• Politics
    Bloomberg

    Republicans Would Regret Replacing Ginsburg Before Election

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wasted no time after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, immediately announcing their intent to nominate and confirm a replacement. Tempting as it is for Republicans to install a third Supreme Court justice during Trump’s first term, it would nevertheless be a serious mistake — and potentially a historic one — for Senate Republicans to go along. The result would not only likely be the long-term erosion of the Supreme Court’s legitimacy as a third branch of government, but also a backlash so strong it would hurt the Republican Party itself.The reason for Republicans to hold off isn’t the extraordinary hypocrisy they’re showing by pushing a rapid confirmation now, despite holding Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat open in 2016. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a world where voters will punish a party for arrant hypocrisy. Republicans and Democrats alike all understood that McConnell was making a specious argument when he claimed the March nomination of Judge Merrick Garland was too close to the November election to deserve a vote. We all knew it was power politics then; and we all know it is power politics now.To be clear, Trump has the constitutional authority to nominate a new justice right now and the Senate has the authority to vote — or not vote — on that nominee. The arguments pro and con are moral and political, as I’ve noted before, not legal.In a rational version of Senate confirmation politics, the party in the majority thinks about how its actions will affect the other party when it takes control. Ideally, that norm leads to balance and some fairness: I don’t take advantage of you so that in turn, you won’t take advantage of me. In our current world of power politics, the norms have eroded to the point of near-disappearance. What that leaves is medium-term self-interest about what the other side will do immediately, as opposed to what both sides would do if norms of fairness applied.The self-interested reason Republicans shouldn’t confirm Trump’s nominee in short order is that it will create a potential backlash that could have disastrous effects for Republicans. If a conservative fills Ginsburg’s seat, and then the Democrats win the presidency and both houses of Congress in November, an outraged, left-leaning Democratic base will pressure Democratic leadership to do things leadership would never otherwise have considered.The most obvious is that left-leaning Democrats will push their leadership to pack the Supreme Court by adding new seats and filling them with progressive justices. Until now, when the left of the Democratic Party has talked about court packing, moderates have pushed back strongly. They may change their tune if Ginsburg is replaced by a conservative before the election. That will place enormous pressure on Joe Biden, who — before Ginsburg’s death — made it clear that he opposed packing the court, because it would lead to an arms race in which the legitimacy of the court would ultimately be undermined.So say Biden caves to the pressure and installs two, or three, or even four new justices on the Supreme Court. This would delegitimize the Supreme Court, which would be bad for the country as a whole. But it would also be bad for conservatives, who might find themselves stuck living under three Democrat-dominated branches of government for some time.The other danger to Republicans is probably even deeper. Democrats enraged by a quick confirmation of a conservative might be motivated to admit Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico as states — each with their own (presumably Democratic) senators. Constitutionally speaking, this can be done with a bare majority of both houses and the presidency. Four more Democratic senators (or even three out of four, if Puerto Rico elected one Republican) could change the balance of the Senate over the long term.Of course, admitting D.C. and Puerto Rico as states would represent a significant change from the tradition of maintaining some Senate balance by admitting Democratic- and Republican-leaning states at the same time. And to do it, Democrats would have to eliminate the filibuster. But progressive Democrats are already angry enough to do that, and a quick vote to confirm Ginsburg’s replacement could enrage moderates enough to join them.Senate Republicans therefore have to calculate whether they would be better off confirming a conservative justice and risking these consequences or delaying until after the November election and confirming a Trump nominee only if Trump wins re-election.In our current political moment, only rational Republican self-interest can stop the Trump-McConnell juggernaut. Republicans had better start thinking about whether the road they’re walking is taking them to a destination they really want to reach.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Noah Feldman is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist and host of the podcast “Deep Background.” He is a professor of law at Harvard University and was a clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter. His books include “The Three Lives of James Madison: Genius, Partisan, President.” For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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  • Politics
    The Daily Beast

    Reverends to Team Biden: When Will You ‘Learn How to Fight?’

    Reverend Greg Lewis was enraged.As executive director of “Souls to the Polls Milwaukee,” a program to engage religious Black voters in Wisconsin, Lewis was triggered by a campaign question: Is the Biden team doing enough to reach out to communities of faith like his?“When are these people going to learn how to fight?” Lewis said in an interview Monday afternoon. “They just stand there and just let the Republicans just punch them in the face. And they sit there complaining about getting punched. Do something about it, man. This is crazy! That question right there really hits my gut,” he said.In short, his answer was no.The fiery critique, which came just minutes before Biden spoke in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, helped to elucidate the gravity of what’s at risk for many religious individuals across the country in just six weeks.Facing the possibility of a second term with President Donald Trump in the White House, some Black faith leaders have railed against a possible extension of what they consider to be Trump’s unholy affront to things like morality and inclusion. With so many “social ills” to right, as one minister put it, some see their service to help get votes as even more critical now, especially as the Biden operation has gone entirely digital during the pandemic.“It’s lucky we’ve got ‘Souls to the Polls’ here because we’re going to saturate this community with information,” Lewis said, describing faith-based voting programs across denominations.In Lewis’ view, registered Milwaukee residents will likely help sway the election this time around, just like in 2016, presenting a substantial opportunity. But as state polls currently show a real shot for a change of political power at the top, he’s concerned that Democrats may flub their chance to stave off a Trump homecoming, warning against repeating a nightmarish script from four years ago with a different nominee.“People don’t give a—I can’t cuss, I’m a faith leader,” he said. “But people don’t care about Biden.”Pressed more, he brought up the president. “Trump has an opportunity to win. Let me put it to you like that. I’m not Democratic or Republican. All I know is I don’t like what I see in the White House right now.”Lewis’ fury is not unique. While others see the former vice president, a devout Catholic, in a more favorable light as a natural magnet for voters of faith, the anxiety that Trump could claim the prize is still a top cause for worry.“There’s a lot of fear,” said Bishop Harry Seawright, a minister at the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Birmingham, Alabama. “That’s why we just want to make sure that if people are afraid to go out, they still need to know that they have alternatives.”The fear is not just about Trump. Seawright is worried about a whole host of potential problems before and after Nov. 3—especially COVID-19, which disproportionately affects older residents like Black seniors. But “the sabotaging of our votes” tops the list, he confessed.With safety above all else, the Biden campaign is pushing for Americans to vote by mail and is conducting virtual-only organizing efforts across the board. Their comprehensive outreach programs fall within that broader strategy. Biden often alludes to or directly mentions core principles of faith in his paid advertisements and political speeches, and his campaign staffers have taken their cues from him. Aides have hosted regular virtual faith events, including phone banks and house parties. They’ve also reached out to prominent national leaders in the space and have held a series of “off the record listening sessions,” ultimately receiving more than 1,000 endorsements.“We are directly courting people who are faith-motivated,” said Josh Dickson, the Biden campaign’s faith engagement director, emphasizing a “strong moral contrast between the two tickets.”“We’re aiming to be the most expansive and robust and diverse faith outreach programming that we’ve seen in a Democratic campaign,” Dickson added. One event that speaks to the broadness of their shop is scheduled to take place on Wednesday night, where officials will host an “Evangelicals for Biden” virtual conversation with Billy Graham’s granddaughter, Jerushah Duford.“Our faith is being tested,” said Terry Wimes, a 58-year-old resident from Jones County, Georgia. “Currently the biggest threat to Christianity is the hypocrisy of many Evangelicals. I have to do my part to be a positive representative for Christ.”Wimes posted online about driving seniors and other residents in his county to the polls for early voting, which starts on Oct. 12. “Black folks are focusing on turning Georgia blue!” he said, sharing a wish that matches one of the Biden campaign’s pledged priorities.Historically during presidential election cycles, gathering in churches and other centers of worship are some of the more common places to register and bring in new people under the tent. “Souls to the Polls,” a broad election-time term that encompasses a lot of these standard elements, has been replicated with success in interfaith institutions across the country.This year, the nature of the novel coronavirus has made that significantly harder. In an effort to err on the side of science, Team Biden’s decision to not engage in person is one of the clearest contrasts to their opponent, whose campaign has continued canvassing face-to-face, at times eschewing stay at home precautions by health experts. The president himself, cheered on by loyal attendees packed in close quarters, continues to hold large gatherings, sometimes indoors, despite 200,000 coronavirus deaths nationwide.Bruce Colburn, who works as “Souls to the Polls’” program coordinator in Milwaukee, envisioned something entirely hands-on when he started crafting GOTV initiatives pre-pandemic. He planned on facilitating discussions at churches and providing spaces for families to talk with each other after services about the importance of voting. That playbook had to be thrown out.“Our work was really going to be based in the churches,” Colburn said. “And that all changed.”Colburn’s group has started to produce different types of gatherings for the first time, including hosting safe sit-ins with masks at churches after protests swept Wisconsin. “Those are places where people bring their chairs and sit by the side by the churches and discuss what they’re going to do about getting active,” he said, counting a “couple hundred people” who showed up in solidarity recently. “One of the big features of those is making sure that we get people to register to vote while they’re there.”His network has also held more phone calls than previously expected and had success getting additional polling places designated for early voting, a victory he believes will alleviate some voters’ concerns about casting their ballots safely. They’ve also made visual appeals to locals by distributing signs and billboards around the city so people can still receive critical voting messaging when they’re not interacting with others.Biden’s campaign is also engaged on that front. Their own internal “Souls to the Polls” program assists in giving out education materials on a non-partisan basis to faith leaders to share with their parishioners, including resources on online voter registration.“We know that COVID has presented so many challenges for people, but we actually see enthusiasm around this work at an incredibly high level because of all the ways in which people have been impacted,” Dickson said.In the Democratic primary, Biden won the support of many Black voters in South Carolina who helped guide him towards success with voters in other states. Michael Wear, a former adviser to President Barack Obama on faith outreach, said that his longstanding bond with religious groups was unique among contenders at the time, and has helped him make a similar positive connection through the general election.Praising the Biden campaign’s reverence for “the institution of the church, in particular,” Wear said their “solid relationships” could be strong mechanisms for turnout now, even absent any in-person contact with the candidate himself.“Some of the other forums through which campaigns might try to reach voters, barber shops, rec centers, that kind of thing, in many places those are still closed, and if they’re not closed folks are tentative,” he said.“It’s really the church that is still—even if it’s digital—it still has a purpose and function for convening people, for sharing information. I think faith communities are going to be even more essential than usual and play an even more pivotal role.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

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  • Entertainment
    The Wrap

    Ellen DeGeneres’ On-Air Apology Was Tone Deaf, Current and Former Staffers Say

    Ellen DeGeneres opened Season 18 of “The Ellen DeGeneres” show Monday with a monologue that addressed the toxic workplace accusations posed against the show by current and former employees over the summer. But DeGeneres’ speech, which included apologies and a promise to start a “new chapter” at her show, was found tone-deaf by some former and current “Ellen” staffers due to the inclusion of jokes about how “great” her summer was, according to BuzzFeed News.One former employee told BuzzFeed news, “When she said, ‘Oh my summer was great’ and that was supposed to be funny I thought, ‘It’s funny that you had a rough summer because everyone was calling out all of the allegations of your toxic work environment and now you’re the one suffering?'”You can view DeGeneres’ monologue via the video above.Also Read: Ellen DeGeneres Opens Season 18 With Apology for Toxic Workplace Accusations, Says She Is 'That Person You See on TV' (Video)“Not only did Ellen turn my trauma, turn our traumas, into a joke, she somehow managed to make this about her,” another former staffer told BuzzFeed News.One current “Ellen” employee told BuzzFeed News they also did not approve of the “inappropriate jokes” in DeGeneres’ on-air apology, adding that they were frustrated that their responsibilities at the show were “put on hold” until DeGeneres’ premiere monologue had been delivered. The staffer told BuzzFeed News they are relieved they can get back to work now, but say “it’s all tactical.”“The average person will listen to it and make their own choices, but what people don’t always take into account is that information is power, and she’s sharing it now because it’s for premiere week and it’s to get viewers back, and that just feels the opposite of what this message is about,” the employee said.Also Read: 'Ellen DeGeneres Show' Sets Season 18 Premiere - 'And, Yes, We're Gonna Talk About It,' Host PromisesA spokesperson for DeGeneres declined to comment Tuesday and representatives for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and distributor Warner Bros. TV did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request.An individual with knowledge of the situation on set told TheWrap that the environment “feels very different,” and that DeGeneres is “more engaged than ever.” The insider says that DeGeneres had been connecting with her staff over Zoom leading up to Monday’s premiere to make sure they feel “heard and valued” and that she wanted to “directly” address her audience about the situation in the season premiere.Dozens of current and former staffers spoke out about their time working on “Ellen” in a pair of bombshell Buzzfeed News reports in July.Also Read: Fall TV 2020: All the Premiere Dates for New and Returning Shows - So Far (Photos)WarnerMedia’s subsequent investigation into multiple accusations of workplace and sexual misconduct resulted in “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” removing three of its top producers: Ed Glavin, Kevin Leman and Jonathan Norman.In a memo to staff back in July, DeGeneres said she was “disappointed” to learn that employees felt mistreated while working on her show and committed herself to “ensuring this does not happen again.”Read original story Ellen DeGeneres’ On-Air Apology Was Tone Deaf, Current and Former Staffers Say At TheWrap

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  • Politics
    The Daily Beast

    Tucker: ‘Pathetic’ if RBG’s Dying Wish Was to Be Replaced by Next President

    Fox News host Tucker Carlson may have reached a new low Monday night, calling the statement that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dictated just before her death “pathetic,” adding that he chose not to “believe for a second” that she said it.Following the death of the iconic liberal judge, NPR reported that Ginsburg had her granddaughter Clara Spera take down a note in her final days: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”Amid the rush by Senate Republicans and President Donald Trump to ignore Ginsburg’s request and nominate and confirm a new justice before the Nov. 3 election, the president floated a conspiracy theory that Washington Democrats were actually behind RBG’s dying wish.“I don’t know if she said that, or was that written out by Adam Schiff or Schumer and Pelosi,” Trump told Fox & Friends on Monday. “I would be more inclined to the second. That came out of the wind, it sounds so beautiful, but that sounds like a Schumer deal or maybe Pelosi or Shifty Schiff. That came out of the wind.”Carlson not only doubled down on the president’s comments on Monday night but also made sure to add further insult.The Fox News star, who said on Friday night that he was “going to choose not to believe” Ginsburg made that statement, began Monday night’s show by mocking progressives’ reaction to her death.“They told us that Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death was more than sad,” Carlson sneered. “They said it was a national crisis that imperiled this country’s freedoms. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, they told us, single-handedly kept America from descending into fascism and tyranny. Now that she’s gone, only her words can keep us safe.”“She was not God,” he added. “Yet according to the left, Ginsburg was all we had. We must obey her dying words as if they were a religious text. Her final wish supersedes our founding documents.”After playing clips of liberals and Democrats calling on the Senate to heed Ginsburg’s final wish, Carlson again sowed doubt over whether the late judge actually dictated those words. “We don’t really know actually what Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s final words were,” he declared. “Did she really leave this world fretting about a presidential election? We don’t believe that for a second.”(It should be noted, again, that these weren’t her final words, but a statement dictated days before her death.)“If it were true, it would be pathetic because life is bigger than politics, even this year,” the conservative firebrand continued. “We wouldn’t wish final words that small on anyone so we’re going to again choose to believe that Ruth Bader Ginsburg didn’t actually say that, that in real life she was thinking at the end about her family and where she might be going next. Human concerns, not partisan ones.”Carlson smearing a deceased progressive icon just days after her death would be shocking if it weren’t par for the course for the far-right Fox News host. Just months ago, Carlson launched a campaign questioning the patriotism of Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), who lost her legs fighting in the Iraq War. Besides calling Duckworth “a deeply silly and unimpressive person,” he labeled the Purple Heart recipient a “coward.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

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  • U.S.
    HuffPost

    Fauci Aide To Retire After Report Outs Him As RedState's Infamous Coronavirus Denier

    Bill Crews, an internal communications staffer at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, called Dr. Anthony Fauci a "mask nazi" in a blog post.

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