Supreme Court Rules Against Texas' Border Razor Wire | Crooked Media
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January 24, 2024
What A Day
Supreme Court Rules Against Texas' Border Razor Wire

In This Episode

  • The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the Biden administration has the authority to remove parts of a barbed wire barrier erected by Texas officials at the U.S.-Mexico border. The high court ruled for Biden in a 5-4 decision, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Amy Coney Barrett siding with the three liberal justices.
  • More than 300 L.A. Times journalists walked off their jobs last Friday for a one-day strike to protest potential layoffs. Then on Monday, a group of ten California lawmakers said in a letter that they’re concerned about how possible cuts might impact “the availability of essential news and the strength of our democracy at large.”
  • And in headlines: New Hampshire officials are investigating robocalls that used AI to impersonate President Joe Biden, a Georgia judge unsealed documents in a divorce case that involves prosecutors in the election interference case against Donald Trump, and we learn about the science behind heartbreak.


Show Notes:



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Josie Duffy Rice: It’s Tuesday, January 23rd. I’m Josie Duffy Rice. 


Tre’vell Anderson: And I’m Tre’vell Andersen. And this is What a Day, the pod that wants the kids to know you don’t need mirrors to enjoy TikTok. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, a North Carolina school removed bathroom mirrors last week to cut down on kids leaving class to film TikToks, and it apparently worked. 


Tre’vell Anderson: What happened to just a tripod or something? 


Josie Duffy Rice: The youth are fancier than us. Or maybe less fancy. [laughter] [music break]


Tre’vell Anderson: On today’s show, we talk about the union fight by L.A. Times journalists to keep their reporting strong. Plus, Josie puts on her lab coat to learn all about the science of heartbreak. 


Josie Duffy Rice: But first, on Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that the Biden administration has the authority to remove parts of a barbed wire barrier erected by Texas state officials. The ruling is a victory for Biden. WAD listeners have heard us report about this several times, so you know how contentious it’s been between the administration and Texas recently. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, and this specific battle has gone on for a while now. Can you recap how exactly we got here? 


Josie Duffy Rice: Well, in just the past two years, Greg Abbott has spent billions of dollars building infrastructure at the border to deter migrants. All of this infrastructure is cruel. Much of it pushes the limits of what states are really permitted to do. I mean, we heard just last week that Texas officials blocked federal agents from saving the lives of a woman and her children as they drowned in the Rio Grande. So that is unfathomably awful. They’ve also been caught refusing to allow migrants water in over 100 degree weather, installing barbed wire without permission on private property, putting barbed wire around public lakes and rivers. I mean, they’re just like Texas is out of control. 


Tre’vell Anderson: And we’ve known they’ve been out of control, we should say, for a little minute. But confirmation on top of confirmation. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Absolutely. This particular dispute started last October, when Texas officials installed what is known as concertina wire along parts of the border. If you don’t know what concertina wire is, it’s basically like barbed wire on steroids. It’s like the big coiled wires that you’ll see at prisons sometimes. It’s almost like a guarantee that anyone who tries to get past that kind of wire is going to be severely, severely injured. So the Biden administration removed the wire, claiming they had the authority to do so. But Ken Paxton, Texas’s terrible Attorney General, sued the Biden administration in October, claiming that they were, quote, “destroying state property,” among other things. 


Tre’vell Anderson: But I know a few weeks ago, a decision came down from the appellate court on this, right? 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. So just last month, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled for Texas actually. That was not ideal. And the Biden administration filed an emergency application to the Supreme Court, basically asking for an expedited decision. And frankly, many people thought the Supreme Court would rule for Texas, given what the Supreme Court is like these days. I mean, it’s not great over there. But the court actually ruled for Biden in a 5-4 decision yesterday with Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Amy Coney Barrett siding with the three liberal justices. Now, they didn’t explain their decision, which they typically don’t with emergency matters, but it’s a welcome decision on their part. I mean, it’s not going to stop Texas from all of their cruelty, but it is a relief that the court believes that there are some limits to what Governor Abbott can do. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yes and enforcing them. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Finally. Now on to a story about the importance of supporting local journalism. This one comes out of my neck of the woods, and it’s about the state of the Los Angeles Times. A group of ten California lawmakers said in a letter yesterday that they are concerned about how potential layoffs at the newspaper might impact, quote, “the availability of essential news and the strength of our democracy at large.” This comes after more than 300 L.A. Times journalists walked off their job last Friday for a one day strike protesting these cuts. The first work stoppage in the paper’s 143 year history away. 


[clip of LA Times workers on strike] Who are we? LA Times! Who are we? LA Times! Who are we? LA Times!


Josie Duffy Rice: I love that they’re taking a stand you know we’re talking about the biggest county in America. One of the most important papers in the country. So this is a very, very big deal. Catch us up here. What’s going on? How did we get here? Tell us more. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. So I guess I should first give a disclaimer, which is that I started my career at the LA Times. I was also part of the early group that began the union there. So I definitely like you I’m super proud of them for taking such a necessary stand like this. But here’s the situation. Management announced plans last week to lay off what the union calls, a quote unquote “significant” number of people. The union says the Times also wants them to gut seniority protections that are already in their contract, so that the company has greater leeway on who they can lay off. Now, the union hasn’t been able to say the actual number of jobs that will be on the chopping block, and that’s because the Times has been engaging in off the record negotiations. The union says the Times also wants them to gut seniority protections that are in their contract, so that the company has greater leeway on who they can lay off. Now, the union hasn’t been able to say the actual number of jobs that will be on the chopping block, and that’s because the Times has been engaging in off the record negotiations. But the guild’s chair called the collective changes that they feel they’re being pressured to accept, quote, “obscene and unsustainable.” 


Josie Duffy Rice: And it’s important to note that, like what we’re talking about here is just the latest cuts that the paper is trying to make. It’s not the only ones. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, that’s some very important context, Josie. The last round of layoffs at the LA Times was back in June of 2023. They cut 74 jobs. It was a 13% reduction. But that was just six months ago. And now they need to do layoffs again. And then some other context. Last week, the LA Times’ top editor Kevin Merida stepped down, and since he stepped down, two other managing editors, two of the four that they had have also resigned. These departures reportedly were already in the works before Kevin stepped down. Right. But what all of this means for the journalists working in that newsroom is that they’ve got a bit of a shit show on their hands and mind you right, there’s still a daily newspaper and website that is getting produced. 


Josie Duffy Rice: These editors that stepped down are some of the most respected editors in the field, right? I mean, it’s a big loss. And it’s clear the LA Times has a situation on their hand. We’ve spoken on the show before about the decline of newspapers due in part to declining ad sales and people not really subscribing to publications anymore. And also you know, newspapers have just been gutted by big finance, basically hedge funds and private equity who have taken them up and chopped them up and sold them for parts. But I’m wondering, like, is that what’s happening at the LA Times? Is it something else? What’s the deal there? 


Tre’vell Anderson: As you said, Josie, like the state of journalism has been not great for a little minute, 43,000 newspaper journalists have lost their jobs since 2005, mostly at daily publications. And then last year in 2023, an average of 2.5 newspapers closed every single week. That’s compared to an average of two newspapers closing a week in 2022. So we can see that that decline is accelerating. Luckily, we’re not quite at the turn the lights off point with the LA Times quite yet, but the reality is that the billionaire owner of the paper, Doctor Patrick Soon-Shiong, and his family, they bought it in 2018. They reportedly feel like they’ve been pumping too much money into the paper without seeing the necessary growth, either in audience or ad dollars. And that’s despite the very impactful, even necessary Pulitzer Prize winning work, right? That’s been coming out of this newsroom over the last few years. So it’s important to note that these economic realities, they are definitely something that the union even recognizes as partially motivating the need for layoffs. But the union isn’t pushing back on that, right? They’re specifically pushing back on how the layoffs will happen. Their demands include management publicly saying a clear head count or financial reduction amount. And the union also wants the company to offer buyouts before these layoffs, which is something already in their actual contract. We, of course, will keep you all posted on what comes of this story. But as a journalist, as someone who believes in the importance of information, of accountability, of the archiving that results from the work of reporters in other news media, if you agree, you have to do something about it, okay? Subscribe to your local news outlets. Support and share the work of actual journalists. I don’t know, perhaps read beyond the headline, and don’t rely only on TikTok or Instagram for your news updates. 


Josie Duffy Rice: It’s an election year too, and we’ve been talking about that a lot. Supporting the Free Press is a major part of democracy, right? Like this is how you ensure a strong democracy as a strong free press. And media gets a lot of complaints, but people are going to miss it when it’s gone. And I think there’s a real effort to make sure we don’t get there. So I’ve been telling people this year, every dollar you give to a candidate, give a dollar to a news outlet, because if you give, you know, the L.A. Times, $150 million dollars, they will not drop out after Iowa. [laughter] They will last past the election. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Can confirm. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Can confirm. The money that you donate to candidates, you should be donating equal that amount, if not more, to media. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. And that is the latest for now. [music break]


Josie Duffy Rice: Let’s get to some headlines. 


[sung] Headlines. 


Josie Duffy Rice: New Hampshire officials are investigating reports of robo calls that used artificial intelligence to impersonate President Joe Biden and discourage voters from voting in today’s primary. Take a listen to the recording, obtained by NBC news. 


[clip of AI impersonation of President Joe Biden] What a bunch of malarkey. You know the value of voting Democratic when our votes count, it’s important that you save your vote for the November election. We’ll need your help in electing Democrats up and down the ticket. Voting this Tuesday only enables the Republicans in their quest to elect Donald Trump again. Your vote makes a difference in November, not this Tuesday. 


Josie Duffy Rice: That’s so–


Tre’vell Anderson: Wow. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Eerie and very creepy and upsetting. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yikes. 


Josie Duffy Rice: The Attorney General’s office is investigating the matter, and it said in a statement that the messages appear to be a, quote, “unlawful attempt to disrupt the New Hampshire presidential primary election and to suppress New Hampshire voters.” And the statement went on to say that voters should disregard the message entirely, and stressed that voting in today’s primary does not preclude voters from casting their ballot in the general election in November. The Attorney General’s office started investigating the robocalls after receiving a complaint from Kathy Sullivan, a former state Democratic Party chair who helps run a superPAC urging voters to write in Biden’s name in the primary. The calls show that they came from her personal cell. But in a statement, she said, quote, “it is outright election interference and clearly an attempt to harass me and other New Hampshire voters who are planning to write in Joe Biden on Tuesday.” Very unnerving. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, this is not great. And also probably just the beginning. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Mm hmm. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Right, of– 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yup. 


Tre’vell Anderson: –these altered messages, AI generated stuff, the deep fakes, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera that we will see this election cycle. Oh, Lord. 


Josie Duffy Rice: I know. 


Tre’vell Anderson: On Monday, a Georgia judge unsealed the divorce case of Nathan Wade, one of the lawyers that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis hired to manage her election interference case against former President Donald Trump and his allies. But the judge declined to force Willis to testify. You’ll remember that we talked about the drama with Willis and Wade on the show last week. Michael Roman, one of Trump’s lawyers indicted by Willis, alleged that she was in a romantic relationship with Wade and that she violated ethics rules by assigning Wade to the case against the former president. Roman provided no proof other than some credit card statements showing that Wade bought airline tickets for himself and Willis on two occasions. But the unsealing of the divorce case could impact Willis’s efforts to hold Trump and his allies accountable for trying to overturn the state’s 2020 presidential election results. A hearing for the misconduct claims against Willis is scheduled for next month. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Switching gears now, Dexter Scott King, son of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr and Coretta Scott King, died yesterday at his home in Malibu after a battle with prostate cancer. He was 62. Leah Weber King, his wife, said in a statement that he died quote, “peacefully in his sleep.” He was the chairman of the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, an institution that his mother established in 1968. He was also the president of the King Estate. Dexter King was the third of the King’s children, and was just seven years old when his father was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4th, 1968. He is survived by his wife, his older brother Martin Luther King the third, and younger sister, Reverend Bernice King. In a statement, his older brother said, quote, “The sudden shock is devastating. It is hard to have the right words at a moment like this. We ask for your prayers at this time for the entire King family.” 


Tre’vell Anderson: This week marks the one year anniversary of the Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay mass shootings, two tragedies that devastated two predominantly Asian American communities in California. On January 21st last year, a gunman opened fire at a Lunar New Year celebration in Monterey Park, killing 11 people, including himself. And just days later, on January 23rd, a gunman killed seven farmers in Half Moon Bay, most of whom were of Chinese descent. Hundreds of residents gathered in both cities to remember the loved ones they lost to gun violence. President Biden released a statement on Monday to honor the victims and survivors of the shootings and reemphasized the need for gun control. He said, quote, “In mere moments, friends and families gathering together in joy and hope were devastated by a senseless, horrific mass shooting. Jill and I continue to pray for the families of the victims and many others traumatized by these attacks.” 


Josie Duffy Rice: And finally, on the 51st anniversary of Roe v Wade, Vice President Kamala Harris kicked off her fight for Reproductive Freedoms tour yesterday in Wisconsin. That’s a nationwide tour in which the vice president will travel across the country in support of abortion rights. Take a listen to what she had to say during her speech in the key battleground state on Monday. 


[clip of Vice President Kamala Harris] In America, freedom is not to be given. It is not to be bestowed. It is ours by right. [cheers and applause] By right. And that includes the freedom to make decisions about one’s own body. Not the government telling you what to do. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Up next on the tour, President Biden and Vice President Harris and their spouses will be in Virginia today for another rally for abortion rights. Meanwhile, back in Washington, President Biden met with his reproductive rights task force yesterday, where they talked about new steps to protect reproductive health care access. Also on Monday, the administration announced a new team that will be dedicated to supporting hospitals and complying with its interpretation of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act. That’s the law that requires hospitals to provide necessary treatment, including abortions if a patient is at risk of dying. You wouldn’t think you would need a law like that. But that’s where we are. 


Tre’vell Anderson: In this here America, apparently we do. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Mm hmm. 


Tre’vell Anderson: And those are the headlines. We’ll be back after some ads with another installment of Josie versus science. This time we talk about how the science of heartbreak is very, very real. 




Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Tuesday WAD squad and today we’re going to try a little experiment with another installment of Josie versus science. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Oh boy. [electricity buzz sound effect]


Tre’vell Anderson: All right, so let’s put on our lab coats, wear some eye protection and get down to business Josie. We all know that science is a process, and each new failure and discovery brings us all closer to the truth. But Josie, we know that for some reason, you’re not here for any of that. 


Josie Duffy Rice: You know science? It’s not for me. [laughter] I’m glad someone’s out there doing science. I’m just not a I don’t want to be the science person. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Well, Josie, I have a story for you this week that I think you’ll fall in love with. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Okay. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Okay. 


Josie Duffy Rice: I’m ready. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Are you buckled in? 


Josie Duffy Rice: I’m buckled in. 


Tre’vell Anderson: So I was combing through the L.A. Times yesterday. And, you know, when they aren’t protesting for better pay and other things, I saw that one staffer had a story diving into the science behind heartbreak. Okay, it is very, very real. Josie, I have to ask you, when you’ve had your heart broken before, did you ever feel it like physically, like beyond the emotions itself? 


Josie Duffy Rice: Oh, totally. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Oh. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Good. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Still mad at you, Stephen Johnson from seventh grade for breaking my heart. [laughter] Had me down and out for like a week. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Well so, then you will understand this. Okay? From personal experience. In this article, journalist Todd Martens, he talked about a break up of his own, and he interviewed a bunch of experts to figure out why he felt the way he did. And he said that psychology professor David Sbarra from the University of Arizona, pointed to a study that showed dwelling on a breakup can affect your body. It causes a stress response where some of your symptoms include lack of sleep, increased blood pressure, and even a disruption to how the heart rate is regulated. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Okay. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yes, this makes sense so far– 


Tre’vell Anderson: It makes sense. 


Josie Duffy Rice: –I’m with you.


Tre’vell Anderson: Yes. Stay there. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Okay I’m here. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. Martens also chatted with biological anthropologist Helen Fisher. In 2010, she penned a study that likened heartbreak to addiction. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Wow. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Okay. When you’re in love, your brain gets hits of dopamine that makes you feel good, right? But when you’re going through heartbreak, your body goes through withdrawals since you’re not getting the same amount of chemicals anymore. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Ahh okay. 


Tre’vell Anderson: So she told him, quote, “just because you’ve been dumped, you’re still in love,” right? You’re at least you still feel like you’re still in love. And now you’re processing, right, the withdrawal of the dopamine. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Tre’vell Anderson: But then he also got a prescription to combat heartbreak from Florence Williams, author of Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey. And she told him that you need the three C’s in your life. Calm, connection, and creativity. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Mmm. To get through it?


Tre’vell Anderson: To get through it. Do you buy it? 


Josie Duffy Rice: Got it. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Does it feel? What are you thinking? 


Josie Duffy Rice: It sounds right, [laugh] you know, when you’re in it. But I buy this, I buy this.


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. It’s just saying that, you know, when we all go through heartbreak, you break up with, you know, your little girlfriend, your little boy friend, your little they friend, right? That it can have an effect on your body and just, you know, trying to get us to be a little bit more, perhaps intentional as we move through the process of transitioning from one relationship to no relationship, perhaps. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. And to recognize like, this is actually a scientific, real thing happening that lots of people go through and that you can manage, that you can get through.


Tre’vell Anderson: And that you’re not being dramatic. Right? When you are–


Josie Duffy Rice: Well. 


Tre’vell Anderson: –in your depressive state for– 


Josie Duffy Rice: Some of y’all might be being a little dramatic. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Well. [laughing] You might still be being dramatic. 


Josie Duffy Rice: You might be being dramatic. 


Tre’vell Anderson: But– 


Josie Duffy Rice: But we support you and we will tell everybody it is science. Just text us, call us, tweet us. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Listen. It is always science. 


Josie Duffy Rice: We will tell your friends that this is scientific and that you are not being dramatic, even though deep down we know you’re being a little dramatic. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Potentially Josie.


Josie Duffy Rice: Potentially. Potentially. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Potentially. 


Josie Duffy Rice: I mean, I support a little drama. I mean, I’m not mad at it. Lets go. [laughter]


Tre’vell Anderson: Well, we will let you all make your own decisions. Okay. We’re going to link to the L.A. Times story in our show notes. But Josie, guess what? You survived another bout with science. Look at that?


Josie Duffy Rice: This is my favorite bout with science so far. So maybe we’re on the upswing. Maybe 2024 is my science year. 


Tre’vell Anderson: [laughing] We can only hope. Okay? 


Josie Duffy Rice: We can only hope. [music break] Two more things before we go. Major Pod Save America schedule update, Jon Lovett, Tommy and Dan are bumping up their episodes to three days a week, with episodes dropping Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. A tripod, you could call it. You know, just an idea. I think they are trying to get on our level. We still have five a week. Good luck guys. We’re rooting for you. Subscribe to Pod Save America wherever you watch or listen to stay on top of this firehose of an election cycle. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Plus, while people in New Hampshire vote today, you can still be a big part of democracy because today is also National Run for Office Day. It’s a big campaign by the organization Run for Something to encourage you all into running for a local seat. Maybe you’ll be on your school board, maybe your city council, hell, maybe you’ll decide to run for president. Not this year, though. Find out more by heading to 


Josie Duffy Rice: Run for office and donate to journalism. 


Tre’vell Anderson: There we go. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Those are your instructions for this year. [music break] That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Don’t go breaking my heart and tell your friends to listen. 


Tre’vell Anderson: And if you are into reading and not just the list of ice creams that can also be prescribed for a broken heart like me, What a Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at I’m Tre’vell Anderson. 


Josie Duffy Rice: I’m Josie Duffy Rice. 


[spoken together] And say no to Robo Brandon. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Ugh. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. I really hate the robocalls. I just have to say that again, [laugh] because it sounds just like him. 


Josie Duffy Rice: That’s really unnerving. It just makes you not know if what you’re hearing is real. Although we do know that if it sounds like Trump’s voice he probably said it. [laughter] Because that man will say anything.


Tre’vell Anderson: Probably you’re probably right about that. 


Josie Duffy Rice: It was probably him. [laughter] [music break]


Tre’vell Anderson: What a Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz, our show’s producer is Itxy Quintanilla. Raven Yamamoto and Natalie Bettendorf are our associate producers, and our showrunner is Leo Duran. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.