On Monday morning, the Senate Judiciary Committee begins four days of hearings on Judge Neil Gorsuch, nominated by President Trump to fill a vacant Supreme Court seat. Gorsuch is expected to make his first comments on Monday afternoon, after hours of opening statements from members of the Judiciary Committee. On Tuesday and Wednesday, each senator on the committee gets at least 50 minutes to question the conservative federal appellate judge from Colorado, and witnesses will speak for or against Gorsuch on Wednesday and Thursday. Republicans are united in their support for Gorsuch, while no Democrats have yet said they will vote for him.
Democrats are angry that Republicans blocked any consideration of Judge Merrick Garland, a similarly well-credentialed federal appellate judge nominated by former President Barack Obama, for almost a year. Democrats have enough votes to filibuster Gorsuch's nomination, probably, though Republicans have threatened to get rid of the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees if they try. In the meantime, they have a list of questions for him and about him to try to figure out how he would rule on the high court. Gorsuch "is a bit of a puzzle," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). "We're going to try to put those pieces together so that the puzzle is complete and we have an understanding of what kind of a fifth vote will be going on the court." Peter Weber
President Trump continues to have record-low approval ratings with the general public, but he is maintaining his core base of supporters, finds a Washington Post/ABC News poll released Sunday in advance of the 100-day mark of Trump's presidency on April 29. Just 42 percent of Americans approve of the job Trump is doing so far, compared to an average of 69 percent approval for past presidents around the same time in their administrations.
A majority of respondents said Trump does not understand their problems, is not trustworthy, has yet to score a major accomplishment as president, and is not guided by a clear set of principles. However, more Americans say Democrats are out of step with the public than feel the same about the GOP, and 96 percent of Trump voters said they would back him again today. Bonnie Kristian
North Korea on Sunday said it is prepared to bomb the USS Carl Vinson, a U.S. aircraft carrier leading a Navy carrier strike group toward North Korea in a show of force.
"Our revolutionary forces are combat-ready to sink a U.S. nuclear powered aircraft carrier with a single strike," said an editorial in a newspaper run by the Kim Jong Un regime's Workers' Party. The article called the ship a "gross animal" and the potential strike "an actual example to show our military's force."
The carrier strike group was first said to be on its way toward North Korea in early April, only to be sighted thousands of miles away, near Singapore. The Trump administration blamed the confusion on miscommunication, and the Vinson is noq in transit to the Sea of Japan off the coast of North Korea. Bonnie Kristian
No one candidate is expected to take an outright majority; rather, four candidates are in contention to make it to the second round: far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen, center-right François Fillon, centrist Emmanuel Macron, and far-left populist Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Of these, Le Pen and Macron are generally considered the frontrunners in a close race, and Le Pen — an immigration and war on terror hardliner — is thought to benefit from the fear created by Thursday's terrorist attack in Paris.
France has a prime minister as well as a president; the current PM is a member of the Socialist Party. The prime minister is generally tasked with domestic policy while the president's focus is foreign affairs.
Bill Nye the Science Guy says lawmakers are 'deliberately ignoring and actively suppressing science'
"Without scientifically literate citizens, the United States — any country, in fact — cannot compete on the world stage," Bill Nye the Science Guy told a cheering crowd at the March for Science in Washington, D.C., on Saturday. "Yet today we have a great many lawmakers — not just here, but around the world — deliberately ignoring and actively suppressing science. Their inclination is misguided, and in no one's best interest."
Nye touted the ways scientific discoveries have improved global quality of life, arguing that science is not merely "purview of a different, or special, type of citizen." "Our numbers here today show the world that science is for all," he said, and government must come to recognize that "science serves every one of us."
The Washington event where Nye spoke was one of more than 600 marches scheduled around the globe on Saturday. "I think the profession of science is under attack," said scientist Lucky Tran, who helped organize the rallies, in an interview with NPR. "We haven't engaged in politics, we've left that open for politicians to come in and really hijack and obfuscate science for their own selfish needs."
Crowd size estimates are still in the making, but you can see scenes from a few of the marches below. Bonnie Kristian
— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) April 22, 2017
— Tom McKay (@thetomzone) April 22, 2017
— Megan Fieser (@mfieser7) April 22, 2017
— Dan Renzetti (@DanRenzetti) April 22, 2017
President Trump is planning 'a BIG rally in Pennsylvania' during the White House Correspondents' Dinner
Next Saturday night I will be holding a BIG rally in Pennsylvania. Look forward to it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 22, 2017
The last president to miss the dinner was Ronald Reagan in 1981; he sent a phone message instead of appearing personally because he was recovering from an assassination attempt. Trump's decision to decline has been widely interpreted as retribution for press coverage he considers unfair. Bonnie Kristian
The United States will proceed with an agreement with Australia to help resettle refugees, Vice President Mike Pence pledged Saturday at joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Sydney. The arrangement requires the U.S. to accept up to 1,250 refugees, many from Iran and Syria, from their present location in offshore detention centers in Australia. In return, Australia will accept refugees from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
"Let me make it clear that the United States intends to honor the agreement, subject to the result of the vetting process that has now applied to all refugees considered for admission to the United States of America," Pence said. "President Trump has made it clear that we'll honor the agreement, but it doesn't mean we admire the agreement."
Earlier this year, Trump suggested he might abandon the arrangement. "Do you believe it? The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia," he tweeted in February. "Why? I will study this dumb deal!" Turnbull said Trump's willingness to honor the deal anyway "speaks volumes for the commitment, the integrity of President Trump." Bonnie Kristian
Eyewitnesses of an altercation between an American Airlines employee and a passenger say the flight attendant "violently took a stroller from a lady with her baby" and was then observed "hitting her and just missing the baby." The attendant has been suspended as the airline investigates.
Video filmed in the aftermath of the initial dispute, which reportedly concerned whether the stroller could come on the flight, shows the mother in tears and a male passenger arguing with the employee. "Hey bud, hey bud, you do that to me and I’ll knock you flat!" the male passenger yells in one clip. "You stay out of this!" the attendant yells back, adding, "Hit me! Come on, hit me!"
"We are deeply sorry for the pain we have caused this passenger and her family and to any other customers affected by the incident," said an American Airlines statement. "The actions of our team member captured here do not appear to reflect patience or empathy, two values necessary for customer care."
This incident comes a little more than a week after United Airlines employees violently removed a passenger from a plane the company initially said was overbooked. United did not immediately apologize for its employees' behavior. Bonnie Kristian