Cup of Joe – July 1, 2023

The Supreme Court struck down President Biden’s plan to wipe away $400 billion in student loan debt.  The vote was 6 to 3.

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Christian web design business who refused to provide services for same-sex weddings.  The vote was 6 to 3.  It’s important to note that the alleged request for the website was made up.

New Republic: “In filings in the 303 Creative v. Elenis case is a supposed request for a gay wedding website — but the man named in the request says he never filed it.”

NBC News: “During Thomas’ lengthy concurrence, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman to serve on the court, did not look toward, or make eye contact once with Thomas, the second Black man to serve on the court. She sat in her seat at the end of the bench, looking straight ahead, taking occasional sips of her coffee.”

“She appeared to be visibly angry.”

“With let-them-eat-cake obliviousness, today, the majority pulls the ripcord and announces ‘colorblindness for all’ by legal fiat. But deeming race irrelevant in law does not make it so in life.” – Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson

“Ignoring race will not equalize a society that is racially unequal. What was true in the 1860s, and again in 1954, is true today: Equality requires acknowledgment of inequality.” –Justice Sonia Sotomayor

“Lost arguments are not grounds to overrule a case. When proponents of those arguments, greater now in number on the Court, return to fight old battles anew, it betrays an unrestrained disregard for precedent.” –Justice Sonia Sotomayor

“Hill Democrats are calling on Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Justice Department to file legal challenges against any college or university that engages in discriminatory practices – including legacy admissions,” Punchbowl News reports.

“This comes after the Supreme Court struck down the use of affirmative action for college admissions, a hugely controversial ruling that will impact students and institutions across the country.”

“President Biden and Democrats, largely stymied by Republicans from enacting their policy agenda, have transformed the Senate into a judicial confirmation factory that has just passed a major milestone in its drive to remake the federal courts, approving the 100th District Court nominee since Mr. Biden took office,” the New York Times reports.

“The pace of the effort has surpassed the one set by Republicans when they pushed to reshape the courts during the administration of former President Donald Trump, putting the Biden administration 20 District Court nominees ahead of the Trump team at the same point in his term.”

“House Republicans are preparing to let the push for potential impeachment proceedings dominate their agenda over the next few months, as Speaker Kevin McCarthy faces growing pressure from an increasingly restive right flank eager to take aim at President Joe Biden and his Cabinet,” CNN reports.

“The increased focus on impeachment — with Biden’s attorney general and homeland security secretary the highest on the GOP’s list — underscores how Republicans are quickly shifting their focus to red-meat issues that could fire up their base, even as some in their conference are nervous about voter backlash over the more aggressive approach.”

“Kevin McCarthy’s survival as speaker may depend on whether he pulls off a difficult summertime task: bridging the huge gap between his ultraconservatives and GOP centrists on government funding,” Politico reports.

‘So far, his efforts are falling short.”

“The California Republican has to clear a dozen spending bills, altogether worth over $1 trillion, with near-total unanimity in the GOP — votes that even his allies say he doesn’t have right now. Then he’ll have to shift gears and cut another deal with the White House without triggering the first real attempt by the House GOP’s right flank to strip him of the speakership.”

“The administration of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) steered $92 million last year in leftover federal coronavirus stimulus money to a controversial highway interchange project that directly benefits a top political donor,” the Washington Post reports.

“Multiple federal court decisions have frozen key portions of Ron DeSantis’ campaign against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights in recent weeks, complicating the Florida governor’s efforts to present himself as a conservative champion with a track record of winning cultural battles over LGBTQ causes,” the Miami Herald reports.

Italy’s minister of culture has contacted Mark Zuckerberg about the possibility of staging a fight against Elon Musk in the Colosseum, TMZ reports.  We live in the worst timeline.

“A federal judge on Thursday sharply rejected Donald Trump’s claim of ‘presidential immunity’ to fend off a defamation lawsuit from the writer E. Jean Carroll, ruling that Trump’s disparaging comments about Carroll in 2019 had no legitimate connection to his duties as president,” Politico reports.

“A ‘standing order’ that former President Donald Trump has claimed authorized him to instantly declassify documents removed from the Oval Office could not be found by either the Justice Department or Office of Director of National Intelligence,” Bloomberg reports.

“Trump insisted that he had such a declassification order after the FBI found top secret materials at his Mar-a-Lago home last year.”

“Former Donald Trump campaign official Mike Roman is cooperating with prosecutors from special counsel Jack Smith’s team in the ongoing criminal probe related to efforts to overturn the 2020 election,” CNN reports.

“One of the sources said that the agreement, known as a proffer agreement, means that Roman may not have to appear before the grand jury but could instead speak to prosecutors in a more informal setting. Under such an agreement, prosecutors generally agree not to use those statements against them in future criminal proceedings.”

“Roman, who received a grand jury subpoena months ago and had his phone seized, was involved in efforts to put forward slates of fake Trump electors following the 2020 election.”

“A senior campaign official for Donald Trump was allegedly shown a classified map by the former president during a meeting at his New Jersey golf club after Trump left office,” CNN reports.

“The campaign adviser, Susie Wiles, has spoken to federal investigators numerous times as part of the special counsel’s Mar-a-Lago documents probe.”

“Documents shared exclusively with CNN suggest that Russian Gen. Sergey Surovikin was a secret VIP member of the Wagner private military company,” CNN reports.

“Surovikin has not been seen in public since last Saturday, when he released a video pleading for Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin to stop his insurrection. His whereabouts have since remained unknown.”

“Donald Trump, a longtime admirer of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said on Thursday Putin has been ‘somewhat weakened’ by an aborted mutiny and that now is the time for the United States to try to broker a negotiated peace settlement between Russia and Ukraine,” Reuters reports.

Said Trump: “I want people to stop dying over this ridiculous war.”

Jonathan Martin: “Those of us who covered former President Donald Trump’s extraordinary rise and victory often think of the canary in the (Yorkshire) coal mine that should have pointed to his general election viability: The British vote to leave the European Union, this month seven years ago.”

“Brexit, as hindsight made all too clear, was not only a harbinger of Trump’s potential but illustrated that the appeal of right-wing populism was hardly limited to America. And former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s subsequent success penetrating the so-called red wall of pint-and-crisps Labour seats was a reminder that the demographic realignment underpinning the shift was no mere Rust Belt phenomenon, either.”

“But I increasingly think the more consequential storyline going into next year’s presidential election is the other side of the coin: not the strength of the populist right but the weakness of the center-right.”

“And now, like then, it’s not a story limited to the American side of the Atlantic.”

“I don’t want to speak for her. She might not agree with this, but I think Sen. Warren is a populist. And listen — banking is her area of expertise as a law professor. Holding these people accountable, holding these big corporations accountable, is important. And we agree on that.”  — Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), quoted by Punchbowl News, on working with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) on bipartisan banking legislation.

North Korea has held rallies across the country to mobilize hatred against the United States and South Korea in a renewed hardening of its propaganda effort,” the Times of London reports.

Participants in the rallies carried banners bearing images of nuclear missiles bound for the US with slogans such as: “Pulverize the American empire into dust!”

And for South Koreans: “Let’s mercilessly beat the shabby and dirty puppet traitor group to death!”

Wall Street Journal: “Roughly 650,000 Americans over 80 were working last year, according to the Census Bureau, about 18% more than a decade earlier. Some people have been pressed back into duty by inflation and stock-market volatility, while the fading pandemic made others who took a break feel more comfortable clocking in again. Many cite a simpler reason to keep working—they just want to.”

“Protests over the fatal police shooting of a teenager rocked France for a third straight night on Thursday, June 29, with cars burned, buildings vandalized and hundreds arrested in cities across the country,” LeMonde reports.

“A routine press conference on a federal grant for Charleston’s bus system put Republican U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace on the defensive after Democrats pounced on the fact she actually voted against the bill that made it happen,” the Charleston Post & Courier reports.  “While Mace voted against the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, even calling it a ‘fiasco’ and ‘socialist wish list,’ she appeared at the June 28 press event in support of the local effort.”

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) underwent what his office called “routine gallbladder surgery” Monday, the West Virginia Metro News reports.

Jens Stoltenberg is set to stay on as NATO’s chief for another year, Politico reports.  A U.S. official said the secretary general’s leadership extension is “a done deal.”

Texas state Rep. Jacey Jetton’s (R) wife is temporarily replacing him in the Texas House while he is deployed for military service, the Texas Tribune reports.

“White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan in a tough call with his Israeli counterpart last week expressed concern that Israel is leaking information to the press about indirect talks between the U.S. and Iran,” Axios reports.

Puck: “Tucker’s new media play might — if executed adroitly — serve as a paradigm for a generation of TV news personalities with huge followings and fandoms who remain marooned to their desks amid shrinking audiences.”

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

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