Ruth Bader Ginsburg, TikTok, Emmys: Your Weekend Briefing
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Here are the week’s top stories, and a look ahead
1. President Trump said he would nominate a woman to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court next week, setting up a momentous battle in the waning days of the presidential campaign.
Mr. Trump pressed Senate Republicans on Saturday to confirm his choice to replace Justice Ginsburg “without delay” following her death on Friday. Read our full obituary of Justice Ginsburg, who died from complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer. She was 87.
If confirmed, Mr. Trump’s selection would shift the Supreme Court to the right for years. But with some Republican senators balking, Mitch McConnell, the senate majority leader, is still weighing whether he has enough votes to force a confirmation before the election on Nov. 3.
Here’s how the key players in the Senate have indicated they would move on the vacancy, a look at the potential swing votes, how the confirmation process could swiftly take shape and the president’s short list of potential nominees.
Hanging over the confirmation battle is the shadow of Merrick Garland. Mr. McConnell refused to hold a vote on Mr. Garland, President Barack Obama’s nominee in 2016. “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice,” Mr. McConnell said at the time.
Democrats moved swiftly to warn Republicans against a hasty confirmation process — echoing Mr. McConnell’s own comments from 2016.
2. The presidential campaign has largely been focused on the pandemic and the economy. That may change.
The Supreme Court could quickly become a shared focal point for the candidates on issues from abortion and gay rights to religious liberty and environmental regulation. But Joe Biden’s campaign is sticking to what it believes is a winning strategy. Campaign aides said they would seek to link the court vacancy to the future of health care in America.
With 23 Senate seats held by Republicans on the ballot this fall, the fight over replacing Justice Ginsburg, though centered in Washington, will sprawl across the country. The cash — and lobbying efforts — are flowing.
3. And through the sparring, remembrances for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg poured in.
Justice Stephen Breyer called her “a great justice; a woman of valor; a rock of righteousness.” President Trump said “whether you agree or not — she was an amazing woman who led an amazing life.” Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez lauded Justice Ginsburg and said the fact that her death had touched off a political furor was a sign of an unhealthy democracy.
Americans paid their respects to Justice Ginsburg from the Supreme Court, where a crowd recited the Jewish prayer for the dead, to the steps of her Brooklyn high school and courthouses across the U.S., like the one in Brooklyn, below.
Justice Ginsburg, the second woman appointed to the Supreme Court, earned her late-life stardom with pointed and powerful dissenting opinions. These pictures capture moments in her legal career, like the one above when she was introduced as a Supreme Court justice for the first time in 1993.
A mother who urged her to constantly be independent. Teachers who encouraged her. Having selective hearing in a marriage. Justice Ginsburg offered some advice back in 2016.
4. President Trump said he had approved a deal between TikTok and major American companies, potentially saving the Chinese-owned app from his administration’s upcoming ban.
The deal would create a new U.S.-based company, TikTok Global, in which Oracle, an American software maker, and Walmart would own 20 percent. The Commerce Department, which had planned to bar TikTok from U.S. app stores as of midnight Sunday over national security concerns, said that it would delay that plan for one week.
The administration is also planning to ban WeChat, which would jeopardize an essential means of communication for millions of users. A federal judge considering an injunction on the ban indicated she would decide before the ban goes into effect.
5. The U.S. is approaching another staggering number: 200,000 people dead from the coronavirus. Above, each flag at a memorial in Austin represents a Texan who died from Covid-19.
The country is expected to cross the threshold any day now. More than 6.7 million people have been infected with the virus. Case numbers remain persistently high across much of the country, though reports of new cases have dropped considerably since late July, when the country averaged well over 60,000 per day. We’re tracking the latest case count and map here.
Vaccine development is underway, but wide distribution is still months away. Once they’re produced, how do you ship millions of vaccine doses at minus 112 degrees Fahrenheit? That’s only one logistical challenge in efforts to end the pandemic.
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6. The human toll and destruction of Oregon’s worst wildfires in a century have been substantial. But in economic terms, the greatest damage to the state has been to its trees.
Oregon’s economy remains deeply rooted in its woodlands — half of the state is blanketed by forests. And the timber industry, while diminished, still powers rural economies, along with travel and tourism throughout the majestic old-growth canopies. One economist estimated that timber and forest-based recreation generate $6 billion annually in the state.
Now, nearly 800,000 acres of forest (an area larger than Rhode Island) is within the perimeters of still-raging fires.
7. Lights! Camera! And … let’s hope the Wi-Fi works for TV’s biggest night.
Jimmy Kimmel will host the 72nd Emmy Awards from a nearly empty Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles as viewers — and the nominees — tune in from home. In an effort to make the broadcast go as smoothly as possible, the Television Academy has sent a kit to each nominee with instructions on how to put together a D.I.Y. home studio.
“Watchmen,” above, H.B.O.’s innovative spin on the superhero graphic novel, led all shows with 26 nominations. Here’s what we’re watching for and the full list of nominees. The show starts at 8 p.m. Eastern, and we’ll have live coverage at nytimes.com.
8. Now boarding, destination: nowhere.
Looking to satisfy their itch to travel, thousands of people in Brunei, Taiwan, Japan and Australia have started booking flights that start and end in the same place. Some airlines call these “scenic flights,” but others are more direct and call them “flights to nowhere.”
“I didn’t realize how much I’d missed traveling — missed flying — until the moment the captain’s voice came on the speaker with the welcome and safety announcement,” said Nadzri Harif, a passenger on Royal Brunei’s flight to nowhere.
For more ideas on pandemic-friendly fall activities, this guide has all your fun covered.
9. The nominees are in for this year’s National Book Award.
Fiction contenders include Brit Bennett, above, the author of “The Vanishing Half”; Randall Kenan, a beloved writer who died in August; and Douglas Stuart, a debut novelist who is also a Booker Prize finalist. Here’s the full list.
All 10 of the writers longlisted for poetry are first-time nominees, and two are debut authors.
We also spoke to Madeline McIntosh, the U.S. chief executive of Penguin Random House, which has fared better than some of its rivals during the pandemic. The publishing house was, in a weird way, prepared for the new retail reality.
10. And finally, a plethora of great reads.
Chris Rock on America’s summer of strife and his dramatic turn in the new season of “Fargo.” The possibility of life on Venus. One N.F.L. team’s attempt to turn protest into action. Those are just a few of this week’s Best Weekend Reads.
Our editors also suggest these 11 new books, the latest TV recommendations, and new music from Justin Bieber, Sam Smith and others.
Have you been keeping up with the headlines? Test your knowledge with our news quiz. And here’s the front page of our Sunday paper, the Sunday Review from Opinion and our crossword puzzles.
It’s the last weekend of summer. Hope you have an easy seasonal transition.
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