Welcome to The Point as the nation waits for the next episode of who gets on the bench.
As Donald Trump’s great reveal gets closer, The Point looks at Facebook ads being run in support of or against the four leading candidates for the Supreme Court.
The existence of a well-reported list has meant various individuals and special interests have been able to lobby for their favorite choice for the bench. Among the few who did so publicly on Facebook was Rep. Peter King, Republican of Seaford, who along with daughter Erin King Sweeney released a 10-paragraph essay in support of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who is considered the most conservative of Trump’s finalists.
The ad ran July 6 and 7 largely in New York and can be seen in Facebook’s archive of political ads. It notes that King was “putting in a good word” for Coney Barrett “partly because Judge Coney Barrett and I are both graduates of Notre Dame Law School.”
King went on to blast what he called anti-Catholic criticism that Barrett has faced: “There should be no religious test for a Supreme Court Justice or any other governmental office.” The ad also included a statement from the Hempstead Town councilwoman, also a Notre Dame law graduate. “She was crazy smart and the hardest working person I have ever come across,” King Sweeney told The Point, adding that Barrett graduated a year ahead and that she did not know her well.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh, another leading contender, drew critical Facebook ads from both sides. The liberal group Demand Justice painted him as a proponent of presidential overreach. Former Trump adviser and trickster Roger Stone referred to Kavanaugh’s role in the investigation of a Clinton-era conspiracy theory: “Does Brett Kavanaugh really think his actions in the Vince Foster Death Inquiry will not come up in confirmation hearings? #stonecoldtruth #infowars.”
Though it’s unclear how influential these first Facebook ads on the nominee will be, they certainly won’t be the last. Expect to see a profusion of advertisements and political capital spent once a nominee is unveiled and the nose count for confirmation votes begins.
New police academy smaller and costlier
The dream of a new Nassau County Police Academy is now 10 years old, but it was revitalized Monday when County Executive Laura Curran announced it would be included in Nassau’s capital plan, which the county legislature began reviewing Monday.
In the decade since it was first announced, the vision for the academy and for the contribution of a private foundation set up to fund it have gotten smaller, and the total price tag and contribution of the taxpayer keep getting bigger.
- In 2008, then-Nassau County Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey founded the Nassau County Police Foundation, which had a goal to raise $24 million for the construction of a 150,000-square-foot academy. Mulvey retired in 2011, and now lives in Travelers Rest, South Carolina, but the foundation and the dream have lived on.
- In 2015, when then-County Executive Edward Mangano announced construction would soon begin, the planned facility had shrunk to 120,000 square feet, with a price of $40 million. The foundation would have kicked in $5 million, the county’s capital budget $10 million, and the police department’s asset forfeiture fund $25 million.
- In the plan Curran announced Monday, the footprint is down to 90,000 square feet. The price, up to $54 million, would be funded by taxpayers, or at least that’s the dream of this capital plan.
County officials say the foundation already has contributed at least $3.4 million for environmental studies and architectural work.
Whether Nassau and Suffolk need separate academies is worth debating, but the trend makes it clear that if Nassau is going to build, it had better hurry. Wait another decade and there’s no telling how much smaller and more expensive this thing might become.
- Late Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency set in motion a process that would significantly increase the manufacturing of diesel freight trucks that emit as much as 55 times the air pollution produced by trucks with modern emissions controls. How nice of the departing Scott Pruitt — instead of taking something with him, he left a parting gift.
- President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is setting more difficult terms for an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller, making chances of a voluntary sit-down more unlikely. Hey, Rudy, just for the record, a lot of us never thought Trump was going to agree to talk to Mueller.
- After holding more denuclearization negotiations with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, North Korea’s foreign ministry called the talks “regrettable,” criticized Pompeo’s “gangster-like demands” and said, “Our expectations and hopes were so naive it could be called foolish.” Anyone else come to mind who ought to be saying that?
- GOP Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri said President Donald Trump needs to think about who would be easiest to confirm in the Senate in naming a Supreme Court nominee. Funny, that’s the same advice President Barack Obama followed two years ago.
- The infamous Trump Tower meeting with an attorney from Russia who had promised dirt on Hillary Clinton was only about adoptions, according to President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. Proving that Rudy is now a full-time resident of the fact-free zone.
- Three poachers entered a South African game preserve looking to kill some rhinoceros and cut off their horns, and instead were themselves killed and eaten by lions. You know what they say about karma.