“My client is no different from the traitors of yore."
Wednesday, January 26, 2022
BY SARAH LAZARUS & CROOKED MEDIA
** -No Labels ([link removed]) , slapping quite a label on Kyrsten Sinema
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will step down at the end of the current term, according to Wednesday reports, prompting furious speculation among legal experts about which “Stephen Breyer, retire bitch” tweet finally changed his mind. [Ed. note: we all know it was this article ([link removed]) .]
* In a partisan decision that will surely deal a fatal blow to the Court’s legitimacy (jkjk), Breyer will reportedly leave the bench in June ([link removed]) , giving President Biden his first opportunity to nominate a new justice. Breyer’s retirement will allow Biden to shore up the current 6-3 split with a younger liberal ahead of the midterms (unclench your jaw!), and all he needs for a speedy confirmation is for Senate Democrats to stick together (clench it back up, a little!)
* Biden declined to address the news ([link removed]) until Breyer makes a formal announcement, but Democratic leaders have indicated they’re ready to hustle. “President Biden’s nominee will receive a prompt hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee, and will be considered and confirmed by the full United States Senate with all deliberate speed,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement ([link removed]) . Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin said he looks forward to moving Biden’s nominee through the committee “expeditiously.” ([link removed])
* Traumatized readers will recall that Senate Republicans slathered Justice Amy Coney Barrett in Crisco and slid her through the confirmation process in the span of a month. That’s the kind of timeline Schumer reportedly plans to follow ([link removed]) , and the Senate can get the ball rolling before Breyer officially steps aside. (The 88-year-old Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), hilariously, does not see any reason to rush ([link removed]) .)
So who’s the next Supreme Court justice, you ask, nervously googling Joe Manchin’s daughter?
* Biden made a campaign promise that he would nominate the first Black woman to serve on the Court, given the opportunity, and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed on Wednesday ([link removed]) that he stands by that promise. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, whom Biden nominated to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals last year, is expected to be near the top of his short list ([link removed]) , along with California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger and U.S. District Judge J. Michelle Childs. Importantly, Jackson was confirmed with the support of three Republicans: Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).
* In spite of recent, uh, Senate challenges, it seems likely that Biden will be able to wrangle the simple majority he needs. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) released a classic noncommittal statement ([link removed]) , but he has a long history of backing presidents’ picks to the federal bench—he voted to confirm Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh—and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) has consistently supported Biden’s nominees. Will that dynamic change if Senate Republicans decide, for the first time, to deny the other party’s legitimate nominee a single GOP vote and offend Manchin’s bipartisan sensibilities (even though it was Republicans who changed the rules to confirm nominees with 51 votes)? Let’s hope we never find out.
A swift confirmation for Breyer’s replacement will drastically reduce the odds that Republicans can expand the far-right supermajority on the Court in the coming years—a huge relief, given what even the 6-3 Court has already inflicted on the country. If there’s anything Senate Democrats can and should get done in one month, it’s this.
This week on Takeline, Jason and Renee recap last weekend’s made-for-TV divisional round of the NFL playoffs. Plus, Kevin Van Valkenburg of ESPN joins to discuss his exclusive interview with Aaron Rodgers. New episodes of Takeline drop every Tuesday. Listen and follow wherever you get your podcasts ([link removed]) .
We can all agree the last two years have been the best of our lives, but a bipartisan pair of senators seem to think there are a few things the government could have done…better? Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Richard Burr (R-NC) on Tuesday introduced the PREVENT Pandemics ACT ([link removed]) , which is packed with proposals ([link removed]) aimed at bolstering the country’s preparedness for, you guessed it, future pandemics. The bill would create a task force to assess the U.S. coronavirus response and examine the origins of COVID-19, and overhaul the way the government stockpiles medical supplies and monitors disease outbreaks, including strengthened genomic sequencing. The legislation would also require Senate confirmation for the director of the CDC, and includes proposals to improve coordination between health agencies. We
look forward to the GOP filibuster when Democrats vote down an amendment requiring Rand Paul’s personal sign-off on future vaccine rollouts.
* The U.S. has made no concessions in its written response to Russia’s demands over Ukraine and NATO ([link removed]) , Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday.
* Former Florida shock jock “Big Joe” Ellicott, a key witness in the Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) sex trafficking probe, has agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and drug charges, and cooperate fully with prosecutors ([link removed]) .
* Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said the Justice Department is investigating the fraudulent Electoral College certifications ([link removed]) that Trump allies submitted to the National Archives. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D-MI) announced Wednesday ([link removed]) that she had submitted more evidence on Michigan’s fake electors to House investigators.
* YouTube has permanently banned Dan Bongino ([link removed]) after he tried to evade a suspension for posting coronavirus misinformation. If you missed it, this Bongino deep-dive ([link removed]) is worth your time.
* WHO leaders warned that the ongoing Omicron wave and global vaccination gap could set the stage for another variant to emerge ([link removed]) . To complicate things further, the COVAX initiative is unable to accept new doses ([link removed]) because it’s almost out of money for other necessities like syringes.
* A lawyer for Rep. Madison Cawthorne (R-NC) cited the 1872 Amnesty Act ([link removed]) , which granted amnesty to Confederate soldiers who fought in the Civil war, to defend Cawthorne’s eligibility for office after encouraging an insurrection. 'My client is no different from the traitors of yore, Your Honor.'
* The CEO of the consulting firm running New York’s rental assistance program bragged about making “38 percent margins” on its contract with the state ([link removed]) , after the program struggled to get aid out the door and eventually ran out of funds.
* Tucker Carlson aired a stunningly dangerous vaccine segment on Tuesday night ([link removed]) , with COVID conspiracy theorist Alex Berenson telling Fox viewers that mRNA vaccines are “a dangerous and ineffective product at this point."
* Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is despised around the world for holding up the climate provisions in the Build Back Better Act ([link removed]) , in a moving reminder that a single person who truly sucks can bring the global community together.
* MyPillow Guy Mike Lindell’s lawyers have been refusing to turn over discovery material for Dominion’s defamation lawsuit ([link removed]) , which ought to fix it. Dominion said this week there was no “realistic possibility” it would settle its lawsuits ([link removed]) against Lindell, Rudy Giuliani, or Sidney Powell.
* Nicolas Cage says he is a goth ([link removed]) . Please update your mental celebrity high school lunch tables accordingly.
Much like the astroturfed CRT panic that brought a wave of GOP bills ([link removed]) limiting what schools can teach about race and American history, major GOP donors are behind recent efforts to ban books from school libraries ([link removed]) , by way of the same fake “grassroots” groups. Books that touch on race, LGBTQ issues, and anything else deemed objectionable by right-wing censors have already been removed from schools in Texas, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia, Wyoming, and, on Wednesday, Tennessee ([link removed]) .The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom also saw the number of attempts to ban books surge through the end of 2021. The groups petitioning school boards and
elected officials to remove certain books purport to be grassroots (“Moms for Liberty,” “Parents Defending Education”), but in fact have ties to billionaire GOP donors like Dick Uihlein, and are behind coordinated efforts to get right-wing parents to challenge books and run for school boards themselves.
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The EPA ([link removed]) has announced a series of steps to address air pollution, unsafe drinking water, and other environmental issues harming minority communities in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, after EPA Administrator Michael Regan toured the Gulf Coast states last fall.
San Jose, CA, ([link removed]) has passed the first U.S. law requiring gun owners to carry liability insurance and pay an annual fee, in an effort to incentivize safety and fund gun-violence-prevention programs.
Rihanna’s foundation ([link removed]) will donate $15 million to 18 climate-justice organizations.
Save the Redwoods League ([link removed]) has returned 523 acres of California redwood forestland to InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council, a coalition of 10 Northern California tribes.