U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passes away, President Obama convenes a summit with leaders of Southeast Asian countries, and more…
IN THE NEWS
- Leaving behind an indelible legacy in light of what many have described as his larger-than-life personality, his intellectually rigorous and evocative judicial opinions, and his staunch adherence to originalism, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away, his untimely death setting off a potentially divisive battle between President Obama and a group of U.S. Senate Republicans over who—if anyone—will be confirmed to fill his seat during President Obama’s remaining months in office.
- President Barack Obama met with leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at a Summit where the leaders reached agreements including to reduce climate change in accordance with the agreement from the Paris Climate Conference, and President Obama discussed the advantages of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the United States’ support for “advance[s] [in] rule of law, good governance, accountable institutions and the universal human rights of all people.”
- Following a vote by the FCC Commissioners in favor of the proposal, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a proposed rule that would mandate that pay-TV companies provide television program information to other device companies, in an effort to increase competition and to give consumers access to cable using devices other than cable set-top boxes, which most consumers are currently required to lease.
- Nonprofit think tank TechFreedom filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), alleging that the agency’s recently-issued interim final rule imposing a five dollar registration fee for all drone operators contravenes the FAA Modernization and reform Act of 2012’s prohibition against the agency’s “promulgating any rule or regulation regarding model aircraft.”
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released guidance that suggests that the symptoms and risks of Zika virus, a virus contracted through a mosquito bite that can pass to a fetus from a pregnant woman with the virus, are included in blood donation materials; clinics only accept blood donations from individuals who may have the virus after four weeks from the time of possible exposure; and only blood donations from places without the virus are used where there is currently “active transmission.”
- The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) started mandating that truck and bus drivers use an “electronic logging device” to monitor their hours of driving as the agency’s rule became effective, in order to “improve roadway safety” and “make it easier, faster to accurately track, manage, and share records.”
- After a group of U.S. House Republicans introduced a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill that includes a proposal to transfer control of air traffic operations from the agency to an independent corporation—sparking a contentious debate over whether the agency should be stripped of this long-held authority—conservative organization Heritage Action for America jumped into the fray, expressing concerns that this move would fail to provide what the group considers to be the expected benefits of a privatized air traffic control system, but rather would “create an organization similar to other government-sponsored enterprises that keep taxpayers on the hook for serious missteps.”
WHAT WE’RE READING THIS WEEK
- In a recent paper, Barry Bosworth and Gary Burtless from the Brookings Institution and Kan Zhang from George Washington University analyzed the impact of higher retirement ages and extended life expectancy on the U.S. Social Security system. The report discovered that the expanding difference in life expectancy between the wealthy and poor and delayed retirement age among higher-earners are intensifying disparities in lifetime Social Security benefits.
- Could agencies be failing to disclose all of their rule-making activities? In a forthcoming article, Professors Jennifer Nou of the University of Chicago Law School and Edward H. Stiglitz of Cornell Law School consider the prospect of “strategic disclosure” by assessing empirical data from three decades of agency activity in the Federal Register.