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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

Fighting flares up in Eastern Ukraine 5 MIN

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.

Christopher J. Miller, Radio Free Europe (@ChristopherJM)

The brewing battle over Number 9 5 MIN

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

The future of federal public lands under Trump 5 MIN

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.

Michelle Nijhuis, science journalist (@nijhuism)

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