Good afternoon. The shutdown is on day 32. Government workers are on track to miss another paycheck on Friday.
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1 big thing: Guns are back on the radar
One of the most striking phenomenas of the Trump era has been the decline of firearm businesses despite Republican political dominance.
Why it matters: The Supreme Court now has five conservative justices, and it's taking up a gun rights case for the first time in 9 years.
- "The Supreme Court ... will take up ... a challenge to New York City’s prohibition on carrying a licensed, locked and unloaded handgun outside the city limits," AP reports.
- "The court’s decision to hear the appeal filed by three New York residents and New York’s National Rifle Association affiliate could signal a revived interest in gun rights by a more conservative court."
Between the lines: The court wading back into any gun-control issue is probably bad news for gun-control advocates. SCOTUS’ abstinence was probably the best they were ever going to get, Axios' Sam Baker emails.
- The Supreme Court has declined to review a number of cases across the country where lower courts upheld state or local laws, from expanded background checks to the ban on some semi-automatic weapons that Connecticut passed in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting.
- And the fact that it’s taking up a new case now, with its newly solidified conservative majority, is another sign that it’s ready to pump the brakes on state-level gun control.
But the NRA is reeling, losing three big political fights since Trump's election.
- They failed to get concealed carry reciprocity through Congress.
- They similarly failed on loosening laws on silencers.
- And Trump has used executive action to ban "bump stocks," which the NRA called "disappointing" but did not explicitly oppose.
P.S. Former Trump aide Sam Nunberg to CNN: "When I was interviewed by the special counsel's office, I was asked about the Trump campaign and our dealings with the NRA."
And the gun business isn't doing much better.
- "[T]he industry was facing a so-called 'Trump slump,' a plummet in sales that happens amid gun rights-friendly administrations," AP notes.
- "Background checks were at an all-time high in 2016, President Barack Obama’s last full year in office, numbering more than 27.5 million; since then, background checks have been at about 25 million each year."
2. What you missed
- Trump will likely be able to temporarily enforce his ban on transgender people serving in the military, thanks to a partisan-line Supreme Court decision today. Go deeper.
- Union leaders reached a tentative deal with the Los Angeles Unified School District to end a 6-day teachers' strike, the Los Angeles Times reports.
- 48% of Americans think global warming is harming them "right now," a new poll notes. More numbers.
- Kamala Harris raised $1.5 million in 24 hours after she announced her 2020 presidential run, according to her campaign. Go deeper.
- Mitch McConnell says his "decision not to fill the [Justice Antonin] Scalia vacancy," aka blocking Merrick Garland's confirmation, was the "most consequential thing I've ever done." Full NY Times profile.
- P.S. Why Trump's immigration compromise is dead on arrival
3. The Oscar nominees
- Best Picture: Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, Green Book, Roma, A Star Is Born, Vice
- Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron (Roma), Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite), Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman), Adam McKay (Vice), Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War)
- Best Actress: Yalitza Aparicio (Roma), Glenn Close (The Wife), Olivia Colman (The Favourite), Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born), Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
- Best Actor: Christian Bale (Vice), Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born), Willem Dafoe (At Eternity's Gate), Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), Viggo Mortensen (Green Book)