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Newsletter: Today: Trump’s Pick — A Scalia Disciple. Upsetting the Apple Cart in L.A.

Street vendor in Los Angeles
A street vendor pushes a cart past a mural of Frida Kahlo in Los Angeles.
(Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times)

I’m Davan Maharaj, editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Times. Here are some story lines I don’t want you to miss today.

TOP STORIES

Trump’s Pick: A Scalia Disciple

Neil M. Gorsuch says he was skiing when he learned of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death last year and cried down the slopes. Now he could fill his hero’s spot on the high court after President Trump made a prime-time appearance to announce his nomination. Of all the people on Trump’s shortlist, Gorsuch is seen as having the best shot at Senate confirmation, but Democrats are likely to put up a big fight, especially after the GOP refused to consider President Obama’s pick. Here’s an in-depth look at Gorsuch, who at age 49 could have a decades-long run on the court.

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President Trump announces the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
President Trump announces the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
(Susan Walsh / Associated Press)

When a Travel Ban Isn’t a ‘Ban’ but May Be a Permanent Ban

Top immigration officials are trying to settle the storm over Trump’s temporary bans on travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries that “are in various states of collapse,” as Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly put it. But they have also signaled that some may become permanent. Meanwhile, the White House tried to ban the word “ban” — not long after Trump himself had used the term in a tweet.

More Politics

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-- Democrats don’t have the votes to stop Trump’s agenda, but they can slow it down. Witness this week’s Cabinet confirmation skirmishes.

-- Trump says it’s illegal to be registered to vote in two states, but that’s not the case.

-- Meet a visa-holding, pop culture-loving Muslim college kid who is being kept out of the U.S.

-- Want to grade Trump’s first 100 days in office? Now’s your chance.

S.F. to Trump: Hey, States’ Rights!

San Francisco has sued the Trump administration, saying a crackdown on sanctuary cities violates the states’ rights provisions of the U.S. Constitution. Last week, Trump put cities and counties on notice that they’d lose federal funding if they didn’t cooperate with immigration agents, though it’s unclear what funding is at stake. Read the lawsuit here.

Upsetting the Apple Cart in L.A.

Immigrant advocates have long wanted L.A. to get rid of criminal charges for sidewalk vending, but the debate got an extra push with Trump’s vow to step up deportations of those living in the country illegally with a criminal record. Now the L.A. City Council has voted to draft a law to issue permits for those selling ice cream, bacon-wrapped hot dogs and other goods on the street. But some are worried about the potential effects on brick-and-mortar stores and neighborhoods.

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A School With Money for a Party but Not Pencils

The charter school network Celerity Educational Group manages seven schools in Southern California. In interviews with The Times, former teachers and administrators said the schools lacked basic supplies, yet threw a lavish holiday party for staff. So where did the millions of dollars in public funding for the charters go?

Is Patriots Nation the Evil Empire?

You may think the Super Bowl this weekend features the Atlanta Falcons against the New England Patriots, but for columnist Bill Plaschke, it feels more like a contest of Good versus Evil. It’s not just that the Pats have four NFL championships to the Falcons’ none. Here are 20 reasons why, including that whole Trump Trinity thing.

CALIFORNIA

-- The L.A. Police Commission has begun a process that could lead to the public release of LAPD video.

-- Lawmakers have doubts that the system to license marijuana sales in the state will be in place by the end of this year.

-- Officials say a man suspected of stabbing three people was shot to death by Los Angeles police in a fast-food restaurant in Hollywood.

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-- A tiny unborn hummingbird is getting in the way of a big bridge project in the San Francisco Bay Area.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- Drew Barrymore is back … in a zom-com on Netflix. Yes, as a suburban wife and mom who becomes a zombie.

-- Bob Dylan’s upcoming triple album will delve more deeply into the Great American Songbook.

-- Oprah Winfrey is joining the CBS newsmagazine “60 Minutes” as a contributor.

-- Five plays, two hours, one sinister ending: That’s “Beckett 5” at the Odyssey Theatre.

CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD

Buster Keaton was known as the Great Stone Face, a deadpan performer who survived all manner of mishap on film. On this date in 1966, Keaton died of lung cancer in his Woodland Hills home. Read The Times’ obituary and you’ll discover he did smile once.

NATION-WORLD

-- The acting Secretary of the Army has directed the Army Corps of Engineers to proceed with an easement necessary to complete the Dakota Access pipeline, according to a North Dakota senator.

-- The president of the European Council portrayed the Trump-led U.S. as a threat to the European Union.

-- For Syrians stuck in limbo in Lebanon, Trump’s ban will mean harder times ahead.

-- Humans, meet the ancient sea creature at the other end of your family tree.

BUSINESS

-- Trump’s travel ban is proving scary for Hollywood, which relies on a global talent pool.

-- Three new Netflix shows have recently helped lift the Santa Clarita film industry.

SPORTS

-- The Oakland Raiders’ plan to move to Las Vegas is looking more fragile and flimsy by the day, and columnist Sam Farmer says that may be a blessing.

-- Former Ram Chris Long has a chance to follow in the footsteps of his father, Howie Long, and win a Super Bowl.

OPINION

-- The Times Editorial Board says Jeff Sessions isn’t the attorney general we need.

-- Battling over Gorsuch is beside the point: The Supreme Court needs an institutional overhaul.

-- The Patt Morrison podcast: U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris talks about taking on the Trump White House in a “post-11/8” America.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- Letter from America: A German journalist reports on the changes he’s seen in the nation. (Spiegel Online)

-- A U.S. program to counter Islamic State propaganda online is beset with problems, according to an Associated Press investigation, including translations that mix up the Arabic words for “salad” and “authority.”

-- The euphoria of playing very difficult video games. (New Scientist)

ONLY IN L.A.

The “Rain Room” at LACMA was a big hit with museumgoers, if not with art critics (our very own Christopher Knight called it a “bland tempest”), when it opened in November 2015. The simulated storm drew 190,000 people who took an untold number of selfies. Now LACMA says it has acquired the piece for its permanent collection. Of course, we have real rain falling these days too — no ticket required.

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.

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