Hunter Biden agreed to pay child support to an Arkansas woman after a DNA test showed “with near scientific certainty” that he fathered her child born in August 2018. Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, had been adamant in insisting that he’d never had sex with Lunden Alexis Roberts, who says she met Biden in Washington, D.C., while studying at George Washington University. She also performed under the stage name “Dallas” at a D.C. strip club that Biden frequented, the New York Post reported. Biden, who’s married, claimed he couldn’t afford the payments, but he’s now agreed to pay retroactive child support as well as Roberts’ attorney fees. Reaching the child support agreement lets Biden avoid an appearance at an Arkansas court hearing scheduled for this week—especially awkward timing amid the Senate impeachment trial, which centers on Trump’s push for an investigation into Biden’s work in Ukraine.
Arizona violated the Voting Rights Act by crafting election laws to suppress minority turnout, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week. The Republican-controlled state legislature banned “ballot harvesting” in 2016, prohibiting voters from letting campaign workers or other nonfamily members deliver their early ballots. Lawmakers said the change would prevent fraud, but the 9th Circuit ruled 7-4 that Arizona had “contrived” that rationale to outlaw a practice used overwhelmingly by Democrats in a state that has become increasingly competitive. The judges ruled that Arizona’s “long history of race-based voting discrimination” and legislators’ implausible claims about their motives demonstrated that the true intent of the state’s regulation was to disenfranchise Latinos, Native Americans, and African-Americans. The court also struck down a law that made ballots cast in the wrong precinct invalid, a rule that disproportionately affected nonwhite voters.
The Supreme Court voted this week to let the Trump administration apply stricter scrutiny to poor immigrants and deny them green cards if they’re likely to use public-assistance programs. In a 5-4 decision, the conservative justices lifted a nationwide injunction, imposed by a federal judge in New York last year, that blocked the White House from expanding “public charge” rules to penalize immigrants who use safety-net programs such as Medicaid, food stamps, or housing assistance. Lawsuits over the means test will continue to go forward, but immigration authorities can apply the new rules as the suits continue. Neil Gorsuch, one of the court’s conservative justices, used the case to lambaste lower courts for issuing “‘nationwide,’ ‘universal,’ or ‘cosmic’” injunctions such as the one used to stop the means test, arguing that in effect they’ve let individual courts set national policy.
The New Orleans Saints are fighting the release of hundreds of emails that allegedly show team executives helping the Archdiocese of New Orleans spin the news of a sexual abuse scandal, the Associated Press reported last week. Attorneys for about two dozen men suing the archdiocese say the NFL team aided the church in “concealing its crimes.” The Saints admit to offering church officials advice in 2018 on how to announce that more than 50 clergy members had been “credibly accused” of sexual abuse, but the team says it advocated transparency, not a cover-up. The Saints are owned by Gayle Benson, who inherited the team when her husband, Tom, died in 2018. Archbishop Gregory Aymond accompanied Gayle at Tom’s funeral procession. She has given millions to Catholic institutions around New Orleans, and Aymond is a frequent guest of hers at Saints games.
A distinguished Harvard University scientist was arrested this week and charged with lying about his lucrative work helping China gather foreign research, talent, and intellectual property. Charles Lieber, chair of Harvard’s department of chemistry and chemical biology, is accused of hiding from investigators and the university that he earned more than $1.7 million from China for participating in its Thousand Talents Plan, a government-funded research program that reportedly aims to exploit foreign research. Lieber, 60, was allegedly hired at a salary of up to $50,000 a month to work on projects that would aid China in its “national strategic development requirements.” Prosecutors say Lieber set up a lab at the Wuhan University of Technology and claimed it was a joint venture with Harvard. Lieber, a nanoscience expert, led a Harvard research group that collected more than $15 million in federal grants.
Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment this week, setting up a long-shot legal fight to enact a constitutional amendment outlawing discrimination “on account of sex.” Congress passed the ERA in 1972 and set a 10-year deadline for the required 38 states to ratify. Only 35 states did so in time; since then, five states have rescinded their approval. However, Nevada approved the ERA in 2017, and Illinois in 2018. Supporters of the amendment say states lack the constitutional authority to rescind their ratification. Last month, the Justice Department said the resolution “has expired,” and the National Archives, which certifies amendments, said it would follow that opinion. Virginia lawmakers refused to call the vote on the amendment, which was first proposed in 1923, merely symbolic. The 27th Amendment, which deals with congressional pay, was introduced in 1789 and finally ratified only in 1992. ■