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Daily Archives: July 1, 2018

President’s Selection of a Nominee for a Supreme Court Vacancy: Overview – President’s Selection of a Nominee for a Supreme Court Vacancy: Overview, June 27, 2018: “On June 27, 2018, Justice Anthony Kennedy, after serving on the Supreme Court as an Associate Justice since 1988, announced his intention to retire from the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Kennedy indicated that his retirement would be effective July 31, 2018. This Insight provides an overview of several issues related to the selection of a nominee by a President for a vacancy on the Court. For additional information and analyses on these and other issues, see CRS Report R44235, Supreme Court Appointment Process: President’s Selection of a Nominee.

The Role of Senate Advice – When a vacancy occurs on the Supreme Court, it becomes the President’s constitutional responsibility to select a successor to the vacating Justice, as well as the constitutional responsibility of the Senate to exercise its role in providing “advice and consent” to the President. Constitutional scholars have differed in how much importance the Framers of the Constitution attached to the word “advice” in the phrase “advice and consent.” Historically, the degree to which Senate advice has been sought or used has varied, depending on the President. It is a common, though not universal, practice for Presidents, as a matter of courtesy, to consult with Senate party leaders as well as with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee before choosing a nominee. Presidents have also traditionally consulted with a candidate’s home state Senators, especially if they are of the same political party as the President.

Criteria for Selecting a Nominee – While the precise criteria used in selecting a Supreme Court nominee vary from President to President, two general motivations appear to underlie the choices of almost every President. One is the desire to have the nomination serve the President’s political interests (in the partisan and electoral senses of the word “political,” as well as in the public policy sense); the second is to demonstrate that a search was successfully made for a nominee having the highest professional qualifications. Other criteria might include a nominee’s reputation for integrity and impartiality, demographic considerations, and the personal qualities of the nominee…”

Commentary – It’s time to rein in the data barons

MIT Technology Review – Martin Giles: “Facebook, Amazon, and Google will resist attempts to restrain their market power. But for the sake of our collective prosperity and our personal privacy, it’s a fight we can’t afford to lose…With over two billion users, the company is the colossus of social networking, dwarfing rivals like Twitter and… Continue Reading

Draft Bill – Trump Administration abandons foundation of WTO

“Axios has obtained a leaked draft of a Trump administration bill [scroll down to see the text of the bill embedded in this article as referenced] — ordered by the president himself — that would declare America’s abandonment of fundamental World Trade Organization rules. The draft legislation is stunning. The bill essentially provides Trump a… Continue Reading

New books – Wars of None: AI, Big Data, and the Future of Insurgency

Lawfare: “…The definitive work on emerging technology and insurgency has yet be written, but two recent books offer suggestions for how the era of big data and AI will affect the United States’ modern conflicts. Small Wars, Big Data: The Information Revolution in Modern Conflict, by Eli Berman, Joseph Felter, and Jacob Shapiro, offers few… Continue Reading

Federal and State Wiretaps Skyrocket in Trump’s First Year Law Enforcement Sought 3,800 Taps—Not One Request Rejected—And It’s Not All Drug Dealers, David Cay Johnston: “The number of court-approved federal wiretaps rose 30% during Donald Trump’s first year in office, the latest indicator sign of how his administration is shifting our government from facilitating a healthy society into something closer to a police… Continue Reading

llustrated Maps of New York Through the Ages

llustrated Maps of New York Through the Ages By The Paris Review “Since their inception, maps have been embellished with illustrations. Through July 16, a selection of illustrated maps of New York spanning six centuries is on view at the New York Public Library. A preview of the exhibition—along with captions written by its curator… Continue Reading

CRS Social Security Death Benefit Update – and How SS benefits are calculated “Social Security is formally known as the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program. This report focuses on the Survivors Insurance component of Social Security. When workers die, their spouses, former spouses, and dependents may qualify for Social Security survivors benefits. This report describes how a worker becomes covered by Survivors Insurance and outlines… Continue Reading

White House Produces No Evidence It Considered Public Input on Reorganizing Government

Government Executive: “The White House has no records relating to its categorization or analysis of public input on how it should reorganize government, according to the results of a lawsuit filed by a watchdog group. Following President Trump’s 2017 executive order calling on all federal agencies to reform themselves by shedding workers and restructuring their… Continue Reading

Facebook gave 61 companies access to sensitive user data

WSJ (paywall) – “Facebook Inc. disclosed it gave dozens of companies special access to user data, detailing for the first time a spate of deals that contrasted with the social network’s previous public statements that it restricted personal information to outsiders in 2015. The deals with app developers, device and software makers, described in 747… Continue Reading

Whistleblower’s guilty plea and unmistakable trail of watermarks

Axios: “Reality Winner has pleaded guilty: “All of my actions I did willfully, meaning I did so of my own free will,” she told a court on Tuesday, per the New York Times‘ report. The former Air Force linguist earned the distinction of being the first person prosecuted by the Trump administration on charges of… Continue Reading

NYT – How conservatives weaponized the First Amendment

How conservatives weaponized the First Amendment: “…The Citizens United campaign finance case, for instance, was decided on free-speech grounds, with the five-justice conservative majority ruling that the First Amendment protects unlimited campaign spending by corporations. The government, the majority said, has no business regulating political speech. The dissenters responded that the First Amendment did not… Continue Reading