Tuesday morning news – July 7, 2020

Supreme Court upholds state laws banning faithless electors » The Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Monday that states can bar so-called faithless electors. That means members of the electoral college cannot cast a vote for someone other than the candidate backed by voters in their state. 

The ruling centers on cases in Washington state and Colorado but it upholds laws in 32 states and the District of Columbia, binding electors to vote for the popular-vote winner.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold…

GRISWOLD: So state laws binding electors are just so important to make sure that, frankly, it’s harder to run disinformation campaigns. You know, it’s a lot harder to have to trick lots of people, millions of people, hundreds of people than one or two electors. 

Faithless electors have not decided a presidential election, but that could change in a race decided by just a few electoral votes. 

Justice Elena Kagen wrote in her majority decision that a state may instruct “electors that they have no ground for reversing the vote of millions of its citizens.” 

In a separate ruling, the high court upheld a law that bars robocalls to cell phones. 

Judge orders shutdown of Dakota Access pipeline » Also on Monday, a U.S. District Court judge ordered the Dakota Access pipeline shut down pending a more thorough environmental review. The decision is a legal victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, three years after the pipeline first began carrying oil following months of protests.

Ron Ness is president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council. He said the pipeline “absolutely has met the environmental standards,” and he said the ruling could kill jobs in a time of economic hardship.  

NESS: It will not only hurt the oil industry, but the tens of thousands of people that work in North Dakota’s oil industry—run and operate these types of facilities, but it’s going to substantially hurt the state of North Dakota and our economy. 

But Tribal Chairman Mike Faith called it a historic day for the Standing Rock Sioux. He said “This pipeline should have never been built here.”

The roughly 1,200-mile pipeline straddles the North and South Dakota border near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. It crosses beneath the Missouri River, just north of the reservation. The tribe draws its water from the river and fears pollution. 

Construction of the $3.8 billion pipeline was the subject of months of protests in 2016 and 2017.

Fla. governor: coronavirus outbreak largely stabilized » Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said Monday that despite a recent surge of newly confirmed cases, he does not believe the coronavirus is getting out of hand in his state.

The positivity rate of COVID-19 tests in Florida has risen in recent weeks and that could be due in part to more young people getting tested. DeSantis told reporters…

DESANTIS: The age that has the most cases in the state of Florida is age 21. And again, without comorbidities present, you’re looking at practically a 0 percent fatality rate. 

He noted that the positivity rate has held steady over the past 7 days at about 14 percent. 

But the state’s hardest hit county, Miami-Dade finds little solace in that number. The mayor has issued an emergency order closing restaurants and gyms.

Israel announces new lockdowns amid virus surge » Meantime, Israel has announced a new round of lockdowns amid a resurgence of the virus there. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The Israeli government on Monday announced the first new lockdowns in two months.

Bars, gyms, event centers, public pools, and other gathering places are shutting down. And restaurants and synagogues will be limited to partial capacity. 

The Israeli government is also raising the fine for not wearing a mask in public to the equivalent of nearly $150 U.S. dollars. 

The country’s health minister said “to save lives and to save the economy, we must flatten the curve.” 

With the recent spike in new cases, Israel now has more than 12,000 active cases and nearly a hundred people hospitalized in serious condition. 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

Beijing blasts U.K. for “interference in China’s internal affairs” » China’s ambassador to the UK said Monday that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was out of line to offer citizenship to 3 million people from Hong Kong. 

XIAOMING: This move constitutes a gross interference in China’s internal affairs.

Ambassador Liu Xiaoming said Hong Kong is part of China, and—quote—“no one should underestimate the firm determination of China to safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests.” 

Johnson announced the new visa and citizenship route for certain Hong Kong residents last week after Beijing imposed a law that strips Hong Kong of key liberties. Johnson said China was in “serious breach” of the Sino-British Joint Declaration. That was the agreement by which the former British colony was handed over to China in 1997. 

Johnson’s office said the government was “also reviewing extradition arrangements with Hong Kong.”

Country music legend Charlie Daniels dies » Country Music Hall of Famer Charlie Daniels died Monday at the age of 83. 

The singer-songwriter was best known for his 1979 crossover hit “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” 

MUSIC: [Devil Went Down to Georgia]

Daniels’ career took him to the White House, the Super Bowl, and even to the Middle East, where he often played for U.S. troops. 

Daniels also played himself in the 1980 movie Urban Cowboy. The North Carolina native wasn’t shy about his faith. He said “I want to see people understanding the gospel message. I think sometimes the reason they don’t is because of the simplicity. There’s nothing you can do but repent and believe. You can’t earn it.”

Daniels is survived by his wife of 55 years, Hazel, and their son Charlie Daniels Jr.

(Tom Stromme/The Bismarck Tribune via AP, File) In this Oct. 5, 2016, file photo, heavy equipment is seen at a site where sections of the Dakota Access pipeline were being buried near the town of St. Anthony in Morton County, N.D. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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