A Tumultuous SCOTUS Term

Happy Thursday! The next time you accidentally make a wrong turn and add a couple minutes to your commute, show yourself some grace. Odds are you didn’t just cost yourself $7,000.

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • The Israeli government said Wednesday it had withdrawn its troops from the West Bank city of Jenin after a two-day raid in a Palestinian refugee camp aimed at destroying terrorists’ “infrastructure.” The incursion—one of Israel’s largest operations in the region in two decades—left one Israeli soldier and 12 Palestinians dead, with many more injured or detained. The Israeli military said it destroyed weapons storage and bombs, while the Palestinian authority characterized the raid as a war crime. Doctors Without Borders accused Israeli forces of firing tear gas inside a hospital. “No non-combatants were killed during the counterterrorism activity in the Jenin Camp,” a spokesman for the Israeli military claimed. “The IDF is not fighting against the Palestinian people—only against terrorist operatives.”
  • The U.S. Navy said Wednesday American forces successfully prevented the Iranian Navy from seizing two oil tankers in international waters near Oman after Iranian warships opened fire on one of the tankers. Iran has “harassed, attacked or seized” close to 20 merchant vessels in international waters since 2021, according to a U.S. Navy spokesman.
  • The Pentagon announced Wednesday it will tighten existing restrictions on classified information access in the wake of a major leak four months ago, including adding detection of electronic device usage in secure facilities and monitoring users’ access to top-secret information. The changes come two weeks after Jack Teixeira, the Air National Guardsman accused of leaking the sensitive military documents, pleaded not guilty to six federal charges.
  • Tuesday, according to U.S. National Centers for Environmental Prediction data, was Earth’s hottest day on record—and last month was the hottest June since at least 1940. The record-high temperatures come as surface ocean temperatures reach new peaks and ice levels in the Antarctic Sea hit record-breaking lows.
  • The Biden administration approved America’s largest-ever offshore wind project Wednesday, allowing Danish energy company Orsted to build dozens of wind turbines off the coast of New Jersey. The project could power up to half a million homes but has attracted criticism from local residents and Republican lawmakers.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky alleged Tuesday that Russian troops may have placed explosives on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP)—five days after he announced that Ukrainian intelligence suspected a coming attack on the plant, Europe’s largest. A Kremlin spokesperson, meanwhile, warned Wednesday that Ukraine was planning to strike the ZNPP with a missile. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Wednesday it has yet to confirm the presence of explosives at the plant, but requires greater access to monitor the situation.
  • China set export restrictions this week on two minerals used to produce semiconductors and other technologies. China and the U.S. have been ramping up such measures in recent months to protect economic advantages and national security. The announcement preceded Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s trip to Beijing, which begins today and aims to ease economic tensions between the two countries.
  • Meta has launched a new platform called “Threads” meant to take on Twitter. Threads went live Wednesday in more than 100 countries. Meta leaders hope Instagram’s more than 2 billion users will try the new app, launched to capture Twitter’s market share as users flee the platform over Elon Musk’s recent decisions including limiting how many posts accounts can view and pay-walling previously free features.

Scorching SCOTUS

The U.S. Supreme Court building at dawn (Photographer: Samuel Corum/Bloomberg)
The U.S. Supreme Court building at dawn (Photographer: Samuel Corum/Bloomberg)

Some elected officials sure are frustrated with the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence these days. “Useless judges,” one claimed, may view the Constitution as a “thing of wax” to “twist and shape” as they see fit.

Oh wait, that was Thomas Jefferson.

The court has always been the object of scorn from those upset by its rulings, but 221 years since Jefferson’s presidency began, SCOTUS faces intensified attacks on its status as a nonpartisan constitutional arbiter. With the dust settling after another term’s ending, the justices are headed out of town for summer vacation and we’re reflecting on their rulings. The court handed down 58 decisions this year, many of which blurred traditional ideological lines. The justices’ rulings in the highest-profile cases also tended to line up with public opinion—but that hasn’t stopped progressives’ calls for changes to the court.

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