Good afternoon, OnPolitics readers!
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Joe Biden’s sister became the latest Washington figures to test positive for COVID-19, announcements that came Thursday after two cabinet officials and others tested positive the day before.
Pelosi, who is asymptomatic, tested positive on Thursday. She will quarantine, her spokesman Drew Hammill announced.
“The speaker is fully vaccinated and boosted, and is thankful for the robust protection the vaccine has provided,” Hammill said.
Pelosi attended crowded events at the White House on Tuesday and Wednesday hosted by Biden. Pelosi is the eighth member of Congress to test positive this week. All of the members have been fully vaccinated and boosted.
The president’s test results: Biden tested negative for COVID on Wednesday, the most recent test the president has taken as part of his regular testing regime, according to the White House.
It’s Amy with today’s top stories out of Washington.
Ketanji Brown Jackson makes SCOTUS history
The Senate confirmed Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court on Thursday afternoon, which will make her the 116th justice – and first Black woman – to serve on the nation’s highest court.
The Senate’s historic vote was 53-47 with three Republicans – Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Mitt Romney of Utah – joining every member of the Democratic caucus in voting for her confirmation.
President Joe Biden nominated Jackson in February, after Associate Justice Stephen Breyer announced he would retire at the end of the current court term. Though confirmed, Jackson will wait months to take her seat on the bench, until Breyer officially steps down.
A historical addition: While Jackson’s ascension will not change the ideological makeup of the court – where conservatives hold a 6-3 advantage – she will be the first federal public defender to sit on the high court. Of the 115 justices in the Supreme Court’s 233 year history, 108 have been white men. Only five have been women, and three have been people of color.
When Jackson takes her seat, it will mark the first time the court’s nine-member bench will include two Black justices and four female justices.
Real quick: stories you should read
- DOJ investigating records at Mar-a-Lago: The Justice Department is moving to investigate the handling of a Tranch of White House Recordsincluding some marked classified, that were sent to former President Donald Trumps Mar-a-Lago resort, a person familiar with the matter said Thursday.
- Is ‘marijuana’ racist?: As legalization and decriminalization of marijuana has expanded, some wrestle with the word because of its racially charged etymology.
- Secret Service members’ housing scheme: At least four US Secret Service employees have been placed on leave related to their association with two men and a scheme to provide the federal officers with tens of thousands of dollars in rent-free apartments and other gratuities.
- 25K ballots rejected in Texas primary: The final numbers sent in by all 254 Texas counties show that of the 198,947 Texans who sent in their ballots by mail, 24,636 saw their ballots tossed out. The March 1 primary was the first election since the state’s new election law overhaul took effect.
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Russia kicked out of UN Human Rights Council
The UN General Assembly on Thursday approved a US-initiated resolution to suspend Russia from the world organization’s Human Rights Council amid mounting evidence of atrocities by the Russian military in Ukraine.
The vote was 93-24 with 58 abstentions.
US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield launched the campaign to suspend Russia from the 47-member Human Rights Council after videos and photos from the Kyiv-area town of Bucha emerged, revealing streets strewn with corpses of civilians after Russian soldiers retreated.
Russia becomes the first permanent member of the UN Security Council to have its membership revoked from any UN body. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy earlier this week also called for Russia’s removal from the Security Council so it can’t use its veto power to “block decisions about its own aggression.”
US Senate takes additional action: The Senate voted unanimously Thursday to suspend normal trade relations with Russia and ban the importation of its oil, ratcheting up the US response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine amid reports of atrocities.
Two bills passed the Senate unanimously, 100-0. Both bills are expected to gain the House’s support later Thursday before going to President Joe Biden to be signed into law.
The bill to end normal trade relations with Russia paves the way for Biden to enact higher tariffs on various imports, such as certain steel and aluminum products, further weakening the Russian economy under President Vladimir Putin. It also ensures Belarus receives less favorable tariff treatment.
Happy Opening Day to all the baseball fans out there ⚾ USA TODAY’s Sports team has all the latest updates on your favorite teams availablehere. — Amy
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism