All eyes were on former President Trump last week as he surrendered to authorities in Manhattan for his arraignment. Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony charges of falsifying business records to cover up a hush money payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels during the final days of the 2016 campaign.

According to reporting by Rolling Stone, the president declined an offer for a virtual arraignment. Not one to miss an opportunity to grandstand, he allegedly wanted a perp walk. Trump arrived with a full motorcade in tow. He was greeted by protesters and his own supporters to whom he waved.

For more on President Trump’s legal woes, check out these stories from OptOut participating outlets.

Trump's in Trouble

NEW JERSEY MONITOR republished an important breakdown of the charges against Trump.

What the charges against Trump mean - New Jersey Monitor
Beyond the legal and factual complexities, there will be a series of novel aspects of this case that arise because Trump is an ex-president.
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Meanwhile, THE INTERCEPT noted that Trump’s legal wounds are self-inflicted and that charges against him were not an inevitability, even with the hush money payment.

Trump (Allegedly) Broke the Law for No Reason
He could have paid off Stormy Daniels without legal troubles.
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THE NATION wrote about how, in the lead-up to the Trump arraignment, there was swirling speculation about impending violence that never materialized.

There Was No Trump Violence This Week. But What’s Coming?
Jeff Sharlet’s incomparable new book The Undertow explains why the worst is probably yet to come.
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THE COLUMN did a breakdown of the excessive on-air media coverage of Trump compared to the impending, Biden-endorsed rollback of the COVID-19 public health protections, which will result in millions of Americans getting kicked off Medicaid.

CNN, Sunday Morning Shows Completely Ignore Up To 15 Million Americans Being Thrown Off Medicaid
In a pattern that’s been repeated many times since 2021, millions being driven further into poverty simply doesn’t register in our “national debate.”
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FAIR covered the issue.

In other important non-Trump news, THE NEW REPUBLIC had a good rundown of legislative attacks on civil rights working their way through states including Tennessee and Texas.

Don’t Let the Media’s Trump Fixation Distract You From These Local Threats to Democracy
Bills attacking civil rights are working their way through state legislatures in Tennessee, Texas, Florida, and more.
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Other major news broke last week, particularly surrounding the nation’s courts. Please enjoy our selection of top stories from the last week by OptOut’s participating outlets.

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Hijacked Judiciary

A Texas judge last week halted the FDA’s approval of the abortion pill. The dubious ruling held that the federal government must pull the pill from the market. Senate Democrats vowed to protect abortion rights in response to the ruling. STATES NEWSROOM had the story.

Democratic leaders warn abortion pill ruling could endanger other FDA-approved drugs
U.S. Senate Democratic leaders vowed to defend reproductive rights and abortion access Saturday, less than a day after a federal judge in Texas ruled the federal government needs to pull the abortion pill off the market within a week
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Last week, ProPublica released a bombshell report about how rightwing Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas failed to disclose years of luxury trips paid for by Texas billionaire Harlan Crow. OHIO CAPITAL JOURNAL republished the piece.

Clarence Thomas and the billionaire - Ohio Capital Journal
For more than two decades, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has accepted luxury trips virtually every year from the Dallas businessman without disclosing them, documents and interviews show.
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Ben Burgis in JACOBIN offered up a sharp commentary on Thomas’s ethical failures.

Clarence Thomas Is Exactly What He Appears: a Corrupt, Plutocrat-Backed Ruling-Class Elite
A blockbuster new story reveals that Clarence Thomas has been traveling around the world on a superyacht and private jet owned by billionaire megadonor Harlan Crow. Yet somehow, right-wingers continue to pretend that Thomas is an enemy of “the elites.”
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DEFECTOR also covered the Thomas revelations but noted that despite his ethical transgressions, the compromised Supreme Court justice is unlikely to face any consequences for his actions.

Clarence Thomas Has A Billionaire Sponsor And Nobody Can Do Anything About It | Defector
That Clarence Thomas is a big-time piece of crap—brazenly and unapologetically so!—has been general public knowledge virtually as long as the existence of Clarence Thomas has been general public knowledge. Then-President George H.W. Bush nominated him to the Supreme Court in July 1991—this was the f…
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Following the ProPublica story, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for Thomas’s impeachment on THE LEVER’s podcast.

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Anti-Trans Bigotry

A new law in Kansas passed by the GOP has cleared the way for genital inspections in children's school athletics. KANSAS REFLECTOR has the story.

Kansas anti-trans sports law opens door for genital inspections of kids. That’s the simple truth. - Kansas Reflector
The new law banning transgender athletes doesn’t specifically force or require genital exams. But it could be used to justify them.
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TRANSLASH covered the latest developments surrounding a proposed anti-trans bathroom bill working its way through the Florida legislature.

FLORIDA PHOENIX also covered the story.

THE SERFS did an important segment last week about the vilification and otherizing of trans Americans by the political right.

Meanwhile, THE HUMANIST REPORT covered the embarrassing collapse of a story published by conservative operative Bari Weiss’s Free Press about transgender care.

Anti-Social Media

Last week, Twitter’s erratic new owner Elon Musk took steps to prevent Substack posts from gaining traction on his platform, blocking users from liking, commenting on, or sharing posts with Substack links and dealing a serious blow to small, independent publications. HEATED wrote about how the decision would impact its work.

Elon Musk’s climate censorship
With Musk’s new policy, climate publications like HEATED can no longer effectively share their work on Twitter.
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THE NEW REPUBLIC also weighed in on the development from the so-called “free speech absolutist.”

Why Elon Musk Is Nuking Substack on Twitter
Even his journo-buddies are up in arms.
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The OptOut Network Expands

OptOut is pleased to announce that YES! MEDIA and COMMON DREAMS joined our network last week. Going forward, we will be featuring their work in our app. (Download it now!)

YES! MEDIA is a nonprofit publisher of solutions journalism that inspires people to build a more just, sustainable, and compassionate world. Here’s a recent piece on one key element to fighting climate change.

Why Intergenerational Thinking Is Essential to Heal the Planet
As humankind grapples with climate change, communities around the world show what’s possible by planning hundreds of years ahead.
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COMMON DREAMS is a nonprofit journalism hub founded in 1997. Today it wrote about yet another U.S. mass shooting, this one in Louisville.

The OptOut Media Foundation (EIN: 85-2348079) is a nonprofit charity with a mission to educate the public about current events and help sustain a diverse media ecosystem by promoting and assisting independent news outlets and, in doing so, advance democracy and social justice.

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