1/ A federal judge suggested that the federal right to abortion might be protected by the Constitution’s 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery. U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said while the Supreme Court concluded that the 14th Amendment included no right to abortion, the question of whether the 13th Amendment provided a textual basis for the right to abortion went unexplored. In a pending criminal case against several anti-abortion activists, Kollar-Kotelly asked prosecutors and defense lawyers to address “whether the scope of Dobbs is in fact confined to the Fourteenth Amendment” and “whether, if so, any other provision of the Constitution could confer a right to abortion as an original matter […] such that Dobbs may or may not be the final pronouncement on the issue, leaving an open question.” (Politico / CNBC / The Hill)
2/ More than 3 million people in the U.S. were forced to evacuate their homes in the past year because of natural disasters worsened by a changing climate – about 1.4% of the U.S. adult population. While most displacements were short term, census figures show that roughly 16% of displaced adults never returned home, and 12% were displaced for more than six months. (E&E News / Politico)
3/ Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said “the process of getting inflation down has begun,” but is going to take time and interest rates may need to keep rising. Powell’s remarks followed the government’s jobs report that employers added 517,000 jobs in January – nearly double December’s gain – while unemployment fell to 3.4%, the lowest rate since 1969. Powell said the U.S. labor market remains “extraordinarily strong,” but the process of bringing inflation down to the Fed’s goal of 2% “is likely to take quite a bit of time. It’s not going to be, we don’t think, smooth. It’s probably going to be bumpy.” (Associated Press / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / CNBC / CNN / New York Times)
4/ Biden will deliver his second State of the Union address tonight. He’s expected to address the economy and infrastructure, including the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure act, and the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act. Biden is also expected to address raising the debt ceiling, which House Republicans have refused to raise without cuts to federal spending. Biden, who turned 80 in November, will be the oldest president to ever deliver a State of the Union address. (Associated Press / Politico / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / NPR)
- How to watch Biden’s State of the Union address. Biden’s speech is scheduled for 9 p.m. EST and will be broadcast by the major television networks and cable news TV channels. (Associated Press)
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