Jun 27, 2018

Schumer demands Supreme Court appointment be pushed to after the midterms

Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's abrupt decision Wednesday to retire next month unleashed an intense partisan debate over how to handle the confirmation of his successor, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer insisting it must be done after the midterms.

"Our Republican colleagues in the Senate should follow the rule they set in 2016: Not to consider a Supreme Court justice in an election year. ... Millions of people are just months away from determining senators who should vote to confirm or reject the President's nominee. And their voices deserve to be heard."
— Schumer said on the Senate floor

The backdrop: Democrats are drawing parallels with Senate Republicans’ 2016 decision to block former President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, from succeeding the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

Meanwhile, just moments after Kennedy’s decision, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the Senate "will vote to confirm Justice Kennedy’s successor this fall" — before the midterms. The move would give Republicans a leg up, while also creating a difficult political situation for red-state Democrats who may be opposed to a conservative Supreme Court Justice but need support from voters ahead of the November elections.

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Esper catches White House off guard with opposition to military use, photo op

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said at a press briefing Wednesday that he does not currently support invoking the Insurrection Act, an 1807 law that permits the president to use active-duty troops on U.S. soil, in order to quell protests against racial injustice.

Why it matters: President Trump threatened this week to deploy military forces if state and local governments aren't able to squash violent protests. Axios reported on Tuesday that Trump is backing off the idea for now, but that he hasn't ruled it out.

Updates: George Floyd protests continue for 9th day

Demonstrators march on Pennsylvania Avenue on June 3. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Largely peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Wednesday, marking nine straight days of demonstrations.

The latest: As several major cities moved to lift curfews, NYPD officers "aggressively" dispersed large crowds in Brooklyn and Manhattan beyond New York City's 8 p.m. curfew, per the New York Times. The National Guard was stationed outside many protests Wednesday night, including in Hollywood and Atlanta.

Trump hits back at Mattis: "I gave him a new life"

President Trump speaks at the White House. Photo: Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump unloaded on his former defense secretary via Twitter on Wednesday, hours after James Mattis condemned him for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in his response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

What he's saying: "Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was 'Chaos', which I didn’t like, & changed it to 'Mad Dog'"