Extradition decisions: Yesterday, Britain’s High Court ruled that WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange—who stands accused of violating the Espionage Act due to his 2010 decision to publish classified documents leaked by whistleblower Chelsea Manning that revealed disturbing U.S. military actions—cannot be extradited to the United States until greater assurances are provided about how he will be treated in custody and at trial, including receiving First Amendment protections.

The court gave U.S. authorities three weeks to provide assurances that Assange “is permitted to rely on the First Amendment to the United States Constitution…that he is not prejudiced at trial (including sentence) by reason of his nationality, that he is afforded the same First Amendment protections as a United States citizen and that the death penalty is not imposed.”

This decision had been anxiously awaited by Assange-watchers, given that he is very close to the end of the road, in terms of appeals, within the British court system.

The U.S. has until May 20 to provide these assurances to the British High Court; if they are not satisfactory, he will receive a full appeal hearing in the U.K. Concurrently, Assange’s legal team is seeking an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights, which could possibly delay extradition further.

In other words, his fate remains uncertain, but this move by the British court is a decidedly good one. For more on Assange’s case, watch this episode of my show, Just Asking Questions, in which Zach Weissmueller and I interviewed Julian’s wife, Stella (who also happens to be an attorney who has worked on his case).

Abortion pill legality being considered: Today, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case involving the legality of mifepristone, one of the drugs used to induce abortions. The decision will most likely be announced in June, later in the term, and will have significant implications for whether the pill can be prescribed by mail or telemedicine.

“At issue is whether the [Food and Drug Administration (FDA)] acted appropriately in expanding access to the drug in 2016 and again in 2021,” reports The New York Times. “The court is also expected to consider whether the plaintiffs, a group of anti-abortion doctors and organizations, can show that they will suffer concrete harm if the pill remains widely available. Lawyers call this requirement standing.”

The Biden administration says, via brief, that the group of doctors has brought the lawsuit “based on speculative and attenuated injuries.”

Here’s a timeline of mifepristone approval, access, and lawsuits, spanning all the way back to 2000. More on how the FDA has determined mifepristone’s risk/safety here.

“Two-thirds (66%) of US adults say they oppose banning the use of mifepristone, or medication abortion, nationwide, and 62% oppose making it a crime for healthcare providers to mail abortion pills to patients in states where abortion is banned,” per a CNN writeup relying on KFF polling data from earlier this month. All of that is to say: abortion restrictions, particularly early-term procedures (which seemingly strike many people as less grotesque, more anodyne) have not proven to be a winning political issue for Republicans, so if the Supreme Court does move to restrict mifepristone, the political ripple effects may be major.

Scenes from New York: Another subway system crime, this one involving a man being shoved onto the tracks by a stranger, struck and killed by the oncoming train, during rush hour in East Harlem. (We discussed the rise in this particular category of crime on the JAQ episode with criminal justice professor/former Baltimore cop Peter Moskos.)


  • A little after 1 a.m. this morning, a cargo ship struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, causing the bridge to collapse. A rescue effort is underway for “upwards of seven people” who were reportedly traveling on the bridge at the time it collapsed.
  • Yesterday, a New York appeals court reduced the size of Donald Trump’s bond in his civil fraud case from $464 million to $175 million and gave him an extra 10 days to secure the bond and pay up.
  • Joe Biden has gained on Trump in six of seven battleground states, per new polling.
  • Are Chinese cybercriminals stealing voter data?
  • In news that shocks literally nobody, wokeness is apparently “associated with lower mental well-being.”
  • Really incredible scene:


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