A new Supreme Court justice before election day?

President Trump walks with Judge Amy Coney Barrett to a news conference at the White House on Saturday.
President Trump walks with Judge Amy Coney Barrett to a news conference in the Rose Garden at the White House on Saturday.
(Alex Brandon / Associated Press)

Even in this unparalleled moment in American history, the speed of events would be astounding: a vote of the Senate to confirm a new U.S. Supreme Court justice in the final few days before the presidential election.

That’s the schedule now suggested by Republican senators in their effort to quickly confirm President Trump‘s third selection for the high court — a process that would be among the fastest, and maybe the most consequential, in American history.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, introduced on Saturday as Trump’s pick to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, will begin meeting with senators this week on Capitol Hill, just hours after Ginsburg’s burial at Arlington National Cemetery.

The president, meanwhile, will head to Cleveland for Tuesday’s prime-time debate with Democrat Joe Biden. And then there are new, white-hot allegations about Trump’s tax filings.

What a week in U.S. politics. Again.

Swift action, sharp disagreements

The findings in a few national polls — that those surveyed believe Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court should be filled by the winner of the presidential election — have had no discernible impact on GOP senators in their push to move Barrett into the post as soon as possible.

On Sunday, Biden framed the disagreement as an attempt by Trump and Republicans to swiftly upend former President Obama‘s signature healthcare law under a case now pending at the Supreme Court.

“There’s no mystery about what’s happening here,” Biden said in remarks delivered Sunday in his home state, Delaware. Republicans, he said, “see an opportunity to overturn the Affordable Care Act on their way out the door.”


The fate of the 2019 healthcare law notwithstanding, no issue looms larger than efforts to limit access to abortion. As David G. Savage notes, both sides in the decades-long fight believe Barrett is likely to provide the key vote to overturn or dramatically scale back nationwide abortion rights. It’s worth noting that polls generally have found a majority of Americans surveyed believe abortion should remain legal. An analysis last year by the Pew Research Center found that viewpoint has remained consistent over the last decade, with support having grown but opinion also more sharply split along partisan lines.

‘It’s going to be like war’

With five weeks left in the election season, it may be hard to find any American who sees a calm ending to this moment of disunity.

“Some voters worry about frayed family ties. Others see the whole country unraveling. A significant number consider threats and violence a reasonable way to solve partisan differences,” write Mark Z. Barabak and Jenny Jarvie in their assignment to take the pulse of the electorate.

In their broader sampling of opinions, the assessment of Shad Delacy, an uncommitted voter in Kenosha, Wis., stands out: “It’s hard to trust anyone, to be honest. Everyone seems to be out for themselves.... People are losing their minds.”

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National lightning round

— An in-depth report by the New York Times finds Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes the year he ran for president and in his first year in the White House.

— One other notable point in the New York Times analysis: The president has been able to write off at least $2.2 million in property taxes even as he and congressional Republicans enacted a law, with a major impact in California, that limits deductions for local and state taxes paid to $10,000 a year.

— Looking ahead to Tuesday’s first presidential debate, Doyle McManus believes Biden’s got the upper hand, but Trump can still dislodge him from the lead.


— The spread of COVID-19 has forced some businesses to permanently close their doors but it’s part of a trend that’s transforming the global economy, leading in some cases to higher consumer prices and more income inequality.

California poll: Young voters don’t see a fair election

It’s hard to find much optimism right now among voters about the election that lies ahead, especially among those younger than 30.

A poll released Monday by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies found a majority of California’s youngest likely voters believe it’s unlikely the Nov. 3 election will be conducted in a “fair and open” manner. Among voters between the ages of 18 and 29, 56% of those surveyed think a fair shake is unlikely. That holds true, too, for 51% of voters age 30 to 39.

While half of self-described conservative voters think a fair election is unlikely, 56% of those surveyed who say they are liberal think that way.

And, sadly, here’s the one widely agreed-upon finding in the new poll: Eighty-two percent of likely California voters said they worry many Americans “will not respect the outcome of this year’s presidential election.” A similar result was found in just about every subgroup of the almost 6,000 likely voters who participated in the survey earlier this month.

Today’s essential California politics

— Under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, companies such as DoorDash, Grub Hub, Postmates and Uber Eats must sign formal agreements with local restaurants before advertising food delivery to customers.

— An executive order signed by Newsom will allow local health officials to hide their addresses under a California state program designed to protect people from harassment and violence.

— Many of the familiar rituals of stumping for votes are off the table during the COVID-19 pandemic, drastically changing what it looks like to run for office in Los Angeles.

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