If the prospect of her being confirmed as the next Supreme Court justice weren't so grim, Amy Coney Barrett's recent zipped-lip approach on her views about abortion and Roe v. Wade would be hilarious.
Are there doubts about where she stands in the matter, or how she would come down on any ruling to undermine or obliterate the 47-year-old decision that legalized abortion nationwide? Although she was picked for the nomination because she's an ultra-conservative on many issues, the biggest cheers attending the announcement of her selection came not from the Federalist Society, but from the forced-birther brigades who have sought for decades to get enough justices on the Supreme Court to kill (or at least maim) Roe. As a law professor at the University of Notre Dame, Barrett was a member of University Faculty for Life, a vigorous foe of abortion.
Her unwillingness to talk about her views with senators, and her initial failure to mention on her Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire that she signed a 2006 anti-abortion advertisement calling for "an end to the barbaric legacy of Roe vs Wade" won't provide any cover for what's she's truly about. And on Friday there was a new revelation. She hadn't told senators about a lecture and a seminar she gave in 2013 to two student forced-birther groups when she was teaching at Notre Dame. The lecture was called "Being a Woman After Roe" and advertised on Facebook. Titled "The Supreme Court's Abortion Jurisprudence," the seminar was a project of Jus Vitae, the university's "right to life" law student organization.
Barrett wouldn't, of course, be the first nominee to omit information that could have a bearing on confirmation. Intentional or accidental? You decide.
Late Friday, the Senate Judiciary Committee released a supplemental update to Barrett's questionnaire that includes the lecture and seminar, as well as the hard-nosed advertisement, according to CNN. So far, it's not known what she said at the two events. CNN also reported that in 2014 the university removed a video of a campus talk Barrett gave to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade titled "Roe at 40: The Supreme Court, Abortion, and the Culture War that Followed." She disclosed this talk in her original Senate paperwork. A school spokesman said that video is now lost. How very convenient.
Will there be consequences for the omissions? In the past, Republican chairmen of the Judiciary Committee have halted the confirmation process when relevant material was left off a nominee's questionnaire. But for current Judiciary Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham to take such action would require integrity and consistency that the South Carolina Republican has demonstrated he lacks.
When Barrett appears for her hearing before the Judiciary Committee on Monday, you can expect her to assert, as nominees have in the past, that she cannot say how she might rule on a future case, abortion or otherwise. Such a pretense of anticipatory objectivity has served other nominees well in the past, with enough senators willing to ignore the obvious and hand over a life-time appointment on the bench.
Based on unnamed sources, Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman at The New York Times report that Donald Trump could move as quickly as next week to name his nominee to the Supreme Court to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
New England Journal of Medicine publishes letter from doctor explaining how FBI and DHS almost grabbed the medical masks his hospital was buying
The New England Journal of Medicine has begun a new series called “Covid-19 Notes,” which is focusing on the innovative responses to the dealing with the coronavirus. On Friday, the journal published a letter about acquiring N95 masks written by Dr. Andrew W. Artenstein, M.D., of Baystate Health in Springfield, Massachusetts. Here’s an excerpt from the letter:
Michael Schwirtz at The New York Times reported Thursday afternoon that there were only 20 patients on the 1,000-bed Navy hospital ship docked in New York harbor specifically to take the pressure off the city’s hospitals overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients. The news infuriated hospital officials. Last week, President Donald Trump showed up in Norfolk, Virginia, to send the USNS Comfort to New York City, saying it would play a “critical role” in the fight against the virus. Said Michael Dowling, the head of Northwell Health, New York’s largest hospital system: “If I’m blunt about it, it’s a joke. Everyone can say, ‘Thank you for putting up these wonderful places and opening up these cavernous halls.’ But we’re in a crisis here, we’re in a battlefield.”
Trump's helping Moscow muck with our elections. Here's why that fits the strict constitutional definition of treason
Throughout the history of the Republic, traitorous and treasonous have held a broader, more generic meaning for treason than the one found in the U.S. Constitution. The rebellious founders, having themselves been traitors to the British Crown—and being fully familiar with how English treason laws had been extended and abused in what was then the not-very-distant past—the drafters wisely kept to the narrowest of definitions in the first paragraph of Article III, Section 3:
Unemployment is the lowest it has been in 50 years. Economic expansion since the Great Recession ended has been going on for 126 consecutive months, and net gains in job growth have been going on for 111 consecutive months. Both figures break the record for the 80 years that good statistics in such matters have been kept. The stock market is soaring. Every day we hear the economy is booming.
For nearly four years in the mid-1970s, I worked as a printer, a union job that demanded good mechanical ability and focused concentration. At the time, the industry was on the cusp of big technological changes in printing, with computers and photocopying eventually forcing massive changes on work flow and reducing the level of skills needed to do the tasks. But these changes didn’t appear at the relatively small shop—40 people with two dozen of us running presses—until years after I left.
Three years into what can only be hoped is his sole term in office, one of Donald Trump’s key promises and desires—expanding the barrier between the United States and Mexico along the full length of their mutual border—is still partially hung up in numerous legal entanglements. That includes the ruling earlier this month that he cannot transfer funds from the Pentagon to build the border wall and an investigation into construction contracts being handed out to Republican campaign donors.