The Spin: Trump’s front-runner to replace Ginsburg could see Chicago record thrown in spotlight | Obamacare’s fate as SCOTUS recalibrates | Trump interview with WGN America airs tonight

·9 min read

As the front-runner to replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Chicago-based Appellate court Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s record will be parsed if she indeed gets the nod from President Donald Trump.

As the front-runner to replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Chicago-based Appellate court Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s record will be parsed if she indeed gets the nod from President Donald Trump.

In a new story, the Tribune’s Jason Meisner digs into her 2 1/2 years on the bench, which includes, he writes, more than 100 “opinions and dissents ranging from writings on mundane issues to lengthy dissents on hot-button topics including gun control and immigration.”

“Those rulings — along with her role in an abortion-related case in 2018 — are sure to be scrutinized closely in what would clearly be a fiercely contested confirmation process should Barrett” become the nominee, Meisner notes in his piece.

No matter where you stand on the Affordable Care Act — or Obamacare — a case that goes before the Supreme Court in November will be a must-watch, not only because of what’s at stake, but also to get a first look at how the nation’s highest court has been reordered by the death of Justice Ginsburg.

If you’re one of the 800,000 Illinoisans who have health care under the ACA, or want a smart look at what the court will take up and how the Nov. 3 election could play a role falling one week before the Supreme Court is scheduled to take up the case, I’ll steer you to my Tribune colleague Lisa Schencker’s piece here.

Tonight, WGN America’s recently launched “News Nation” newscast will air its sit-down interview with President Trump. An exec at the station, which has billed itself as an unbiased news alternative to its cable news competitors said, “this puts us in the big time,” my Tribune colleague Robert Channick reports in this preview of the interview. Details on how to watch the 7 p.m. interview are here.

And Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s census ambassador, an activist known as the Dreadhead Cowboy, was arrested and charged after allegedly riding a horse onto the Dan Ryan Expressway, declaring “Kids Lives Matter.” While the mayor issued a statement calling it a “stunt” and the “wrong way” to stage a protest, some activists are calling for charges to be dismissed.

Welcome to The Spin.

If Trump nominates Appellate Judge Amy Coney Barrett for Ginsburg’s seat - her Chicago record, comments on abortion will be parsed

Pundits are squarely focusing on the fate of two issues when they talk about Barrett’s appointment: Obamacare and abortion. The New York Times delved into a 2017 law review article where she’s critical of the high court’s ruling on Obamacare issue. You can read it here.

As for the abortion issue, Barrett’s seen at least one such case while on the Chicago-based federal appeals court, whose jurisdiction includes Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. Meisner writes: "A 2018 ruling by a 7th Circuit panel declared unconstitutional an Indiana law requiring the burial of fetal remains after an abortion or miscarriage, which prohibited clinics from treating the remains as waste. The law, signed by then-Gov. Mike Pence, also barred abortions on the basis of race, sex or disabilities of the fetus.

“Barrett joined three conservative judges in asking for the ruling to be tossed and for the full court to rehear the case. The trio didn’t have the votes to force a rehearing. But they issued a joint dissent on the rehearing decision, clearly suggesting they thought the Indiana law was constitutional.”

Barrett’s public statements have not clearly indicated that she thinks Roe can or should be overturned: “I think it is very unlikely at this point that the court is going to overturn Roe, or Roe as curbed by (Planned Parenthood v.) Casey,” she was quoted as saying at a 2013 Notre Dame luncheon on the ruling’s 40th anniversary.

“The fundamental element, that the woman has a right to choose abortion, will probably stand,” she added. “The controversy right now is about funding. It’s a question of whether abortions will be publicly or privately funded.”

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How Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, coupled with a presidential election, could affect the fate of Obamacare

The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a case challenging the ACA on Nov. 10, The Tribune’s Schencker writes. In previous challenges, the court has upheld it by the narrowest of margins, with Ginsburg supporting it. Her death increases the chance the law could be invalidated or weakened.

What the court will take up: “The case going before the Supreme Court in November looks at the questions of whether the requirement that everyone buy insurance or pay a penalty is now unconstitutional, and, if it is unconstitutional, whether the rest of the law is invalid. In 2017, Congress erased that penalty, and a group of states and two individuals argue the entire law is invalid without it.”

Factors up in the air include whether a justice is confirmed to fill Ginsburg’s seat by the time the court convenes and whether President Trump wins a second term. One expert tells Schencker that if Joe Biden wins the White House and Democrats take the Senate, they could make changes to the ACA that would render the case moot. Read the full story here.

After uproar over process, applicants will get a second chance to qualify for a marijuana retail license in Illinois

The Tribune’s Robert McCoppin writes: "Business owners hoping to open recreational marijuana shops in Illinois will get a second chance at qualifying for a license, after Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Monday announced a procedure to let applicants correct their applications or get rescored.

“The move comes after applicants and lawmakers raised an uproar over the process, saying that it was shutting out the very minorities it was supposed to benefit.” Read the full story here.

“As the Tribune reported last week, the Pritzker administration agreed to meet with members of the Black and Latino caucuses and other ‘stakeholders’ regarding the complaints about the application scoring,” McCoppin notes.

Another point: “Pritzker’s key pot adviser Toi Hutchinson conceded that officials are ‘laser-focused’ on investigating whether the initial applicants included in the lottery — many of which include clouted and deep-pocketed individuals — aren’t merely front groups,” the Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba writes in this piece.

Road to November

Casten vs. Ives heats up: The candidates for Illinois’ west and northwest suburban 6th Congressional District — rookie Democratic U.S. Rep. Sean Casten and Republican Jeanne Ives, a former state representative, clashed over issues of climate change, taxes, health care and social issues last night in a virtual forum hosted by the League of Women Voters, my Tribune colleague Patrick O’Connell writes. Read the full story here.

Republican Pat O’Brien cutting into Democratic State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s lead, GOP poll finds: Foxx, a Democrat, was still leading former Cook County Judge O’Brien, 48.1% to 33.8%, with 18.1% undecided, the Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton reports. Read the full story here.

COVID-19: Wisconsin lands on Chicago’s quarantine list — again; Evanston economy spirals amid pandemic

As the United States passed the 200,000 mark in COVID-19 deaths, Illinois officials today announced 1,531 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 30 additional deaths here. That brings the statewide total to 277,266 known cases and 8,486 deaths.

Wisconsin returns to Chicago’s naughty list — The Tribune’s John Byrne writes: “For the second time, Chicago on Tuesday added Wisconsin to the list of states on its travel order, meaning travelers returning to the city from there should stay inside their homes for two weeks because of high coronavirus counts.

“Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady made the call as part of her weekly update on the states that have earned the designation because of high virus counts. Her move came as Wisconsin’s governor on Tuesday declared ‘a new public health emergency’ because COVID-19 is spiking there.” Read the full story here.

Pandemic takes toll on Evanston’s economy: officials — The unemployment rate in the northern suburb has more than tripled and local businesses are in the midst of a “retailpocolypse,” officials say. Meanwhile Evanston’s office vacancy rates are 8.2% citywide and 13.4% in downtown Evanston as of Sept. 2, Genevieve Bookwalter writes in the Evanston Review. In 2019, vacancy rates were 6.1% citywide and 9.2% downtown.

Hundreds gather near Naperville District 203 offices to demand area schools reopen: ‘Our children deserve better’: Alicia Fabbre has the story in the Naperville Sun.

Group says it’s near deal to buy Emmett Till’s Chicago home and turn it into museum

The local nonprofit Blacks in Green, which promotes sustainability, economic development and land stewardship in African American communities, has raised the funds to buy civil rights icon Emmett Till’s house at 6427 S. St. Lawrence Ave., said Naomi Davis, founder and CEO of the group. She declined to disclose the purchase price, Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin has the details here.

The plan is to turn it into a museum.

Kamin also notes: “On Sept. 3, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks unanimously granted preliminary landmark status to the house, the first step toward permanent landmark status that would protect the property from demolition or insensitive alterations.” Read his full story here.

Lightfoot’s top lawyer says city may not defend Chicago aldermen if demands on minority participation cause vendor to sue: No one was singled out in a letter to City Council, “but the letter follows an incident earlier this month where aldermen complaining about low minority participation numbers in an O’Hare International Airport cargo expansion project stalled a plan to issue $55.6 million in bonds to help pay for the next phase of the work,” Gregory Pratt writes.

“Officials from Aeroterm were grilled by members of the City Council Finance Committee about the company’s failure to meet bench marks for hiring minorities and Chicago residents in the first two phases of the northeast cargo expansion project, leading to a delay on the vote,” Pratt notes. Read the full story here.

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