The Judge with the King Complex
Plus: Joe Biden Wants You to Know He’s Not Soft on Crime
Recently in The Bulwark:
CHARLIE SYKES: What Were You Thinking?
TIM MILLER: CPAC: Taste the Sadness
DAVID FRENCH 🎧: ‘James Madison’s Vision of Pluralism’
You can support The Bulwark by subscribing to Bulwark+ or just by sharing this newsletter with someone you think would value it.
KIMBERLY WEHLE: The Judge with the King Complex.
This month, less than a year after the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade, a ruling is expected in another abortion-related federal case that could have wide-reaching effects. The case is less interesting for its substance, though, than for how it demonstrates the troublingly outsized power of low-level federal courts to effectively write policy for the entire country via a practice called “nationwide injunctions.”
Filed last year by Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal group, and a number of individual doctors, the case (Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA) seeks to overturn the Food and Drug Administration’s 2000 approval of the drug mifepristone (also known as “RU-486” and “Mifeprex”) for use in ending pregnancies through ten weeks gestation. As of 2020, about half of all abortions in the United States rely on pills (usually mifepristone in combination with misoprostol), which patients and providers happen to prefer anyway.
BRENT ORRELL: The Federal AI Shambles.
Over the last year, we’ve seen the explosion into the public consciousness of major breakthroughs in artificial intelligence in the form of new tools that were immediately widely available.
First came the release of a handful of sophisticated image-generating AI tools—Stable Diffusion, OpenAI’s DALL-E2, Midjourney, and various spinoffs. The availability and impressiveness of these tools led to playful experimentation, experimental adoption in some industries, and lots of speculation and debate about the moral, social, and legal implications of the techniques used to produce the images, and about the future of human-made art and illustration.
John Bolton thought he could create a coherent foreign policy for Trump, but now sees he was naive. Plus, Charlie Sykes asks Bolton about his early defense of Trump’s relations with Putin — and why he didn’t testify during the first impeachment. Bolton spoke with Sykes at the Principles First Summit.
Marjorie Taylor Greene wants a national divorce. We don’t, but we asked our focus groups about it anyway. New York Times opinion columnist David French (literally) wrote the book on a possible national divorce. He joins Sarah to talk about whether (and how) the United States holds together; and the task of rebuilding trust in our institutions.
Bulwark+ members can listen to an ad-free version of these podcasts on the player of their choice. Learn more at Bulwark+ Podcast FAQ.
JILL D. LAWRENCE: Joe Biden Wants You to Know He’s Not Soft on Crime.
My home of Washington, D.C., has never seemed so powerless, and it’s a Democratic president driving home our helplessness to control our own fate. With Joe Biden’s blessing, Congress is about to overturn a District of Columbia law for the first time in over thirty years, and I’m tremendously conflicted about it.
Here’s where I’m coming from: The district should be a state, for countless reasons starting with taxation without representation for a place that has more people than Wyoming and Vermont. Like them, we need two senators (we now have zero) and a full-fledged representative in the House instead of a delegate with a circumscribed role. And we need real self-government. The Constitution gave Congress legislative control over the district “in all Cases whatsoever,” and that clearly hasn’t changed much since the granting of “home rule” 50 years ago.
Happy Monday! It was so wonderful meeting many of you this weekend at Principles First. I hope if you went, you enjoyed the panels as much as I did. Every panel was good, but while these are fraught times for democracy, the humor and good cheer of Gov. Moore, Sec. Fontes and Recorder Richer was, indeed, spiriting.
And thanks to those who did a “wrist check” to let me know you typically read this far. I went with Keanu’s watch from Speed. I figured if you came to our first live event, you probably got a glimpse of the Bulwark Diver. Plus, I’m a suburban dad. It’s my #style.
We’ll do it live! I got home after Principles First to do something that our younger readers probably never experienced. Waited to watch something live: the Chris Rock special on Netflix, which did not disappoint. Here’s a look behind the scenes.
What you missed at CPAC. If you’re a Showtime subscriber, our very own Tim Miller was with The Circus, and you should check out his dispatch. (If not, here’s a summary of who said what.)
Here’s an extended version of him with Kari Lake:
Hopefully, it was “the last gasp” of CPAC. (But it likely won’t.)
Mini-Mitt… Here’s what the NRSC thinks of Utah’s incumbent Senator. They shrunk him like the conscience on their shoulders that he is. Before they got caught and changed it. Hardy har har guys.
More media layoffs… SiriusXM is laying off 8% of its workforce (about 500 people) because of declining car sales, but the last New Jersey reporter on Capitol Hill just got laid off. More George Santoses here we come. Subscribe to your local paper(s), if you’re lucky to have more than one.
Vogtle 3 goes critical… It’s good that America is beginning to re-embrace nuclear, but don’t look to the Georgia project (or the cancelled ones) to be the model to emulate.
RFK, Jr.? Really? Hillsdale College invited him to speak. Decline is a choice.
Matt Gaetz “is not who we need to be like…” Harsh GOP on GOP violence from typically quiet Missouri Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer.
Whiskey Fungus… Is ruining the neighborhood around the Jack Daniels distillery. Historically, I’m a bourbon guy, but when it comes to trusting multinational conglomerates to do the right thing, don’t.
Take a minute… And watch this powerful video from Arnold on the rise of anti-semitism.
That’s it for me. Tech support questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions for me? Respond to this message.
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. For full credits, please consult the article.