Yesterday, we had a lot of stories that felt like they were still developing, and I opted to postpone the NNR by one day. Given just how many stories indeed had critical updates over the last 24 hours, I feel very pleased with my news instincts. Newstincts? News stinks. Ah well, the portmanteau is a work in progress.
Standard standing reminders still apply: I am no journalist, though I play one in your inbox or browser, so I’m mostly summarizing the news within my area of expertise. NNR summaries often contain some detailed analysis that’s outside my expertise–I’m a lawyer, not a cowboy!–but all offroad adventures are marked with an asterisk. And, of course, for the things that are within my lane, I’m offering context that shouldn’t be considered legal advice. Okay, I think that’s about it for the disclaimers. Onward to the news!
Cleanup in Aisle 45:
Boy howdy was last week the calm before a storm on the Election Rejection front. I’ll talk about Ginni Thomas separately, but there’s still a lot–here’s what I have for you:
- Insurrection Updates. Insurrection news was all over the place. First up, we had our second Jan 6 trial, which resulted in “Cowboys for Trump’ founder Couy Griffin’s conviction for illegal entry. There was also a story about former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows being investigated for voter fraud–and speaking of Mark Meadows, the House panel is also pushing to have him held in contempt again. Also, remember a few weeks ago, when the House panel noted in a court filing that they believe they’ve found grounds for a criminal conspiracy charge against Trump? The judge in that case went ahead and agreed with them this week, granting access to Trump documents because it was “more likely than not” that he committed a federal crime in the course of his attempt at election obstruction. We got further information on that likely felony today, when those very records revealed that over seven hours of White House call logs from January 6 are missing–which naturally includes the entire window of the assault. Obviously, this is a very big deal and we’ll hopefully hear more updates on it soon.
This week, the big news on the Biden Rebuilding front was Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearing in the Senate, which was a painful spectacle by the end. Here’s what has happened:
- I’m Sorry, Judge Jackson. I won’t do a full rehash of the incredible nonsense that Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson had to field last week, but suffice to say, there were great heaps of it. I want to make sure we spend time with that, because the Republican spectacle was noteworthy for a lot of reasons: 1) As I keep noting, Judge Jackson is extremely qualified, leaving little to no good-faith complaints about her nomination; 2) The bad-faith rhetoric we saw anyway highlights what we can expect in the midterms from the mainstream GOP, and relatedly, 3) We appear to be seeing sitting Senators signaling they will vote against a nominee on the basis of her race, which is just an incredible thing to live through; and finally, 4) It’s likely all of this played a role in Manchin’s announcement that he will vote to confirm–and while I’m mad that this is even a thing, that’s important. The committee’s preliminary vote will take place on Monday, so I’ll have more to report then.
Your New Normal:
- SCOTUS Scuttlebutt (cont). On a related SCOTUS note, this was quite a week for the Thomas family. You may recall that Clarence Thomas was hospitalized with flu-like symptoms at the top of the week, and he participated in oral arguments remotely yesterday. But most eyes were on the Thomas family this week because former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’ subpoenaed materials revealed that Thomas’s wife Ginni had texted Meadows 21 times about overturning the 2020 election results. Needless to say, this has incredible implications, particularly because Ginni Thomas attended the Jan 6 rally. People are now pushing for Thomas’s recusal on any further case decisions relating to Trump and January 6–I say ‘further’ because Thomas has already written a dissent on one–as well as a code of conduct for SCOTUS judges. The House panel also wants to interview her.
- State of the COVID-19. As I type this, parts of Europe and China are both showing strong signs of another variant COVID outbreak, this time an Omicron subvariant called BA2. The same variant is also already making up about a quarter of COVID infections here in the U.S. If this outbreak follows previous patterns, we’ll likely start to see a BA2 spike here within the next couple of weeks, which presumably also means a return of mask mandates and/or social distancing (one hopes). The timing sucks for a lot of reasons, but it’s particularly bad because the White House just ran out of funding for its testing and vaccine programs, and Congress declined to fund them further in the bills passed last week. This is forcing the programs to begin shutting down this week. Meanwhile, while Pfizer and Moderna are both seeking authorization for another round of boosters for adults over 65, only 44% of the population have even gotten the first set. Trust me, I too wish I were not typing any of this paragraph.
- Recent State Resilience (Kind Of). Though state legislation regarding trans people remains generally horrorshow, two states (Indiana and Utah) had the interesting distinction this week of vetoing bills that would limit trans women’s participation in sports. I say ‘interesting’ here because both vetoing governors were Republicans. It’s my hope that this reflects a slowing of that particular GOP movement, though of course we’ll have to see what happens.
So that’s what I have for this week, and I’m sorry, there are no news refunds. For making it through, So that’s what I have for this week, and I’m sorry, there are no news refunds. For making it through, you deserve this ska cover of A Thousand Miles as well as a more consistently improved government. I’ll be back next week with more restructured and improved 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 more hours in the day!