ESSENTIAL #1: “DOES A NEW SUPREME COURT RULING MEAN THE SUPREME COURT CAN NO LONGER USE ASSET FORFEITURE TO ENRICH THEIR DEPARTMENTS?” ANNE BRANIGIN, THE ROOT
From the article: “In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution limits the ability of state and local police to seize and keep cash, property, and other assets that may have been used to commit crimes, particularly when it’s used to enrich police departments.
Written by Ruth Bader Ginsburg on her first day back at the court, the decision cites the Constitution’s ban on excessive fines to place limits on civil asset forfeiture—a practice in which states and localities confiscate cash, cars, houses, and other assets believed to have been used in crimes. The practice has been decried by civil liberties organizations for years; police departments often keep the revenue from such seizures, and these forfeitures occur throughout the country even when no one has been charged or convicted of a crime.”
Note from the Editor-in-Chief: Watch this week’s #CivicUpdate to learn more about this issue.
ESSENTIAL #2: “UTAH LAWMAKERS SEEK TO ROLL BACK MEDICAID EXPANSION PASSED BY VOTERS” IAN LOVETT, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
From the article: “Three months after voters in deep-red Utah approved a pair of ballot measures opposed by many Republican leaders, the state legislature is on the verge of pulling both of them back.
In December, the GOP-dominated legislature replaced a voter-approved medical marijuana law with a new version that more tightly controls access to the drug.
And this week, lawmakers are pushing a bill to restrict eligibility for a voter-approved expansion of Medicaid. The bill, which was approved by the Utah Senate on Monday, is becoming a flashpoint in a fight over just how closely state leaders should hew to the will of voters.
Republicans in Utah’s capital say fixes to the Medicaid measure are necessary because the expansion of government health care for the poor would bore a hole in the budget within a few years.
Hundreds of supporters of the ballot measure, meanwhile, have showed up in Salt Lake City to protest.”
ESSENTIAL #3: “THE NEW OUTLAWS OF CONSERVATIVE MEDIA” MCKAY COPPINS, THE ATLANTIC
From the article: “A certain quixotic quality pervades The Bulwark. Launched last month by former staffers of the defunct Weekly Standard magazine, the site is headquartered in a rented cluster of cubicles in downtown Washington, D.C. To keep overhead low, the team is small—fewer than 10 full-time writers and editors—and many of them work remotely. “We’re basically camping here,” says Sykes, a former talk-radio host who edits the site while commuting back and forth from Wisconsin.
The modest trappings have not kept them from grandiose ambitions. In the site’s founding manifesto, Sykes wrote that The Bulwark would stand in defiant opposition to President Trump, and ‘push back against the moral and intellectual corruption that now poses an existential threat to conservatism as a viable political force.’”
ESSENTIAL #4: “WHO IS MATT DUSS, AND CAN HE TAKE ON WASHINGTON’S ‘BLOB’” DAVID KLION, THE NATION
From the article: “As the Vermont senator spoke, a 6-foot-5, bespectacled bear of a man sat quietly beside him. Matt Duss, 46, has recently become one of the most significant figures reshaping progressive foreign policy in the Trump era. Since February 2017, when Sanders hired him as his foreign-policy adviser, Duss has played a key role in advancing the Yemen resolution and has deeply informed Sanders’s growing emphasis on international affairs.”