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Tardy Tuesday Takedown: 2/16/16…

The Feds:

We begin today in the United States where one of the three major branches of government was rocked (and still is) by the death of Antonin Scalia, the pugnacious intellectual anchor of the Court’s conservative wing. Remembrances have included that of his friend and philosophical opposite Ruth Bader Ginsburg to divining whom Scalia would want to succeed him.

Republicans seem united—almost—in opposing President Obama’s plans to submit a nomination to replace Scalia “in due time.” However, Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley may be walking that back a little bit. President Obama told reporters today that he would nominate a “very well-qualified candidate.” If you want to put money down on who Obama will nominate most think it will be District of Columbia Appeals Court Judge Sri Srinivasan although Above the Law has odds for other candidates.

Politico Magazine argues that the GOP may benefit from history, namely their opposition to Abe Fortas’ elevation to chief justice.

…And the World:

Amid fading hopes for a durable cease-fire in Syria, the government allows aid to flow into “besieged” areas of the country.

Boutros Boutrous-Ghali, a former secretary general of the United Nations died today at the age of 93.

A new bill that would allow the Knesset to suspend members who covort with alleged terrorists is moving forward, but not without criticism.

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is under investigation for campaign finance violations during this unsuccessful bid for reelection in 2012.

As British Prime Minister David Cameron’s deal with the European Union remains tenuous, there are concerns his Conservative party is about to fracture over Britain’s place in the EU. Meanwhile, did the Duke of Cambridge suggest the UK should stay in the EU?

The Ukrainian government survives a no-confidence vote.

The Feds (cont’d):

The Firewall that wasn’t? Some unforced errors by the Hillary Clinton camp have left some wondering how fearful they are about a surprise loss in Nevada, long expected to be a solid Clinton state. At the same time, Clinton has been in the state for a lot longer and just surpassed Sanders for ad spending. Moreover, the Silver State’s diversity would seem to play to her strengths. Elsewhere in Nevada, the Associated Press looks at another electoral prize: Asians.

Former President George W. Bush came out of political retirement to campaign for bro Jeb.

Scalia’s death throws a huge monkey wrench into several pending cases including some where conservatives were expected to land a major victory. A case out of California challenging agency fees for public employee unions seemed destined to land a major blow against labor. Now the pressure is off unions…for now.

Election Law professor Richard Hasen argues that with a fight brewing over Obama’s impending nomination, the Supreme Court is the most important civil rights issue.

CNBC personality Larry Kudlow will not challenge Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut’s Senior US Senator, this year.

South Dakota becomes the first state to pass a law that forbids transgender students from using the restrooms or locker rooms for the gender with which they identify.

The State of Things:

The Bay State Connection: The Boston Globe looks at Scalia’s ties to one small academic institution in Cambridge: Harvard.

And obligatory look at potential High Court picks from Massachusetts including former Governor Deval Patrick.

Even as politicians and tech entrepreneurs dance in the streets (naively perhaps) about getting General Electric to move to Boston, one of their old legacies in the Bay State remains a sore spot. A new Environmental Protection Agency plan to speed up the cleaning of the Housatonic River is getting a poor reception from the conglomerate.

In Holyoke potpourri: A Report on the abuse at the Peck School is released. State Representative Aaron Vega kicks off his reelection bid tomorrow.

US Attorney Carmen Ortiz, the top federal law enforcement official in Massachusetts, opens Civil Rights unit in her office.

It’s Working:

While labor may have gotten a reprieve by avoiding an adverse Supreme Court decision, in the states things are not necessarily getting better. West Virginia, long a union stronghold, became a right-to-work state. Last week, the GOP legislature overrode the governor’s veto on a bill that will allow workers to benefit from their union’s collective bargaining without paying any due or other fair share fees.

An alternative view of the likely death of the Friedrichs challenge: it prompted unions to get serious about how they reach out to their members.

The Fourth Estatements:

Israeli law enforcement detained two Washington Post reporters on claims they had engaged in incitement. The aftermath, Israeli diplomatic officials have bent over backwards to apologize for the incident.

Poynter looks at how The San Antonio Express-News broke the news of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death.

City Slickers:

Following Council President Michael Fenton’s challenge to Mayor Domenic Sarno to release police complaint reports and better manage boards and commissions generally, we consider what the biggest casualty of Sarno’s appointments has been.

New audits of the Springfield Police Department’s evidence room are out and have recommendations for the department going forward.

Twitter Chatter:

As the presidential contest shifts south and west (Republicans vote next in South Carolina, Democrats next in Nevada) and the race becomes more competitive on both sides, people are undoubtedly going to get antsy. They already are obviously. But one of the more distressing features of this race—or perhaps one made more apparent by social media—is the way people on both sides of either race are reacting to anything that doesn’t go their candidates way. Today we award the tweet prize to Jon Ralston, Nevada’s top political reporter, who wryly notes that both Clinton and Sanders might be well-advised to up mental health spending based on their supporters’ reactions on social media. Are chill pills covered under either Hillarycare or Berniecare?