Justice Amy Coney Barrett
She was nominated, voted on, and now Justice Amy Coney Barrett has been sworn onto the U.S. Supreme Court.
It was a painful process and ceremony for Democrats across the country who contended that the way in which Senate Republicans and President Trump went out replacing the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was illegitimate.
In reality, the nomination and subsequent nomination of Justice Barrett was completely constitutional, but that didn’t matter to Democrats, who were still very sore that Senate Republicans refused to hold confirmation hearings for President Barack Obama’s SCOTUS nomination during the last year of his term as president.
We can understand their frustration, which is valid, but elections have consequences. And this is a huge consequence. Maybe Democrats should have asked Justice Ginsburg to step down 5 years ago? READ MORE
Under a Biden administration, will Americans see Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court rotated in an out to fit the president’s agenda? READ MORE
Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell @RepDMP-The president has already started dismantling our health care. And if his lawsuit is successful, he will dismantle it completely, leaving millions uninsured. His actions are dangerous.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz @DWStweets– Amazing energy & clear skies at today’s Equality Voters to the Polls march. The South Florida LGBTQ+ community is out in full force for #BidenHarris2020! Big thanks to @Todd_Delmay & @JeffDelmay & the Hollywood LGBTQ+ Council for their work organizing & fighting for equality.
Rick Scott @SenRickScott-Judge Amy Coney Barrett advances to a final confirmation vote. Tomorrow (Today) will be an exciting day as Judge Barrett becomes the next Justice on the US Supreme Court!
Rep. Carlos G Smith @CarlosGSmith-This morning we joined @DemsUCF to welcome Latina leader @AmericaFerrera to East Orlando’s Alafaya branch early voting site and help get out the message for @JoeBiden and Democrats down ballot. So much energy and enthusiasm in this election! VOTE!
Amy Klobuchar @amyklobuchar-First stop today for @JoeBiden @KamalaHarris in the shine state of Florida in Tampa! And I finally got to follow a Senator Cruz (as in Tampa’s incredible State Senator Janet Cruz) who I didn’t have to rebut.
“Trump Ad Links Biden to Worldwide Communist Wave” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – Since election season started, President Trump (R) and Republicans have launched attacks at Democrats, arguing that a number of Democratic lawmakers are moving further and further to the left, which will ultimately alienate voters. Vice President Joe Biden (D) has been accused of being socialist numerous times, and most recently, during the debates, the former Vice President downplayed those accusations, saying that it’s a bunch of “malarkey.” However, a new advertisement released from the Trump campaign, titled “Chavistas” highlights that there are socialist leaders abroad that are championing the idea of socialism spreading across the United States. In the Spanish language advertisement, Diosdado Cabello Rondon, a Venezuelan communist politician, is shown speaking to the public, saying that a “Bolivian breeze” is making its way throughout the world, and he hopes that it reaches the United States in its upcoming November election. This has worried many voters in South Florida who, themselves, fled countries like Venezuela and Cuba for the same policies they believe some lawmakers on the left are similarly promoting in the United States. In turn, the conversation surrounding the topic has largely involved Republicans launching accusations while Democrats have disregarded the calls.
“Senate Confirms Amy Coney Barrett To The Supreme Court” by The Floridian’s Mona Salama – The Senate Monday evening voted 52-48 to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, solidifying a conservative 6-3 majority on the nation’s highest court. All 47 Democrats voted against confirming against Barrett’s confirmation. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) was the lone Republican to vote against Barrett to the high court. The Maine Senator stated her plans to vote against the confirmation, stating her vote was not a reflection of the judge’s qualifications, but rather the process of filling the vacancy just weeks before the election. McConnell in a speech on the Senate floor before the vote said Barrett’s confirmation process was legal and constitutional, despite Democratic outcries claiming it was “illegitimate.” “All these outlandish claims are utterly absurd, and the louder they scream, the more inaccurate they are,” McConnell said. “We don’t have any doubt, do we, that if the shoe was on the other foot, they’d be confirming this nominee. And have no doubt, if the shoe was on the other foot in 2016, they’d have done the same thing.” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) warned Republicans would come to haunt them. “You may win this vote, and Amy Coney Barrett may become the next associate justice of the Supreme Court,” Schumer said. “But you will never, never get your credibility back. And the next time the American people give Democrats a majority in this chamber, you will have forfeited the right to tell us how to run that majority.”
“Ocasio-Cortez: It ‘Absolutely’ My Job And Role To Push Biden If Elected To The Left” by The Floridian’s Mona Salama – Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union,” said the Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden mixed messaging on fracking “doesn’t bother her,” arguing that under a potential Biden presidency, it will be a “luxury” to lobby and “push the next Democratic administration” on progressive issues. CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Ocasio-Cortez whether or not she was bothered by the fact that Biden is now saying that he will not ban fracking. “You know, it does not bother me,” Ocasio-Cortez responded. “Vice President Biden has made very clear that he does not agree with the fracking ban. I am happy to make my case but I understand he is in disagreement with that issue.” Ocasio-Cortez emphasized that her role should Biden win will be to “push” his administration towards the progressive vision. “I think it would be a privilege and it would be a luxury for us to be talking about what we would lobby the next Democratic and how we will push the next Democratic administration,” Ocasio-Cortez told Tapper. “But, in terms of my role, I believe that that has been my role. And my role is consistent, in making sure that we push the Democratic Party to have a larger vision for our future and that is who we are, that it is our job to make sure that we are serving all people in the United States, and particularly our base.”
“Thieves take $1M worth of gloves meant for Florida hospitals” by Associated Press – Thieves have stolen over 6 million gloves, worth $1 million, meant for first responders at Florida hospitals. Medgluv, a supplier of medical gloves to the national health care industry, said it received the shipment at its office in Coral Springs on Friday night. On Sunday night, surveillance video shows thieves backing a truck up to the shipping container and hauling off the personal protective equipment. It took only a few minutes. “We’ve had hospitals asking for this product on a daily basis waiting for this to arrive,” said Rick Grimes, Medgluv’s vice president of sales and marketing. “It’s heartbreaking in so many different ways.” He did not elaborate on whether the company thought the theft was lucky timing or an inside job. Local police are investigating as well as federal authorities because the medical-grade exam gloves were federally registered. Grimes said the company was “crushed.” He added, “These are not just consumers. These are friends. We play an important part in the role of health care.”
“As unemployment crisis continues, what happens if Florida trust fund runs dry?” by WFLA’s Victoria Price – The coronavirus pandemic and resulting unemployment crisis is draining Florida’s unemployment trust fund. US Treasury reports show the fund held more than $4 billion in March. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity reemployment dashboard reports more than $3.5 billion in state-funded benefits has been paid out to jobless Floridians. An October report shows the trust fund has dwindled to about $1 billion. While still a large figure, it proves just how draining a crisis can be. If that happens, states have three options: borrow from the federal government, tax unemployment insurance taxes, or cut benefits. Draining unemployment coffers is not unprecedented. Florida depleted its trust fund after the 2008 recession. To make up for it, state lawmakers did not raise unemployment insurance taxes but instead dramatically cut benefits, capping them at the current limit of $275 a week for 12 weeks, one of the lowest levels nationwide. “At this point, Florida needs to understand the problem with cutting benefits too much, and slowing the system as much as it did,” said Michele Evermore, an unemployment policy expert with the National Employment Law Project. According to Evermore, 12 weeks of benefits is simply too short for the long-term unemployment produced by the pandemic. “Long-term” in unemployment terms is defined as 26 weeks or more. With benefits already slashed, Evermore says Florida should consider raising unemployment insurance tax rates to make up for the deficit. Right now, Florida businesses pay an average of $50 a year per employee, the lowest in the nation.
“Florida City Begins Removing Confederate Monument” by NBC Miami’s Brendan Farrington – A Florida city began removing a 129-year-old confederate monument in a downtown park on Monday. A contractor removed the eight-foot (2.4-meter) tall statue of a Confederate soldier that stood on top of the 42-foot (12.8 meter) high monument in Pensacola as protesters waved Confederate flags, said city spokeswoman Kaycee Lagarde. Contractors will have a another month to remove the obelisk. The city is spending $135,000 for the work. “They’re going to be required to remove it carefully and to preserve it. That is our goal to not damage the monument in any way,” Lagarde said. “For now it will be taken to the Port of Pensacola for storage until the city determines what will ultimately happen to the monument or where its final resting place will be. A local private cemetery and the University of West Florida Historic Trust have had discussions with the city about the statue, but no decisions have been made, Lagarde said. The city council voted 6-1 on July 14 to remove the statue and 7-0 to change the name of the park from Lee Square to Florida Square, its original name. The park was renamed for Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in 1887. The idea of the monument was originally raised by former Confederate Gen. E.A. Perry, who served as Florida governor from 1885 to 1889. He died before the monument was constructed. About 10,000 people attended the ceremony held when it was completed, according to a city staff report prepared before the vote to remove it. The soldier that was removed was inspired by the painting “Appomattox” by John Adams Elder, according to the staff report.
“Former felons in Florida cast their first ballots in early voting” by CBS News’ Alex Pena – “Free the vote!” chanted Ijaymn Gray, 40, his fist held high, as he marched shoulder-to-shoulder with his father Randy Hudnell, 63, towards an early voting location in Miami, Florida. Dozens of voting rights activists and marchers filed in behind them, their fingers flashing the number four, symbolizing Florida’s landmark Amendment 4, which restored the right to vote for many former inmates in the state. Between the two of them, the father-son duo had spent over 50 years in and out of the Florida prison system, and nearly their entire lives apart. Prior to the passing of Amendment 4, their status as former felons meant neither had ever cast a ballot. “I’ve been waiting on this moment for my entire life,” Gray told CBS News. “This is an award-winning, historic moment for me, and for my father. Between the both of us, we have 103 years of not voting.” Gray cast his first-ever vote last year in a local Miami election once the amendment allowed him to register. His father had never seen the inside of a voting booth until this day. “I’m so proud of him. They opened the door and they let me in,” said Hudnell of his son’s activism, which ultimately led to Gray helping his father register to vote. The door was opened in 2018 when Floridians passed Amendment 4 to the state constitution during the midterm elections. Florida was one of only four states in the country that did not automatically restore a right to vote for its citizens after being convicted of a felony and completing their sentence. Before the passage of Amendment 4, “returned citizens,” as advocates of the amendment prefer to call former felons, had to go through a long and arduous clemency board application process, with the governor sitting at the head. The number of approvals ebbed and flowed depending on whether Democrats or Republicans were heading the board.
“In Florida, Many Colombian Americans Fear Biden Is Soft on Socialism” by Foreign Policy’s Augusta Saraiva – A supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump rallies outside the “Latinos for Trump Roundtable” event at Trump National Doral Miami golf resort in Doral, Florida, on Sept. 25. A supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump rallies outside the “Latinos for Trump Roundtable” event at Trump National Doral Miami golf resort in Doral, Florida, on Sept. 25.
Donald Trump won Florida by a 100,000-vote margin four years ago. To repeat in the must-win battleground, the president’s campaign is targeting Florida’s Colombian American voters, a bloc that has leaned Democratic in U.S. elections but which fears Latin America’s far-left parties will be resurgent under Joe Biden. Trump found his opening in mid-October when the left-wing Colombian senator and failed 2018 presidential candidate Gustavo Petro announced his support for Biden. On Twitter, Trump called Biden “weak on socialism” and said he would “betray Colombia.” And in a bid to siphon votes from Colombian Americans who still favor a hard-line approach to the decades-long armed conflict against Marxist rebels in their home country, Trump reminded supporters during a campaign rally in central Florida this month that “Biden even received the endorsement of Colombian socialists, [including] Gustavo Petro, a former member of the M-19 guerrilla organization, and he took it.” In fact, Biden’s campaign was quick to reject Petro’s blessing. But that hasn’t stopped Trump from using the Twitter endorsement in a Spanish-language ad linking the former vice president to the leftist politics practiced by the socialist leaders Fidel Castro of Cuba and Hugo Chávez of Venezuela. Petro has become a controversial figure in Colombia, a country that has refused to elect a leftist president due to its troubled history with far-left armed groups. The former guerrilla leader, who served as mayor of Bogotá and whose left-wing policies worried some voters during his presidential run, is still regarded by some in the country as a latter-day Chávez.
“Voter turnout in Florida could approach 1992 mark” by Fox 35 – Floridians might approach the highest voter-turnout rate for a general election in at least half a century, as more than 41 percent of eligible voters have already cast ballots in the Nov. 3 election. With the second week of early voting underway, the state Division of Elections reported Monday morning that 6,018,430 ballots had been cast at early voting sites and by mail. In all, Florida has 14,441,860 voters registered for the election. The 1992 presidential contest had the highest modern turnout rate at 83 percent. As of Monday morning, registered Democrats had submitted nearly 1.79 million votes by mail, while 766,794 had used in-person early voting, according to numbers posted online by the Division of Elections. About 1.02 million Republicans had used early voting, while nearly 1.18 million had voted by mail. People without party affiliation had cast 791,303 mail-in ballots, while 397,648 had gone to early voting sites. The remainder of the votes in the overall total were cast by third-party voters. The heavy voting has come as polls show Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in a close race in Florida, one of a handful of critical battleground states across the country. Trump, who has repeatedly criticized vote-by-mail processes in other states as being open to fraud, cast his ballot Saturday at an early voting site in Palm Beach County, his adopted home. Both campaigns are trying to rally supporters across the state. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence campaigned in Florida last week, and Biden is slated to appear Thursday in Broward County and Tampa, the Democrat’s campaign announced Monday.
“South Florida Election Workers Poised to Help Fix Mail-in Ballots” by NBC South Florida Willard Shepard – South Florida elections officials are processing a whopping number of mail in ballots — over 600,000 of them are already cast in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. However, elections officials say some voters are making mistakes that could mean your vote won’t count, but you can fix it before it’s too late. It’s a warning to be on the lookout just in case you make an error. The elections departments now have a way to make sure your vote counts if you forgot to sign the ballots or your signature doesn’t look right. By Monday night, 58% who wanted one in Miami-Dade had already sent it back, and 60% in Broward have sent theirs in. “More and more people are voting by mail,” said Christina White, Miami-Dade Elections Supervisor. But sometimes there’s trouble. Elections workers in Miami-Dade Monday took a look at over 62,000 ballots that needed more examination recently. The vast majority were cleared, but the canvassing board went over ballots 165 times where the signatures did not match what’s on file. Another big reason for trouble — there’s no signature at all. “The sooner you get it in to our elections department, if there’s any kind of problem with it, give you time to act and to correct it,” White said. You’ll hear about the problem. The elections department will send you a letter saying there’s an issue, and if you gave them your phone number, you’ll get a text or a phone call, and if you provided an email, keep an eye out on your inbox. There is a form that you must sign to fix the signature trouble. You need to sign it and provide a copy of an official ID — a driver’s license, military or federal ID or passport. If you don’t have one, a bank statement or utility bill will do. You can hand it to the elections office in person, email or fax it, or mail it back.
“Should Florida students continue virtual learning next semester?” by Click Orlando’s Erik Sandoval – Florida’s education leader says he hopes to have a decision on whether students can continue virtual learning next semester by sometime in November. Richard Corcoran, Florida Education Commissioner, toured Florida Virtual School in Orlando on Monday with U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. “We’ve been very clear that we want parents to have a choice, and we want students to have a choice,” Corcoran told reporters. “The president and I have long supported multiple options and choices for parents, and we’re going to continue to do that,” DeVos said. DeVos had high marks for what Florida Virtual School had accomplished. She also praised the state’s school districts’ abilities to adapt to online learning in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, but she said in-person learning is still the preferred method of education. “The expectation is that kids have got to be learning in a full-time manner. In most cases, in-person is the best way to do it,” she said. “They are only five once. They’re only eight once. They’re only twelve once, and we’ve got to stay focused on doing the right thing for our children.” “It’s something that we’re anticipating an answer to sometime in November,” said Scott Howat, spokesman for Orange County Public Schools. Howat said more than 50 percent of his students use Launch Ed, the district’s option for virtually attending school. He said if the state does not extend the emergency declaration or include virtual learning at the district level, some parents may feel forced to enroll their children in private virtual schools. If that happens, he said, he feared districts could lose some of their funding.
“Florida man stole bulldozer, drunkenly ran down Biden signs, cops say” by NY Posts’ Tamar Lapin – A Florida man allegedly stole a bulldozer and used it to knock down Joe Biden yard signs during a drunken rampage, police said. James Blight, 26, is accused of swiping the backhoe from a construction site in Haines City on Saturday and driving it into a neighborhood, flattening the Democratic presidential candidate’s campaign signs in full view of residents. “I’ve been drinking whiskey all day and don’t remember what happened,” he allegedly told Haines City police officers when they picked him up, Bay News 9 reported. Blight — who also allegedly stole some of the placards and bulldozed a speed limit sign — was charged with grand theft auto and trespassing. “It’s absurd that a grown man could think he had the right to destroy someone else’s property based on a difference in political opinion,” police chief Jim Elensky said in a statement. “The fact that he was driving this heavy equipment, that he did not know how to operate, down busy roads could have been disastrous. We’re thankful that no one was hurt in this matter.”
“Florida has received 1.4 million rapid tests” by News Service of Florida – Florida has received 1.4 million rapid “antigen” tests for COVID-19 from the federal government since Sept. 28, according to a review of federal data posted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The federal government is shipping the tests weekly. The first batch was distributed to Florida beginning Sept. 28, when the state received 420,507 Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card Point of Care SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic tests. Weekly reports through Oct. 19 tracked subsequent shipments to the state. Federal officials awarded a $760 million contract in late August to Abbott for delivery of 150 million rapid tests. Meanwhile, the federal government has posted how 30 states and the District of Columbia will distribute their supplies. Florida was not included in that report, though Gov Ron DeSantis has said he is sending them to senior centers, senior communities and schools. Florida is expected to receive 6.4 million rapid tests under the agreement with Abbott.
“Alvin Entin, an attorney, actor and political mover, dies at 75” by Sun Sentinel’s Rafael Olmeda – As a lawyer, Alvin Entin was a fierce but fair advocate for the accused, an attorney for 50 years whose client list included rapper Snoop Dogg and reputed mobster Mario Fortunato. As a political figure, he was a Broward Republican who ran for Congress in 1980, left a leadership position with the party in 2014, and decried the direction of the party under the leadership of President Donald Trump. Mr. Entin, a father of six who rarely took a business trip without his wife, Lois, by his side, died Sunday night, weeks after fighting off COVID-19, days after surviving a minor stroke, and hours after posting his final social media message looking forward to Election Day. He was 75. Mr. Entin’s nephew and law partner, Joshua Entin, said he was respected in and out of the courtroom for his professionalism and his ethics. “The praise didn’t just come from his clients,” he said. “He was adored in federal and state courts by the judges and even by his adversaries.” One of Mr. Entin’s highest-profile local cases involved Fred Howard Kaytes, a Hollywood dentist who disappeared after his wife was found murdered in their bedroom in 2002. Kaytes was found, charged with the murder, tried, and, after just 40 minutes of deliberation, found not guilty. Entin told jurors of another suspect and challenged the alleged confession obtained by police when Kaytes was caught. “Juries loved this guy,” said Mr. Entin’s longtime partner, Richard Della Fera. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a lawyer who could think so fast on his feet. He always fought hard, but he always fought fair.” He was recruited for the legal team that represented Calvin Broadus, better known as Snoop Dogg, when the rapper was accused of murder in Los Angeles in the 1990s.
“Senate confirms Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court, cements 6-3 conservative majority” by Fox News’ Tyler Olson – The Senate voted 52-48 on Monday night to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court in a move that makes the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals judge and Notre Dame law professor the third appointment to the high court by President Trump, solidifying his administration’s legacy even further just a week before Election Day as he seeks a second term. The last president to nominate three new justices to the Supreme Court was Ronald Reagan. “Justice Barrett made clear she will issue rulings based solely upon a faithful reading of the law and the Constitution as written not legislate from the bench,” Trump said during a swearing in ceremony at the White House on Monday. ““The American people put their trust in you and their faith in you as you take up the task of defending our laws, our Constitution and this country we all love.” Monday’s vote marked the end of a confirmation process that lasted less than 40 days from when late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died to when her successor, Barrett, was confirmed. During that time Democrats objected loudly to the speed and timing of the confirmation just before an election. Meanwhile, Republicans have touted Barrett’s record as an academic and a judge as impeccable — and her “Well Qualified” rating from the American Bar Association (ABA) whose representatives relayed descriptions of her as “brilliant” and an “intellectual giant.” Justice Clarence Thomas administered the Constitutional Oath to Barrett at the White House on Monday night, while Chief Justice will administer the Judicial Oath to her in a private ceremony at the Court on Tuesday.
“Melania Trump to make belated campaign trail appearance” by CNN’s Kate Bennett – First lady Melania Trump will make her first solo campaign appearance on behalf of President Donald Trump with just one week to go before the election. Her up-to-now campaign trail absence has marked a historic break from precedent, especially in a race that finds her husband fighting for votes. The first lady is scheduled to speak at a Make America Great event Tuesday afternoon in Atglen, Pennsylvania, according to a campaign source. Every modern first lady to hold the position before Melania Trump has proved an important and impactful surrogate on behalf of their husbands. The President is particularly hunting votes from suburban White woman, a group with which the first lady may hold some appeal. Melania Trump has largely proven herself a homebody without a taste for campaigning or giving political speeches, according to several sources. Her last appearance at a Trump campaign rally was June 2019, where she made brief remarks at the kickoff for her husband’s reelection efforts. Her last solo speaking event in support of Trump’s campaign was almost exactly four years ago, also in Pennsylvania, just days before the election. Trump won the state by a slim margin over Hillary Clinton in 2016. A CNN poll released last week showed Democratic rival Joe Biden ahead of Trump this time around, with 53% of likely voters behind him and 43% backing Trump. Melania Trump’s unwillingness to campaign or attend fundraisers has been an at times frustrating concept for members of the Trump campaign to swallow, according to two campaign sources, as having a first lady speak to voters is historically the most compelling and effective mode of surrogacy. “It is certainly not a question of ‘Does the Trump campaign want Melania Trump to make appearances?’ ” a source familiar with campaign operations said. “She’s wanted and needed. It’s just that she doesn’t do them.”
“Trump and Biden Take Different Tacks in Campaign’s Final Week” by WSJ’s Rebecca Ballhaus and Ken Thomas – President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are employing divergent tactics in the final week before Election Day, with Mr. Trump set to crisscross the country for campaign rallies while Mr. Biden’s operation floods the airwaves and relies on a more virtual approach. Mr. Trump scheduled three campaign stops in Pennsylvania on Monday and has rallies planned later this week in Arizona, Nevada, Wisconsin, Michigan and Nebraska. Mr. Trump has told reporters he may do up to five rallies a day in the final days before the election. Mr. Biden, in contrast, spent Monday morning at his Wilmington, Del., home before making an afternoon visit to a voter-service center in Chester, Pa., about a 25-minute drive away. Since taking a campaign trip 10 days ago to Michigan on Oct. 16, Mr. Biden has spent at least part of seven of those days in Delaware, including a three-day stretch preparing for last week’s final debate in Nashville, Tenn. Mr. Biden plans to travel to Georgia on Tuesday and to Florida on Thursday. He told reporters he also would be traveling to Iowa and Wisconsin later in the week and was “not overconfident about anything.” Mr. Trump won all four states in 2016. “We’re not putting on super-spreaders. We are doing what we’re doing here—everyone is wearing a mask,” Mr. Biden said. “It’s important to be responsible.” Despite Mr. Trump’s packed campaign schedule—which was interrupted only briefly when he was diagnosed with Covid-19 earlier this month—Mr. Biden’s wide margin in most national polls has only narrowed slightly in recent weeks. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Oct. 15 showed Mr. Biden ahead by 11 points. The Real Clear Politics average of national polls shows Mr. Biden nearly 8 points ahead. Mr. Biden has outspent the president on the airwaves for much of the general election, though the two candidates’ spending has been on a more equal footing recently. From early July through last week, Mr. Biden held the upper hand on TV, blanketing battleground airwaves with $375 million in ads, while Mr. Trump spent $189 million, according to data from political-ad tracker Kantar/CMAG. That includes spending by the Republican National Committee, which began picking up the tab for some Trump TV ads last week.
“Amy Coney Barrett confirmed to Supreme Court, ‘Squad’ members call for expanding the bench” by Fox News’ Sam Dorman – Members of the progressive “Squad” of House Democrats didn’t skip a beat on Monday, calling for court-packing almost immediately after Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. “Expand the court,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said in a terse response. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., followed: “Expand the court.” Monday’s vote came after weeks of partisan bickering over the rationale for confirming justices before an election. “We are going to take back the White House [and] Senate next week with a resounding mandate from the people to fight back against Trump’s illegitimately stacked judiciary,” Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., tweeted after Barrett’s confirmation. “We must expand the Court if we’re serious about the transformational change the people are crying out for.” After Senate Democrats previously indicated they would take extraordinary measures in response to a Barrett confirmation, former Vice President Joe Biden declined to say whether he would pack the courts. Another “Squad” member, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., tweeted a photo of herself, with the words: “We reject this injustice. We will fight for our rights. We will legislate our values.” Just before the Senate’s vote on Monday, Biden floated the possibility that he could move justices to other courts. “There is some literature among constitutional scholars about the possibility of going from one court to another court, not just always staying the whole time in the Supreme Court but I have made no judgement,” Biden said at a campaign stop in Chester, Pa.
“Democratic senators warn the filibuster may have to go if they take back the Senate and GOP stands in the way” by CNN’s Lauren Fox – Democrats are weighing their options when it comes to the filibuster, arguing that the tool that requires a supermajority of votes and usually bipartisan support to pass legislation cannot be used to block them at every turn if they win back the Senate majority and the White House. Some Democrats are saying it is too soon to talk about the fate of the legislative tool with just a little over a week to go until Election Day.
While Democratic leaders have tried to downplay any threat to the filibuster in recent weeks, arguing that discussing tactics ahead of November 3 isn’t what matters to voters, some rank-and-file members are entertaining the idea of eradicating the legislative tool if they find themselves back in control of government and Republicans stand in their way. “Look, I like the filibuster. I think bringing people together to find common ground is really important,” said Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana. “But I will also tell you I didn’t come here to do nothing. So if Republicans are in the minority and they just stonewall stuff, and it doesn’t look like we are going to get anything done, I will reconsider.” Sen. Angus King, an independent from Maine who caucuses with the Democrats, also told CNN that he’s long backed the filibuster, but wouldn’t rule out getting rid of it if Republicans blocked a Democratic President’s agenda at every turn. “I think it is an important protection for the minority and some incentive toward bipartisan legislation is important, but that is based upon the premise, however, that the minority does not abuse the rule,” King said. “If it is abused, I am subject to changing my view.” Monday’s vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court serves as a stark reminder of just how quickly rules have changed in the US Senate. Supreme Court nominations, which once required 60 votes, now just require a simple majority. The rules changes span two leaders with then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, moving in 2013 to eradicate the filibuster on lower court nominees and executive branch nominees and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moving in 2017 to scrap the filibuster on nominations to the Supreme Court .
“How Do States Verify Signatures on Mail-In Ballots?” by WSJ’s Nico Gendron – Q: How do states verify signatures on mail-in ballots? A: Many states will compare the signature on the absentee ballot envelope to the signature on a voter’s file (this could be from voter registration forms, ballot application or the D.M.V.), according to data collected by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Processing a mail ballot is time-consuming and can involve a mix of automation and manual steps. Envelopes need to be opened and ballots flattened to prepare them to be scanned for counting. One type of technology that may be used is automated signature-verification applications, in which a camera captures the voter’s signature from the ballot return envelope as it is being sorted. The image is then compared with the reference image from the voter registration database. According to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the lead federal agency responsible for national election security, in the absence of an automated system, election officials may also use a mostly manual process to compare a reference signature, often with a hand-held scanner that lets a worker scan the bar code on the envelope, bring up the voter’s reference signature, and compare it to the signature on the return envelope. Different states have different review processes if a signature is challenged. For example, the Colorado Election Manual details the process whereby an election judge compares the signature on a ballot with the signature on file. If the judge decides the signatures don’t match, two other election judges of different political party affiliations will be asked to compare the signatures. If they both agree that the signatures don’t match, the county clerk and recorder will send the voter a letter explaining the discrepancy and asking the voter to re-sign a ballot and send it back to them to be counted.
“Trump hits Biden on Social Security, Medicare flip flops” by Fox News’ Bradford Betz – With barely more than a week to go before the November election, President Trump has been taking Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to task for his mixed record on cutting Medicare and Social Security. At one of two campaign rallies in Florida last Friday, Trump accused his Democratic rival of lying at the previous night’s presidential debate when asked if he wanted to cut Medicare and Social Security. “For years Joe Biden fought to cut your social security. He wanted to cut it. He wanted to knock it out and Medicare, which Joe has now falsely denied. You notice? Oh, I loved it yesterday. The way he denied that,” Trump told the crowd in The Villages, before showing them a clip of a debate between Biden and Bernie Sanders from earlier this year. In the clip, Sanders confronts Biden regarding comments he’s made over the years from the Senate floor. “Have you been on the floor of the Senate … time and time again talking about the necessity – with pride – about cutting Social Security, cutting Medicare, cutting veterans programs?” Sanders asks. “No,” Biden replies. “You never said that?” Sanders asks. “No,” Biden replies again. The clip then cuts to an audio recording of Biden from 1995, in which he appeared to be advocating for cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and veterans’ benefits. When pressed by Sanders, Biden repeatedly denied that he had made these comments over the years.
“Treasury Department refunds nearly $4 million to FDNY 9/11 first responders health program” by CNN’s Lauren del Valle – The US Department of Treasury has refunded nearly $4 million previously withheld from the health care program assisting September 11 first responders who suffer lasting effects from the attack and ensuing cleanup efforts, the president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association announced Monday. “This nation owes a profound debt of gratitude to the 9/11 first responders,” a Treasury Department spokesperson told CNN in a statement. “This Administration is committed to supporting the heroes of 9/11 and we are pleased this matter has been successfully resolved.” The reimbursement appears to resolve an ongoing back-and-forth between New York officials and the federal Treasury Department over the funds previously shorted to the FDNY World Trade Center Health Program. “The Trump administration should have never held these funds hostage in the first place, and we are happy they realized their error. We will continue to monitor this progress to ensure funds are available for first responders without federal interference,” a spokesperson for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told CNN. Earlier this month, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin acknowledged that his department withheld $3.92 million since 2004 from the program because of other debts New York City the federal government, according to a letter he sent earlier this month to de Blasio. In the letter, Mnuchin agreed that the city’s firefighters shouldn’t suffer the consequences of federal debt squabbles, but still said it’s on the city to rectify the funding gap. “HHS has concluded that it has no authority to refund offsets to past payments to FDNY to satisfy valid NYC debts,” Mnuchin wrote. “We agree that it is unfair to burden FDNY with the delinquent debts of other NYC government entities. The City government should directly reimburse FDNY.”
“China Is Far Behind on U.S. Purchases Under Trade Deal” by WSJ’s Josh Zumbrun and Yuka Hayashi – China accelerated purchases of U.S. farm products last month, new data shows, but overall it remains far behind on a commitment to buy about $140 billion in specific U.S. agricultural, energy and manufactured goods this year under a trade accord signed in January. As of Sep. 30, China had purchased $58.8 billion in goods covered by the agreement, according to calculations Chad Bown of the Peterson Institute for International Economics made based on Commerce Department figures released Monday. Purchases should have reached $108 billion by that time to be on track toward the full-year target. “Certainly, the Chinese are not going to meet the commitments,” said Scott Kennedy, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “The trend lines don’t look good regardless of which category you are talking about.” Mr. Kennedy and other economists said declines in China’s domestic demand amid the Covid-19 pandemic were in part responsible for the lagging purchases. Farm products have shown improvement through the year. China has purchased or committed to purchase about $23 billion in specified agricultural goods, U.S. government officials said Friday, or about 71% of its target. Their report said purchased or contracted sales of corn are at an all-time high of 8.7 million tons, and that U.S. pork exports to China are at record levels. The $23 billion figure includes contracts for future purchases that have not yet been completed. In terms of actual exports through September, the U.S. had sent $12.7 billion of agricultural goods to China through September against a target for 2020 of $33.4 billion. For manufactured goods, the U.S. has exported $40.2 billion against an annual target of $83.1 billion. Many categories of manufacturing have been depressed by the pandemic, but one of the biggest categories—aircraft exports—has also suffered from Boeing Co. ’s crisis over its 737 MAX airplane.
Alyssa Milano @Alyssa_Milano Fuck Republicans. Vote them all out. They don’t care about your family or helping you put food on the table. All they care about is power and money. Vote Democrat up and down the ballot to protect the most vulnerable among us.