FROM Dahlia Lithwick
Week in politics: Health care, intelligence investigation, Gorsuch The vote for the Republican healthcare plan was set for this afternoon, but wasn’t going to get the votes needed to pass it. So what’s the political fallout? The investigation into Russia’s ties to the Trump campaign took another twist today. Will Democrats filibuster Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch?
Dem threat of Gorsuch filibuster could force nuclear option When President Obama had only a year left to serve, Republicans refused to consider his Supreme Court nominee because President Obama had only a year left to serve. Now, Republicans are pushing for Judge Neil Gorsuch — even though President Trump is under investigation. Today, Democrats announced a filibuster. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced, "If this nominee cannot earn 60 votes, a bar met by each of President Obama's nominees, and President [George W.] Bush's last two nominees, the answer isn't to change the rules -- it's to change the nominee." Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor and legal correspondent at Slate , joins us from outside the fourth day of hearings by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Welcome to Donald Trump's Washington At Trump Tower today, the President-elect stood beside stacks of files that he said represented his billions of assets all over the world. He insisted he's doing much more than the Constitution requires to avoid any conflicts of interest. Trump's first news conference in six months upstaged last night's Obama Farewell Address and today's confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill. He said he's not selling off billions in assets, and claimed that turning management over to his two sons is more than required by the Constitution. We look at today's political drama from Trump Tower to the vetting nominees Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State and Jess Sessions for Attorney General.
Are Feminists Fired Up for Hillary? Hillary Clinton will be the first woman nominated for President by a major political party. And yet, some feminists are feeling ambivalent, or less than enthusiastic, about it. What's changed since 2008, when optimism for a Hillary Clinton presidency was so high?
Supreme Court strikes down Texas Abortion Restrictions The US Supreme Court handed down a win for abortion rights voting 53 to strike down a restrictive Texas abortion law that activists argued would have shut down all but a handful of clinics in the state. It’s the court’s most sweeping ruling on abortion in two decades. And it could deter other states from imposing strict regulations on clinics as a means of forcing them to close. The law HB 2 required clinics to have surgical facilities and doctors with admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. The justices ruled 53 that the law put an “undue burden” on women’s access to abortion. It’s a the Supreme Court’s first major ruling on the issue in two decades.
Supreme Court Punts Birth Control Case to Lower Courts All remaining eight members of the US Supreme Court today refused to decide the latest case against Obamacare and sent it back to the lower courts for reconsideration. It involves contraception. Today's action is evidence that, with the vacancy caused by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, a divided court is trying to avoid formal deadlocks. Dahlia Lithwick is senior editor and legal correspondent for Slate.com .
Contraception Coverage Before the Supreme Court… Again The Little Sisters of the Poor are one of the plaintiffs in a case that went before the U.S. Supreme Court this morning. The nuns claim that the Affordable Care Act violates religious freedom by requiring employers to provide contraception coverage. Two years ago, the Supreme Court allowed companies with religious objections to opt out of paying for birth control. But in the lawsuit before the Supreme Court today, a group of religious nonprofits claims the process of opting out is too burdensome.
The Supreme Court Considers Texas Abortion Access Case The Supreme Court heard oral arguments today in what’s being called the biggest abortion case in nearly a quarter century. The case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, concerns requirements recently imposed by state lawmakers on abortion providers in Texas. The law being challenged requires that abortion providers have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers. That could force most abortion clinics in Texas to shut down. Would that place an “undue burden” on women seeking abortion services, and therefore, violate their constitutional rights?
"Tough on crime" rhetoric sees a revival at Sessions' DOJ The pendulum swings between treatment-focused approaches to drug abuse and tough law enforcement. Now, after years of Obama-era "reforms," President Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions wants local police freed from federal restrictions to fight another "war on drugs."
Nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula slowly coming to a head North Korea did not conduct a nuclear test this weekend, but it did show apparent progress in developing a missile that that could strike the United States. The Trump Administration says it has lost its "strategic patience." We hear what that might -- or might not -- mean for North Korea, China and the prospects for diplomacy.
White House flip flops: NATO, Syria and China In less than 100 days, President Trump has contradicted himself on a host of foreign policy issues — Syria, NATO, China and Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Is it a strength — or a weakness — for the United States when the world of power politics never knows what to expect?