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President Joe Biden is announcing that his administration will extend the pause on federal student loan payments while the White House fights a legal battle to save his plan to cancel portions of the debt. The moratorium was slated to expire Jan. 1, a date that Biden set before his debt cancellation plan stalled in the face of legal challenges from conservative opponents. Now it will extend until 60 days after the lawsuit is resolved. If the lawsuit has not been resolved by June 30, payments would resume 60 days after that. The Justice Department last week asked the Supreme Court to examine the issue and reinstate Biden’s debt cancellation plan.

A federal judge has sentenced an Ohio man who claimed he was only “following presidential orders” from Donald Trump when he stormed the U.S. Capitol to three years in prison. Dustin Thompson on Friday told the judge he was ashamed of his actions. Thompson was convicted in April by a jury for obstructing Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s presidential victory. The  jury also found Thompson guilty of all five of the other charges in his indictment, including stealing a coat rack from an office inside the Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021 riot. Thompson testified his behavior was “disgraceful," but he also said he believed Trump’s false claim that the election was stolen and was trying to stand up for him.

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The Biden administration plans to ask the Supreme Court to reinstate the president’s student debt cancellation plan, according to a legal filing. It warns that millions of Americans will face financial strain if the plan remains stalled in court when loan payments are scheduled to restart in January.  The Justice Department is fighting to keep Biden’s plan alive after it was halted by two federal courts in recent weeks. It argues that if the government restarts student loan payments as planned on Jan. 1, millions of Americans will get billed for debt that was promised to be canceled. But if the government extends the payment pause, it will cost billions of dollars in lost revenue.

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President Joe Biden is facing mounting pressure to extend a pause on student loan payments after his cancellation plan suffered a pair of legal blows. Advocates say Biden should continue the pandemic-era payment pause until legal issues are resolved. Biden's plan promised to erase at least $10,000 in federal student debt for millions of borrowers, but it was halted by federal courts after challenges from Republicans. The impasse has left the White House in a bind over whether to extend the pause if the lawsuits drag on into January, when the moratorium is set to expire. The White House insists it will ultimately prevail even though two federal courts blocked the program from taking effect.

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Abortion rights supporters won in the four states where access was on the ballot. Voters enshrined it into the state constitution in battleground Michigan as well as blue California and Vermont. An anti-abortion measure was defeated in deep-red Kentucky. The ballot initiatives come months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and the constitutional right to abortion it guaranteed to women nationwide. The June decision has led to near-total bans in a dozen states. Nationally, about two-thirds of voters say abortion should be legal in most or all cases, according to AP VoteCast, an expansive survey of over 90,000 voters across the country.

The Supreme Court appears likely to leave in place most of a federal law that gives preference to Native American families in foster care and adoption proceedings of Native children. The justices heard more than three hours of arguments in a broad challenge to the Indian Child Welfare Act, enacted in 1978 to address concerns that Native children were being separated from their families and, too frequently, placed in non-Native Homes. It has long been championed by tribal leaders as a means of preserving their families, traditions and cultures. But white families seeking to adopt Native children are among the challengers who say the law is impermissibly based on race, and also prevents states from considering those children’s best interests.

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Voters in reliably red Kentucky rejected a ballot measure aimed at denying any state constitutional protections for abortion while voters in battleground Michigan enshrined abortion rights in their state’s constitution. They joined Democratic California and Vermont in taking that step too. The Tuesday ballot initiatives come months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and the constitutional right to abortion it guaranteed to women nationwide. The June decision has led to near-total bans in a dozen states.

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Members of the Supreme Court’s conservative majority are questioning the continued use of affirmative action in higher education. In lengthy arguments Monday, the justices wrestled with persistent, difficult questions of race. The justices heard from six different lawyers in challenges to policies at the University of North Carolina and Harvard. Those policies consider race among many factors in evaluating applications for admission. One conservative justice likened affirmative action to giving some college applicants a head start in a footrace. But a liberal justice said universities are the “pipelines to leadership in our society” and suggested that without affirmative action minority enrollment will drop.

A Supreme Court that is the most diverse in history will hear two cases Monday challenging the use of affirmative action in higher education. It’s a topic a number of the justices have already said a lot about. The cases say that Harvard University and the University of North Carolina improperly use race as a factor in admissions, giving preference to Black, Hispanic and Native American students. And the conservative-dominated court is widely expected to rule against the universities. Three of the court’s six conservatives are on record opposing affirmative action policies while one of the court’s liberals has been a passionate defender.

MEXICO CITY - Mexico's marijuana revolution is on display steps from the nation's Senate, where for the last nine months activists have maintained a fragrant cannabis garden. Each day, hundreds of people stroll amid a labyrinth of towering green plants, freely lighting joints and getting high. Their wafting smoke is meant to serve as a reminder to senators, who have to walk through the plumes ...

DETROIT - A 36-year-old woman is suing the city of Detroit and the Michigan Department of Corrections in federal court, alleging violations of her religious expression and freedom after being forced to remove her hijab while taking a booking photo last year at the Detroit Detention Center. Zainab Chabban is represented in the lawsuit by the Council on American-Islamic Relations Michigan Legal ...

LOS ANGELES - Prominent Riverside pastor Greg Laurie has tested positive for COVID-19, he announced Monday, the latest person tied to an outbreak at the White House. The pastor of the megachurch Harvest Christian Fellowship was an attendee at the Rose Garden on Sept. 26 when President Donald Trump announced the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett. At least 11 attendees of the large ...

PHILADELPHIA - After four federal judges blocked additional operational changes to the U.S. Postal Service and ordered it to reverse the changes that had been made, South Jersey and Delaware processing and delivery plants have started reinstalling some of the mail sorting machines that had been removed. But in Philadelphia, nothing has changed. No machines in the Lindbergh Boulevard facility ...

WASHINGTON - With the help of lots of cash from Californians, including past Republican donors, Joe Biden is eclipsing President Donald Trump in fundraising as they head into their race's final stretch. The Democratic nominee's substantial advantage as voting begins in several states - $141 million more than Trump through the end of August, according to new filings - is a surprise to many in ...

PHILADELPHIA - Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden urged Senate Republicans on Sunday not to confirm a new Supreme Court justice before the results of the election are known, warning that doing so would cause "irreversible damage" to American democracy. "To jam this nomination through the Senate is just an exercise in raw political power," Biden said in an address from the National ...

Since Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died Friday night, President Donald Trump has largely winnowed a list of dozens of potential replacements down to three front-runners: Appeals court judges Amy Coney Barrett, Barbara Lagoa and Amul Thapar. Barrett, Lagoa and Thapar all appeared on a long list of possible high-court picks that Trump updated earlier this month. And Barrett and Thapar were among ...

Vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris is expected to play a prominent role in the fight against President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, though it's not clear whether she'll tear into the pick in the same way she went after now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh, an appearance that brought her to national prominence. During the Kavanaugh hearing, Harris was just one of 100 senators. Now she's ...

A second Republican senator said she won't support taking up a Supreme Court vacancy so close to the election, leaving Democrats to find two more to potentially put the brakes on President Donald Trump's effort to fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat. Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska announced her position in a statement on Sunday, joining Sen. Susan Collins of Maine in saying the election is ...

WASHINGTON - For a Supreme Court that seeks to defend the legitimacy of its rulings as rooted in the law and not political ideology, what unfolds over the next few months is poised to be a historic test of its reputation. The Senate will hold a contentious confirmation vote to fill the seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a reliably conservative President Donald Trump appointee. ...

The late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, where her husband was buried a decade ago. A private ceremony will be held for Ginsburg at the cemetery, which is also the final resting spot for many of her fellow Supreme Court judges, the top court said in a statement. Details were still scant Saturday about funeral plans. Jewish tradition ...

WASHINGTON - Senate Republicans face a critical choice on replacing the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg - vote on her successor before Election Day, or wait until immediately afterward - when Donald Trump will still be president no matter the Nov. 3 outcome until next January. The choice comes down to a calculation of the politics. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on ...

CHICAGO - Jerry Harris, star of the Netflix docuseries "Cheer," was arrested Thursday and charged in federal court in Chicago with producing child pornography, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. The charges come three days after the FBI raided Harris' Naperville, Ill., home. USA Today reported Monday the FBI is investigating allegations that the celebrity cheerleader solicited sexually ...

NEW YORK - A former Columbia University gynecologist who served no jail time because of a controversial plea deal with Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance has been slapped with new federal charges of abusing dozens of patients. Dr. Robert Hadden sexually abused patients from 1993 to 2012, according to a 20-page indictment filed in Manhattan federal court Wednesday. The doctor's alleged scheme ...

Minneapolis police to reduce allowable use of force under new policy MINNEAPOLIS - Minneapolis police will adopt a "new and more stringent" policy in hopes of reducing the amount of force officers use and restoring trust with the community, Mayor Jacob Frey said Wednesday. The new policy will require officers to "first consider all reasonable alternatives before using deadly force," Frey said. ...