Aug 21, 2017

Conservative groups to launch push for Trump judicial nominees

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

A collection of conservative activist groups are launching a well-funded effort today designed to push back against perceived Democratic obstruction of President Trump's judicial nominees, Axios has learned.

What's planned: Judicial Crisis Network is spending $500,000 on a digital ad buy with a campaign-style ad to back the campaign, along with a grassroots push — the agenda includes targeting town halls hosted by Democratic members of Congress — by Tea Party Patriots, Concerned Veterans for America, Susan B. Anthony List, and Concerned Women for America.

Why it matters: Installing conservative-minded judges in federal courts is a movement priority, especially with Republicans struggling to pass legislation through Congress.

Their perspective: From Carrie Severino, the JCN's chief counsel and policy director: "Democrats are abusing Senate rules to delay and obstruct President Trump's extraordinary judicial nominees because they want to keep liberal activist judges in control of our courts. Because of their gridlock, there are now far more judicial vacancies than there were when President Trump took office, and he began with a record number. There are almost 140 open seats on the federal bench waiting to be filled, with many more piling up."

At issue: The biggest point of contention for conservatives is that Democrats are allowing appointments to proceed by their default rules in the Senate, which sucks up valuable floor time by requiring 30 hours of debate for each nominee — even when Democrats ultimately plan to approve the nominee. Republicans did the same thing to Obama nominees in 2013, with Sen. John Cornyn even telling the NYT that the GOP "became pretty good at it."

Worth keeping an eye on: Republicans have experienced the brunt of grassroots backlash over health reform so far in 2017. It'll be interesting to see if the right can similarly harness local support, especially given growing discontent with Trump's tactics amongst the GOP mainstream.

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 1,908,235 — Total deaths: 109,443 — Total recoveries: 491,706 — Total tested: 19,231,444Map.
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  4. Tech: The pandemic is accelerating next-generation disease diagnostics — Robotics looks to copy software-as-a-service model as use of robots accelerates.
  5. Business: Sports, film production in California to resume June 12 after 3-month hiatus
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George Floyd updates

A protester holds a placard reading "Covid kills People, Racism kills Communities" as they attend a demonstration in Manchester, northern England, on June 6, to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. Photo: Paul Ellis/Contributor.

Thousands are gathering for a day of protests in Washington, D.C., almost two weeks after George Floyd's killing. Protesters in Australia and Europe staged anti-racism demonstrations on Saturday as well.

What's happening: A memorial service for Floyd is taking place in Raeford, North Carolina — near where he was born. Gov. Roy Cooper ordered all flags to fly at half-staff to honor Floyd until sunset. Thousands of demonstrators have gathered in Philadelphia and Chicago.

Buffalo police officers arrested after shoving 75-year-old protester

Photo: Mike Desmond/WBFO via AP

Two Buffalo police officers were charged with assault on Saturday after a video emerged of them shoving a 75-year-old protester while clearing a demonstration in the wake of George Floyd's killing, AP reports, citing prosecutors.

The state of play: Both officers pleaded not guilty to second-degree assault, and were released without bail. After the law enforcement officers were initially suspended without pay on Friday, all 57 officers on the Buffalo Police Department's Emergency Response Team resigned in a show of support for their fellow officers' suspensions.