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The Week Magazine

The Week Magazine October 23, 2020

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The Week makes sense of the news by curating the best of the U.S. and international media into a succinct, lively digest.

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48 Edities

in deze editie

2 min.
editor’s letter

When the Founders wrote that a “well-regulated militia” must have the right to bear arms, did they mean every citizen has a right to own an AR-15 capable of killing 50 schoolchildren in a minute? Does prohibiting discrimination based on “sex” now include gay and transgender people? How should we apply today such vague, 18th-century language as “due process,” “cruel and unusual,” and even “liberty”? Most reasonable people would agree that applying the Constitution to current legal controversies is inherently a subjective process. But not judicial “originalists” like the late Justice Antonin Scalia and his protégé, Amy Coney Barrett. Originalists and textualists insist that justices must discern the meaning of the Constitution and laws when they were written and neutrally apply them, with no consideration of the consequences on people.…

5 min.
barrett’s contentious confirmation hearing

What happened Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett told the Senate Judiciary Committee this week that her personal views wouldn’t influence her judicial rulings, as Democrats attempted to cast her as an ideologue who would vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act and overturn Roe v. Wade. On the second day of Barrett’s confirmation hearing, the conservative appeals court judge declined to answer Democrats’ questions about her views on cases regarding gun control, abortion rights, same-sex marriage, and the Affordable Care Act. She presented herself as a textualist and originalist in the mold of her mentor, Justice Antonin Scalia, for whom she clerked in 1998. “A judge must apply the law as written, not as the judge wishes it were,” she said. In their questioning, Democratic senators particularly focused on…

3 min.
trump returns to the campaign trail

What happened President Trump resumed in-person campaigning this week only 10 days after announcing his Covid-19 diagnosis, holding packed rallies in must-win states as he sought to re-energize his stumbling re-election effort. At an event in Sanford, Fla., Trump tossed out face masks to supporters and talked at length about his recovery. “They say I’m immune. I feel so powerful,” he said during his hour-long speech. “I will kiss everyone in that audience.” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, said test results indicate that the president is no longer contagious but warned that Trump is “asking for trouble” by holding rallies with no social distancing. While campaigning at a senior center in southeastern Florida, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden criticized the president for throwing “superspreader parties,” and asked the…

1 min.
it wasn’t all bad

In a normal year, Alaska’s bays would be filled with 65 whale-watching boats each summer day. This year, instead of the hum of boat motors, the ocean is filled with whale songs. In the absence of human activity, humpback whales are calling more, resting more, and socializing more. With tourism at near-zero during the pandemic, “it’s the first time in human history that we’ve had the technological ability to listen to these whales” without human interference, said researcher Michelle Fournet. Sasha Tinning and her 5-year-old grandson, Carver, wanted to give something unique to the firefighters battling wildfires in their home state of Oregon. “Thank you, firefighters,” read the note they dropped off at a nearby donation tent. “Here is a friend for you, in case you get lonely. Love, Carver.” A…

3 min.
the vp debate: what did we learn?

As a sequel to the “festival of incoherent interruption” President Trump delivered a few weeks ago, last week’s vice presidential debate was a “jarringly normal” affair, said Eric Levitz in NYMag.com. The plexiglass screens separating Sen. Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence served as a troubling reminder of the White House coronavirus outbreak, but the candidates traded talking points with a “passive-aggressive politesse” that recalled “the olden days of 2014,” before Trump’s fateful descent of his golden escalator. Neither Harris nor Pence delivered a knockout punch. But with Joe Biden’s poll lead widening just weeks before the election, that means “Trump lost.” Harris’ most effective minutes came at the very beginning, said Shane Goldmacher in NYTimes.com, when she delivered “a devastating critique of the Trump administration’s handling of the…

1 min.
good week/bad week

Good week for: Deer, with new State Farm data showing 70,000 fewer insurance claims this year—a 20 percent reduction—for damage caused by animal collisions. Alto males, with new research from China’s Southwest University suggesting that women should beware of men with deep voices when selecting a mate. The same high testosterone levels that deepen some men’s voices mean they “may have more infidelity behaviors,” the researchers found. Determination, after Brianna Hill of Illinois went into labor while taking the bar exam via video link at home, washed herself off, and finished the exam. Just a few hours later, she gave birth. “Definitely a little crazy,” Hill conceded. Bad week for: Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, whose statues were torn down by protesters in Portland, Ore., during what they called an “Indigenous People’s Day of Rage.” Fake…