Who are these Trump-appointed judges? Something like 70 percent of them are white men. And many of them are legal descendants of Clarence Thomas, the notoriously silent Supreme Court justice: Roughly one-fifth of his former clerks are either in the Trump administration or have been nominated by Trump to the federal bench.
Federal judges play key roles in hashing out consequential cases hanging in limbo. To name just a few our writers have touched on recently:
Another ongoing lawsuit from House Democrats looks at whether Trump is legally obligated to release his tax returns.
And last week, the Supreme Court allowed the Trump administration to proceed with its “safe third country” plan—pending legal challenges in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
What Else We’re Following
Michael Bennet is still running for president. (Samatha Sais / Reuters)
The Michael Bennet Baffler. What does it mean when the senior senator from Colorado, serving in Congress since 2009, can’t crack 1 percent in polling or stand out in the Democratic primary? George Packer reflects on the senator’s bid, and how in a different era, Bennet’s future might’ve been brighter.
Saudi Arabia oil refineries; accusations against Iran—what’s going on? Here are seven questions to settle, David Frum writes, before the U.S. jumps into retaliatory measures. The first: Are we sure Iran was responsible?
All presidents are technically, by definition, “presidential.” But President Trump has, well, stretched the term. Historian David Greenberg looks at the evolution of presidential-iness over time. Was Thomas Jefferson presidential? Was Richard Nixon?
🗓 THE WEEK AHEAD
‣ Monday, Sept. 16: The president holds a Keep America Great rally in New Mexico, now a more solidly blue state. Also: Catch former press secretary Sean Spicer in his debut on Dancing With the Stars, if that’s your jam.
‣ Tuesday, Sept. 17: Israelis head to the polls for the second time in less than six months after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has maintained a tight relationship with President Trump, failed to secure a parliamentary majority in April.
‣ Wednesday, Sept. 18: Youth climate activist Greta Thunberg testifies to the House Foreign Affairs and Climate Crisis committees about the ongoing threat of climate change.
‣ Thursday, Sept. 19: For the first time in more than two decades, the House holds a hearing on D.C. statehood. (Energy behind making the U.S. capital the 51st state has come and gone and come around again over the years.)
‣ Friday, Sept. 20: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison visits the White House.
Our Reporters Are Also Reading
‣ Brett Kavanaugh Fit In With the Privileged Kids. She Did Not. (Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, The New York Times) (Paywall)