The Hill's 12:30 Report: Justices sidestep major abortion decision despite pressure

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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.

 

The Hill's 12:30 Report: Justices avoid major abortion decision in ruling on Indiana law | Ranking the top 10 Dems in the 2020 primary | How Nevada could be a wild card in the 2020 race | Congress's to-do list gets longer | Senate GOP vows to quash any impeachment charge | Trump returning from Japan | Dem slams Trump for criticizing Biden in Japan | Trump knocks aircraft carrier design | National Hamburger Day deals

  

NEWS FROM THE SUPREME COURT

Punting on the issue of abortion … for now:

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Indiana's law that requires the fetal remains of abortion or miscarriages to be buried or cremated. http://bit.ly/2VQOyHW

Keep in mind: Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceSioux City newspaper endorses Biden ahead of Iowa caucuses Four endings to the Senate's impeachment trial — and none is good for Democrats Jeffries, Nadler showcase different NY styles in Trump trial MORE (R-Ind.) signed this fetal remains bill into law when he was governor of the state.

How the court sidestepped a bigger abortion ruling: The Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to a provision blocking abortions on the basis of sex, race or disability. 

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Why this is important: Conservative states have been passing abortion restrictions in recent months and are hoping the Supreme Court will take up an abortion case to issue a ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. Keep in mind: Legal experts say it is highly unlikely Roe v. Wade will be overturned in the near future, but both sides in the debate are watching the courts closely.

  

Transgender children in a Pennsylvania school district can choose which bathroom to use:

The Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to a transgender bathroom policy that allows Pennsylvania children to choose which bathroom and locker room aligned with their gender identity. http://bit.ly/2wnocTt

Which Pennsylvania schools: The case involved the Boyertown school district, in Philadelphia's far suburbs.

 

It's Tuesday -- welcome back! I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what's coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to cmartel@thehill.com -- and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL

Who will play the part of 'Maximum Security' and 'Country House'?:

Via The Hill's Niall Stanage, 24 Democrats are running for the presidential nomination to defeat President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump denies telling Bolton Ukraine aid was tied to investigations Former senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Title, release date revealed for Bolton memoir MORE, but here are the top 10 Democrats with a real chance... and how they have moved in The Hill's rankings: http://bit.ly/2WbbXsI 

  1. Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump denies telling Bolton Ukraine aid was tied to investigations Former senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Title, release date revealed for Bolton memoir MORE -- ranked No. 2 in February.
  2. Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPoll: Sanders leads Biden by 9 points in Iowa Poll: Biden leads in Iowa ahead of caucuses The Memo: Impeachment dominates final Iowa sprint MORE (I-Vt.) -- ranked No. 3 in February.
  3. Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenPoll: Sanders leads Biden by 9 points in Iowa Poll: Biden leads in Iowa ahead of caucuses The Memo: Impeachment dominates final Iowa sprint MORE (D-Mass) -- ranked No. 5 in February.
  4. Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisBiden leads 2020 pack in congressional endorsements Harris on 2020 endorsement: 'I am not thinking about it right now' Panel: Is Kamala Harris a hypocrite for mulling a Joe Biden endorsement? MORE (D-Calif.) -- ranked No. 1 in February.
  5. South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegPoll: Sanders leads Biden by 9 points in Iowa Buttigieg on polarization: 'We don't have to choose between being bold and being unified' Buttigieg: America 'united in mourning' Kobe Bryant's death MORE (D) -- Was not ranked in February.
  6. Former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeVeronica Escobar to give Spanish-language response to Trump State of the Union address Biden calls for revoking key online legal protection Trump mocks Booker over suspended presidential campaign MORE (D-Texas) -- ranked No. 4 in February.
  7. Sen. Cory Booke r(D-N.J.) -- ranked No. 6 in February.
  8. Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharPoll: Sanders leads Biden by 9 points in Iowa Democrats step up pressure over witnesses after Bolton bombshell The Memo: Impeachment dominates final Iowa sprint MORE (D-Minn.) -- ranked No. 7 in February.
  9. Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro-- Not ranked in February.
  10. Businessman Andrew YangAndrew YangButtigieg: America 'united in mourning' Kobe Bryant's death 'The worst news': Political world mourns loss of Kobe Bryant Sunday shows - Spotlight shifts to Trump tweet, Senate trial witnesses MORE-- not ranked in February.

Breakdown for each contender: http://bit.ly/2WbbXsI

Who was on February's top 10 list but fell off: Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandGOP-Biden feud looms over impeachment trial Sanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial MORE (D-N.Y.) dropped down. Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSchiff sparks blowback with head on a 'pike' line Sunday shows - All eyes on Senate impeachment trial Senate Democrat: 'Fine' to hear from Hunter Biden MORE (D-Ohio) and former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael Rubens BloombergBiden, Sanders, Warren pull away from field in Super Tuesday states: poll Yang qualifies for New Hampshire debate stage Biden, Sanders emerging as top picks in 2020 Democratic field: national poll MORE also appeared in February's rankings, but both decided against running. Here's February's list: http://bit.ly/2Gzduk6

 

THE NEW 2020 WILD CARD:

The state of Nevada. How so: http://bit.ly/2EEG00X

  

IN THE WHITE HOUSE

Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnActivity seen at North Korean missile research center: report South Korea and the billion mustache North Korea replaces its foreign minister: report MORE v. Joe Biden

Trump takes the side you wouldn't (or maybe you would) expect:

Over the weekend, President Trump tweeted that he has confidence in North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and agreed with Kim's criticism of former Vice President Joe Biden.

Trump tweeted: "North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me. I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me, & also smiled when he called Swampman Joe Biden a low IQ individual, & worse. Perhaps that's sending me a signal?" http://bit.ly/2I5rvnI

^ By the way, my autocorrect did ~not~ like the spelling of "Swampman."

What started this: North Korean media has been criticizing Joe Biden recently as "reckless and senseless, seized by ambition for power" and a "fool of low IQ." 

Then yesterday, Trump was asked about his tweet: And the president doubled down on his Biden insults by saying, "Kim Jong Un made a statement that Joe Biden is a low IQ individual. He probably is based on his record. I think I agree with him on that." 

 

THEN THIS MORNING:

House Democratic Caucus chairman Rep. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesJeffries, Nadler showcase different NY styles in Trump trial Hakeem Jeffries tells Senate in impeachment proceedings they should subpoena Baseball Hall of Fame after Jeter vote Video becomes vital part of Democrats' case against Trump MORE (D-N.Y.) slammed President Trump for his comments about Biden, calling Trump the "fake leader of the free world." Jeffries's full tweet: "Many House Republicans wrap themselves in the flag and patriotic rhetoric. But they have nothing to say when fake leader of the free world blatantly sides with a Communist North Korean Dictator? PHONIES."  http://bit.ly/2XdjlA6

 

Trump criticizes aircraft carrier redesign:

"President Trump criticized plans to overhaul some U.S. aircraft carriers' catapults while speaking to sailors aboard an assault ship stationed in Japan on Tuesday." The issue: Powering the catapults with steam vs. electric. http://bit.ly/2VSkGLn

Trump said aboard the USS Wasp: "You know, they were saying -- one of the folks said, 'No, the electric works faster. But, sir, we can only get the plane there every couple of minutes.' So, really, what they did was wrong ... I think I'm going to put an order. When we build a new aircraft carrier, we're going to use steam. I'm going to just put out an order: We're going to use steam. We don't need -- we don't need that extra speed." 

Trump added: "Steam's only worked for about 65 years perfectly." 

Trumps also noted: The cost to upgrade the catapult systems has reached $900 million.

 

Tidbit from the USS Wasp:


 

PHOTOS FROM THE JAPAN TRIP:

Here are photos posted from first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump beefs up impeachment defense with Dershowitz, Starr Trump welcomes LSU to the White House: 'Go Tigers' The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial MOREhttp://bit.ly/30YIMrE

 

HERE ARE FIVE TAEKAWAYS FROM THE TRIP: 

http://bit.ly/2YSED6w

 

IN CONGRESS

That to-do list is growing, guys:

"With the first half of 2019 off to a slow legislative start, both chambers are facing a potential logjam of crucial deadlines and competing priorities heading into the back half of the year. Lawmakers say they are eager to start moving bills, but deep partisan divisions, and the looming 2020 elections, sets the stage for significant political and policy clashes." http://bit.ly/2YSWGJL 

Here's a list of legislation to keep an eye on:

  • Disaster aid
  • Budget caps
  • Debt ceiling
  • Government funding
  • Infrastructure
  • Surveillance
  • Violence Against Women Act
  • Defense authorization
  • Food insurance

Details for each: http://bit.ly/2YSWGJL

  

LATEST WITH IMPEACHMENT TALKS

Don't stress, we got you:
Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton, even if House Democrats move forward with impeachment proceedings against President Trump, Republican senators say they will quickly quash the effort in the higher chamber. http://bit.ly/2X8T5qt

How that works: "While [Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFormer senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Democrats step up pressure over witnesses after Bolton bombshell Bolton book alleges Trump tied Ukraine aid freeze to Biden investigations: NYT MORE (R-Ky.)] is required to act on articles of impeachment, which require 67 votes -- or a two-thirds majority -- to convict the president, he and his Republican colleagues have the power to set the rules and ensure the briefest of trials."  

From Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for week two of impeachment trial Trump defense team signals focus on Schiff Trump legal team offers brisk opening defense of president MORE (R-S.C.): "I think it would be disposed of very quickly. ... If it's based on the Mueller report, or anything like that, it would be quickly disposed of." 

 

MEANWHILE IN THE HOUSE:

Here are seven key allies for Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiFormer senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Democrats step up pressure over witnesses after Bolton bombshell Texas AFL-CIO endorses Cuellar's primary challenger MORE (D-Calif.) as she tries to tamp down Democratic calls for President Trump's impeachment: http://bit.ly/2YSmKoi

  

NOTABLE TWEETS

Hahahahahaha: 

If you're curious what the dress looked like: Here's a photo -- she looked great!: http://bit.ly/2wqc58p

  

When your mind is wandering:

 

Full-size photo: Oh wow, this is pretty funny. http://bit.ly/2I8GoFU

  

ON TAP

The House and Senate are out.  

President Trump is on his way back to Washington, D.C. Vice President Pence has no public events on his schedule.

2:25 p.m. EDT: President Trump and first lady Melania Trump get back to the White House after their trip to Japan.

 

WHAT TO WATCH

Happening now: Scripps National Spelling Bee. 539 contestants still remain. Livestream: https://es.pn/2HFqbJn

10 p.m. EDT: Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) appears on MSNBC with Lawrence O'DonnellLawrence Francis O'DonnellWarren ad claims Trump fears her most Trump points to stock market gains: 'How are your 409K's doing?' Buttigieg: Harris 'deserves to be under anybody's consideration' for vice president MORE

  

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...

Today is National Hamburger Day

To celebrate, here's a list of burger deals today: http://bit.ly/2HHg9Yn

 

And because you made it to the end, here's a hippo with the same summer plans as me: http://bit.ly/2HHgDxK