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Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearings Begin

Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearings begin. NPR: "The Senate Judiciary Committee begins confirmation hearings Tuesday on the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Republicans, who control the Senate, hope to confirm Kavanaugh and cement a 5-4 conservative majority on the high court before its new term begins next month. Kavanaugh has a lengthy paper trail from his 12 years as a federal appeals court judge, as well as from his work in the George W. Bush White House and for independent counsel Ken Starr. That history likely to provide ample fodder for Democrats to question Kavanaugh. But barring a surprise, he is likely to don the Supreme Court robe, perhaps by the start of the court's new term on Oct. 1, and take the place of retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, for whom he once clerked. At 53, Kavanaugh would be the second-youngest member of the court and the second appointed by President Trump. Democrats say Kavanaugh's views on presidential immunity deserve special scrutiny now, given the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election by special counsel Robert Mueller, which has already implicated a number of Trump associates. Despite their concerns, Democrats have few tools to block Kavanaugh's path to the high court. A rule change last year allows the Senate to confirm a Supreme Court nominee with a simple majority vote."

Kavanaugh Could End Limits On Corporate Political Spending

Brett Kavanaugh may soon unshackle all rich political donors. Slate: "By the time President Donald Trump runs for reelection in 2020, he might be able to accept unlimited campaign contributions to support his bid, thanks to his nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court. Documents released ahead of Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings this week that date from his time in George W. Bush’s White House reveal that the judge just might be ready to strike down what’s left of federal law limiting contributions to candidates, as a First Amendment violation. There are two cases heading to the Supreme Court that would allow him to do just that. As court watchers are well aware, the Supreme Court has been chipping away at campaign finance limits for some years now. In the 2010 case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court held that corporations have a First Amendment right to spend unlimited sums to support or oppose candidates for office if their payments are made independent of candidates’ campaigns. And in a much less famous but equally important 2014 case, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the same five-justice majority that decided Citizens United made it harder for courts to sustain the constitutionality of laws—aimed at preventing corruption and its appearance—that limit the amount of money that individuals can contribute directly to candidates."

Pressley, Capuano Face Off In MA Primary

Massachusetts primary clash tests Capuano. Politico: "In the state’s most-watched race Tuesday, Capuano, 66, faces his first serious challenger since taking office in the late 1990s — Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, a 44-year-old African American woman. It’s a test of whether a longtime liberal incumbent can withstand the wave of pent-up ambition surging through the Democratic Party, but that’s not all. Pressley is also pressing another issue, one that attracted national attention in the aftermath of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s massive upset victory against New York Rep. Joe Crowley in June: In an increasingly diverse party, who is better suited to represent a majority-minority district — a white male or a woman of color? 'If you look at other places, you look at [Florida Democratic nominee for governor] Andrew Gillum and you look at Ocasio-Cortez, there's a lot of evidence from other elections that there is a little bit of a progressive wave of voters that are coming out in these primaries,' said Doug Rubin, former chief of staff to Gov. Deval Patrick and founding partner of Northwind Strategies. 'If that's the case here, then I think she will change the electorate and have a really good chance of winning. That's an open question right now.'"

11 Days Until Government Shutdown

GOP leaders scramble to avoid pre-Election Day shutdown. Politico: "Some White House officials are confident that Trump will sign spending bills keeping the government open. A smaller subset of immigration hard-liners inside the White House, however, are encouraging Trump to fight on the border wall issue now, while Republicans still control Congress. These officials think the House majority is already gone — and they have encouraged Trump to hold the line for his border wall and secure a win while he can, according to multiple sources on Capitol Hill and in the administration. The issue thus becomes whether Trump will try to help himself politically by provoking a shutdown over the border wall, or give some political cover to GOP lawmakers in tough reelection battles. Trump and congressional leaders are trying to set up a meeting for next week to hash out these issues with Democrats, according to several Hill sources. But a shutdown now would almost certainly cost Republicans their House majority. Democrats are currently favored to win the lower chamber. And GOP lawmakers are already being dragged down by Trump’s abysmal approval ratings and the criminal cases involving Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen. There’s a sense that a shutdown would be the final nail in the coffin for House Republicans."

Water Shut Off For Lead In Detroit Schools

Detroit public schools' drinking water shut down amid lead fears. The Guardian: "The 50,000 students returning to public school classrooms in Detroit on Tuesday following the summer break will find the drinking fountains dry, after elevated levels of lead and copper forced the district to shut off the water supply. After test results evaluating all water sources, from sinks to fountains, for 16 schools showed higher than acceptable levels of the chemicals last month, the Detroit public schools community district announced it was turning off the water at all its schools. The district superintendent, Nikolai Vitti, cited safety concerns for staff and students. I am turning off all drinking water in our schools until a deeper and broad analysis can be conducted to determine the long-term solutions,”' he said. Bottled water and coolers will be provided so that thirst does not go unquenched. But the news about testing for toxic water is just the latest risk and indignity to be endured by the teachers and children in a district infamous for its 'crumbling' public schools."

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