It was revealed that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who refused to recuse himself from cases involving his wife’s attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, has been treated to over 20 years of luxury vacations using the private plane and superyacht of the billionaire Republican megadonor Harlan Crow and did not disclose them, in apparent violation of the law.1 2 Justice Thomas, who in a documentary financed by Crow said that he prefers to visit “regular parts” of the United States, such as “Walmart parking lots,” took trips to Indonesia, Bohemian Grove, and Crow’s private resort in the Adirondacks, which includes three boathouses, a 1950s-style soda fountain, and a life-size replica of Hagrid’s hut from Harry Potter. Thomas, who is not subject to rules requiring federal judges to avoid the appearance of impropriety, issued a statement calling Crow, a Nazi memorabilia enthusiast, among his “dearest friends” and saying that he did not believe the trips were reportable; the conduct of the second black Supreme Court justice was defended by Republicans.3 4 5 6 7 In Tennessee, two black Democratic legislators who had led peaceful gun control protesters in chants from the statehouse floor and who approached the podium without being formally recognized were expelled by the Republican majority for “bring[ing] disorder and dishonor to the House of Representatives.”8 9 The legislature, which had previously declined to remove members who had urinated on each other’s chairs, illegally prescribed opioids to a mistress who was also their second cousin, and were accused of sexually assaulting teenagers, allowed a white lawmaker involved in the protest to remain.10 11 More than a thousand students walked out of class and rallied at the state capitol, and a Republican legislator asked them what kind of firearm they would be “comfortable being shot with.”12 13 “The trauma on those faces,” said the remaining Democratic lawmaker, of children who survived school shootings, “you will never, ever forget.”14 The state senate judiciary committee voted to postpone consideration of all gun legislation until 2024.15 Scientists announced that human memory of shapes is unreliable after one and a half seconds.16
A Texas judge blocked the FDA’s approval of mifepristone, a medication used in over half of U.S. abortions that has been cleared for use since 2000, and a judge in Washington State ruled that mifepristone is safe and effective and must remain accessible; the conflict is likely to reach the Supreme Court.17 18 The Biden Administration proposed a rule allowing schools to prevent transgender athletes from playing on teams that match their identity depending on physicality and fairness, and the Kansas state legislature passed a bill that bans trans athletes from girls’ teams and that critics said would be enforced with genital inspections.19 20 Caitlyn Jenner announced a PAC that will work to “keep boys out of women’s sports,” “fight the radical gender ideology,” and preserve “parents’ rights.”21 Iranian police announced plans to use surveillance cameras to identify and penalize unveiled women.22 A German company was reported to have been fined for saying that a position required “nimble female hands,” and a Massachusetts school administrator lost a job offer for referring to women as “ladies.”23 24 In India, a newlywed man was killed by a home music system rigged with explosives, a gift from his bride’s ex-boyfriend, and in Brussels, a man was hospitalized after a game of Monopoly ended in a swordfight.25 26 A Michigander was arrested for beating a grocery store clerk with a herring.27 Climate change was reported to cause increased air turbulence, more home runs in baseball, and higher tampon prices, and the Missouri legislature passed tax exemptions on feminine hygiene products, diapers, and guns.28 29 30 31 It was reported that a high school psychology teacher was fired after he asked students to write their own obituaries on the day of an active shooter drill.32 “This isn’t a way to upset you or anything like that,” he had said.
In the resumption of a Good Friday tradition that had been interrupted by the pandemic, eight Filipinos were nailed to crosses.33 In Ohio, a shopping mall apologized after adults pushed children out of the way during an Easter egg hunt.34 The Royal Mail said sorry for a prank in which staff were told they were getting pay raises, and WWE apologized for a promotional video that incorporated footage from Auschwitz.35 36 Kanye West’s unaccredited Christian school was accused of allowing students to be picked up by strangers, banning chairs and coloring, and feeding young pupils only sushi for lunch.37 Ten days after rejecting a bill to provide free school lunches to low-income students, the North Dakota state senate voted to increase its own per diem.38 Gwinnett County officials announced that they were no longer planning to expropriate land that has been owned for a century by a black family to build a historical park featuring a re-creation of antebellum slave quarters.39 A Japanese insurance company started selling anti-bullying policies, and a Chinese man was jailed for scaring 1,100 chickens to death.40 41 Analysis of hair found in a Spanish burial cave revealed that Bronze Age Europeans used hallucinogens, and a study done in Tampa Bay found an average of three prescription medications in the bloodstreams of redfish there.42 43 “Our fish,” said a clean water advocate, “are literally on drugs.” An octogenarian who pleaded guilty to repeatedly bribing a public official for waterfront projects in New Jersey was escorted out of “Yuppies Invade My House at Dinnertime,” a play about gentrification and redevelopment named after a book he had co-written, by police.44 45 “This is all lies,” he yelled. —Jon Edelman