Good morning, and welcome to Monday and a brand new work week. I am back from a week in the woods, so sunburned and bug-bitten, let’s check the Digest.
1. President to name pick for high court. President Donald Trump intends to announce his nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court in a prime-time event Monday at the White House. If confirmed, the new justice is likely to push ideological makeup of the nation’s highest court to the right. Trump’s nominee heads first to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where two-term Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar is a member. In an interview last week, Klobuchar said she has little expectation that Trump will nominate someone she can support. “The names that have risen to the top have tended to be people who have a history of being ideologues,” Klobuchar said, adding, “My big concern is we’re going to have someone that doesn’t really respect precedent.” Klobuchar said she wants the nominee to be more forthcoming about how they view past U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Should the nomination go to the full Senate — a strong likelihood given that Republicans command the process — both Klobuchar and fellow DFL Sen. Tina Smith will get votes. “The American people are owed nothing less than a clear understanding about how these potential Supreme Court justices feel about important precedents, such as Roe v. Wade,” Smith said in an interview Friday. (MPR News)
2. Smith faces tough challengers. The high-stakes race for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Tina Smith is a microcosm of the nation’s unpredictable, divided political landscape. The top-tier candidates are two women in what’s already been dubbed “the year of women” — one of them an ardent supporter of President Trump and the other the incumbent — and a primary challenger on Smith’s left who is trying to galvanize progressive voters by making the president his chief target. Control of the Senate, where the GOP now has a tenuous one-vote edge, and the fate of Trump’s agenda are on the line. The urgency and passion fueling the campaign were evident in recent interviews and appearances by Smith, Republican state Sen. Karin Housley of St. Marys Point, and law Prof. Richard Painter — a longtime Republican who switched parties to challenge DFL-endorsed Smith in the Aug. 14 primary election. (Star Tribune)
3. Is there a doctor in the House? A medical doctor hasn’t served in the Minnesota House of Representatives for more than 15 years, but this fall, two physicians are running to represent competitive suburban swing districts. If they’re successful, they’ll join two physicians serving in the Senate and become part of a rare group of legislator-doctors who’ve served in the state Legislature. “You think really hard during the day, you have to make really tough decisions, if you make one mistake you could cost someone their life,” said Alice Mann, a doctor who was on call from the clinic and taking a break from knocking on doors in her run for office. “That’s an enormous amount of stress, and for a lot of people, that is enough. “Mann, a Democrat, is running for a House seat that covers part of Burnsville and Lakeville that is currently held by Republican Rep. Roz Peterson. Kelly Morrison, an obstetrician and gynecologist in Minneapolis for the last 16 years, is running as a Democrat for a House seat in the western suburbs, currently held by Republican Rep. Cindy Pugh. Morrison said she’s always been interested in politics, but she was also “galvanized” by the last election. (MPR News)
4. BCA to discuss how it investigates police shootings. A community meeting is planned for this week to discuss how the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigates police shootings. The meeting comes in the wake of the fatal police shooting of Thurman Blevins in Minneapolis last month. The BCA often investigates officer-involved shootings across the state, but has drawn criticism following Blevins’ death by some who say they don’t trust the agency to conduct the investigation. Some critics have called for an out-of-state, independent, third-party agency to investigate the shooting. While the BCA cannot talk about an open investigation, a spokesperson for the agency confirmed on Saturday that superintendent Drew Evans is working with the Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage to set up a meeting to discuss the process the BCA uses for investigating police shootings. (MPR News)
5. Add boat makers to list of those worried by tariffs. U.S. boat sales were at record levels last year, but watercraft manufacturers hit a speed bump this month when new U.S. trade tariffs went into effect for aluminum and steel imports. Europe, Canada and Mexico have retaliated with new taxes of their own on a host of U.S. made goods including metals, bourbon, soybeans and boats. Some industry watchers are alarmed. About 40 percent of all U.S. boats are made of aluminum. And about 10 to 15 percent get exported to customers in other countries. Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), said many international boat orders were canceled as of last week, including 500 boats to Canadian dealers and millions in sales of yachts that would have gone to Europe. “If this goes on for only 90 days, it is not that concerning. But if it persists, then it’s very concerning,” Dammrich said. “Right now, nobody knows” how long the trade war will last. (Star Tribune)