The Atlantic Daily: The Coming Confirmation Fight

The political battle to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg is looming.


The country spent the weekend mourning the loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court justice and pop-culture icon.

Her passing, just a month and a half before a presidential election, opens up a vacancy on the high court—one, my colleague Russell Berman warned, with the potential to aggravate political tensions in the final weeks of the race.

The president has indicated that he hopes to fill the slot before November 3—and told reporters today that he’ll “probably” name his nominee this Saturday.

As the nation anticipates a fraught nomination process, consider these arguments from our writers:

Don’t make the election about the vacancy.

Anne Applebaum argues: “Fixating on the Court organizes the electorate along two fronts of a culture war.”

This is a dangerous moment for the Court’s legitimacy.

“There are so many ways that the current moment could turn out very badly for the Court,” Mary Ziegler warns.

There are reasons to doubt Mitch McConnell’s power.

“McConnell cannot afford more than three defections in the face of what will certainly be united Democratic opposition to any last-minute Trump nominee,” David Frum wrote over the weekend. Since then, two Republican senators have done just that.


One question, answered: A reader, who jokes that they live in “the last household in the country not to have Netflix,” asks for an update on fall network television:

We watch New Amsterdam and Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist and Blue Bloods and This Is Us. Do they have any way of filming during COVID-19? Are they going to re-air last season’s shows, or what? … What about shows that normally start new seasons in the fall?

Shirley Li, our Hollywood-based staff writer, shares the latest:

The industry-wide shutdown that began in March continues to affect productions today, with premiere dates being postponed and even previously renewed series such as ABC’s Stumptown being canceled. Pandemic-friendly game shows and imported entertainment from outside the U.S. have been filling the void left behind by traditional dramas and comedies, resulting in an unusual fall-TV slate.

The good news? Productions are resuming. Network comedies like ABC’s Black-ish have started filming new seasons, FX’s Fargo managed to shoot with a crew of about 500 under strict health-and-safety guidelines in August, and even The Bachelorette—a show not exactly made for social distancing—completed filming of its next season in quarantine. So don’t despair: Of your favorites, This Is Us has a set return date of November 10, and NBC confirmed that New Amsterdam and Zoey’s will be back in 2021. TV isn’t over yet; it just needs you to stay tuned.

43 days remain until the 2020 presidential election. Here’s today’s essential read:

An experiment in Wisconsin changed voters’ minds about Donald Trump, David A. Graham reports.

What to read if … you need a break from the news:

Did Boomer parenting fuel Millennial burnout?

Dear Therapist


In her latest column, Lori Gottlieb advises a reader who is having an affair—and has never been happier:

I am 67 and often felt old and tired, but suddenly I felt youthful and happy and like I had something to look forward to …

I feel incredibly guilty and am worried that if we come clean, we will lose the respect of our children and become pariahs in our community.

Read the rest, and Lori’s response. Every week, she answers questions from readers about their problems, big and small. Write to Lori anytime at

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