The Supreme Court Will Rule on Trump's Immunity - The Tuesday AM Quickie 12/12/23

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12/12: It's News Day Tuesday! But first, Sam and Emma speak with Luke Goldstein, writing fellow at The American Prospect, to discuss his reporting on the Google antitrust trial.


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Today you'll read about a potential surprise court ruling regarding Trump, Texas' draconian abortion measures, and a major antitrust defeat for Google.

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Jack Smith Asks Supreme Court to Rule on Trump Immunity

Special counsel Jack Smith asked the Supreme Court to rule on whether former President Donald Trump is immune from prosecution because he committed his alleged crimes while in office. The court agreed to hear the request on an "expedited basis," which would bypass a federal appeals court and – perhaps – provide a quicker, and more definitive, ruling on whether Trump can be prosecuted.

"This case presents a fundamental question at the heart of our democracy: whether a former President is absolutely immune from federal prosecution for crimes committed while in office," wrote Smith in his legal petition.

Smith seems to be trying to settle the immunity issue – which has been one of Trump's main defenses, along with his habitual rambling verbal assaults on the deep state – in one stroke. Prosecutors have tried to keep Trump's federal election interference trial on track for its March 4 start. Trump, when he is not denying the validity of any legal proceedings against himself, has been working to delay, delay, delay.

Texas Supreme Court Rules Against Emergency Abortion

The Texas Supreme Court ruled against Kate Cox, who is 20 weeks pregnant with an unviable fetus and seeking an emergency exception to the state's abortion ban. Ken Paxton, Texas' arch-conservative attorney general, had requested that the state's highest court intervene after a lower court ruled to allow Cox to terminate her pregnancy. The Supreme Court instead ruled that Cox's doctor "could not, or at least did not, attest to the court that Ms. Cox’s condition poses the risks the exception requires." Cox decided to leave Texas and pursue medical care in another state in which abortion is legal, but her legal representatives were careful to note that many women don't have such resources. The Texas case is seen as a dark bellwether for where abortion law is headed in red states. Texas, in particular, has gone from more than 50,000 abortions performed per year to just a few dozen in 2023.

UAW Accuses Three Automakers of Union-Busting

The United Auto Workers formally accused three automakers of union-busting by filing unfair labor practice charges against Honda, Hyundai, and Volkswagen. The charges concern manufacturing plants in, respectively, Indiana, Alabama, and Tennessee, where union officials allege that automakers targeted union organizers and destroyed pro-union literature.

UAW President Shawn Fain said that workers were making just demands of their employers, who in turn responded with illicit, underhanded tactics:

Like corporations everywhere, no matter what they tell you, these companies are more than willing to break the law, if it means protecting their bottom line from the workers. They'll lie, cheat, steal, intimidate. They'll surveil people, and they'll coerce, then out of the other side of their mouth, they'll tell you, 'We're a family.'"


  • Google Loses Major Lawsuit Against Epic Games A jury ruled against Google in an antitrust lawsuit brought by Epic Games, the makers of Fortnite, which charged that the Android app store is an illegal monopoly limiting competition. The suit is a rare successful challenge against the (very lucrative) walled gardens erected by industry giants Google and Apple. via The Washington Post.
  • Microsoft and AFL-CIO Form Non-Aggression Pact Microsoft agreed to "remain neutral" in the face of labor organizing efforts at the company and its subsidiaries. The two entities also agreed (without offering much specificity) to work together on AI and labor issues, a key concern for many unions. via Reuters.
  • Zelensky Asks for More Military Aid Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Washington, DC yesterday and asked US military officials to produce more military aid. The White House, citing an "unshakeable commitment" to Ukraine in its fight against Russia's invasion, has offered a $60 billion military-assistance package, but Republicans in Congress blocked it. via BBC News.
  • Georgia Election Workers Seek Damages from Giuliani Attorneys for two election workers who were falsely accused by Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani of tampering with ballots are looking for tens of millions of dollars in damages from the former New York City mayor. "What the plaintiffs' counsel are asking for in this case is the civil equivalent of a death penalty," Giuliani's lawyer told jurors. Oh? via Politico and ABC News.

46 percent

That's the share of teens who recently told Pew that they are online "almost constantly." In 2014, the number was 24 percent. In a survey of teen social media habits, Pew found that YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat were the dominant platforms. The overall picture is grim, with other research filling out a portrait of a world in which social-media use feels compulsory and teens receive hundreds of smartphone notifications every day.


US Vetoes UN Ceasefire in Gaza

As the Palestinian death toll passed 18,000, the US vetoed a UN security council resolution calling for a ceasefire.

Ryan Grim: How the Squad Became the Squad

"The busiest man in journalism" chats with Emma and Sam about his new book on AOC and the Squad.


"It was reported that a patient was brought into the magnet room with a concealed ferrous handgun. In the process of entering the bore, the handgun was attracted to the magnet and fired a single round. The patient received a gunshot wound in the right buttock area."

-- From an FDA report about a woman who was shot by a gun she brought into an MRI tube. "Ferrous" means iron, which means that your metal gun may try to shoot you should you take it into a machine with giant rotating magnets. The patient, who had said "no" to a screening question about whether she had a weapon, received mild injuries.

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