just in case
January 10, 2019

The White House is already preparing for another possible Supreme Court showdown — one that may or may not even take place any time soon.

Politico reported Thursday that the White House counsel's office, with the help of some Senate Judiciary Committee aides, has been assembling a shortlist of potential nominees to the Supreme Court should Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat open up, either because of her death or her retirement.

Ginsburg, who had cancerous growths removed from her lungs last month, on Monday missed a day of oral arguments for the first time since she was appointed in 1993, and the White House apparently wasted no time in, as Politico's source puts it, "taking the temperature" on replacements. The Supreme Court said after Ginsburg's surgery in December there was "no evidence of any remaining disease."

The White House's shortlist reportedly includes some names that were considered for the seat that ultimately was filled by Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, including Judge Amy Coney Barrett. The process, however, is happening "very quietly" a source told Politico. Should Ginsburg actually create a vacancy, this would be President Trump's third appointment to the Supreme Court.

Ginsburg said in January 2018, per The Los Angeles Times, that "As long as I can do the job full steam, I will be here." Brendan Morrow

April 18, 2018

The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police has instructed detectives to begin wearing a full uniform and carrying riot gear with them in anticipation of massive protests if President Trump fires Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The email announcement, which was confirmed by Pittsburgh's WTAE-TV, warns that "we have received information of a potential large scale protest in the Central Business District" that would be "semi-spontaneous and more than likely happen on short notice." Beginning Thursday, "all Major Crimes detectives are required to bring a full uniform and any issued protective equipment (riot gear) with them to work until further notice," the email adds.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto (D) confirmed to WTAE-TV's Marcie Cipriano that the instructions are real, although "just precautionary."

There has long been speculation that Trump will fire Mueller. On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he would not allow a vote on bipartisan legislation that would protect Mueller from being fired, which New York magazine claims effectively gives the president a "green light" to dismiss the special counsel. Jeva Lange

July 21, 2017

On Friday, Hawaii will introduce its emergency plan informing residents and visitors what to do if North Korea strikes. The plan will require students to practice "evacuation drills similar to 'active shooter' situations" and there will be emergency siren testing on the first workday of every month, Time reported. If the incident should ever arise, announcements will be broadcast urging everyone to "get inside, stay inside, and stay tuned."

The plan is being released just weeks after North Korea tested a missile that U.S. authorities confirmed "could travel up to 4,000 miles, just outside of Hawaii's reach and fully within range of Alaska." "We do not want to cause any undue stress for the public," Vern T. Miyagi, Hawaii's Emergency Management Agency administrator, said in a statement. "But there is clear evidence that [North Korea] is trying to develop ballistic missiles that could conceivably one day reach our state."

Meanwhile, Alaskans remain surprisingly unconcerned. Becca Stanek

December 13, 2016

Scientists bracing for the incoming Donald Trump administration are now taking steps to protect valuable data and research on climate change, The Washington Post reports. "Doing this can only be a good thing," said environmental researcher Nick Santos. "Hopefully they leave everything in place. But if not, we're planning for that."

Although Trump has expressed that he is open to the belief that humans have contributed to global climate change, he has also called the phenomenon a Chinese "hoax" and appointed climate change deniers to his Cabinet. Trump is even reportedly planning to sap NASA of funds for climate research to refocus the organization on space exploration. "If you can just get rid of the data, you're in a stronger position to argue we should do nothing about climate change," cautioned Andrew Dressler, who teaches atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University.

Scientists are responding by collectively copying and saving climate change data, with meetings across North America taking place to discuss how to store all the information. At the University of Toronto this coming weekend, researchers plan to "guerrilla archive" environmental data to "[preserve] information and data from the Environmental Protection Agency, which has programs and data at high risk of being removed from online public access or even deleted."

"People have felt a call to arms," said scientist Adam Campbell, who studies the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica, to The Washington Post. "We need to be outspoken." Jeva Lange

See More Speed Reads