Yesterday, the Supreme Court took a step in a high-profile case to preserve democratic checks and balances.

The details of the case, Moore v. Harper, can sound technical. But it is simply about which officials can oversee federal elections. The petitioner, a North Carolina lawmaker, had sought to radically reshape how federal elections are conducted. The court ruled that state legislatures do not have unchecked power over elections and that other government officials can question and overturn their decisions.

Chief Justice John Roberts and two other conservatives joined the court’s three liberals in the ruling. The Constitution, Roberts wrote, “does not exempt state legislatures from the ordinary constraints imposed by state law.”

Why does the ruling matter? Because it makes it more difficult for partisan state legislatures to flout the law or norms to keep their party in power, at a time when most legislatures have one-party supermajorities. Under the Supreme Court ruling, other officials can step in if they feel state lawmakers went too far in rewriting election law. The decision, then, could influence which party controls Congress in the future.

The facts of the Supreme Court case help clarify the ruling’s potential impact. They offer a real-world example of how branches of government can check each other — in this case, courts over legislatures.

In 2021, lawmakers in North Carolina drew a voting map that would have likely given Republicans 10 of its congressional seats and Democrats four — a lopsided result in a state that is close to evenly divided politically. The state’s Supreme Court initially rejected the redrawn map. And in November, the state held elections with a map drawn by experts appointed by a state court. The result: a congressional delegation evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, mirroring the state’s actual political makeup.

In short: Without the court, Republicans would have drawn a map that heavily favored their party. With the court’s intervention, the congressional map accurately reflected the state.

Last year, Republican lawmakers took the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court. They invoked what is known as the independent state legislature theory. They claimed the Constitution’s Elections Clause empowers only state legislatures, not courts, to set rules for congressional elections, including redrawing district lines.

The other side, made up of Democratic voters and advocacy organizations, argued that state legislatures’ election decisions should have many checks: the courts, governors, independent commissions and other officials empowered under the law.

In yesterday’s decision, the Supreme Court rejected the independent state legislature theory. Roberts cited the long history of state courts reviewing and striking down state laws, and argued that nothing exempts election laws from such judicial review.

“The extreme version of the theory was soundly rejected, and by a six-justice majority,” my colleague Adam Liptak, who covers the Supreme Court, told me. “It would seem to be quite dead.”

It is the second time this month that Roberts and another conservative justice, Brett Kavanaugh, have joined the liberals in an election case. They also did so in a case over Alabama’s congressional map. The two rulings suggest there may be a moderate wing on voting issues in an otherwise conservative Supreme Court.

Three of the court’s conservatives dissented yesterday, largely on procedural grounds. After Republican lawmakers appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court last year, conservatives took over the North Carolina Supreme Court and reversed its previous ruling on the state’s congressional map. That eliminated the need for a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the issue, the three justices argued. The court’s bipartisan majority disagreed.

The Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha falls on a different day each year. Taking the time off is a rebellion against our society’s approach to work, Romaissaa Benzizoune writes.

The loss of the Titan submersible proves that while regulation slows progress, it also saves lives, Naomi Oreskes argues.

Here is a column by Tom Friedman on Russia and Ukraine.

DMs from N.Y.C.: Handwritten notes tell the city’s story — even what looks like a breakup message scrawled on a mattress.

Collective cringe: A TikToker is reading her old diaries aloud, helping viewers feel less embarrassed by their past selves.

Postpartum depression: Four new mothers spoke about their common yet isolating struggle.

Lives Lived: Bobby Osborne was a singer and mandolin player with one of the most radical bands in bluegrass. He died at 91.

The Bedard Era begins: Connor Bedard will be the No. 1 pick in tonight’s N.H.L. Draft. He enters the league with astronomical expectations, The Athletic writes.

Golf’s future: The PGA-LIV merger stands to profoundly reshape professional golf. But there’s still a chance the deal could fall apart, The Times explains.

Ryan Mallett: The former N.F.L. quarterback is dead at 35 after drowning in Florida, where he coached high-school football, The Athletic reports.

A major art auction: “Lady With a Fan,” a radiant portrait by Gustav Klimt that was on an easel when he died, sold for about $108 million at Sotheby’s in London yesterday. The purchase — the largest ever at a public sale in Europe — was a morale boost for Britain’s high-end art market, where prices have dwindled since the country voted to leave the E.U. in 2016, Scott Reyburn writes in The Times.

Nigeria at moderate risk of Marburg virus outbreak - NCDC

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has said the country is at moderate risk of importing Marburg virus following the outbreak of the disease in Equatorial Guinea.


While acknowledging that the likelihood of importation of the virus to Nigeria is high due to the direct flight between Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea, and the proximity of Equatorial Guinea to Nigeria, the NCDC also stated that the extent of the outbreak in Equatorial Guinea has not yet been ascertained.


The health agency also said that there is likelihood of spread in Nigeria due to the gatherings and travel associated with upcoming national elections.


NCDC said in a statement; 


“There are currently no cases of Marburg virus disease in Nigeria, however, the NCDC, relevant Ministries, Departments, Agencies, and partners have taken proactive measures to mitigate the risk of cross-border importation. The multi-sectoral National Emerging Viral Haemorrhagic Disease Technical Working Group, led by NCDC, is responsible for coordinating the national response to all VHFs across pillars including surveillance, laboratory, case management, and risk communication. The NEVHD TWG like it has always done in the past following news of MVD outbreaks conducted a dynamic risk assessment to inform Nigeria’s preparedness following this recent outbreak in Equatorial Guinea.

“Based on available data, the overall risk of importation of the Marburg virus and the impact on the health of Nigerians has been assessed as MODERATE.

“The risk assessment also shows that Nigeria has the capacity-technical, human (health workforce), and diagnostic – required to respond effectively in the event of an outbreak. Nigeria has also responded to viral haemorrhagic fever epidemics like the Ebola Outbreak in 2014 and built up her preparedness and response capabilities over the years. We have the diagnostic capacity to test for MVD presently at the National Reference Laboratory in Abuja and the University of Lagos Teaching Hospital laboratory Centre for Human and Zoonotic Virology.

“However, diagnostic capacity will be scaled up to other laboratories in cities with important points of entry and others as may be required. An effective response system is in place with the availability of control capacities (trained rapid response teams, and an effective infection prevention and control programme) to limit the risk of spread in the event of a single imported case.

“Persons with recent travel history to or transit through Equatorial Guinea within the past 21 days who experience symptoms such as fever, muscle pain, sore throat, diarrhoea, weakness, vomiting, stomach pain, or unexplained bleeding or bruising should not go to any health facility but call 6232 or their State Ministry of Health hotline immediately for assessment and testing.”


Marburg virus disease is a highly virulent disease that causes haemorrhagic fever, with a fatality ratio of up to 88 per cent. It is in the same family as the virus that causes Ebola virus disease. Illness caused by the Marburg virus begins abruptly, with high fever, severe headache, and severe malaise.


Many patients develop severe haemorrhagic symptoms within seven days. The virus is transmitted to people from fruit bats and spreads among humans through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected people, surfaces, and materials.


The case fatality rate of MVD ranges between 24 to 88 per cent and it does not currently have an effective drug for treatment or a licensed vaccine for prevention.

There are the Marjorie Taylor-Greenes with their “Defund the FBI!” hysteria and Rand Pauls with the “Repeal Espionage Statute!” laugher. And then there are the most dangerous Republicans, the ones that sound imminently reasonable. The “most reasonable” are asking the most unreasonable and most dangerous questions.

As reported by the New York Times, Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota goes on Meet the Press to say:

“I’m not one of the individuals out there that says that, you know, ‘Immediately attack the F.B.I. or the Justice Department. But I think it’s very important long term for the Justice Department, now that they’ve done this, that they show that this was not just a fishing expedition.”

Another example from Sen. Rob Portman in a statement:

Never has a former president and potential political opponent to the sitting president been subject to such a search. The attorney general and the F.B.I. should now demonstrate unprecedented transparency and explain to the American people why they authorized the raid.”

When the FBI obtains a search warrant from a judge that had to know that he was evaluating the most controversial warrant in history and then signs it, resulting in a search that finds Top Secret-SCI classified files, the FBI has explained itself, and it is self-evident that it wasn’t a “fishing expedition.”

The message above carries with it an implicit expectation that the FBI release the documents to prove the seriousness of the issue, and yet these Republicans know that some of the files found cannot even be named because the name would give away critical secrets. The FBI cannot come out and say that one file contained the identities of all nine “American Assets in the Saudi Government Nuclear Program,” and the Republicans know it. (Fictitious example, obviously)

In a very real way, the most moderate Republicans are the ones that are most dangerous to the FBI. The expectation that the FBI can be “transparent” about top secret-SCI documents is a contradiction in terms. They are setting the FBI up to look like it’s in some conspiracy, that it doesn’t have the goods and the agency that cannot justify its actions. Trump defenders are far more likely to be motivated by such a defense than Marjorie Taylor Greene’s “Defund the FBI!”

The FBI has been as transparent as it can possibly be. It has been documented that it made Mar-a-Lago aware of the problem. It first asked for informal cooperation. When that didn’t work, they issued a subpoena. When the FBI doubted that Trump fully complied with the subpoena, it asked an attorney to sign off that everything had been returned. The FBI insisted that a camera be installed and more secure locks are put in place (This had to be in contemplation of a warrant, it demonstrates the FBI knew what remained). The FBI has said that it was concerned by people moving the documents. The FBI went in front of a U.S. Magistrate and convinced the magistrate that they would find evidence of a crime. And the FBI walked out of Mar-a-Lago with Top Secret-SCI files. They couldn’t possibly be more transparent sans publishing the documents themselves, and that’s never going to happen. And damn it, they know that!

What will happen is that the FBI will share the documents with members of Congress with clearance to see the information in the files. At that point, with that kind of transparency, if these “moderates” continue to shame the FBI, they will have blood on their hands when there is – almost inevitably – another domestic terrorist attack against the FBI. These are the most dangerous voices.


Catalysing Change Week 2022: Ndidi Nwuneli to moderate panel discussion tagged

Catalysing Change Week 2022 started on May 9 and will continue till May 13.


The events and sessions are free for the public and those interested in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to attend.


On Wednesday, May 11, by 16:00 to 17:00 CET, there will be a virtual panel discussion session tagged “Africa Forward”.


This session will be moderated by Ndidi Nwuneli, Co-founder Sahel Consulting.


The speakers include Andy Bryant, Catherine Mwendwa, James Mwangi, Luvoyo Rani, Nkanyiso Hlongwa, Patrick Awuah Jr., and Wamuyu Mahinda.


The hashtag for the discussion is #LetsReenergisetheSDGs.


Inviting the public to the panel discussion, CCW2022 organisers wrote: “The collective communities of practice supporting systems change for thriving African Social Enterprises & their supporters towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) call for a renewed vision and partnership-driven commitment to reshape the evolving narrative, shift the social impact funding paradigm, embed principles of equity, resiliency and proximate power; showcase path-breaking initiatives and innovations, and further develop the social impact sector for the Africa we want.


“To rapidly accelerate an ‘Africans for Africa Call to Action’ that places African narratives at the heart of collaborative partnership-driven opportunities and lays out pathways for supporting the common purpose and shared value, we will: A. Showcase policy imperatives to create an enabling environment for Social Entrepreneurs to thrive; B. Give clear steps for donors, bilaterals, multilaterals and other partners who want to help scale impact for proximity Social Entrepreneurs across Africa; and C. Pool resources to scale impact for sustainable & mature ecosystems where the sector shares essential skills, services and taps into new connected networks.


“The launch of Africa’s Impact Leadership session is a co-created initiative informed by the contributions of Africa Chapter members.”


Go here to sign up for this session.



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