Morning Reads

Good morning!

On this date in 1973, voting 7-2 in the case of Roe V. Wade, the Supreme Court established a right to obtain an abortion. And in 1987, Pennsylvania Treasurer R. Budd Dwyer, convicted for accepting a bribe, shot and killed himself during a press conference. Several Pennsylvania news stations aired videotaped footage of the gruesome act, setting off a controversy about the news media’s editorial judgment.

Corruption –> Sheldon Silver, speaker of the New York State Assembly and longtime political power broker, surrendered to authorities this morning on corruption charges. A source tells the NYT that the charges are connected to payments Silver received from a boutique law firm specializing in reductions to New York City real estate taxes. The Times reports that the case “is likely to throw Albany into disarray at the beginning of a new session.”

No fed charges? –> Matt Apuzzo and Michael Schmidt report for the NYT that the Justice Department is going to clear Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown. “A broader civil rights investigation into allegations of discriminatory traffic stops and excessive force by the Ferguson Police Department remains open,” write Apuzzo and Schmidt.

Related –> An African-American man, Jerame Reid, appears to have been shot and killed by Bridgeton, NJ, city police while he had his hands raised and was attempting to surrender. Scott Kaufman reports for Raw Story that the shooting was caught on police dashcam video.

A revolt by female GOP lawmakers” –> That’s who was responsible for the Republican leadership’s sudden decision to pull back a controversial abortion bill last night, according to WaPo’s Ed O’Keefe. Although the bill didn’t include the words “legitimate rape,” the text suggested some are more legitimate than others.

A new direction for congressional oversight of the intelligence community” –> The new chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, North Carolina’s Richard Burr, is trying to make the Senate “torture report” vanish, and also wants “to give back to the CIA an explosive, secret document that has been at the center of a years-long struggle between Congress and the executive branch,” according to HuffPo’s Ali Watkins. AND: The Hill’s Cameron Joseph reports that on Wednesday evening, 49 out of 54 Republican senators voted against an amendment “stating that climate change is real and that human activity is a major cause of it.” (Earlier in the day a similar measure stating that climate change is “not a hoax” passed the Senate with a 98-1 vote.)

How far we’ve come –> In traditionally conservative Ireland, the government plans to enact a law allowing same-sex couples to adopt, ahead of a national referendum on marriage equality in May. Stephen Collins has that story at The Irish Times.

A good question –> At Grist, Ben Adler wonders when it became a crime to let your kids walk around their neighborhood alone.

Five years later –> A group of protesters disturbed Supreme Court hearings on Tuesday, the fifth anniversary of the Citizens United decision. Mark Walsh describes the scene at ScotusBlog. Other marches and demonstrations were held around the country. AND: Former FEC chair Trevor Potter, now president of the Campaign Legal Center, writes in WaPo about “four things I learned about how Citizens United and Super PACs have reshaped our elections and democracy” while helping Stephen Colbert create his now defunct Super PAC, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow.

Reality is scary –> The time-lapse animation below, released yesterday by NOAA, shows changes in Arctic winter ice over a 27-year span.

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