The Atlantic Daily: What Would Brett Kavanaugh Bring to the U.S. Supreme Court?

Republican leaders are happy with Trump’s new nominee. Plus a successful rescue in Thailand, the world’s worst industrial disaster, and more.

Brett Kavanaugh, Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, prepares to meet with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on July 10. (Joshua Roberts / Reuters)

What We’re Following

New Nominee: President Donald Trump’s choice to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court is Brett Kavanaugh, a judge in the Washington, D.C., Circuit Court of Appeals with a notable body of work related to executive power. While Kavanaugh was considered the most conventional candidate on the president’s shortlist, he’ll face an intense confirmation battle,in which Senate Democrats may pressure him to give a specific answer about whether he’d vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. For their part, Republican leaders have welcomed Trump’s choice—suggesting that, as one GOP operative told The Atlantic’s Elaina Plott, “as long as he sticks to safe picks for scotus, he’ll never really lose the support and money of the party.”

North Korea: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent visit to North Korea didn’t make much headway toward stopping the country’s nuclear program. Pompeo called his conversations with Kim Jong Un “productive,” while North Korea called the United States’ demand for denuclearization “gangsterlike.” Soon, Uri Friedman writes, the two countries will come to a moment of truth about whether that goal is really achievable.

Good News: A rare and dangerous rescue effort succeeded in bringing 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach safely back from a flooded cave, where they’d been trapped for more than two weeks. English soccer fans are experiencing an unfamiliar moment of hope after an unexpected victory brought their team to the World Cup semifinals for the first time in 28 years. And nasa has recorded the plasma waves between Saturn and its icy moon Enceladus, which sound to human ears like eerie music.


Thanh Do, an Atlantic designer, created this illustration to capture “darkness therapy”—a practice, popular in the Czech Republic, in which patients spend a week or longer in the complete absence of light. Here’s how proponents claim that it works.

Evening Read

Apoorva Mandavilli on the site of the abandoned Union Carbide factory in Bhopal, India:

On December 3, 1984, 40 tons of a toxic gas spewed from the factory and scorched the throats, eyes, and lives of thousands of people outside these walls. It was—still is—the world’s deadliest industrial disaster ...

In the decades since, many other sites of industrial waste—in New Jersey, Missouri, Ohio—have been cleaned up. But this 70-acre site in Bhopal has, apart from the riotous jungle basil, remained mostly unchanged. Union Carbide Corporation (UCC); its former Indian subsidiary; its current owner, DowDuPont; the state government of Madhya Pradesh; and the central Indian government have all played an endless game of pass the buck. While this charade plays on, and people continue to think of Bhopal’s tragedy as one horrific night in 1984, the site still hosts hundreds of tons of contaminated waste. The Bhopal disaster is, in fact, still unfolding.

Keep reading, as Mandavilli reports on how survivors of the Bhopal gas leak are continuing to deal with its consequences.

What Do You Know … About Family?

1. In 2010, as many as ______________ of the babies born in the U.S. were conceived through sperm donation.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

2. ____________ percent of pediatricians in a 2017 survey said they would like to have more training about gender nonconformity.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

3. The founders of the Couples Institute, a psychotherapy training center, tell patients that the biggest challenge of couples therapy is accepting the need to improve ______________.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

Urban Developments

Our partner site CityLab explores the cities of the future and investigates the biggest ideas and issues facing city dwellers around the world. Gracie McKenzie shares today’s top stories:

The immigrant-family-separation crisis brought to light the large number of places in the United States where ice can send immigrant detainees. Around 850 of these places are locally run or controlled. Is your county involved? Check our map.

How did “the most successful place on Earth” fail to foresee rising inequality? “We want to believe that technology will deliver us from evil without cost, which never turns out to be what you hoped,” Richard Walker, an urban geographer, tells CityLab’s Richard Florida.

“Fun House,” an installation by Snarkitecture at the National Building Museum, shows that the craze for crowd-friendly museum spectacles is still going strong. But has it become predictable?

For more updates like these from the urban world, subscribe to CityLab’s daily newsletter.

Reader Response

Our Letters from the Archives series highlights past Atlantic stories and readers’ reactions at the time. In our May 1955 issue, Ben H. Bagdikian analyzed changes to the Girl Scouts manual that appeared to respond to public pressures of the Cold War by scaling back the organization’s stated commitment to internationalism. Jean Gleason, a former Girl Scout from Berkeley, considered such changes “downright dangerous”:

I’m not against compromise as such—in fact, I know of no way of existence that doesn’t include it. But as a way of life, it’s for the birds. Any belief that’s worth believing in is worth fighting for ...

How much more respectable it would be for its leaders and members to be willing to battle a bit for their beliefs, whether they concern internationalism or the correct way to tie a square knot!

Read more, and write to us at


Ordinary superheroes, friendship breakups, smartphone-free drivers, public-sector innovation.

Time of Your Life

Happy birthday to Candace’s daughter Taia (one-fourth the age of The Atlantic); to James’s father, Bruce (twice the age of MTV); and from Andy to Amy (the same age as Michelle Obama).

Meet The Atlantic Daily’s team, and contact us.

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