Discover more from The Bulwark
Police Should Chill the F**k Out.
Plus, why there's much more than student loans at stake in Biden v. Nebraska.
Recently in The Bulwark:
CHARLIE SYKES: Why Was George Santos Wearing That AR-15 Pin?
You can support The Bulwark by subscribing to Bulwark+ or just by sharing this newsletter with someone you think would value it.
MONA CHAREN: Police Should Chill the F**k Out.
Police reform is hard. Not that there’s any shortage of smart proposals. In the wake of the shameful beating death of Tyre Nichols, we’ve seen a number of promising reform ideas, including dramatically increasing training and disempowering police unions, both of which I support. But, the world being what it is, resources are finite, special interests are powerful, and inertia always stands in the path of reform like an enormous boulder in the road.
But I’d like to propose my own modest idea that will not cost a dime, will not require any changes in law, and can be implemented immediately: Let’s police the language police use.
Tonight’s SOTU also serves as a big kickoff for House Republicans’ mostly policy-free Congress. For the past couple years, the GOP has had zero control over Congress or the White House. Now House Republicans, who have big plans for two years of investigations and symbolic votes, intend to use tonight’s SOTU to make a splash.
Yesterday and today, the House Republican Conference hosted a media row in the Cannon House Office Building, one of the buildings in the Capitol complex. The media row featured multiple backdrops displaying Republican branding and messaging.
The balloon set off a performance theater among members of Congress that was unbecoming of their rank and office, Lt. Gen Mark Hertling tells Charlie Sykes on today’s podcast. Plus, how Jan 6 has impacted education at military colleges, and an update on the war in Ukraine.
Bulwark+ members can listen to an ad-free version of these podcasts on the player of their choice. Learn more at Bulwark+ Podcast FAQ.
KIMBERLY WEHLE: Much More Than Student Loans at Stake in Lawsuit.
On February 28, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Biden v. Nebraska, a case involving six states—Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Carolina—and two individual borrowers who separately sued the Department of Education to halt its student-debt relief plan. Although the plan was initiated by former President Trump in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Biden administration expanded it to not just delay loan repayments, but also to cancel up to $20,000 in debt for some borrowers. The justices rejected the federal government’s requests to temporarily reinstate the program during the litigation, instead fast-tracking the two cases, which meant skipping over the immediate appellate court in one of them.
The consolidated case is important not just because more than 43 million people have outstanding loans under the federal government programs implicated, with debts totaling more than $1.6 trillion. And its importance goes beyond the merits of whether Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona overstepped his agency’s legal authority in canceling a subset of student loans. Lurking in the lawsuit are two important conflicts: one between the states and the federal government, the other among Congress, the president and the Supreme Court. Each of these is a tug-of-war over constitutional power—and each may prove enormously consequential.
BILL LUEDERS: Wisconsin Supreme Court Race a Test for Democracy.
There’s a small chance that a low-turnout election in Wisconsin in a couple weeks will shape if not determine the future of American democracy. It probably won’t happen, but here’s how it could:
Along with 37 other states, Wisconsin has its voters elect justices to its high court; as in 13 other states, its contests for the seats are nonpartisan. The February 21 primary election for the Wisconsin Supreme Court will decide which two of four candidates will advance to the April 4 general election. There are two conservatives, Daniel Kelly and Jennifer Dorow, and two liberals, Janet Protasiewicz and Everett Mitchell, on the ballot. All are serious contenders: It’s possible the vote will split evenly enough that either the two conservatives or the two liberals are the top two vote-getters.
Happy Tuesday! If it’s a Tuesday in late January or early February, it could be time for the Super Bowl of American politics. And tonight, we’re getting one. Up for “the worst job in politics”, tantamount to the Madden Curse, is Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders. While it’s disappointing that Natural State voters rewarded a prolific liar with their highest office, at least she’ll join the cursed tonight.
Even though they’re largely forgettable and now better known for the antics of the audience or their guests (my bosses typically sent their spouse or had a drawing for staff), I love the pomp and circumstance of the State of the Union. The hilarious glad handing of the suckers who sit for hours to get an aisle seat (cough cough Sheila Jackson Lee cough cough) is must-see TV, and it’s often a rare glimpse into hot mics on the floor, which we saw during the Kevin McCarthy-a-thon.
So, even though tonight is destined to be something you quickly forget, I hope you’ll enjoy it, as I do. Make sure you’re following my colleague Joe Perticone for all the things you won’t see on TV.
Meanwhile, in Florida… The Trump-DeSantis wars are heating up.
Also, in Florida: "Books Are NOT for Student Use!!" Why some FL schools are removing books from their libraries.
Confessions of a sometimes-MAGA critic… Inside the lonely world of Nancy Mace.
I’m not a midwesterner… In fact, nobody is.
Who could have predicted this?! The “Fair Tax” is haunting 2024 GOP Presidential hopefuls. (We told you!)
A “beautiful” pay to play scam… With ill-gotten barber and cosmetology licenses in D.C. Do we really need to have licenses to cut hair?
Chip Roy snubbed? House Republicans subbed in Matt Gaetz on the new “Weaponization” subcommittee. Roy tells CNN it happened for a “variety of good reasons."
That’s it for me. Tech support questions? Email email@example.com. Questions for me? Respond to this message.
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. For full credits, please consult the article.