Supreme Court decisions, NCAA regulations, and Jeff Bezos’ future away from Amazon. Here’s what you need to know.

Welcome to a new edition of The Weekender… where we are examining the impact that Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett—the third and final pick from former President Trump—had on the bench following the end of the highest court’s term. Also—college athletes can now charge you to use their name, image, and likeness after the Supreme Court ruled that the NCAA was violating the law. Plus—what will Amazon be without Jeff Bezos? The founder and CEO formally handed over his title this week. Find out what’s next for the billionaire and check out the top headlines below. Glad you could join us for The Weekender.
 
THE BIG FIVE

The summer of SCOTUS: The results from the new makeup of the court.

The Supreme Court’s first term with its new lineup of justices has come to an end. As expected, several consequential decisions favored conservatives – but the overall results were less clear-cut. Statistics compiled by SCOTUSblog show that the justices decided unanimously 43 percent of the term’s cases, slightly below the average of 47 percent over the past decade. Moreover, 15 percent of the Supreme Court cases were polarized along ideological lines, with Justice Brett Kavanaugh voting in the majority in 97 percent of the court’s decisions—the highest of any justice—followed by Chief Justice John Roberts and the court’s newest member, Amy Coney Barrett. Since Barrett’s confirmation as a Supreme Court Justice during the final months of Donald Trump’s presidency, filling the spot Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg once held, the recent Supreme Court term was closely watched. While many were concerned about how Barrett’s appointment would impact Obamacare, the court upheld it for the third time. Barrett’s confirmation was felt during the pandemic when it came to banning states from enforcing coronavirus-related restrictions and rules on places of worship. While the public’s view of the court is clear, several unusual alliances did form, and we are just beginning to see the results. The justices are set to hear many blockbuster cases during the next term, which starts in October and could test the majority of the Supreme Court. Read more in CBS News. 

Why the boomerang-worker effect exploded during the pandemic and how it might stick around.

Were you one of the many Americans who moved during the pandemic? Experts say many returned to their hometowns to live and work remotely… and they aren’t showing signs of leaving anytime soon. Many of these workers, appropriately named “boomerang workers,” come from industries that are not impacted by remote work as much, like tech. These workers are trading in expensive cities and high-rises, including San Francisco and New York, for their hometowns where they are living close to their friends and families who can help with childcare and other conveniences, especially needed during the pandemic. Even though boomerang workers planned to make the move temporary, experts are finding many have decided to stay, and those who can’t work remotely long-term in their hometowns are looking for local jobs. As it turns out, maybe Thomas Wolfe was wrong, and you actually can go home again. Read more in Axios. 
 

The $70 million, history-breaking ransomware attack.

Experts are still assessing the impact of the largest global ransomware attack in history, affecting thousands of victims in at least 17 countries. Cybersecurity researchers say the attack by REvil (an abbreviation of “ransomware evil”), the Russian-linked hackers responsible for the recent $11 million ransomware attack on the meat-processor JBS, was a watershed moment, combining both ransomware and a supply-chain attack. In a post on its site, the REvil gang demands $70 million in cryptocurrency to unscramble all affected machines. President Joe Biden said he will deliver a response to Russian President Vladimir Putin for the surge of ransomware attacks hitting and impacting American companies. Biden is under growing pressure to take action and protect the U.S. against cyberattacks, especially as the nation’s infrastructure and supply chain are affected, which were a part of his administration’s 16 critical entities “off-limits” to attacks. Read more in Reuters. 

 

College athletes can now cash in as the NCAA eases longtime restrictions.
College athletes are turning a new leaf following the Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) violated antitrust laws when it limited the education-related aid and benefits that college athletes could receive. Shortly after the ruling, the NCAA Council, which has primarily defended the principle that students should play sports as amateurs, voted to suspend its rules, which means student-athletes can start making money off their personal fame (such as name, images, likenesses). The NCAA has argued that providing student-athletes with benefits may allow schools to broaden the definition of “educational benefits” to include luxury gifts, like cars. In his concurring opinion, Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh writes that the current arrangement of the NCAA is “suppressing the pay of student-athletes who collectively generate billions of dollars in revenue for colleges every year.” For the most part, the changes have been celebrated as a win and step toward more significant equity, with college athletes pursuing marketing opportunities, including social media sponsorships and influencer advertisements. That autograph you want from a student-athlete with whom your daughter goes to school? You may have to shell out some money or talk to their agent. Read more in the New York Times

Can Amazon remain Amazon without Jeff Bezos? How big tech will remain big without its original leaders.

In a move announced in February, Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos formally stepped down as CEO this week, 27 years to the day after founding the company. Bezos handed the reigns to longtime Amazon Web Services head Andy Jassy. Bezos—Amazon’s biggest shareholder with a stake worth about $180 billion—will still be involved with the company as executive chairperson and hold a good amount of influence. In a letter to employees, Bezos said he is using his new free time to focus on The Day One Fund, which is aimed at opening full-scholarship, Montessori-influenced preschools in underserved communities and funding nonprofits and civic groups that help and support homeless families. He also plans to work on the Bezos Earth Fund to help combat climate change and dedicate time to The Washington Post, which he purchased for $250 million in 2013. Bezos’ move comes at a critical time for Amazon: on the one hand, the company has experienced record growth yet also faces more pressure than ever with some of its practices. Jassy has been with the company for nearly the same amount of time–so do not expect massive changes. But where Bezos specialized as a problem solver, experts expect Jassy to lean in more on promoting a humble, more friendly image for the company. For Bezos, there is also one more thing: following his retirement, the billionaire plans to take a quick trip to space on July 20 when his private spaceflight company’s rocket makes its first flight with a crew. “Ground control to Major Jeff” just doesn’t seem to have the same ring to it… Read more in the Associated Press.

INTERNATIONAL SPOTLIGHT

The assassination of Haiti’s President, Jovenel Moise. 
The Caribbean was rocked this past week as police in Haiti killed four suspects after heavily armed men, posing as U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents, gunned down President Jovenel Moise in his home this week. Haitian’s acting prime minister decreed a two-week “state of siege,” invoking martial law and closing the international airport. While the motive for the president’s killing is still unclear, Moise was a controversial leader, with violent protests often erupting over allegations of government corruption and Moise’s move to extend his term in office amid constitutional confusion. Moise’s allies say the president gained enemies who grew rich on state contracts and have the means to carry out such a well-organized attack. The Biden administration did not immediately indicate its next policy moves in the aftermath of the Haitian president’s murder but support investigation efforts. Haiti, which is only 600 miles from the coast of Florida, is considered one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in the world. Experts say Haiti was already in crisis before the president was assassinated and impacted by years of political instability, devastating natural disasters, gang violence, and a cholera epidemic. The assassination marks only the second head-of-state in the Americas to be killed since President John F. Kennedy’s shooting in 1963 and the second global assassination in 2021. With only seven assassinations since the Millennium after much more frequent political murders in the decades since World War II, is this the beginning of a trend reversal? Read more on CNN. 

DATA POINTS

17.1%: The percentage increase in pay in the transportation and warehousing industry over the past three months. Employers across industries are beginning to offer more money to address the persistent labor shortages across the U.S.

75%: The number of Canadians that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants to be vaccinated before opening the border to U.S. residents.

12,600: The number of Delta strain Covid-19 cases last month in the United States – a 10% rise since the month previous. Experts say the Delta variant is hardening a divide between fully vaccinated Americans and those not vaccinated.

90%: The amount of U.S. military personnel withdrawn from Afghanistan. The milestone comes amid concerns of a deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan as the Taliban continues to seize ground. 

124 tons: The amount of debris rescuers have removed from the collapsed condominium in Florida. Tropical Storm Elsa is being watched closely as it may set back the recovery mission, with many still left unaccounted.

54%: The percent increase in national alcohol sales year-on-year in the week ending on March 21, 2020. A poll conducted by the American Psychological Association found nearly one in four Americans reported drinking more alcohol to combat pandemic-related stress.

59.2%: The percentage of Americans who evaluate their lives well enough to be considered “thriving.” This is the highest it has been in over 13 years of ongoing measurements.

1,312: The length of the Ever-Given cargo ship that blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week in March. The now infamous ship is back in service and released to set sail on Wednesday after spending months under seizure.

2: The number of years for which Trump is banned from Facebook. He and his legal team are bringing suits to court against Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube over their bans, claiming violation of his free speech privileges under the First Amendment.

TWEET

The Washington Post is an American daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.

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