National News Roundup: Year 5, Week 22 (June 13–19)
It’s another relatively weird news week, though this feels less like the news holding its breath and more like Groundhog Day. I’ll have all the repeats for you below–though nobody enjoys a rerun week, I suppose this could have been worse.
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 Joe Manchin!–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:
There was a small and relatively straightforward amount of Election Rejection news this week, most of which was variation on a theme. Here’s what I have for you this week:
- Elections on a Theme. There was a bunch of information in the news this week about how much Trump tried to strongarm the Department of Justice to falsely assert election fraud after he lost the 2020 election–something we already knew was happening, but now we know about it in technicolor. Meanwhile, Georgia is leading yet another massive voter purge, and of course lots and lots of suppression laws are still in the works at the state level.
This was also a busy week for Biden Rebuilding, and at least most of it is positive. Here’s what has happened:
- Biden Highlights. A couple of significant Trump policies were rolled back this week, which I’ll call a win: 1) The Department of Justice overturned limits on survivors of domestic or gang violence seeking asylum, which was an improper unilateral change by Jeff Sessions in the first place; and 2) The Department of Education clarified that Title IX protections extend to trans students, reversing the Trump’s administration’s limitations. But there was innovation as well; Ketanji Brown Jackson was appointed to the DC Circuit Court, becoming the first Black woman appointed in a decade. Additionally, the White House announced a new strategy for countering domestic terrorism, which is more comprehensive than any prior planning but falls short of creating new law.
Your New Normal:
- New National Holiday. After a unanimous vote in the Senate (though there were fourteen holdouts in the House), President Biden officially signed the bill which makes Juneteenth a federal national holiday, the first added since Martin Luther King Day was added in the 1980s. Since Juneteenth is a holiday which commemorates the emancipation of enslaved Americans, there are many schools of thought about what the new holiday means and how white Americans should approach it. Suffice to say, it is a space that we can use for reflection about the best way to reckon with our country’s racist history, and Biden’s remarks remind white Americans to use that space and time given.
- No Voting Rights Progress. It is a grotesque and very American reality that the Senate can pass the Juneteenth bill unanimously, but cannot pass a bill that protects the right of that same population to vote. This week is a second verse that is absolutely the same as the first, with Joe Manchin refusing to support the Voting Rights Act, then clarifying what provisions he would support, then watching Mitch McConnell laugh in his face about supporting the moderate bill yet again.
- State of the COVID-19. COVID news is all over the place for yet another week. The presence of the more-dangerous Delta variant continues to increase in the U.S. and globally, though vaccination remains effective against infection. We’ve also reached 600,000 COVID-related deaths nationally, which is a number that is hard to even conceive of, let alone process–it’s larger than all the American deaths from Vietnam, World War I, and World War II put together. But on the other hand, we had at least one state reach 80% vaccination of its adult population, which is promising. Additionally, several hospital employees in Houston suing their employer for requiring vaccination found their lawsuit dismissed this week.
- Affordable Care Act Still Intact (Again). It’s peak Groundhog Day, but also good news, to note that the Supreme Court refused to strike down the Affordable Care Act this week, marking approximately the zillionth time that the law has survived Republican challenge to it. The opinion is on the grounds that the complainants lacked standing, which means it’s ultimately a pretty narrow holding. Nonetheless, it’s an important decision, and it’s also interesting that the decision was 7–2.
So that’s what I have for this week, and I think it was more than enough. For making it through, you deserve this Daffodil short and 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 of sleep!