In This Episode
- The results of the 2020 Census were released yesterday, and they showed that over the past decade, the U.S. population grew by the slowest pace since the 1930s. The results will change how the 435 seats in Congress are allocated, with a handful of states set to gain or lose a seat. We discuss.
- The Supreme Court will be taking up a case that deals with the rights that people have to carry guns outside their homes for self-defense. They’ll also take on a case affecting free speech that began when a teen wrote “F School” in a Snapchat message.
- And in headlines: the DOJ will investigate the Louisville police department, the Biden administration will give AstraZeneca shots to other countries, and California Governor Gavin Newsom to face a recall election.
Gideon Resnick: It’s Tuesday, April 27th. I’m Gideon Resnick,
Erin Ryan: And I’m Erin Ryan, in for Akilah Hughes,
Gideon Resnick: And this is What A Day, the daily news podcast that always ends in a contest called Mortal Kombat.
Erin Ryan: Yeah, it doesn’t usually make it into the show, but the hosts do fight every day.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, something you might not know about me is I have four massive punching arms. On today’s show, the Supreme Court takes up the case of the “F school” heard around the world, and how it could affect free speech for students, then some headlines. But first, the latest.
[clip of Ron Jarmin] According to the 2020 census, the number of people living in the United States was 331,449,281.
Erin Ryan: That’s right, we’re having a census party, and acting director of the U.S. Census, Ron Jarmin, dropped those numbers on us yesterday. The process was—how do I put this lightly—troubled from the start. It was done during a pandemic. The last administration wanted to add a citizenship question to the census questionnaire, which got blocked by the Supreme Court. There were pushes to outright stop the count as well. But now we’re here. So Gideon, let’s start with some of the biggest takeaways from the numbers that we got.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah. So one of the bigger things we found out was that over the past decade, the US population grew by the slowest pace since the 1930s, just a 7.4% Increase. The initial reasons that people had for this were attributed to lower immigration rates, older white populations, and lower birth rates in the country. And here’s one kind of wild estimate that’s tied to that: so, there were more elderly people over the age of 80 than there are children two and younger, plus the percentage of people 65 and older has grown by 35%. And one grim note that I think people are sort of thinking about as this was coming out, we don’t really know what sort of effect there is from the lives that we’ve lost to COVID-19. Much of the movement that people made across the country, and the people who passed away happened after Census Day last year.
Erin Ryan: Wow, so Gideon, you’re telling me that having no public health care for people, no family leave, no paid leave at all for parents, terrible elder care and a draconian immigration system means that people are being born here or moving here.
Gideon Resnick: It’s truly shocking. I know.
Erin Ryan: That, that, we’re going to need to look into that, maybe do some more research. OK, one of the other interesting things to look at, of course, was where people grabbed a U-Haul and moved. What jumped out there?
Gideon Resnick: So broadly, it kind of looked like a trend that has been happening for a few years now, at least. There were bigger population growth in America’s south and west than the northeast and Midwest. Like, for instance, Utah’s population went up by over 18% in the past decade. They actually claimed the prize for number one.
Erin Ryan: Utah is an excellent state. I’m a big Utah fan.
Gideon Resnick: It’s esthetically beautiful, that is for sure. I would, I would like to—
Erin Ryan: Tons of natural beauty. It just needs to be purpled up a little bit.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, yeah. Bump that up to 19, 20% and maybe we’ll be working with something. But at the same time, Illinois, Mississippi and West Virginia all actually lost people over this time span, with West Virginia losing the most at 3.2%.
Erin Ryan: And beyond, people wanting a change of scenery or needing it for any number of reasons, this is going to have a pretty big political impact: how the 435 seats in Congress are distributed between the states based on where people live. And it’s a formula the census uses that’s a little too complicated for a podcast, much like the KFC secret spice blend. Right?
Gideon Resnick: Yes.
Erin Ryan: I mean, you can look at it, you can find it online, but we’re not going to go through like all the details. But Gideon, what do we know about how the new numbers will impact representation?
Gideon Resnick: Going to be some interesting Google searches in the morning. All right. So these are the states that are poised to lose a seat here: Illinois, Michigan, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, California and New York. And this is actually the first time that California will lose a seat. And it’s a little odd in a way, when you think about it, because the state grew in this time span by about 6%. However, that was just quite a bit less than the number of other states. And then for the ones that gained here: Florida, Colorado, Montana, Oregon and North Carolina all gained one seat, and Texas is gaining two. But the most wild stat of the day Erin, and why the census really truly does matter: I mentioned that New York lost a seat here, but if they had counted just 89 more people, 89, it would not have happened. It’s believed to be the narrowest margin in modern census history.
Erin Ryan: Wow. New York City. That never returns its census survey on time.
Gideon Resnick: That’ll do it. Yep.
Erin Ryan: Guys, fill out your paperwork, turn that back in! And now comes the question of who gets to draw these maps. Historically, the answer is not great
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, because of years of relative Republican dominance at the local level in many states leading to map fuckery of all sorts, then continued dominance, much of this process is going to be GOP-led. So the Brennan Center put together a redistricting report earlier this year that we can link to in our show notes. But basically, if you look at these states, Illinois and Oregon are among the ones that will have full Democratic control of the redistricting process. Then there are other states like Colorado, Michigan and New York that have these independent commissions dedicated to doing this. And then places like Florida and Texas are fully in GOP control. According to the Cook Political Report, Republicans will have the final say over congressional lines in 187 districts, and Democrats will get 75 districts, with the rest going to places where control is split, or by these bipartisan commissions. So this is going to have big ramifications for congressional elections that are right around the corner where Republicans need to flip just five seats to regain control of the House. It’s also going to affect our favorite thing in the world—the Electoral College—budgeting and much, much more. We’re going to follow all of that as more info from the census drops. But now let’s shift gears to our favorite mega group, the Supremes. Erin, the Supreme Court—that is the joke I just made—just said it will take up some interesting cases soon. What are they up to here?
Erin Ryan: Well, yesterday, the dorks in the high court announced that they will be taking up a case out of New York that deals with rights that people have to carry guns outside of their homes for self-defense. The case, New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Corlett, is the first major gun rights case the court has taken up in over a decade.
Gideon Resnick: OK, so let’s get into a little bit more on what this case actually involves.
Erin Ryan: Sure. New York State has a law on its books that requires people who want to carry a concealed handgun to establish that they have, quote “proper cause.” Basically, they must prove that they actually need it for protection. I feel like, that makes less sense: if you’re going to be hiding a gun in your purse, you probably should have a good reason. However, Paul Clement, a lawyer who has been behind many challenges to gun control laws and you might know from the George W. Bush administration, is challenging that law, saying that states have no right to regulate when individuals carry guns outside of their own home. So this is the first time the court has taken up that particular question. The last major ruling on the Second Amendment came down in 2008 when the court ruled that the Constitution protected the individual’s right to have a privately-owned gun in their home, in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller.
Gideon Resnick: OK, so I have a feeling I know the answer to this question, but how are people feeling about this?
Erin Ryan: Well gun rights advocates are extremely horny about this, and for good reason. There’s currently a six-three conservative majority on the court and at least five sitting justices have recently ruled or written in ways that were sympathetic to gun rights activists over laws attempting to regulate guns.
Gideon Resnick: That is not the trend that I wanted to hear.
Erin Ryan: Nope, but you have to wait until October to see this all unfold. That’s when the oral arguments should be taking place, which means we’ll probably get a ruling on this case at the end of this year or possibly later. But if your thirst for SCOTUS drama can’t wait, there’s another blockbuster case that’s going to be argued before the court this week, one that started with a Snapchat message from a then 14-year old Pennsylvania girl named Brandi Levy. It was over the weekend back in 2017, and it was sent to 250 friends and the fateful snapped read: F school, f softball, f cheer, f everything.”
Gideon Resnick: Highly relatable to express Bart Simpson energy via Snapchat. I guess that’s what happens in school now. So the court, I guess, will decide whether or not softball and cheer should in fact be f’ed.
Erin Ryan: You’re close. The court will determine whether or not administrators at her public school, the Mahanoy Area High School, were right to kick Brandi out of cheerleading for a year over the social media outburst, which did not occur during school hours or on school property or over official school channels. Brandi and her parents, along with the ACLU, sued the school, claiming that the punishment was unjust as the message didn’t disrupt school activities.
Gideon Resnick: OK, so what is the school’s case here then? That they should be able to discipline students for online speech no matter where and when it actually happens?
Erin Ryan: Basically, they say a ruling in favor of Levy would make it harder for them to discipline students for things like racism and bullying, which in the social media age often takes place off campus outside of school hours. President Biden’s administration has backed the district, saying that Levy was in the wrong because she specifically targeted groups of students in her angry snap, recall “f softball and f cheer.” The ACLU, however, disagrees and says that being a student at a public school shouldn’t subject off campus student speech to disciplinary action. The court should hand down a ruling on this case at the end of June. I don’t know how this one’s going to turn out, but one thing is clear: I am really glad that I am not currently a teenager because it sounds fucked up.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, imagine having to have your entire life litigated because it all exists for people to either narc on or see. Awful. OK, so then what about other hot-button issues the court is taking up at this point, or for that matter, avoiding?
Erin Ryan: Yeah. So when Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed last fall, a lot of people were worried that Roe v Wade was in the crosshairs, and they had a right to be worried. But despite that, the court is not taking up any cases yet that directly confront Roe v. Wade, which we can breathe a temporary sigh of relief. But they are hearing arguments this week in Americans for Prosperity v. Bonta, a case about whether tax-exempt organizations can be required to disclose big money donors. And the courts already ruled that states should have a right to imprison minors for life without parole. That was a Brett Kavanaugh joint that came down last week. With a case that could enshrine a right to a nationwide concealed carry, I’ve got high hopes for this court to make America even worse. But that’s the latest for now.
Gideon Resnick: It’s Tuesday, WAD squad, and for today’s temp check, we are talking about problem solving on vacation. Tourism is back on the rise in Hawaii and rental car prices are surging. So tourists have begun renting U-Hauls to get around. To put some numbers to this. One local news affiliate reported that in March, the cheapest rental car on Maui went for $722 a day. With prices like that or rental cars out of stock completely, hopping in a big white box truck doesn’t sound that crazy. So, Erin, what is your take on this story?
Erin Ryan: Oh, my gosh, Gideon. Look, there is a whole song called America the Beautiful. And that is because there are many places in America besides Hawaii that are absolutely beautiful and are worth visiting and will not cost you $722 a day to rent a U-Haul. Like, you know, we’ve got tons of national parks. If you live in the western half of the states, you can go to Yellowstone or Yosemite or Arches—any of the myriad national parks. But there’s also great state parks you can go to. If you live in the Midwest, might I recommend trying to get a permit to go to Boundary Waters? That’s a beautiful place to go. The Great Lakes are incredible places to go. There are other places besides Hawaii. If you want to go to a beach, we’ve got Florida, we’ve got the Gulf Coast, we’ve got California, the Carolinas even have good beaches.
Gideon Resnick: They do.
Erin Ryan: Like, I just think people really need to open their minds and their hearts and their wallets to other parts of the country because Hawaii cannot take any more. I think it is clear Hawaii cannot take anymore.
Gideon Resnick: I completely agree. I also think that the census director should hear that ad for America that you just did about all of its beautiful lakes and waterways around the country. Yeah, I mean—
Erin Ryan: Deserts.
Gideon Resnick: Deserts, deserts as well. Yeah. There’s very kind of thing that could await you across this beautiful nation of ours. Also, if you see that a place is desperately packed, right—it would be like if you saw that there was a six-hour line at Disneyland or any other attraction that you were going to, you would maybe consider like: uh, next time we’ll try this out, like, we’ll, maybe we won’t wait on this line. Leave Hawaii to itself and the hordes of other people who apparently have already converged on there. But just like that, we have checked our temps. Stay safe. Book a trip to a national park or a desert or the beach, wherever you like to go. And we’ll be back after some ads.
Gideon Resnick: Let’s wrap up with some headlines.
Gideon Resnick: The Justice Department is launching an investigation into the Louisville, Kentucky Police Department after its officers shot and killed Breonna Taylor while she was asleep last year. No officer was charged with Taylor’s death. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced a civil probe yesterday, and it aims to evaluate whether Louisville police routinely use unreasonable force, conduct unconstitutional searches or regularly engage in racist practices. The investigation follows one launched by the DOJ just last week to probe the Minneapolis police department, after former officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd. These investigations are separate from the department’s ongoing criminal civil rights investigations into the victims’ deaths.
Erin Ryan: The Biden administration says it plans to give 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine to other countries over the next several months. The White House didn’t say which countries will be getting the shots, but announced that 10 million doses might be released in the coming weeks. Leading up to this, world leaders have been pressing Biden to share U.S. surplus doses, while countries like India struggled to keep up with vaccinations due to supply shortages. As a reminder, India is currently experiencing one of the worst COVID surges in the world. AstraZeneca’s vaccine has not been authorized for use here yet, which makes this feel a bit like the public health equivalent of re-gifting a cinnamon bun-scented candle. But White House officials have said that the FDA will conduct a quality review before shipping the vaccine to other countries. You know what I say? Better to have a house that smells like a cinnamon bun, then one that smells like you need to clean your toilet.
Gideon Resnick: That is a common phrase, that people say often, not just you. OK. Californians suffering election withdrawal may get another chance to vote this year. State officials announced yesterday the Republican-led effort to recall Governor Gavin Newsom has collected enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. Newsom was elected to his office in 2018 by the largest vote margin in modern history. But in the past year, his approval took a big hit. A lot of that can be attributed to Californians on the right getting frustrated with the lockdowns and other restrictions that Newsom implemented to slow the spread of COVID and his mid-pandemic’s scandal of eating a $400 meal with lobbyist friends at the same time he was telling people to stay home probably didn’t help the cause. Ultimately, the origins of this recall predate COVID, and this is the third time the effort’s main organizer has tried to get Newsom out of office. Only 40% of California voters support recalling Newsom. The L.A. Times estimates that the vote won’t happen until November. And to help with his reputation among conservatives, I’d like to remind everyone that Newsom was once married to Donald Trump Jr.’s scary yelling girlfriend.
Erin Ryan: Wow. When it comes to winning the break up, the best is yet to come. No matter what a man tells you, there’s only one thing he wants in a relationship: presents. A guy recently demonstrated this in Japan. He was arrested on fraud charges for dating 35 women simply to get birthday gifts. This man is clearly both a master con artist, and a seven year old boy on stilts. He allegedly told each girlfriend that his birthday was different, presumably so he could start unwrapping his next present before his papercuts and even healed from unwrapping all his previous presents. The birthday boy met his targets through his job selling—and this is not a joke—shower heads for a multilevel marketing company. Meaning he pulled a rare “scam-squared” a.k.a. “scam sandwich” a.k.a. “scamwich” if ya nasty. Ultimately the total value of his gifts was around $900, meaning each girlfriend spent about the cost of one Blu-Ray Disc.
Gideon Resnick: That is what we call a scam sandwich around here. And those are the headlines. One more thing before we go: tomorrow night, you can join Crooked for a live group thread of Biden’s joint address to Congress.
Erin Ryan: Biden is expected to discuss the economic recovery, combating the coronavirus pandemic, and addressing global challenges.
Gideon Resnick: We’re going to laugh. We are going to cry. We’re going to share funny GIFs. Don’t miss out on our live reactions. You can subscribe to the Crooked YouTube channel today. And that is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe, leave a review, enjoy all of your presents, and tell your friends to listen.
Erin Ryan: And if you’re into reading, and not just U-Haul rental contracts like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Erin Ryan.
Gideon Resnick: I’m Gideon, Resnick.
[together] And good luck, Gavin Newsom!
Gideon Resnick: I don’t know if you’re going to need it, really, you know, but good luck either way.
Akilah Hughes: What A Day is a production of Crooked Media.
Gideon Resnick: It’s recorded and mixed by Charlotte Landes.
Akilah Hughes: Sonia Htoon is our assistant producer.
Gideon Resnick: Our head writer is Jon Millstein, and our executive producers are Leo Duran, Akilah Hughes and me.
Akilah Hughes: Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.