SCOTUS rules against "faithless electors" | TikTok to exit Hong Kong | Foreign students must leave US if classes fully online

SCOTUS rules against “faithless electors” | TikTok to exit Hong Kong | Foreign students must leave US if classes fully online

Tuesday, July 7, 2020 | 12:15 PM EST

“Then too, the State instructs its electors that they have no ground for reversing the vote of millions of its citizens. That direction accords with the Constitution—as well as with the trust of a Nation that here, We the People rule” writes Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan writes in her majority opinion against “faithless” electors

1. Supreme Court rules against “faithless” electors

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday that states are free to remove and punish presidential electors who break with their pledges to support designated candidates. Politico

WHY IT MATTERS As the election season is heating up, the Electoral College once again became the front and center in an increasingly polarized and volatile political atmosphere.

MORE CONTEXT In the 2016 presidential election, ten out of 538 electors attempted a last-minute maneuver to cast ballots for a presidential candidate other than the one selected by their state’s voters, in which several Democratic electors try to deny Donald Trump’s victory.

2. Foreign students must leave the U.S if classes online

International students in the U.S. under F-1 or M-1 visas must leave the U.S. if their school’s classes this fall will be taught completely online or transfer to another school with in-person instruction. Students will be allowed to stay if the school offers mixed instruction. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announces on Monday. Reuters

WHY IT MATTERS This move will affect hundreds of thousands of international students currently studying in the U.S. On the other hand, most colleges across the nation are already suffering from budget cuts due to the pandemic. The loss of revenue from international students will further add to the financial hardship faced by many colleges.

ANALYSIS The announcement from ICE is likely more of a political play by the Trump administration that favors reopenings of schools. Colleges will be forced to reopen since many cannot afford to lose revenues from international students. However, this decision will face challenges in court and significant push backs from colleges if there are prominent dangers to reopen schools in the fall. 

3. TikTok to exit Hong Kong amid the National Security Law

TikTok, the popular short-video platform, said on Tuesday it would pull its app out of Hong Kong amid concerns about the new national-security law passed last week. At the same time, U.S. and Australian officials are considering further limits of users’ access to the app. WSJ

WHY IT MATTERS TikTok’s swift exit of Hong Kong is widely seen as the company’s continuous effort to distance its link with China. In the past months, TikTok has considered moving its headquarters out of China, suspended the practice of using content moderators based in mainland China, and named Kevin Mayer, an American and former top Disney executive as CEO. TikTok is considered the most valuable private startups in the world with a highly anticipated initial public offering. At the same time, TikTok is facing scrutiny from Washington.

MORE CONTEXT Tech giants like Google, Facebook, Linkedin have announced to suspend reviews of Hong Kong authority’s requests for user data amid the new National Security Law over human rights and privacy concerns. 

Today’s Top Headline


New Jersey and Delaware are holding their state primaries on Tuesday. 


Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, heads back into lockdown amid coronavirus outbreak. This decision requires the city’s nearly 5 million people to stay home except for essential errands. Reuters


U.S. government awards Novavax $1.6 billion for coronavirus vaccine, with the aim of delivering 100 million doses by January 2021. Reuters


Some states are rolling back their reopening plans while others push on despite the climb of coronavirus cases in the U.S. Parts of New York state, including Westchester County and Long Island will enter the fourth phase of reopening this week. WSJ

Foreign Affairs

Rivalries in the South China Sea intensifies as the U.S. sends two aircraft carriers to South China Sea for exercises as China holds its own nearby. WSJ


Uber acquires Postmates for $2.65 billion to expand its food delivery market share and significantly increase the business of supplying everyday goods. Reuters

Breaking News

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro tests positive for coronavirus. He has been widely criticized for consistently downplayed the threat of the virus in recent months. CNBC



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