Monday Sunrise Briefing: How Judge Barrett shapes US election

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File
The U.S. Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill in Washington May 3, 2020.

The Republican and Democratic election strategies for the next five weeks came into focus this weekend. Both parties hope to galvanize voters by pointing to Judge Amy Coney Barrett, nominated Saturday to fill the Supreme Court seat of the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The first Senate confirmation hearing is scheduled for Oct. 12. A final Senate vote could come in late October. But Democrats aren’t likely to make this a battle over the short confirmation process or Judge Barrett’s Catholic faith. Instead, they’re starting to warn about potential outcomes of a supermajority conservative court. On Sunday, Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pointed to a court that could “undo” the Affordable Care Act. Expect to see similar warnings about overturning abortion rights and gay rights.

Republicans will likely remind voters that they’ve delivered on promises of a conservative court. The GOP also has plans to highlight what that court could mean for issues important to social conservative Catholic and evangelical voters - particularly in swing states such as Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Florida.  

Why We Wrote This

Good morning! Welcome to your Monday, September 28, 2020, sunrise briefing.

Here are three news events from this past weekend (while you may have been pie making, canoeing, and enjoying an offline life). Also, what to look for in the news this week.

On Sunday, The New York Times reported that President Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and in his first year in the White House. Will that matter to voters? In 2016, when Hillary Clinton speculated that Trump paid no taxes, he replied: "That makes me smart.”

2. Paternity leave, at last. Swiss voters passed a referendum Sunday giving fathers 10 days of paternity leave, the last nation in Western Europe to endorse this benefit. While a wealthy nation, Switzerland has been relatively slow on gender equality issues: wives needed permission from husbands to work outside the home until 1988. Swiss voters also defeated a nationalist party's proposal to limit the number of European Union citizens allowed to live and work in their country. While Switzerland is not an EU member, it has close economic ties with the bloc.

3. Tensions rise in pipeline region. A decades-old conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan reignited Sunday, prompting international calls for a cease-fire. At least 31 people were reported killed in the heaviest clashes between the two ex-Soviet republics since 2016. If fighting continues, it could push up oil and gas prices as the South Caucasus is a corridor for pipelines carrying oil and natural gas from the Caspian Sea to world markets. The two countries fought a war in the 1990s, and the latest flare-up prompted a flurry of diplomacy to reduce the new tensions in the conflict between majority Christian Armenia and mainly Muslim Azerbaijan. Russia, the U.S., and the E.U. called for an immediate ceasefire. But another regional power, Turkey, said it would support Azerbaijan.


Brodie Weeding/Pool Photo via AP
Rescue crews work to save pilot whales stranded on a sand bar near Strahan, Tasmania in Australia, on Sept. 22, 2020. About 23 percent of some 470 whales were rescued in what was Australia's biggest whale beaching.


Look Ahead

Monday, Sept. 28

Human rights prize. Nominees are scheduled to announced for the 2020 Sakharov Prize. The prize honors individuals and groups who have dedicated their lives to the defense of human rights and freedom of thought.

Vote by mail? A Delaware judge is expected to rule on a lawsuit by the state Republican Party challenging a law passed by the Democrat-controlled legislature allowing universal voting by mail in this year's elections.

Stanley Cup finals. The plucky Dallas Stars are still in the Stanley Cup Finals after forcing a Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are up 3-2.

Tuesday, Sept. 29

Presidential debate. President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden meet for the first 2020 presidential debate. The six planned 15-minute segments are about the Supreme Court, the pandemic, racial justice and urban crime, the economy, election integrity, and the records of the two candidates. Fox News host Chris Wallace moderates, 9 p.m. E.T. to 10:30 p.m. 

Wednesday, Sept. 30

Restaurants reopen, New York City allows restaurants to resume indoor seating, at 25 percent capacity. 

Thursday, Oct. 1

Another opening. South Africa’s borders are expected to reopen as of October 1. But visitors will not be permitted from countries deemed a high risk.

Saturday, Oct. 3.

German unity celebrated. The 30th anniversary of German reunification - bringing East and West Germany together - marks the end of an era of division and the creation of a stable state in the center of Europe.

Late night comedy returns. The cast of "Saturday Night Live" returns to Studio 8H in New York City for the first time since the coronavirus lockdowns in March. Chris Rock is scheduled to host. 

Integrity Watch

Courtesy of James Teagle, Instagram.
British triathlete James Teagle shakes hands with Diego Méntrida after placing third in the Santander Triathlon in Barcelona on Sept. 13.

Diego Méntrida runs with integrity, every step of the way. 

In the closing moments of the Santander Triathlon in Barcelona on Sept. 13, British competitor James Teagle took a wrong turn. Running behind him, Mr. Méntrida passed Mr. Teagle and was now in third place in the race. But as he realized what Mr. Teagle had done, he stopped to let him catch up and cross the finish line first. Mr. Teagle finished third in the race, and in gratitude, shook hands with his Spanish competitor

Word of Mr. Méntrida’s honorable actions spread on social media this past week, drawing widespread praise. He responded matter-of-factly on Instagram: 

"This is something my parents and my club @triatlonecosport taught me since I was a child. In my view it should be a normal thing to do," he wrote on Saturday

“A true champion!” responded one follower. "I suppose it just shows massive integrity and great sportsmanship..." Mr. Teagle later told the BBC Breakfast. 

The race organizers agreed. 

Mr. Méntrida was later awarded honorary third place by the organizers and the same €300 ($349) in prize money as Mr. Teagle, according to Spanish newspaper El Mundo.

Hidden gem 

Start your week with a recent story that inspired Monitor readers:

Black women learn homeownership – from tool belt to closing the deal

Sneak preview

In tonight’s Daily Edition, watch for our story about why a new textbook with Iran's leading female mathematician on the cover is being circulated by parents.

Finally, check out the Monitor’s selected stories from Friday's subscription-only Daily Edition:

  1. Rising from pandemic, the business success stories of tomorrow?
  2. At UN assembly quieted by a pandemic, the US-China clash is loud
  3. In Portland, a peaceful protest caravan rolls on
  4. Native American women shape how museums frame Indigenous culture
  5. During the coronavirus lockdown, some birds changed their tune


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