5 things to know on Wednesday

Ketanji Brown Jackson will face more questions on day three of Supreme Court confirmation hearings

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson faces another day of questions from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday as hearings continue on her historic nomination to be the first black woman on the Supreme Court. Senators questioned the judge on a wide range of topics on Tuesday, including her judicial philosophy, her faith, her work as a former federal public defender and the sentences she handed down as a District Court judge in Washington. Notably, she hit back at Republican criticism that she’s soft on crime while parrying thorny questions about how she would reign 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 will likely return on Wednesday as the same 22 committee members receive a second round of questions. The hearing will begin at 9 a.m. ET.

Tornado hits New Orleans: 1 fatality reported outside the city

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

Biden embarks on trip to Europe as Ukraine crisis continues

President Joe Biden embarks on a four-day trip on Wednesday and meets with key allies in Brussels and Warsaw, Poland, which will test his ability to navigate Europe’s worst crisis since the Second World War. There are fears that Russia could use chemical or nuclear weapons as its invasion bogs down in the face of logistical problems and fierce Ukrainian resistance. Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, said the president would coordinate with his allies military assistance to Ukraine and further sanctions against Russia. Biden’s first stop is Brussels, where he will attend back-to-back meetings on Thursday. NATO is holding a hastily organized 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 in the event of an attack. Biden will also attend meetings of the European Union and the G7, which includes the world’s wealthiest democracies.

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

In California, the Sacramento Teachers Union announced late Tuesday plans to strike Wednesday for higher wages and more staff. Sacramento City Unified Schools wants to reach an agreement before that, but buildings will close if the strike continues, the district said last week. They are not alone. Teachers’ unions across the country are either actively on strike or preparing for their members to walk off the job over many of the same demands. One in three teachers report having been verbally harassed or threatened by a student; nearly as many report harassment or threats from a parent or student, according to a survey by the American Psychological Association. Unions are demanding pay rises for teachers and for the lowest-paid school workers, where turnover and shortages have risen sharply. They also want more support services for students, many of whom are struggling academically or socially after two years of disrupted learning.

1 player Barty shocks the tennis world with her retirement

Australian tennis star Ashleigh Barty, the highest ranked player in the world, has announced her retirement from the sport aged just 25. Three-time Grand Slam champion Barty made the announcement in an Instagram post that was released in Australia on Wednesday along with an accompanying six-minute video. Saying it was time to “go after other dreams,” Barty said she no longer felt pressured to do what she knew was necessary to be the best she could be at tennis. She added that the decision to step down had gained momentum 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 Roland Garros in 2019, before adding a Wimbledon title in 2021. She has spent 121 weeks at the top of the WTA rankings, including the last 114 weeks. In total, she won 15 singles titles during her career.

5 things to know on Wednesday

Contributor: The Associated Press

USA Today

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