Good Monday morning, Illinois. Who would have thought this election could get even more dramatic?

We barely had time to process that Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a legal giant in her own right, died Friday before the battle lines to replace her were drawn. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he planned to fill her seat on the Supreme Court as soon as possible — prompting a Yes! from President Donald Trump. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed that “nothing is off the table” in revenge if Democrats retake the Senate and McConnell goes forward with a nominee.

That we’re just 43 days out from the election is drama to the nth degree and somewhat fitting after Democratic party leaders got criticized from the left for not spending any time during their convention last month emphasizing the importance of the court. We are also looking with some exhaustion and disbelief that there was anything left to burn on political earth so well-scorched in Washington.

Democrats are buzzing that if they take control of Congress, they may try to expand the court from nine justices to 13 and chuck the filibuster process that slows legislation in the Senate.

Without discussing any such ideas, Sen. Dick Durbin told Playbook: “All of these things can be considered. But I hope it doesn’t reach that point. I hope it won’t be necessary.”

And Joe Biden ignored his party’s aggressive take on the court seat.

All the posturing is ironic, of course, given some four years ago McConnell dug his heels in and wouldn’t allow then-President Barack Obama to move forward with a Supreme Court appointment 11 months before the next president would take office. (The Senate majority leader’s logic now is to say the previous rules don’t apply because Republicans gained two Senate seats in 2018 and the party also holds the White House.)

“He’s basically abandoning the standard that he applied to President Obama, and that troubles us,” Durbin said of McConnell.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, speaking to a crowd gathered Saturday night at the Dirksen Federal Building, was more strident: “The forces of darkness and evil were already at work," the mayor said. “The hypocrisy of Mitch McConnell, the hypocrisy of Lindsey Graham, they’ll have to have a reckoning with that. But what we need to do in this moment is not allow the partisanship to tilt the direction of the court in a way that’s unfair.”

Durbin said his focus is on November’s election. “What we hope to do is convince the American people this is not just a matter of the big shots in Washington arguing among themselves. The future of the Supreme Court is going to affect everybody,” he said, pointing specifically to health care.

One of the first cases to come before the Supreme Court after the election focuses on the Affordable Care Act. “That really will decide whether people with pre-existing conditions will have protection and health insurance in this country,” Durbin said, adding that health care remains the No. 1 issue in polling he’s done — even ahead of coronavirus. “So we’ll spend our time really speaking to that — that the future of the court will really have an impact on the lives of everyday Americans.”

— WHAT RBG MEANT TO WOMEN: Tina Tchen, the president and CEO of Time’s Up, a women’s organization that speaks out against sexual harassment, said Ginsburg’s death has struck a nerve.

“You’re seeing young women coming out to express their sorrow and support for her because they’ve come to realize how instrumental she was and that the basic lives that women are able to lead today is because of Ruth Bader Ginsberg,” said Tchen, who became acquainted with the justice when Tchen worked in the Obama White House. “It’s as simple as that. It’s extraordinary when you look at the depth of what she did — and that was a lawyer, not as a judge.”

Tchen was referring to Ginsberg’s work as an ACLU attorney who represented cases before the Supreme Court that changed the 14th Amendment, which defines equal protection. “She talked from her own lived experience about how equal pay discrimination works in a way that the male justices did not understand.”

— RBG’s CHICAGO CONNECTION: Chicagoans have been leaving flowers at the office of Cedille, a nonprofit recording label for classical music that’s located in the Edgewater neighborhood. It’s founded and headed by Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s son, Jim Ginsburg. The younger Ginsberg and his mom shared a great love of classical music and were known to vacation together to see operatic productions. On one trip a few years ago, they saw five operas in five days in Santa Fe, N.M., and New York.

— MEMORIALIZING RBG: Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi plans to introduce legislation honoring Ginsberg in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C. “As we remember the life and enduring legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, it’s also important that we commemorate that legacy across our nation. As one step in that process, I’ll be introducing legislation this week to place a bust of Justice Ginsburg in the Capitol Rotunda in recognition of her contributions to American jurisprudence, the advancement of women, and the broader pursuit of elevating our nation closer to the ideals of our founding documents,” Krishnamoorthi said in a statement.

Trump could make a nomination as early as Tuesday, reports the New York Times

— A 7th Circuit contender: ‘She’s been groomed for this moment’: Amy Barrett’s Supreme Court preparation began early: From her first year as a Notre Dame law student, conservatives marked her as a future leader in the mold of the Federalist Society. Barrett is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, which includes Chicago, by POLITICO’s Ben Schreckinger

Liberals want blood, while Biden sticks with bipartisanship, by POLITICO’s Christopher Cadelgo

As Trump rushes to fill a Court seat, conservative groups fear missteps, by POLITICO’s Gabby Orr

Illinois elected officials respond to the death of Ginsberg, via NBC/5

NOTORIOUS RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is an exhibition at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center

A new Ogden & Fry poll commissioned by the Cook County Republican Party shows Joe Biden clobbering Donald Trump but has Republican Pat O’Brien edging Kim Foxx in the Cook County State’s Attorney Race and Marie Newman in a tight race in the 3rd Congressional District.

Asked if the election were held today, O’Brien received 57.9 percent to Foxx’s 30.7 percent (“other candidate” or undecided garnered 11.4 percent).

The poll also shows Republican Mike Fricilone with 43.9 percent support to Newman’s 46.1 percent (other or undecided was 10 percent), which could portend a tighter race this time around for the seat Democrats held for years — most recently Rep. Dan Lipinski, who lost in the primary.

The Sept. 7 poll took answers from 759 respondents in a random sampling of likely 2020 voters. The poll has a margin of error of plus/minus 3.63 percent.

The poll also shows Biden with 48.4 percent to Trump’s 39.8 percent (with other and undecided totaling 11.8 percent). Other questions addressed whether to “defund the police” and respondents’ views on politicians who campaign on “law and order.” Poll results here

Have a tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? Get in touch: [email protected]

Have a tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? Get in touch: [email protected]No official public events.

At the Memorial Center for Learning and Innovation in Springfield at 10:30 a.m. to give a testing update. Then to the Christian Child Care center in Lincoln to talk about grants through the Child Care Assistance Program. Watch live

No official public events.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 14 new deaths due to Covid-19 and 1,402 new confirmed cases in Illinois. That’s a total of 8,450 deaths and 274,258 cases. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from Sept. 13 through 19 is 3.5 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 4.6 percent.

Tracking Covid’s impact on Illinois jobs: “After six months, nearly half a million are still looking for work. And economists worry about a second wave of layoffs as federal coronavirus relief funds run out,” by Crain’s John Pletz.

Where are all the kindergartners? Pandemic creates rare gap year: “While K-12 enrollment has gradually decreased in recent years, the latest kindergarten numbers are abnormally low,” by POLITICO’s Mackenzie Mays.

Testing czar says cases are down, even as U.S. nears 200,000 Covid-19 deaths: “Brett Giroir says the nation must remain disciplined and diligent,” by POLITICO’s Aubree Eliza Weaver.

Pushing back on pandemic parking tickets: Parking Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said parking tickets early in the pandemic would be issued only for safety violations, but 35,000 car owners received tickets anyway, according to the Tribune’s Stacy St. Clair, Jennifer Smith Richards and Gregory Pratt.

— Two stories on changes and gentrification in Little Village: Discount Mall vendors ally with young activists to fight displacement in Little Village, writes Laura Rodriguez Presa. Fears of gentrification follow other signs of redevelopment in neighborhood.

City O’Hare debt document indicates Covid-19 could delay huge airport terminal revamp: “While Lightfoot administration officials have said the $8.5 billion project is moving ahead in spite of the steep downturn in passengers and the revenue they generate to help fund the work, documents submitted this week to try to refinance airport debt show the city hedging its bets on the timing,” reports Tribune’s John Byrne.

Lawry’s The Prime Rib to close at end of year after 46 years in Chicago: “The beloved steakhouse is closing due to a confluence of unfortunate events, including the coronavirus pandemic, civil unrest and an expiring lease,” by Sun-Times’ Madeline Kenney.

Top CPS high schools vow changes after racism charges, but problems persist: “Students of color have launched Instagram pages to document concerns at selective enrollment high schools — including incidents in the first weeks of school,” by Sun-Times’ Sam Kelly.

Community sends message of peace, unity amid rising gun violence in Albany Park: “Four years after losing their 21-year-old son to gun violence in Albany Park, Israel and Arma Aragon took to the streets for a peaceful walk to bring attention to a recent increase in violence in their Northwest Side neighborhood. They were joined Sunday by about 200 people who took part in the event that started at Ronan Park, 2900 W. Lawrence Ave., and traveled west about 2 miles on Lawrence and back again,” by WTTW’s Annemarie Mannion.

7,000 Chicago hotel workers worried about losing health insurance:More than 200 Chicago hotel workers and supporters rallied in support of the nearly 7,000 Chicago hotel workers who remain laid off due to the pandemic and are at risk of losing their health insurance at the end of the month,” by Sun-Times’ Adam Mahoney.

— Column: When two cities bleed into one: “If your life isn’t being interrupted by long-term systemic problems of race and economic inequity, you can order a rare steak, sip a martini and be content. Segregation rewards,” by Natalie Y. Moore in the Sun-Times.

‘Your heart stops’: Chicago Bears could do without the anxious final moments, but the defense looks at the positives in a 17-13 victory over the Giants, writes Tribune’s Colleen Kane.

New meme museum pops up in Humboldt Park, by WGN/9’s Marcella Raymond

Chicago suburbs warn ComEd: It’s time to pay up on local utility taxes: “Already caught up in a high-profile federal bribery scheme, Commonwealth Edison is embroiled in an escalating fight with dozens of cash-squeezed Chicago suburbs that are demanding the power company deliver millions of dollars in utility taxes the communities say they are owed. ‘The longer that it keeps going, the more revenue that we’re out,’ said Chicago Heights Mayor David Gonzalez,” by Tribune’s Ray Long.

A national group studied commercial property tax assessments in Cook County under former assessor Joe Berrios. The results were not pretty: The study found “commercial properties as a group were valued far too low, valuations varied widely among similar properties, and the property tax burden was unfairly shifted onto the owners of less expensive properties,” according to Tribune’s Hal Dardick, who got a look at the just-release survey. Cook County is showcasing the study here.

Cook County watchdog planning exit after helping find successor: ‘It’s good government’: “Independent Inspector General Patrick Blanchard said he’s not being forced out. ‘It simply was designed to capture the reality that I’m approaching 30 years of service which is the time when people can retire if they want,’” by Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton.

Cook County Jail set for in-person voting despite Covid-19 setbacks: ‘It’s also about social justice, it’s about fairness, it’s about hope,’ by Tribune’s Kelli Smith.

Effort to make mail balloting easier backfires: “If you applied to vote by mail, and then got a letter saying you didn’t, you might be confused. Here’s the story behind the snafu affecting tens of thousands of voters,” by Crain’s Greg Hinz.

Douglas statue comes down, but Lincoln had racist views, too: “With the nation racing to come to grips with centuries of racial sins, officials plan to remove the Capitol lawn statue of Stephen A. Douglas, whose forceful 19th century politics helped forge modern-day Illinois but who also profited from slavery. Just inside the Statehouse hangs another revered depiction of an Illinois legend — and longtime Douglas rival — who expressed white supremacist views: Abraham Lincoln,” by AP’s John O’Connor.

IHSA athletes, coaches gather to urge Illinois: ‘Let us play’: “Everybody’s getting it hard in 2020 and it’s no different for our kids. They need that direction. They need that sense of belonging and that compass in their lives,” say Peoria High Football Coach Tim Thornton. By the State Journal-Register’s Bill Welt.

Madigan, others are called to testify before House panel: Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, who is leading the bipartisan committee that’s looking at whether to start disciplinary proceedings against House Speaker MIchael Madigan in the ComEd scandal, has called the next meeting for Sept. 29 in Springfield. Welch has also sent out letters to Madigan and others mentioned in the legal proceedings to appear before the legislative committee. The problem is, they can’t say much, if they show up (it’s voluntary). U.S. Attorney John Lausch had granted permission to call witnesses but put some restrictions on what can be asked. "If the GOP’s objective is to get Madigan sitting in front of them unable to answer questions, then they won that one," an attorney close to the House Democrats told political writer Rich Miller. "If the objective is to actually do an investigation, then they lost." We’ll find out Sept. 29.

THE FIFTY: Governors and mayors have never mattered more to the future of the nation, and The Fifty, a new series from POLITICO, takes you inside the role they’re playing in the pandemic and more.

Chicago Golden Glove boxer and valedictorian arrested in connection with killing of Alabama State student, by Tribune’s Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas

Chicago mobster denied Covid-19 release from prison, vows to fight ruling, by ABC/7’s I-Team

Pickpocketing’s a dying art, but cops say crew of 60-somethings still preyed on L riders: “The police are taking pickpockets seriously, building felony cases. ‘For 60-year-old guys, they move pretty well,’ the police mass-transit unit boss says of the crew. ‘It’s like they’re hunting,’” by Sun-Times’ Frank Main.

KEN GRIFFIN rescues graduated tax opponents…and, maybe, the GOP: “[A]nti-tax forces never expected to match Pritzker’s war chest dollar for dollar. But Griffin’s donation gives them a fighting chance to counter the blizzard of broadcast ads and direct mail that Pritzker’s money will enable proponents to supply,” writes Derrick Blakley for Center for Illinois Politics.

‘It’s a big, big swing’: Trump loses ground with white voters, by POLITICO’s David Siders

The Trump foreign policies that Biden might keep, by POLITICO’s Nahal Toosi

Biden takes huge cash lead over Trump while outspending him 2-to-1, by POLITICO’s Elena Schneider

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DON ROSE: “In Chicago, no one has fought as many fights for racial justice. His decades of battles are book-ended by a race riot and the election of the first Black female and openly LGBTQ mayor in Chicago history,” writes Sun-Times columnist Laura Washington on the occasion of Rose’s 90th birthday.

Barack Obama’s presidential memoir will be published Nov. 17: “The first volume of former President Barack Obama’s memoir is coming out Nov. 17, two weeks after Election Day. It’s called ‘A Promised Land’ and will cover his swift and historic rise to the White House and his first term in office…. In ‘A Promised Land’ I’ve tried to provide an honest accounting of my presidential campaign and my time in office: the key events and people who shaped it; my take on what I got right and the mistakes I made; and the political, economic, and cultural forces that my team and I had to confront then — and that as a nation we are grappling with still,” Obama said in a statement, via the AP.

Carol Marin knows when it’s time to leave (unlike plenty of politicians): “‘I’ve seen people stay too long at the dance . . .. I want to leave at a time when I still feel the work is solid and that I know that I still love what I do and where I do it,’” Marin tells the Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.

Javon Coney, an Illinois native who spent nearly seven years working as special assistant to New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, has been named director of Strategic Partnerships for FanDuel, an online gaming company with headquarters in New York. Coney is a graduate of Latin School of Chicago and University of Colorado, where he played Division 1 basketball. Before working for De Blasio, he spent two years on the advance team at the Obama White House. Coney’s last day in the mayor’s office was Sept. 10. De Blasio presented a proclamation declaring it “Javon Coney Day” in New York.

— Today at 5:30 p.m.: Illinois HRO Fall Event at LeMeridien in Oak Brook. Tickets at $250 per person. Sponsorships at $1,000, $2,500, $5,000, $10,000. Contact: [email protected] or 773-320-1150. Details here

— Tonight: Democratic Rep. Sean Casten, Republican challenger Jeanne Ives, and Libertarian Bill Redpath debate in an event sponsored by the League of Women Voters at 7 p.m. Zoom details here

— Thursday at noon: A virtual discussion about how nonprofits can survive in turbulent times. Featured speakers: Kevin Conlon, Barbara Lumpkin and Linda Diamond Shapiro, all of Conlon Public Strategies, which works with nonprofits; Raul Garza, president and CEO of Aunt Martha’s Health & Wellness; Jacqueline Sinclair of Joel Hall Dancers and Center; and moderator Seth Green of Baumhart Center. Details here

— Sept. 29: Mayor Lori Lightfoot will sit down with Chicago Community Trust CEO Helene Gayle for a discussion on how Chicago is leveraging public, private and philanthropic sectors as it recovers from coronavirus. The event is sponsored by the Brookings Institution. Gayle is a trustee. Details here

— Oct. 5 DEBATE: Republican Rep. Rodney Davis and Democratic challenger Betsy Dirksen Londrigan will debate Oct. 5. The event is organized by Illinois Public Media, WCIA-TV Channel 3, and the League of Women Voters of Champaign County. The debate will be live on Facebook. Details here.

Aaron Lawlor, associate director at Howard Brown Health, and Gonzalo Brum, who works in patient services, were married at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago Saturday by Pastor Nanette Sawyer. It was an intimate, Covid-compliant affair, with only close family and friends in attendance, including Lawlor’s mom and grandma, his best pal Eric Elk, and Illinois House Majority Leader Greg Harris. The reception was at Gibson’s on Rush. Pic! And another pic!

FRIDAY’s GUESS: Congrats to Scott Wiseman, an IBEW consultant who used to head the Illinois Commerce Commission, for being the first to correctly guess that the Stevensons were the Illinois political family who produced a vice president (Adlai Stevenson I), a United Nations ambassador (Adlai Stevenson II) and a U.S. senator (Adlai Stevenson III).

TODAY’S QUESTION: Former Gov. George Ryan, who has a book coming out this month, hails from Kankakee County. Two other Illinois governors were also from Kankakee County, but only one was elected to the position. Which one? The first person to correctly guess gets a mention in the next Playbook. Send your best guess to [email protected].

State Sen. Elgie Sims Jr. (17th), state Rep. Norine Hammond (93rd), state Supreme Court Justice P. Scott Neville Jr., Secretary of State Inspector General Jim Burns, U. Chicago grad student and Obama White House alum Monica Carmean, anti-violence activist and politician Tio Hardiman, broadcaster Bill Kurtis, retired AT&T Illinois President Paul La Schiazza, and political consultant Don Rose.



September 21, 2020 at 07:44AM

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