The Paper Trail: July 2, 2024

SCOTUS Gives Ex-Presidents Broad Immunity; Gaza Aid Pier Out of Commission — Again; NASA Misjudged Danger of Space Junk; and More. 

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The Paper Trail

Editor’s Note

There will be no Paper Trail on Friday, July 5.

Top stories for July 2, 2024

Supreme Court rules ex-presidents have broad immunity, dimming chance of a pre-election Trump trial: The court ruled for the first time that former presidents have broad immunity from prosecution, extending the delay in the criminal case against Donald Trump on charges he plotted to overturn the 2020 presidential election. The court narrowed the case against Trump and returned it to the trial court to determine what is left of special counsel Jack Smith’s indictment. (Mark Sherman, Associated Press)

🔎 See Also: Thomas uses immunity ruling to question Jack Smith appointment (Perry Stein, Washington Post)

🔎 See Also: Trump moves to overturn Manhattan conviction, citing immunity decision (Ben Protess and William K. Rashbaum, New York Times)

Supreme Court extends time frame for challenges to regulations: The court gave companies more time to challenge regulations, ruling that a six-year statute of limitations for filing lawsuits begins when a regulation first affects a company rather than when it's first issued. (Abbie VanSickle and Adam Liptak, New York Times)

🔎 See Also: Supreme Court’s Chevron ruling means changes for writing laws (Michael Macagnone, Roll Call)

Justice Department pushes Boeing to plead guilty in 737 Max crash case: The DOJ is pushing Boeing to plead guilty over its involvement in the 2018 and 2019 crashes. Under the deal, which the company has until the end of the week to consider, Boeing would plead guilty to one count of fraud, submit to oversight by an independent monitor for three years, and pay additional financial penalties or face trial. (Lori Aratani and Spencer S. Hsu, Washington Post)

Pattern of brain damage is pervasive in Navy SEALs who died by suicide: A military lab found distinctive damage from repeated blast exposure in every Navy SEAL brain it tested. The vast majority of blast exposure comes from firing their own weapons, not enemy action. The lab never told Navy leadership about its findings. (Dave Philipps, New York Times)

Analysis: Schedule F betrays veterans’ service to our country: Schedule F would undermine all that veterans have served for, threaten their careers, and even risk their health and safety. (Joe Spielberger, Project On Government Oversight)

Israel-Hamas War

U.S. removes Gaza aid pier due to weather and may not put it back, officials say: While always meant to be temporary and never touted as a complete solution for getting humanitarian aid into Gaza, the $230 million project has faced a series of setbacks since aid first rolled ashore May 17 and has been criticized by relief groups and lawmakers as a costly distraction. (Tara Copp and Lolita C. Baldor, Associated Press)


Justice Department eyeing ways to sustain obstruction cases against Jan. 6 defendants: The DOJ might be weighing Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s suggestion that prosecutors might still be able to sustain cases against the insurrectionists because of their role in blocking Congress from accessing the Electoral College ballots. (Kyle Cheney, Politico)

Dobbs Aftermath

Idaho’s OB-GYN exodus throws women in rural towns into a care void: After the state criminalized abortion in 2022, the number of OB-GYNs practicing in Idaho dropped by 22%. Those departures have expanded care deserts and added obstacles for patients. (Jazmin Orozco Rodriguez, KFF Health News)

Defense and Veterans Affairs

Lawmakers request review of two defense industry acquisitions: Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Reps. John Garamendi and Mark Pocan urged the administration to take a hard look at TransDigm’s acquisition of two aerospace parts builders, given the company’s “merger and acquisition history, price gouging practices, and contribution to consolidation in the defense industrial base.” (John M. Donnelly, Roll Call)

Air Force veteran indicted for leaking info on aircraft, weapons: Air Force veteran Paul Freeman is the latest of several current or former service members charged with mishandling sensitive national security information. (Zamone Perez, Military Times)

Business and Finance

NASA and SpaceX misjudged the risks from reentering space junk: Several recent incidents of space junk falling to Earth highlight an urgency for more research into what happens when a spacecraft makes an uncontrolled reentry into the atmosphere. More stuff is being launched into space than ever before, and the trend will continue as companies deploy more satellite constellations and heavier rockets. (Stephen Clark, Ars Technica)

Biden proposes first-ever nationwide worker protections from heat: Between 2011 and 2021, 436 workers died due to extreme heat exposure. It’s not clear whether the protections, which would mandate rest breaks and access to shade and water, will ever take effect. (Rachel Frazin, The Hill)


Supreme Court vacates rulings on Texas and Florida social media laws: The court avoided making a final decision on challenges to state laws that dictate how social media platform can moderate user posts, but the majority opinion criticized the Texas law and made it clear that content moderation is protected by the First Amendment. (Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica)

Health Care

FTC opens investigation into Teva, escalating patent fight with pharma industry: The FTC alleges pharmaceutical companies are making minor tweaks to their products to wrongly extend patent protections and fend off generic competition. (Dan Diamond, Washington Post)

Mississippi lacks Black doctors, even as lawmakers increasingly target diversity programs: Medical schools around the country are trying to recruit Black, Hispanic, and Native American students, all of whom remain disproportionately underrepresented in the field of medicine. But a recent swell of Republican opposition to DEI programs threatens to upend those efforts. (Lauren Sausser, KFF Health News)


Immigration and Border Security:

ICE detainees suffer preventable deaths

Nature interrupted: Impact of the U.S.-Mexico border wall on wildlife

U.S. agrees to help Panama deport migrants crossing Darién Gap

7,300 migrants to get food debit cards as New York City expands program

Other News:

House Judiciary files suit to obtain audio tapes of Biden special counsel interview

CEOs charged with top Navy admiral fight U.S. bribery allegations

Trump Organization signs up to put its brand on a new Saudi tower

Judges order hate groups to pay millions for 2017 Charlottesville rally

Rep. Victoria Spartz charged with weapons violation at Dulles

Florida prosecutors knew Epstein raped teenage girls 2 years before cutting deal, transcript shows

Upcoming Events

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Hot Docs

🔥📃 GAO - U.S. Marshals Service: Actions Needed to Better Identify and Address Detention Condition Concerns. GAO-24-106348 (PDF)