This week: Full Court Controversy

Civil is written by three people who are tired of news in its current form. Nathan tends to lean right, while Liam tends to lean left. Max is your editor.

Together, we're giving you perspectives from both sides in a single place. Bridge the perception gap. Understand more. Argue less.

How Civil is Structured

  • What: We'll highlight the facts you need to know about our story.
  • How: We'll show you the narratives from the Left and Right and specific articles that support them.
  • Transparency: We'll highlight coverage of our story that's (relatively) objective. There's hope! 
  • Civility Scavenger Hunt: We want to hear from you! The best submission will receive a $25 Amazon gift card and be featured in next week's newsletter.


Court Is In Session

Katherine Chuang

On Friday night, Ruth Bader Ginsburg --the second woman to ever sit on the Supreme Court-- died at the age of 87 after a long battle with cancer. She was an icon for politicians on both sides of the aisle and founded of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project. (History)

Her passing has added another element to the Presidential campaign: Should Trump and the Republican-controlled Senate nominate and confirm her replacement before the Presidential election? (AP

Here’s what you need to know

Facts, Not Funny Business

  • Precedent. Former Associate Justice William J. Brennan was appointed to the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) just 22 days before the 1956 election, after former Justice Sherman Minton had announced his retirement just a month prior. (Oyez)

  • Oh to be 2016 again. On February 13, 2016, then Justice Antonin Scalia passed away 269 days before the election. Within hours, Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell said that the SCOTUS vacancy shouldn’t be filled during an election year. True to their word, the Senate never voted to confirm Merrick Garland (Obama's nominee). (VOA)
  • Majority rules. The Republicans have a 53-47 majority in the Senate. Two have said they won’t vote to confirm a nominee before the election, making it 51-49. They can only afford to lose one more Senator, as VP Pence would be the tie breaking vote if it’s 50-50. (AP)
  • Polling. A weekend poll from YouGov found that 51% of voters think Trump shouldn’t confirm a new judge before the election. 42% supported a nomination pre-November. (YouGov)


Narrative Overview


Now that you know what's up, let's go deeper. Here are the narratives our team has identified and the headlines that support them. These headlines are not necessarily false, but they do support the biased narrative from each side.

Narrative from the Left

The hits just keep coming don’t they? Trump and the GOP are about as hypocritical as it gets. Yet another tragic event that the GOP is trying to capitalize on for their own benefit, at the expense of democracy.

Supporting Coverage

Supreme Court Without Ginsburg Could Impact Affordable Care Act

Trump Wants to Shift Election Debate to SCOTUS Nomination From COVID-19, Says Ex-Bush Aide

How A Supreme Court Vacancy Could Spell The End Of Legal Abortion

‘The View’ Blows Up After Meghan McCain Defends Mitch McConnell’s Supreme Court ‘Hypocrisy’

Narrative from the Right

They're at it again. Do you honestly think the Libs would act differently if they controlled the Senate? Their moral high-ground was forfeited after trying to ruin Kavanaugh’s life. We’re just doing our Constitutional duty.

Supporting Coverage

Dan Bongino to Senate Republicans: You’re in charge, ‘act like it’

Mike Braun: Supreme Court Fight Will Be ‘Catapult’ for Trump, Vulnerable Senate GOP Races

Cruz Decimates Democrats’ Demands For No Confirmation In An Election Year

Lindsey Graham: ‘I Now Have A Different View’ On Confirming Justices After Kavanaugh

Bottom Line

The open Supreme Court seat left by the passing of the “Notorious RBG” seems to have pushed other issues like COVID-19 and police brutality out of the limelight, for now. If the public eye is diverted away from issues that Trump has generally polled poorly on, he could benefit. This could also help voters forget about Biden’s public speaking gaffes. 

Either way, narratives from the Left and Right are doing their best to influence how voters view the Supreme Court nomination. Here’s what they’re saying:

  • If your news outlets are pushing the Right’s narrative, you may be less likely to entertain cries of nefarious flip-flopping by Republicans. Instead, you'll point to how the Democrats handled Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing and what they'll do if a Conservative judge is confirmed.
  • If your news outlets are pushing the Left’s narrative, you may be less likely to remember that Democrats wanted practically the same thing in 2016. Instead you'll point to the potential loss of freedoms and the hypocritical double-standard you feel is unfairly being applied to the Left.

However, every rosé has its thorn (sorry, already in Friday mode). If the empty seat is filled before the election, some single-issue pro-life voters may be less likely to vote in November if their priorities are met. Trump, who currently trails Biden by 6.9% in national polling averages, needs to maximize turnout if he wants to keep the keys to the White House. If confirmed before the election, Biden could benefit if Democratic voters are galvanized by the threats of a solid Conservative majority. However, liberal backlash could also strengthen right-wing resolve.

This confirmation could very well make or break some poor political strategists' career. We’re just glad the pressure isn’t on us.


It's Not All Bias 

While you've seen just how biased news outlets can be, they are fair sometimes. Here are articles that pleasantly surprised us by conceding a point that supports the other narrative.

Susan Collins Says Republicans Should Wait on Supreme Court Replacement Until after Election

  • By highlighting a Republican who opposes nominating a new justice, National Review concedes a point to the Left's narrative that says the Senate’s constitutional duty doesn't take precedent.

America Can't Afford to Wait for a New Supreme Court Justice | Opinion

  • By highlighting that waiting to fill the vacanct seat could harm the justice system, Newsweek concedes a point to the Right’s narrative that says the vacancy should be filled sooner rather than later.

Civility Scavenger Hunt

If you've made it this far, congrats! Now, we want to hear from you.

Not only will we be featuring the best submission in next week's newsletter, but we'll also be giving that reader a $25 Amazon gift card! Here's what your submission could look like:

  • A short story about a civil conversation you've had recently. What was it like? How did you avoid a shouting match?
  • A resource that's widened your perspective and helped you be more civil. This could be a movie, book, app, etc.
  • A prominent figure (like RBG) that you think personifies civility. What can we learn from them?

Shoot us an email with your response and we might feature you next week!

Want to Learn More About Our Bias Ratings?

Our bias ratings are generated by AllSides, which they establish using input from thousands of users and a bipartisan review board.

Until next Wednesday, that's all from us. By now, you're a little more Civil. Well done!

P.S. No survey from us this week. If you have feedback just reply to this email:)