Photo: Supreme Court Nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch watches as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley (R-IA) speaks to the media on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 1, 2017. Joshua Roberts/Reuters
FROM THIS EPISODE
For the first time in nearly a year large-scale fighting has broken out between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country. The conflict there has been ongoing for nearly three years now. A ceasefire was signed in 2015, but skirmishes and artillery fire have continued. The current fighting is the first test of President Trump's call for improved US-Russia relations. Christopher Miller, Ukraine Correspondent for Radio Free Europe, has more on the escalation of fighting.
In splashy prime-time fashion President Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch, a federal appellate court judge from Colorado to the US Supreme Court yesterday, fulfilling a campaign promise to nominate a conservative originalist. At 49, Gorsuch is expected to keep the court's conservative status quo for years to come. Some Democrats want to fight the nomination as payback for Republicans stonewalling President Obama's own pick, for nearly a year. Will the GOP escalate all the way to what's called “the nuclear option -- and do away with the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees altogether?
Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review / American Enterprise Institute (@RameshPonnuru)
Mark Joseph Stern, Slate (@mjs_DC)
Adam Liptak, New York Times (@adamliptak)
Richard Arenberg, Brown University (@richarenberg)
Liptak on Gorsuch, an echo of Scalia in philosophy and style
Liptak on how a Trump Supreme Court pick could (or could not) sway cases
Ponnuru on Gorsuch as a worthy heir to Scalia
Stern on disturbing clues over how Gorsuch might rule over anti-LGBTQ laws
Richard A. Arenberg
This week Republican Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah introduced a bill calling for the immediate sell-off of 3.3 million acres of public lands spread out over 10 states. The total amount is roughly the size of Connecticut.
Malheur National Wildlife Refuge
Photo by Barbara Wheeler, USFWS
The Wilderness Society is calling the proposal Step Two in a radical Republican plan to offload federal property. Step One was a quiet change over a week ago to a single line in the House rules which redefined the value of federal land and made it easier for the government to dispose of it. Science writer Michelle Nijhuis has been tracking this for the New Yorker's "Elements" blog.
More From To the Point
Imprisoning our mentally ill? American jails and prisons have become hospitals for the mentally ill. A murderer doing 20 years at New York’s Sing Sing prison works with schizophrenics serving 24 months for misdemeanors. He tells Warren that sick people should be treated outside. The Sheriff in Chicago says it’s not just inhumane but a waste of taxpayers’ money. How did we get here? What can be done?
Did Trump get conned by Kim? Six months after threatening nuclear warfare, “little rocket man” and the “dotard” were talking peace in Singapore. Beyond the hype, did President Trump and Kim Jong Un really mean it? A seasoned diplomat, a UN nuclear weapons inspector and veteran journalists provide contrasting assessments.
Post primary wrap, what’s the takeaway? California’s billed as the heart of “resistance” to President Trump. But in this month’s Golden State primary, young and Latino voters stayed home. That’s produced a clash of voices between Progressive Democrats and Clinton-era Centrists. What will that mean come November with control of the Congress at stake?
The politics of prison reform Prison reform is moving in Red States, Blue States and (maybe) on Capitol Hill. But America still incarcerates more people than any other country-- including China. Meantime, the Trump White House is divided. Jared Kushner is pushing sentence reform, while Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to stay “tough on crime.” What are the prospects for much needed change?
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