Published: 10:04 pm, Sat. Sep. 19th, 2020Updated: 9:04 pm
Biden to GOP senators: Don’t jam through Ginsburg nominee
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Joe Biden on Sunday slammed President Donald Trump and leading Senate Republicans for trying to jam through a replacement for the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and urged more senators to stand with a pair of GOP colleagues who oppose the election-season rush.
The extraordinary televised plea from the Democratic presidential candidate to Republican senators reflected the ferocious maneuvering that has followed Ginsburg’s death at 87 on Friday. Her passing upended a campaign that had, until then, focused on Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the nation’s economic collapse and racial unrest that has stoked protests in U.S. cities.
Trump has said he intends within days to name a woman to succeed the liberal icon, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was moving ahead swiftly with plans for confirmation hearings and votes.
Just hours before Biden spoke, a second Republican senator, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, joined Sen. Susan Collins of Maine in opposing efforts to fill Ginsburg’s seat before the next president is elected.
It takes four Republicans to break ranks to keep Trump’s nominee off the court. Attention quickly focused on Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, who voted to convict Trump on one count of impeachment, and Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, a former chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
Family, work and opera filled Ginsburg’s final summer
WASHINGTON (AP) — She was seeing family. She was exercising. She was listening to opera. She was doing the work of the court. She even officiated at a wedding.
That’s how Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent the weeks before her death Friday at 87. Those who had been in touch with Ginsburg or her staff recently said she seemed to be coping with treatment for cancer and also making plans for events months away. So the announcement of her death came as something of a surprise, even to some close friends.
Mary Hartnett, one of her two authorized biographers, visited Ginsburg in mid-August at her longtime home in the Watergate apartment complex next to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington. She said Ginsburg was “plowing ahead” despite a cancer recurrence.
“She was trying very hard to treat this, and essentially her body just gave out,” Hartnett said.
Hartnett, who wore a mask and tested negative for the coronavirus before visiting, said the justice was continuing to do court work. She also exercised, working out on a treadmill or using a tape made by her longtime trainer, Bryant Johnson. In the evenings, she’d watch “Live at the Met” operas, Hartnett said.
The Latest: Zendaya youngest lead drama actress Emmy winner
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest from the Emmy Awards (all times PDT):
Zendaya is euphoric at the Emmys.
She won best actress in a drama for her role on HBO’s “Euphoria,” scoring one of the few long shot victories in a Sunday night full of wins from favorites.
Gleeful family and friends screamed, cheered, hugged and cried behind her as a stunned Zendaya accepted the trophy in what appeared to be a hotel suite.
Analysis: US to hit 200K dead; Trump sees no need for regret
WASHINGTON (AP) — As the coronavirus pandemic began bearing down on the United States in March, President Donald Trump set out his expectations.
If the U.S. could keep the death toll between 100,000 to 200,000 people, Trump said, it would indicate that his administration had “done a very good job.”
In the coming days, the number of U.S. deaths is set to clear the outer band of the president’s projections: 200,000, according to the official tally, though the real number is certainly higher. The virus continues to spread and there is currently no approved vaccine. Some public health experts fear infections could spike this fall and winter, perhaps even doubling the death count by the end of the year.
Yet the grim milestone and the prospect of more American deaths to come have prompted no rethinking from the president about his handling of the pandemic and no outward expressions of regrets. Instead, Trump has sought to reshape the significance of the death tally, trying to turn the loss of 200,000 Americans into a success story by contending the numbers could have been even higher without the actions of his administration.
“If we didn’t do our job, it would be three and a half, two and a half, maybe 3 million people,” Trump said Friday, leaning on extreme projections of what could have happened if nothing at all were done to fight the pandemic. “We have done a phenomenal job with respect to COVID-19.”
Sen. Graham’s challenge: Fill a court seat and save his own
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Few members of the Republican Party have taken a political journey as long as Lindsey Graham’s, from ridiculing Donald Trump as a “race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot” to becoming one of the president’s fiercest defenders in Congress, as well as a regular golf partner.
Graham has long been known to have flexible politics, and that has served him well in South Carolina for decades. But this November may be his toughest test yet as he seeks reelection and explains to voters how, as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he will push for Trump’s Supreme Court nominee on the president’s aggressive timetable, when the senator was so clearly — even defiantly — opposed to that approach as recently as two years ago, even demanding that he be called out for hypocrisy if he switched.
“The rules have changed as far as I’m concerned,” Graham said Saturday.
It falls to Graham, as committee chairman, to vet Trump’s pick to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and manage the spectacle of televised hearings on the nomination. It’s one of the most volatile tasks in all of politics, more so now with a pandemic raging, a country on edge, and the ideological tilt of the high court in the balance, perhaps for a generation.
AP sources: Woman accused of sending ricin letter arrested
WASHINGTON (AP) — A woman suspected of sending an envelope containing the poison ricin, which was addressed to White House, has been arrested at the New York-Canada border, three law enforcement officials told The Associated Press on Sunday.
The letter had been intercepted earlier this week before it reached the White House. The woman was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Peace Bridge border crossing near Buffalo and is expected to face federal charges, the officials said. Her name was not immediately released.
The letter addressed to the White House appeared to have originated in Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have said. It was intercepted at a government facility that screens mail addressed to the White House and President Donald Trump and a preliminary investigation indicated it tested positive for ricin, according to the officials.
The officials were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
There have been several prior instances in which U.S. officials have been targeted with ricin sent through the mail.
Ginsburg’s impact on women spanned age groups, backgrounds
NEW YORK (AP) — Sure, there were the RBG bobbleheads, the Halloween getups, the lace collars, the workout videos. The “I dissent” T-shirts, the refrigerator magnets, the onesies for babies or costumes for cats. And yes, the face masks, with slogans like: “You can’t spell TRUTH without RUTH.”
But the pop culture status that Ruth Bader Ginsburg found — or rather, that found her — in recent years was just a side show, albeit one that amused her, to the unique and profound impact she had on women’s lives. First as a litigator who fought tenaciously for the courts to recognize equal rights for women, one case at a time, and later as the second woman to sit on the hallowed bench of the Supreme Court, Ginsburg left a legacy of achievement in gender equality that had women of varied ages and backgrounds grasping for words this weekend to describe what she meant to them.
“She was my teacher in so many ways,” said Gloria Steinem, the nation’s most visible feminist leader, in an interview. But even if she hadn’t known her personally, Steinem said, it was due to Ginsburg, who died Friday at 87 of complications of cancer, that “for the first time I felt the Constitution was written for me.”
“Now, it wasn’t written for me — it left out most folks, actually, when it was written,” Steinem added. But, she said, by forcing the courts to address issues like workplace discrimination, sexual assault and a host of others, Ginsburg “literally made me feel as if I had access to the law, because Ruth was there.”
But the extent of Ginsburg’s influence was felt not only by older women like Steinem, 86, who understood from experience the obstacles Ginsburg faced, such as not being able to find a job at a New York law firm despite graduating at the top of her class at Columbia Law School.
California wildfire likely to grow from wind, low humidity
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The destruction wrought by a wind-driven wildfire in the mountains northeast of Los Angeles approached 156 square miles (404 square kilometers) Sunday, burning structures, homes and a nature center in a famed Southern California wildlife sanctuary in foothill desert communities.
The blaze, known as the Bobcat Fire, is expected to grow through Sunday and Monday as critical fire weather conditions continued due to gusty wind and low humidity. Additional evacuation warnings were issued Sunday afternoon.
Firefighters were, however, able to defend Mount Wilson this weekend, which overlooks greater Los Angeles in the San Gabriel Mountains and has a historic observatory founded more than a century ago and numerous broadcast antennas serving Southern California.
The Bobcat Fire started Sept. 6 and has already doubled in size over the last week — becoming one of Los Angeles County’s largest wildfires in history, according to the Los Angeles Times. No injuries have been reported.
The blaze is 15% contained as teams attempt to determine the scope of the destruction in the area about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northeast of downtown LA. Thousands of residents in the foothill communities of the Antelope Valley were ordered to evacuate Saturday as winds pushed the flames into Juniper Hills.
Douglas statue comes down, but Lincoln had racist views, too
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — With the nation racing to come to grips with centuries of racial sins, officials plan to remove the Capitol lawn statue of Stephen A. Douglas, whose forceful 19th century politics helped forge modern-day Illinois but who also profited from slavery.
Just inside the Statehouse hangs another revered depiction of an Illinois legend — and longtime Douglas rival — who expressed white supremacist views: Abraham Lincoln. The immense painting in the governor’s second-floor office depicts a Sept. 18, 1858, debate between the two men that opened with these words from Lincoln, who was vying for Douglas’ Senate seat and was still two years away from running for president:
“I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and Black races. … There is a physical difference between the white and Black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality.”
When the Douglas statue is put in storage this fall, it will become the latest in a line of monuments, from Confederate generals to Christopher Columbus, to come down during the global reckoning on race sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. There has been no discussion, though, about removing likenesses of Lincoln, the president whose Civil War victory freed the slaves, despite his earlier views on race.
“At a certain point, where do you cut it off? Jefferson, he wrote the Declaration of Independence. You separate that from him being a slave owner,” St. Louis tourist Eric Zuelke said during a recent visit to the Douglas statue, referring to Thomas Jefferson.
AP Explains: What’s next with the Supreme Court vacancy?
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican efforts to fill Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat after her death are likely to move swiftly this week, with President Donald Trump possibly nominating a replacement within days and GOP senators hoping to jump-start the confirmation process.
Ginsburg’s death in late September of an election year puts the Senate in uncharted political terrain. Trump has urged the Republican-run Senate to consider the nomination “without delay” but has not said whether he would push for a confirmation vote before Election Day.
There’s significant risk and uncertainty ahead for both parties. Early voting is underway in some states in the races for the White House and control of Congress.
A look at the confirmation process and what we know and don’t know about what’s to come: