The Hill’s 12:30 Report — Supreme Court kicks off contentious term

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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.


To misquote Billy Madison 

‘Back to school. Back to school, to prove to [everyone] that I’m not a fool’: 

The Supreme Court begins its new term on Monday, with new Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson on the bench.

What to expect this term — a continuation of the last: After a controversial term of revoking federal abortion rights and expanding Second Amendment and religious rights, the court’s six conservative justices are expected to continue with a set of contentious cases.

Here are five controversial cases to watch this term — think: affirmative action, LGBTQ discrimination and election law — via The Hill’s John Kruzel 

“The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a case about whether the Justice Department can use ‘filter teams,’ such as the one enlisted by DOJ to begin a review of evidence collected at former President Trump’s home in Mar-a-Lago to determine whether they are privileged.” More from The Hill’s Julia Mueller

It’s Monday and the D.C.-area has immediately snapped into fall mode. I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Did someone forward this newsletter to you? Sign up here.

In the White House 

Happening this week:

President Biden is visiting Puerto Rico on Monday to survey the damage from Hurricane Fiona. Biden will visit Florida later this week following Hurricane Ian.

During Biden’s Puerto Rico visit: He will announce more than $60 million in funding to help the island protect itself from future storms.

Where is this money coming from?: The bipartisan infrastructure law

The Washington Post’s Olivier Knox tweeted that “First Lady Jill Biden will be on Sesame Street on Dec. 1.”

In Congress 

An escape room for the Jan. 6 findings, if you will:

“House Democratic leaders will face heavy political pressure — and a tight time crunch — to vote this year on election reform recommendations soon to arrive from lawmakers investigating last year’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.”

When the recommendations after expected: After the Nov. 8 midterms

^ So, then: “That will leave Democratic leaders with a short window to draft legislation, rally support and send the reforms to the Senate — all in a lame-duck session when they’ll also face a crucial deadline to extend federal funding and prevent a government shutdown.”

And even further complicating that window: The House is expected to shift to Republican control next year, a party that, for the most part, opposes the select committee’s investigation.

How long will the House be in session after the midterms?: For 17 days, though that can change.

How this could go down, via The Hill’s Mike Lillis 

Interesting read — ‘They Legitimized the Myth of a Stolen Election — and Reaped the Rewards’:

“On the day the Capitol was attacked, 139 Republicans in the House voted to dispute the Electoral College count.” The New York Times’s Steve Eder, David D. Kirkpatrick and Mike McIntire look into how the U.S. got to this point. 

At the time: “The Republican members of the House of Representatives braced for a backlash. Two-thirds of them — 139 in all — had been voting on Jan. 6, 2021, to dispute the Electoral College count that would seal Donald J. Trump’s defeat just as rioters determined to keep the president in power stormed the chamber. Now one lawmaker after another warned during a conference call that unless Republicans demanded accountability, voters would punish them for inflaming the mob.”

Where we stand now: “More than 20 months later, the opposite has happened. The votes to reject the election results have become a badge of honor within the party, in some cases even a requirement for advancement, as doubts about the election have come to define what it means to be a Trump Republican.”

The full NYT read

OK, so it’s 2023, Republicans won the House and are investigating Biden in any way they can. What does this mean for Democrats?

The White House may not be that worried, reports Politico’s Eugene Daniels, Jonathan Lemire and Jordain Carney.

How so?: “There is a growing confidence in the White House that the House Republicans clamoring for a hodgepodge of investigations will overreach — and that their attempts will backfire politically, with key voters recoiling at blatant partisan rancor.”

How Dems believe this would play out in 2024: “Officials believe they can use GOP efforts to their political advantage heading into the 2024 cycle, betting a pro-Trump Republican conference fixated on Biden will elevate ‘ultra-MAGA Republicans’ and provide a useful foil for Biden, allowing him to draw sharp contrasts between his governing and their obfuscating.”

What kind of investigations are we talking about?: “Members have made it clear they believe digging into the business dealings of the president’s son, Hunter Biden, is at the top of the agenda … Also ranking high, a coronavirus ‘origins’ probe that would put Anthony Fauci in the hot seat and a multi-committee dive into the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan last year that sparked bipartisan criticism.”

What to expect if Republicans win control of the House

🗳 Midterm headlines 

And so have Republicans, writes The Washington Post’s Yasmeen AbutalebHow Democrats and Republicans are running on apocalyptic messages 


Think: Georgia, New Hampshire and Ohio. The full story from NBC News’sSahil Kapur, Allan Smith and Jonathan Allen 

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board writes that “[Trump’s] latest tirade against Mitch McConnell courts potential violence.” The full WSJ editorial slamming Trump 

Via The Hill’s Carolina Vakil

🦠 Latest with COVID 

If you haven’t gotten your COVID-19 booster yet:

CNBC’s Annika Kim Constantino writes “How to perfectly time your new omicron-specific Covid booster.”

Timing of the booster’s effectiveness: “Vaccine protection slowly ramps up over two or three weeks post-injection: If you get your shot on October 1, you can probably expect its defenses to be fully kicked in by mid- or late-month. That protection typically lasts about three or four months before beginning to wane.”

When you should get your booster If you haven’t had COVID-19 recently — versus if you have 


Cases to date: 96.1 million

Death toll: 1,053,789

Current hospitalizations: 21,934

Shots administered: 619 million

Fully vaccinated: 67.9 percent of Americans

CDC data here.

🐥Notable tweets 

It is remarkable how similar she looks now:

Former President Obama tweeted, “Miche, After 30 years, I’m not sure why you look exactly the same and I don’t. I do know that I won the lottery that day—that I couldn’t have asked for a better life partner. Happy anniversary, sweetheart!” Photo from their wedding day 

Yikes, this could be an ad for this window company:

Twitter user @bothcoasts tweeted, “We live on the beach in Naples, Florida. We stayed through the Hurricane Ian.  Thought I’d share a rather notable photo from the experience…” The photo

On tap

The House and Senate are out. President Biden is in Puerto Rico. Vice President Harris is in Washington, D.C., with no public events scheduled.

  • 10:10 a.m.: Biden and first lady Jill Biden left for Puerto Rico. Photo of the Biden’s boarding Air Force One

  • 2:30 p.m.: Biden receives a briefing in Puerto Rico.

  • 3:30 p.m.: The Bidens visit Centro Sor Isolina Ferré Aguayo School.

  • 4:50 p.m.: The Bidens leave Puerto Rico and fly back to Washington, D.C.

All times Eastern.

📺What to watch

  • Noon: White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks with reporters aboard Air Force One. Livestream 

  • 2:45 p.m.: Biden delivers remarks in Puerto Rico. Livestream 

🌮 In lighter news 

Today is National Soft Taco Day.

And to leave you on a terrifying note, here is one of the scariest beasts in the world

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.