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Supreme Court Sets Up Major Battle Over Transgender Health Care

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case on whether states can ban gender-affirming care for minors.

The Supreme Court building at night
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The Supreme Court has picked up another LGBTQ rights case–and despite the court’s recent hard-rightward swing, it could go either way.

The case, United States v. Skrmetti, will argue whether a law out of Tennessee barring gender-affirming medical procedures for minors violates the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The challengers to the draconian law are three teenagers, aged between 13 and 16 years old, who have received puberty blockers and hormone therapy.

The teens—and several major U.S. medical groups—argue that gender-affirming care is lifesaving care, drastically reducing the rates of depression, anxiety, and reported suicide attempts among transgender and nonbinary kids.

“The future of countless transgender youth in this and future generations rests on this Court adhering to the facts, the Constitution, and its own modern precedent,” said Chase Strangio, deputy director for transgender justice at the ACLU’s LGBTQ & HIV Project, in a press release, decrying the bill as an “openly political effort to wage war” on individual freedoms.

Although Republicans have latched onto the transgender community as a focus of their cruel attacks in recent years, it is unclear if the conservative majority on the nation’s highest court will rule against access. In 2020, in a major win for the LGBTQ community, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Neil Gorsuch joined the then-four liberal justices in determining that the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects gay, lesbian, and transgender people from workplace discrimination based on their sexual or gender orientation.

Writing the majority opinion, Gorsuch commented that “the answer is clear.”

Lawyers for plaintiffs could similarly argue that refusing to provide gender-affirming care is discrimination based on someone’s gender. But if they are unsuccessful, then children nationwide will be left without medical care—and it will likely open the door to ban gender-affirming care for adults next.

The justices will hear arguments in United States v. Skrmetti in the fall, with an opinion expected by late June 2025.

Team Trump Is Creating Blacklist of Enemies in Federal Government

Worried about Republicans’ Project 2025? Meet Project Sovereignty 2025.

Donald Trump speaking at a mic
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As plans for a second, “better” (read: more competent in its authoritarianism) Trump administration take shape six months out from the 2024 election, a frightening new initiative appears to be part of it: the creation of a blacklist of federal workers whom conservatives worry might attempt to block the implementation of Trump policies.

Project Sovereignty 2025, a McCarthyite plan to identify and make public names of governmental employees serving as bulwarks against unconstitutional border and deportation policies, is the creation of former Republican congressional aide Tom Jones and his American Accountability Foundation, an AP report revealed. Jones won a $100,000 grant from the Heritage Foundation to create the blacklist. According to the AP, Jones’s work is based largely on “gut check[s]” and “instinct,” running roughshod over the lives of federal workers to ensure the easy implementation of conservative policies should Trump win in November.

The dystopian measure appears to be the newest scheme of the Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025 agenda. The blacklist is an outgrowth of the agenda, outlined in a 900-page document, to stock the federal government with ideologically sympathetic civil servants willing to shirk their duties to expedite ultraconservative orders. Key to Project 2025 is the proposed revival of Trump’s Schedule F executive order, a provision that reclassifies civil servants as political appointees, making them easier to fire. Jones’s list of enemies would be used to target workers for removal from the government under Schedule F, which the Biden administration repealed.

The conservative attempt to weaponize the civil service is alarming, if predictable. It follows from a first Trump term that saw constant turnover in leadership, often over perceived disloyalty to the president, and efforts to gum up the works of the administration by resisting civil servants. That the conservative movement is building an infrastructure to circumvent those civil servants who stood up in the face of the Trump administration’s most egregious overreaches should concern those who, resisting invocations of the “fascist” label, insist that despite his fascistic rhetoric, Trump essentially governed as a standard conservative during his time in office. With the weight of legacy conservative institutions like the Heritage Foundation and their open witch-hunting cadres like the American Accountability Foundation, a second Trump administration would be even more disastrous for the rule of law than the first.

Trump’s Mass Deportation Promise Just Got More Unhinged

Donald Trump warned of “20 million” people who needed to be removed in a rambling speech.

Donald Trump waves as he speaks into a microphone
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Donald Trump pledged over the weekend to begin the “largest deportation operation in history” if elected president, before flying off the rails into one of his most berserk speaking engagements to date, full of promises that ranged from ridiculous to terrifying, and lame complaints about his media coverage. 

Trump’s speech at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s “2024 Road to Majority” conference Saturday was a deluge of wild and inaccurate claims about immigrants aimed to stir the Christian conservative audience into a frenzy. But soon, things predictably descended into the kind of drivel for which the former president is known. 

While speaking about immigration, Trump interrupted himself, as he insisted that he knew there was a “slight difference” between “prisons and jails” and “mental institutions and insane asylums,” to once again talk about his favorite movie.  

“We have probably close to 20 million people that came in from all parts of the world. They’re gonna have to be gone,” Trump began, before abruptly changing topics.

“Whenever I say Silence of the Lambs, the fake news back there,” he said, pointing to the back of the room, “they say, ‘Oh, he’s talking about—he’s talking about Silence of the Lambs.’” 

So true. 

“When I say ‘the late, great Hannibal Lecter,’ they say, ‘Oh, he likes Hannibal Lecter.’ No, they’re crazy,” he continued. 

Trump has repeatedly mentioned the iconic horror villain as a gross generalization about people who have entered the United States through its southern border, many of whom, he baselessly claims, have escaped from the world’s prisons, mental institutions, and insane asylums, because of course, there is a “slight difference.” 

Unfortunately for Trump, who regularly blunders in his off-the-rails rants, what he described was straight reporting of him weirdly praising a fictional cannibal. Still, he continued to insist that the media is unfairly covering him. 

“When I imitate Joe Biden can’t get off the stage, I walk into a wall, purposely,” Trump said, brilliantly noting that “sometimes they don’t have a wall, you’re free-standing.”

“But I imitate him, and I walk into a wall, and the next day they write ‘Donald Trump Could Not Find His Way Off The Stage,’ no, no!” Trump insisted that the Biden campaign is pushing the narrative that their candidate is “improperly covered,” while whining that he had been improperly covered. 

Throughout his speech, Trump repeatedly lashed out against immigrants in the U.S., who he claimed are “getting comfortable now, they’re going to start hitting us very hard. These people are bad.” 

He even floated the idea of a “migrant league of fighters” in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, which UFC CEO Dana White quickly clarified was a joke. While it may have been a joke, it demonstrates that the former president does not really view immigrants as human. And as a result, his immigration policy is simultaneously unserious and bloodthirsty.

Lara Trump’s Sick Praise for Reversal of Roe v. Wade

It’s not surprising Lara Trump is celebrating the reversal of abortion rights, but her reasoning is bizarre.

Lara Trump speaking with a finger pointed
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Lara Trump is happy about how her father-in-law, Donald Trump, overturned the landmark abortion rights decision of Roe v. Wade by appointing three conservative Supreme Court justices—and her reasoning is particularly strange.

The younger Trump told Ainsley Earhardt on Fox & Friends Monday morning how Trump’s preferred justices made the “right decision.”

“Well, look, Donald Trump obviously nominated three Supreme Court justices to the bench who made the right decision and actually set Roe v. Wade out and said, listen, this is up to the states,” Trump said. “It shouldn’t be up to a small group of people in Washington, D.C. The most democratic thing now has happened.”

Lara Trump’s words seem rather contradictory, as Donald Trump as well as Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett are just a small group of people in Washington, D.C. who are going against overwhelming public support of abortion rights. A poll last month, for example, found that 63 percent of U.S. adults believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, compared to 36 percent who believe that it should be illegal in all or most circumstances.

Monday is the two-year anniversary of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned decades of precedent by removing the federal right to abortion. Ever since, red states have passed laws restricting and banning abortion, and in many cases have faced an electoral backlash. November will be the first post-Dobbs presidential election. Will Trump and the GOP face a backlash of their own?

Trump’s Wild Biden Debate Conspiracy Exposes His Own Hypocrisy

Donald Trump’s allies really love to say that Joe Biden is taking drugs.

Donald Trump and Joe Biden gesture at each other as they stand at podiums
Chip Somodevilla/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Representative Ronny Jackson’s time leading the Trump administration’s in-house medical services appears to have colored his perspective on executive drug dependency.

Looking toward Donald Trump’s first match-up against President Joe Biden since he lost four years ago, the former White House physician speculated that Biden would need an extensive cocktail of drugs in order to keep up with his 78-year-old opponent.

“They have to treat his cognition, they have to give him something to think straighter. They have to give him something to wake him up, his alertness. And he’s been agitated, we see that all the time,” Jackson told Fox News Sunday. “That’s a common symptom, or sign of this cognitive disorder that he seems to be suffering from. So they’re probably going to be giving him something that will take the edge off of that as well.”

But that medical expertise comes after bombshell reports that the Trump White House was “awash in speed,” with staffers popping pills and washing them down with alcohol, in large part thanks to Jackson’s leadership as chief medical adviser. Common pill requests included modafinil, Adderall, fentanyl, morphine, and ketamine, according to a Pentagon report released in January. But other, unlisted drugs—such as Xanax—were equally easy to come by from the White House Medical Unit, according to sources that spoke to Rolling Stone.

Presidential prescriptions aren’t exactly unusual: John F. Kennedy Jr. used his White House doctors to fight off back pain, and Richard Nixon relied on his doctors to treat bad moods. But no previous administration has matched the level of debauchery of Trump’s, when in-office pharmacists unquestioningly handed out highly addictive substances to staffers who needed pick-me-ups or energy boosts—no doctor’s exam, referral, or prescription required.

But that wasn’t all Jackson had to say on the matter, instead continuing to deride White House doctors who “didn’t get” Biden’s drug cocktail “right last time,” during the State of the Union address.

“He came out, and he was obviously much more alert, but he was a yelling, angry old man and he still didn’t make a lot of sense,” Jackson said.

Trump’s debate strategies, meanwhile, including bashing CNN debate moderators Dana Bash and Jake Tapper, and accusing Biden of getting a “shot in the ass” to enhance his debate performance.

“He’ll come out all jacked up.… Whatever happened to all that cocaine that was missing a month ago?” Trump said on Saturday.

Who knows where he got that idea.

Trump’s Horrific Joke to Jewish Staff Says Everything You Need to Know

Donald Trump joked about Nazi “ovens” in front of his organization’s Jewish executives.

Donald Trump speaks
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Donald Trump reportedly cracked jokes to his Jewish employees about Nazi “ovens,” according to a former executive at his organization.

Former Trump Organization Executive Vice President Barbara Res claimed Sunday that she and other employees had been mistreated by Trump, years before he’d become a belligerent politician. Res, an attorney and now author, worked at the Trump Organization for 18 years before leaving in 1998.

In an interview with MSNBC’s Ali Velshi, Res said that Trump’s recent rants reminded her of a time when he made a blatantly antisemitic comment to a group of Jewish employees.

Res said that Trump had recently hired a new German executive, and “was bragging to us executives about how great the guy was and he was a real German, and he was so neat and clean. And then he looked at a couple of our executives who happen to be Jewish, and he said, ‘You better watch out for this guy, he sort of remembers the ovens,’ and then smiled.

“Everybody was shocked,” she continued. “I couldn’t believe he said that, but he was making a joke about the Nazi ovens and killing people. And that’s the way he was.”

Velshi also asked Res what she made of Trump’s recent “embrace of religion” as he has continued to co-opt religious rhetoric on the campaign trail.

“His embrace of religion is absolute nonsense,” she said, adding that the Trump she knew “mocked religious people.”

It seems that in many ways, Trump is still the same. Trump has repeatedly said that any Jewish person who votes for President Joe Biden in November should be “ashamed,” have their “head examined,” and “does not love Israel.” Instead, Trump thinks people should vote for a guy who makes jokes about Nazi ovens and whose team is chock full of Christian nationalists and white supremacists.

Trump’s criticism of Biden on Israel is a sharp departure from reality, as the Biden administration has continued to fund weapons to Israel as it wages its brutal military campaign in Gaza, in the face of a crashing approval rate over Biden’s steadfast support of the mass killing and displacement of Palestinians.

What Trump’s Secret Trip Means for His Classified Documents Case

The former president snuck down to Mar-a-Lago just weeks before the FBI raided the property.

Donald Trump looks forward
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Donald Trump reportedly took a “highly unusual” trip to Mar-a-Lago, just weeks before the FBI raided the Florida estate, to repossess thousands of sensitive documents.

But the “discreet,” previously unreported trip—which occurred between July 10 and 12 in the summer of 2022—has caught the interest of investigators, who believe it may have been another attempt to conceal the documents after being served a subpoena for their swift return, ABC News reported Monday.

Several witnesses who spoke with federal investigators explained that Trump’s visit to Mar-a-Lago was unexpected for a couple reasons: first, because Trump typically spends the entirety of his summers at his New Jersey residence in Bedminster; and second, because his private living quarters in Mar-a-Lago were under construction at the time of his visit. Staff were reportedly confused as to where the former president would even stay.

But behind the scenes, former Trump aide Walt Nauta was working to keep the Florida drop-in as covert as possible.

“I’m pretty sure [Trump] wants minimal people around on Monday,” Nauta texted one Trump employee the day before the former president arrived, reported ABC.

In another message, sent on July 8, Nauta told a Trump Organization employee to remain “discreet,” adding an emoji with a zipper over its mouth.

“They were keeping this one quiet … nobody knew about this trip,” one witness with direct knowledge of the trip told investigators, according to ABC News.

But some witnesses who spoke with special counsel Jack Smith’s team did have details on the purpose of the conveniently timed trip. At least one witness who worked closely with Trump told investigators that they believed Trump was “checking on the boxes.”

Trump faces 42 felony charges in the case related to willful retention of national security information, corruptly concealing documents, and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Smith’s case hinges on proving that Trump knew he was not allowed to keep the classified material. The revelation of his secret trip adds more fuel to Smith’s allegation—if the case ever makes it to trial.

The Trump-appointed judge overseeing the case has slow-walked the trial so aggressively that she has been accused by legal experts of attempting to postpone it indefinitely. Last week, Judge Aileen Cannon began hearing arguments not related to Trump’s actions—but instead on whether Smith’s appointment to the case was constitutional.

“The Judge Got It Wrong”: Trump’s Fake Electors Just Got a Lucky Break

A judge has dismissed the fake electors case in Nevada.

Donald Trump holds up his fist
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Nevada’s case against fake electors in Donald Trump’s alleged scheme to overturn the 2020 presidential election results just took a massive hit.

A Nevada state judge dismissed an indictment Friday against six Republicans accused of submitting certificates to Congress that falsely declared Trump triumphant over President Joe Biden, in a move that could potentially kill prosecutors’ bid to convict fake electors on criminal charges.

Lawyers for the fake electors insisted that the case should have been brought to a court further north, closer to where the alleged crime took place, as opposed to the court in Las Vegas. The phony certificates were signed outside of the state Capitol building in Carson City, while the real ones were being signed inside.

Clark County District Court Judge Mary Kay Holthus granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss the case on the grounds that it had been brought to the wrong venue. As a result of Friday’s ruling, the trial date set for January was subsequently vacated.

“The judge got it wrong and we’ll be appealing immediately,” Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford told reporters at the courtroom. He declined to comment further.

Meanwhile, the defense attorneys declared the case dead on arrival, as the three-year statute of limitations for filing new charges against their clients had passed months ago.

In November, it was reported that Ford was investigating a fake elector scheme in the key battleground state, a plot that was intended to flood Congress with election irregularities so the states’ votes could potentially be flipped for Trump.

The six people in Nevada who signed up to be fake electors included Michael McDonald, the chairman of the Nevada Republican Party; Jim DeGraffenreid, a committee member of the Republican National Committee; and Shawn Meehan, a Douglas County committee member. McDonald and DeGraffenreid testified for special counsel Jack Smith in return for protection from federal charges but were still subject to state-level proceedings.

Each of the six fake electors was charged with offering a false instrument for filing and uttering a forged instrument, both of which are felonies that carry sentences of up to five years in prison. All but Meehan are set to appear as delegates for Nevada at Lara Trump’s Republican National Convention next month.

Nevada is among the seven battleground states with cases against fake electors who sought to flip the outcome of the democratic process for Trump. The others are Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Trump’s Surprising Promise to Immigrants Quickly Retracted by Campaign

Donald Trump made a shocking pledge to help international students—only for his campaign to immediately add some caveats.

Donald Trump wears a Make America Great Again cap and speaks at a lectern
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Donald Trump made a very interesting immigration proposal on a podcast released Thursday: giving green cards to all foreign college graduates in the United States. But hours later, his campaign said the plan would not be so clear-cut.

Appearing with right-wing tech baron David Sacks on the All-In podcast, Trump said he would implement the proposal helping international students if he returns to the White House. It’s a departure from Trump’s usual anti-immigrant rhetoric, and the statement came after one of the other podcast hosts, investor Jason Calcanis, asked him to “promise us you will give us more ability to import the best and brightest around the world to America.”

“I do promise, but I happen to agree,” Trump said, and added that “what I will do is—you graduate from a college, I think you should get automatically, as part of your diploma, a green card to be able to stay in this country, and that includes junior colleges.”

If Trump was serious, it would open up citizenship possibilities to a large number of foreigners—there were about one million international students in the United States in 2022, for example. But Trump’s campaign press secretary, Karoline Leavitt, walked back the plan hours later, issuing a statement to The New York Times that it would include an “aggressive vetting process,” excluding “all communists, radical Islamists, Hamas supporters, America haters and public charges.” She added that the plan would only include the “most skilled graduates who can make significant contributions to America.”

This would seem to bring the college plan in line with Trump’s previous immigration policies, which have been long criticized as xenophobic, racist, and cruel. The mention of “aggressive vetting” seems very similar to “extreme vetting,” which was the language used to describe Trump’s travel ban, frequently referred to as a “Muslim ban” for its targeting of nationals from several Muslim-majority countries. Indeed, Trump’s new proposal for international students came shortly after he claimed that high levels of immigration constitute an “invasion of our country.”

Trump’s recent rhetoric also makes clear his views on immigration haven’t improved: He’s discussed a mass deportation plan involving police, continues to smear immigrants as criminals, and makes crazy rants at the southern U.S. border. Even before his campaign walked back his college plan, it should have been taken with a big grain of salt.

Samuel Alito’s Mysterious Absence From Supreme Court Raises Questions

Why is the Supreme Court justice missing from the bench two days in a row?

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito
Erin Schaff/Pool/Getty Images

Samuel Alito was again absent from the Supreme Court on Friday after skipping out on Thursday. No information has yet been provided by the court for Alito’s mysterious absence, which comes as the court is issuing decisions before the end of its term and leaves nothing but questions on his whereabouts.

Is he combating a hangover from a particularly raucous flag day with Martha-Ann? Is he ducking out to delay the decision on Trump’s presidential immunity case?

Alito’s absence poses the possibility that the Supreme Court will have to extend its term into July to complete its decisions for the term. One major case waiting in the wings is a decision on presidential immunity, which will decide if former presidents can extend immunity protections after they leave office—a determination that would greatly benefit Trump in his federal election interference case, currently still on hold.

The most conservative justice on the bench, Alito’s absence hasn’t stopped his name from appearing on Supreme Court decisions. This week, he helped ensure that U.S. citizens can’t sue over their spouses’ visa denials, or in the case of Smith v. Arizona,
declared the court had dealt a “crippling wound on modern evidence law.” Wherever he is, he’s still turning in his homework and is as dramatic as ever.