The Senate is preparing to vote on Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. But Democrats aren’t going to make it easy. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) held the floor for more than 15 hours voicing opposition to Judge Gorsuch. He criticized Senate Majority Leader McConnell’s insistence on rushing the nomination through and his willingness to change Senate rules for Donald Trump.
While a lot of emphasis has been put on the fact that the Senate shouldn’t blow up its rules for Donald Trump—a president currently under investigation for possibly colluding with Russia to interfere in our elections—that is far from the only reason to oppose Gorsuch. His record proves he is an extreme conservative who would threaten progress on key issues from women’s reproductive health to campaign finance reform.
ACTION OF THE DAY
#ResistGorsuch. Sen. Merkley’s talk-a-thon is over, which means it’s your turn to tap into the fight to stop Gorsuch. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell doesn’t have enough votes to confirm Judge Gorsuch, but he is willing to change the senate rules to force Trump’s nominee through the process. But there’s another way. Call your Senator today and tell them to change the nominee not the rules! Go to ResistGorsuch.com for an updated whip list, sample social media, call scripts, office locations and more. Then clear your schedule for tomorrow morning so you can join us at the Capitol at 10am.
#DumpBannon. Trump adviser, white nationalist, anti-Semite, and misogynist, Steve Bannon was abruptly removed from the National Security Council this morning, in a decision reportedly made by Trump himself. The next step: get Bannon out of the White House entirely. And while Bannon is off the NSC, his protégé Ezra Cohen-Watnick isn’t. More on him here.
Poison. The Syrian government is suspected of launching a deadly chemical attack that has killed nearly a hundred civilians yesterday in northern Syria. This morning Trump’s UN Ambassador Nikki Haley condemned the attack saying “Assad, Russia, and Iran have no interest in peace.” Unsurprisingly, President Trump’s response has been less than presidential. While he condemned the attack, he was quick to blame President Obama for not intervening more strongly in Syria. And this morning, asked whether he would respond to the attack he answered “you’ll see.” Meanwhile, Trump’s own strategy for Syria is a mess: his administration recently said their focus in Syria would be on fighting ISIS instead of Assad, a plan that works well for both Russia (surprise!) and the Syrian government.
It’s complicated. That seems to be Republican Leader’s relationship status with health care overhaul. Yesterday, VP Mike Pence tried to revive efforts to repeal Obamacare. It didn’t go very well. Relatedly, Americans seem to actually really like the Affordable Care Act, and a new Kaiser poll found that most people believe Trump and Republicans in Congress are responsible for any future problems with the ACA.
“Reluctance.” Yesterday, the NCAA announced it is “reluctantly” lifting its ban on hosting championship events in North Carolina after the passage of a recent bill designed to repeal the anti-LGBT HB2 (the so-called “bathroom bill”). Why the reluctance? The new bill keeps many of HB2’s most harmful pieces in place. If the NCAA returns to North Carolina, it won’t be able to ensure transgender athletes and fans will be treated with fairness and dignity.
The Seventh Circuit. The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled that existing civil rights laws that prohibit sex discrimination protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation. In an 8-3 ruling, the court said it is a “common-sense reality that it is actually impossible to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation without discriminating on the basis of sex.” This is a historic ruling in favor of lesbian, gay, and bisexual workers. The Court also overturned the 1984 Ulane decision, which opponents of transgender rights rely heavily on to (incorrectly) argue that discrimination isn’t prohibited by federal laws like the Civil Rights Act and used language that opens the door to a ruling protective of transgender rights.
UNDER THE RADAR
Bears Ears. National monuments are under threat from both Congress and the White House, particularly one of the newest: Bears Ears in Utah. But, a new study out today finds that, scientifically and ecologically speaking, Bears Ears stacks up to some of the country’s most iconic national parks. The analysis also found that Bears Ears sits on significant mineral, oil, and gas resources, which could be an insight into the motivation behind the monument’s opponents.
Another one seventeen bite the dust. Yesterday, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, and BMW announced they were pulling ads from The Bill O’Reilly show over allegations of sexual assault by O’Reilly. Now, at least 20 advertisers in total have pulled ads from the show.