders-Schumer proposal to limit buybacks could be a very big negative for the stock market

A Democratic proposal that would limit stock buybacks takes dead aim at one of the market’s main pillars of support for the past decade.

The trillions spent on share repurchases since the current bull market began in March 2009 have helped keep a floor under Wall Street even when times got bad. Last year was not a very good one for the market, with the S&P 500 down more than 6 percent, but companies’ willingness to step in and buy their stock likely kept the damage from being even worse.

However, the issue has been a hot one, particularly among progressives who believe companies should be doing more with their cash than rewarding shareholders and putting money in the pockets of executives who ultimately benefit by higher stock prices.

That sentiment helped fuel a measure being proposed Sens. Charles Schumer of New York and Bernie Sanders of Vermont who said in a New York Times op-ed that they want to apply “preconditions” on buybacks that would force $15 an hour wages, paid time off and health benefits.

“At a time of huge income and wealth inequality, Americans should be outraged that these profitable corporations are laying off workers while spending billions of dollars to boost their stock’s value to further enrich the wealthy few,” the senators said.

While the measure seeks to address the wealth gap, Wall Street pros worry about its disruptive potential for markets.

“If the populist attacks become enacted, they will be meaningful,” said David Santschi, director of liquidity research at TrimTabs, which tracks where cash is going in the marketplace. “I don’t think it’s the government’s job to tell companies how they can spend money.”

Buybacks shattered a record in 2018, surging to $1.04 trillion and doubling 2017’s output.

Big tech companies and Wall Street banks are usually the leaders in gross purchases. Apple, for example has executed more than $250 billion in repurchases over the past decade through 2018, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices. Embattled banking titan Wells Fargo did more than $63 billion during the period, while Microsoft surpassed $100 billion.

The top 20 repurchasers alone bought back more than $1.1 trillion in the decade.

Even Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, which almost never participates, announced some $928 million worth in 2018.

“That’s a lot of moves that have a lot of buying power,” Santschi said. “If you have a significant slowdown in buybacks, it would have a significant impact on markets.”

The buybacks have worked hand in glove with Federal Reserve monetary policy, which has kept interest rates at borrowing-friendly lows and for years pumped in trillions of liquidity to markets through an aggressive bond-buying program that pushed the central bank’s balance sheet to $4.5 trillion.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-02-04  Authors: jeff cox, mark wilson, getty images news, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, street, trillions, wall, york, proposal, sandersschumer, big, negative, buybacks, trillion, companies, limit, wealth, stock, market, times


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