The latest on the 2020 election and SCOTUS battle

By Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 5:38 PM ET, Sun September 27, 2020
5 Posts
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9:13 a.m. ET, September 27, 2020

Pelosi: Trump is "in such a hurry" to fill Supreme Court seat because of pending health care case

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speaks with CNN on Sunday, September 27.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speaks with CNN on Sunday, September 27. CNN

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi criticized President Trump's swift nomination to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Supreme Court seat, saying he's moving quickly in order to fill the vacancy before the court hears a case on the Affordable Care Act in November.

"That is why he was in such a hurry," Pelosi said on CNN's "State of the Union" this morning.

Pelosi warned that a conservative court could overturn the Affordable Care Act.

"If you are a woman, we'll be back to a time where being a woman in a preexisting medical condition," she said.

She noted that it's the job of the Senate — not the House — to consider and possibly confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett's nomination.

"It's up to the Senate to make that judgment and have that process," she said.

Some background: The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments just after the November election in a case about the Affordable Care Act.

Senate Republicans have indicated they may vote to confirm Barrett before Election Day — meaning she could be seated on the bench for that case.

What Barrett has said about the Affordable Care Act: In an early 2017 law review essay reviewing a book related to the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act, Barrett criticized Chief Justice John Roberts' rationale that saved the law in 2012.

"Chief Justice Roberts pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute," Barrett wrote. "He construed the penalty imposed on those without health insurance as a tax, which permitted him to sustain the statute as a valid exercise of the taxing power."

8:48 a.m. ET, September 27, 2020

Former Department of Homeland Secretary, a Republican, endorses Joe Biden 

From CNN’s Arlette Saenz with Polson Kanneth

Former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge speaks during an event in Washington, DC in 2018.
Former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge speaks during an event in Washington, DC in 2018. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Tom Ridge, former Department of Homeland Secretary during the George W. Bush administration, endorsed Joe Biden in an op-ed in The Philadelphia Inquirer this morning. 

“I will cast my vote for Joe Biden on Nov. 3. It will be my first vote for a Democratic candidate for president of the United States,” Ridge, a former Republican governor of Pennsylvania, wrote in the Philadelphia Inquirer. “But it is not the first time I have said ‘no’ to Donald Trump. I urge my fellow Pennsylvanians to join me.”

Ridge offered a scathing critique of Trump’s time in office, including his attempts to cast doubt on the election process. 

“With just about one month until Election Day, President Trump continues to claim the only way he can possibly be defeated is a rigged election. Can you imagine the hubris? Can you imagine any other president in our lifetime — or ever — saying something so dangerous and un-American? We are in the midst of a health crisis, when we should be doing all we can to help citizens vote safely, yet he continues to cast doubt on the sanctity of the vote. He’s done so multiple times here in Pennsylvania. It’s deplorable, yet utterly consistent with past reprehensible behavior.”

Ridge noted, “While I do not agree with many of Biden’s policies, I do know him to be a decent man who can begin to undo the damage President Trump has caused.”

8:27 a.m. ET, September 27, 2020

Here's how Biden and Trump are getting ready for the Tuesday debate

From CNN's Dan Merica, Eric Bradner, MJ Lee, Arlette Saenz and Kylie Atwood

Democratic nominee Joe Biden is moving from briefing books into full days of preparations. President Trump is studying notecards and getting help from a long-time ally, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

As we get closer to the debate showdown in Cleveland on Tuesday, both campaigns have been quiet about how the candidates are preparing.

Biden's early debate preparations focused on reading briefing books and holding smaller prep sessions with policy aides, people familiar with his preparations said. He typically prefers having aides pepper him with questions in rapid-fire form over conducting full mock debates, those people said.

Ron Klain, Biden's former chief of staff who also managed ex-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's presidential debate work, is helping to oversee Biden's debate preparations ahead of Tuesday night, those sources said. Other longtime close Biden advisers who have been involved in recent debate prep sessions include Anita Dunn, Steve Ricchetti and Mike Donilon.

Trump, according to a source familiar with his debate preparations, is studying expected attacks from Biden. The focus of the preparations are a series of notecards the President is reviewing — the front lays out an expected Biden attack while the back of the card has bullets of what Trump has done on the topic, what he will do in a second term and how to turn the attack back on the former vice president. Christie, who played Clinton in Trump's 2016 debate, is also helping with Trump's debate preparations, the source added.

The first debate, moderated by Fox News' Chris Wallace, will be 90 minutes and focus on six topics:

  • "The Trump and Biden Records"
  • "The Supreme Court"
  • "Covid-19"
  • "The Economy"
  • "Race and Violence in our Cities"
  • "The Integrity of the Election."
8:17 a.m. ET, September 27, 2020

Trump on Tuesday's debate: I prepare "every day"

From CNN's Alison Main and Daniella Mora

President Trump told Fox News he thinks he prepares "every day" for the first presidential debate on Tuesday.

In a pre-taped interview airing on Sunday, the President did not elaborate much further on his preparations, adding, "when you're president, you sort of see everything that they're going to be asking."

He went on to tout the economy and claimed his administration has saved "millions and millions" of lives in its efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

The US surpassed the staggering milestone of 200,000 coronavirus deaths this week.

8:21 a.m. ET, September 27, 2020

Trump announced his Supreme Court pick yesterday. Here's what happens next.

Oliver Douliery/AFP/Getty Images
Oliver Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump this evening yesterday he's nominating Amy Coney Barrett to the US Supreme Court. The battle over the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat has become a focal point of the election.

Barrett, 48, was a finalist for the Supreme Court spot that went to Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. She was confirmed in 2017 for her current judgeship on the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin.

Now, the Republican-led Senate will begin the confirmation process for Barrett — and some GOP senators signaled they will quickly move to take up the nomination.

Here's what we know about next steps:

  • Tuesday: Barrett is expected to be on Capitol Hill Tuesday to begin courtesy calls, per GOP sources. She'll also meet with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell then, sources said.
  • The week of Oct. 12: According to a likely schedule being circulated around the Senate today, the hearing to confirm Barrett could begin on Oct. 12, with opening statements in the Senate Judiciary committee. There would be rounds of questioning on Oct. 13 and Oct. 14, and there would be a closed session on Oct. 15 with outside witnesses.
  • Oct. 29: That timeline would allow for a confirmation vote by Oct. 29, hitting a pre-election timeline that the White House and congressional Republicans are increasingly coalescing behind.