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Our Best Stuff on the Supreme Court, Trump’s Legal Woes, and Ukraine
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Our Best Stuff on the Supreme Court, Trump’s Legal Woes, and Ukraine

Plus: Could Donald Trump and RFK Jr. run together?

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts departs from the Senate chamber on February 5, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Hello and happy Sunday. This is going to be short, as the Ohio bureau has briefly and temporarily relocated to Tennessee for yet another baseball tournament and I’ve been a little disconnected from the news. And our schedule leaves no time for a Barbenheimer double feature, so I hope you weren’t expecting a review. 

Our travels this summer have afforded me a few chances to be more offline, and I think there are some benefits to that. For example, when I’m listening to some fellow baseball moms talk about their plans to take their daughters to Barbie (which seems to be the second-hottest ticket of the summer, just below Taylor Swift’s tour, and requires about as much outfit planning), I can’t be paying attention to the Very Online conversation about whether the movie is a “flaming garbage heap” of wokeness, as the Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro put it, or not as gay as some of its LGBT fans were hoping. I don’t know who needs to hear this, but it’s a movie about a doll. Take a deep breath.

It might seem odd for an editor at a news publication to recommend spending a little less time engaging with news, but the above example demonstrates what can happen when you spend too much time scrolling. Obviously it’s good to be up on the news and to seek sources that can put current events in perspective and analyze their importance. But unless you read print publications or bookmark a select few quality sites and check them out directly, sorting out the news can be a lot like panning for gold: You’re going to sift through a lot of dirt in search of even a small nugget. The difference, of course, is that the dirt on the internet can’t be washed away.

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably heard us say we’re trying to do things differently, to slow the news down and focus on what’s important. But sometimes it’s hard to follow our own advice. It’s easy to go to Twitter to check on a breaking news update from Ukraine or search for what a particular journalist is reporting on immigration or a Supreme Court decision and then accidentally end up going down a rabbit hole on how the military is undergoing a “Marxist indoctrination” or how Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is the hero we need.

So if you ever find yourself weighing whether you should jump into a conversation about whether the Barbie movie is a stealth weapon deployed by the social justice movement to get your daughters railing against the patriarchy, just put the phone down or close your laptop and get some fresh air. (And then when you come back, check out the latest from The Dispatch.) Thanks for reading.

Is Chief Justice John Roberts still in charge of the Supreme Court? What do recent decisions involving states suing the federal government portend for future cases the court is likely to hear? Who is the natural heir to the late Justice Antonin Scalia when it comes to writing spicy—but significant—dissents? (The answer may surprise you.) Contributor Adam White looks back at the Supreme Court term and uses the decisions handed down this year—and the dissents to them—to examine how the court will look and behave going forward. One trend that White notices is that, “Roberts seems comfortable announcing broad separation-of-powers principles, even while allowing that more specific lines may need to be drawn in future cases, by the courts, with an eye to specific facts.”

Former President  Donald Trump is facing 37 federal felony counts related to his retention of classified documents and his alleged refusal to cooperate in attempts to return them. He might well be facing further charges regarding the events at the Capitol on January 6, 2021. He’s also the frontrunner for the 2024 GOP nomination. How does any of this make sense? That’s a question without a good answer. It’s also impossible to ignore. We’re launching a newsletter that will grapple with the unprecedented mashup of the law and politics that Trump presents. In our “pilot episode,” Sarah Isgur and Michael Warren explain why Trump believes he can benefit from delaying the trIal. (Since we published this, the trial date has been set for May 2024. Trump had sought for the trial to be “delayed indefinitely”.) “This particular criminal defendant wants to make his trial a campaign issue. And if he’s elected president? This whole thing gets much, much weirder—and better—for him,” they write. 

It seemed encouraging just a few weeks ago when Turkey assented to Sweden joining NATO and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan seemed to signal that he was aligning with the West after playing footsie for most of Russia’s war on Ukraine. But those movements—most notably his pledge of Turkish military escorts of Ukrainian grain ships across the Black Sea—appear to have struck a nerve in Moscow. Charlotte reports on how Russia’s refusal to renew the Black Sea Initiative to ensure agricultural exports could increase global food shortages: “According to Yuriy Sak, an adviser to Ukraine’s defense minister, Russian strikes on Ukrainian ports have destroyed 60,000 tons of grain since Moscow’s exit from the deal. ‘They’ve deliberately targeted the port infrastructure, the warehouses used for grain storage,’ Sak tells The Dispatch.”

Here’s the best of the rest:

  • A coup-plotter and a conspiracy theorist walk into a bar run for president together. What’s the worst that could happen if Donald Trump teamed up with Robert F. Kennedy Jr.? Nick delves into that uncomfortable question in Boiling Frogs (🔒).
  • Why does biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy think he’ll be the GOP nominee? The Dispatch Politics newsletter has his answer in a news-packed edition that you should read if you haven’t.
  • Israeli President Isaac Herzog addressed Congress on Wednesday, and his presence exposed divisions within the Democratic Party. Harvest has the details.
  • Why are leading experts in the field of artificial intelligence worried about potential harm from the new technology? Thomas Dorsey explains.
  • On the pods: Jonah welcomes Daily Beast columnist Matt Lewis to The Remnant to discuss, “how the rich get elected and the elected get rich,” and what that’s done to our politics. On The Dispatch Podcast, Kevin, Sarah, and Michael Warren discuss Trump’s legal woes and the 2024 campaign. And on Advisory Opinions, David French and Sarah talk to Berkeley law professor Amanda Tyler about a few end-of-term decisions from the Supreme Court.

Rachael Larimore is managing editor of The Dispatch and is based in the Cincinnati area. Prior to joining the company in 2019, she served in similar roles at Slate, The Weekly Standard, and The Bulwark. She and her husband have three sons.