President Barack Obama to Deliver Commencement Address at Rutgers University-New Brunswick
Thursday, April 14, 2016
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – U.S. President Barack Obama will deliver remarks to more than 12,000 graduating students and 40,000 guests at the university’s 250th anniversary commencement ceremony May 15 on the New Brunswick Campus.
“We are delighted that President Obama has chosen to address our graduates at this year’s historic commencement,” said Rutgers University President Robert Barchi.
“This is the first time in Rutgers University’s history that a sitting president has agreed to speak at commencement,” said Barchi. “President Obama’s decision is a testament to the enthusiastic efforts of Rutgers students, faculty, staff and alumni, as well as members of the New Jersey Congressional Delegation, who sent numerous messages to the White House urging the president to join our 250th anniversary graduation ceremony,” he added.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA TO DELIVER HOWARD UNIVERSITY 2016 COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS
Washington, D.C., (April 14, 2016) Howard University President, Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, announced today that United States President, Barack H. Obama, will deliver the keynote address during Howard University’s 2016 commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 7, 2016. The President will address members of the Class of 2016 and their families, University trustees, officers, faculty, staff, and alumni.
Delaware State University is proud to announce that Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., will deliver remarks at the May 7 DSU Commencement Ceremony, during which time the University will launch its celebration of its 125th anniversary as an institution of higher education.
The Honorable Joseph R. Biden will be the first American vice president to speak at a DSU Commencement Ceremony.
First Lady Michelle Obama to address JSU Class of 2016
First Lady Michelle Obama will deliver the address at Jackson State University’s 139th Spring Commencement Ceremony. Mrs. Obama will address more than 800 graduates as well as their family and friends on Saturday, April 23, 2016, at 3:00 p.m. at the Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium. Please be on time to see your graduate.
On behalf of Dr. Carolyn W. Meyers, President of Jackson State University and the entire JSU family, “We are honored and very pleased to have First Lady Michelle Obama as the Commencement Speaker for the graduating class of 2016. This is the first time in the history of the University that a sitting First Lady addressed our graduates. It reaffirms that JSU always strives for the best for our students. This Commencement promises to be an occasion that students will never forget.”
Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama is an attorney, writer, the wife of the 44th and current U.S. President Barack Obama. She is the first African-American First Lady of the United States. She has become a national and international role model for women and an advocate for poverty awareness, higher education, and healthy living.
In her advocacy for higher education, Michelle Obama launched the Reach Higher Initiative in 2014. The aim of this initiative is to inspire young Americans to broaden their futures by expanding their education beyond high school. Reach Higher seeks to ensure that all students understand the importance of an education by exposing students to college and career opportunities; understanding financial aid; academic planning and summer learning opportunities; as well as supporting high school counselors who do essential work to get students into college.
Echoing the call of the First Lady’s “Reach Higher” initiative, Jackson State University and the Jackson Public School District collaborated to form the first laboratory school in the Jackson area. Since 2013, Blackburn Laboratory Middle School has partnered with JSU in an effort to transform Blackburn into a highly successful middle school for replication and study of successful practices in the district, state, and nation.
Summary: Six years ago, President Obama made history by hosting the first-ever White House Science Fair. We’re excited to host the 6th and final one of his Administration!
Over the past five years, the President has invited students to bring their robots, rockets, solar-powered cars, and many other discoveries to the White House, where he has honored these outstanding students the same way we honor the winners of the Super Bowl.
Today, we are announcing that we will host the sixth and final White House Science Fair of President Obama’s Administration on April 13, 2016.
Student’s attending this year’s Science Fair are tackling some of our Nation’s greatest challenges, from combating climate change to uncovering new ways to fight cancer to discovering ways to reach farther beyond our atmosphere as part of the Mars generation. We look forward to celebrating their ingenuity and entrepreneurship — not just in this moment, but as we look toward a future where they’ll be the scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and innovators who stand to change the world.
But we know that the incredible talent of America’s young girls and boys is not limited to those students who join us at the White House. That’s why this year, we want to hear from students and teachers about the science fair projects you are doing in K-12 classrooms across the country.
IT’S ON US is a cultural movement aimed at fundamentally shi ing the way we think about sexual assault.
IT’S ON US is a rallying cry inviting everyone to step up and realize that the solution begins with us. It’s a declaration that sexual assault is not only a crime commi ed by a perpetrator against a victim, but a societal problem in which all of us have a role to play. We are reframing sexual assault in a way that inspires everyone to see it as their responsibility to do something, big or small, to
prevent it. We are asking everyone to create an environment, be it a dorm room, a party, a club or a sports team, or the greater college campus, where sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.
Raising awareness. Holding ourselves and each other accountable. Looking out for someone who cannot consent.
Today, the President announced an initiative to help put an end to campus sexual assault. It’s called “It’s On Us.”
That’s not just a slogan or catchphrase. It’s the whole point. Because in a country where one in five women on college campuses has been sexually assaulted — only 12 percent of which are reported — this is a problem that should be important to every single one of us, and it’s on every single one of us to do something to end the problem.
As a husband, as a brother, and as a father of three boys and daughter who is a sophomore in college, it’s on me to help create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable, and where survivors are supported.
It’s on me to tell my kids to never blame the victim. To not be a bystander. It’s on me to make sure they know that if they see something that looks wrong, they need to get involved — to intervene any way they can, even if it means enlisting the help of a friend or resident advisor. It’s on me to teach them to be direct, and to trust their gut.
That’s why this is personal for me.
And it’s why I took a step this morning to show my commitment to doing my part. And whether you’re a parent, a student, a survivor or a friend of one, there’s something you can do right now to do the same.
Go to It’sOnUs.org, and take the pledge — a personal commitment to help keep women and men safe from sexual assault. It’s a promise that you won’t be a bystander to the problem — that you’ll be a part of the solution. The President took the pledge this morning. I did, too — along with dozens of other White House staffers. Do it right now.
The Supreme Court is the highest court in the United States. Article III of the U.S. Constitution created the Supreme Court and authorized Congress to pass laws establishing a system of lower courts. In the federal court system’s present form, 94 district level trial courts and 13 courts of appeals sit below the Supreme Court
Why the 2016 Election Will Be One of the Most Pivotal Moments of Our Time
Every four years the political parties describe the impending presidential election as a historic event – and every once in a while it’s true
December 3, 2015 By Sean Wilentz – RollingStone
More than 150 years ago, in 1858, as the national crisis over slavery heightened, Abraham Lincoln famously remarked that “a house divided against itself cannot stand,” and that the “crisis” would be “reached and passed” only when the house divided would “become all one thing or all the other.” Now, the long conflict over social equality, political democracy and American government that began during the Progressive era, followed by the New Deal and the Great Society, is reaching its inescapable conclusion. If the Republicans win the presidency in 2016, they will also almost inevitably control both the Senate and the House of Representatives, giving them virtually unfettered command over the entire federal government to go along with their domination of the great majority of the state governments. The Republican president could easily be in a position to appoint new justices to the Supreme Court for an unstoppable right-wing majority that would last for a generation to come. Bush v. Gore, Citizens United and Shelby County v. Holder (the 2013 ruling that greatly weakened the 1965 Voting Rights Act) would be merely the prelude to tilting political and social power. If, however, the Democrats win the presidency in 2016, they will almost certainly take back the Senate and make gains in the House – and the Democratic president will likely be able to appoint new justices to the Supreme Court that will eventually comprise a liberal majority. Between these two stark alternatives, there is no middle ground. In 2016, the country will become either one thing or the other.
How did we arrive at this decisive moment? Two powerful historic developments have driven American politics over the past half century. The Republican Party has been transformed by a conservative movement that has pushed it ever further to the right. The Democratic Party, stunned by the conservative counterrevolution, has struggled to reinvent itself and its politics, while facing the increasingly formidable resources of the right. These shifts are responsible for the polarization and dysfunction that have gripped American government since the 1990s. But they began in 1968.
U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia has died at age 79, two law enforcement sources told ABC News today.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. said in a statement: “On behalf of the Court and retired Justices, I am saddened to report that our colleague Justice Antonin Scalia has passed away. He was an extraordinary individual and jurist, admired and treasured by his colleagues. His passing is a great loss to the Court and the country he so loyally served. We extend our deepest condolences to his wife Maureen and his family.”
Scalia died today in Texas of apparently natural causes, according to law enforcement sources. Father Mike Alcuino from the Diocese of El Paso administered last rites to Scalia this afternoon, a diocese official said.
Scalia, a conservative, was the longest-serving current justice on the Supreme Court. He was nominated to the court by President Reagan and took his seat Sept. 26, 1986.
Posted Wed, February 24th, 2016 8:00 am SCOTUSblog
A Responsibility I Take Seriously
The Constitution vests in the President the power to appoint judges to the Supreme Court. It’s a duty that I take seriously, and one that I will fulfill in the weeks ahead.
It’s also one of the most important decisions that a President will make. Rulings handed down by the Supreme Court directly affect our economy, our security, our rights, and our daily lives.
Needless to say, this isn’t something I take lightly. It’s a decision to which I devote considerable time, deep reflection, careful deliberation, and serious consultation with legal experts, members of both political parties, and people across the political spectrum. And with thanks to SCOTUSblog for allowing me to guest post today, I thought I’d share some spoiler-free insights into what I think about before appointing the person who will be our next Supreme Court Justice.
First and foremost, the person I appoint will be eminently qualified. He or she will have an independent mind, rigorous intellect, impeccable credentials, and a record of excellence and integrity. I’m looking for a mastery of the law, with an ability to hone in on the key issues before the Court, and provide clear answers to complex legal questions.
Second, the person I appoint will be someone who recognizes the limits of the judiciary’s role; who understands that a judge’s job is to interpret the law, not make the law. I seek judges who approach decisions without any particular ideology or agenda, but rather a commitment to impartial justice, a respect for precedent, and a determination to faithfully apply the law to the facts at hand.
But I’m also mindful that there will be cases that reach the Supreme Court in which the law is not clear. There will be cases in which a judge’s analysis necessarily will be shaped by his or her own perspective, ethics, and judgment. That’s why the third quality I seek in a judge is a keen understanding that justice is not about abstract legal theory, nor some footnote in a dusty casebook. It’s the kind of life experience earned outside the classroom and the courtroom; experience that suggests he or she views the law not only as an intellectual exercise, but also grasps the way it affects the daily reality of people’s lives in a big, complicated democracy, and in rapidly changing times. That, I believe, is an essential element for arriving at just decisions and fair outcomes.
GOP Moves To Block Obama From Naming Scalia Successor
February 13, 2016 ByTIERNEY SNEED – tpm
Almost immediately after the first public confirmation that Justice Antonin Scalia had died, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled that the GOP-controlled Senate would block President Obama from nominating Scalia’s successor.
“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice,” McConnell said in a statement. “Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.”
McConnell’s statement came as a chorus of conservatives called for the confirmation process to be delayed until the next President takes office in January 2017. Not longer after, Sen. Chuck Grassley — the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, through which Supreme Court nominations come through — also issued a statement that said “it only makes sense” to wait until the next president is elected to replace Scalia.
Minority Leader Harry Reid countered in his own statement Saturday that said the “Senate has a responsibility to fill vacancies as soon as possible.”
“It would be unprecedented in recent history for the Supreme Court to go a year with a vacant seat,” Reid said. “Failing to fill this vacancy would be a shameful abdication of one of the Senate’s most essential Constitutional responsibilities.”
The move would deny President Obama the opportunity to name his third Supreme Court justice and potentially to change the court dramatically from a conservative to liberal majority.
The possibility of a Republican Senate thwarting a Supreme Court nomination for the remainder of Obama’s presidency sets the stage for a major political battle running parallel with the 2016 elections.
Republicans Will Nominate a Candidate Who Would Violate the First, Fourth, Fifth and Eighth Amendments
If the GOP had any respect for the Bill of Rights, it would reject Trump.
7/17/16 By John Nichols – TheNation
Cleveland—As Republican Party “constitutionalists” prepare to nominate authoritarian billionaire Donald Trump for the presidency this week in Cleveland, the American Civil Liberties union has determined that the candidate’s proposals would violate the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Eighth Amendments of the Constitution.
It is not news that Trump has, during the course of his campaign for the GOP nomination, put himself at odds with basic premises of a Bill of Rights that defends a free press, guarantees freedom of religion, and guards against torture and abuses of privacy. But when his proposals are pulled together—as the ACLU has done in a new analysis of the Republican candidate’s public statements and policy positions—the extent to which Trump would shred the Constitution in general and the Bill of Rights in particular is breathtaking.
“Taken together, his policies and positions, if put into place, would violate the Constitution and federal and international law,” says Anthony Romero, the executive director of the ACLU, which reviewed the candidate’s agenda and determined that “Trump’s proposals would violate the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Eighth Amendments of the Constitution.”
Trump has from the start of his campaign sparked controversy with statements, actions, and proposals that disregard the First Amendment. He and his aides have created blacklists of journalists, and the candidate has expressed an interest in rewriting libel laws in order to intimidate, punish, and potentially silence critics of powerful individuals and interests. Trump has, as well, proposed schemes to discriminate against Muslims and to spy on mosques and neighborhoods where Muslims live—with steady disregard for the amendment’s guarantee of protection for America’s diverse religious communities.
But that’s just the beginning of Trump’s assaults on the Constitution. Trump has encouraged the use of torture and blatantly disregarded privacy protections that have been enshrined in the founding document since the 18th century. He has attacked the basic premises of a constitutionally defined separation of powers, with rhetorical assaults on individual jurists and the federal judiciary so extreme that House Speaker Paul Ryan described one such attack as “the textbook definition of a racist comment.” He has proposed instituting religious tests. He has shown open and consistent disregard for the promise that all Americans will receive equal protection under the law.
“If implemented, Donald Trump’s proposed policies will spark a constitutional and legal challenge that would require all hands on deck at the ACLU,” says Romero. “The ACLU and its more than 300 attorneys in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., stand ready to challenge and impede implementation of his unlawful proposals, should he attempt to see them through.”
* FACT: Six Justices have been confirmed in a presidential election year since 1900.
For more than two centuries, it has been standard practice for Congress to confirm a president’s Supreme Court nominee, whether in a presidential election year or not. Of the six justices confirmed since 1900, three have been Republicans. The most recent Justice to be confirmed in an election year was Justice Kennedy — appointed by President Reagan — who was confirmed by a Democratic-controlled Congress in February of 1988.
* FACT: Every nominee has received a vote within 125 days of nomination.
Since 1975, the average time from nomination to confirmation is 67 days. In fact, since 1875, every nominee has received a hearing or a vote. The longest time before confirmation in the past three decades was 99 days, for Justice Thomas, and the last four Justices, spanning two Administrations, were confirmed in an average of 75 days.
The Senate has almost a full year — more than 300 days — to consider and confirm a nominee.
* FACT: It will be harmful and create unsustainable uncertainty if Congress fails to act on the President’s nominee.
The Supreme Court could go the better part of two Terms with a vacancy if the Senate rejects its Constitutional responsibility. It’d be unprecedented for the Court to go that long with an empty seat. Here’s why it’s harmful:
The Court’s 4-4 decisions have no value in establishing precedent on which future decisions can rely. They also cannot establish uniform nationwide rules. That means if multiple courts ruled differently on an issue before it arose at the Supreme Court, a 4-4 ruling would leave those different rules in place in different states. The result is an unsustainable uncertainty — for the law, for individual liberties, and for our economy.
Senate approves No Child Left Behind rewrite, sending legislation to White House
December 09, 2015, 11:26 am By Jordain Carney – TheHill
The Senate on Wednesday passed an overhaul of the George W. Bush-era No Child Left Behind law, sending the measure to President Obama’s desk.
Senators approved the conference report worked out by House and Senate negotiators in a 85-12 vote — eight years after the original law expired. The House passed the legislation in an overwhelming vote last week.
The White House said that Obama will sign the legislation Thursday morning.
FACT SHEET: Congress Acts to Fix No Child Left Behind
“We are a place that believes every child, no matter where they come from, can grow up to be anything they want… And I’m confident that if we fix No Child Left Behind, if we continue to reform American education, continue to invest in our children’s future, that’s the America we will always be.”
March 14, 2011 Remarks by the President on the No Child Left Behind Act,
Kenmore Middle School, Arlington, Virginia
Today, the Obama Administration is praising action by the House of Representatives to pass the Every Student Succeeds Act, a bipartisan bill to fix No Child Left Behind, and is calling on the Senate to take swift action on the legislation so that it can be signed into law before the end of the year. The bill rejects the overuse of standardized tests and one-size-fits-all mandates on our schools, ensures that our education system will prepare every child to graduate from high school ready for college and careers, and provides more children access to high-quality state preschool programs.
The bipartisan bill passed by the House includes many of the key reforms the Administration has called on Congress to enact and encouraged states and districts to adopt in exchange for waivers offering relief from the more onerous provisions of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The bill helps ensure educational opportunity for all students by:
Holding all students to high academic standards that prepare them for success in college and careers.
Ensuring accountability by guaranteeing that when students fall behind, states redirect resources into what works to help them and their schools improve, with a particular focus on the very lowest-performing schools, high schools with high dropout rates, and schools with achievement gaps.
Empowering state and local decision-makers to develop their own strong systems for school improvement based upon evidence, rather than imposing cookie-cutter federal solutions like the No Child Left Behind Act did.
Reducing the often onerous burden of testing on students and teachers, making sure that tests don’t crowd out teaching and learning, without sacrificing clear, annual information parents and educators need to make sure our children are learning.
Providing more children access to high-quality preschool.
Establishing new resources for proven strategies that will spur reform and drive opportunity and better outcomes for America’s students.