National News Roundup: Year 3, Week 22 (June 16–22)

Folks, the news is never what I’d call great, but after several weeks of increasingly dispiriting nonsense, this may be the worst week we’ve had so far this year. I’ve restructured this week’s roundup under the Really Bad protocol, so you get your dessert good news first and we’re closing with things you can do to help. Try to hold on to the knowledge that it won’t stay this bad — we will come through the other side. I’m here if anyone needs anything.

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 coal emission! — but all offroad adventures are marked with an asterisk. Okay, I think that’s about it for the disclaimers. Onward to the news!

The Good:

Constitutional Crisis Corner

The Russia Investigation was fairly quiet this week, all things considered. Here’s what happened:

We saw a couple of Disregard of Governing Norms stories this week, and for the first time in a while they’re just all about Trump being horrifying. Here’s what happened:

Your “Normal” Weird:

The Bad:

  • Gag Rule Upheld in Appeals Court. The Ninth Circuit allowed enforcement of this administration’s Title X gag rule this week, which is pretty dispiriting news on several fronts at once. Just on its surface, the ruling’s not awesome because it set aside injunctions blocking enforcement, which means the administration to keep the rule in effect while the appeal is pending. But as the lower court injunctions suggest, the Ninth Circuit is a jurisdiction that’s not noted for its conservatism — the panel of three judges were all appointed by former Republican presidents. There’s another panel that will hear the case on the merits, and we’ll have to hope that the next luck of the draw is better.
  • Clean Power Setback.* The Trump administration is moving forward with its plan to roll back the Clean Power Plan, issuing a new rule on coal emissions ironically named the Affordable Clean Energy Rule even though the main goal is to save coal plants. The new rule relaxes emission rules considerably, giving states the option to punt on rolling back emissions entirely, so it’s not surprising that several clean-energy focused states already plan to sue.

The Very Bad:

What We Can Do:

  • Immigration Detention Conditions. I put together a list of suggestions for folks who want to help and have no professional or cultural ties to targeted populations. Tl; dr version: 1) Learn about major organizations’ efforts; 2) Talk to your government; 3) Donate time and money; 4) Disseminate information without contributing to panic. For attorneys and other folks with professional ties, there are already many organizing efforts underway, and I recommend checking them out. For impacted populations, many groups have suggestions as well. We’ll get through this, and action can help.
  • Iran Crisis. This one is down to mostly calling our reps, particularly given the encouraging Senate news from this week. You can find your House rep info here and your Senator info here, and as always, sites like ICalledMyReps and 5Calls have scripts for you.

So that’s what I have for this week, and it’s more than enough. For making it through, you deserve this ridiculous mashup and an eventual better government. I’ll be back next week with more (and hopefully better) news, and I hope you will be back as well — but in the meantime, feel free to ping the National News Roundup ask box, which is there for your constructive comments. Send me questions! Send me feedback! Send me a clone army so I can Do All the Things!

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