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The Suffolk Journal

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The Suffolk Journal

In the nation: Impeachment papers brought against Mayorkas, SCOTUS hears Jan. 6 argument, jury selection begins for Read case, Iran strikes Israel in drone attack

Leo Woods

House Republicans bring impeachment papers against Mayorkas

House Republicans brought formal impeachment papers against Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas April 16, calling for a trial to remove the cabinet secretary from office.

Mayorkas was accused in February of “willfully and systematically” refusing to enforce border laws and breaching the public trust, however, Republicans produced little evidence that Mayorkas committed a crime.

After a two-month pause, House Republicans doubled down on their accusations this week, according to the New York Times.

“For the last nearly four years, we’ve seen Secretary Mayorkas willfully cede operational control of our border to drug cartels,” Speaker Mike Johnson said. “We’ve seen exploding numbers of terrorists being encountered at the border. We’ve seen gang members and people with criminal backgrounds be released into our country. We’ve seen fentanyl flood over the border.”

The 11 congressmen assigned to prosecute Mayorkas read the charges to the full Senate, marking the first time in history a sitting cabinet secretary was impeached.

According to The New York Times, the charges do not include any actual criminal accusations but instead equate to an attempt to fire an official whose policies they disagree with, a move that angered Democrats in both the House and Senate.

“Impeachment should never be used to settle a policy disagreement,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Democratic majority leader, said on Tuesday before charges were formally filed. “Talk about awful precedents. This would set an awful precedent for Congress. Every time there’s a policy disagreement in the House, they send it over here and tie the Senate in knots to do an impeachment trial? That’s absurd. That’s an abuse of the process. That is more chaos.”


SCOTUS hears Jan. 6 argument

Justices of the Supreme Court heard arguments April 16 in a case concerning whether the Department of Justice had unfairly charged a participant in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol, which could potentially knock out charges against hundreds of participants, including former President Donald Trump. 

The Court will determine if the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, a federal law aimed at white-collar crime, can be used to prosecute people who stormed the capitol on Jan. 6, according to The New York Times. The law makes it a crime to obstruct an official proceeding.

The defendant, Joseph Fischer, is a former Pennsylvania police officer who was charged under the law for his role in interfering with Congress’ certification of the 2020 election results. Fischer is one of 330 people facing the charge, according to the Associated Press.

Justices questioned the scope of the law and the impact of the Jan. 6 riot during arguments. 

“We’ve never had a situation before where there’s been a situation like this with people attempting to stop a proceeding violently,” Justice Sonya Sotomayor said.

If the Supreme Court finds Fischer’s actions at the Capitol are not covered by the 2002 law, which prosecutors have argued is broad enough to include the riot Jan. 6, the charges would be dismissed against him and others who were prosecuted, according to the Times. 


Jury selection begins for Read case 

Jury selection for the case of Karen Read, the Mansfield woman accused of murdering her boyfriend, Boston police officer John O’Keefe, outside his Canton home in 2022 began April 16.

Over 100 potential jurors gathered in the Norfolk Superior courtroom before selection began, according to The Boston Globe. At the end of the day, four seats of the 16 necessary for the jury were filled.

Judge Beverly J. Cannone, who is presiding over the trial, will allow the defense to theorize that Read didn’t commit the murder, but not during opening statements, according to the Globe.

“I’m going to give you a chance to develop it through relevant, competent, admissible evidence. But you cannot open on it. So that’s my ruling on that,” said Cannone. 

According to the Globe, Cannone stressed that jurors should not let the media coverage and opinions from the public that they read prior to the trial sway their opinions on Read’s fate.

Read is facing charges of second-degree murder, manslaughter while operating under the influence of alcohol, and leaving the scene of personal injury and death. She has pleaded not guilty to the charges against her. The trial is expected to last six to eight weeks, according to the Globe.

The case has drawn national media attention, in part due to the posts and videos from Holden blogger Aidan Kearney, known as “Turtleboy,” who has spent months professing Read’s innocence. 

The Globe reported Kearney has been charged with multiple counts of witness intimidation for posting private information about people who knew Read and for a public confrontation with witnesses in the case.


Iran strikes Israel in first direct attack since 1979

Iran launched over 300 missiles and drones at Israel April 14 in an unprecedented attack amid the ongoing war in Gaza.

Following the attack, which inflicted little damage and no deaths, military Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi said Iran’s actions “will be met with a response,” reported Reuters. Israel has not launched a counter-attack at the time of publishing and has pushed a third meeting of the country’s war cabinet to April 17.

“We cannot stand still from this kind of aggression,” said Israeli military spokesperson Daniel Hagari, reported The New York Times.

According to Iran, the attack was in response to Israel’s airstrike on an Iranian embassy in Damascus earlier this month, in which several Iranian military members were killed. Embassies are normally regarded as off-limits in military attacks, but Israel argued the building was actually being used as an Iranian military and intelligence base, thus making the strike legitimate.

According to the Times, the United States is backing diplomatic efforts to pressure Iran, including incoming sanctions, while simultaneously attempting to dissuade Israel from retaliation. President Joe Biden said the U.S. will not participate in an Israeli counter-strike, reported Reuters. Despite this, the White House made it clear its commitment to Israeli security is still “ironclad,” said the BBC.

Israel also said missiles were launched from Iraq, but Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani denied the claim April 16, according to CNN.

Tensions have remained high in the Middle East since Hamas’ attack on Israel Oct. 7, 2023, that killed over 1,000 people. Israel’s military response has now killed over 30,000 Palestinians in Gaza.

This attack marked the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that Iran has attempted to launch a direct attack on Israel. 

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Shealagh Sullivan
Shealagh Sullivan, Editor-in-Chief | she/her
Shealagh is a senior majoring in journalism with a minor in international relations from Ashby, Massachusetts. She has previously worked as a co-op for the Boston Globe on the homepage desk and as an intern for GBH News and Boston Public Radio. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, finding a new favorite coffee spot and exploring Boston. She is a huge art lover and wants nothing more than to see the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. After graduation, Shealagh hopes to be a political journalist in Washington D.C. Follow Shealagh on X @ShealaghS.
William Woodring
William Woodring, Senior Editor-at-Large | he/him
Will is a senior majoring in public relations. He is originally from Medway, Massachusetts. In his free time, he enjoys listening to music, writing, reading, and running. He is interested in political journalism and hopes to go into politics after graduating. Follow Will on X @woodringwill
Leo Woods
Leo Woods, News Editor | he/him

Leo is a senior political science major with a minor in journalism from Clinton, Connecticut. He has photographed political events, protests, performing arts groups and documented Boston Pride for the People for the History Project. Outside of Suffolk, Leo is an avid Dungeons and Dragons player and podcast listener. After graduation, he plans on attending law school and working in politics.

Follow Leo on X @leowoods108

Sarah Roberts
Sarah Roberts, News Editor | she/her
Sarah is a senior from Taunton, Massachusetts, majoring in print and web journalism. She’s on the cross country and indoor/outdoor track and field teams. When she’s not running along the Charles or doing laps on the track in East Boston, you will probably find her in a coffee shop. Sarah is a coffee connoisseur and enjoys trying new coffee places frequently. In her free time if she isn’t reading, she’s watching some true crime shows or rewatching Gilmore Girls for the hundredth time. After college, she hopes to work in investigative journalism.
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