The Paper Trail: June 28, 2024

SCOTUS Rolls Back Federal Agency Powers; Identity Theft is Taxing the IRS; Pentagon Watchdog Probing Gaza Pier; and More.

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The Paper Trail

Top stories for June 28, 2024

Supreme Court overrules Chevron Doctrine, imperiling an array of federal rules: The Supreme Court swept aside a longstanding legal precedent that required courts to defer to the expertise of federal agencies in carrying out laws passed by Congress. The decision threatens regulations in countless areas, including the environment, health care, and consumer safety. (Adam Liptak, New York Times)

🔎 See Also: Supreme Court strips the SEC of a critical enforcement tool in fraud cases (Mark Sherman, Associated Press)

🔎 See Also: Supreme Court blocks EPA’s interstate air pollution regulation (Lawrence Hurley, NBC News)

Corruption law allows gifts to state and local officials, Supreme Court rules: In the latest in a series of decisions limiting the reach federal anti-corruption laws, the court ruled that it’s not a federal crime for a government official to accept a gratuity meant to reward or thank them — as distinguished from a bribe, or a payment made or agreed to before a government action to influence the outcome. (Abbie VanSickle and Adam Liptak, New York Times)

U.S. sanctions Boeing for sharing information about 737 Max 9 investigation: The NTSB said Boeing “blatantly violated” agency regulations and a signed agreement by providing non-public investigative information to the media about the Alaska Airlines incident in January. The NTSB is unable to fine Boeing since it doesn’t have enforcement authority. (Michelle Chapman, Associated Press)

NTSB chair says Norfolk Southern interfered with derailment probe after botching vent-and-burn call: NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy said at a hearing this week that Norfolk Southern repeatedly tried to interfere with the agency’s investigation into the East Palestine, Ohio, derailment and shape its conclusions. Homendy also said that Norfolk Southern’s failure to quickly provide information to emergency responders after the derailment unnecessarily exposed the public to hazards. (Josh Funk, Tom Krisher, and Patrick Orsagos, Associated Press)

Rampant identity theft is taxing the IRS: Identity theft has overwhelmed the IRS and resulted in a backlog of 500,000 unresolved fraud cases, according to the agency’s watchdog, causing “unconscionable” delays for taxpayers owed refunds and credits. (Alan Rappeport, New York Times)

Why do federal employee background checks take so long? Panel points to delayed IT system: The Pentagon office responsible for vetting most federal workers originally planned to have a new background check system fully functional in 2019. Lawmakers say efforts to modernize the system have been inefficient, and that the delays have contributed to long wait times that deter talented recruits and inadequate security clearance processes that could miss dangerous individuals.  (Sean Michael Newhouse, Government Executive)

Israel-Hamas War

The reason U.S. arms shipments to Israel have slowed: U.S. arms shipments to Israel have slowed since the early months of the war in Gaza because many of the previously ordered weapons have already been shipped or delivered while the Israeli government has put in fewer new requests. The slowdown has roiled relations between Israel and the White House. (Nancy A. Youssef and Jared Malsin, Wall Street Journal)

The pier is finally working — but aid is still not getting to Gazans: Aid is now flowing onto the beach in Gaza via the U.S.-built pier, but it’s still not reaching Gazans. Tons of food and medical supplies are piling up as the humanitarian organizations tasked with moving the aid refuse to resume operations due to security concerns. (Lara Seligman and Erin Banco, Politico)

🔎 See Also: Impact of Gaza aid pier to be investigated by Pentagon watchdog (Zamone Perez, Military Times)

Classified Documents

New photos expose truly chaotic way Trump stored classified documents: A new court filing from special counsel Jack Smith contains photos showing that documents containing national security secrets were stored carelessly at Mar-a-Lago. (Ellie Quinlan Houghtaling, The New Republic)

🔎 See Also: Judge to revisit key legal finding in Trump classified documents case (Alan Feuer, New York Times)


Supreme Court rules for Jan. 6 rioter challenging obstruction charge: The court ruled in favor of a January 6 defendant, finding that the federal obstruction of an official proceeding law was only intended to apply in limited circumstances. There are 247 other cases that may be affected by the ruling. (Lawrence Hurley and Ryan J. Reilly, NBC News)

Trump allies test a new strategy for blocking election results: In five battleground states (Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania) county officials have tried to block the certification of vote tallies. Election experts worry this is a test run for trying to thwart a Biden victory in November. (Amy Gardner, Patrick Marley, and Colby Itkowitz, Washington Post)

Dobbs Aftermath

Abortion ruling leaves pregnant women, doctors in limbo over high-risk care: The Supreme Court decision allowing emergency abortions to resume in Idaho didn’t settle whether patients whose health is in jeopardy during pregnancy are entitled to emergency care in other states with abortion bans. (Caroline Kitchener and Dan Diamond, Washington Post)

Russia-Ukraine War

Biden administration moves toward allowing American military contractors to deploy to Ukraine: President Biden is considering lifting a de facto ban on American military contractors deploying to Ukraine to help the country maintain and repair U.S.-provided weapons systems. Officials familiar with the discussions emphasized that the policy change will not result in the kind of overwhelming American contractor presence that existed in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Natasha Bertrand and Oren Liebermann, CNN)

Police Misconduct

Former Uvalde school police chief is arrested for mass shooting response: Pete Arredondo was indicted on 10 counts of abandoning and endangering a child. He is the first law enforcement officer to face charges over the response to the 2022 Robb Elementary School shooting. (Elizabeth Findell, Wall Street Journal)

Defense and Veterans Affairs

Analysis: The U.S. military chases shiny new things and the ranks suffer: The Osprey program ushered in an era of excessively complex novelty weapons. As long as this trend continues, the services will continue demanding more money to pay for systems that don’t work properly and gradually degrade the effectiveness of the U.S. military. (Dan Grazier, Responsible Statecraft)

Lawmakers press VA to report on the delays in its burn pit registry revamp: VA launched its Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry in 2014 to help veterans and active-duty personnel document possible exposure to toxic substances while serving abroad. Several critical reports, however, have pushed VA to revamp the registry to make it more user-friendly. (Edward Graham, Government Executive)

Colorado VA medical facility leaders created a “psychologically unsafe” environment for employees: A pair of inspector general investigations substantiated claims that officials at the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System presided over a toxic work environment that also featured long delays in certain surgeries due to staff departures. (Sean Michael Newhouse, Government Executive)

Business and Finance

DEI programs toppled amid a surge of conservative lawsuits: A year after the Supreme Court struck down race-based college admissions, a new legal campaign is forcing corporate, government, and educational entities to abandon racial preferences and other efforts to address demographic disparities. (Peter Whoriskey and Julian Mark, Washington Post)

Can Congress break our addiction to fast fashion?: The Slow Fashion Caucus, led by Rep. Chellie Pingree, hopes to raise awareness around the destructive environmental, health, and human rights impacts of what Americans wear. (Rachel Tashjian, Washington Post)


Supreme Court allows White House contacts with social media firms: The court rejected a Republican-led effort to restrict White House officials and other federal employees from pressuring social media companies to remove posts the government deems problematic, ruling the challengers lacked standing. (Ann E. Marimow and Cat Zakrzewski, Washington Post)

Health Care

SCOTUS tears down Sacklers’ immunity, blowing up opioid settlement: The Supreme Court’s rejection of the settlement deals a heavy blow to the thousands of people affected by the opioid epidemic. Settlement talks will have to begin again, with the outcome and possible payouts to plaintiffs uncertain. (Beth Mole, Ars Technica)

Arizona wound care company charged for billing older patients about $1 million each in skin graft scheme: The Arizona case is part of a broader two-week federal law enforcement initiative targeting various healthcare fraud schemes across the country. Nearly 200 defendants — including over 70 licensed healthcare professionals — were charged for racking up more than $1.5 billion in ill-gotten proceeds. (Robert Legare, CBS News)

🔎 See Also: Heart surgeons left “unqualified” trainees alone during operations, DOJ says (Praveena Somasundaram, Washington Post)

Scientists found another way we’re exposed to “forever chemicals”: through our skin: A first-of-its-kind study found that PFAS in everyday beauty and personal care products can seep through the skin and enter the bloodstream. (Amudalat Ajasa, Washington Post)

Paris Hilton recounts child abuse in congressional testimony: Hilton’s testimony was her latest push for change in what’s often called the “troubled teen” system, a largely unregulated multibillion-dollar industry that includes youth residential facilities. (Samantha Chery, Washington Post)


Immigration and Border Security:

Biden border restrictions bring sharp drop in illegal crossings

DHS identifies over 400 migrants brought to the U.S. by an ISIS-affiliated human smuggling network

4.1 million migrants: Where they’re from, where they live in the U.S.

Massachusetts to warn border authorities migrant shelters are full

Other News:

Federal whistleblowers are entitled to damages for missed future pay, court rules

Democrats question U.S. post office about ballot delivery delays ahead of Election Day

More than 10 years later, the Senate torture report is still secret

Private prisons want you to go directly to jail

CDC warns of increased dengue fever risk in U.S.

Nominations & Appointments


  • Judith Barnett - Member, President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts
  • Peter Joseph Marshall Bober - Member, Board of Visitors to the Coast Guard Academy
  • Mohamed Elsanousi - Commissioner, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom
  • Arthur J. Gonzalez - Member, Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico
  • Jane Harman - Member, President’s Intelligence Advisory Board
  • Sheldon Pang - Member, President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts
  • Betty A. Rosa - Member, Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico
  • Luis Ubiñas - Member, Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico

Pardons & Commutations