Monday Sunrise Briefing: Trump's third conservative justice

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, at the Capitol in Washington, Oct. 21, 2020. A final Senate confirmation vote is expected Monday.

The Supreme Court nomination process for Judge Amy Coney Barrett continued throughout the weekend, setting up a final confirmation vote by the full Senate on Monday. Eight days before the U.S. election, Republicans see an opportunity to install a third Trump justice on the court, locking in a conservative majority for years to come. Democrats cast the confirmation as a power grab and a threat to health care. Judge Barrett's ascent opens up a potential new era of rulings on abortion, gay marriage, and the Affordable Care Act. A case against the Obama-era health law scheduled to be heard Nov. 10. “She’s a conservative woman who embraces her faith, she’s unabashedly pro-life but she’s not going to apply ‘the law of Amy’ to all of us,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Saturday on Fox.

2. Pandemic politics. A week before the election, President Trump embraced a portrait of America emerging from a pandemic, even as the latest evidence painted a different picture. New COVID-19 cases are hitting record levels nationwide, and several aides to Vice President Mike Pence tested positive this weekend. Mr. Pence's office says he will continue campaigning, “in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel."  Joe Biden and President Trump have expressed significantly different views about the pandemic. Mr. Trump says the U.S. economy needs to fully reopen and he has tried to counter Mr. Biden's criticism that president is not doing enough to contain the health crisis. “We want normal life to resume,” Mr. Trump said Sunday. “We just want normal life." Mr. Biden claimed Sunday that the White House has waved “the white flag of defeat, and hope that by ignoring it, the virus would simply go away.”

3. A moral victory. On Saturday, the United Nations announced that 50 countries have ratified a U.N. treaty to ban nuclear weapons, triggering its official entry into force in 90 days. “This moment has been 75 years coming since the horrific attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the founding of the U.N., which made nuclear disarmament a cornerstone,” said Beatrice Fihn, who leads the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize-winning coalition that helped spearhead the treaty. “The 50 countries that ratify this Treaty are showing true leadership in setting a new international norm that nuclear weapons are not just immoral but illegal,” she said. The five nuclear powers - the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France - and four other countries known or believed to possess nuclear weapons — India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Israel — boycotted the U.N. vote on the treaty. Separately, Russia and the US have been trying to break an impasse in long-running talks aimed at extending the New START treaty between them.

Reuters/John Sibley
About 500 people took to the streets of London Saturday to protest police brutality in Nigeria. Police shootings of unarmed demonstrators have sparked international condemnation and unleashed violent unrest in Lagos.

Why We Wrote This

Good morning! Welcome to your Monday, Oct. 26, 2020, sunrise briefing.

Here are three news events from this past weekend (while you may have been baking taco casserole, practicing Parkour, and enjoying an offline life). Also, what to look for in the news this week.

Look Ahead

Monday, Oct. 26

Lunar insights. NASA plans to announce a new discovery about our Moon today at 12 p.m. E.T.  The discovery could relate to supporting NASA’s efforts to put humans on Mars. As an interim step, under the Artemis program, the agency plans to send the first woman and next man to the lunar surface in 2024. 

A conservative court. The full U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote on confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, in one of the fastest confirmation processes in U.S. history.

Tuesday, Oct. 27

The best of baseball. The Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Dodgers play Game 6 of the World Series at 8:08 p.m. E.T. The Dodgers lead 3-2 in the best of seven series. 

Wednesday, Oct. 28

Democracy watch. Tanzanians go to the polls to elect a president and members of the National Assembly.

Friday, Oct. 30

Interstate justice. Kyle Rittenhouse, the Illinois teenager charged with fatally shooting two people (and injuring a third) during civil unrest after the Jacob Blake shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, has a hearing on his extradition to Wisconsin to face charges.  

Saturday, Oct. 31

Democracy watch. Ivory Coast voters go to the polls to choose their next president. Incumbent Alassane Ouattara hopes to take a controversial third term. In Georgia, parliamentary elections are scheduled, with former President Mikhail Saakashvili nominated by opposition groups to be their pick for prime minister if they prevail in the vote.

Generosity Watch

We sometimes define ourselves - and our communities - by our political affiliations, especially in election years. But generosity doesn’t have a political party, especially in Citrus County, Florida. 

In 2019, after her daughter died, Sandra Ingram of Homosassa, Florida, was suddenly raising two grandchildren in a tiny, rundown travel trailer. It wasn’t working for her, and it wasn’t fair to the kids. Grandma Ingram gets up early to deliver newspapers, a job she’s held for 30 years, so she turned to a reporter at the Citrus County Chronicle for help. And the help has come pouring in. 

In the past month, more than 500 people have donated nearly $73,000. The family has moved into a motel while they wait for a brand new three-bedroom, two-bathroom mobile home that has mostly been paid for by a local businessman. 

I am so grateful, and the kids are so excited ... and I can’t tell you how amazing it feels to be able to get them things that they need,” Ms. Ingram told  Chronicle reporter Nancy Kennedy this week.

In an editorial after the initial outpouring, the Chronicle wrote that social responsibilities cut across political lines:

“The response is a reminder that folks in our community instinctively understand we do have a responsibility to help each other out during difficult times. It doesn’t take a government mandate to find all solutions, sometimes it just takes caring neighbors.

It’s what makes this place a community.”

Hidden gem 

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

Richard Schultz/50 Eggs Films
Malcolm Hawkins works out on a rowing machine as teammates urge him on in Oakland, California, in a photo from the film “A Most Beautiful Thing.”

Pulling together: Lessons from first all-Black high school rowing team

Sneak preview

In tonight’s Daily Edition, watch for our story about how Palestinian refugees in Gaza reconnect with land through rooftop gardens. 

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

  1. White working class is shrinking. It still may decide 2020 election.
  2. Fleeing the Taliban in the night, a family’s faith in peace wavers
  3. Poll watching: Democratic safeguard or intimidation?
  4. Is Bolivia’s vote a comeback for Latin America’s left? Not so fast.
  5. Did prehistoric climate change help make us human?

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