HC Wake-Up Call: Kavanaugh Updates, New Green Card Restrictions & Proposed Airplane Changes

Good morning Her Campus! With a break-neck news cycle, there is no possible way for you to stay on top of every story that comes across your feeds—we’re all only human, after all.

But, life comes at you fast. So grab a cup of coffee and settle in for this quick and dirty guide to stories you might’ve been sleeping on (like, literally. It’s early.)

Everything Happening with Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court Nomination

Public Hearing Confirmed for Sexual Assault Claims Against Kavanaugh

Christine Blasey Ford's lawyers have confirmed that she will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday in regards to her accusation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers. The lawyers made the announcement on Sunday, though they said certain details — like if an outside lawyer will question her, which Ford's lawyers have argued will give the hearing "a prosecutorial tone" — still need to be sorted out, The New York Times reported

Sen. Hirono Previews Kavanaugh's Hearing

Hawaii Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono revealed on Sunday what sort of questions she plans to ask Kavanaugh at Thursday's hearing. She's been a staunch critic of the judge — often doubting his credibility — and she told CNN's Jake Tapper that she'll use her position on the Senate Judiciary Committee to question Kavanaugh about his time in high school. "I would be wanting to hear what kind of environment it was in high school," she said. "Apparently, there was a lot of drinking and partying going on."

Hirono also discussed the possibility of an investigation into the accusations against Kavanaugh, even if he's confirmed to the Supreme Court. "Frankly, I have such concerns about this person getting to the Supreme Court," she said. "But, on the other hand, we know that — I know that Maryland has eliminated the statute of limitations for kidnapping and for sexual assault of a minor. And I think that is still out there. And so there may be an investigation along those lines. So, I think that this is a situation that is not going to go away."

Kavanaugh Might Be Hurting the GOP

A new NBC News-Wall Street Journal survey showed that Democrats are lading Republicans by 52 percent to 40 percent for control of Congress. According to CNN, Republicans were already worried that the accusations against Kavanaugh would turn away votes from suburban women, and that was before President Trump publicly questioned why Ford didn't come forward back when she was allegedly assaulted. "In swing states with governor's races and districts with House seats up for grabs -- particularly suburban regions where Democrats are counting on strong support from women -- the allegation facing Kavanaugh could be most politically potent, Democrats said," CNN reported.

Trump Administration Introducing Green Card Restrictions

Up until Saturday, when Trump administration officials announced the "Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds" rule, immigrants could legally use food assistance, Section 8 housing vouchers, and other public benefits. Now, utilizing these aid programs could put them at risk of being denied green cards. The Department of Homeland Security's website detailed the changes, and how immigration caseworkers will be required to note the use of public benefits as "heavily weighed negative factors" for people applying for green cards (which allow them to remain or become legal citizens in the US on a permanent basis). 

According to The New York Times, the restrictions "could force millions of poor immigrants who rely on public assistance for food and shelter to make a difficult choice between accepting financial help and seeking a green card to live and work legally in the United States."

But the Department of Homeland Security said the changes will "ensure that those seeking to enter and remain in the United States either temporarily or permanently can support themselves financially and will not be reliant on public benefits."

Congress Considering Big Changes to Airplanes

The House introduced legislation to give airplane passengers bigger seats, more legroom, and more as Congress faces a September 30 deadline to keep Federal Aviation Administration programs running. The proposed regulations are part of a five-year extension of FAA programs, which Democrats and Republicans announced on Saturday. In addition to increasing passenger space, the bill would also prohibit airlines from bumping passengers who have already boarded a plane. 

USA Today reported that the FAA just recently rejected the idea of imposing minimum standards for airplane seats and legroom in July. However, the new bill has received bipartisan support. Republican Senator John Thune, chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, even said he expects both the House and Senate to quickly pass the legislation. 

"Relief could soon be on the way for weary airline passengers facing smaller and smaller seats," Democratic Senator Bill Nelson said. According to USA Today, the room between rows has been rapidly shrinking overtime — going from the typical 34 or 35 inches between rows to now less than 30 inches on some planes. 

What to look for...

Fall TV! This week marks the return of a ton of your favorite shows.