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Trump Renominates Indian-American Prosecutor Diane Gujarati for Federal Judge

Gujarati is now the deputy chief of the criminal division of the federal prosecutor's office for Southern New York that has jurisdiction over Manhattan

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Trump was again sending her nomination to the Senate for confirmation as a judge of the federal court for Eastern New York. VOA

US President Donald Trump has re-nominated an Indian American prosecutor Diane Gujarati to be a federal judge.

The White House announced on Monday that Trump was again sending her nomination to the Senate for confirmation as a judge of the federal court for Eastern New York that has jurisdiction over parts of New York City and Long Island.

She was first nominated by President Barack Obama in 2016. Trump renominated her last year and both times the full Senate didn’t act on the nomination, even though the Senate Judicial Committee had unanimously approved it.

Gujarati is now the deputy chief of the criminal division of the federal prosecutor’s office for Southern New York that has jurisdiction over Manhattan.

federal judge
Gujarati is now the deputy chief of the criminal division of the federal prosecutor’s office for Southern New York that has jurisdiction over Manhattan. Wikimedia

Her father, Damodar Gujarati, is an economics professor at West Point, US Military Academy, that trains officers. Her mother, Ruth Pincus Gujarati, taught social studies at a New York City high school.

After graduating in law from Yale University, Diane worked as law clerk to a federal appeals court judge and at a top law firm, Davis Polk & Wardwell, before joining the prosecutor’s office.

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She has the backing of both Democratic senators from New York, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, as well as Trump. But her nomination was one of hundreds backlogged in the Senate, although in her case it was not on ideological grounds.

Last month, the Senate approved appointment of Neomi Rao as a judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, considered the most important after the Supreme Court. She replaced Brett Kavanaugh, who was elevated to the Supreme Court. Considered a conservative jurist, her nomination split the Senate along party lines. (IANS)

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Trump to Pursue Higher Sales Age for Vaping Devices: ‘An Age Limit of 21 or So’

Trump told reporters his administration will release its final plans for restricting e-cigarettes next week but provided few other details

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President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Nov. 8, 2019. VOA

President Donald Trump said Friday his administration will pursue raising the age to purchase electronic cigarettes from 18 to 21 in its upcoming plans to combat youth vaping.

Trump told reporters his administration will release its final plans for restricting e-cigarettes next week but provided few other details.

“We have to take care of our kids, most importantly, so we’re going to have an age limit of 21 or so,” said Trump, speaking outside the White House.

Currently the minimum age to purchase any tobacco or vaping product is 18, under federal law. But more than one-third of U.S. states have already raised their sales age to 21.

Trump, Sales, Vaping
FILE – A woman buys refills for her Juul at a smoke shop in New York, Dec. 20, 2018. VOA

A federal law raising the purchase age would require congressional action.

Administration officials were widely expected to release plans this week for removing virtually all flavored e-cigarettes from the market. Those products are blamed for soaring rates of underage use by U.S. teenagers.

However, no details have yet appeared, leading vaping critics to worry that the administration is backing away from its original plan.

Trump resisted any specifics on the scope of the restrictions.

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“We’re talking about the age, we’re talking about flavors, we’re also talking about keeping people working — there are some pretty good aspects,” Trump said.

Mint flavor

Underage vaping has reached what health officials call epidemic levels. In the latest government survey, 1 in 4 high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the previous month.

Fruit, candy, dessert and other sweet vaping flavors have been targeted because of their appeal to underage users.

Trump, Sales, Vaping
FILE – A man blows a puff of smoke as he vapes with an electronic cigarette, Oct. 18, 2019. VOA

On Thursday, Juul Labs, the nation’s largest e-cigarette maker, announced it would voluntarily pull its mint-flavored e-cigarettes from the market. That decision followed new research that Juul’s mint is the top choice for many high school students who vape.

With the removal of mint, Juul only sells two flavors: tobacco and menthol.

Vaping critics say menthol must be a part of the flavor ban to prevent teens who currently use mint from switching over.

‘Tobacco 21’ law

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Juul and other tobacco companies have lobbied in support of a federal “Tobacco 21” law to reverse teen use of both e-cigarettes and traditional tobacco products. The effort also has broad bipartisan support in Congress, including a bill introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The logic for hiking the purchase age for cigarettes and other products is clear: Most underage teens who use e-cigarettes or tobacco get it from older friends. Raising the minimum age to 21 is expected to limit the supply of those products in U.S. schools.

Delaying access to cigarettes is also expected to produce major downstream health benefits, with one government-funded report estimating nearly 250,000 fewer deaths due to tobacco over several decades.

Still, anti-tobacco groups have insisted that any “Tobacco 21” law must be accompanied by a ban on flavors, which they say are the primary reason young people use e-cigarettes. (VOA)