1/ The COP28 climate summit ended in a historic deal that committed the world to “transitioning away from fossil fuels” for the first time. It’s the first time in three decades that the annual United Nations climate talks have explicitly called for curtailing fossil fuels. The non-binding deal, however, lacks what many countries and activists wanted: an unequivocal “phaseout” of fossil fuels. The final agreement calls for countries to reduce “both consumption and production of fossil fuels, in a just, orderly and equitable manner” while “accelerating action in this critical decade, so as to achieve net zero by 2050 in keeping with the science.” Over the next two years, countries will submit formal plans for curbing their greenhouse gas emissions through 2035. (Politico / NPR / New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg / Axios)
2/ The Supreme Court will decide whether to limit access to the commonly used abortion pill mifepristone. The court agreed to hear the Biden administration’s appeal of a lower court’s ruling that would cut off mail-order prescriptions of mifepristone and require in-person doctor visits, even in states where abortion remains legal. The White House said the lower court ruling “threatens to undermine the FDA’s scientific independent judgment and would reimpose outdated restrictions on access to safe and effective abortion medication.” The Alliance Defending Freedom – a conservative Christian anti-abortion group – filed the legal challenge, claiming the FDA minimized and overlooked the health risks of the drug when it was approved in 2000, and when it approved wider access through telemedicine, mail delivery, and prescribing by pharmacists in 2016. FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine will be the Supreme Court’s first abortion case since it overturned Roe v. Wade last year. A decision is expected by the end of June. (Washington Post / New York Times / Politico / Associated Press / NBC News / Bloomberg)
3/ The Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge to the felony obstruction statute used to charge at least 327 people in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. The justices will review an appeals court ruling that said the Justice Department could prosecute defendants under a federal law that makes it a crime to obstruct or impede an official proceeding. “Obstruction of an official proceeding” carries a 20-year maximum sentence, and is one of the four counts brought against Trump by special counsel Jack Smith in the federal election interference case. The justices are separately weighing Smith’s request to fast-track consideration of Trump’s claim he is immune from prosecution in the election-obstruction case. (NBC News / Washington Post / Politico / New York Times / ABC News / Associated Press / Axios / CBS News / USA Today / The Hill)
4/ The federal judge overseeing Trump’s election interference case temporarily paused all procedural deadlines while he appeals her decision that he’s not entitled to “presidential immunity” from criminal prosecution. Judge Tanya Chutkan said Trump’s appeal gives the higher court jurisdiction over the case and “automatically stays any further proceedings that would move this case towards trial or impose additional burdens of litigation on Defendant.” Chutkan previously dismissed Trump’s arguments, ruling that his “four-year service as Commander-in-Chief did not bestow on him the divine right of kings to evade the criminal accountability that governs his fellow citizens.” In a bid to speed that appeals process, special counsel Jack Smith has asked both the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court to hear the appeal on an expedited basis. The ruling doesn’t affect Trump’s conditions of release, the gag order, or the protective order in the case. Chutkan also noted that Trump’s March 4 trial date could be affected, and that she would reconsider that date when the appeals process has concluded. (CNN / NBC News / ABC News / CBS News / The Hill)
- [Poll] 31% of Republican voters said they would not vote for Trump in 2024 if he’s convicted of a felony crime by a jury. (Reuters)
5/ A federal appeals court rejected Trump’s attempt to use presidential immunity in the upcoming defamation lawsuit brought by writer E. Jean Carroll for comments he made while denying her rape accusations in 2019. A three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Trump had effectively waived the presidential immunity defense by “failing to raise it” when Carroll first filed the defamation lawsuit four years ago. It’s the third time in recent weeks that federal courts have rejected Trump’s immunity arguments. (Politico / NBC News / Axios / New York Times / Associated Press / ABC News)
6/ The Federal Reserve held interest rates unchanged for a third meeting and signaled that they’ll likely cut borrowing costs three times in 2024. The Federal Open Market Committee voted unanimously to keep the benchmark federal funds rate in a targeted range between 5.25%-5.5% – the highest since 2001. Since March 2022, the Fed raised rates 11 times to combat high inflation, which had spiked to a 40-year high. While inflation – currently at 3% – remains above the Fed’s 2% target, “inflation has eased from its highs, and this has come without a significant increase in unemployment. That’s very good news,” Chair Jerome Powell said, adding: “No one is declaring victory. That would be premature.” Still, Fed officials expect to lower rates by 75 basis points next year, leaving rates around 4.6% by the end of 2024. (CNBC / CNN / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / New York Times)
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