Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Monday that he wouldn’t even consider letting Biden seat a new Supreme Court Justice if the GOP takes back the Senate in 2022.
Meanwhile, the Biden Administration said that it supports a new resolution to end the 2002 Authorization of Use of Military force.
And lastly, Texas may be headed for another major power crisis as the state’s fragile power grid expects record use in June.
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Mitch McConnell has thrown down the gauntlet, and the Democrats are, well, sort of just standing there looking at it.
In an interview on conservative talk radio, McConnell said that if Republicans take back the Senate, he would block any prospective Supreme Court nominee that Biden sent him.
This is not exactly a surprise. McConnell pretended that his resistance to a new nominee would be from his typical election year nonsense, saying that he’d block a nominee in 2024 just like he did in 2016 at the end of the Obama years. But we all know what the score is.
McConnell’s life’s work is the judiciary and he’s done a very good job of securing it for the business-friendly, person-hostile policies of conservatives for generations to come.
But what it does indicate is just how futile any Democratic expectations of bipartisanship have become. It also means that the party has to be looking for 82-year-old Stephen Breyer to retire while there’s still a chance of getting a liberal replacement confirmed.
There’s a permanent solution to all this, of course: packing the court. But McConnell knows that Democrats and liberal justices on the bench already don’t really have the guts. He said this about Justice Breyer, quote:
“I do want to give him a shout-out, though, because he joined what Justice Ginsburg said in 2019 that nine is the right number for the Supreme Court. And I admire him for that. I think even the liberal justices on the Supreme Court have made it clear that court packing is a terrible idea.”
Glad everyone’s on the same page!
Biden Wants to Kill 2002 AUMF
The Biden Administration made a huge announcement on Monday: it formally supports a push by Rep. Barbara Lee to end the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force.
The 2002 AUMF, as it’s called, is the legal document we used to justify invading Iraq. In the years since, it’s been trotted out as evidence that the U.S. can legally engage in all kinds of military activities in the country. It’s a disgrace that it was ever passed, of course, but it’s an even bigger disgrace that it hasn’t been repealed yet, so the fact that it may finally get tossed is a good thing.
However, it doesn’t mean a whole lot as far as U.S. wars overseas go. The Biden Administration’s statement itself notes that quote:
“the United States has no ongoing military activities that rely solely on the 2002 AUMF as a domestic legal basis, and repeal of the 2002 AUMF would likely have minimal impact on current military operations.”
In other words, all of our bombing and killing overseas is going to be just fine.
That’s because the 2002 order isn’t the only AUMF -- there was another one in 2001 after 9/11 that’s even more broad. And in recent years, presidents haven’t even needed the AUMF’s to do what they want -- they’ve been able to pursue narrower military actions at their own discretion thanks to the steady increase in executive power since Bush was elected.
Biden’s statement notes that the administration wants to work with Congress to replace these so-called outdated orders, but it’s pretty clear that its ability to wage war isn’t going to be affected all that much.
Texas Braces for Second Power Crisis
Another power crisis is shaping up in Texas, this time due to the massive summer heatwave rolling through the state.
ERCOT, the state’s energy grid operator, asked customers on Monday to conserve as much energy as possible through, as many of its generators were down for repairs. On top of that, ERCOT estimated that June could see record-breaking demand for power.
This is a very similar situation to the disastrous, deadly outages in Texas this winter, when millions went without power during a brutal cold snap. Now, ERCOT’s customers are once again facing the prospect of blackouts, this time as temperatures spike to over 90 degrees in much of the state. ERCOT is asking Texans to Set thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, turn off lights, and avoid using large appliances until the end of the week.
Those steps might help, but it’s not really the everyday consumer’s job to fix Texas’s hugely unstable energy grid. Austin’s local NPR affiliate reports that experts have warned power problems like this will keep happening unless the state moves away from coal and gas generators and overhauls its wildly deregulated system. Until then, the government is basically forcing regular Texans to bear the heat.
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Meanwhile, a driver plowed into protesters in Minneapolis late on Sunday night, killing one and injuring several others, in a similar attack to the ones that menaced protests last summer. The crowd was protesting the death of Winston Boogie Smith Jr., a 33-year-old Black man, who was killed by U.S. Marshalls on June 3.
President Biden gave his first speech to NATO on Monday. The key issues looming over the Cold War era alliance are Ukraine’s possible entry into the group, especially ahead of Biden’s upcoming summit with Russia’s Vladimir Putin. In his speech, Biden stressed that he wasn’t looking for a confrontation with Putin. We’ll see how that goes!
Reality Winner is out of prison! The former intelligence contractor who was prosecuted for leaking state secrets to the Intercept was released to a halfway house on Monday, her lawyer announced.
A Washington Post analysis found that coronavirus infections are dropping where most people have been vaccinated, and rising where they are not. That may seem obvious, but it underscores just how far some states and communities have to go to keep their constituents safe.
AM QUICKIE - JUNE 15, 2021
HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner
WRITER - Jack Crosbie
PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn