Ketanji Brown Jackson hearing, New Orleans tornado, Biden's travels: 5 things to know Wednesday

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Ketanji Brown Jackson to face more questions on third day of Supreme Court confirmation hearings

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson faces another day of questions from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday, as hearings continue over her historic nomination to be the first Black woman on the Supreme Court. Senators asked the judge about a wide range of topics Tuesday, including about her judicial philosophy, her faith, her work as a former federal public defender and sentences she handed down as a District Court judge in Washington. Notably, she fought back against Republican criticism that she is soft on crime while parrying thorny questions about how she would rule in the culture war battles that frequently appear on the docket of the nation’s highest court, from abortion to LGBTQ rights. Many of the same themes are likely to emerge again Wednesday as the same 22 members of the committee get a second round of questions. The hearing will begin at 9 a.m. ET. 

Tornado strikes New Orleans: 1 reported dead outside city

A tornado that hit parts of New Orleans and surrounding areas Tuesday night has resulted in at least one death and prompted search and rescue teams to deploy to the area. Parts of St. Bernard Parish, which borders New Orleans, appeared to take the brunt of the weather’s fury, and that is where the fatality occurred. St. Bernard Parish officials gave no details on how the person died; they said multiple other people were injured. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell tweeted late Tuesday that there were no reports of casualties or significant damage to the city and the power utility was working to restore electricity to the 8,000 customers impacted. The tornado was spawned by a storm system that previously caused at least one death and widespread damage in Texas and Oklahoma Monday. The risk of thunderstorms will shift east Wednesday, bringing the potential for tornadoes from northern Florida to eastern Virginia, AccuWeather said. Weakened storms could reach the Atlanta area by early Wednesday morning.

Biden embarks on European trip as Ukraine crisis continues on

President Joe Biden embarks Wednesday on a four-day trip and huddle with key allies in Brussels and Warsaw, Poland, that will test his ability to navigate Europe’s worst crisis since World War II. There are fears that Russia could use chemical or nuclear weapons as its invasion becomes bogged down in the face of logistical problems and fierce Ukrainian resistance. Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, said the president would coordinate with allies on military assistance for Ukraine and new sanctions on Russia. Biden’s first stop is Brussels, where he’ll attend back-to-back-to-back meetings Thursday. NATO is holding a hastily arranged emergency summit, where Biden is expected to reiterate his support for Article 5 of the alliance’s charter, which commits all members to collective defense if any are attacked. Biden will also participate in meetings of the European Union and the G7, which includes the world’s richest democracies.

Schools primed for ‘militant teacher strikes’ over post-COVID pay, benefits and respect

In California, Sacramento’s teachers’ union announced plans late Tuesday to strike Wednesday for higher pay and more staffing. Sacramento City Unified schools want to reach an agreement before that, but buildings will close if the strike proceeds, the district said last week. They’re not alone. Teachers unions across the country are actively on strike or preparing to have members walk off the job over many of the same demands. One out of three teachers say they’ve been verbally harassed or threatened by a student; almost as many report harassment or threats by a parent or a student, according to a American Psychological Association survey. Unions are demanding pay hikes for teachers and for lower-wage school workers, where turnover and shortages have sharply increased. They also want more support services for students, many of whom are struggling academically or socially after two years of disrupted learning. 

No. 1 women’s player Barty shocks the tennis world with her retirement

Australian tennis star Ashleigh Barty, the top-ranked women’s player in the world, has announced her retirement from the sport at just 25 years old. Barty, a three-time Grand Slam champion, made the announcement in an Instagram post that went up Wednesday in Australia with a six-minute accompanying video. Saying it was time to “chase other dreams,” Barty said she no longer feels compelled to do what she knows is required to be the best she can be at tennis. She added that the decision to step away had been building in recent years. What helped solidify her decision to retire, she said, was her victory in her home country at this year’s Australian Open. She became the first Australian to win the event in 44 years. Barty won her first major at the French Open in 2019, before adding a Wimbledon title in 2021. She spent 121 weeks atop the WTA rankings, including the last 114 weeks. Overall, she captured 15 singles titles in her career.

Contributing: The Associated Press



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