Welcome to this new daily update ahead of the US presidential election on November 3. With 20 days to go, we’ll see how Chief Justice candidate Amy Coney Barrett’s interrogation in the Senate goes, what Joe Biden is actually up to, and how emails about his son can be painful for the Democrat.
Lots of political theater during Supreme Court nomination hearings
This is an overview of election news, which you can find on our front page every working day. The usual, more comprehensive edition of the Election Update – with more context, analysis and interesting resources – will continue to be released on Friday.
Amy Coney Barrett’s trial starts on the third day. Trump’s nominee successor to the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the Supreme Court is almost assured of the post, thanks to the Republican majority in the Senate. Despite this, the Democrats take the opportunity to express their dissatisfaction and question her extensively.
Barrett was engaged in an interrogation that lasted nearly twelve hours on Tuesday. She was asked about the Affordable Care Act (ACA, better known as ‘Obamacare’), abortion law, same-sex marriage and a possible legal process after the election on November 3. Much of the time available was used by politicians on both sides for speeches.
The Democrats fear that Barrett will be a legal wrecking ball for the goals of the Republicans. Barrett tried to water down the conservative positions she has expressed in the past on politically sensitive files by arguing that as Chief Justice she might see them from a different perspective. “I have not committed myself to anything or made any agreements or anything along those lines,” she said. “My mission is not to destroy the ACA. I am only here to enforce the law and guard the rule of law.”
That statement did not impress her critics much. According to the Democrats, President Trump selected her because her legal philosophy lends itself to the goals he is pursuing, with which it would be irrelevant whether concrete agreements have been made.
Barrett explained the outline of that philosophy at length during the interrogation, but, to the frustration of the Democrats, did not allow himself to be pinned down to specific issues (which is not uncommon, not even among liberal candidates). She did say that she “will not allow” her use as a “pawn” should the election results go to the Supreme Court.
The third day of the hearings will include more political theater. Now that the technical questions about Barrett’s legal philosophy have been raised, the senators will use their twenty minutes of speaking time to ask “questions” where they actually don’t need the candidate at all.
Joe Biden speaks at an election rally in Erie, Pennsylvania, Oct. 10. (Photo: ANP)
NUjij is regularly asked why the media pay so much less attention to Joe Biden’s campaign. The answer is simple: The Democratic presidential candidate is in the luxury position of being able to run a reactive campaign.
His lead in the polls has been (remarkably) stable for months and appears to be growing rather than shrinking, which you would normally expect as November 3 approaches. The Republican attacks on Biden – that he would be demented, or a pawn of the far-left – don’t seem to land on most voters. The early turnout figures also indicate motivated Democratic supporters. The election is more of a referendum on Trump’s presidency than a showdown between two candidates.