Delaware

Cup of Joe – 7/1/22

“The Supreme Court issued a decision limiting the power of regulatory agencies within the federal government, saying the Environmental Protection Agency overstepped its authority in 2015 when it tried to limit greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The EPA powers at issue are central to Mr. Biden’s climate agenda. With fragile majorities in the Senate and House, Democrats have limited ability to advance their platform through new legislation.”

HuffPost: Supreme Court delivers big blow to climate crisis.

Washington Post: “With those back-to-back rulings, the Supreme Court’s recently empowered conservative bloc demonstrated that, barring a return to a better functioning Congress, those justices will essentially serve as the legislative branch on some of the most pressing issues of the day.”

“That power shift came through in a statement from Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). A key swing vote on the confirmations of Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh, Collins accused them Friday of giving misleading answers to her about the importance of respecting previous court precedents during one-on-one meetings ahead of their 2017 and 2018 confirmations.”

The Economist: “America’s Supreme Court is on a roll. After a week in which it scrapped women’s constitutional right to an abortion and gave an expansive interpretation of gun rights, it has issued yet another momentous ruling—one that will have far-reaching consequences for the government’s ability to curb the greenhouse-gas emissions that are heating the planet.”

“On June 30th, in West Virginia v Environmental Protection Agency, the court sharply limited the epa’s power to regulate the millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases discharged by coal-burning power plants each year. The Clean Air Act, the majority ruled, does not permit the agency to reshape the power grid by relying more heavily on cleaner sources like solar and wind power.”

“The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled for the Biden administration on a controversial immigration policy, saying it had the authority to reverse a Trump-era policy that requires asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while their cases are reviewed in U.S. courts,” the Washington Post reports.

“The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. writing for himself and Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, and the court’s three liberals, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.”

“The Supreme Court on Thursday said it will consider what would be a radical change in the way federal elections are conducted, giving state legislatures sole authority to set the rules for contests even if their actions violated state constitutions and resulted in extreme partisan gerrymandering for congressional seats,” the Washington Post reports.

Vox: “The case is perhaps the gravest threat to American democracy since the January 6 attack. It seeks to reinstate gerrymandered congressional maps that were struck down by North Carolina’s highest court because they ‘subordinated traditional neutral redistricting criteria in favor of extreme partisan advantage’ for the Republican Party.”

Rick Hasen: “Pause on that for a moment: the theory in its extreme is that the state constitution as interpreted by the state supreme court is not a limit on legislative power. This extreme position would essentially neuter the development of any laws protecting voters more broadly than the federal constitution based on voting rights provisions in state constitutions.”

“And this theory might not just restrain state supreme courts: it can also potentially restrain state and local agencies and governors implementing rules for running elections.”

President Biden said he supports suspending the filibuster, if necessary, to pass legislation codifying Roe v. Wade into law, the Wall Street Journal reports.  But a reminder from the Washington Post: Sinema and Manchin have resisted past calls for filibuster exceptions.

“The White House is unlikely to take up the bold steps to protect women’s right to have an abortion that Democratic lawmakers have called for in recent days,“ Reuters reports.

“Lawmakers including Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have suggested Biden limit the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction or expand its membership, end the legislative “filibuster” rule, build abortion clinics on federal lands, declare a national emergency and establish Planned Parenthood outposts outside U.S. national parks, among other options.”

President Biden may nominate a conservative, anti-abortion lawyer for a lifetime judgeship in Kentucky as part of a deal with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Louisville Courier-Journal reports.  In return, McConnell would agree to not hold up any future federal nominations by the Biden White House.

“In a setback for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Republican lawmakers, a Florida judge has ruled that a new state law banning abortions at 15 weeks is unconstitutional and he intends to block it from taking effect on Friday,” CNN reports.

New York Times: “The state will appeal, Mr. DeSantis’s office said in a statement after the ruling. The issue will most likely end up before the Florida Supreme Court, which in the past has cited a broad privacy amendment that voters wrote into the State Constitution in 1980 to block other abortion restrictions from taking effect.”

“But Mr. DeSantis has reshaped the court after several retirements, making it much more conservative and prompting some court observers to predict that the justices could overturn precedent that extended privacy protections to abortions. Mr. DeSantis appointed three of the court’s seven justices; the other four justices were also appointed by Republican governors.”

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said he’s “more concerned about the risk of failing to stamp out high inflation than he was about the possibility of raising interest rates too high and pushing the economy into a recession,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Said Powell: “Is there a risk we would go too far? Certainly there’s a risk. The bigger mistake to make — let’s put it that way — would be to fail to restore price stability.”

Robert Reich: “Wealth and power are inseparable. Democracy depends on the support of a large and growing middle class that shares a nation’s growing wealth — and through that wealth, its power.”

“But for the last four decades, even as the American economy has tripled in size, the wages of most Americans have gone nowhere (in terms of real purchasing power) and America’s middle class has shrunk. An increasing portion of the nation’s wealth has gone to the top 10 percent — and a disproportionate amount of that to the richest 1 percent (and of that to the richest 1 percent of the richest 1 percent). Most Americans, by contrast, are now living paycheck to paycheck, and barely making it.”

“This vast consolidation of wealth and power at the top has not been due to neutral market forces. It is the product of a vicious cycle.”

“Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, released a new statement standing by her blockbuster testimony revealed in a hearing with the House select committee investigating January 6, in light of some pushback on her testimony,” CNN reports.

Washington Post: Assessing the basis for aide’s explosive claims.

Caroline Orr Bueno: “One of the goals of disinformation campaigns like the one targeting Cassidy Hutchinson is to discredit the significant points of her testimony by calling into question details about the less-significant/insignificant points. Stay focused on the big picture, which isn’t in doubt.”

Charlie Sykes: “How did Trump himself see this? He obsesses about appearances, and she was an attractive, poised, and compelling witness. To use Trump’s own term, she looked like she was from ‘central casting,’ and she made for great television. Which is why TrumpWorld absolutely, positively will work feverishly to discredit her testimony. Which, of course, is already underway.”

Former President Donald Trump “denied lunging at his Secret Service security on Jan. 6 after they refused to take him to the Capitol when he wanted to march alongside his supporters after a rally,” The Hill reports.  Said Trump: “She said I jumped from a car and started strangling – think of this – started strangling a Secret Service agent who I know very well.”

He added: “Who would do that? I would grab a Secret Service person by the throat?” I am now more convinced than ever that he did it.

Washington Post reporter Carol Leonnig, who is author of Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service and co-author of I Alone Can Fix Ittold MSNBC that many Secret Service agents in Trump’s detail were also rooting for Joe Biden’s failure, and used their social media accounts to “cheer on the insurrection” on January 6, 2021.

Said Leonnig: “There was a very large contingent of Donald Trump’s detail, who were personally cheering for Biden to fail, and some of them even took to their personal media accounts to cheer on the insurrection and the individuals riding up to the Capitol as patriots. That is problematic.”

Punchbowl News: “For the last week, Washington has been frantically trying to discern the political impact of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Roe v. Wade. Democrats say their base will be energized – and there’s some evidence to back that up. A new Marist poll had 78% of Democrats saying they’re more likely to vote in November given the decision, which is far higher than Republicans.”

“GOP leaders counter that independent voters, who can swing the election, care more about inflation, gas prices and the economy.”

Politico: Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) is releasing a new TV ad on abortion as the campaign in New Hampshire pivots hard to the issue.

“Several national antiabortion groups and their allies in Republican-led state legislatures are advancing plans to stop people in states where abortion is banned from seeking the procedure elsewhere,“ the Washington Post reports.

“The idea has gained momentum in some corners of the antiabortion movement in the days since the Supreme Court struck down its 49-year-old precedent protecting abortion rights nationwide, triggering abortion bans across much of the Southeast and Midwest.”

Texas state Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) heard Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ call for SCOTUS to revisit landmark civil rights decisions like Lawrence v. Texas loud and clear: During an interview on NewsNation on Friday, Paxton declared that he’s “certainly willing and able to” defend bans on “sodomy.”

“The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection issued a subpoena Wednesday evening to former White House counsel Pat Cipollone after blockbuster testimony from a former aide identified the lawyer as having firsthand knowledge of potential criminal activity in the Trump White House,” the Washington Post reports.

“The decision followed extensive negotiations between Cipollone and the committee, as well as sharply escalating pressure on him in recent days to come forward and testify.”

Associated Press: “Cipollone is said to have stridently and repeatedly warned the former president and his allies against their efforts to challenge the election, at one point threatening to resign as Trump eyed a dramatic reshuffling atop the Justice Department.”

It’s almost certain that Cipollone’s testimony could put people in prison.

“Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony before the House select committee this week increased the criminal exposure former President Donald Trump faces in the Justice Department’s ongoing January 6, 2021, investigation,” CNN reports.

Said Ty Cobb, who represented Trump during Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation: “Here there are many damning facts… If that isn’t insurrection, I don’t know what is.”

The Trump campaign’s chief financial officer, Sean Dollman, testified in front of the House Jan. 6 Committee on Wednesday, according to CNN.

In little-noticed remarks hours after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn (R) told reporters that his state’s abortion ban shouldn’t be changed to include an exception for victims of rape and incest, even for 12-year-old incest victims impregnated by their fathers, because “Every life is valuable.” Gunn’s remarks didn’t get much pickup locally until yesterday.

Gunn was also annoyed at reporters for ruining this special day for him with all this forced-child-incest-pregnancy talk:

“I want today to be about the fact that we have seen an end to abortion in this country. These other things that y’all are talking about are certainly things we can talk about moving forward. I do not want those things to detract from the significance of this day. I’m afraid if we get too far afield from what we’re talking about today, that will overshadow the significance of this day.”

“Democratic leaders have finalized a revised proposal to lower prescription drug prices for seniors, part of a broader scramble to satisfy Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and resurrect a long-stalled economic package that they hope to advance as soon as this summer,” the Washington Post reports.

“The development follows weeks of highly private talks between Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Manchin, a centrist holdout whose spending concerns scuttled an earlier bill known as the Build Back Better Act. It positions Democrats to jumpstart a key part of the legislative process around their agenda, even as they wrangle with the West Virginia lawmaker over other plans to lower health-care costs and combat climate change.”

NBC News: Senate Democrats see “major progress” on Biden agenda bill, hope for July vote.

Punchbowl News: “So will this happen? Will Washington’s Oddest Couple actually reach an agreement, thereby ending months of slow motion drama? Still unclear. But there’s been progress.”

John Harris: “One way to measure Trump’s predicament is to view it through the eyes of someone who supports his ostensible agenda. If you are a sincere opponent of abortion rights, you might be grateful for what Trump did to change the Supreme Court. But would you regard Trump—who for years boasted of his promiscuity, who once asserted ‘I am very pro-choice’ and who is now uneasy about the ramifications of the court’s ruling—as the right person to carry the fight forward into its next, long-term phase?”

“Let’s say you are genuinely concerned that efforts to make voting easier through vote-by-mail could dilute election integrity. Is Trump, with his reckless allegations and obvious self-absorption, really your ideal spokesman?”

“Two breathtaking developments—one at the Supreme Court, the other across the street at the House select committee—have sent American politics into a whole new realm. By experience and temperament, this is not a realm in which Trump is well-equipped to prosper.”

John Podhoretz: Trump is in deep, deep, deep, deep trouble.

Donald Trump’s staff would play the song “Memory” from the Broadway musical Cats to soothe the former President when he was stressed, the Daily Mirror reports.

“President Joe Biden is likely to deliver a speech on the Jan. 6 committee’s findings once the House panel wraps up its investigation,“ NBC News reports.

“The goal of the speech would be to emphasize what Biden believes is at stake should former President Donald Trump or his allies return to power in Washington, the sources said. The exact timing of the speech would be influenced by the committee’s progress in concluding its investigation, but could come before November’s midterm elections.”

A new AP-NORC poll finds that 48% of U.S. adults say Donald Trump should be charged with a crime for his role in the January 6 Capitol attack, while 31% say he should not be charged. An additional 20% say they don’t know enough to have an opinion.

Fifty-eight percent say Trump bears a great deal or quite a bit of responsibility for what happened that day.

An editorial in the conservative Washington Examiner declares that former President Donald Trump is a “disgrace” who is “unfit to be anywhere near power ever again.”

Meanwhile, the National Review looked at Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony, writing that that Trump “willfully exacerbated the problem” on January 6 and that “things will not be the same after this.”

Daily Beast: Is conservative media breaking up with ex-lover Trump?

Former White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney writes in USA Today:  “Even if Donald Trump were as innocent as the virgin snow that Jan. 6, even if he didn’t know about the guns, or didn’t assault his agent, or had absolutely no clue what the Proud Boys were up to if he obstructed justice related to the Jan. 6 hearings, then he could well become just the next politician to learn the hard lesson that it usually isn’t the crime. It’s the cover-up.”

Adam Serwer: “During former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment, even when Republicans insisted that the assault on the Capitol was an unfortunate consequence of heated rhetoric, most did not attempt to defend Trump’s conduct on the merits. Instead, they relied on the absurd technicality that the president was no longer in office, and therefore could not be convicted…”

“I do not recall these excuses simply to point out how pathetic they seem in hindsight, given the gravity of the allegations and the clarity we now have about Trump’s conduct. I raise them because the thinness of the Republican rationales for acquittal is strong evidence that any justification, no matter how strained, would have sufficed, and yesterday’s revelations are unlikely to change the minds of many Republican legislators now. It is nevertheless crucial to establish for posterity what happened and why.”

“Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) delivered a searing rebuke of former President Donald Trump and GOP leaders at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Wednesday night,” CNN reports.

Said Cheney: “We are confronting a domestic threat that we have never faced before — and that is a former President who is attempting to unravel the foundations of our constitutional Republic.”

She added: “And he is aided by Republican leaders and elected officials who have made themselves willing hostages to this dangerous and irrational man.”

Los Angeles Times: Republican Party must choose between Trump and the Constitution, Liz Cheney says in California speech.

“Russian President Vladimir Putin shot back at Western leaders who mocked his athletic exploits, saying they would look ‘disgusting’ if they tried to emulate his bare-torso appearances,” the AP reports.

“Putin made the comment during a visit to Turkmenistan early Thursday when asked about Western leaders joking about him at the G7 summit.”

Lev Parnas, one of ex-Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s Ukrainian associates who helped the lawyer in Trump’s Zelensky pressure campaign, was handed a 20-month sentence and ordered to pay $2.3 million in restitution on Wednesday for an illegal campaign finance scheme, part of which included covering up a foreign donation to a pro-Trump committee.

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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