Barrett is likely pick for Supreme Court: US election news | US & Canada

  • Joe Biden, Kamala Harris paid their respects to Ginsburg.
  • Trump campaigned in Florida, Georgia and Virginia.
  • Early ballot requests are breaking records.
  • Barack Obama will hold a fundraiser with Harris next week.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the US elections. This is William Roberts and Steve Chaggaris.

22:00 ET – Trump warns of duplicate mail-in ballots in Virginia

President Donald Trump warned at a campaign rally in Newport News of a “ballot scam” in Virginia where voters “get two ballots instead of one”.

Local officials in Fairfax and Henrico counties mailed at least 1,400 Virginia voters duplicate absentee ballots in recent weeks because of clerical errors, but only one ballot per voter would be counted, officials said, according to a report in The Washington Post newspaper.

The president has been accusing Democrats of planning to use mail balloting to cheat in the November 3 election and has seized on clerical mishaps as evidence. Election law experts say there’s no evidence of cheating.

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Newport News, Virginia. [Evan Vucci/AP Photo)

21:00 ET – Crowd chants ‘Fill that Seat’ as Trump addresses campaign rally in Virginia

To chants of “Fill that Seat, Fill that Seat, Fill that Seat” from a crowd of thousands of supporters in Newport News, Virginia, President Donald Trump said he expects the US Senate to confirm his nominee for the Supreme Court before the November 3 election.

“We don’t have to do it by the election, but we should really be able,” President Trump said. “That would be a great thing going into that election, with that biggest of all victories,” Trump said.

“You know they say the biggest thing you can do is the appointment of judges, but especially the appointment of Supreme Court justices,” he said. “That’s the single biggest thing of presidents, because it sets the tone of the country for 40 years, 50 years, I mean a lot.”

A crowd of thousands of supporters cheer as Vice President Mike Pence warms up the crowd for President Donald Trump during an airport campaign rally in Newport News, Virginia [Steve Helber/AP Photo]

19:45 ET – Trump set to name Amy Coney Barrett to US Supreme Court: Reports

US President Donald Trump is expected to select Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last week, according to multiple US media reports citing unnamed Republican sources.

Barrett, 48, is a constitutional scholar who Trump named to the federal appeals bench in 2017. She is a favourite of the right-wing Federalist Society, a group that has orchestrated the confirmation of more than 200 conservative jurists to the federal courts since Trump took office.

On Friday evening, several US news outlets including CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post and The Hill reported that Trump plans to nominate Barrett in an announcement scheduled for Saturday.

A photo of Amy Coney Barrett (Right), Trump’s likely Supreme Court nominee, hangs in the Hall of Fame of Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, where she studied English literature and graduated magna cum laude in 1994. [Karen Pulfer Focht/Reuters]

18:15 ET – Trump tells press pool he has made up his ‘mind’ on Supreme Court pick but does not say it is Barrett

President Donald Trump says he has made a decision “in my own mind, yes” on a candidate for the Supreme Court but, told by media traveling with him that Amy Coney Barrett is being reported as the pick, replied, “I haven’t said that.”

“They’re all great,” Trump said, referring to a short list of five women judges he was considering nominating to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

“I haven’t said it was her but she is outstanding,” Trump said, according to a pool report.

18:00 ET – Washington Post says Trump has told people he will nominate Barrett

President Trump has told people around him that he plans to nominate federal appeals court Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, The Washington Post newspaper has reported citing “people familiar with the matter”.

17:30 ET – NYT says Trump selects Barrett as next Supreme Court justice

President Donald Trump has selected Judge Amy Coney Barrett, the favorite of conservatives, to succeed the lat Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the US Supreme Court, according to the New York Times newspaper which cited unnamed sources.

“The president met with Judge Barrett at the White House this week and came away impressed with a jurist that leading conservatives told him would be a female Antonin Scalia, referring to the justice who died in 2016 and for whom Judge Barrett clerked,” the Times reported.

The newspaper cited “people close to the process who asked not to be identified disclosing the decision in advance” and said “aides cautioned that Mr. Trump sometimes upends his own plans”.

16:04 ET – Republican sources tell CNN Trump intends to nominate  Barrett to high court

President Donald Trump intends to nominate US Appeals Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the US Supreme Court to fill the seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who died last week.

Barrett met with Trump at the White House on Monday and the machinery is in motion, CNN reported, for the president to announce her selection at White House Rose Garden event on Saturday at 5 pm.

US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett is Trump’s choice for the US Supreme Court, CNN reported citing Republican sources. [Notre Dame University/Handout via Reuters]

16:00 ET – Poll: Winner of election should pick Ginsburg replacement on US Supreme Court

A majority of Americans oppose efforts by President Trump and the Republican-led Senate to fill a Supreme Court vacancy before the presidential election, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The survey, conducted Monday to Thursday, finds only 38 percent of Americans say the replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg should be nominated by Trump, while 57 percent say it should be left to the winner of the presidential election and a Senate vote next year.

Trump plans to announce his nominee for Ginsburg’s seat at 5 pm on Saturday.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden with Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris and his wife Jill Biden during a ceremony for Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the US Capitol [Chip Somodevilla/Pool via Reuters]

15:45 ET – Mike Bloomberg unveils $40 mn in Florida TV ads

New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg announced Friday that he’s blanketing Florida airwaves with a $40 million TV ad buy, the Politico news outlet reported.

The massive ad buy, announced by the Bloomberg-funded Independence USA PAC, comes the same week that nearly 5 million vote-by-mail ballot applications are being sent to Florida voters in the the start of what effectively is a month-long election in the nation’s largest swing state.

“This fall, the path to the presidency goes through Florida — and with mail-in ballots going out this week, voters will soon start deciding who gets its 29 electoral votes,” Bloomberg said in a statement.

New York billionaire Mike Bloomberg has promised to invest $100 mn in support of Democratic Party’s effort to unseat Republican President Donald Trump [File: Democratic National Convention via AP Photo)

15:30 ET – Trump endorsed by Black leaders in Atlanta, claims economic progress for African-Americans

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event with Black leaders at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta ([Evan Vucci/AP Photo]

President Donald Trump was endorsed by former American football star Herschel Walker and a group of Black ministers in Atlanta as Trump introduced a new proposal to help Black communities.

“I will always put Americans first and that includes very, very importantly Black Americans,” President Trump said at a campaign event at a convention centre in Atlanta.

The president announced a new plan to deliver “prosperity” to African Americans. Trump called it the “Platinum Plan”, which he said would be a contract with Black leaders that they vote Republican over the next four years.

The plan would create 3 million jobs for Blacks, enable small businesses and invest $500 bn in Black communities and urban neighborhoods and improve police standards, Trump said.

14:00 ET – Trump speaks at campaign event for Latinos in Florida

President Donald Trump looks out at audience members during a Latinos For Trump campaign event at the Trump National Doral Miami resort in Doral, Florida, on September 25, 2020. [Tom Brenner/Reuters]

President Donald Trump gave remarks to a crowd of about 150 supporters at a “Latinos for Trump” event at his Trump National Doral Miami golf resort.

“Hispanic Americans enrich our nation beyond measure,” Trump said, criticising his Democratic rival Joe Biden.

“He sold out the Hispanic American community,” Trump said
”I’ve achieved more for Hispanic Americans in 47 months than Joe Biden has achieved in 47 years.”

Trump took the stage inside a hotel ballroom to enthusiastic applause with a lot of people filming on cellphones, shouting, and the “Proud to be an American” walk-up song playing on loud speakers, according to a media pool report.

Ahead of his arrival, eight people seated on stage were wearing masks but a few minutes before the president entered, a man in a suit came up and spoke to them, upon which they removed their masks.

A spokesman said: “All those in close proximity to the president are tested beforehand.”

People sitting on stage with President Trump at a Latinos for Trump event at the president’s Doral resort hotel had been tested in advance for COVID-19[Tom Brenner/Reuters]

13:45 ET – Federal judge in California orders Trump administration to continue census for another month

A federal judge has stopped the 2020 census from finishing at month’s end and suspended a year-end deadline for delivering the numbers needed to decide how many seats each state gets in Congress, according to the Associated Press news service.

The preliminary injunction granted by US District Judge Lucy Koh in California late Thursday allows the once-a-decade head count of every US resident to continue through the end of October.

Koh said the shortened schedule ordered by President Donald Trump’s administration likely would produce inaccurate results that would last a decade.

“This urgently-needed injunction is a victory for our Constitution and American democracy, as it blocks the latest Trump attempt to silence the voices of vulnerable communities and cause traditionally under-counted communities to become even further under-represented, financially excluded and left behind,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.

13:15 ET – Google to block election ads after Election Day: Report

Alphabet Inc’s Google informed its advertisers on Friday that it will broadly block US election ads after polls close on November 3, Bloomberg reported. The new policy was first reported by online news service Axios.

In the email, Google said advertisers will not be able to run ads “referencing candidates, the election, or its outcome, given that an unprecedented amount of votes will be counted after election day this year,” the report added.

Google to block election ads after Election Day [File: Mike Blake/Reuters]

12:00 – Appeals Court revives House’s challenge of Trump wall funding

A federal appeals court revived a House challenge of President Donald Trump’s use of Defense Department money to build a border wall after Democrats refused to provide funding he requested, the Associated Press news service reported.

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia reversed a lower court’s dismissal of the House Democrats’ lawsuit. The appeals panel cited the House’s argument that it was cut out of its “constitutionally indispensable legislative role” when Trump unilaterally moved about $8 bn to border wall construction.

Congress’ power to appropriate spending “is a core structural protection of the Constitution — a wall, so to speak, between the branches of government that prevents encroachment of the House’s and Senate’s power of the purse,” the panel wrote.

The case now returns to the court of US District Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump appointee, who had initially ruled that House Democrats lacked the authority to sue in April 2019.

A federal appeals court ruled in favor of the House of Representatives in its legal challenge to President Donald Trump’s use of military funding to building the US-Mexico border wall [File: Carlos Barria/Reuters]

11:30 ET – Kamala Harris says Ginsburg showed Americans what real leadership looks like

“It’s actually really… it’s very important I think that in the midst of being 39 days away from the election, that we honour one of the greatest Americans, Ruth Bader Ginsburg in terms of all that she inspired, all that she empowered both legally and just in terms of the way she lived her life,” Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris told reporters.

Harris said she felt Ginsburg, a champion of women’s rights, had helped clear the way for her career in public service.

“First of all, she made America see what leadership looks like and in the law, in terms of public service and she broke so many barriers and she did it intentionally knowing that people like me could follow,” said Harris, who is the first woman of color to be nominated by a major US political party to its presidential ticket.

Vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris attends a memorial service in honour of the Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in Statuary Hall at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on September 25, 2020. [Erin Schaff/Pool via Reuters]

11:00 ET – House Speaker Pelosi lauds Ginsburg’s lobbying Congress for women’s right to appear before the Supreme Court

“In 1976, she tried to argue cases before the Supreme Court, to qualify for that. The Court turned her down six to three. There were nine Justices then, too. Six to three. She didn’t take no for an answer,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recalled in a television interview with CBS News.

“She lobbied Congress, and she – for three years and then Congress passed a law that said if you meet the qualifications, even if you’re a woman, you must be accepted at the court. And I read you, ‘Women who possess the necessary qualifications must be admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court’,” Pelosi said.

“Then Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that day, ‘It is my favorite example of how sometimes the Congress is more in tune with changing times and the expansion of the idea of equality than the Court is’,” Pelosi said.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi looks on as the casket of the late Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is carried following ceremonies honouring Ginsburg at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on September 25, 2020. [Jonathan Ernst/Pool via Reuters]

10:30 ET – Ginsburg lying in state in US Capitol

The late US Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was honored in a brief ceremony in the US Capitol as she lies in state there, the first woman and the first Jewish person to receive that honor.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi briefly spoke before opera singer Denyce Graves, a favorite of Ginsburg, sang in tribute to the late justice.

“Pursuing justice took resilience, persistence, a commitment to never stop,” said Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt, who eulogized Ginsburg today and at the Supreme Court memorial service on Wednesday.

“Today we stand in sorrow and tomorrow we the people must carry on Justice Ginsburg’s legacy. Even as our hearts are breaking, we must rise with her strength and move forward.”

09:45 ET – Trump drug benefit promise is not funded

President Donald Trump on Thursday made a late-campaign promise to send $200 coupons for prescription drugs to the 33 million Americans that take part in Medicare, but there is a hitch: The $6.6bn needed to fund those coupons have not been allocated.

President Donald Trump delivers remarks on healthcare on Thursday in Charlotte [AP Photo/Evan Vucci]

Stat News points out it is unclear whether this programme will be implemented considering it is Congress, not the White House, that dictates spending of taxpayer money and the White House has not said where they would come up with the funds for it.

In addition, the proposal has not even been worked out, Stat News reported. It is just an idea that is still in the planning stages. The New York Times reported the Trump administration tried to partner with the pharmaceutical industry on a similar $100 coupon card but the industry turned them down.

09:30 ET – Huge demand for mail ballots breaking records

Due to the pandemic and new voting rules, more than 28 million mail-in and absentee ballots have been requested across the US to date with another 43 million set to go out automatically, shattering records, according to a CNN survey.

After checking in with election offices in 42 states and the District of Columbia, the survey reveals the number of ballots set to be distributed already exceeds the 50 million or so mail ballots cast in 2016. It is worth noting that it is certain every ballot requested so far this year will not be returned.

There are 1.3 million more ballot requests from registered Democrats than from Republicans in the battleground states that report data by party registration. However, this is far from a predictor of overall turnout and it also does not indicate whom those registered voters are voting for.

09:15 ET – Obama to raise money with Harris

Former President Barack Obama is scheduled to hold two virtual fundraisers with Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris next Friday, reports Bloomberg News.

In this February 16, 2012 file photo, President Barack Obama walks with California Attorney General Kamala Harris, after arriving at San Francisco International Airport [File: AP Photo/Eric Risberg]

While these will be the first fundraisers the two have taken part in, they did record a video last month and Obama held two fundraisers with Biden in June that brought in a reported $11m.

One of the Obama-Harris fundraisers will be for small donors. Tickets for the other are selling for $100,000-250,000.

09:00 ET – Ginsburg’s historic honour

The coffin of late US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg arrives at the US Capitol this morning where she will lie in state and continue blazing a trail as she did during her career: Ginsburg is the first woman and the first Jewish person to be honoured with such a ceremony in the Capitol.

There will be a private ceremony to honour her legacy, open only to invited guests due to the coronavirus. Among those attending are House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris.

Read all the updates from yesterday, September 24, here.