Matthew S. Schwartz

Matthew S. Schwartz is a reporter with NPR's news desk. Before coming to NPR, Schwartz worked as a reporter for Washington, DC, member station WAMU, where he won the national Edward R. Murrow award for feature reporting in large market radio. Previously, Schwartz worked as a technology reporter covering the intricacies of Internet regulation. In a past life, Schwartz was a Washington telecom lawyer. He got his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, and his B.A. from the University of Michigan ("Go Blue!").

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that a 2015 law allowing federal debt collectors to make robocalls violates the Constitution. That's because those debt collectors were allowed to make automated calls while other groups weren't given the same treatment.

As the coronavirus infection rate in the U.S. surpasses 50,000 new cases a day, colleges and universities around the country are trying to figure out how to educate their students this fall while still keeping their campus communities safe.

Updated at 8:49 a.m.

The world is about to hit a devastating milestone: half a million people dead, killed by the coronavirus pandemic that has swept the planet.

After nearly two decades, the federal government will once again begin executing criminals, the Justice Department announced Monday. Four inmates convicted of murdering children are set to be put to death by lethal injection.

The WNBA is the latest sports league to announce a plan for games to return after a months-long shutdown to help combat spread of the coronavirus.

Each of the league's 12 teams will train and play starting next month at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., a neutral site as there are no current WNBA teams playing in the state. This will be the first time in league history that all players will train and play in the same location. Exact dates and matchups have not yet been announced, but the 2020 season is expected to begin in late July.

As Americans observe a subdued Memorial Day, President Trump visited Fort McHenry in Baltimore to remember those soldiers who have fallen in service of the country.

"I stand before you at this noble fortress of American liberty to pay tribute to the immortal souls who fought and died to keep us free," Trump told the crowd, which included several members of his Cabinet. "We pledge in their cherished memories that this majestic flag will proudly fly forever."

A Virginia gun range can remain open, despite Gov. Ralph Northam's order closing nonessential businesses throughout the state in response to the coronavirus pandemic, a state judge ruled Monday.

Germany is backing away from a centralized digital contact tracing program it had been considering to combat the coronavirus, saying the effort will only work if people trust that their privacy is being respected.

They still threw their caps into the air as F-16s flew overhead.

They still responded with a resounding "hua!" whenever anyone mentioned the class of 2020.

As the death toll from COVID-19 continues to rise, governors around the U.S. are figuring out how to reopen their economies while still ensuring the safety of their citizens.

New York lost another 758 lives over a 24-hour-period, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during his daily news conference on Sunday.

"Every one is a face and a name and a family that is suffering," Cuomo said. "This is truly tragic news."

It's the sixth straight day of losses of more than 700 per day.

"That's the one number that I look forward to seeing drop as soon as I open my eyes in the morning," Cuomo said. "It has been flattening, but flattening at a terrible high level."

In a nearly empty St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis celebrated Easter in virtual solitude on Sunday, calling for the world to come together in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

The world is "oppressed by a pandemic severely testing our whole human family," Francis said, according to a translation provided by the Vatican. In the midst of that suffering, Francis said, the message that Christ has risen is "the contagion of hope."

By most accounts, Saturday in the southeastern United States was beautiful, filled with blue skies and sunshine. Sunday could be the polar opposite, as the region faces the prospect of heavy storms, hail, damaging winds and violent tornadoes.

During dangerous weather, communities often open storm shelters. But shelters can get crowded — a potentially dangerous situation of its own at a time of social distancing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

So how are states balancing the possible spread of the coronavirus, versus the potential for severe storms?

New York is flattening the curve, but the state still lost 783 lives over the last 24 hours, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at his daily news briefing on Saturday. That marks the fifth straight day of more than 700 deaths per day.

"These are just incredible numbers, depicting incredible loss and pain," Cuomo said.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is expanding, and soon fans will see a transgender character.

At an event Saturday at the New York Film Academy, the president of Marvel Studios was asked whether there were plans to bring "more LGBT+ characters" into the Marvel universe --"specifically the T, trans characters?"

Updated 7:30 a.m. ET

A devastating series of storms late Wednesday spawned multiple tornadoes that caused extensive damage to several buildings and led to three deaths in Missouri.

"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Gov. Mike Parson told reporters at a morning press briefing. "We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state."

He added: "But three is too many."

President Hillary Clinton?

That might have been the result of the 2016 presidential election — if the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact were in effect.

With a state Senate vote Tuesday, Nevada is close to becoming the latest state to drop the traditional practice of awarding all its electors to the presidential candidate who won the state. Instead, Nevada would award its six electors to whomever receives the most votes across the entire country.

While states like Alabama, Missouri and Georgia are grabbing the spotlight for their new laws restricting access to abortion, Nevada is moving in the opposite direction. The state Assembly on Tuesday passed a law removing some requirements that had been in place for decades.

Formula One world champion Niki Lauda of Austria, who survived a fiery crash in 1976 and went on to win the championship twice more, has died. He was 70.

Born Andreas Nikolaus "Niki" Lauda, he was a prominent race car driver in the 1970s and 1980s, who first won the F1 championship driving for Ferrari in 1975. He's known by many for the serious crash he suffered the next year, in the 1976 German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring race track, where he suffered third-degree burns to his head and face. At the hospital, Lauda fell into a coma, and also received last rites.

Right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan are running out of places to espouse their views online.

Facebook banned these high-profile personalities and several others from its social media platforms Thursday, becoming the latest tech company to officially declare them persona non grata. Many of them have already been banned from Twitter, YouTube and Apple's Podcasts app.

A Jewish family has lost a 15-year legal battle to recover a painting stolen by Nazis during World War II.

An 1897 impressionist work by Camille Pissarro, Rue Saint-Honoré, Après-midi, Effet de Pluie, depicting a rain-covered Paris street, had been in the family since 1900. But when Fritz and Lilly Cassirer decided to flee Nazi Germany in 1939, the government had a condition: If they wanted a visa to leave the country, they needed to hand over the oil painting in exchange for about $360 — well below the painting's value.

The American Civil Liberties Union says it has uncovered new evidence that federal border agents are violating the Constitution when they search travelers' electronic devices.

For the first time in more than 200 years, a Japanese emperor has abdicated the Chrysanthemum Throne.

"Since ascending the throne 30 years ago, I have performed my duties as the emperor with a deep sense of trust in and respect for the people, and I consider myself most fortunate to have been able to do so," Emperor Akihito said in a ceremony Tuesday evening at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, according to Japan Times.

When Netflix's 13 Reasons Why was released two years ago, depicting the life of a teenager who decided to take her own life, educators and psychologists warned the program could lead to copycat suicides. Now, a study funded by the National Institutes of Health shows that those concerns may have been warranted.

Until the Trump administration changed its practice last year, the government had quietly separated thousands of children from parents trying to cross into the country at the southern border — in the process, sometimes losing track of where exactly those children went, and to whom they belong.

On Thursday a federal judge gave the administration six months to figure it out.

Updated at 6:23 p.m. ET

Hundreds of students and faculty at two universities in Los Angeles have been asked to stay home unless they can prove that they've been vaccinated against measles.

The LA campuses of the University of California and California State University imposed the quarantine after they became aware of people infected with measles who had potentially exposed hundreds. At UCLA, a student exposed at least 500 people earlier this month; at Cal State, someone with measles went to a library and encountered hundreds.

With the pending payout of a parent's life insurance policy, the confessed Parkland, Fla., school shooter could get more than $430,000. So he is no longer entitled to be represented for free by a public defender, his lawyers said in a court filing Wednesday asking to withdraw from the case.

"It has come to the attention of undersigned counsel that Nikolas Cruz is a beneficiary in a MetLife life insurance policy and is entitled to half of a death benefit valued at $864,929.17 as of April 23, 2019," the Broward County Public Defender's Office wrote.

The federal government is expanding an investigation into malfunctioning air bags to include an additional 12.3 million vehicles with air bags that could fail to inflate in a crash.

The next time parking enforcement officers use chalk to mark your tires, they might be acting unconstitutionally.

A federal appeals court ruled Monday that "chalking" is a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

The case was brought by Alison Taylor, a Michigan woman whom the court describes as a "frequent recipient of parking tickets." The city of Saginaw, Mich., like countless other cities around the country, uses chalk to mark the tires of cars to enforce time limits on parking.

For years he has played a high school history teacher who accidentally became president of Ukraine. On Sunday, Ukraine's voters made that fiction a reality.

With nearly all the ballots counted, the 41-year-old Volodymyr Zelenskiy took 73% of the vote, trouncing incumbent President Petro Poroshenko, who received less than 25%. Zelenskiy's victory is widely seen as a rebuke of the status quo, a response to perceived corruption within the political establishment, and a reflection of malaise over the lackluster economy and ongoing conflict with Russia in eastern Ukraine.

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