The content of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ commencement speech at Bethune-Cookman University, a historically black college, was pretty standard: Listen to people who disagree with you, serve your country and give back.

But the reception was raucous. Students booed and turned their back while President Donald Trump’s education chief spoke.

The speech came after students used social media and online petitions to try to prevent the appearance.

From the beginning of her time in office, DeVos has sought out historically black colleges. Some felt the White House’s outreach, which included an infamous photo op, was meaningless.

Early on, DeVos messed up on the subject of the schools. She gave a speech that made it sound as if she was attributing the genesis of these schools to school choice. In reality, they were born out of segregation and inequitable access to education.

The boos made it hard for DeVos to get her words out.

According to The Washington Post, half of the Bethune-Cookman graduates turned their backs on her.

In her speech, DeVos acknowledge the history of HBCUs, and devoted significant time to the story of Bethune’s founder. The school’s president defended her.

DeVos’ final piece of advice, “a call to grace,” included a quote from the New Testament.

—Los Angeles Times


Pulse nightclub shooter’s widow will stay in jail, appeals court rules

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Pulse nightclub shooter’s widow, Noor Salman, should stay in jail while she awaits trial on charges that she helped her husband as he planned the mass shooting, a federal appeals court ruled last week.

Salman had appealed a ruling from a federal judge in Orlando who ordered her held without bail, reversing a California magistrate judge’s earlier decision to allow her release.

Salman’s lawyer appealed, arguing that she would not be a flight risk or danger to the community.

Last week, a federal appeals court disagreed.

“No condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure her appearance or the safety of the community,” judges from the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals wrote.

Salman’s husband, Omar Mateen, was killed in a shoot-out with law enforcement three hours after he opened fire in the Pulse nightclub, killing 49 people and injuring at least 68 on June 12.

Salman was arrested in California in January. She faces charges of aiding and abetting the provision of support to a foreign terrorist organization and obstruction of justice.

Her trial is currently set for March.

—Orlando Sentinel


Texas attorney general tries again to remove judge in criminal case

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is asking for his criminal trials to be moved back to Collin County and the presiding judge removed, saying any decisions made in the case after 2016 are null and void.

Paxton, who faces three felony charges of violating state securities laws, asked an administrative court to vacate any and all rulings made in his case after Dec. 31, 2016. He claims presiding Judge George Gallagher was only temporarily assigned to serve in the region that includes Collin County up and until, but not after, that date.

First Administrative Court Judge Mary Murphy assigned Gallagher to the case after the original judge, Chris Oldner, recused himself. But Gallagher was only on temporary loan to Murphy’s administrative region. His court is in Tarrant County, which is included in the Eighth Administrative Judicial Region, not the First.

Gallagher’s temporary assignment first expired at the end of 2015, and then it was extended until Dec. 31, 2016. Because a trial had not yet started by that time, Paxton’s lawyers claim Gallagher’s assignment ended that night.

In April, Gallagher ruled that Paxton’s upcoming criminal trials would be moved to Harris County. Prosecutors had argued the jury pool in Collin County, where Paxton has lived and worked for years, might skew in his favor, citing attempts by the attorney general’s friends to cut off the prosecution’s funding and malign their efforts as well as Gallagher’s.

Since this decision was made this year, Paxton asked that it be vacated and any further decisions in the case be made by Collin County District Judge Andrea Thompson. She was elected last year, after Judge Chris Oldner decided to exit politics. Thompson was the district clerk in 2015, when someone in her office accidentally released the names of the grand jurors who indicted Paxton to 93 people, including members of the media, via email. Thompson later demoted the staffer.

—The Dallas Morning News

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