Background Briefing: May 1, 2023


Growing Concern at the Supreme Court’s Impunity From Ethical Norms as Its Credibility With the Public Plunges

We begin with tomorrow’s hearings by the Senate Judiciary Committee to deal with the need for an ethics code of conduct at the Supreme Court after the Chairman Dick Durbin was rebuffed by Chief Justice Roberts who declined to testify and following recent revelations of unreported favors from a billionaire to Justice Thomas, Gorsuch’s sale of a hunting lodge to the head of a law firm with business before the court, and the Chief Justice’s wife’s $10 million in earnings from law firms also with business before the court. Joining us is Moira Donegan, a writer in residence at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University whose work has appeared in The London Review of Books, Bookforum and The Paris Review. She is a columnist at The Guardian where her latest article is “The US supreme court’s alleged ethics issues are worse than you probably realize.”


Biden Pledges “Ironclad” Military Ties With The Philippines As China Warns of “Stoking the Fire”

Then we look into today’s White House visit by President Ferdinand Marcos Junior of The Philippines at which Biden pledged that US military ties with his country are “ironclad” with the 1951 mutual defense treaty intact that would ensure the US will defend The Philippines if it were attacked. Joining us to discuss China’s alarm at growing military ties between the two allies that it sees as interfering with Taiwan is Sarang Shidore, Director of Studies at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft whose areas of research include geopolitical risk, grand strategy, and energy and climate security, with a special emphasis on Asia.


Biden’s Reelection Strategy of Running Against Hate and MAGA Madness

Then finally we discuss Biden’s electoral strategy for his second terms now that he has announced he is running which has prompted one of his Republican opponents Nikki Haley to suggest he will die in office, obviously trying to bring up Vice President Harris as an issue the GOP wants to seize on. Joining us is Simon Rosenberg, a political strategist and the former President and Founder of the New Democrat Network, a leading progressive think tank and advocacy organization. Previously, he was a writer and producer at ABC News for five years, before working on the Dukakis and Clinton Presidential campaigns where he was a member of the 1992 Clinton War Room. He now writes the Hopium Chronicles newsletter on Substack.