Background Briefing: October 28, 2020


Kavanaugh’s Partisanship Towards Election Vote Count Raises Alarms

We begin with a concurring opinion by Justice Kavanaugh on yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling to throw out mailed ballots in Wisconsin that are postmarked by election day but arrive late in which Kavanaugh echoed Trump’s tweets that late results could flip an election and charges of a rigged election could explode. Elie Honig, who served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York and is now a legal analyst at CNN where he has an article “Brett Kavanaugh’s friendly message to Donald Trump“, joins us. We discuss the portent of another Bush v. Gore ruling by the new Supreme Court which has Roberts, Kavanaugh and now Barrett, all of whom worked on the Republican legal team to shut down the vote count in Florida in 2000 handing the presidency to Bush by a 537 vote margin. With Trump openly claiming he needed Barrett on the court to deal with the election count and her willingness to be a prop at an White House election campaign ceremony, the question arises will the new majority of conservative justices reveal whether they are true jurists, or just partisans in robes. 


The Post Office Can No Longer Deliver Ballots on Time

Then we look into what appears to be a successful strategy by Trump to install a flunky DeJoy as Postmaster General to sabotage the Post Office and slow down the mail now that the USPS can’t guarantee that mail-in ballots posted this week will be delivered on time. Richard John, a professor of journalism at Columbia University who is an historian specializing in the history of business, technology and communications and is the author of Spreading the News: The American Postal System from Franklin to Morse, joins us to discuss the need to either vote early, drop of your ballot in an official drop-box, or vote in person on election day.


 Grandstanding at Senate Hearing on Section 230 of Communications Decency Act

Then finally we assess today’s Senate hearing on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act at which the titans of tech from Facebook, Google and Twitter testified in what turned out to be an election campaign grandstanding event for Republican Senators Cruz and Wicker to complain Twitter blocked Giuliani’s Russian-manufactured dossier on Hunter Biden. David Dayen, the Executive Editor of the American Prospect and author of Monopolized: Life in the Age of Corporate Power joins us to discuss what the hearing should have been about.