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Live from New York: Will AI replace this podcast?



The FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast recorded live at The Bell House in Brooklyn on Wednesday night, returning to a live venue in New York for the first time since the pandemic. Nate Silver and Galen Druk dissecting recent poll Assuming 30 percent of New Yorkers want to leave the state, challenge ChatGPT to see if it can replace their jobs and discuss the current state of the 2024 Republican primaries. They also welcome a surprise guest and spectator who will play New York-themed quizzes.


Thomas replaced Thurgood Marshall’s vision with one more malleable to the strong than to the powerless.



This article is part of TPM Cafe, TPM’s home for opinion and news analysis. It was originally published in The Conversation.

As public attention is focused on the closing of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, personal and financial relationships with a politically active conservative billionaire, close scrutiny overlooks the pivotal role that Thomas played for almost three decades on the nation’s highest court.

This article is part of TPM Cafe, TPM’s home for opinion and news analysis. It was originally published in The Conversation.

As public attention is focused on the closing of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, personal and financial relationships with a politically active conservative billionaire, close scrutiny overlooks the pivotal role that Thomas played for almost three decades on the nation’s highest court.

Thomas’ predecessor on the court, Thurgood Marshall, what civil rights lawyer before becoming a judge. In 1991, in his final opinion before retiring after a quarter of a century on the court, Marshall warned that the growing interest of his fellow judges in reviewing and overturning previous decisions would eventually “squander credibility and legitimacy this court as a protector of the powerless.”

Since then, his prediction has been cited in Supreme Court decisions, including a three-judge dissent from June 2022. Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization a ruling declaring that there was no constitutional right to reproductive choice and overturning Roe v. Calf.

While agreeing with the majority decision in this case, Thomas stated his opposition to the Marshall principle, lamenting that the court had not done more to shorten its previous work. “In future caseswe must review all significant due process precedents of this Court,” Thomas wrote, explicitly implying Americans’ rights to sexual privacy and same-sex marriage.

Throughout Thomas’ tenure, he has pushed the Supreme Court to review previous rulings that provided strong rights for the most vulnerable in society, and replace Marshall’s vision with one more amenable to the strong than to the powerless. And in writing my book, which traces the life and work of both judges, I have seen the fruits of those efforts multiply over the past decade.

Shield for the needy

Few phrases could more accurately capture Thurgood Marshall’s vision of the court’s work as “protector of the powerless.” And few Americans have done as much to bring that vision to life.

Marshall’s work to promote black citizenship well knownbut also fought for extended rights to women And local, accused another convicted, adherents of marginal religions another those with unpopular views.

Marshall’s jurisprudence was based on the hope that while the law can be a powerful tool of oppression, it can also be a shield.

As he wrote in his last dissent, in Payne vs. Tennesseesecuring constitutional rights “often requires that this court rein in the forces of democratic politics” to protect the powerless from the tyranny of the majority.

While his disagreement with Payne criticized the court for changing its mind, Marshall was no stranger to calling for a revision of established law. Marshall’s landmark achievement as a lawyer in Brown W. Department of Education had to convince the court to refute the doctrine of separate but equal, which arose after 1896. Plessy W. Ferguson solution.

The three lawyers who won Brown v. The Board of Education stands outside the Supreme Court after its victory: from left to right, George Hayes, Thurgood Marshall and James Nabrit Jr. Bettmann via Getty Images

As a judge, Marshall has passionately and repeatedly proven that The death penalty violated the Eighth AmendmentRussia’s ban on cruel and unusual punishments, which led to a brief period when it was considered unconstitutional.

The difference between Marshall and Thomas is not really about whether the court should reverse past decisions, but simply which ones.

While Marshall wanted the court to become “the champion of the powerless,” Thomas, I believe, advocated not only to diminish that vision, but to promote the interests of the powerful.

Power as a key factor

While last summer’s abortion decision is a clear example, Thomas has led the court’s assault on precedent in other areas.

For example, years before the court invalidated portions of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. HolderThomas had argued that the lack of modern discrimination in voting made the act unnecessary.

Similarly, recent decisions have followed Thomas. lead in weakening the lifeblood of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, which reinforces the separation between church and state.

Thomas even called for the court to review its decision in Gideon vs. Wainwrightwhich established the constitutional right to counsel for indigent criminal defendants.

In each case, the powerless will suffer the most.

Those in need of constitutional protection, according to Thomas, are more likely to be property owners, corporations that contribute to the campaign or gun owners.

On affirmative action

Perhaps no topic better reflects the difference between the views of the two men than the affirmative action that the court considers in a couple of cases from Harvard And University of North Carolina be decided within this time frame.

The mistrust of government that fuels many of Thomas’s points of view is never more personal than in cases of race being used in college admissions. He spoke out against affirmative action, stating that it stigmatizes blacks in prominent positions, “stigmaon “whether or not their skin color played a role in their promotion.”

Indeed, Thomas claims that his position requiring color blindness is best path to full black citizenship. He made this statement even in situations where he knew it would result in more limited access to opportunities for black students in the short term.

Marshall has always looked at the problem from a different perspective, arguing that access to opportunities is important not only for affected black students, but for the country as a whole.

“If we ever become a fully integrated society in which the color of a person’s skin does not determine the opportunities available to him or her,” Marshall wrote in 1977, “we must be ready to take steps to open these doors“.

It is access for the powerless, according to Marshall, that should guide the thinking of the court.

But this summer, the court may finally adopt a different vision of affirmative action, revisiting a position that Thomas has championed for decades.

Such a turn would have been another turn to the side, squandering Marshall’s vision of the court.

Daniel Keel is a FedEx Law Professor and author of The Transition: An Interpretation of Justice from Thurgood Marshall to Clarence Thomas in University of Memphis

This article has been reprinted from Talk under a Creative Commons license. Read original article.


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The Feinstein fiasco is the end point of the Democratic gerontocracy problem



In 2013 President Barack Obama invited Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at a dinner at the White House. The president did not directly ask Ginsburg, then 80 and already a survivor of colon and pancreatic cancer, to step down from the court. He simply noted that Democrats were unlikely to retain control of the Senate after the 2014 election.

Obama’s intervention was unsuccessful, and Ginzburg remained in office. The ramifications of her decision would become clear nearly a decade later, when her Republican-nominated replacement secured a fifth and decisive vote by dismissing Roe’s case. Wade’s guarantee of the right to an abortion.

The Democratic Party now faces a very similar dilemma: The legendary woman who played a critical role in shaping the nation’s judiciary is 89 and ill. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who is set to retire in January 2025, is stricken with shingles, has been unable to travel to Washington, D.C. for the past two months, and is unable to give a timeline for returning to work. Without Feinstein, Democrats lack a majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee and can’t advance President Joe Biden’s candidacies, eliminating one of the few ways to achieve liberal victories in a divided Congress.

It would seem that this requires a similar intervention at the presidential level. Biden himself is 80 years old and often asked to dispel such concerns about his age and visual acuity, making conversation awkward and potentially impossible at best.

“It’s her decision,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at a press briefing on Wednesday when asked if there was a moment when Feinstein should step down: “When it comes to her future, it’s her decision.” . do. The President was very clear about this.”

This is the logical end of the Democrats’ ongoing problem with gerontocracy: an aged president can’t intervene, and an even older senator limits his agenda. The issue of gerontocracy for Democrats has long been largely political, fueling a rift between young voters who support the party in large numbers and leaders who feel they don’t understand the technology, economics, and crises that are shaping the world today.

It was easy for Democrats to ignore the political issue. Millennials and Generation Z are the two most liberal generations in the nation’s history, and much of both cohorts feel there is little reason for Republicans to vote for them. The urgent need to defeat former President Donald Trump and protect abortion rights after Rowe’s removal has kept youth turnout at the level Democrats need in 2020 and 2022.

The absence of Feinstein makes this a management problem that is not easy to get rid of.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), shown here at the 2022 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, has been unable to travel to Washington for the past two months and has not given a timeline for her return to Capitol Hill.

J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press

“If she can’t come back month after month after month, with this closed Senate [margin], this will not only hurt California. This will be a problem for the country,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota). This is stated in the program CNN State of the Union on Sunday.never calling on Feinstein to resign.

So far, the Californian’s absence hasn’t created an insurmountable backlog in the Senate, where something as simple as a judge’s confirmation can take days to debate if—and in the modern age when—a minority party delays proceedings. There are four judicial candidates who have been heard by the Judiciary Committee but have not yet voted due to Republican opposition. (A number of bipartisan candidates are due to leave the committee on Thursday.)

With Republicans in control of the House, White House and Senate leadership have turned to confirming judges as the best way to advance and protect the party’s goals, especially after Trump’s overhaul of the judiciary in his four years in office. Biden managed to confirm more judges in his first two years in office than any of the last four presidents, diversifying the federal court in terms of identity and profession.

Earlier this week, Democrats proposed replacing Feinstein on the committee, which would require 60 votes in the Senate. Republicans predictably rejected an attempt, leaving the Democrats with no short-term way to secure her seat on the committee. However, Republicans have said they will allow Democrats to replace Feinstein if they resign.

“This is a temporary replacement that is an unprecedented request,” Senator John Cornyn (D-TX), a member of the Republican Judiciary Committee, told HuffPost. “If you weren’t a senator anymore, then yes.

The Democrats have taken steps to walk away from their leaders in their 70s and 80s. Trio of representatives of the leadership of the House of Representatives. Nancy Pelosi (California), Steny Hoyer (Maryland) and Jim Clyburn (South Carolina) – with a combined age of 248 – gave way to three representatives. Hakim Jeffries (New York), Katherine Clark (Massachusetts) and Pete Aguilar (California), who are only 154 years old.

However, there is unease and anxiety among young Democratic politicians bent on seeing the party go, in some cases simply from Biden, in other cases from a wider range of Baby Boomer party leaders, including the Senate Majority Leader. Chuck Schumer (New York) and even progressive senators Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts) and Bernie Sanders (Italy).

One of the few Democrats willing to say anything was Rep. Dean Phillips, a moderate from Minnesota, who openly declared his desire to move on to a new generation of leaders and called for Feinstein’s resignation.

“It’s not about age. It’s about competence,” Phillips told HuffPost on Wednesday. “And I am sad that we are in this position. But there is a crisis of honesty and the reluctance of too many of my colleagues to share.

“I fear that it is being defended by people who care about their interests and not the interests of the country, and that makes me sad,” Phillips said.

By comparison, older politicians in both parties are vocal about their desire to block any attempt to create a norm for older politicians to resign. Both Pelosi, 83, and Senator Chuck Grassley, 89, (R-Iowa), balked at Feinstein’s calls to resign.

“I don’t know what political programs are targeting Senator Feinstein in this way,” Pelosi told reporters on Capitol Hill. I’ve never seen them persecute a sick man like that in the Senate.”

“When Democrats brag about protecting women and older people, I don’t think they have an advantage over Republicans in that regard, but we don’t brag about it like they do,” says Grassley, who is only three. months younger than Feinstein told reporters from Iowa on Tuesday.. “And now they’re coming after her because she’s 89.”

Democratic activists privately admit that concerns about Biden’s age and smarts are a less subtle factor in his low approval numbers. A Pew Research Center A poll earlier this month found that only 31% of Americans would call Biden “mentally sharp” and only 27% would call him “inspirational.” Even among Democrats, only 56% called him witty and less than half called him inspirational.

Even if Democrats can somehow convince Republicans to allow Feinstein’s replacement on the Judiciary Committee, they certainly won’t have a spring chicken in line for the job: 79-year-old Senator Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) will take his place. . Cardin just raised $15,000 in the first quarter of the year, sparking speculation that he might step down and make way for one of the young politicians on Maryland’s staunch Democratic bench.

Don’t count on it. “I’ll let you know when I make a decision,” he told HuffPost. “Money won’t be a problem for me.”

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Two people died in a possible tornado in Oklahoma due to a storm that hit the state



Authorities said two people died in Oklahoma after a possible tornado hit Wednesday night.

McClain County Sheriff’s Office confirmed two deaths and said in facebook post that the crews were responding to reports of injuries and people trapped in their shelters.

Residents of Cole, a county town about 25 miles south of Oklahoma City, were ordered to take shelter immediately Wednesday evening. The County Emergency Management Agency reported at 7:39 p.m. that a dangerous tornado was raging over the city.

“Based on the damage and the reports we’re receiving, however significant, there could reasonably be more injuries or deaths that we don’t know about at this time,” McClain County Deputy Sheriff Scott Gibbons told reporters earlier. there was one confirmed death.

Helicopter video from NBC affiliate KFOR in Oklahoma City showed ruined houses in and around Cole, city ​​around 620

Damage to a home in Cole, Oklahoma following a possible tornado that hit the area on Wednesday.KFOR-News Nation

Oklahoma Highway Patrolman Eric Foster told reporters that Cole was seriously injured, with trees and power lines downed.

He said the rural nature of the community and the state, and the damage, mean searchers need time to check on damaged property and storm shelters.

“We have to park and walk miles to get to a lot of these places, so it will take us a while to find them,” Foster said. “We know that there are victims. We know the property has suffered significant damage.”

In Norman, just east of Cole, the University of Oklahoma has ordered everyone on its campus to immediately seek shelter and stay out of windows as dangerous storms approach. The tornado threat later passed.

In Pottawatomie County, the weather service warned of a tornado storm approaching Shawnee, a city of about 30,000 people. It was not immediately clear if there were any injuries.

The extent of the damage was also not immediately clear. Footage transmitted to KFOR shows broken power lines and damaged signs in the city.

The Pottawatomie County Office of Emergency Management said in Facebook posts that roads and streets were blocked by debris or power lines, “too many to list.” He urged people to stay at home so that rescuers can do their job.

Oklahoma Baptist University at Shawnee said classes were canceled Thursday and Friday and students were ordered to stay in their residences Wednesday night, citing debris and downed power lines.

There were no reports of injuries, but the damage to the campus is significant, ”the university said in a statement. facebook post.

The weather service on Wednesday predicted the possibility of severe thunderstorms, as well as tornadoes in parts of the Great Plains due to a cold front.

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