Will Donald Trump actually be kept off the ballot come November because of his actions before and during the Jan. 6 insurrection?
Don’t count on it.
The Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday on the case, and it sounds as if the court is unlikely to keep Trump off the ballot. That seems to be the general consensus of news coverage following Thursday’s arguments based on the Colorado Supreme Court barring him from that state’s ballot.
MSNBC legal analyst Andrew Weissmann said on air, “Here there is clearly, I think, five votes, if not nine votes that are going to reverse this case. … There was a lot of concern about having a state have the power to interfere with a federal election. It’s not a state interfering with a state election. Should they really be able to weigh in on this?”
Weissmann flat out said, “Big takeaway is this is, I think, going to be a win for Donald Trump and a loss for Colorado.”
Former U.S. acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal agreed, going on MSNBC and saying, “So, you know, I’ve watched over 400 Supreme Court arguments. I’ve done 50 myself. I would tell you this argument did not go well for the Trump challengers, and that’s to put it mildly. I probably have some other adjectives that I won’t say on air.”
Adam Liptak, who covers the Supreme Court for The New York Times, wrote the court “seemed poised on Thursday to issue a lopsided decision” in favor of Trump, noting, “There was very little discussion of the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol or of Mr. Trump’s role in it. But a majority of the justices indicated that individual states may not disqualify candidates in a national election unless Congress first enacts legislation.”
This didn’t just run down perceived political lines among the justices. The New York Times’ Alan Feuer and Charlie Savage wrote, “Two of the court’s three liberal justices, Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson, joined their conservative colleagues in displaying doubts about allowing a state to decide who can run for a national office.”
The takeaways story by Feuer and Savage is an excellent breakdown of what happened, and what we can expect moving forward.
Politico’s Zach Montellaro and Kyle Cheney wrote the court “seemed incredibly skeptical of the attempt to keep former President Donald Trump off the ballot.”
There’s no timetable for when the Supreme Court will announce its opinion, but the justices are expected to move rather quickly — given that they, generally, seem to be in agreement. Those who brought the case asked for there to be a ruling by March 5 — the date of the Colorado primary and Super Tuesday.
A panel of CNN commentators said it appeared the Supreme Court was “looking for an off ramp” to allow Trump to stay on the ballot. Apparently, they didn’t have to look too hard.
Gershkovich discussed during Carlson-Putin interview
Tucker Carlson aired his two-hour interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday and it went about as you would have expected.
The Washington Post’s Francesca Ebel wrote, “By the end of the conversation, it was clear that Putin had no intention of ending his brutal war against Ukraine. But Carlson, who was sacked from Fox last year, seemed ready to surrender. Putin offered to keep talking. Carlson, evidently exhausted by the Russian leader’s longwinded conspiracy theories and grievances against the West, thanked him and called it quits — far short of the media coup that he had been touting.”
Ebel added, “Carlson spent most of the two-hour interview in silence, or looking confounded. He did not ask a single question about Russia’s attacks on civilian areas or critical infrastructure in Ukraine, which have killed thousands. There was no mention of the war crimes facing the Russian leader, for the forced deportation of Ukrainian children. Absent too were questions on Russia’s sweeping political crackdowns on Putin’s critics or the long jail sentences meted out to ordinary Russians staging antiwar protests.”
The topic of imprisoned Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich did come up. Gershkovich was jailed in Russia in March 2023 on charges of espionage — charges vehemently denied by the Journal and the U.S. government, which considers Gershkovich “wrongfully detained.”
Putin continued to insist that Gershkovich was a spy, saying he was “caught red-handed when he was secretly getting confidential information.”
In a statement, the Journal said, “Evan is a journalist, and journalism is not a crime. Any portrayal to the contrary is total fiction. Evan was unjustly arrested and has been wrongfully detained by Russia for nearly a year for doing his job, and we continue to demand his immediate release.”
During the interview, Putin shut down Carlson’s suggestion to release Gershkovich as a goodwill gesture. However, Putin said it was likely Gershkovich would probably be released in a prisoner swap at some point, and that discussions have been held. But there is still no time frame for his release.
Putin said, “I also want him to return to his homeland, at last. I’m absolutely sincere. But let me say once again: The dialogue continues. The more public we render these things of this nature, the more difficult it becomes to resolve them. Everything has to be done in a calm manner.”
The Journal said, “We’re encouraged to see Russia’s desire for a deal that brings Evan home, and we hope this will lead to his rapid release and return to his family and our newsroom.”
And now for other media news, tidbits and links for your weekend review …
- During a brief meeting with reporters on Thursday, Trump said former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi caused the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021. That’s something that needs to be fact-checked, right? Here’s what CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale said on air: “That is an insane statement. That is beyond fact-check false. That is completely deranged.” He later added, “Just completely, absolute bonkers nonsense.”
- The Washington Post’s Matt Viser and Tyler Pager with “Biden responds angrily to special counsel report questioning his memory.”
- For Defector, NFL writer Mike Tanier with a well-written and yet thoroughly depressing piece for these times in the media: “Three Newsrooms Imploded Around Me In Under A Year.”
- Dr. Anthony Fauci’s memoir — “On Call: A Doctor’s Journey in Public Service” — will come out June 18, according to publisher Viking Books. In a statement, Fauci said, “I hope that this memoir will serve as a personalized document for the reader to understand better the daunting challenges that we have faced in public health over the past 40 years. I would also like to inspire younger individuals in particular to consider careers in public health and public service.” While Fauci, 83, is most notable for his work during COVID-19, the memoir will explore his entire life and career, which included being the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and serving under seven presidents.
- Will Lester, a longtime reporter and editor for The Associated Press, died unexpectedly at his home in Maryland on Wednesday, according to his family. He was 71. AP executive editor Julie Pace tweeted, “Will Lester was the type of person that makes AP special. A talented and committed editor, and equally kind and good human. He cared about his colleagues and his work. He mostly operated out of the spotlight, and generously applauded those whose work found it. We will miss him.” The AP’s Meg Kinnard has more, including how Lester played a key role in the AP’s 2000 election-night decision to not call the presidential race.
- The Boston Globe’s Mark Shanahan with “Amid ratings challenges at GBH, external investigation probes workplace culture.” (It may be behind a paywall, so you can also read Media Nation’s Dan Kennedy with “The Globe portrays GBH News as an operation beset by turmoil and toxicity.”)
- The Guardian with “New York vigilantes take down ‘migrant’ on live TV — but he was from the US.”
- For The New Yorker, Patrick Radden Keefe with “A Teen’s Fatal Plunge Into the London Underworld.”
- The New York Times’ Shaila Dewan with “Her Son Vanished After a 1980 Run-In With Police. She Wants Answers.”
- The New York Times’ Matt Flegenheimer writes about the Iowa basketball star in “Endless Range, Boundless Swagger: Why Caitlin Clark Is Different.”
- Behind a paywall, but excellent work by talented Philadelphia Inquirer sportswriter Alex Coffey: “The Hardest Hit: Hugh Douglas lost his son five months ago. The pain never takes a day off.”
- Los Angeles Times columnist Anita Chabria with “Why is it OK for rich guys to steal my work?”
- I’m just including this for the absurdity of all of it: NBC News’ Patrick Smith with “Man who spent years building Eiffel Tower with 700K matchsticks may be denied world record for using wrong matches.”
- The Athletic’s Andrew Marchand reports that CBS “The NFL Today” host James Brown has signed a two-year extension. Interestingly, however, Marchand reports that three of the show’s longtime analysts — Bill Cowher, Boomer Esiason and Phil Simms — have contracts that expire after Sunday’s Super Bowl. That doesn’t mean the show is set for a turnover, but it wouldn’t be shocking either. Marchand writes, “Maybe they all come back, but it would be unsurprising if at least one of the trio is not retained. CBS could opt for a smaller set or could try to find the right newcomer.” Analysts Nate Burleson and J.J. Watt likely will return, and there’s a good chance that legendary coach Bill Belichick lands at a network next season since he probably won’t be coaching. CBS could be a landing spot for him.
- Speaking of that show, CBS will air a one-hour special at noon Eastern on Sunday called “You Are Looking Live,” which looks back at the origins of the ground-breaking “The NFL Today” pregame show. “You are looking live” was how host Brent Musburger started each show. Musburger hosted the show from 1975 to 1989 and it included fellow broadcasters Irv Cross, Phyllis George and gambling expert Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder. (George was later replaced by Jayne Kennedy.)
Have feedback or a tip? Email Poynter senior media writer Tom Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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