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Former Justice Dept officials to testify Thursday at a hearing of House Jan 6 panel

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© Reuters. The White House, displayed on a screen during a hearing of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the US Capitol in Washington, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S. June 21, 2022. Al Drago/Pool via REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Three officials from ex-President Donald Trump’s Justice Department will testify on Thursday at a hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, the panel said in a statement.

Former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, former acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue and former Assistant Attorney General Steven Engel will testify at the hearing, which had been postponed from last week. The committee did not give a reason for the postponement.

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Factbox-Four key races in Illinois, Colorado midterm primaries

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An American flag flies outside of the U.S. Capitol dome in Washington, U.S., January 15, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Voters in Illinois and Colorado will pick candidates for the U.S. Congress and other offices in primaries on Tuesday, in another test of former President Donald Trump’s influence in the Republican Party ahead of the Nov. 8 midterm elections.

Maryland and Oklahoma also hold nomination contests. Following are four key races to watch:

ILLINOIS’ 15TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

Newly drawn district boundaries pit two incumbent Republicans against each other in central Illinois. Trump-endorsed U.S. Representative Mary Miller is an ally of U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a prominent far-right Republican. Miller faces U.S. Representative Rodney Davis, a more traditional conservative, who supported creating a congressional inquiry into the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump’s supporters. Davis’ campaign raised more than $2.7 million through March 31, compared with the $1.1 million raised by Miller. The winner is likely to carry the district in November.

ILLINOIS’ 6TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

Illinois’ newly drawn districts also pit two Democratic U.S. representatives against each other in the state’s 6th district. Representative Sean Casten raised more than twice as much money through March 31 than Representative Marie Newman, who faces an ethics investigation for allegedly promising a job to a potential political rival.

U.S. SENATE SEAT IN COLORADO

    The Republican nomination contest for the U.S. Senate race in Colorado includes state Representative Ron Hanks, who marched in the Jan. 6 protest at the U.S. Capitol. Hanks has blamed the violence that followed the march on leftists, citing a debunked conspiracy theory. Hanks’ principal opponent is wealthy construction company owner Joe O’Dea, who has self-financed a large portion of his campaign. Hanks has struggled with fund-raising, and his campaign had less than $20,000 in the bank at the end of March. The winner might have a chance against incumbent Democratic Senator Michael Bennet, who is seen struggling to hold onto his seat.

COLORADO SECRETARY OF STATE

The Republican primary for the state’s top elections official includes Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, who has advocated for Trump’s baseless claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. Peters’ main opponent is former Jefferson County Clerk Pam Anderson who has rejected Trump’s claims. The winner will challenge incumbent Democrat Jena Griswold.

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Factbox-U.S. Supreme Court takes broad view of religious rights in key cases

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Anti-abortion activists hold a cross in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building during the annual “March for Life” in Washington, U.S., January 21, 2022. REUTERS/Jim Bourg/File Photo

(Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday issued another significant ruling broadening religious rights, siding with a Christian former public high school football coach in Washington state who sued after being suspended from his job for refusing to stop leading prayers with players on the field after games.

The court, especially its conservative bloc, has taken a wide view of religious liberty in numerous cases in recent years. Here is a look at some of the cases involving religious rights decided during its current term, which began in October.

KENNEDY V. BREMERTON SCHOOL DISTRICT

In the case decided on Monday, the court ruled 6-3 in favor of Joseph Kennedy, who until 2015 served as a part-time assistant football coach in the city of Bremerton. The justices rejected the local school district’s concerns that in a public school setting Kennedy’s prayers and Christian-infused speeches could be seen as coercive to students or a governmental endorsement of a particular religion in violation of the First Amendment’s so-called establishment clause. The justices overturned a lower court’s ruling siding with the school district.

CARSON V. MAKIN

In a 6-3 decision on June 21, the court endorsed more public funding of religious entities as it sided with two Christian families who challenged a Maine tuition assistance program that excluded private religious schools. The justices overturned a lower court ruling that had rejected the families’ claims of religious discrimination in violation of the U.S. Constitution, including the First Amendment protection of the free exercise of religion. Maine’s program provides public funds for tuition at private high schools of a family’s choice in sparsely populated areas lacking public secondary schools. Maine required eligible schools to be “nonsectarian,” excluding those promoting a particular religion and presenting material “through the lens of that faith.”

SHURTLEFF V. BOSTON

The court ruled 9-0 on May 2 that Boston violated the free speech rights of a Christian group by refusing to fly a flag bearing the image of a cross at City Hall as part of a program that let private groups use the flagpole while holding events in the plaza below. The justices decided that the city violated free speech rights protected under the First Amendment of the Christian group Camp Constitution and its director Harold Shurtleff. Boston had argued that raising the cross flag as Camp Constitution requested under a flag-raising program aimed at promoting diversity and tolerance in the city could appear to violate another part of the First Amendment that bars governmental endorsement of a particular religion. The justices overturned a lower court ruling in favor of Boston.

RAMIREZ V. COLLIER

The court ruled 8-1 on March 24 that Texas must grant a convicted murderer on death row his request to have his Christian pastor lay hands on him and audibly pray during his execution, bolstering the religious rights of condemned inmates. The justices overturned a lower court’s decision against John Henry Ramirez, who appealed the state’s rejection of his request for pastoral touch and prayer while he dies from lethal injection. Ramirez was sentenced to death for a fatal 2004 stabbing outside a convenience store.

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Factbox-Four key races in Illinois, Colorado midterm primaries

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2/2

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An American flag flies outside of the U.S. Capitol dome in Washington, U.S., January 15, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner/File Photo

2/2

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Voters in Illinois and Colorado will pick candidates for the U.S. Congress and other offices in primaries on Tuesday, in another test of former President Donald Trump’s influence in the Republican Party ahead of the Nov. 8 midterm elections.

Maryland and Oklahoma also hold nomination contests. Following are four key races to watch:

ILLINOIS’ 15TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

Newly drawn district boundaries pit two incumbent Republicans against each other in central Illinois. Trump-endorsed U.S. Representative Mary Miller is an ally of U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a prominent far-right Republican. Miller faces U.S. Representative Rodney Davis, a more traditional conservative, who supported creating a congressional inquiry into the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump’s supporters. Davis’ campaign raised more than $2.7 million through March 31, compared with the $1.1 million raised by Miller. The winner is likely to carry the district in November.

ILLINOIS’ 6TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

Illinois’ newly drawn districts also pit two Democratic U.S. representatives against each other in the state’s 6th district. Representative Sean Casten raised more than twice as much money through March 31 than Representative Marie Newman, who faces an ethics investigation for allegedly promising a job to a potential political rival.

U.S. SENATE SEAT IN COLORADO

    The Republican nomination contest for the U.S. Senate race in Colorado includes state Representative Ron Hanks, who marched in the Jan. 6 protest at the U.S. Capitol. Hanks has blamed the violence that followed the march on leftists, citing a debunked conspiracy theory. Hanks’ principal opponent is wealthy construction company owner Joe O’Dea, who has self-financed a large portion of his campaign. Hanks has struggled with fund-raising, and his campaign had less than $20,000 in the bank at the end of March. The winner might have a chance against incumbent Democratic Senator Michael Bennet, who is seen struggling to hold onto his seat.

COLORADO SECRETARY OF STATE

The Republican primary for the state’s top elections official includes Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, who has advocated for Trump’s baseless claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. Peters’ main opponent is former Jefferson County Clerk Pam Anderson who has rejected Trump’s claims. The winner will challenge incumbent Democrat Jena Griswold.

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