National News Roundup: Year 2, Week 11 (April 1–7)


If you don’t have time to watch read the full roundup this week, you could do worse than to watch this week’s SNL cold open, which summarizes at least 75% of what I’m about to type with startlingly accuracy. (And is probably funnier than me. But please read the news anyway, because you will definitely like some of the remaining 25%!)

Standard standing reminders apply: I am no journalist, though I play one in your inbox or browser, so I’m only summarizing the news within my area of expertise. This week’s news contains some detailed analysis that’s outside my expertise — I’m a lawyer, not a news station! — but all offroad adventures are marked with an asterisk. Okay, I think that’s about it for the disclaimers. Onward to the news!

Constitutional Crisis Corners:

This week included yet another couple stories regarding Casual Disregard of Governing Norms, cementing my suspicion that this subsection is a new staple in the roundup. It’s less than the last few weeks, on the plus side, and most of it this week involves Scott Pruitt. Here’s what’s going on now:

There was also significant movement on the Threats to the First Amendment front, which had been pleasantly absent in the roundup for a good while now. (Its resurgence is not a welcome change, I assure you.) Here’s the main story to know there:

On the plus side, there was a veritable renaissance of noteworthy Russia Investigation movement this week. (I’m sure we’ll be seeing the humanist Mueller paintings any time now.) Here’s a summary of the main things to know:

Your “Normal” Weird:

The Bad:

The Good:

  • Recent Suits of Armor. There have been a number of protective lawsuits either filed or expanded this week, which I’ve come to view as an important sign of organized resistance in the past year. First on the docket, there’s the five additional states and various cities that have joined the census lawsuit, bringing the total to about a third of the country and counting. But for more happy-making news, there’s also the fifteen Attorneys General suing the EPA for its failure to enforce pollution law, and the San Francisco suit being brought against Sessions for his decision to remove civil rights guidelines.
  • Teacher Strikes in Three States. Inspired by the example set in West Virginia, teachers in Arizona, Oklahoma and Kentucky have begun to strike as well. In all three states, teachers are asking for adequate teaching budgets and salaries in line with other states, hoping to correct systemic troubles in their states’ education systems that have lingered since the 2008 recession. It’s a brave and understandable move that I hope results in improved circumstances, especially in Arizona and Oklahoma, which are both among the bottom five states in the country for educational spending.
  • Opioid Options. The Surgeon General issued a statement this week supporting dissemination and trained use of Naloxone to address opioid emergencies. Naloxone, most commonly available as a nasal spray called Narcan, can be used as an antidote to overdose, making it extremely helpful in emergency and first-response situations. This is an exciting and noteworthy statement both because Surgeon General advisories are infrequent and because this is actually consistent with best evidence-based practices, which is not exactly a common occurrence in this administration. And that’s refreshing, to say the least!
  • Mueller Office Raid. The incredible news broke today that Mueller conducted a raid on the office, home, and hotel room of Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen, looking for documents relating to the Stormy Daniels case. Unsurprisingly, the raid was court authorized, meaning that Mueller had warrants (and therefore official permission) for the search. This type of approval is, needless to say, usually very hard to get, especially for searching an attorney’s office — traditionally an attorney’s work product is protected by attorney-client privilege. My personal theory on this (and only a theory, to be clear) is that Trump waived his privilege by denying knowledge of the hush money payment — if he had no knowledge, that means that Cohen wasn’t acting as his attorney when he made the payment, which means that none of it was attorney work product. Which means that this was brought on, in part, by Trump’s poor planning, and I find that delightful. Trump, to warn, has wasted no time in calling the raid “an attack on our country,” but activists are already organizing for the possibility that Trump will try to fire Mueller — and Mueller, of course, has plans upon plans for this contingency.

There’s still a bit of Roundup news to round out the week; since I didn’t get much done, expect to hear from me soon (no really this time) about finalizing any offered volunteer tasks and further refining the Roundup to meet reader needs. And in the interim, if you need anything, there’s always the National News Roundup ask box — send me questions! Send me feedback! Send me pictures of your lizard!

Ho boy, what a week. I guess we’ll see what next week brings.

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