The Wider World

Breyer to leave Supreme Court

STEPHEN BREYER, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (Wikipedia).


Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, 83, announced on Wednesday he would retire from the high court, giving President Joe Biden the chance to appoint a replacement.

Biden, during his 2020 presidential campaign, had vowed to select a Black woman to the court, and speculation about who that might be has already begun, according to The New York Times.

Breyer has been part of the shrinking “liberal” wing of the court, now dominated by six justices appointed by Republican presidents. But Breyer considers himself more of a moderate. In any case, if Biden is successful in getting his nominee, it won’t upset the balance of power on the court.

Confirmation of a nominee takes a simple majority. Democrats and Republicans are evenly split with 50 each, but Vice President Kamala Harris could vote to break a tie.

Breyer’s retirement has a condition: he won’t step down until – and unless – a successor is approved.

U.S., NATO holding firm on Ukraine

THE UNITED STATES and NATO are resisting Russian demands over Ukraine (Shutterstock).

The United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization held firm on Wednesday to resisting demands from Russia over the fate of Ukraine.

According to the Associated Press, written messages were delivered to the Russians rejecting Moscow’s demand that NATO agree never to allow Ukraine – once part of the Russian-dominated Soviet Union – to join what began in 1949 as an alliance to curb Soviet expansion and aggression.

“There is no change, there will be no change,” said U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

While Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied any intent to invade his neighbor, an estimated 100,000 plus troops are on that border, and there’s a precedent: Russia seized the province of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

Sports: What? The Rams beating the 49ers?

The Los Angeles Rams have lost six consecutive games to the San Francisco 49ers, including twice this season. Yet the betting line has the boys from SoFi Stadium as 3.5-point favorites in the NFC Championship game on Sunday. The reasons? Well, the Rams will be playing at home and no losing streak lasts forever.

In the AFC title game, the Kansas City Chiefs are a 7.5-point favorite over the Cincinnati Bengals. The reasons? It’s a home game for KC, and, simply, Patrick Mahomes.

If those predictions pan out, it will mean three straight Super Bowl appearances for the Chiefs and for the Rams, their second trip to the big game in four years.

Weather: If you like variety …

SUNNY some of the time …

Then you’ll appreciate the forecast for the next few days for the West Orange County area. Thursday should be sunny with a daytime high of 76 (overnight low of 51). Friday will see partly cloudy skies and a high of 77 (48).

But things will cool a bit on Saturday to 73 (46) with mostly cloudy conditions. The sun should return on Sunday under cooler conditions of 70 (47).

Business/Finance: Mixed Wednesday on Wall Street

Still spooked by the impending possibility that the Federal Reserve Bank will raise interest rates in an effort to curb inflation, two of three major stock indexes showed declines on Wednesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 129.64 points to close at 34,169.09, a reduction of 0.38 percent. The S&P 500 dropped 6.52 points to 4,349.93 (0.15 percent), but the Nasdaq gained 2.82 points (0.02 percent) to finish at 13,542.12.

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