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July 23, 2014
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The New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the Libertarian Party to contest New Hampshire's HB 1542, a new state law that restricts the time candidates have to get their names on the ballot. The law stipulates that third-party candidates who want to get their name on the ballot must wait until January 1 of the election year to start collecting the necessary signatures. Because so many signatures are required — about 21,000, which is equivalent to 3 percent of the vote total from the previous election — third-party officials see the timeline as too squeezed.

Gilles Bissonnette, a staff attorney for the Civil Liberties Union, said his organization aims to have the law declared a violation of the state constitution, arguing that it disadvantages smaller parties that do not have the resources to collect enough signatures during the election year alone.

A similar law in Rhode Island was successfully challenged in 2009, with U.S. District Judge William Smith ruling, "The state has come forward with no legitimate regulatory interest whatsoever that would necessitate placing this enormous speed bump on the path to party recognition." Bonnie Kristian

2:12 p.m. ET

On Thursday, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia upheld a nationwide block of President Trump's ban on travel from six majority Muslim countries. "The ruling is the most bruising the White House has suffered in its attempts to defend the ban, as it was rendered by 13 judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit — which deemed the case important enough to skip the usual three-judge process that the vast majority of cases go through," The Huffington Post writes.

"Surely the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment yet stands as an untiring sentinel for the protection of one of our most cherished founding principles — that government shall not establish any religious orthodoxy or favor or disfavor one religion over another," Chief Judge Roger Gregory wrote, adding that the president's power to deny entry to aliens is "not absolute" and "cannot go unchecked."

Trump can now appeal to the Supreme Court, a move he has promised he would pursue if necessary. Jeva Lange

1:52 p.m. ET

Jared Kushner failed to record what is likely a multimillion-dollar art collection that he shares with Ivanka Trump on the couple's government financial disclosures, Artnet reports. Kushner had previously failed to record his stake in the real estate finance startup Cadre, or loans of at least $1 billion from more than 20 lenders to his properties.

One of Kushner's lawyers told Artnet that "Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump display their art for decorative purposes and have made only a single sale. To avoid any doubt, however, they will report their art collection." Artnet adds, "Ethics experts say that it's not uncommon for administration officials to update financial disclosures with more information."

Kushner and Trump broke with many other administration officials in failing to disclose their art collection, though. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross disclosed a collection worth $50 million and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin showed he had a $14.7 million Willem de Kooning painting as an asset.

A post shared by Ivanka Trump (@ivankatrump) on

The couple's collection often appears in Ivanka Trump's Instagram photos and includes what Artnet describes as "both blue-chip and emerging artists, including Alex Israel, Dan Colen, Nate Lowman, Alex Da Corte, and David Ostrowski." Read more about the art collection, and how it is potentially used, here. Jeva Lange

1:09 p.m. ET

Concerning reports about Trump campaign officials' possible collusion with Russian operatives often lead to big, glaring questions: How and why exactly did the Trump campaign end up hiring people who were clearly red flags? The problem might come down to some really terrible vetting, The Washington Post reported Thursday:

As Trump was starting to win primaries, he was under increasing pressure to show that he had a legitimate, presidential-caliber national security team. The problem he faced was that most mainstream national security experts wanted nothing to do with him.

"Everyone did their best, but there was not as much vetting as there could have been," former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said.

Another longtime campaign official put it this way: "Anyone who came to us with a pulse, a résumé, and seemed legit would be welcomed." [The Washington Post]

Consider, for example, Carter Page, a former national security adviser for President Trump who also has deep ties and apparent loyalty toward Russia. When Page came to Trump Tower to be interviewed, "a top Trump adviser, Sam Clovis, employed what campaign aides now acknowledge was their go-to vetting process — a quick Google search — to check out the newcomer," the Post writes.

Unfortunately, "a thorough vetting of Page might have revealed several red flags," the Post adds. "Page had spent three years working in Moscow, for instance, and he held stock in the Russian company Gazprom, meaning that he could have a personal financial stake in the future of U.S.-imposed sanctions against Russia."

"We were not exactly making due diligence the highest priority," one campaign veteran admitted. Read the entire scoop at The Washington Post. Jeva Lange

12:30 p.m. ET

If you ever get your hands on the 2016-2017 yearbook for Virginia's Stafford High School, turn immediately to page 220. All the way at the bottom left, nestled in the rows and rows of standard headshots of teenagers, you'll spot a little pair of innocent black eyes and a wet nose poking up into the camera frame.

This is Alpha Schalk, a service dog for 16-year-old Andrew 'AJ' Schalk (whose photo is one slot to the right). AJ has diabetes, and Alpha has the distinguished job of alerting him when his blood sugar reaches a dangerous level.

"The amazing thing about Alpha is that he knows 20 to 40 minutes before my blood sugar actually does go low or high due to his amazing sense of smell," AJ told BuzzFeed News. "He has saved my life multiple times already." Last year, AJ started bringing Alpha with him to school, and the dog has gathered a bit of a following. When AJ asked the yearbook team if the dog could be featured alongside him in the album, they agreed without hesitation. "The only thing they changed was the camera height," he said. "They just had to lower it a little." Jessica Hullinger

12:28 p.m. ET
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The assumption that Montana is an impenetrable Republican stronghold has held Democrats back from heavy spending on their candidate in the state, the folk-singing populist Rob Quist. "Our polling indicates that Donald Trump is still very popular here. It's not like the [special election] races in Georgia or Kansas, where Trump only won by 1 point or where [Kansas] Gov. [Sam] Brownback has popularity problems," Brock Lowrance, the campaign manager for Republican nominee, Greg Gianforte, told Politico in late April. "There's nothing to indicate that the winds have shifted here in the last six months."

And yet in recent weeks, Quist has narrowed Gianforte's lead to just single digits. Considering Gianforte's apparent assault on a reporter Wednesday night, Democrats might now be kicking themselves for not spending more in a state that is turning out to be far more competitive than anyone expected:

The contest in Montana, to fill the seat vacated by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, has drawn national attention, with both sides together pouring over $10 million into television and radio ads. But this spending in Montana's relatively cheap media markets happened almost in spite of the national Democratic Party, which has been skeptical about Mr. Quist's prospects. Democrats only began helping their nominee here reluctantly, after weeks in which Republicans hammered Mr. Quist on TV with little response. Republicans outspent Democrats more than two-to-one on television and radio, according to media buyers in both parties. [The New York Times]

Additionally, "Montana has a reputation for being a state surprisingly amenable to Democrats in a region that's not known for it," Paul Blest writes at The Week. "While a Democrat hasn't held the lone congressional seat since 1997, a Democrat has held the governor's mansion since 2005 and one of the state's two senators, Jon Tester, is a two-term Democrat."

The Democrats did put out an eleventh-hour ad Thursday featuring audio of Gianforte's alleged assault. But it could still be too little, too late: "The overall race has been an excellent representation of authentic economic populism against today's Republican Party, with its brutal domestic agenda and Government Sachs Cabinet," Ryan Cooper writes at The Week. "Whether or not Quist can eke out a victory is an important test case for whether economic populism can win in red states." Jeva Lange

12:02 p.m. ET

President Trump lectured his fellow NATO members on Thursday about the United States being among just five member nations currently meeting spending targets. "NATO members must finally contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations," Trump admonished. "But 23 of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they are supposed to be paying for their defense. This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States."

Trump significantly did not take any pains to express the United States' commitment to Article 5, which requires NATO members to aid other member countries if attacked. The alliance has invoked Article 5 just once, the day after the September 11 attacks.

"If NATO countries made their full and complete contributions then NATO would be even stronger than it is today, especially from the threat of terrorism," Trump went on to the sour and sarcastic expressions of the other members. Watch below. Jeva Lange

11:39 a.m. ET

Sometimes the former reality TV star in President Trump gets the better of him. On Thursday, Trump practically clawed his way into the spotlight by apparently physically pushing a fellow NATO leader out of the way to get to the front of the group:

Trump then straightened out his jacket, as it apparently got a bit ruffled while he was pushing past a fellow world leader. NBC's Bradd Jaffy identified the bulldozed leader as Dusko Markovic, the prime minister of Montenegro.

Things have been tense between Trump and NATO for awhile now: Trump has slammed the alliance for being "obsolete" because it is not addressing "taking care of terror," and he has repeatedly complained that the United States is among just five members currently meeting spending targets.

The press pool reports that Trump and the other NATO leaders subsequently "ignored one another during 'family photo' op in Brussels."

Wonder why. Jeva Lange

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