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Lisa Murkowski, nominee of the Supreme Court Amy Coney Barrett



Lisa Murkowski, nominee of the Supreme Court Amy Coney Barrett

The Senate will vote on the selection of Amy Coney Barrett on Monday and, if so, Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski will join her Republican colleagues in voting for her.

Murkowski said before President Donald Trump nominated Barrett that she would not vote for any member of the Supreme Court prior to the presidential election. But Judge Barrett had a good hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where she had demonstrated her brilliant legal mind and had the support of a majority of Americans.

On Sunday, she will vote against taking the appointment to a procedural obstacle because of her long-standing opposition to confirming justice too close to the presidential election of Nov. 3, but she will vote for Judge Barrett on Monday.

SIGN THE PETITION: vote to confirm the nomination of the Supreme Court Nominee Amy Coney Barrett

“I have decided that she is the kind of person we want at the Supreme Court,” Murkowski said to Barrett. “While I condemn the mechanism that has brought us to this point, I do not condemn it.”

The decision of Murkowski to eventually support Barrett leaves Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) as the only Republican to vote against Barrett. Collins did not change her stance against voting on any appointment and said that her vote had to do with the procedure and not with the expertise or credentials of Judge Barrett.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously on Thursday 12-0 to submit Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s appointment to the full Senate floor after Democrats boycotted the committee’s vote to partake in a political truce and falsely say that Judge Barrett intends to take away American health care.

Senator Ben Sasse, a Nebraska member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was one of the Republicans who voted to move Judge Barrett’s appointment to the floor for a full vote.

“Judge Barrett ran circles around the Democrats’ failed efforts to smear her integrity, her religion, and her family during those hearings. They don’t like Judge Barrett doing what the judges are meant to do – standing above politics and refusing to legislate from the bench. The polls show that the Americans are clearly in favour of her confirmation. It’s time for Chuck Schumer to drop the shenanigans and get that done, “he said.

A leading pro-life organization told that it was pleased that the panel voted to approve President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee for confirmation to the Supreme Court.

“Today’s vote is a historic victory for the pro-life movement, particularly for pro-life women, as Amy Barrett moves one step closer to the seat of the nation’s highest court,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “Last week’s hearings, Judge Barrett’s immense intelligence, and principled constitutionalist ideology shone through the hours of interrogation. In the face of pro-abortion fear-warning Democrats and their media allies’ assaults on their Catholic religion, she has displayed grace and integrity. There is no doubt that Barrett is extraordinarily eligible to serve on the Supreme Court.

“We are so thankful to President Trump, Leader McConnell, Chairman Graham, and all of our allies on the Judiciary Committee for their loyalty to Judge Barrett during this process. In addition, pro-life senators took the opportunity to commit an offence and teach America about the extremism of Roe v. Wade. We thank them all and look forward to seeing Barrett confirmed by the full Senate, “she added.

The news comes after a recent national poll reveals that Americans favour Amy Coney Barrett, candidate of the Supreme Court, by a 23 per cent margin. It follows a Gallup poll showing that the majority of Americans support her appointment.

The latest Morning Consult poll reveals that the Americans favour Barrett at a margin of 51-28% and that the gap in 23 percentage points is an improvement from the 17 percent margin found in the previous poll.

“After four days of hearings, 51% of the electorate said that the Senate should vote to confirm Barrett to the Supreme Court, up 3 percentage points from the previous week and a rise of 14 points since Trump announced his appointment on September 26. It is a higher degree of support than Morning Consult calculated at any time during the confirmation hearings for Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — the two other lawyers Trump had been named to the High Court during his term of office, “the polling firm said.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is due to vote on Thursday, setting up a final vote by the full Senate on Monday.

At the confirmation hearings, Judge Barrett says that she does not consider the decision of Roe v. Wade that allowed abortion on demand to be a “super-precedent” that can not be reversed.

Judge Barrett said that Roe was not in the same category as the Brown v. Board of Education decision of the Supreme Court in 1954, which ruled that segregated public schools were unconstitutional because there was still a major controversy as to whether Roe was valid.

In comments during the confirmation process, Judge Amy Coney Barrett also indicated that she is committed to the rule of law.

“I am committed to the rule of law and the rule of the court,” she said. “If I offer off-the-cuff responses, I’d practically be a juror, and I don’t think we want judges to be jurors. I think we want judges to take a thoughtful and open-minded approach to cases.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett gave her opening remarks to the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday and made two primary points.

First, she spoke about the proper position of the courts, saying that they are not allowed to make laws and make laws from the bench. She also refused to back down to the attacks on her religion by the Senate Democrats, stating that she firmly believed in prayer and thanking the many Americans who prayed for her in the midst of the attacks on her Christian faith.

“I believe in the power of prayer, and it has been exhilarating that so many people have been praying for me,” Judge Barrett said to the representatives of the Judiciary.

“Nothing is more important to me, and I am so proud to have it behind me,” she said.

Before that, Judge Barrett had addressed the proper position of the Supreme Court.

“The courts are not intended to fix every problem or every wrong in our lives,” she explained. “The political decisions and the government’s value assessments must be taken by the political branches elected and accountable to the people. The public does not expect the courts to do this, and the courts should not try.

“When I write a case-solving opinion, I read every word from the point of view of the losing party. I ask myself how would I see the decision if one of my children was the faction I ruled against, “she went on to say. “Although I may not like the outcome, may I accept that the decision was reasonably well-founded and based on the law? That’s the standard I set for myself in any case, and that’s the standard I’m going to follow as long as I’m a judge at any court.

The Liberal American Bar Association has nominated its highest rating to President Donald Trump‘s most recent Supreme Court, releasing the rating on the opening day of its Supreme Court confirmation hearings in the Senate.

Last week, a recent national poll found that Americans favored the double-digit margin nomination of the Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.

A recent Morning Consult poll reveals that the Americans support Barrett on a 46-31 percent basis and that 15 percent of the support basis is an improvement from the polling firms’ last national survey in September following its appointment. That poll had Americans backing Barrett 37-34%, which resulted in a 12 percent rise from the previous 3 percent margin.

“Democrats are losing the Supreme Court message battle, according to a new survey, with the help of Judge Amy Coney Barrett ‘s confirmation in the direction of the GOP,” the polling firm said. “Approximately half (46 percent) of the voters in the Oct. 2-4 Morning Consult / Politico poll said the Senate should approve Barrett — up 9 percent after President Donald Trump announced his appointment on Sept. 26—as more voters say the House should consider raising Barrett to the High Court as soon as possible, regardless of who wins the election next month.”

Seventy-seven percent of GOP voters support Barrett’s confirmation, up 6 points from the end of last month. Among the independents, the share that said it should be confirmed increased by 8 points to 36%, while the share of Democratic voters who said it should be confirmed increased by 10 points to 24%.

Even Democratic voters have relaxed their resistance to Barrett’s confirmation: the most recent survey showed that 59% said the Senate should wait to see who wins the election, compared to 79% who, after Ginsburg’s death, said that the next court should be selected by the election winner.

It’s not as if Barrett’s appointment was flying totally under the radar. While 1 in 5 voters initially heard “a lot” about it, that share had doubled just a few days later after the first presidential debate.

Barrett, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame and judge at the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, argues that life starts at conception and has acknowledged that both pro-life and pro-abortion legal scholars have opposed Roe v. Wade as a poor judgment. Barrett criticized the decision for “ignit[ing] national uproar” on the basis of judicial fiat.

While her court decisions on abortion are few, she ruled in favor of two Indiana pro-life laws during her tenure on the Seventh Circuit. She also made a variety of claims regarding the importance of babies in the womb. In 2015, according to the Law and Crime Site, Barrett signed a public letter underlining “the importance of human life from conception to natural death.”

Judge Amy Barrett was number one on the Supreme Court wish list among most pro-life voters, and she was also the first future high court candidate to have an in-person meeting with President Donald Trump. This is not shocking given that the previous President said that he was “saving her” for appointment to the Supreme Court should Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg retire or pass away.

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Protester’s skull fractured by Denver police during 2020 demonstrations, lawsuit against city alleges



Protester’s skull fractured by Denver police during 2020 demonstrations, lawsuit against city alleges

Courtesy Michael Driscoll

Michael Driscoll filed a federal lawsuit on Monday against Denver alleging one of the city’s officers used excessive force when they shot him in the face with a projectile. The projectile fractured his skull in two places and Driscoll required surgery.

Michael Driscoll was filming protests in downtown Denver last year when a police projectile slammed into his forehead, shattered his sinus and fractured his skull in two places.

The injury required skull reconstruction surgery that left him with 53 staples across his head, according to a federal lawsuit Driscoll filed Monday against Denver, police Chief Paul Pazen and police Cmdr. Patrick Phelan.

Driscoll, a welder, had to take a month off work to recover and will likely not be able to pursue a career as an underwater welder as planned because his skull might not be able to withstand the pressure of diving, said Milo Schwab, Driscoll’s attorney.

The lawsuit alleges the unidentified officer who shot him used excessive force and that the department and its leaders should be held liable because they did not properly train or supervise the officer.

“(Driscoll) could’ve died,” Schwab said. “If they had struck him two inches higher on his forehead, the risk of death was very high.”

The lawsuit adds to the growing collection of at least six suits — representing more than 60 plaintiffs — filed against the city alleging Denver police officers used excessive force and injured peaceful protesters in May and June of 2020. The department’s response to the protests has been widely criticized and an investigation into the department’s response by the city’s watchdog agency found it was flawed at nearly every level. The department opened 123 internal investigations into officers’ conduct, but few officers will be disciplined.

Driscoll drove up from Pueblo on May 30, 2020, to join the massive protests of police brutality and George Floyd’s murder by a Minneapolis police officer. After a day of protesting, he decided to continue demonstrating the following day.

Driscoll’s video footage of the incident shows a crowd of protesters demonstrating about 10 p.m. May 31, 2020, at the intersection of West 13th Avenue and Cherokee Street near Denver police headquarters. The protesters chanted “I can’t breathe” and “Hands up, don’t shoot” toward a line of police officers dozens of yards away. The video does not show the group of protesters marching toward the officers or throwing anything at them. People in the crowd can be heard in the video urging others to remain peaceful.

Without an audible warning or command to disperse, the officers began to launch gas containers and other projectiles toward the crowd, the video shows. Driscoll’s video shows him raising a piece of wood, which the lawsuit stated was a homemade shield he made to protect himself. The plywood shield had “ACAB” painted on it, an acronym that stands for “all cops are bastards.”

A projectile then struck Driscoll, who can be heard groaning in the video. Other people in the crowd can be heard in the video shouting “He’s bleeding!” and “Who’s a medic!” as they walked with Driscoll away from the intersection.

1635252188 54 Protesters skull fractured by Denver police during 2020 demonstrations lawsuit

Courtesy of Milo Schwab

Surgeons had to use 53 staples to close Michael Driscoll’s skull after it was fractured by a projectile fired by an unknown police officer during a May 31, 2020, protest of police brutality, according to a lawsuit filed Monday by Driscoll.

A stranger drove Driscoll to Denver Health, where a doctor found two skull fractures that shattered his sinus, the lawsuit states. Driscoll underwent surgery three days later. Surgeons had to use a graft from a different part of his skull to repair the damage, according to the lawsuit.

Driscoll continues to suffer pain and headaches from the injury, Schwab said. He also has large medical bills from his hospitalization and surgery.

Schwab said his client is not exactly sure what kind of projectile police shot at him but believes it was likely a foam or rubber round.

Denver police used 40 mm foam rounds during the protests. According to department policy, officers are only to use the less-lethal weapon against someone who is aggressive toward them or to prevent serious injury. The 40 mm launchers used by Denver police fire their projectiles at more than 200 mph, according to the Office of the Independent Monitor, which conducted an investigation into how Denver police responded to the 2020 racial justice protests.

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Cherish autumn by bringing the outdoors in for your arrangements



Cherish autumn by bringing the outdoors in for your arrangements

Autumn begins like a whisper, stirring among the trees. One green leaf turns gold. We barely notice until the treetops are aflame with light. Through shortening days and lengthening nights, the transformation is guileless in its beauty.

Drawn to awe by the humble grandeur of what has given its all, we reach for ways to keep the glory with us a little longer.

A vignette of natural simplicity displayed in Linda Sadler’s home. (Lindsay Squires, Special to The Denver Post)

Distinctive beauty

“This is a season to cherish. It is fleeting. We need to etch it in our minds,” said Linda Sadler, motioning to a single red leaf in the yellow celebration festooning the gray branches of her ash tree. Linda is a colleague of mine at Tagawa Gardens, an experienced perennial team member, and a garden coach.

“I’ve always loved beautiful things,” Sadler enthused as we stood on her brick walkway in Centennial, framed by leaning verbena bonariensis sparkling in the late afternoon light.

In a walk around her home, we admired the chartreuse glow of New Mexico privet, the balletic arch of lavatera, the stout tufts of Redbor kale, the yellow-gold airiness of Amsonia hubrichtii, and the slender cabernet leaves of euphorbia Bonfire.

“If I want a plant, I will have it,” Sadler said with conviction, touching the specimen plants that she has gone far and wide to procure for her garden.

“When I just think I’m going to be done with my garden, it lasts about a day, and at night, I’m already dreaming of what I’m going to plant next,” she laughed ruefully.

Sadler dries as much loveliness as she plants. As we wandered inside, her daughter, Katie, recalled Christmas cookie tins filled with silica gel and dried flowers. Linda instantly pulled one such tin from beneath an upholstered chair, running her fingers through bright remnants of petals.

More natural treasures awaited us in every elegant room. A garland of leaves dangled above a pristine white mantel. A clutch of dried fern fronds arched delicately near a small lamp, its gold stem entwined by perennial statice and masterwort. An atlas from the study revealed a trove of burgundy and gold leaves. A blush of hydrangea lay on an end table.

Most spectacular was a white chandelier hung with single dried stems of roses, peonies, paperwhites, hydrangea and larkspur. Even a white tulip held its fragile form.

1635251576 657 Cherish autumn by bringing the outdoors in for your arrangements
Dried blossoms suspended elegantly from Linda Sadler’s chandelier. (Lindsay Squires, Special to The Denver Post)

For the Thanksgiving table that will soon be arrayed beneath, Linda hollows a white pumpkin, settles a glass vessel inside, and creates a natural centerpiece with wild stems and white snowberry from her garden.

Simple inspiration

For Vanessa Martin, a fallen leaf is a muse. Detailing the simple elements of nature, Martin’s botanical work brings to life what may otherwise be overlooked.

Taking a walk nearly every day in her Aurora neighborhood, she doesn’t set out to find something but to simply see what’s there. “I do what’s in front of me,” she said.

A fallen leaf on the sidewalk, a tulip in the garden, a bird on a branch — these simplicities become the story of her art. “They are silly little stories, but that is how it becomes meaningful.”

“No one would have guessed that I would become an artist,” Martin laughed, sharing her journey through commercial real estate before finding her way into the School of Botanical Art and Illustration at Denver Botanic Gardens. “I made it work. I was determined, because I loved doing it. I would travel and go right from the airport to class. If you really want to do something, you will find a way.”

Fusing traditional botanical illustration with what she calls a pinch of contemporary style, Martin wants her art to be accessible to a large audience.

“People are part of my process. It is not enough for me to just create something,” she said. She recognizes an emerging hunger for art in a younger audience, stirring her hope that it will be appreciated by a new generation.

After many years using watercolor, colored pencils and graphite, Martin discovered printmaking. Much of her current work is Intaglio. Arranging several prints on the table for me to see, Martin plies multiple artistic techniques to create texture, dimension and subtle color in her work.

“With abstract, you have to stand back; with mine, you have to get close,” Martin said.

While Martin’s artistry has developed through the years, her work is still grounded by frequent walks and the long-held desire to “inspire art lovers to appreciate the beauty of a dried fallen leaf or a yucca pod that has spilled its seeds.”

1635251576 681 Cherish autumn by bringing the outdoors in for your arrangements
Fallen autumn leaves rendered beautifully by Vanessa Martin. (Lindsay Squires, Special to The Denver Post)

Supplied by nature

Many years ago, Martin’s exquisite yucca pod became my first piece of botanical art. I am enthralled by seed pods.

Wherever I’ve lived, I’ve displayed dramatic stems and natural arrangements. Borne of the Nebraska prairie, I inherited this delight from my grandma and my mom. Our hands are the same, reaching for simple treasures and finding in them the joy we need to go on.

1635251576 14 Cherish autumn by bringing the outdoors in for your arrangements
A repurposed grapevine wreath arrayed with plants from garden. (Lindsay Squires, Special to The Denver Post)

While visiting Nebraska for harvest this September, I ventured into the prairie with a small pruning shear, filling my arms with arching grasses, glittering goldenrod, and weathered seed heads. Returning to Denver with this autumn trove, I arranged the stems by color and arrayed them in vases, just as I have done since childhood.

But what wildness is here to harvest in our suburban Colorado gardens? Determined to create from my own doorstep, I studied each of my unsuspecting garden plants for new possibilities. After several excursions through the backyard and various closets, I gathered a surprising tangle of dried seed heads and craft supplies. With sturdy hollyhock, slender obedient plant, dried poppy heads, blush pink sedum, and two Queen Elizabeth roses crumpled by first frost, I made a simple dried wreath for the front door.

It was the same front door where a purple finch nested in the trailing begonia this year. After she and her watchful mate raised their brood, the little nest remained — a token of their patient artistry. I saved the nest and arranged it on a shelf with a small book, a framed flower from Ireland, a piece of Eastern European pottery holding two allium heads, and a clear jar of downy milkweed seeds that I’ve had for at least a decade.

As with most treasures, it simply begins with noticing and cherishing what you have. This is what my grandma and my mom taught me, their hands turning simplicity into special beauty.

Even after it is spent, the garden continues to give. Take to your own garden with an eye for possibility. What might you create with what you have?

Pick up a leaf, hold it in your hand, or press it into the pages of a beloved book. Take the beauty into your soul, and in that earnest way, bring the outdoors in.

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter, The Adventurist, to get outdoors news sent straight to your inbox.

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Prairie dog activists want Arapahoe County to move colony before Comcast paves new parking lot



Prairie dog activists want Arapahoe County to move colony before Comcast paves new parking lot

To paraphrase a classic by singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, Comcast wants to pave a prairie dog paradise and put up a parking lot.

The telecommunications company plans to build a new parking lot next to its regional corporate offices in the Iliff Business Park at 7770 E. Iliff Ave., in unincorporated Arapahoe County, but animal rights activists say the plan threatens a colony of 60 to 80 black-tailed prairie dogs.

Now, the company, the activists and staff from Arapahoe County Open Spaces are trying to find a new home for the animals before construction begins.

Finding a new home, though, isn’t as simple as trapping prairie dogs and then driving them to a new plot of land. First, the new location must be identified and researched to make sure it’s a suitable habitat. Colorado Parks and Wildlife must issue a permit, said Shannon Carter, director of Arapahoe County Open Spaces. And Carter promises the county wouldn’t move prairie dogs to a place where nearby landowners would be affected.

“We’re not the only agency that has to deal with this,” Carter said. “Whenever development happens and displaces wildlife there’s never an easy solution.”

Jeremy Gregory, executive director of Tindakan, a nonprofit eco-justice organization, said he is hopeful the Arapahoe County Open Spaces director can find a new home in the coming weeks.

“The jury is still out on this, but hopefully we are nearing a decision that is going to be non-lethal and a win for everybody here,” Gregory said.

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