HAPPY SATURDAY. ONE WEEK AND ONE DAY AGO, RUTH BADER GINSBURG died. NOW, WE ARE 38 DAYS from Election Day, and at 5 p.m. today, President DONALD TRUMP will introduce AMY CONEY BARRETT as his nominee for the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden.
IF ACB IS CONFIRMED, TRUMP and Senate Majority Leader MITCH MCCONNELL will have succeeded in a massive overhaul of the federal judiciary, shifting the nation’s courts to the right for decades to come. Amid all the noise and the mayhem, this is by far TRUMP’S biggest achievement as president, and one that will be felt long after TRUMP leaves office.
BUT THIS CONFIRMATION PROCESS comes with unusually high stakes for both sides. Because of the timing, and the intensity of the political moment, TRUMP and Republicans can not afford any missteps, no matter how minor they are.
THERE ARE AN unusual number of subplots in this process. Senate Judiciary Chair LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-S.C.) is in the fight of his political life in South Carolina, forced to plead on Fox News for campaign cash, as JAIME HARRISON is nipping at his heels. … Sen. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on Judiciary, is 87, and facing questions from her colleagues about her capacity to handle the spotlight. … Sen. KAMALA HARRIS (D-Calif.) is the VP candidate, but she’s also on the Judiciary Committee. …
… SEVERAL 2020’ers also have seats on Judiciary: Sens. JOHN CORNYN (R-Texas), THOM TILLIS (R-N.C.) and JONI ERNST (R-Iowa). … DEMOCRATS, as WAPO’S SEUNG MIN KIM and PAUL KANE point out, are wrestling with how they handle this process: engage, or withdraw. … THE CONFIRMATION will be filled to the brim with hot-button campaign issues: abortion, guns and crime. AND, OF COURSE, there’s TRUMP’S reelection, and JOE BIDEN’S bid to beat him.
BARRETT will be on Capitol Hill beginning Tuesday, when she will meet with MCCONNELL.
— NANCY COOK: “‘An easy selection’: Trump settled quickly on Barrett”
HOW IT’S PLAYING …. NYT: “PRESIDENT PLANS TO NAME BARRETT AS HIS COURT PICK: Will Lobby for Confirmation by Nov. 3 — Judge Is Conservative Favorite” … WAPO: “Trump expected to name Barrett to the high court … CONFIRMATION FIGHT AHEAD OF ELECTION … Jurist would solidify conservative majority for years”
WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE FOR OUR NATION’S POLITICS: DES MOINES REGISTER: “SCOTUS vacancy jolts race for Senate: Both parties say their voters are energized” … STAR TRIBUNE: “HIGH COURT FIGHT ENERGIZES WOMEN: Both sides of the abortion debate are mobilizing”
L.A. TIMES editorial: “Amy Coney Barrett is qualified for the Supreme Court — but should not be confirmed”
HOW ABOUT THIS FOR EARNED MEDIA … MIAMI HERALD FRONT PAGE: “Trump makes economic pitch to Hispanic voters in Miami-Dade” … ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION FRONT: “Trump brings hopeful message to Black voters during visit here”
PETER NAVARRO called JOSEPH DISTEFANO of the Philadelphia Inquirer ahead of TRUMP’S visit to Harrisburg tonight.
DEBATE LOOK AHEAD … WAPO: “Trump readies a debate onslaught — and Biden allies worry,” by Sean Sullivan and Josh Dawsey: “President Trump is gearing up to launch blistering personal attacks on Joe Biden and his family in the first presidential debate on Tuesday, while Biden is bracing for an onslaught and worried allies are warning the Democratic nominee not to lose his temper and lash out, according to people with knowledge of the strategies in both camps.
“Trump has told associates he wants to talk specifically about his opponent’s son Hunter Biden and mused that the debates are when ‘people will finally realize Biden is just not there,’ according to one adviser. The president is so eager to lay into his rival that he has called aides to test out various attacks, focusing on broadsides that cast Biden as a longtime Washington insider with a limited record of accomplishment, said another adviser, who like many interviewed for this story spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly describe private talks.”
ADVANTAGE OF BEING THERE … BLOOMBERG’S JUSTIN SINK: “Trump’s Housing Secretary Is Unhappy With Trump’s Hiring Manager”
ON DANIEL CAMERON … MAYA KING and NOLAN MCCASKILL: “A rising Black GOP star faces fury from African Americans over Taylor case”
GET THIS GUY A RAISE!!! PHILLY INQUIRER FRONT: “Phase 3: Eat, drink and be wary” …. THE L.A. TIMES is carrying a beautiful picture by the NYT’s ERIN SCHAFF from Stat Hall on Friday, where RBG lay in state.
ALEX THOMPSON: “Why the right-wing has a massive advantage on Facebook”
DEPT. OF TIMING … ALEX ISENSTADT: “Chamber of Commerce talks peace with Senate Dems as McConnell’s majority teeters”: “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce helped bankroll the Republican takeover of the Senate in 2014. Now, it’s preparing to expand outreach to Senate Democrats as they challenge for the majority in 2020.
“Jack Howard, the Chamber’s senior vice president of congressional and public affairs, announced during a Friday morning staff video conference that the organization would be engaging in an ‘all-hands-on-deck … serious, sustained’ effort to “normalize our relationships” with Senate Democrats, according to a clip of the meeting obtained by POLITICO.
“‘I don’t want anyone to be under any illusion about how challenging this will be. We’re starting frankly from a deep hole with a lot of Senate Democrats. So on the outreach side things are going to be very dicey,’ Howard continued.”
THE PRESIDENT’S SATURDAY: At 3:15 p.m., TRUMP will meet with evangelical and faith leaders. At 5 p.m., he’ll introduce BARRETT as his nominee for the Supreme Court. At 6:20 p.m., he heads to Andrews for a flight to Harrisburg, Pa. At 7:30 p.m., he’ll speak at a political rally in Middletown, Pa. He’ll leave at 9 p.m., and is scheduled back into the White House at 10 p.m.
— AP’S JONATHAN LEMIRE, MARC LEVY and THOMAS BEAUMONT: “Trump shifts focus to Pennsylvania to shore up reelection”
A LID HAS BEEN CALLED in Wilmington, via PBS NewsHour’s LISA DESJARDINS: “Biden will have two appearances via video. The campaign told us: ‘The VP is delivering pre-recorded remarks to the L’ATTITUDES Conference as well as a taped interview with Stephanie Ruhle which will air on MSNBC at 12:00PM ET. The VP is also speaking live at the US Conference of Mayors at 2:45PM ET.” USCM watch link
CLICKER — “The nation’s cartoonists on the week in politics,” edited by Matt Wuerker — 15 keepers
GREAT WEEKEND READS, curated by Margy Slattery and the staff of POLITICO Magazine:
— “Here’s How the Pandemic Finally Ends,” by Elizabeth Ralph in POLITICO Magazine: “A vaccine by early 2021, a steady decline in cases by next fall and back to normal in a few years—11 top experts look into the future.” POLITICO
— “How Work Became an Inescapable Hellhole,” by Anne Helen Petersen in Wired, adapted from her new book, “Can’t Even” ($26): “It’s the Google Docs, and the conference calls you listen to on mute while making your kids’ breakfast, and the databases you can log in to from home, and your manager texting on Sunday night with ‘the plan for tomorrow.’” Wired
— “In Dark Times, I Sought Out the Turmoil of Caravaggio’s Paintings,” by Teju Cole in the NYT Magazine’s Voyages Issue: “The work the artist made near the end of his life changed my understanding of both beauty and suffering.” NYT Magazine
— “Discovering the Life Story of Dr. Good,” by Kevin Baxter in the L.A. Times: “While I had spent one summer of my childhood lamenting that I couldn’t play football because of the broken arm, he had spent three of his hiding in the woods and fighting the Nazis, cheating death again and again.” LAT
— “The Race to Redesign Sugar,” by Nicola Twilley in The New Yorker: “Forget artificial sweeteners. Researchers are now developing new forms of real sugar, to deliver sweetness with fewer calories. But tricking our biology is no easy feat.” New Yorker
— “A Neighbor Asked for a Tomato. This Is Where the Story Gets Weird,” by Gene Weingarten in the WaPo Magazine: “The following account is completely true, and, no, there is nothing funny about it.” WaPo Magazine
Send tips to Eli Okun and Garrett Ross at [email protected].
SPOTTED: Ernest Moniz in first class on an American Airlines shuttle from Boston to DCA this morning.
MEDIAWATCH — Trish Regan will be executive editor of the magazine American Consequences. She previously was an anchor on Fox Business, which she left amid an outcry over her dismissal of the coronavirus. Talking Biz News
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — Nancy Prall will be White House liaison and Drew Liquerman will be deputy White House liaison at the Department of Transportation. They previously held those posts at the Small Business Administration. David Chiokadze is returning to the SBA to be White House liaison. He most recently was a speechwriter at DHS.
TRANSITION — Lora Shiao will be COO at the Office of the DNI. She most recently has been deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center.
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Evan Hollander, comms director for the House Appropriations Committee. A trend he thinks doesn’t get enough attention: “The potential for the coronavirus to set back decades of progress in international development. Because of leaders in Congress like Chair [Nita] Lowey, and in conjunction with international partners and NGOs, the world has made huge strides in reducing extreme poverty, improving global health and strengthening education systems. Coronavirus has put all those successes at risk. Sustained American investment is the only way we can ensure this backsliding does not become permanent.” Playbook Q&A
BIRTHDAYS: Beto O’Rourke is 48 … WaPo’s Dave Weigel is 39 … Nick Pompeo …Ian DeValliere, executive assistant to the W.H. Domestic Policy Council director … Elizabeth Arzt … Julia Slingsby … POLITICO’s Patterson Clark and Casey Miles … Jessica Bakeman … Alexis Barranca … APCO Worldwide’s Josie Martin … Bloomberg’s Henry Seltzer and Lucas Shaw … former Rep. Frank Guinta (R-N.H.) is 5-0 … Bill Scher is 48 … Jordan Cohen, NYT’s executive director of comms … Risa Heller, president of Risa Heller Communications … Ben Freed … Missy Edwards, founding principal of Missy Edwards Strategies (h/t Michele Famiglietti) … Jon Rosborough … Mason Devers, press secretary for Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) (h/t Amy Hasenberg) … Kathleen Parker, WaPo syndicated columnist … Tom Gannon, VP of public policy at Mastercard … David Sanders … Robert Kagan is 62 … David Mansouri …
… Mark Isakowitz, VP for government affairs and public policy for U.S. and Canada at Google … photographer Stephen Voss is 42 … Stacy England, senior director for global events and experiences at National Geographic Society, is 4-0 (h/t husband J.D. Grom) … former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman is 74 … Goli Ameri … former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is 76 … Wally Stern is 92 … David Javdan (h/t Tim Burger) … Kris Perry … Jeff Eshelman, SVP for operations and public affairs at IPAA … Jen Chung, executive editor of Gothamist … Sam Myers Sr. is 7-0 … Doug Sosnik is 64 … John Norris … John Law … Bob Nash (h/ts Teresa Vilmain) … Miguel Santana … Wells Thorne … Rebecca Herrigel … Parag Mehta … Greg Lorjuste … Erin Cunningham … Ian Rose … MacKenzie Smith … Alexander Howe … Sarah Crawford Stewart … Sam Drzymala … Matt McKillip … John Fitzpatrick … Dayne Cutrell
THE SHOWS (Full Sunday show listings here):
“State of the Union”: Jill Biden … Speaker Nancy Pelosi … Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) … Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) … Jon Stewart … Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) … Rosie Torres.
“Face the Nation”: White House chief of staff Mark Meadows … Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) … Jeh Johnson … Don McGahn … Doug Parker … Scott Gottlieb.
“Meet the Press”: Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) … H.R. McMaster. Panel: Yamiche Alcindor, Peter Baker, Lanhee Chen and Claire McCaskill.
“This Week”: Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) … Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). Panel: Chris Christie, Rahm Emanuel, Sara Fagen and Leah Wright Rigueur.
“Fox News Sunday” (hosted by Brit Hume in Cleveland): Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) … Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) … Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia … Ken Starr … Laurence Tribe. Panel: Karl Rove, Katie Pavlich and Juan Williams.
“America This Week with Eric Bolling”: White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany … Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) … Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) … Hank Newsome … Ilya Shapiro … Tom Fitton … Kimberly Klacik.
“Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren”: Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) … Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).