Five Things to Know Today
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— Publisher’s Note —
Good morning! There are a number of consequential things that you need to pay attention to this week and in coming days:
- The Supreme Court hears arguments today from Republicans that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) should be completely struck down. Obviously, this is a huge deal, with a long list of possible impacts. SCOTUS won’t decide today, but it starts today.
- AG Bill Barr is inserting the Justice Department into the election. It is unclear whether this is a real threat, or just an act to placate Trump.
- Republicans continue to file lawsuits to throw out ballots and overturn the election. Most legal observers give them zero chance of succeeding – but when it comes to the courts that McConnell has packed, who knows?
- The Trump administration is refusing to work with the Biden transition team. Combined with McConnell’s refusal to do anything about COVID relief, it seems that the Republicans are determined to give the Biden administration the worst possible set of circumstances when they take office in January.
- And, as if that isn’t enough, there are two runoff elections in Georgia on January 5th that will decide the balance of power in the Senate.
So, even as we all get ready for the holiday season, and try to figure out how to eat turkey through a mask, we have to keep our eyes open and stay current. Forward Kentucky will do all we can to help.
Today’s Five Things to Know
11/9 update – All major coronavirus metrics have reached new highs; health chief expects them to keep going up
Health Commissioner Steven Stack noted that Monday also saw new records for hospitalizations, intensive-care usage, and use of ventilators to help patients breathe. (Forward Kentucky)
Reactions to the Biden/Harris election – a series
Since Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were elected, reactions across the country and around the world have rolled in. Rather than try to put these reactions into one long post, we decided to break it up into a series. Here they are, in no particular order. Enjoy! (Forward Kentucky)
GOP wants high court to ax health care law
A week after the 2020 election, Republican elected officials and the Trump administration are advancing their latest arguments to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, a long-held GOP goal that has repeatedly failed in Congress and the courts. In arguments scheduled for Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear its third major fight over the 10-year-old law, popularly known as Obamacare.
Republican attorneys general in 18 states and the administration want the whole law to be struck down, which would threaten coverage for more than 23 million people. It would wipe away protections for people with preexisting medical conditions, end subsidized insurance premiums that make coverage affordable for millions of Americans, and undo the expansion of the Medicaid program that is available to low-income people in most states. (West Kentucky Star)
Trump’s latest election lawsuit is dead on arrival, say legal experts
President Donald Trump’s campaign launched its broadest challenge yet to the results of the election that appears destined to push him from office, accusing Pennsylvania officials of running a “two-tiered” voting system — in-person and mail — that violates the U.S. Constitution.
Legal experts said the case has little chance of succeeding, for a variety of reasons: Courts are wary of invalidating legally cast ballots. The issues raised, even if true, don’t represent a constitutional question. And mail voting, used in many states, is both common and constitutional. (Courier-Journal)
Related: Growing discomfort at law firms representing Trump in election lawsuits
Some senior lawyers at Jones Day, one of the country’s largest law firms, are worried that it is advancing arguments that lack evidence and may be helping Mr. Trump and his allies undermine the integrity of American elections, according to interviews with nine partners and associates, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect their jobs.
At another large firm, Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, based in Columbus, Ohio, lawyers have held internal meetings to voice similar concerns about their firm’s election-related work for Mr. Trump and the Republican Party, according to people at the firm. At least one lawyer quit in protest. (NY Times)
Barr hands prosecutors the authority to investigate voter fraud claims
Attorney General William P. Barr, wading into President Trump’s unfounded accusations of widespread election irregularities, told federal prosecutors on Monday that they were allowed to investigate “specific allegations” of voter fraud before the results of the presidential race are certified.
Mr. Barr’s authorization prompted the Justice Department official who oversees investigations of voter fraud, Richard Pilger, to step down from the post within hours, according to an email Mr. Pilger sent to colleagues that was obtained by The New York Times.
Mr. Barr said he had authorized “specific instances” of investigative steps in some cases. He made clear in a carefully worded memo that prosecutors had the authority to investigate, but he warned that “specious, speculative, fanciful or far-fetched claims should not be a basis for initiating federal inquiries.”
Mr. Barr’s directive ignored the Justice Department’s longstanding policies intended to keep law enforcement from affecting the outcome of an election. And it followed a move weeks before the election in which the department lifted a prohibition on voter fraud investigations before an election. (NY Times)
Recent Content on Forward Kentucky
[new] indicates item not in a Forward Five before
*indicates high # of reads, social media shares, or both
[new] Adams wants to make some voting changes permanent – Kentucky’s chief election officer says he will seek to have some of the changes in the voting process for the 2020 election made permanent during the 2021 General Assembly. (News)
[new] AG office says they did not violate Open Records in denying request – The Attorney General’s office has held they did not violate the Open Records Act by denying a request for prosecutorial records in the investigation into the death of Breonna Taylor. (News)
[new] Brennan Center: Why these new election lawsuits will fail – Election officials are doing their jobs and counting the votes. Still, lawyers for the president have been throwing everything against the walls of our court systems in the hopes of stopping them. (Analysis)
*Kentucky exit poll gives Beshear slightly better grades than Trump on handling the pandemic – The poll gave Gov. Beshear a slightly better grade than President Trump for handling the pandemic, and found sharply divided opinions about the pandemic between those who voted for Trump or Joe Biden. (News)
*No more, no more, no more. Finally, we are rid of our Sawdust Caesar. – Nearly 78 million (and counting) of us have said NO MORE to Donald Trump’s politics of hate, fear and division. No more to his grievance politics. No more to demagoguery. No more to racism, sexism, misogyny, nativism, xenophobia, homophobia, and religious bigotry. No more to Trumpian boorishness and buffoonery. No more to his fawning over murderous dictators and dissing our democratic allies. No more to making us the laughingstock of the world. (Commentary)
*This week on The State of Kentucky: “What now, Kentucky Dems?” – Election 2020 was not a good cycle for Kentucky Democrats, to say the least. On this week’s The State of Kentucky, we talk with Robert Kahne, Representative Joni Jenkins, and Senator Morgan McGarvey about WHY this happened, and what Dems in Kentucky need to do going forward, both for elections and for the General Assembly. (Note: Senator McGarvey had a last-minute conflict, so he was not able to join us.) (Video and Podcast)
Election Day 2020: A rough one for Democrats – This week Robert and Jazmin talk through the collapse of legislative Democrats outside of Louisville, Lexington, Northern Kentucky, Bowling Green, and Southeast Kentucky. We discussed what happened, who is to blame, and what to do next. (Podcast)
*KY House: Repubs flip 13 seats, Dems flip none – In a year where KY Dems hoped to flip some GOP seats in the Kentucky House while holding most or all of their own seats, the opposite happened. (News)
Because grifters gotta grift – The reports all claimed that Trump would only take this unprecedented and unprincipled step if he were “ahead.” But that was always going to be a lie. Trump was always going to sue. Because grifters gotta grift. (Commentary)
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