News

SUPREME COURT…Biden to nominate Ketanji Brown Jackson
CNN, Melissa Macaya et al.February 25, 2022

President Biden has selected Ketanji Brown Jackson as his nominee to the Supreme Court, according to a source who has been notified about the decision, setting in motion a historic confirmation process for the first Black woman to sit on the highest court in the nation.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed that whoever Biden nominates will be confirmed with “all deliberate speed.”

In the 50-50 Senate, all Democrats will need to stay united to confirm Biden’s nominee, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking a potential tie in the event no Republicans break ranks.

Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., is cautioning that a major cyberattack against Ukraine could have possible ripple effects on nearby NATO members – and force NATO allies to come to their defense.

Warner made the comments Thursday afternoon in an interview on NPR’s All Things Considered.

“If you shut down Polish hospitals because they can’t get power to take care of their people, you’re rapidly approaching what could be viewed as an Article 5 violation of NATO, which basically says if you attack one NATO nation – and Poland is a NATO nation – all of the remaining 29 nations need to come to their assistance,” he said. “We are in an uncharted territory.”

Warner said he believed the Ukrainian people would continue to fight back against the Russian invasion and form an “insurgency,” which would be harder for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces to counter.

“It’s again one thing to knock out a government. It’s another thing to fight an insurgency led by the Ukrainian people across all of this captured territory,” he said.

U.S. lawmakers are condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine overnight.

This morning on Twitter, Governor Glenn Youngkin says Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is an assault on a sovereign nation and will have devastating consequences for Ukrainian citizens.

Senator Tim Kaine who serves as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and the Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) released the following statement:

“Putin’s decision to attack Ukraine is an unacceptable affront to Ukraine’s sovereignty and to democracies everywhere. This is a crisis of Putin’s own making.

The United States and the international community have offered Putin every opportunity to de-escalate diplomatically. Instead, he chose a path of conflict, risking the lives of citizens in both Ukraine and Russia.

America’s commitment to Ukraine is absolute and has the steadfast, bipartisan support of Congress. Make no mistake: Russia’s aggression will continue to have significant consequences, including through additional crippling economic sanctions.”

Finally, Virginia Representative Abigail Spanberger says we must be united in condemning Putin’s war and act of aggression that serves only the irrational self-interest of one man.

PBS NewsHour full episode, Feb. 23, 2022
February 24, 2022 – 6:41 am (ET)
US…sanctions on Russia mainly hit banks, miss energy sector
Politico, ALEXANDER WARD et al.February 24, 2022

President Joe Biden announced a second and larger sanctions package on Russia, punishing Vladimir Putin for ordering a full-scale invasion of Ukraine but stopping short of targeting some critical sectors of his nation’s economy.

Speaking in generalities from the White House, Biden said his administration would stunt the Russian military’s ability to finance and grow its force; freeze U.S. assets held by Russian banks, including VTB; target elites and members of Putin’s inner circle; and curtail Russia’s high-tech imports in a way that could damage Moscow’s aerospace industry.

Minutes later, the White House and Treasury Department released fact sheets detailing the moves: cutting off Sberbank from the U.S. financial system; placing full blocking sanctions on VTB and three other Russian financial institutions; imposing new debt and equity restrictions on 13 enterprises and entities; targeting seven Russian elites and their families; and hitting 24 Belarusians for supporting Russia’s invasion.

YOUNGKIN… schools bill is bad policy and in bad faith
Virginia Mercury, Akshay Deverakonda and Carrie KahwajyFebruary 22, 2022

A new bill seeks to deprive local school boards of the tools needed to achieve diversity at governor’s schools throughout the commonwealth.

This regressive bill, which has passed Virginia’s House of Delegates and is now in the Senate, must be defeated. The bill defines “proxy discrimination” broadly when it comes to efforts to increase diversity, equity, inclusion and access to education and narrowly when it comes to outdated “traditional academic success factors.”

As alumni of two of those governor’s schools, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology and Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies, we know that this bill would not eliminate discrimination.

Rather, it would only further entrench discrimination that has festered at our alma maters and other elite public schools for generations.

The bill misrepresents what current governor’s school admissions processes actually do. At both TJ and Maggie Walker, for example, admissions decision-makers review candidates based on their applications, not demographic information.

Despite this fact, the bill seeks to ban the collection of any demographic information in admissions so as to render it impossible to identify underrepresentation in total applications, application rates and admission rates.

This bill would codify bad policy and obstruct the ability of local school boards, schools and community members to prioritize outreach efforts where they are needed most. It prevents them from achieving diversity and preventing racial isolation — compelling state interests affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2007.

VA SENATE… kills GOP push to let voters self-impose photo ID rule
Virginia Mercury, GRAHAM MOOMAWFebruary 22, 2022

A proposal to let Virginia voters self-impose photo ID rules for their own ballot failed in the state Senate Tuesday along with every other Republican effort to reinstate mandatory photo ID in state elections.

In a meeting Tuesday afternoon, the nine Democrats on the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee repeatedly overruled six Republicans to kill the first batch of GOP-sponsored voting bills coming over from the House of Delegates.

In addition to blocking several photo ID bills, the committee defeated efforts to cut the early voting window from 45 days to 14 days, repeal the same-day voter registration system set to be implemented this year and ban absentee drop boxes.

As a result of those votes, all bills to bring back photo ID, a policy priority for Gov. Glenn Youngkin, are dead for the year. Though most Virginia voters still show a photo ID before casting their ballot, Democrats changed the law in 2020 to allow voters without ID to sign a form affirming their identity.

That includes the unconventional approach suggested by Del. Amanda Batten, R-James City, who said she filed her bill creating an opt-in photo ID system in response to an elderly constituent concerned about identity theft who “wanted to ensure that every time they were asked to purchase anything or vote that they would have to show a photo ID.”

“It would be required so that no one else would be able to act in their stead,” Batten said.