Political Cornflakes: The Supreme Court halts an execution for religious discrimination — a turnabout from just last month

Religious discrimination on death row was highlighted Thursday night when the Supreme Court halted the execution of a condemned killer in Texas because prison officials wouldn’t allow a Buddhist spiritual adviser in the death chamber with him. That was a 180 reversal from last month when the high court declined to block the execution of a Muslim man in Alabama for that state’s refusal to allow him to be accompanied at the time of death by an imam. The justices gave no reason for their decision in the Texas case, but Justice Brett Kavanaugh, writing for himself, said the denial of Patrick Murphy’s request to have a Buddhist reverend present was discriminatory. [WaPost]

Happy Friday.

Topping the news: Utah leaders said they are prepared to move forward Monday with the state’s partial Medicaid expansion even though they have yet to receive approval from the federal government for provisions that deviate from the Affordable Care Act. [Trib]

-> Proposed tuition increases at Utah colleges are some of the lowest in more than a decade. [Trib]

-> Utah Rep. Chris Stewart joined fellow Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee calling for Rep. Adam Schiff, the panel’s chairman, to step down because of his repeated accusations of treason and Russian collusion against President Donald Trump. [Trib] [DNews]

Tweets of the day: @GovGaryHerbert: “Capstone day for Utah’s impressive legislative session on mental health and suicide prevention as I signed into law HB17, HB174, HB373 and HB393. #utpol.”

-> @pourmecoffee: “He will comment as president on anything he sees on Fox News. I have asked Our Great Navy to look into the water-skiing squirrel!”

-> @aedwardslevy: “Pleased to report we have now entered that time of year where I can no longer tell whether the names you all keep mentioning are a) minor politicians or b) incredibly famous baseball players.”

-> @RobertGehrke: “[Lee & Bishop] complain about wildfire that is scarring their state. ... But when it comes to solutions, all they have to offer is condescension and snide dismissiveness.

That’s supposed to be my job. Keep your clown car in your own lane, gentlemen."

Behind the Headlines: Tribune editor Jennifer Napier-Pearce, reporter Jessica Miller, and news columnist Robert Gehrke join KCPW’s Roger McDonough to talk about the week’s top stories, including the sentencing of former USU football player and convicted rapist Torrey Green.

Every Friday at 9 a.m., stream “Behind the Headlines” at kcpw.org, or tune in to KCPW 88.3 FM or Utah Public Radio for the broadcast. Join the live conversation by calling (801) 355-TALK.

Friday quiz: Last week, 94 percent of you knew that Russia deported two missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but only 21 percent knew there are 900 calories in Crown Burger’s famous pastrami burger. Think you kept up with the news this week? Take our quiz to find out. A new one will post every Friday morning. You can find previous quizzes here. If you’re using The Salt Lake Tribune mobile app, click here. [Trib]

Happy birthday this weekend: to state Rep. Jim Dunnigan, ABC’s Meredith Nettles on Sunday and former state Rep. Lorie Fowlke and DEQ’s Stacee Adams on Saturday.

In other news: Talk show host Stephen Colbert mocked Utah Sen. Mike Lee for his climate change presentation in the Senate using a poster of Ronald Reagan firing a machine gun astride a dinosaur. Colbert labeled Lee the "Jar Jar Binks of the Senate.“ [Trib] [KUTV]

-> Ogden will suspend, temporarily, its recycling program because of a tripling of tipping fees. [StandExviaAP]

-> Lehi is the latest city to bail out of a pilot project to stage an election using a new voting method called ranked-choice voting. Only three of the six cities who signed up are still on board. [Trib]

-> A law professor from Brigham Young University will begin clerking for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch starting in 2021. [Trib] [KUTV]

-> If confirmed as interior secretary, as expected, David Bernhardt will continue efforts to move the Bureau of Land Management headquarters to the West, possibly Salt Lake City. [Trib]

-> Tribune columnist Robert Gehrke bashed Utah Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. Rob Bishop for acting more like class clowns than leaders when it comes to the issue of climate change. [Trib]

-> Tribune cartoonist Pat Bagley gives his take on Utah’s version of Medicaid expansion. [Trib]

Nationally: The Supreme Court elected not to block the Trump administration initiative to ban devices called bump stocks that enable semiautomatic weapons to fire repeatedly. [NYTimes] [WaPost]

-> The Justice Department indicated that special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election is over 300 pages long. A.G. William Barr’s summary was four pages. [NYTimes] [Politico]

-> Following a social media outcry, President Donald Trump announced that funding for the Special Olympics will continue despite proposed cuts in his budget. [NYTimes] [Politico] [WaPost]

-> President Donald Trump held a rally Thursday in Michigan, declaring “the Russian hoax is finally dead.” He attacked the “fake news media” and detractors as the crowd chanted “Lock them up!” [NYTimes] [Politico] [WaPost]

-> President Donald Trump took to Twitter to demand that Adam Schiff step down as House Intelligence Committee Chairman for accusing him of working with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election. [Politico]

-> A poll conducted by Quinnipiac University shows that former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden are the top three picks for 2020 Democrat nominee. [Politico]

Got a tip? A birthday, wedding or anniversary to announce? Email us at cornflakes@sltrib.com. If you haven’t already, sign up here for our weekday email to get this sent directly to your inbox.

-- Dan Harrie and Sahalie Donaldson

https://twitter.com/danattrib, https://twitter.com/SahalieD