National News

National News at a Glance

Posted September 2, 2018 9:42 p.m. EDT

How Brett Kavanaugh Would Transform the Supreme Court

Most Supreme Court appointments are somewhat inconsequential. A conservative replaces a conservative, a liberal replaces a liberal, and the court’s direction is unchanged. That is not the case with the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, whose Senate confirmation hearings begin Tuesday. Kavanaugh is more conservative than the justice he would replace, Anthony Kennedy. But there is another reason that President Donald Trump’s pick of Kavanaugh could remake the court. His confirmation would result in a replacement of the court’s swing justice, moving Chief Justice John Roberts — a more reliably conservative vote than Kennedy — to the court’s ideological center.

Meghan McCain, Forged in Her Father’s Image

As Meghan McCain delivered a eulogy for her father Saturday, she was at times too grief-stricken to catch her breath. But as McCain shared one of her father’s dying directives — “Show them how tough you are” — her voice stopped wavering. The warrior’s daughter steeled herself and stepped into battle. “The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again,” McCain said, “because America was always great.” Her emotional call to arms was proof that McCain is her father’s daughter, a paradoxical Republican figure willing to pay the price of being politically direct.

After a Primary on the Fringe, Georgia Republican Tacks Toward the Center

Brian Kemp, the Republican running for Georgia governor, won his party’s nomination with the help of a TV ad that explicitly argued that he is not a moderate guy. It portrayed Kemp as a gun-toting, “politically incorrect conservative” who would personally round up “criminal illegals” in his pickup. But that was then. In his latest TV ad, playing in the Atlanta Metro market for the November general election, Kemp speaks about “growing jobs, not government” and investing in education. Locked in a competitive general election race against the Democrat Stacey Abrams, Kemp has been gravitating to the center.

An Accused Russian Agent, and Her Pursuit of a Jet-Fuel Payday

For the Russian gun rights activist, it would’ve been a rich payday: $1 million to help broker the sale of Russian jet fuel to an American middleman. She just had to secure the fuel. So Maria Butina, whom American prosecutors accuse of being a covert Russian agent, reached out to Russian contacts. A year later, Butina, 29, is jailed outside Washington. Supported by Russian intelligence, she managed to infiltrate conservative groups and advance Moscow’s interests in America, prosecutors say. Her efforts to deal in Russian jet fuel, detailed in emails, involved David Keene, former president of the National Rifle Association.

Political Year of the Woman? Been There, Done That, Oregon Says

Women have changed the political landscape this year from New York to Alaska, winning a flood of nominations to run for Congress and state legislatures. But Oregon was already there. Women control the offices of governor and attorney general, and have more members in top state legislative posts than any other state. But by being early to elect so many women, Oregon has also added a layer of complication. Female elected officials are being forced to defend their records, notably over their stances on issues that have propelled calls for more female candidates around the country: sexual harassment and abortion.

Mollie Tibbetts’ Father Asks That Her Death Not Be Exploited to Promote Racism

The father of Mollie Tibbetts, an Iowa student whose body was found last month, has called on others to not “callously distort and corrupt” her death to promote a political agenda, a day after Donald Trump Jr. blamed Democrats for her death. Since authorities announced Aug. 22 that a farmworker from Mexico was charged with murder in her death, politicians and pundits have used the arrest to push for stronger immigration laws. In a column in The Des Moines Register on Saturday, her father, Rob Tibbetts, said: “Do not appropriate Mollie’s soul in advancing views she believed were profoundly racist.”