- The four-day Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett has begun.
- Trump will host his first campaign event on Monday in Florida since announcing he had tested positive for coronavirus on October 2.
- Joe Biden will campaign in Ohio on Monday.
- Early voting begins in Georgia, a state that has become an increasing battleground, with 22 days left until the November 3 election.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the United States elections. This is Joseph Stepansky.
Monday, October 12:
10:30 – Trump doubles down on out-of-context Fauci comment in ad
Trump doubled down on his campaign’s use of comments from Dr Anthony Fauci, a lead member of the president’s coronavirus task force, even after Fauci said the comments were taken out of context.
An ad released by the Trump campaign appears to show Fauci praising Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Fauci, on Sunday, said the March statements were taken out of context, and he was in fact praising his own work that of the tast force when he said: “I can’t imagine that under any circumstances that anybody could be doing more”.
Trump on Monday countered the comments were “indeed Dr Fauci’s own words” while retweeting his campaign spokesperson, who said Fauci’s words had been used accurately.
They are indeed Dr. Fauci’s own words. We have done a “phenomenal” job, according to certain governors. Many people agree…And now come the Vaccines & Cures, long ahead of projections! https://t.co/ANqKL4eBqJ
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2020
10:15 ET – Trump calls group of protestors ‘animals’
Trump blasted a group of protestors as “animals” on Monday, while urging law enforcement to crack down on demonstrations that included the destruction of property.
“Put these animals in jail, now,” Trump said, in a retweet of a video that said it showed a statue being torn down in Portland.
The president has tried to depict himself as a leader of law and order, following a summer that saw sustained protests against police brutality and racism. Some of the protests at times turned violent.
Trump will hold a rally in Sanford, Florida on Monday, his first return to the campaign trail since he contracted the coronavirus, as he pushes for a come-from-behind win in November.
Put these animals in jail, now. The Radical Left only knows how to take advantage of very dumb “leadership” fools. This is Biden! Law & Order! https://t.co/w0yH3SqnrB
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2020
10:00 ET – Federal judge upholds Minnesota’s extended ballot counting
A federal judge has upheld a Minnesota state court agreement that allows counting of absentee ballots received up to seven days after Election Day.
Republicans had asked US District Judge Nancy Brasel to block the seven-day extension that Democratic Secretary of State Steve Simon agreed to in state court after a citizens’ rights group cited concerns about voter safety due to the coronavirus pandemic. Ballots still must be postmarked by Election Day to be counted.
But Brasel ruled late Sunday night that the plaintiffs in the case — a pair of Republicans serving as electors in the presidential election — don’t have standing and denied their motion for a preliminary injunction.
Previously, ballots had to be received by 8 PM on Election Day — but a consent decree in the state case allowed ballots postmarked on or before Election Day to be counted if they were received within the following seven days.
09:45 ET – Feinstein underscores threat to Affordable Care Act in opening statements
Senator Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, lamented the Republican push to confirm Barrett and argued the process of filing the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg should be left until after the election.
Republicans had argued when former Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland in the last year of his presidency that “Americans should have a voice in the selection of the next Supreme Court”, Feinstein said. The same principle should apply today, she said.
Feinstein warned the push to confirm Barrett is part of the Republican effort to undo the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.
“Clearly the effort to dismantle the law continues and they are asking the Supreme Court to strike down [the Affordable Care Act],” she said. “If Judge Barrett is confirmed, Americans stand to lose the benefits that the ACA provides.”
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on November 10, one week after the election, in a suit brought by the Trump administration challenging the constitutionality of the ACA.
09:30 ET – Committee chairman Graham begins hearing, defends election-season confirmation
Senator Lindsey Graham, the Republican chairman of the Judiciary Committee has begun the Judiciary Committee hearing, defending the Republican drive to confirm Barrett in the midst of an election.
“There is nothing unconstitutional about this process,” Graham said, acknowledging the share partisan divide over Barrett’s confirmation.
“We’re probably not going to persuade anyone … all the Republicans will vote ‘yes’ and Democrats will vote ‘no’,” Graham said.
“Most importantly,” Graham said of the hearing, “it gives you a chance, the American people, to find out about judge Barrett.”
09:00 ET – Amy Coney Barrett’s prepared statements
Trump’s pick for a US Supreme Court vacancy said she will rule based on the law, not her personal views, in prepared remarks issued on Sunday ahead of her Senate confirmation hearing this week.
Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative appeals court judge, said that in her current job she has “done my utmost to reach the result required by the law, whatever my own preferences might be”.
Barrett said in the statement that it will be an “honor of a lifetime” to serve alongside the current eight justices and explained how she approaches cases.
“When I write an opinion resolving a case, I read every word from the perspective of the losing party. I ask myself how would I view the decision if one of my children was the party I was ruling against,” she wrote.
Read here more.
08:30 ET – What to expect at Amy Coney Barrett hearing
Supreme Court nominee Barrett will face the Senate Judiciary Committee in a four-day hearing starting on Monday that kick-starts a confirmation process that Republicans hope to complete before the November 3 elections.
The truncated proceedings, which follow the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on September 18, leave little room for unexpected developments with only 22 days until the election.
If confirmed, Barrett, who was appointed to an appellate court judgeship by Trump in 2017, will tip the balance on the top US court to a 6-3 conservative majority. That balance could have a wide-ranging effect on possible rulings related to the presidential election, an upcoming case involving the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and a range of social issues including abortion, guns, and LGBTQ rights.
Read more about what to expect at the hearing here.
Read all the updates from Friday, (October 9) here.