Will the Supreme Court Bless Trump’s Travel Ban?

By Garrett Epps

“What if the military advisers tell the president that, in their judgment, the president ought to order a strike, an air strike against Syria,” Chief Justice John Roberts asked Neal Katyal from the bench on Wednesday, “does that mean he can’t because you would regard that as discrimination against a majority-Muslim country?”

Katyal, a former acting solicitor general and one of the most formidable appellate lawyers in America, was, as ever, unflappable. “I don’t think there’s any immigration issue in your hypothetical. I might be misunderstanding it, Mr. Chief Justice,” he said.

In a normal world, Roberts’s question would be bizarre. Immigration law and the war power are distinct. But in the strange twilight world of 21st-century America, it made a certain twisted sense. Nearly 17 years after Congress responded to the 9/11 attacks with an Authorization for Use of Military Force, the United States continues to march through an ill-defined conflict with an undefined enemy in pursuit of unstated aims. In today’s America, War is Peace.           

Everyone in the country is weary of the struggle, perhaps especially the justices of the Supreme Court. Sixteen months and three proclamations after Donald Trump was elected on a promise of a “total and complete …read more

From:: The Atlantic

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Mick Mulvaney Says the Quiet Part Out Loud

By David A. Graham

The problem isn’t that Mick Mulvaney wasn’t being honest. It’s that he was a little too honest.

Speaking to the American Bankers Association at a conference in Washington on Tuesday, Mulvaney, who is head of the Office of Management and Budget and interim director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, had advice for those gathered: If you want to play, you better pay.

“We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress,” he said, according to The New York Times. “If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.” He added, however, “If you came from back home and sat in my lobby, I talked to you without exception, regardless of the financial contributions.”

Mulvaney’s spokesperson defended his remarks, saying his boss was making the point that constituents contacting their representatives was “more important than lobbyists and it’s more important than money.” But Mulvaney was making that point to a large conference of bankers, whom the CFPB ostensibly regulates, and advising them on how best to persuade his former colleagues on Capitol Hill to sharply curtail the powers of the agency he leads. …read more

From:: The Atlantic

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Why Congress Remains Hostile to Women

By Michelle Cottle

Poor Orrin Hatch. The guy makes one crack about swarms of infants overrunning the Senate, and suddenly he’s the laughingstock of Twitter.

“But what if there are 10 babies on the floor of the Senate?” the Utah Republican mused last week, as senators dealt with a resolution allowing lawmakers to bring their offspring, aged one year or younger, onto the floor.

The resolution was being pushed by Maile Pearl Bowlsbey—or, more accurately, by her mom, Illinois Democrat Tammy Duckworth. On April 9, Duckworth became the first sitting U.S. senator to give birth. The following week, she needed to be on the floor to cast a vote, and she wanted to keep wee Maile close at hand. (Ah, doting parents.) To accommodate Duckworth, the Senate first had to relax its rules, which it did on Wednesday by unanimous consent.

When Maile made her debut Thursday (duckie-print onesie, pink cap, aqua sweater), lawmakers cooed and clucked. Even Mitch McConnell reportedly cracked a smile. But make no mistake: This historic moment took some doing. Unanimous consent aside, there were months of negotiations and enduring apprehension over the rule change, especially among—how to put this delicately—some of the more mature lawmakers. A few voiced their skepticism …read more

From:: The Atlantic

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The True Cost of Cheap Health Insurance

By Vann R. Newkirk II Any day now, the Trump administration is expected to release new regulations to make short-term health-insurance plans last a lot longer. In a fact sheet about the forthcoming changes, the administration said it wants to extend access to the plans—which now expire after three months, and offer too few services […]

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A Republican Victory in Arizona Sets Off Alarms in the GOP

By Elaine Godfrey Democrats failed to flip Arizona’s 8th congressional district from red to blue in Tuesday’s special election, but their candidate did well enough to reinforce their narrative that the “blue wave” could help them take the House in November. “There are no moral victories in this business,” said Andy Barr, a local Democratic […]

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The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Ronny on the Spot

By Elaine Godfrey Today in 5 Lines President Trump defended his pick for veterans affairs secretary, Ronny Jackson, but hinted that Jackson might withdraw from consideration after a Senate panel postponed his confirmation hearing amid allegations of misconduct. Alek Minassian, the man accused of plowing a van into pedestrians in Toronto on Monday, was charged […]

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Trump Throws Ronny Jackson Under the Bus

By David A. Graham Hours after news of allegations of misconduct emerged against Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, the White House physician and President Trump’s pick to be the next secretary of veterans affairs, the president had a bizarre commentary to offer. “I told Admiral Jackson just a little while ago, what do you need this […]

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The Negligent Nomination of Ronny Jackson

By David A. Graham For the third time in four months, Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson is at the center of a surprising report. The first time came in January, when Jackson, the White House physician, announced that President Trump was in excellent physical and mental health, offering an endorsement so effusive that some were led […]

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Why Is a Liberal LGBT Activist One of Trump’s Nominees?

By Michelle Cottle Social conservatives love them some Donald Trump. The reason is hardly a mystery. Despite the swirling tales of porn stars and Playboy bunnies, Russian hookers and general degeneracy, this president has delivered on some key issues for traditional-values voters, especially when it comes to appointments. (“Gorsuch!” has become an all-purpose rejoinder to […]

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Democrats Hope For Another Upset in Arizona

By Elaine Godfrey Democrats’ recent winning streak in special elections might be coming to an end with Tuesday’s contest in Arizona’s 8th congressional district. But the party still plans to count it as a victory. Two women, Democrat Hiral Tipirneni, a cancer-research advocate, and Republican state Senator Debbie Lesko, are vying to fill the House […]

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The Cowardice of Covering for Too-Violent Cops

By Conor Friedersdorf Last May, a 16-year-old without a driver’s license was steering his parents’ sedan down a street in Carteret, New Jersey, when a police car pulled behind him with its lights flashing. The young man, who wasn’t wearing his seat belt, either tried to flee or panicked and hit the gas pedal instead […]

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