I assume, Dear Reader, that you are just as sick of reading “it’s another bad news week” as I am of typing it. Nonetheless, here we are another week, with even the Good news being kind of a bummer. The roundups will continue until morale improves.
Standard standing reminders still apply: I guess after six years I’m conceding that I’m a journalist, but I summarize news within my areas of expertise. NNR summaries often contain some detailed analysis that’s outside my expertise–I’m a lawyer, not an election!–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:
The flow of Election Rejection stories is starting to lessen a bit as I type this, but there’s still a lot to cover. Here’s what has happened:
- Election Rejection: Investigation Roundup. There is news on almost all of the Trump investigations that I mentioned last week, with some bonus Trump calling for the Constitution to be suspended just for funsies. Among the actual actionable news: 1) The presumptive new head of the House has indicated that he plans to investigate the House January 6 investigation instead of, y’know, investigating the attack on the Capitol; 2) the separate Department of Justice efforts regarding January 6 just convicted several members of the Oathkeeper supremacist group of sedition due to their attack on the Capitol; 3) the House Ways and Means committee received copies of Trump’s taxes and is beginning to review them after the Supreme Court okayed their subpoena last week; and 4) the Eleventh Circuit went ahead and chucked the special master order for the Mar-A-Lago stolen document investigation out the window.
There’s also a lot of misery happening on the Biden Rebuilding front. Here’s what I have for you:
- Railroad Union Blues. It’s looking likely we’ve avoided a railroad strike over the holidays, but the methodology for getting there was classic Gilded Age. Instead of further negotiation on Biden’s rail settlement during an extension of the status quo period, as I forecast last week, Congress used a law from 1926 to force railroad unions to submit to the existing settlement. I want to be extremely clear that this existing settlement was being rejected by the unions for good reason–namely, that it did not include any provision requiring paid sick leave for workers, who currently lack access to paid sick leave at all. Though the Senate did consider adding seven days of paid sick leave to the agreement, that provision failed in the Senate because it received 52 votes rather than the 60 required to pass. It’s still in the realm of possibility that the unions will choose to strike illegally, and I will continue to keep folks posted on this story.
Your New Normal:
- House Changing of the Guard. We got more news on House leadership this week, with Nancy Pelosi’s hand-picked protege Hakeem Jeffries becoming the Dem’s Minority Leader for the next session. Jeffries will be the party’s first Black House leader, and it’s likely he will continue to take centrist positions on most issues. The new Dem whip will be Katherine Clark, and Pete Aguilar will be the caucus chairman.
- Stochastic Terrorism Times. There was a bunch of news about stochastic terrorism this week, especially regarding LGBT and Jewish populations–which, let me tell you, is a real hoot if you’re a member of both communities. In Ohio, a bunch of Proud Boys menaced a children’s storytime event at a church until it was canceled because the event involved drag queens. There were also similar “protests” in Florida and New York from overtly antisemitic groups over the same weekend, though they received less coverage. Perhaps unsurprisingly, against that backdrop, the Department of Homeland Security also issued a terrorism bulletin this week that noted increased focus on Jewish and LGBTQ populations as well as sustained focus on other groups such as immigrants, medical providers, and public officials.
- Recent Relative Marriage Resilience. The Senate did also pass the Respect for Marriage Act this week, which provides some incremental legislative protections for same-sex and interracial marriages at the federal level. This news does come with some important caveats, however; the bill creates large religious exemptions that SCOTUS signaled today may be broadened soon through new case law. It also does not provide protections for states granting same-sex marriage if Obergefell is overturned, which means it may become effectively unenforceable in many places in the U.S. at some point in the future.
So that’s all I have for this week, and I’m sorry, there are no news refunds. For making it through, you deserve tippy tappies and a more functional 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!