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Amy Coney Barrett, Election Day, French Open: Your Weekend Briefing

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Here are the week’s top stories, and a look ahead

1. President Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett, above right, to the Supreme Court, igniting a partisan and ideological battle in the final days of the presidential campaign.

“She is a woman of unparalleled achievement, towering intellect, sterling credentials and unyielding loyalty to the Constitution,” Mr. Trump said in a Rose Garden ceremony. In her own remarks, Judge Barrett said, “Judges are not policymakers, and they must be resolute in setting aside any policy views they may hold.”

In choosing Judge Barrett, 48, to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the president opted for the candidate most likely to thrill his conservative base and outrage liberal opponents. She is steeped in conservative legal traditions, and also in a religious culture that friends say informs her approach to her life and the law.

Judge Barrett’s record is almost uniformly conservative on abortion, gun rights, discrimination and immigration. If she is confirmed, our Supreme Court reporter writes, she would move the court to the right, making compromise less likely and putting at risk the right to abortion established in Roe v. Wade.

For years, the conservative movement has been searching for a woman to assume the mantle of Justice Antonin Scalia, the giant of conservative jurisprudence for whom Judge Barrett clerked. Conservatives believe they have found her.

2. Now begins a confirmation process not seen in a generation.

The Judiciary Committee, led by Senator Lindsey Graham, will hold confirmation hearings for four consecutive days beginning Oct. 12. The full Senate could vote by the final days of October. Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, has not fully committed to a pre-election vote.

No seriously contested Supreme Court nomination has been confirmed so quickly since 1949. Senator Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, said he would fight the nomination. He accused President Trump and the Senate Republicans of “shamelessly rushing to fill Justice Ginsburg’s seat less than 40 days before a presidential election.”

On Friday, a divided Washington honored Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who became the first woman and the first Jewish person to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol.


Because of the pandemic, many voting rules have changed, making it harder than usual to figure out how to cast your ballot. So we did the work for you to help you ensure that your vote is counted. Tell us your state, and we’ll guide you from there. Above, the clerk’s office in St. Clair Shores, Mich.

And we’re officially in debate season. Tuesday night brings the first of three presidential debates between Mr. Trump and Joe Biden. It will be moderated by Chris Wallace, the anchor of “Fox News Sunday.”


4. Members of the right-wing Proud Boys held a rally in Portland on Saturday, raising the temperature of a city already on edge.

Gov. Kate Brown declared a state of emergency in advance of the arrival of the Proud Boys, a group whose members — many of whom support President Trump — have a history of violence at protests. Counterprotesters held rallies nearby.

Demonstrations across the country kicked up again this week after a grand jury in Kentucky decided not to indict either of the Louisville police officers who fatally shot Breonna Taylor.

5. Chinese officials have inoculated tens of thousands — if not hundreds of thousands — of people with an unproven coronavirus vaccine.

Three vaccine candidates are being injected into workers whom the government considers essential along with many others, with plans to give shots to even more people, amounting to a big wager that the vaccines will eventually prove safe and effective.

The unproven vaccines could have harmful side effects. Ineffective vaccines could lead to a false sense of security and encourage behavior that could lead to even more infections.

Vaccines typically require years of research and testing. We’re tracking the race to produce a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine.

7. Before the show “Schitt’s Creek” swept the Emmys this month, its creator Dan Levy told his fans he was going back to school to learn about Canadian Indigenous history. About 64,000 people joined him.

The topic of the class at the University of Alberta in Edmonton is a matter that Canada struggles with openly: how to atone for systemic racism against the country’s Indigenous people, and how to rebuild those relationships. Every week, thousands of people tune into watch Mr. Levy’s study group with professors including Tracy Bear, above.

“I’m learning a lot of this embarrassingly late in the game,” Mr. Levy said during the first discussion. “But ultimately these stories are crucial to the identity of our country.”


9. Before the selfie, there was the self-portrait.

The latest in our Close Read series examines one of the earliest stand-alone self-portraits in Western painting, from the German Renaissance painter Albrecht Dürer. It’s not exactly a welcoming image — the portrait is “supremely arrogant,” our critic writes.

The painting shows the beginning of a Renaissance conception of the self as a subjective individual, the author of one’s own life story.

10. And finally, make some time for our Best Weekend Reads.

Getting 12,000 feet up and away from it all. The pros and cons of swimming with a hammerhead. Finding resolve in New York six months into the pandemic. These and more great stories await in The Times Magazine’s Voyages issue.

Our editors also suggest these 11 new books, new songs from Jennifer Lopez and Maluma, above, and others, and what to watch on TV this weekend.

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.

Have a terrific week.


Your Weekend Briefing is published Sundays at 6 a.m. Eastern.

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