Trump talks with Supreme Court candidates: US election news

Republicans defend decision to quickly fill Justice Bader Ginsburg’s seat as Biden, Trump visit Wisconsin, Ohio.

Senate Republicans have defended their plan to move forward quickly with a Supreme Court confirmation [File: Bebeto Matthews/The Associated Press]
Senate Republicans have defended their plan to move forward quickly with a Supreme Court confirmation [File: Bebeto Matthews/The Associated Press]
  • The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dramatically changed the election as both candidates headed to battleground states.
  • President Donald Trump said he will pick a replacement after Ginsburg’s funeral, likely by Saturday.

  • Democratic candidate Joe Biden appealed to Republican Senators to delay a vote on Trump’s pick.
  • Trump campaigned in Ohio, a state Biden’s campaign has been increasingly eyeing.
  • Biden made his second trip to Wisconsin this month, underscoring the state’s electoral significance with 43 days until November 3.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the US elections. This is Joseph Stepansky and William Roberts.

Here are the latest updates:

Monday, September 21

18:30 ET – Trump met with Supreme Court contender Amy Coney Barrett at the White House: aide

President Donald Trump has met with Amy Coney Barrett at the White House as he evaluates prospective nominees to succeed the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, the Associated Press reported citing an unnamed source.

Later, Trump told reporters at the White House that he has been speaking with potential nominees over the last two days and held out the possibility of meeting with Barbara Lagoa when he travels to Florida this week.

Some aides have touted the political advantages of Lagoa being Hispanic and hailing from Florida.

Barrett, a devout Roman Catholic, is hailed by religious conservatives and others on the right as an ideological heir to conservative Antonin Scalia, the late Supreme Court justice for whom she clerked.

US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett met with President Trump at the White House on Monday. [File: Reuters]

18:00 ET – Trump says in Ohio rally he’s looking at five candidates for Supreme Court

President Donald Trump said he will nominate a woman to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and is looking seriously at five candidates.

“Now it will be a brilliant person. It will be. I have five that were vetted right now. It’ll be a brilliant person. It will be a woman. It will be a woman and we’re looking forward to it,” Trump said at a campaign rally near Dayton, Ohio.

Trump said he is likely to announce his nominee on Saturday. “It’s a big day for our country,” he said.

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Dayton International Airport on Monday, September 21, 2020 in Ohio. [Alex Brandon/AP Photo]

17:30 ET – Supreme Court fight could elevate Kamala Harris’ profile

Kamala Harris is poised to take a leading role in the Democratic fight against President Donald Trump’s forthcoming Supreme Court pick as both a United States senator and the Democratic vice presidential nominee.

The California senator is Joe Biden’s running mate and a member of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, which would hold high profile confirmation hearings on Trump’s nominee.

Thus far, Harris has largely pitched the campaign’s message to smaller audiences through virtual fundraisers and a handful of day trips to key states, according to the Associated Press news service.

A highly anticipated confirmation would give Harris a platform to demonstrate her political skills and articulate the campaign’s message that Ginsburg’s successor should not be chosen until after the election.

Democratic vice presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee which will hold the confirmation hearings for Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. [Michael Perez/AP Photo]

17:00 ET – Federal judge extends deadline for Wisconsin ballots

A federal judge ruled Monday that absentee ballots in battleground Wisconsin can be counted up to six days after the November 3 presidential election as long as they are postmarked by Election Day.

The highly anticipated ruling, unless overturned, means that the outcome of the presidential race in Wisconsin likely will not be known for days after polls close. Under current law, the deadline for returning an absentee ballot in order to have it counted is 8pm on Election Day.

Democrats and their allies sued to extend the deadline in the key swing state.

US District Judge William Conley granted a large portion of their requests, issuing a preliminary injunction that was expected to be appealed all the way to the US Supreme Court.

Observers say mail voting policies in several key battleground states could affect the election outcome [File: Nati Harnik/The Associated Press]

16:45 ET – Poll: Biden leads Trump by five points in Wisconsin

Biden appears to be leading Trump among likely voters in Wisconsin, while the two are about even in Pennsylvania, according to Reuters/Ipsos opinion polls

Likely voters supported Biden 48 percent to Trump’s 43 percent support, the poll found.

16:30 ET – Biden focuses on 200,000 coronavirus deaths in US

Biden, speaking at an aluminum foundry in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, sought to highlight that the US had passed the grim milestone of 200,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

“What worries me now is we’ve been living with this pandemic for so long, or we’re risking becoming numb to the toll is taken on us, in our country in communities like this, can’t lose the ability to feel the sorrow and loss and the anger for so many lives lost,” Biden told workers in a speech that also focused on protecting union jobs and preventing companies from offshoring manufacturing.

“You can’t let the numbers become statistics and background noise. Just a blur we see in the nightly news,” he said.

“Due to Donald Trump’s lies and incompetence in the past six months I’ve seen one of the greatest losses of American life in history,” Biden said. “But sadly, it’s not over.”

Still confused by the coronavirus? | Start Here

16:00 ET – McConnell, Schumer lay out arguments over Supreme Court confirmation

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer laid out arguments for and against confirming a Supreme Court justice before the election – positions that are likely to define the debate in coming weeks.

McConnell asserted there was enough time to confirm a new justice before the election, while contending precedent justified Republican’s actions. He sought to dispel charges of hypocrisy rooted in Republican opposition to confirming an Obama nominee in 2016, saying: “the American people are about to witness and astonishing parade of misrepresentations about the past, misstatements about the present, and more threats against our institutions”.

Meanwhile, Schumer, charged that Republican brass “have made a mockery of their previous position” and asserted that voters should be able to choose who will nominate the next Supreme Court justice.

He added: “They seem ready to show the world their word is simply no good. It’s enough to make your head explode.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer took to the Senate floor on Monday to lay out arguments surrounding the Supreme Court confirmation [File: J Scott Applewhite/The Associated Press]

15:30 ET – Graham: Support of pre-election confirmation will help at the ballot box

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham says he believes his role in the confirmation process for a new Supreme Court justice will likely bolster his reelection bid.

At an event for a congressional candidate Monday, Graham said in North Charleston, South Carolina, that he feels his defense of Brett Kavanaugh during a contentious 2018 Supreme Court confirmation hearing has given him conservative bona fides that will help boost him to reelection in a tight race with Democrat Jaime Harrison.

“I don’t know what it is about me and moments and lightning, but lightning has struck again,” Graham said of the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the pivotal role that he will play in the process to replace her.

As chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Graham will shepherd the confirmation process.In 2016, when Antonin Scalia died, Graham supported a move by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to refuse a confirmation hearing for President Barack Obama’s nominee.

Trump to nominate woman to fill Supreme Court seat after Ginsburg’s death

15:00 ET – Schiff slams Trump suggestion he fabricated RBG’s dying wish

Ranking House Democrat Adam Schiff has slammed a suggestion that he, or other Democrats, fabricated a report that Justice Ginsburg had said her dying wish was that her replacement was not named until after the election.

“I don’t know that she said that, or was that written out by Adam Schiff and Schumer and Pelosi,” Trump said on Monday on the Fox & Friends programme. “I would be more inclined to the second … But that sounds like a Schumer deal or maybe a Pelosi or Shifty Schiff.”

“Mr President, this is low. Even for you,” Schiff tweeted. “No, I didn’t write Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dying wish to a nation she served so well, and spent her whole life making a more perfect union. But I am going to fight like hell to make it come true.”

14:30 ET – Biden set to refocus attention on coronavirus

Biden, campaigning in Wisconsin, is set to refocus attention on the coronavirus as the US passes 200,000 deaths since the pandemic began.

Trump has repeatedly sought to turn public attention away from the virus, instead seeking to recast the election with “law and order” messaging and a focus on rebuilding the economy.

Biden will campaign in Manitowoc County, which Obama won by more than seven points in 2008. However, the county swung in 2016, with Trump winning more than 21 points against Hillary Clinton.

14:00 ET – Mitt Romney announcement on Supreme Court vote not imminent: Report

Senator Mitt Romney, one of a handful of Republican senators who are considered a possibility to break from party ranks, will not make an announcement on his plans until at least Tuesday, his spokeswoman told the Washington Post.

Romney was still conferring with members of his party, the spokeswoman said, and the earliest he would be willing to publicly discuss the issue would be after a Republican luncheon on Tuesday.

Romney was the only senator to break party ranks and vote to impeach Trump during the Senate trial in January. Two Republicans senators have so far publicly opposed moving forward with confirmation. At least four would need to break party ranks to stop a pre-election vote on a Trump nominee.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney was the only Republican to vote to convict Trump during his Senate impeachment trial [File: Mike Segar/Reuters]

13:30 ET – Harvard poll projects highest level of youth turnout since 2008

A new poll by the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School indicates 18 to 29-year-old voter turnout in this election may be its highest since 2008, when President Barack Obama beat Senator John McCain.

According to the poll, 63 percent of respondents said they would “definitely be voting”, that’s compared to 47 percent who said the same in 2016.

The poll also found higher support for Biden than 2016 Democratic Candidate Hillary Clinton. Among likely voters, 60 percent support Biden and 27 percent support Trump. In 2016, 49 percent of likely voters in the age group supported Clinton.

13:00 ET – Ginsburg to receive rare honour of lying in state at US Capitol

Ruth Bader Ginsburg will lie in state at the US Capitol on Friday, becoming only the second Supreme Court Justice to receive the rare honour.

Prior to Ginsburg, only former President and Supreme Court Justice William Howard Taft laid in state at the Capitol, according to the House of Representatives. That was in 1930.

Most recently, Representatives John Lewis and Elijah Cummings, former President George HW Bush, and Senator John McCain were memorialised at the Capitol.

The casket of US Representative from Georgia John Lewis arrives during a ceremony preceding the lying in state in the Rotunda of the US Capitol in Washington, DC [File: Shawn Thew/Reuters]

12:30 ET – Judge orders Postal Service to expedite election mail

A federal judge has ordered the US Postal Service to expedite all November election mail and to approve additional overtime for postal workers.

US District Judge Victor Marrero in Manhattan said the Postal Service must treat to the extent possible all election mail as first-class mail or priority mail express and “shall pre-approve all overtime that has been or will be requested” between October 26 and November 6.

Marrero’s opinion said that in prior elections, including 2018, the Postal Service typically treated election mail as first-class mail, even if it was sent at marketing mail rates.

“Multiple managerial failures have undermined the postal employees’ ability to fulfill their vital mission,” he wrote.

Why is Trump worried about mail-voting? | Start Here

12:00 ET – Justice Dept threatens to revoke federal funding from Dem lead cities

The Justice Department threatened to revoke federal funding from three Democrat-lead cities, New York City, Seattle and Portland, Oregon, saying they were allowing anarchy and violence on their streets following months of racial justice protests that have at times turned violent.

“We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hangs in the balance,” Attorney General William Barr said in a statement on Monday.

The federal government has mounted a campaign to disperse the racial justice protests, which have continued since the police-involved death of George Floyd in May. Federal efforts have included sending federal agents into Portland and Seattle and encouraging federal prosecutors to bring charges.

Last week, the Justice Department urged federal prosecutors to consider sedition charges against protesters who have burned buildings and engaged in other violent activity. The Trump campaign, meanwhile, has used the protests to suggest that cities and suburbs are under threat, as part of a larger “law and order” platform.

Barr presses for federal arrests of some George Floyd protesters

11:30 ET – Justice Ginsburg to lie in repose at US Supreme Court, Capitol

The body of late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last week at 87, will lie in repose outside the US Supreme Court on Wednesday and Thursday of this week so members of the public can pay their respects, the court said in a statement.

A private ceremony will take place at the court on Wednesday morning attended by Ginsburg’s family, friends and other Supreme Court justices, the statement said. Ginsburg will be interned at Arlington National Cemetery in a private ceremony next week, the statement added.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also announced that Ginsburg will lie in state in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall on Friday. That ceremony will be open only to invited guests, Pelosi said.

Ginsburg will be buried next week at Arlington National Cemetery in a private service, the court said.

People gather at the Supreme Court on the morning after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 87 [J Scott Applewhite/The Associated Press]

11:00 ET – Biden heads to Wisconsin for second time this month

Biden is headed to Wisconsin for the second time this month in a sign of the state’s importance to the upcoming election.

In his last visit, Biden went to Kenosha and spoke with Jacob Blake, the Black man whose shooting by police prompted widespread unrest.

This time, Biden will visit largely white Manitowoc County, which supported the former vice president and President Barack Obama when they ran as the Democratic ticket in 2008. The county backed Trump in 2016, helping deliver the state to a Republican presidential candidate for the first time since 1984.

Biden’s campaign has made targeting such “flip” voters a priority, and it also hopes Biden will deliver a larger share of white voters than Democrat Hillary Clinton did in 2016.

Biden spoke at Grace Lutheran Church during a visit to Kenosha in early September [File: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

10:30 ET – Trump plans to emphasise jobs in Ohio

Trump will hold two events in Ohio on Monday, delivering remarks in Dayton before holding a rally at an airport in Swanton.

Trump is expected to speak about “fighting for the American worker,” with a focus on the economic themes that dominated his re-election pitch prior to Ginsburg’s death, according to his campaign.

However, the events have the potential to take on dimensions of the Supreme Court confirmation battle, with supporters during a rally in North Carolina on Saturday adding a new chant to the election season: “Fill that seat”.

10:00 ET – Biden campaign announces advertisement buys in Georgia and Iowa

The Biden campaign has expanded its advertising push in states seen as critical to winning the Electoral College to include Georgia and Iowa.

Advertisements in Georgia will target Black voters, as part of the “Shop Talk” series, which features roundtable discussions on issues affecting Black men.

In Iowa, the campaign will run previously released advertisements that highlight Biden’s message of unifying the country, his plan to respond to the coronavirus and rebuild the economy.

The advertisements come as Biden’s campaign has looked to several states initially considered out of reach and following an August fundraising haul that outpaced Trump by a $140m cash-on-hand advantage.

09:30 ET – Trump says Supreme Court pick could come on Friday or Saturday

Trump has said he expects to announce his pick for the Supreme Court on Friday or Saturday, after funeral services for Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

He told the Fox & Friends programme on Monday he had a list of five finalists, “probably four”, and that he is pushing for a confirmation vote before Election Day.

Trump also disparaged reports that Ginsburg had told her granddaughter it was her wish that a replacement justice not be confirmed until the inauguration of a new president, saying he thought his Democratic political foes were behind the report, including Representative Adam Schiff, who led the House impeachment probe, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.

“I don’t know that she said that, or was that written out by Adam Schiff and Schumer and Pelosi,” Trump said. “I would be more inclined to the second … But that sounds like a Schumer deal or maybe a Pelosi or Shifty Schiff.”

09:00 ET – Weekend recap: Ginsburg vacancy shifts race dynamics

The death of Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg has dramatically shifted the dynamics of the presidential race, which will play out over the appointment of her successor.

Senate Republican leaders quickly promised to vote on a Trump nominee before the election as they jockey to get a 6-3 conservative majority in the court. Trump said they should act “without delay”.

Amid outrage from Democrats, Biden called on a “handful” of senators to break party ranks and wait until after the election to vote on a Trump nominee.

To date, Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins say they oppose moving forward with the nomination, while Senators Lyndsey Graham and Lamar Alexander, who were considered possible, if not likely, dissenters, have said they support moving ahead with the pre-election confirmation.


Read all the updates from Friday, September 18 here.

Source : Al Jazeera, News Agencies

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