We had a few days in a row this week where the news was looking… pretty positive? Somehow? (I know, I’m as shocked as you are.) But by the time that I’m typing this, another big bank has failed and we’re back to our normally scheduled timeline. We had a good run, y’all.
Standard standing reminders still apply: I may be well into my seventh year of journalism, 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 injunction!–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:
Strictly speaking, the Election Rejection front news this week is really more just Election News, but it’s such a repeat of 2020 that I don’t feel bad stashing it here. Here’s what has happened:
- Hindsight is 2024. President Biden announced on Tuesday that he’s definitely running for President again in 2024,setting himself up to be retiring at 86 years old if he finishes a second term. He’s almost certainly going to be running against Trump, who is already the heavily favored candidate for the GOP after DeSantis was too busy fighting Disney to overtake him. Meanwhile, Mike Pence is definitely testifying against Trump federally about his role in the Jan 6 insurrection, but that will not in any way disqualify Trump from running for President in 2024. Isn’t politics fun?
The main news on the Biden Rebuilding front, in contrast, is economics-related. Here’s what I have for you:
- Raising the Debt Ceiling. The House passed a bill this week by party lines that would raise the debt ceiling but undo half of Biden’s policies from the last two years. Unsurprisingly, Biden took one look at the various provisions in it and said ‘no thank you’. Now, House Democrats are trying their own thing through a procedural maneuver that would force another vote known as a discharge petition. If it’s not resolved soon, our Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warns that the U.S. could run out of money as soon as June 1. Meanwhile, as I mentioned at the top of this roundup, another bank failed and was purchased by J.P. Morgan yesterday, so our economy is looking extra exciting this week.
Your New Normal:
- Extremely Normal SCOTUS and Senate News (again again). We have yet another week of bad news about SCOTUS self-interest and Chief Justice Roberts refusing to do anything. This time, we started with news about Justice Gorsuch selling property to the CEO of a firm that appears before him regularly, closing the sale after he was appointed and failing to disclose it. This was swiftly followed by news that Justice Roberts’s wife, Jane Roberts, made over $10M as a legal consultant from firms appearing before SCOTUS while her husband was on the bench from 2007 to 2014. Wouldn’t you know, Chief Justice Roberts also failed to disclose this, claiming her commissions as “salary.” Nonetheless, he is still insisting that SCOTUS doesn’t need ethics rules and refusing to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Unsurprisingly, a Senate bill was introduced this week that would force the Supreme Court to have a code of conduct. Perhaps more surprisingly, the bill wasn’t introduced by Democrats–it’s from Senator Angus King (I-Maine) Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).
- Rep Removal in Montana. Montana rep Zooey Zephyr, who you may remember as the rep who appropriately used a floor debate to rail against curtailing access to gender-affirming care, was formally barred from the Montana House floor this week. She will be permitted to vote remotely until the session ends in a few weeks, but will not be permitted to speak in any formal debates for the rest of the session. Zephyr, who is the state’s first transgender rep, was also misgendered repeatedly during the censure process, and seven people were arrested for peacefully protesting her removal. It’s the second time in a month that Republicans removed marginalized state reps from service and cited the reps’ service itself as the reason for removal. I’m sure you don’t need me to make this subtext into text, but I’m going to anyway: What we’re seeing is a deeply concerning subversion of how democracy is supposed to work.
- Recent State Resilience. As I mentioned in the opening, we had a weirdly good week in many places for reproductive rights and trans rights, mostly because the GOP had a weirdly cursed one. In South Carolina, a strict abortion ban failed after all five women in the state senate (yes, all five of them total, you read that right) participated in a multi-day bipartisan filibuster. A similar bill failed in Nebraska because one 80-year-old Republican dude who had co-sponsored the bill and voted it out of committee arbitrarily decided to abstain instead of backing it. Meanwhile, the Department of Justice is suing Tennessee over their total ban on gender-affirming care for youths, and a judge in Missouri has paused enforcement of the pseudo-ban on gender-affirming care for adolescents and adults. On the other side of the political spectrum, Washington state became the first place to explicitly protect privacy rights regarding reproductive health data. Washington and Minnesota also joined a growing number of states passing shield laws to protect people who seek or provide care within the state that is illegal in other states. And here in Massachusetts, there was a public hearing today on several bills that would expand access to gender-affirming care.
So that’s what I have for you this week, and I’m sorry for the return to our regularly-scheduled timeline. For making it through, you deserve this kitten ambush 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 photos of your pets!