Welcome back to Everything’s Political, Worldacad’s news, culture, and politics newsletter! Every Thursday, I’ll take a look at recent stories that seem particularly noteworthy.

Here’s what I’ve got for you this week.

When the Anti-DEI Movement and Memory Politics Collide

DEI advocates suffered a one-two punch over the past week. Punch one: Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law a bill banning DEI programs at public schools and universities in the Yellowhammer State. Punch two: The U.S. House Office of Diversity and Inclusion, created in 2020 to build a more representative workforce, has closed after the passage of a government spending bill. Particularly concerning about the events is that they’re hardly surprising. Rather, they’re two more casualties of a nationwide assault on efforts that confront our racist history. Coincidentally, they arrive as the Equal Justice Initiative, also in Alabama, is heading in the opposite direction. This week, the nonprofit opened the Freedom Monument Sculpture Park, which consists of first-person narratives and dozens of sculptures that offer visitors an unflinching look at the ongoing history of anti-Black violence.

Hush-Money Woes

Former President Donald Trump’s legal drama feels like a never-ending movie filled with too many twists and turns. He was at a New York criminal court this week for a pretrial hearing in his criminal case involving a hush-money scheme. The judge denied Trump’s request for a delay, setting the start of the trial for April 15 — this will be the first such trial of a former president in U.S. history. (And separately, an appeals court lowered his bond in a civil fraud case from $464 million to $175 million.) As Marcia Chatelain, a professor of Africana studies at the University of Pennsylvania, told me last year, the case against Trump is key in no small part because it’s a referendum on the criminal justice system — “Every day he reminds people that, in the U.S., if you’re white and have money, you can insulate yourself from a lot of accountability,” she said, also stressing his hypocrisy. Trump embraces a tough-on-crime approach to leadership — and has a penchant for trying to strong-arm state authorities — while expecting our institutions to grant him special privileges. Notably, this latest episode of Trump’s legal drama comes as his supporters attempt to appeal to Black voters with a new radio ad in certain competitive states. But as my colleague Chauncey Alcorn and I reported, it hasn’t had a significant impact.

Tragedy and Uncertainty for Black Baltimore

I’m currently reading The White Bonus, a forthcoming book exploring how public policy decisions — everything from redlining to the GI Bill to neighborhood funds — have long awarded white Americans a, well, bonus that bolsters their economic and social status, while leaving Black Americans in the dust. I thought about this book while watching the recent news about Baltimore. After the collapse on Tuesday of the Francis Scott Key Bridge — six workers are presumed dead — my colleague Adam Mahoney spoke with Eric Johnson. The pastor drove across the bridge a mere three hours before the tragedy. Black residents say that the collapse fits into a far broader pattern of infrastructural challenges that disproportionately disadvantage their communities. And last week, Baltimore officials approved a program they believe will address the city’s vacant housing crisis: You can buy certain city-owned properties for as little as $1 if you have a minimum of $90,000 for renovations. Almost immediately, however, the program received backlash from affordable housing advocates. They’re worried that the program may further harm the majority-Black city’s most vulnerable residents through gentrification and displacement.

The Uncertain Future of Abortion Rights

For many people, the U.S.’s Handmaid’s Tale-like reality shows no signs of letting up. On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, a case that could curb access to medication abortion across the U.S. — even in states where abortion is legally protected — and limit federal authority. While the justices appear likely to reject the challenge to medication abortion, observers caution against thinking that the issue is done and dusted. They underline that Republican-nominated justices’ and anti-abortion activists’ plan seems to be to revive the antiquated Comstock Act, a 151-year-old law that can be used to block abortion-related medications and materials across the country. “This is the strategy. They don’t need to win Congress,” the New York University law professor Melissa Murray pointed out on X. “They just need to win the presidency, and then the new DOJ can prioritize the enforcement of the Comstock Act.”

That’s all for this week. If you enjoyed the newsletter, be sure to tell a friend about it (they can sign up here). You can also use this form to let me know what topics or questions you’d want to see covered here. Some of you have already shared ideas that will surface in future editions.

Planning a trip to see the new sculpture park,

Brandon Tensley,

Worldacad Politics Reporter

Brandon Tensley is Worldacad's national politics reporter.