SCOTUS Leak Suspect Sam Alito Remains at Large - The Friday AM Quickie 1/20/22

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The Supreme Court Is Still Trying to Find the Guy Who Did This

Yesterday the Supreme Court released a long-awaited report about its internal investigation into last year's leak of the draft decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, the case that overturned federal abortion protections established 50 years ago on Sunday in Roe v. Wade. The investigation was conducted by Supreme Court Marshal Gail Curley and reviewed by former federal appeals court judge and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. And it is a total joke.

Investigators interviewed 97 court employees and "determined that in addition to the Justices, 82 employees had access to electronic or hard copies of the [Dobbs] draft opinion." However, the report concludes, "based on a preponderance of the evidence standard, it is not possible to determine the identity of any individual who may have disclosed the document or how the draft opinion ended up with Politico" in May 2022.

Did they reaaaally try, though? As Politico notes in its write-up of yesterday's report:

Despite the court's assurances, questions about the rigor of the investigation are likely to linger. Neither the report nor Chertoff's statement indicates whether the justices themselves were interviewed or whether they disclosed the draft or the vote count to their spouses.

Got that? The court's chosen investigators never apparently never considered the justices themselves as possible leakers. This despite evidence published in the New York Times last November that conservative Justice Samuel Alito leaked a previous court decision for political reasons (though Alito denies it).

For an institution comprised of politicians in robes, appointed for life to a position of unique power -- an institution trying to salvage its very legitimacy, which is increasingly in doubt -- one could think of smarter moves than trying to pass off a sham investigation like this as the real deal. What the public got yesterday was confirmation that the justices of the highest court will collaborate with the top cops to cover up their own misdeeds. Not surprising, perhaps, but also not acceptable.

Labor Updates: Total U.S. Union Membership Still Climbing

You might have seen headlines yeterday, based on the latest release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that union membership declined in the U.S. -- however, that's only one way to look at the numbers. The new BLS data show that the rate of union membership declined from 10.3 percent to 10.1 percent, even as the total number of union members rose by 273,000. I think it's better to emphasize the positive here because union organizers and members have no influence over the overall rate of job growth. In other labor news: French workers are staging massive, coordinated strikes over plans to raise the retirement age; South Korean intelligence agencies and police raided the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions over alleged "ties with North Korea"; and HarperCollins union members picketed their Rupert Murdoch-owned parent company in New York City yesterday.

Professional White Boy Likens Himself to a Slave Over $50 Million Contract Offer to Spread Reactionary Lies

I expect Sam and the MR crew will be talking about this next week, but in the meantime, check out this Daily Beast story, which nicely summarizes the fast-brewing feud between disgustingly well-paid rightwing media personalities Steven Crowder and Ben Shapiro over Crowder's employment terms. (Also see the clip below where Sam introduces Crowder's opening salvo against "Big Con.") Basically, per the Beast report, Crowder was too chicken to call out Shapiro's Daily Wire as the conservative media company that subjected him to a "slave contract" that cuts his compensation whenever he runs afoul of hosting platforms. He also neglected to mention in his faux-whistleblower video that his Daily Wire offer was worth $50 million over four years. Rest assured real journalists don't make that kind of money, only billionaire-backed rightwing propagandists do. Throughout my career as a local newspaper reporter my salary never topped $35,000. (Thanks again to everyone who signed up as a paid AM Quickie subscriber this week!)


  • Markets Yawn as U.S. Passes Fake 'Debt Limit' Republicans are trying to use the arbitrary ceiling on government debt to force cuts to Social Security; the Treasury Department is working around the issue for now. via the Associated Press and the Washington Post.
  • Lula Got No Intel Warnings of Jan. 8 Coup Attempt The leftist Brazilian president also says in an interview that he looks forward to meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden next month and discussing the threats to democracy from the right. via Reuters.
  • Biden Seeks 10,000 Volunteers for Refugee 'Welcome Corps' A new State Department program encourages U.S. citizens to directly sponsor refugees from around the world. via the New York Times.
  • Latest George Santos Lie: I Never Dressed in Drag The fabulist (and formerly fabulous) Republican New York Rep. claims photo, anecdotal and video evidence he performing in Brazil under the name Kitara Ravache are "outrageous" and "categorically false." via NBC News.


$1.8 billion

That's how much creepy far-right billionaire Peter Thiel's venture capital firm made selling almost all of its cryptocurrency holdings last year before the market began to crash, according to the Financial Times. Even as he was cashing out of the market, Thiel continued to promote crypto, telling conference audiences that "we're at the end of the fiat money regime" and that the price of Bitcoin could increase by a factor of 100.


1/20: It's Casual Friday! Sam and Emma host Alex Pareene, contributing editor at The New Republic and proprietor of the AP newsletter on Substack, to round up the week in news.


Crowder NERVOUSLY Picks Fight with 'Big Con' Conservative Media

Look at his hands shake!

Republican Lies About Social Security Keep Getting More Absurd

I talk about this with my fellow workers all the time, about how we all want to work longer for fewer benefits.


Donald Trump: "It's Marla."
Attorney 1: "You're saying Marla [Maples] is in this photo?"
Trump: "That's Marla, yeah. That's my wife."
Attorney 2: "No, that's Carroll."
Trump: "Oh, I see."

-- An exchange between the former president and attorneys during an October deposition, newly unsealed by a judge in the latest civil suit against Trump filed by the writer E. Jean Carroll, who says he raped her in the mid-'90s.

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