A video circulating on social media Monday appeared to show a group of men welding the gate shut of a park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a historically Orthodox Jewish neighborhood. The parks in the city remain closed, under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s leadership, however, many are questioning the incident as he continues to allow thousands of residents to protest and even riot in the streets.
The Mayor’s spokesperson Jane Meyer defended the move, telling this reporter that “We know families are looking for relief, and we are watching health indicators closely and simultaneously working on a plan so when it’s safe to open playgrounds, we can.”
When asked if other parks had been welded shut, Meyer explained that “If patrons remove locks that were keeping gates closed, they will be shut again.” Although requested by this reporter, Meyer didn’t provide a list of other parks that had been welded shut across the city.
Today’s #BrooklynLiberation protest and march for #BlackTransLivesMatter #BLM #BlackLivesMatter
This 👀 view from across the apt!! #brooklynprotests #march #rally #protest #nyc pic.twitter.com/PcuTr8vNPU
— Alfredo Macias (@Alfredo11Macias) June 14, 2020
Over the last weekend, however, thousands of protestors in Brooklyn were allowed to participate in a Black Lives Matter rally as social distancing orders remained.
Another view of how the NYC Park Dept are welding shut the gates at the Middleton Playground (Lynch Park) so our kids shouldn't be able to play in the hot summer days in the Park. https://t.co/7o0SKlhLnk pic.twitter.com/WBSVNBoRvW
— WILLIAMSBURG NEWS (@WMSBG) June 15, 2020
The Mayor has been pressed for allegedly singling out the Jewish community amid the COVID lockdowns. In fact, he’s put out a series of tweets threatening them with arrest and even Cease and Desist orders.
My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed. I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) April 29, 2020
Earlier today the NYPD shut down a Yeshiva conducting classes with as many as 70 children. I can’t stress how dangerous this is for our young people. We’re issuing a Cease and Desist Order and will make sure we keep our communities and our kids safe.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) May 18, 2020
Now, de Blasio has become the center of a lawsuit with both Jewish and Catholic plaintiffs claim “selective enforcement” of the Mayor’s “social distancing orders.” Moreover, their suit alleges that de Blasio prevented them from gathering for religious purposes while allowing thousands to protest in the streets.
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Multiple states launch lawsuit against Biden’s student-loan forgiveness plan
Breaking Thursday, the states of Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, and South Carolina joined together to file a lawsuit against President Biden’s administration in order to stop the student loan-forgiveness program from taking effect.
“In addition to being economically unwise and downright unfair, the Biden Administration’s Mass Debt Cancellation is yet another example in a long line of unlawful regulatory actions,” argued the plaintiffs in their filing.
The attorneys general spearheading the legal challenge also submit that “no statute permits President Biden to unilaterally relieve millions of individuals from their obligation to pay loans they voluntarily assumed.”
Biden, however, has argued that he is able to unilaterally cancel student debt to mitigate the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Specifically, writes National Review, a Department of Education memo released by his administration asserts that the HEROES Act, which passed in 2003 and allows the secretary of education to provide student-debt relief “in connection with a war or other military operation or national emergency,” provides the legal basis for the cancellation.
But, National Review notes that the plaintiffs point out that Biden declared in a recent 60 Minutes interview that “the pandemic is over.”
The legal brief also adds:
“The [HEROES] Act requires ED [Education Department] to tailor any waiver or modification as necessary to address the actual financial harm suffered by a borrower due to the relevant military operation or emergency… This relief comes to every borrower regardless of whether her income rose or fell during the pandemic or whether she is in a better position today as to her student loans than before the pandemic.”
Moreover, they argue that the HEROES Act was designed to allow the secretary to provide relief in individual cases with proper justification.
The first lawsuit against Biden’s executive order came Tuesday from the Pacific Legal Foundation:
“The administration has created new problems for borrowers in at least six states that tax loan cancellation as income. People like Plaintiff Frank Garrison will actually be worse off because of the cancellation. Indeed, Mr. Garrison will face immediate tax liability from the state of Indiana because of the automatic cancellation of a portion of his debt,” wrote PLF in their own brief.
The state-led lawsuit was filed in a federal district court in Missouri, and asks that the court “temporarily restrain and preliminarily and permanently enjoin implementation and enforcement of the Mass Debt Cancellation,” and declare that it “violates the separation of powers established by the U.S. Constitution,” as well as the Administrative Procedure Act.
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