The New York Times leads with and the Wall Street Journal world-wide newsbox (online) is topped with the Supreme Court’s decision to rule whether U.S. courts have jurisdiction over detainees at Guantanamo Bay. The Washington Post leads with, and the Los Angeles Times fronts what the LAT calls a “harshly worded” U.N. report stating Iran has been hiding parts of its nuclear program, although inspectors acknowledged that they haven’t found proof of an active nukes effort. USA Today leads with some news you can use: The FCC voted, as expected, to allow consumers to transfer their home phone numbers to their cell-phone carrier. The LAT’s lead says that Gov.-Elect Schwarzenegger’s people are floating the idea of taking out a $20 billion bond. As the LAT elegantly explains, the idea would be to “have the state go into debt in order to pay off a substantial portion of the coming year’s deficit.”
As the NYT helpfully explains up high, the court is only going to decide on the question of jurisdiction and won’t rule on whether or not the detentions themselves are constitutional. Nor is the decision to hear the case necessarily indicative of which way the court is leaning. “Either a majority of the court feels that the law is so clear that it wants to tell the world in no uncertain terms that President Bush is acting within the law, or four members of the court really do question the outcome in the lower courts and want to give it a good, hard look,” one law prof told the WP.
The U.N. report documented various instances in which Iranian officials “altered or reversed their explanations” (WP’s words) after investigators challenged them. For instance, Iran admitted it had a bit of plutonium, something it had previously denied. Meanwhile, the LAT says the fact that inspectors couldn’t positively say that Iran is trying to make nukes “is likely to buy Iran more time to try to convince the international community that it is pursuing nuclear power to generate electricity.”
The LAT and WP each got ahold of the inspectors’ report—and each has fun suggesting that they have it exclusively: “A copy of the 30-page report was provided to the Los Angeles Times …” By the way, not that more than a few desperate procrastinators would be interested, but if the papers have the whole report why don’t they post it on the Web?
The WP and NYT off-lead the World Trade Organization’s ruling that the U.S. violated trade rules last year by imposing tariffs on foreign steel. The WTO decision gives the EU the right to impose $2.2 billion worth of retaliatory tariffs. The WP and LAT both note that the list of products the EU is threatening to tax up—everything from Harley’s to citrus—just happen to be from GOP states. The WP, in some good reporting, says, “The administration’s economic team has united in imploring Bush to scrap the tariffs.” And, if you worry that the president doesn’t always listen to his economic team, “One source close to the White House” told the Post that Karl Rove “has agreed they should come down.”
The Post notes inside that global financier George Soros has pledged at least $15 million to various groups to help defeat President Bush. “It is the central focus of my life,” said Soros, “a matter of life and death.”
The WP’s Howard Kurtz talks with the BrownUniversity student who asked the lamest question of the Dems’ debate last week: Mac or PCs? Turns out the student didn’t come up with the zinger, nor did she really want to ask it. A CNN producer foisted it on her. And a CNN spokesperson even copped to it, “In an attempt to encourage a lighthearted moment in this debate, a CNN producer clearly went too far.”
Non-sequitur alert … The NYT notes inside that Vice Prez Cheney was hustled out of his White House office after a plane came into the restricted airspace around Washington. F-16s intercepted the single-engine Mooney M20 and gathered that the pilot had made an honest error. After explaining that, the Times makes sure to note that the M20 is “a four-seat, low-wing plane with retractable landing gear,” and according to an FAA spokesman “by general aviation standards, a fairly hot airplane.”