by A. Joseph Lynch
THE WEEKLY BRIEF
THE DEATH OF GINSBURG AND HER REPLACEMENT
On Friday, September 18th, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died of cancer at the age of 87. Given her declining health in recent years, her death comes as no surprise. The timing, however, leaves Senate Republicans enough of an opening to replace her ahead of November. This marks a sea change in the coming elections. If no replacement is on the bench by Election Day, Democrats are sure to come out in droves hoping to elect Biden and a Democrat Senate. A Senate confirmation by the end of October is sure to take the winds out of Democrat voters' sails. Many will vote out of anger, but more would have voted if they thought they it would gain them a Biden-appointment to the Court. On the flip side, Republican voters will be enthused to vote following an October confirmation win, so it is imperative for President Trump to nominate an able, scandal-free conservative. Given that no man will make it through the hearings without a trumped up sexual assault allegation, it is highly likely the president will choose a woman. This he plans to do later today. His nominee seems to be Amy Comey Barrett, whose ties to the People of Praise community (some call it a cult) may jeopardize her confirmation. Barbara Lagoa, the Cuban-American and Catholic judge from Florida, might be a safer choice. We'll wait and see.
The good news for the president is that it appears Republicans have enough votes to confirm. Thus far only Senators Collins and Murkowski stood opposed to any nomination ahead of the elections. That being said, nether Collins nor Murkowski have said that they are sure to vote against the nominee. Yet even without these two senators, Republicans will have the 51 votes needed to confirm - assuming they find the nominee acceptable.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made a very strong case for the nomination and appointment of Ginsburg's successor during a Senate floor speech this week. He tackled the 2016 Merrick Garland case head on, explaining that Garland was rejected not because it was an election year, but because it was an election year during a divided government. The last nominee to be confirmed in an election year while the government was divided (i.e. the president was of one political party and the Senate majority of another political party) was in 1888. What's more, Supreme Court nominations that took place during an election year where there was no divided government resulted in 7 out of 8 being confirmed. What took place in 2016 and now in 2020 are well within the history and tradition of the Senate.
Democrats are furious and threatening to up-end the government over the nomination. Schumer has said "nothing is off the table" while Pelosi declared that Democrats had "many arrows" in their quiver. It has been suggested that Democrats, whenever they take back control of the government, should pack the Supreme Court by raising the number of justices and adding a slew of liberals. The House has already passed legislation to make Washington DC a state - and with it giving Democrats two additional senators. Other's are calling to "burn it all down" if the president and Senate Republicans attempt to confirm Ginsburg's replacement. Don Lemon of CNN has called on Democrats to pack the Court, saying, "We're going to have to blow up the entire system."
As Ben Shapiro's new article points out, this is good news for Republicans. If Democrats continue to press for stacking the Court and stacking the Senate, election attention can be placed on Democrats trying to "stack the deck" - cheating. FDR failed to pack the Court in 1937 because it was painfully obvious he was trying to make an end run around the Court's limits to his power. If Republicans can effectively tell voters that a vote for a Democrat is a vote for Democrats stacking the Court and Senate so that they can never lose, then the balance is sure to swing further towards the president and to the GOP. Either way, October's press coverage of the election is sure to focus more on the nomination battle than on issues that are more dangerous for the president. And if Barrett is the nominee, any unjust attacks against a woman and mother of seven will likely push suburban women towards Trump's reelection.
I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
CARDINAL SACKED: Cardinal Angelo Becciu, given the red hat by Pope Francis only two years ago, has been sacked in the latest financial scandal to hit the Vatican. It is reported that Becciu sent $100,000 euros of Holy See money to his brother's charitable fund. He had also been previously accused (by Archbishop Vigano) of knowing more about the McCarrick scandal than what people know.
NFL KICKER-DEVOUT CATHOLIC: Kansas City Chiefs Kicker, Harrison Butker, might kick for the Chiefs during game day - he recently helped his team make a stunning come back by tying the franchise record for longest field goal - but he's also a regular server at a Latin Mass. EWTN produced an excellent video about Butker, his faith, and his service on the altar.
MORE CHURCHES, SAINTS ATTACKED: Statues of Jesus and Mary were destroyed here in the US while the Eucharist was desecrated in Sicily. Taylor Marshall does a good job breaking down the stories and discussing what could be coming next.
MAPPING PERSECUTION: Attacks on Catholics are going under-reported in the media. To see just how widespread it is, look at this map from Complicit Clergy. The Anti-Defamation League has it's own map of Hate, Extremism, Anti-Semitism, and Terrorism (HEAT) Map. But if one breaks down the map by "Leftwing" ideology, only the murderer Michael Reinohl comes up on the map. Perhaps someone should send the ADL a link to the map from Complicit Clergy.
FOUR MORE YEARS: As the president likely prepares to nominate a Catholic woman to the Supreme Court, here's an article from a female Catholic law professor at the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota) who hopes the president gains another four years. More about Professor Teresa Stanton Collett.
II. PRESIDENT TRUMP AND AMERICA
LOUISVILLE RIOTS: Louisville, Kentucky is the latest city to be struck by Black Lives Matter riots. Two police officers were shot as the riots began to unfold (PBS, seemingly trying to cover for the riots, declared that it was unclear if the shooting was tied to the protests!As Joe Biden would say: "Come on, man!"). This followed the grand jury's decision not to indict city police officers over the death of Breonna Taylor. BLM supporters saturated the airwaves with the fake news that the police charged into the apartment issuing a no-knock warrant and that Taylor was gunned down by the police while asleep in her bed. Neither was true. Other residents testified that the police announced their presence several times and entered the apartment only after no one came to the door. When they entered, Taylor's boyfriend fired on the police - striking one in the femoral artery - and that Taylor was killed when the police returned fire. The truth behind Taylor's death was not enough to silence the mob or keep Nancy Pelosi from claiming the police murdered her. It also hasn't stopped BLM supporters from attacking black sports celebrities like Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neil for telling the truth. As support for BLM protests (riots) continues to fall, we hope more and more Americans are "red-pilled' as the truth comes out and the riots continue.
HIGH-TECH TYRANNY: The big tech company are clearly doing everything they can to help Democrats in November. They've banned Trump from declaring victory on Election Day and threatened social media uses who do the same. In the wake of the Louisville riots, Twitter is happy to pull tweets from conservatives yet allow tweets such as "Louisville will burn tonight" to remain posted. The late move to make Section 230 reform is perhaps one of Trump's biggest failures of his first term - and one which may haunt him come November.
SCOTUS REPLACEMENT FACTS: Democrats argue the election is too close for a nominee to be confirmed. A glance back at history might beg to differ. It took Justice John Paul Stevens only 19 days to be confirmed by the US Senate. Sandra Day O'Connor was confirmed in 33 days. Ginsburg, who died 46 days before the elections, was approved by the Senate in 42 days. When Chief Justice Roger Taney died on October 12, 1864 - even closer to Election Day than Ginsburg - Salmon Chase was nominated and approved by the US Senate on the same day in December!
1776 COMMISSION: The 1619 Project - promoted by the New York Times and taught in some schools - seeks to reinterpret American history as thoroughly racist. It's been debunked by historians and TV personalities alike. President Trump has announced his own rebuttal through the 1776 Commission. The commission will offer a badly needed defense of our great American history. Read more from the National Review.
HARRIS-BIDEN TICKET? In just one day, both Biden and Harris declared their future administration as the Harris-Biden Administration. Although they both said it was an accident, Biden did reassurre voters this week that Harris was ready to take over if someone pushed him off a roof.
II. THE NATIONS
JAPAN'S NEW PRIME MINISTER: With the resignation of Shinzo Abe for health reasons, Yoshihide Suga - Abe's right hand - has succeeded him. Suga plan's to follow Abe's policy on economics and foreign affairs, including the policy of re-arming Japan.
MIDEAST PEACE? While we are cautiously optimistic about the president's efforts in the Mideast in terms of Israel's recognition by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, we fear it's anti-Iran focus might damage peace in the long run. Bahrain is a Shia country dominated by a Sunni king. We don't see how pitting a Shia-majority nation against Shia Iran by forging ties with Israel will lead to long term peace. Pat Buchanan has some similar concerns.
MORE SAUDI HYPOCRISY: The Saudis allowed sexually explicit Netflix material to air in their country so long as Netflix removed a TV episode that criticized the Saudi regime. It's important to remember that the Saudi royal family are ruthless, allowing Wahhabi extremists to help them maintain tight control over the people while the royals do everything to maintain their own power and international status.
III. CULTURE OF LIFE, CULTURE OF PROTECTION
BLM TERROR: Military veteran Terrance Moses, a black man who runs a non-profit group for the homeless, was recently harassed with his neighbors by BLM rioters. Some threatened to burn down a house that flew an American flag. What ordinary people would call terroristic threats the New York Times calls "confrontational" protests. As the riots move from downtown to the suburbs and residential areas, it's only a matter of time before the movement loses all support.
JAKE GARDNER SUICIDE: Jake Gardner killed in self defense during a Black Lives Matter riot in Omaha, Nebraska. Despite clear video evidence of this, Gardner was charged for the death nevertheless. As a result of this outrageous charge, he lost his business and his home. It's now taken his life. The great calamity facing our nation's citizens is a political class that keeps police from protecting cities and then prosecuting civilians as they defend their homes and businesses from the riots. We pray this changes after the election.
BORN ALIVE ORDER: The nation's most pro-life president announced during the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast that he will sign an executive order concerning aborted babies born alive. This is something Obama opposed as a senator and something we'd never see in a Biden-Harris administration.
WHEN TO USE FORCE: An anti police brutality activist attempted to pass a set of three police use-of-force scenarios. He failed. Watch the video here as he learns being a police officer is much more difficult that he realized.
BLM GAINS LOST: The polling site Civiqs has been following the support of Black Lives Matter for some time now. The BLM riots that have taken place for months have now eliminated all BLM gains of 2020. Net support was at 10% on January 2, 2020 and spiked to 25% on June 3, 2020. On September 14, net support of BLM had dropped to 9%. As rioting in Louisville continues, we expect support for BLM will continue to decline.
DEFUNDING SEATTLE POLICE: Seattle's city council prefers riots to order. The city council voted 7-2 to override the mayor's veto of their plans to defund the city police. We hope all seven are voted out of office.
SUSPENDED FOR FLAGS ON 9/11: Two high school students were suspended after carrying the police and firefighter-themed American flags during as they took the field with their football team on 9/11. One young man was the son of a police officer while the other was the son of firefighter. They did it to honor their fathers and the brave officers and firefighters who died on 9/11. The school's action is appalling but it's good to know they've been offered college scholarships for their action.