Saturday, June 4, 2022

In Context: Supreme Court Damage Showing

Normally, this weekly update is about Congress, those elected to the Legislative Branch and their actions in their elected capacity. There's also no question that each Branch also affects the other. This time of year, as the Supreme Court approaches the normal end of its ~9-month term in June, its decisions usually come more frequently, appear in national news headlines, and redirect policymaking conversations in Washington.

The Court usually takes about 60 cases per annual term, hears oral arguments from September through April, and then has about half of those cases remaining to decide during the remaining 2+ months of its term. This year, as of 5/1, the Court was already 4 cases behind its opinion-issuing pace from the two prior years.

Since the leak of the Alito draft opinion in the Dobbs abortion case a month ago, it has issued only 4 opinions, and none since 5/23. For post-6/1-issued opinions, the Court is now about 10 cases behind pace from the two prior years. That's now upwards of a 50 percent increase in its amount of work remaining.

Weekly Congress Update

Foreign Policy

Portman crosses into Ukraine, calls for more artillery shipmentsWhat's in Biden's $700 million military aid package for UkraineFive questions about U.S. help for Ukraine: (1) Is this the first/only time Washington has imposed a restriction on how Kyiv’s forces may use a weapons system provided by the United States or its allies? (2) When is a U.S. cyberattack not a violation of Biden’s policy of avoiding direct conflict with Russia? (3) How bad are Ukraine’s losses in its eastern Donbas region? (4) What can the United States and its allies do about Russia’s Black Sea blockade of Ukrainian ports, which has stranded the country’s wheat, barley, and sunflower oil exports, threatening dozens of countries with prospects of a food crisis? (5) What arms will Ukraine ask for next?

Duckworth pays three-day visit to Taiwan amid China tension


Puerto Rico governor hopeful that status bill will move quickly through Congress (Draft bill, discussion) • Context: Puerto Rico's electricity infrastructure has not yet fully recovered from Hurricane Maria (2017), and there was a fire at a power facility in April 2022.

Second Amendment

Congressional chambers approach new gun laws differently

Gun groups ready for aggressive effort against ‘red flag’ legislation — The House is planning to vote next week on a red flag bill, H.R. 2377, a “Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act” which includes language that allows a “family or household member,” including a “dating partner” or anyone who has “resided” with them, to confidentially request a Federal extreme risk protection order forcing “Relinquishment Of Firearms and Ammunition”. It also requires Federal law enforcement officer training to address “bias based on race and racism, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, language proficiency, mental health condition, disability, and classism in the use and administration of Federal extreme risk protection orders”.

Senate Targets Modest Deal on Gun ControlSenator says 'serious' bipartisan negotiations on gun legislation underwayTop GOP senator cites 'very constructive' gun reform talksSenators Zoom, but don't rushtalks continueMurphy says 'growing momentum' after latest meetingThe latestIs Cornyn the key to a compromise?Biden barges in after pledging to meet with Congressgun control groups not impressed

Graham: 'It is time to mobilize our retired and former service members' to secure schools

House Dem declares gun control will happen even if it means abolishing filibuster or expanding Supreme CourtRep. Nehls: Left Launching Second Amendment AssaultTo confiscate guns, Democrats are ready to destroy the courts and the Constitution

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