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Amy Coney Barrett declines to say whether a president can unilaterally delay election

Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett declined to tell the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday if she believes the president has the unilateral authority to delay an election, arguing that giving "off-the-cuff answers" would essentially make her a "legal pundit."

Why it matters: President Trump suggested he could delay the election earlier this year. but he has no authority to unilaterally do so under the Constitution. It would take a change in federal law to move the date of the election — which would have to be approved by both chambers of Congress.


What she's saying: Barrett was adamant about not voicing her opinions on potential cases throughout Tuesday's hearing, stating, "If that question ever came before me, I would need to hear arguments from the litigants and read briefs and consult with my law clerks and talk to my colleagues and go through the opinion-writing process."

  • "If I gave off-the-cuff answers then I would be basically a legal pundit, and I don't think we want judges to be legal pundits," she added.
  • "I think we want judges to approach cases thoughtfully and with an open mind."

The big picture: Barrett has been under pressure from Senate Democrats to address potential cases involving Trump, including disputes over the 2020 election results.

  • She testified that she has made "no commitment" to anyone in the executive branch over how she would rule on any cases, including abortion or the challenge to the Affordable Care Act.
  • Barrett also said she would "fully and faithfully apply the law of recusal" if necessary, but that she "can't offer an opinion on recusal without short-circuiting" the traditional process.

The dangerous instability of school re-openings

Schools across the country have flip-flopped between in-person and remote learning — and that instability is taking a toll on students' ability to learn and their mental health.

The big picture: While companies were able to set long timelines for their return, schools — under immense political and social strain — had to rush to figure out how to reopen. The cobbled-together approach has hurt students, parents and teachers alike.

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Trump doesn't have a second-term economic plan

President Trump has not laid out an economic agenda for his second term, despite the election being just eight days away.

Why it matters: This is unprecedented in modern presidential campaigns, and makes it harder for undecided voters to make an informed choice.

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How Trump’s energy endgame could go

Expect President Trump to redouble his efforts loosening regulations and questioning climate-change science should he win reelection next month.

Driving the news: A second Trump administration would supercharge efforts by certain states, countries and companies to address global warming. But some wildcards could have a greener tinge.

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The swing states where the pandemic is raging

Data: The COVID Tracking Project, The Cook Political Report; Table: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Several states that are likely to decide which party controls Washington next year have exceptionally large coronavirus outbreaks or are seeing cases spike.

Why it matters: Most voters have already made up their minds. But for those few holdouts, the state of the pandemic could ultimately help them make a decision as they head to the polls — and that's not likely to help President Trump.

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Tropical Storm Zeta may strengthen into hurricane before reaching U.S.

The U.S. Gulf Coast and Mexico are bracing for another possible hurricane after Tropical Storm Zeta formed in the Caribbean Sea Sunday.

Of note: Zeta is the 27th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season — equaling a record set in 2005.

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Rockefeller Foundation commits $1 billion for COVID-19 recovery

The Rockefeller Foundation announced on Monday that it will allocate $1 billion over the next three years to address the pandemic and its aftermath.

Why it matters: The mishandled pandemic and the effects of climate change threaten to reverse global progress and push more than 100 million people into poverty around the world. Governments and big NGOs need to ensure that the COVID-19 recovery reaches everyone who needs it.

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How Amy Coney Barrett will make an immediate impact on the Supreme Court

In her first week on the job,Amy Coney Barrett may be deciding which votes to count in the presidential election. By her third week, she’ll be deciding the fate of the Affordable Care Act.

Where it stands: The Senate votes on Barrett’s nomination tomorrow. If she’s confirmed, Chief Justice John Roberts is expected to swear her in at the Supreme Court within hours, an administration official tells Axios.

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Biden team rebuffs Texas Democrats' pleas for more money

The Biden campaign is rebuffing persistent pleas from Texas Democrats to spend at least $10 million in the Lone Star state, several people familiar with the talks tell Axios.

Why it matters: If Texas — which has 38 electoral votes and is steadily getting more blue, but hasn't backed a Democrat for president since 1976 — flipped to the Biden column, it would be game over. But the RealClearPolitics polling average stubbornly hovers at +2.6 for Trump — and Team Biden appears more focused on closer targets.

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