NRL 2020: Transfer Centre, Daley Copley to Broncos, signings tracker, Josh Aloiai, Joe Ofahengaue

New Broncos coach Kevin Walters has added some depth to his back line with the signing of Dale Copley on a one-year deal.

Copely returns to the Broncos, where he started his NRL career, after a one-year stint with the Roosters and a four-year stint with the Titans.

The 29-year-old made his NRL debut for Brisbane in 2009 and went on to play 72 games. He returns with 143 games worth of experience under his belt — something Broncos CEO Paul White is pleased to add to the squad.

“He is a product of our development system and a passionate Queenslander, and he will bring some leadership to our playing group,” White said.

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“Dale played some of his best footy in our Club colours, and I’m sure Broncos members and fans will love to see him back.”

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NRL 2020: Transfer news; Josh Addo-Carr to Bulldogs, signings tracker, Gareth Widdop to Cowboys, Jahrome Hughes, Storm, Warriors

There may be no rugby league on our TV screens but there’s still plenty of action happening in the transfer market.

Storm speedster Josh Addo-Carr has been spotted receiving the royal blue treatment in Belmore, while a rival club is ready to throw the cash at his teammate Jahrome Hughes.

Former Storm and Dragons star, Gareth Widdop could be on his way back to NRL with his management and current Super League club offering up his services.

Read on for the latest Transfer Whispers.

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NRL 2020: Jake Clifford signs with Knights, Keaon Koloamatangi, Rabbitohs, Transfer Centre, signings tracker

The Knights have landed their man in Jake Clifford on a two-year deal starting in 2022.

Newcastle announced the signing of the playmaker on Tuesday.

The 22-year-old was poised to join the Knights next season after being given permission by the Cowboys to negotiate with rivals for an opportunity in 2021. However, North Queensland went back on that and stood firm on the young half to see out the final year of his contract.

Clifford, a former Queensland Under 20s representative, has played 35 NRL games. He debuted in the Prime Minister’s XIII in 2018 after just six NRL games.

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“When the opportunity arose to sign Jake, I thought it was a perfect fit for both parties,” Knights head or recruitment Clint Zammit said.

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NRL 2020: contracts, signings, transfer tracker, South Sydney Rabbitohs, James Roberts, Blake Green, Newcastle Knights

Blake Green has returned to Newcastle, reversing his decision to link with Canterbury on a one-year contract for 2021.

Green quit the Warriors midway through the season to take up an offer with the Knights as the Kiwi outfit made it clear they wanted to plan the back end of the year around long-term halves Kodi Nikorima and Chanel Harris-Tavita.

Between his season being ended by an ACL only a handful of games into his Newcastle career, Green agreed terms with Canterbury.

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NRL 2020: Jack Bird signs with Dragons, Brisbane Broncos, signings tracker, transfer centre, contracts

Jack Bird is officially heading back to the Illawarra with the Dragons confirming on Friday a two-year deal.

The 25-year-old local junior progressed through the Dragons’ lower grades before he was signed by the Sharks in 2015 where he made his NRL debut and won the premiership the following year.

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He joined the Broncos on a lucrative four-year deal in 2018 but has been let go early to take up an opportunity with the Dragons.

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Bird has had a horrible run of injuries which have hindered him to just 17 games for the Broncos.

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Biden Wins in Michigan and Wisconsin: Live Election Tracker

Credit…David Goldman/Associated Press

The undecided presidential election entered a new phase on Wednesday as former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. was declared the winner of Michigan and Wisconsin, two key swing states that President Trump won four years ago.

The Trump campaign, whose path to victory was narrowing, said that it would seek a recount in Wisconsin and that it had filed a lawsuit seeking to halt the vote count in Michigan, moves that could further delay the moment when a victor can be declared.

The Trump campaign’s challenges came as the president found himself with few paths remaining to winning the 270 electoral votes needed to win re-election. By Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Biden was holding slim leads in several key states that, if they hold, could propel him to the critical Electoral College threshold and the presidency.

The lingering uncertainty of the 2020 campaign was perhaps unsurprising in an election with record-breaking turnout where most ballots were cast before Election Day but many could not be counted until afterward.

Mr. Trump’s chances of winning a second term depended on his ability to hang on to his leads in states like Georgia and in Pennsylvania, where Mr. Biden has been narrowing Mr. Trump’s leads as vote counting progresses, and on overtaking Mr. Biden in one of the states where Mr. Biden is currently ahead.

With millions of votes yet to be counted across several key states — there is a reason that news organizations and other usually impatient actors were waiting to declare victors — Mr. Biden was holding narrow leads in Arizona and Nevada. If Mr. Biden can hold those states, the former vice president could win the election even without Pennsylvania, which has long been viewed as a must-have battleground state.

“We feel good about where we are,” Mr. Biden told rattled supporters early Wednesday morning. “I’m here to tell you tonight we believe we’re on track to win this election. I’m optimistic about this outcome.”

Even before the Wisconsin race was called, the Trump campaign said that would request a recount. Under Wisconsin law, a recount can be requested if the margin between the top two candidates is less than one percentage point.

Bill Stepien, Mr. Trump’s campaign manager, said in a statement that “the president is well within the threshold to request a recount and we will immediately do so.”

And Mr. Stepien claimed that the Trump campaign had not been given “meaningful access” to several counting locations in Michigan, and that it had a filed suit in the Michigan Court of Claims to halt counting until access was granted. Shortly after that he announced that the campaign would intervene in Pennsylvania.

One source of Mr. Biden’s resilience lies in the nature of the votes still to be counted. Many are mail-in ballots, which favor him because the Democratic Party spent months promoting the message of submitting votes in advance, while Mr. Trump encouraged his voters to turn out on Election Day. And in Michigan and Pennsylvania many of the uncounted votes are from populous urban and suburban areas that tend to vote heavily for Democrats.

Four years ago, Michigan provided one of Mr. Trump’s most surprising victories and helped him take back the Northern industrial states that had favored Democrats in presidential elections since the 1990s. In this election, Mr. Trump’s popularity took a serious hit with the coalition of white voters — independents, those who had an unfavorable view of him but supported him anyway, people with and without college educations — that helped secure his win in Michigan in 2016.

Even in Pennsylvania, where Mr. Trump had run up a daunting lead of roughly eight percentage points as of Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Biden had a plausible shot of catching up. Pennsylvania’s secretary of state said there were more than 1.4 million mail-in ballots still to be counted, and those votes are expected to heavily favor Mr. Biden.

Mr. Trump held leads in North Carolina and Georgia, and his campaign expressed hopes that his early Pennsylvania lead could withstand an influx of mail-in ballots for Mr. Biden. Then, if Mr. Trump was able to retake the lead from Mr. Biden in Arizona or Nevada, which has gone Democratic in recent elections, he would have a path to a second term.

Early Wednesday, Mr. Trump prematurely declared victory and said he would petition the Supreme Court to demand a halt to the counting. Mr. Biden urged his supporters — and by implication, Mr. Trump — to show patience and allow the process to play out.

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

WILMINGTON, Del. — Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Wednesday said it was “clear” that he would reach 270 electoral votes and win the presidency, though he stopped short of claiming victory.

“I’m not here to declare that we’ve won, but I am here to report that when the count is finished, we believe we will be the winners,” Mr. Biden said in a speech at an event center in Wilmington.

After President Trump said in the early morning hours that vote counting should be halted, Mr. Biden offered a strikingly different message, paying tribute to democracy.

“Here, the people rule,” he said. “Power can’t be taken or asserted. It flows from the people. And it’s their will that determines who will be the president of the United States, and their will alone.”

Mr. Biden added that “every vote must be counted.”

“No one’s going to take our democracy away from us,” he said. “Not now, not ever.”

And in a continuation of one of the broad themes of his campaign, Mr. Biden offered a unifying message for the American people.

He said that the presidency “is not a partisan institution” and promised, “I will work as hard for those who didn’t vote for me as I will for those who did vote for me.”

“My friends, I’m confident we’ll emerge victorious,” Mr. Biden said. “But this will not be my victory alone or our victory alone. It will be a victory for the American people, for our democracy, for America. And there will be no blue states and red states when we win — just the United States of America.”

Credit…Hilary Swift for The New York Times

Here is the state of play in battleground states as of 5:45 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday.

Electoral votes: 11
Biden leads Trump, 51.0 percent to 47.6 percent, with 86 percent of the estimated vote in.
To keep in mind: Trump needs to win nearly two-thirds of the remaining votes to capture the state. Officials have said they expect to announce results around 9 p.m. Eastern time.

Electoral votes: 16
Trump leads Biden, 50.1 percent to 48.7 percent, with 94 percent of the estimated vote in.
Keep in mind: Many of the votes yet to be counted are in suburbs of Atlanta and other populous counties that have been breaking for Biden. Georgia’s secretary of state said that he expected the count to be done by the end of the day.

Electoral votes: 6
Biden leads Trump, 49.3 percent to 48.7 percent, with 86 percent of the estimated vote in.
Keep in mind: Mr. Biden leads by fewer than 8,000 votes, but all of the Election Day vote has been counted, leaving only Democratic-leaning late mail and provisional ballots to be tabulated. An election official promised “a fairly large update” later today.

Electoral votes: 15
Trump leads Biden, 50.1 percent to 48.7 percent, with 95 percent of the estimated vote in.
Keep in mind: With most votes now tabulated, Biden would need to win about two-thirds of the remainder to pull ahead.

Electoral votes: 20
Trump leads Biden, 51.8 percent to 47.0 percent, with 85 percent of the estimated vote in.
Keep in mind: An analysis by The Times’s Upshot finds that the remaining vote appears to be tilting strongly toward Biden. Populous counties where relatively large portions of the votes have yet to be counted include Philadelphia, where Biden leads by more than 50 percentage points, and Allegheny, which Biden leads by over 10 points and which includes Pittsburgh. But plenty of votes are outstanding in dozens of smaller Trump-leaning counties.

Biden needs to win about two-thirds of the remaining votes to win the state. Officials have said they expect most votes to be counted by Friday.

Electoral votes: 16
Biden was declared the winner, 49.8 percent to 48.6 percent, a margin of 1.2 percentage points, with 97 percent of votes counted.
Keep in mind: Before the Michigan race was called, the Trump campaign had announced that it was suing to halt the counting of mail-in ballots there because of what it called insufficient transparency in the process.

Electoral votes: 10
Biden was declared the winner, 49.4 percent to 48.8 percent, a margin of 0.6 percentage points, with more than 98 percent of votes counted.
Keep in mind: Wisconsin law allows a recount when the leading candidate’s margin is less than one percent, and the Trump campaign said it would request one.

Credit…Lauren Justice for The New York Times

Joseph R. Biden Jr. has defeated President Trump in Wisconsin, flipping a state President Trump narrowly won in 2016, according to The Associated Press.

With more than 98 percent of the votes counted, Mr. Biden had 1,630,389 votes and Mr. Trump 1,609,879, a margin of more than 20,000 votes, or 0.6 percentage points.

But under Wisconsin law, a recount can be requested if the margin between the leading candidates is less than 1 percent, and Mr. Trump’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, said even before the race was called that the campaign would “immediately do so.”

“The president is well within the threshold to demand a recount,” Mr. Stepien said Wednesday afternoon.

In 2016, a statewide recount increased Mr. Trump’s margin in Wisconsin by 131 votes.

Whoever requests the recount would have to pay for it unless the margin is less than one-quarter of 1 percent.

Andrew Bates, a spokesman for the Biden campaign, said the push for a recount was not the behavior of a winning campaign.

“When Donald Trump won Wisconsin in 2016 by roughly the same amount of votes that Joe Biden just did, or won Michigan with fewer votes than Joe Biden is winning it now, he bragged about a ‘landslide,’ and called recount efforts ‘sad,’” Mr. Bates said. “What makes these charades especially pathetic is that while Trump is demanding recounts in places he has already lost, he’s simultaneously engaged in fruitless attempts to halt the counting of votes in other states in which he’s on the road to defeat.”

Mr. Biden’s narrow Wisconsin advantage came after several of the state’s large cities — including Milwaukee, Green Bay and Kenosha — reported results from their absentee ballots on Wednesday morning.

The Biden campaign maintained a sharp focus on Wisconsin after the state was one of three crucial Great Lakes states that the party lost four years ago. It was a key part of the campaign’s hope of clearing a straightforward path to 270 electoral votes.

During his campaign, Mr. Biden made three visits to the state, which was set to host the Democratic National Convention before it became an all-virtual event because of the coronavirus pandemic, which is currently worse in Wisconsin than in any other battleground state. He maintained a steady lead in the polls in the run-up to Election Day.

In 2016, Mr. Trump became the first Republican presidential candidate to win Wisconsin since 1984, narrowly defeating Hillary Clinton in a state with a large population of white, working-class Democrats.

Wisconsin saw a surge of infections from the coronavirus this fall as voters were preparing to go to the polls. The state had also been upended this year after Kenosha became the site of unrest and protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

Credit…Kriston Jae Bethel for The New York Times

Vote counting is still underway in the crucial swing state of Pennsylvania, even as the Trump campaign challenges the process.

President Trump, who won the state narrowly in 2016, had secured about 52 percent of the vote by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, with the state reporting 84 percent of ballots counted. The mail ballots that have yet to be counted in Pennsylvania were expected to favor Democrats, and Mr. Biden has been narrowing Mr. Trump’s lead as the counting progresses.

But Mr. Trump tweeted on Wednesday that his campaign had “claimed” Pennsylvania “for Electoral Vote purposes,” even though the votes are still being counted. And at an afternoon news conference in Philadelphia, Eric Trump, one of the president’s sons, and Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, made the baseless assertion that the election in Pennsylvania was being stolen from Mr. Trump, and claimed that the campaign had been barred from observing the counting.

Mr. Giuliani claimed, with no evidence, that dead people had voted. Eric Trump said the campaign was filing a lawsuit in the state. They took no questions.

In Philadelphia, city commissioners processed another 47,000 mail-in ballots for a total of 233,486, commissioner Lisa Deeley said on Wednesday. She also said that 347,000 in-person ballots had been counted, or 97 percent of those cast, but that city officials were still waiting to receive some mail-in ballots.

Commissioner Al Schmidt, a Republican, defended the Philadelphia counting process against attacks by the Trump campaign, which has accused the commission of preventing Republican poll watchers from observing the count.

“In the room down the hall where all this activity is taking place, you can see a group of observers from the campaigns standing at a close but also safe distance from where all the activity is,” Mr. Schmidt said.

Credit…Brittany Greeson for The New York Times

Not long before multiple news outlets declared former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. the winner in Michigan, tensions escalated on Wednesday at a ballot-counting center in Detroit, a critical reservoir of votes for Mr. Biden in the battleground state.

President Trump’s supporters and Democratic observers converged on the TCF Center to monitor poll workers as they tried to finish counting more than 170,000 absentee ballots in the state’s largest city.

The president’s backers chanted “stop the count” as law enforcement officers stood in front of the doors to the convention center, a video of the episode showed.

While there was a standoff at the convention center, there were no apparent episodes of violence. It was not immediately clear if there were any arrests.

Though Mr. Trump took an early lead in Michigan as votes began to be counted, his margin evaporated overnight as ballots from Detroit, which is in Wayne County, were counted. The president’s campaign filed a lawsuit on Wednesday in which it accused election officials of blocking access to observers from the Trump campaign as the ballots were tabulated.

When counting began, 85 challengers were monitoring the 900 city workers who were counting the absentee ballots in shifts.

Outside the TCF Center, dozens of challengers — most not wearing masks — urged poll workers to stop counting votes and chanted “let us in.” A group of counter-demonstrators responded with “count every vote” chants.

Rich Henry, a protester from Livonia, a city in Wayne County, said that he was angered that the county was still counting ballots. His comments echoed the president’s false claims that ballots tabulated after Election Day should not count, despite it being commonplace in U.S. elections.

Mr. Henry, who owns a construction business and voted in person on Tuesday, called the mail-in ballot system a “fraud.”

“Why are we pushing it, because of the pandemic?” he said.

Behind the crowd, about 20 police officers watched as people continued to congregate in the late afternoon, and a helicopter circled overhead. At one point, an argument between two demonstrators broke out after the group challenging the ballot count began chanting “no more abortion.”

Some of the counter-demonstrators held signs saying “count every vote.” Beryl Satter, a history professor at Rutgers University who traveled to the Detroit area for the election, stood with the group.

“It seems to me, that if they’re going to have an election and a democracy, the votes should be counted,” she said. “It seems common sense and completely uncontroversial.”

Credit…Audra Melton for The New York Times

ATLANTA — In a nail-biting scenario whose resolution could help determine the winner of a tumultuous, fraught presidential race, state election officials in Georgia continued Wednesday to count more than 200,000 outstanding ballots.

As of Wednesday evening, about 60,000 votes separated the presidential candidates in Georgia, with President Trump leading his Democratic rival, Joseph R. Biden Jr., with about 50 percent of the vote, or 2.41 million votes.

Beyond the fate of the state’s 16 electoral votes, the uncounted ballots also left some down-ticket races unresolved, leaving open the possibility that Democrats’ big dreams of transforming Georgia may founder this week in the face of the enduring popularity of the Republican Party in the South.

At the same time, the closely contested presidential race underscored the fact that this Deep South state, once a reliable Republican stronghold, has become a legitimate battleground.

The fact that so many ballots remain uncounted came as little surprise. Voters were allowed to deposit absentee ballots in county drop boxes until 7 p.m. Tuesday. The process of counting them is labor-intensive, involving manually removing ballots from envelopes and, in some cases, subjecting them to human review.

But there were also unwelcome surprises, most notably a pipe that burst Tuesday morning in State Farm Arena, the stadium where the Atlanta Hawks play basketball and where Fulton County was tabulating votes. The plumbing failure, announced by county officials late Tuesday night, delayed the counting of an estimated 50,000 ballots.

In a news conference Wednesday morning, Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, said that the largest number of outstanding ballots, more than 60,000, were from Fulton County, which includes most of Atlanta and is a reliable Democratic stronghold. About 50,000 ballots were from DeKalb County, a Democratic-leaning area that also includes part of Atlanta.

Roughly 7,000 ballots were from Forsyth County, which voted heavily for Mr. Trump in 2016.

Mr. Raffensperger, a Republican and supporter of Mr. Trump, said he would pressure county officials in the state to complete its tally on Wednesday. But if a full vote count could not be finished, he added, he hoped that the number of uncounted ballots would be significantly reduced by the end of the day.

Jacey Fortin contributed reporting.

The Battle for the Senate

Credit…Hilary Swift for The New York Times

Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, emerged victorious on Wednesday in her bid to secure a fifth term, beating back an avalanche of Democratic money and liberal anger in the most difficult race of her career to defeat Sara Gideon, a Democrat, and strengthen her party’s hold on the Senate.

The Associated Press called the race for Ms. Collins with an estimated 75 percent of the votes tabulated and Ms. Collins leading Ms. Gideon by more than six percentage points, 49.8 percent to 43.4 percent.

Ms. Collins said she had received “a very gracious call” from Ms. Gideon conceding the race.

Ms. Collins’s victory dashed Democratic hopes of a crucial pickup as their ambitions of a Senate takeover hung by a thread.

If Joseph R. Biden Jr. wins the presidency, Democrats need to gain three seats to retake control of the Senate, which the Republicans have held since 2015. If President Trump is re-elected, Democrats need to gain four seats.

So far, Democrats have flipped two seats and Republicans have flipped one, for a net gain to the Democrats of one seat. Three races for Republican-held seats where Democrats were thought to have a chance have yet to be called, and Republicans held an edge in two of them.

The Collins-Gideon race was the most expensive in Maine history, with national donors flooding the state with tens of millions of dollars and an onslaught of negative campaign ads. The battle for control of the Senate appeared to be heading out of reach for Democrats.

Democrats early Wednesday won a crucial seat in Arizona, with Mark Kelly, a former astronaut, defeating Senator Martha McSally, and former Gov. John Hickenlooper defeated Senator Cory Gardner on Tuesday night in the high-profile fight for Colorado’s Senate seat. Those victories were essential to Democrats’ push to take the Senate majority.

In Georgia, the Rev. Dr. Raphael G. Warnock, a Democrat, advanced to a runoff election against Senator Kelly Loeffler, the Republican incumbent. The other race in the state, between Jon Ossoff, the Democratic challenger, and Senator David Perdue, a Republican, was too close to call.

But Republicans across the country were successful in holding off well-funded challengers in a number of key races. In Montana, Senator Steve Daines defeated Gov. Steve Bullock and in Iowa, Senator Joni Ernst defeated Theresa Greenfield, a businesswoman who had styled herself as a “scrappy farm kid.” Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican, hung onto his seat in South Carolina, fending off the toughest challenge of his political career from Jaime Harrison, a Black Democrat whose upstart campaign electrified progressives across the country and inspired a record-setting onslaught of campaign cash.

Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, also defeated a challenge from M.J. Hegar, a former Air Force pilot who Democrats hoped could have an outside chance of winning in the rapidly changing state. In Kentucky, Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, easily won re-election, defeating Amy McGrath, a Democrat who struggled to gain ground despite an outpouring of financial support from her party’s supporters around the nation.

Republicans succeeded in ousting Senator Doug Jones, Democrat of Alabama, who came to power in a 2017 special election against Roy S. Moore, who was accused of sexually assaulting and pursuing teenage girls.

Democrats were in danger of losing another seat in Michigan, where the Democratic incumbent, Gary Peters, was in a neck-and-neck race with his Republican challenger, John James.

Senator Thom Tillis, Republican of North Carolina, claimed victory Wednesday afternoon over his Democratic challenger, Cal Cunningham, in a seat that strategists in both parties identified as a possible tipping point, but news organizations did not declare a victor and Mr. Cunningham did not concede.

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

Republican lawyers and Trump campaign officials on Wednesday began a wide-ranging legal assault to challenge Democratic votes in key swing states, part of a long-telegraphed, post-Election Day campaign to claim victory over Joseph R. Biden Jr. with help from the courts.

By midday Wednesday, the Trump campaign had announced that it was suing to halt the counting of mail-in ballots in Michigan because of what it called insufficient transparency in the process.

“President Trump’s campaign has not been provided with meaningful access to numerous counting locations to observe the opening of ballots and the counting process, as guaranteed by Michigan law,” said Bill Stepien, President Trump’s campaign manager.

Separately, the Trump campaign said it would seek a recount of the vote in Wisconsin, even before the race was called. Mr. Biden was named the winner there on Wednesday afternoon by The Associated Press, by a margin of more than 20,000 votes, or 0.6 percentage points.

In news briefings and interviews, campaign aides grounded their legal arguments in a claim that they were merely seeking to ensure that no votes get to count that should not count, rather than repeating the president’s own early-morning claims that all counting should have stopped on Election Day, when early and incomplete results showed him ahead in some battleground states that will help decide the Electoral College winner.

“If we count all legal ballots, the president wins,” Mr. Stepien said on a morning conference call with reporters.

The statement was in keeping with the campaign’s legal strategy to contest votes it alleges should not have been counted under state election laws, some of which it is already challenging.

Earlier in the morning, Mr. Trump had emerged from watching returns at the White House to say, “We’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop,” a crude rendering of his campaign’s legal position that was legally meaningless and that drew bipartisan criticism.

Already on Wednesday the Trump and Biden campaigns were in Pennsylvania courts pressing dual lawsuits to invalidate provisional and corrected ballots by citizens who were informed before polls closed that problems with their mail-in votes had caused them to be rejected by election officials.

Trump campaign officials also indicated they were considering more legal action in Arizona and in Nevada, where the Trump campaign was already pressing a lawsuit protesting the counting process in the state’s largest county.

Biden campaign officials said they had readied contingencies and legal papers for any challenges the president and his allies might bring. “We are prepared for any effort any Republicans make in any of these states,” said Bob Bauer, a senior adviser to Mr. Biden’s campaign.

He cast the Biden campaign’s legal position as one of more defense than offense, referring to ever-changing tallies that, at that moment, showed Mr. Biden with leads in Wisconsin, Michigan and Arizona and that, if they held, would deliver Mr. Biden the White House.

“As far as our own planning, we’re winning the election,” Mr. Bauer said.

The position marked a key difference from the last time the nation was in a similarly contested setting, in Florida in 2000. In that case, Al Gore, the Democrat, was behind in the returns and was portrayed by Republicans as seeking to snatch victory away from George W. Bush — a position that kept Mr. Gore at a disadvantage throughout the legal fighting that followed.

With counting incomplete and continuing across the country, the dynamic could shift at any minute. But as of early Wednesday afternoon, it was Mr. Trump’s campaign that was in the position of challenging a potentially losing result.

The Trump campaign indicated it was prepared for a lengthy war of legal attrition in a fund-raising appeal it sent to supporters after polls had closed, asking for money so it can “FIGHT BACK” against Democrats that the campaign claimed without evidence were trying to “steal” the election.

The president’s legal tab promised to be high. When the Green Party nominee Jill Stein forced a recount in Wisconsin in 2016, for instance, she received a bill from the state for $3.5 million.

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

While there have been countless election cases filed around the nation, it is not clear which of them might reach the Supreme Court in the coming days.

But one candidate is already on the docket, and on Wednesday that Trump campaign said that it was intervening in the case, from Pennsylvania, which challenges a ruling by the state’s highest court that extended the deadline for receiving mail ballots by three days.

Last month, the court refused to put the Pennsylvania on a fast track, but three justices indicated that the court might return to it later if need be.

Should the vote in Pennsylvania have the potential to determine the outcome in the Electoral College and should those late-arriving ballots have the potential to swing the state — two big ifs — the U.S. Supreme Court might well intercede.

Late last month, the justices refused a plea from Republicans to fast-track a decision on whether the Pennsylvania Supreme Court had acted lawfully when it ordered a three-day extension for ballots clearly mailed on or before Election Day, and for ballots with missing or illegible postmarks “unless a preponderance of the evidence demonstrates that it was mailed after Election Day.”

The justices’ refusal came a little more than a week after the court deadlocked, 4 to 4, on an emergency application in the case on Oct. 19.

Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh said they would have granted a stay blocking the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision. On the other side were Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and the court’s three-member liberal wing: Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who joined the court on Oct. 27, did not take part in the decision not to fast-track the case.

Justice Alito, joined by Justices Thomas and Gorsuch, criticized his court’s treatment of the matter, which he said had “needlessly created conditions that could lead to serious postelection problems.”

“It would be highly desirable to issue a ruling on the constitutionality of the State Supreme Court’s decision before the election,” Justice Alito wrote. “That question has national importance, and there is a strong likelihood that the State Supreme Court decision violates the federal Constitution.”

But there was not enough time, he wrote. Still, Justice Alito left little doubt about where he stood on the question in the case.

Pennsylvania officials have instructed county election officials to segregate ballots arriving after 8 p.m. on Election Day through 5 p.m. on Friday. That would as a practical matter allow a ruling from the Supreme Court to determine whether they were ultimately counted.

Credit…Brittany Greeson for The New York Times

As the results rolled in on Tuesday night, a feeing of déjà vu arrived along with them. Pre-election polls, it appeared, had been misleading once again.

While the nation awaits final results from Michigan, Pennsylvania and a few other states, it is already clear — no matter who ends up winning — that the industry failed to fully account for the missteps that led it to underestimate President Trump’s support four years ago.

The misses raise the question whether the polling industry, which has become a national fixation in an era of data journalism and statistical forecasting, can survive yet another crisis of confidence.

“I want to see all the results in,” Christopher Borick, the director of polling at Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania, said in an interview. “I want to see where those deviations are from pre-election polls and final margins. But there’s ample evidence that there were major issues again. Just how deep they are, we’ll see.”

In some states where many polls had projected Mr. Trump losing narrowly — like Ohio, Iowa and Florida — he had already been declared the winner by early Wednesday. And in states that had seemed more than likely to go for Mr. Biden, like Michigan and Nevada, results were too close to call as the official tallies trickled in. (In one such state, Wisconsin, Mr. Biden was declared the winner on Wednesday afternoon, by 0.6 percentage points.)

Given the ballots that have been counted, it is now clear that there was an overestimation of Mr. Biden’s support across the board, particularly with white voters and with men. And while polling had presaged a swing away from Mr. Trump among white voters 65 and over, that never fully took shape.

Partly as a result, Mr. Biden underperformed his expectations not only in polyglot states like Florida but in heavily white, suburban areas such as Macomb County, Mich., where he had been widely expected to do well.

Dr. Borick pointed out that while state-level polls had widely misfired in 2016, the same thing had generally not occurred in the 2018 midterm elections. This led him to conclude that Mr. Trump was a complicating factor.

“In the end, like so many Trump-related things, there may be different rules,” he said. “I’m a quantifiable type of human being; I want to see evidence. And I only have two elections with Donald Trump in them — but both seem to be behaving in ways that others don’t behave.”

Not every pollster fared poorly. Ann Selzer, long considered one of the top pollsters in the country, released a poll with The Des Moines Register days before the election showing Mr. Trump opening up a seven-point lead in Iowa; that appears to be in line with the actual result thus far.

And inevitably, Robert Cahaly and his mysterious Trafalgar Group — which projected a bunch of close races in the battlegrounds — will get another look from curious commentators wondering why it has been so close to accurate, both in 2016 and this year.

The firm was among the only pollsters to show Mr. Trump’s strength in the Midwest and Pennsylvania four years ago, and while its polls this fall may end up being a little on the rosy-red side, it appears to have gotten the horse race in many states closer than other pollsters, by not giving short shrift to Mr. Trump’s strengths.

Credit…Olivier Douliery/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

For all the criticism that Facebook, Twitter and YouTube endured over their failures to curb disinformation during the 2016 election, their response this time on Election Day was largely smooth.

The social platforms said that they would not allow a political candidate to make misleading statements about the outcome of a race. So when President Trump falsely claimed on Twitter and Facebook early Wednesday that the election was being stolen, the companies labeled his message to indicate it was disputed and that there was no winner yet.

Facebook also added a notification at the top of News Feeds to say there was no official election result after Mr. Trump spoke early Wednesday from the White House declaring himself the victor.

“What we actually saw on Election Day from the companies is that they were extremely responsive and faster than they’ve ever been,” said Graham Brookie, the director of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab. “Outside of the unknowns, the platforms were proactive and prepared for the inevitable — which was disinformation about the results of the election from Donald Trump.”

But the biggest tests for Facebook, Twitter and YouTube could still be looming, misinformation researchers said. Votes are still being counted and the outcome of the presidential race remains unclear, creating a situation that presents many opportunities for false narratives, they said.

Already on Wednesday morning, Twitter applied a label to a post by Ben Wikler, head of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, which asserted prematurely that Joseph R. Biden Jr. had won in the state. The company also added a label to a new tweet from Mr. Trump, in which he claimed his early leads in Democratic states “started to magically disappear.” Twitter also prevented the post from being shared by other users.

“As votes are still being counted across the country, our teams continue to take enforcement action on tweets that prematurely declare victory or contain misleading information about the election broadly,” a Twitter spokesman said in a statement.

Credit…John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register, via Associated Press

A federal judge on Wednesday threatened to call Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to appear before him, expressing frustration with the Postal Service’s slow response in carrying out Election Day sweeps of postal facilities looking for undelivered ballots.

“The postmaster is either going have to be deposed or appear before me,” said Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the District of Columbia, as he continued to monitor the agency’s performance delivering ballots, which can be counted for days after the election in many states.

On Tuesday, Judge Sullivan had ordered inspectors to sweep facilities in 12 districts after the Postal Service said in court that some 300,000 ballots it had received had not been scanned for delivery. He said he was particularly concerned about ballot delivery in key swing districts with low on-time delivery scores, including Central Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and Detroit.

The judge gave the agency until 3 p.m. to complete the sweeps, but the Postal Service said it would need until 8 p.m. to do the work without disrupting the processing of a flood of Election Day ballots.

On Wednesday morning, the Postal Service said it had completed the sweeps, and that they turned up only a “relative handful of ballots” — about 12 or 13, according to a U.S. Department of Justice lawyer representing the Postal Service.

The judge’s dramatic Election Day order came as record numbers of Americans cast ballots by mail this year, with voters anxious to avoid crowds at the polls during the pandemic.

“Why was it as of yesterday there were still ballots being delivered late?” Shankar Duraiswamy, the lead lawyer for the nonprofit coalition Vote Forward, which is suing the Postal Service to try to ensure all ballots are delivered, asked during Wednesday’s hearing.

He said the court must now focus on getting ballots to the 21 states in the country that accept ballots postmarked by or before Election Day in the days after the election.

Roughly 300,000 ballots that the Postal Service says it processed showed no scan confirming their delivery to ballot-counting sites, according to data filed recently in federal court in Washington, D.C., leaving voter-rights advocates concerned.

Postal officials said that just because a ballot never received a final scan before going out for delivery, it did not mean that it wasn’t delivered. A machine scanning ballots for final processing can sometimes miss ballots that are stuck together or have smudged bar codes. And hand-sorted ballots typically do not receive a final scan before delivery.

The Postal Service said Wednesday morning it had been conducting daily searches at all of its facilities for ballots that might fall through the cracks.

In a statement, a Postal Service spokesman said some ballots, expedited to election officials, had bypassed certain processing operations and did not receive a final scan.

“The assumption that there are unaccounted ballots within the Postal Service network is inaccurate,” he said. “We remain in close contact with state and local boards of elections and we do not currently have any open issues.”

As the agency continues to process ballots, states across the country are still counting votes cast by mail. In the final hours that election officials in Texas can accept some mail-in ballots, Judge Sullivan also ruled Wednesday that the Postal Service must instruct employees in Texas to conduct additional sweeps for ballots sent to election officials. The Associated Press has already called the state in Mr. Trump’s favor.

Credit…Meg Kinnard/Associated Press

Republican women delivered critical victories to their party in the election, signaling the success of the party’s efforts to recruit and elect a more diverse slate of candidates to counter Democrats’ huge advantage in adding women to their ranks in Congress.

In battlegrounds across the country, conservative women scored upsets for House Republicans, with Ashley Hinson, a former state legislator and television reporter ousting Representative Abby Finkenauer of Iowa; Nancy Mace, the first woman to graduate from the Citadel, defeating Representative Joe Cunningham of South Carolina; and Yvette Herrell, a former state legislator, flipping Representative Xochitl Torres Small’s New Mexico seat.

Those wins came as Republicans fought to protect women incumbents in the Senate, where Joni Ernst of Iowa and Susan Collins of Maine prevailed in their competitive races and Kelly Loeffler advanced to a runoff in Georgia. By Wednesday morning, Democrats had only vanquished one Republican woman in the Senate, Martha McSally of Arizona, who had been expected to lose.

In past cycles, House Republicans had failed to recruit and elect women candidates. In 2018, as Democrats wrested control of the House with a diverse class of contenders, just one new Republican woman was elected to the chamber. That set off a scramble by party leaders to steal a page from the Democratic recruiting playbook, eschewing the kind of candidates they had previously turned to — white, male, often veterans of politics — in favor of political newcomers with diverse backgrounds.

Those efforts appeared to be paying off as Republicans clawed back a number of seats they had lost in 2018, and partial returns showed women leading Democratic incumbents in other competitive districts, like in Staten Island, where Representative Max Rose of New York was fighting to hold of Nicole Malliotakis.

“We flipped seats primarily with women and minority candidates,” Parker Hamilton Poling, the executive director of House Republicans’ campaign arm wrote on Twitter early Wednesday. “I’d call that a pretty good night.”

Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

The argument President Trump made early Wednesday — that he had won an election in which millions of validly cast ballots remained to be counted — was a blatant misrepresentation of the electoral process.

No state ever reports final results on election night, no state is legally expected to, and if the Supreme Court were to force states to stop counting ballots simply because midnight on Tuesday has passed — as Mr. Trump said he would ask the justices to do — it would be an extraordinary subversion of the democratic process that would disenfranchise millions of voters who cast valid, on-time ballots.

There is nothing new or unusual about prolonged vote counts. In 2008, it took two weeks for Missouri to be called for John McCain. In 2012, it took four days for Florida to be called for Barack Obama. There was no dispute about the legitimacy of these results; it simply took time to finish counting the votes.

In fact, one of Mr. Trump’s own cherished victories, in Michigan in 2016, was confirmed only after two weeks of counting.

Americans are accustomed to knowing who won the presidency on election night because news organizations project winners based on partial counts, not because the entire count is completed that quickly. Because so many people voted by mail this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic, it is taking longer in some states to make accurate projections. But the final, official results will come exactly when they always do: by the certification deadlines each state has set, ranging from two days after the election in Delaware to more than a month after in California.

Mr. Trump sought in his speech from the White House, just as he and his campaign sought in the weeks leading up to Election Day, to conflate two separate things: the casting of ballots after Election Day, and the counting of ballots after Election Day.

“We want all voting to stop,” he said, but it already has; no votes are currently being cast. What Mr. Trump is suggesting is that states not count ballots that were already cast.

The bald political nature of his speech was clear in the contradiction between his comments on Arizona, where Mr. Trump is trailing, and his comments on Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where he has the illusion of large leads because huge numbers of votes from Democratic-leaning areas, like Detroit, Philadelphia and Milwaukee, haven’t been counted yet.

He complained that Fox News had called Arizona for Joseph R. Biden Jr. when many votes were still outstanding. Then, in the next breath, he suggested that he had definitively won Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin despite the far larger numbers of votes still outstanding.

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

While the outcome of the presidential race remains undecided, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has notched one clear milestone: He has collected more votes than his former running mate Barack Obama did in 2008, to set a new record for the popular vote.

Powered by the enormous turnout, Mr. Biden received more than 70,300,000 votes nationwide, exceeding the 69,498,516 collected by Mr. Obama in another year with enormous voter enthusiasm that held the record until this year.

Democrats are likely to point to the vote total as evidence that they continue to represent the majority of the country in presidential elections. They have won the popular vote in every presidential election since 2000 with the exception of 2004.

But there are some caveats: The population of the country has grown since 2008 from 304 million to more than 330 million people in 2020.

This means that Mr. Obama received the votes of a greater percentage of Americans — about 23 percent, to Mr. Biden’s 21 percent. Mr. Obama also drew a higher percentage of the country’s registered voters, 48 percent to Mr. Biden’s 45 percent.

While Mr. Obama was swept in with a clear majority of the popular vote, Mr. Biden, who served two terms as his vice president, is on track for a narrower margin in the nationwide results, reflecting a more divided electorate, said Rogers Smith, a professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania

“This was an extraordinary election that appears to have spurred one of the highest turnouts in a century,” he said. “That means that both candidates are going to receive larger vote totals than they would have in the past.”

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NRL 2020: Transfer centre, contract news, signings tracker, off-contract players, Melbourne Storm

The Penrith Panthers have confirmed the departure of six players ahead of the 2021 season, including three who will link up with new clubs.

Skipper James Tamou headlines the list as he finishes up his time at the foot of the mountains to join the Wests Tigers.

Also making a club switch is Jack Hetherington, who was granted an early release from his contract to sign with the Bulldogs and Caleb Aekins, who was picked up by the Raiders.

Get all the latest NRL news, highlights and analysis delivered straight to your inbox with Fox Sports Sportmail. Sign up now >

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Amy Coney Barrett: Live Supreme Court Confirmation Hearing Stream and Tracker

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, opened Wednesday’s hearing by proclaiming Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s coming confirmation a historic victory for conservative women who he said have faced steeper obstacles in public life than liberal women.

“This is the first time in American history that we’ve nominated a woman who is unashamedly pro-life and embraces her faith without apology, and she is going to the court,” Mr. Graham said.

Judge Barrett, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, has declined repeatedly during the hearings to answer how she would rule on a challenge to the Roe v. Wade decision that established abortion rights, but has made clear that she opposes abortion rights.

“This hearing, to me, is an opportunity to not punch through a glass ceiling, but a reinforced concrete barrier around conservative women,” Mr. Graham said as the second day of questioning by senators began. “You’re going to shatter that barrier.”

Mr. Graham, who is in a tough re-election campaign, echoed statements on Tuesday from the panel’s two Republican women, both of whom argued that conservative women had been marginalized for their beliefs.

“I have never been more proud of the nominee than I am of you,” he said. “This is history being made, folks.”

Later, Senator Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri, echoed Mr. Graham’s praise as he concluded his questions, announcing that he would vote for Judge Barrett and saying: “There’s nothing wrong with confirming to the Supreme Court of the United States a devout, Catholic, pro-life Christian.”

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

President Trump’s attacks on the rule of law and the judiciary hung over the proceedings, as Judge Barrett repeatedly parried questions from Democrats about how she viewed matters of presidential power, including whether a president could defy a Supreme Court ruling or pardon himself.

Asked by Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont whether courts had the power to enforce their rulings if a president disobeyed, the judge would not give a definite answer.

While Judge Barrett said that “no man is above the law,” she added, “as a matter of law, the Supreme Court may have the final word, but it lacks control about what happens after that.”

Mr. Leahy tried again, asking whether a president who refused to follow a court ruling would pose a threat to the constitutional system of checks and balances.

She would not directly answer.

“As I said, the Supreme Court cannot control whether or not the president obeys,” she said, noting that Abraham Lincoln had once disobeyed a lower court order during the Civil War.

Judge Barrett was similarly unwilling to engage Mr. Leahy on whether a president had an “absolute right” to pardon himself, as Mr. Trump has claimed that he does.

“That question may or may not arise, but that is one that calls for legal analysis of what the scope of the pardon power is,” she said, adding that she could not offer an opinion on a question that she could be called upon to rule on.

A frustrated Mr. Leahy asked one more, this time focusing on the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which is meant to limit foreign influence on the president by prohibiting him from accepting foreign gifts.

Citing news reports, Mr. Leahy asked if the tens of millions of dollars in business done by Mr. Trump’s hotels and clubs with foreign entities fell under that clause.

Again, no answer from Judge Barrett.

“As a matter being litigated, it’s very clear that is one I can’t express an opinion on, because it could come before me,” she said.

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Soon after Wednesday’s hearing started, Americans got a brief tutorial on the legal doctrine of severability from Judge Barrett, elicited by Republicans on the panel.

The point was to signal that the Affordable Care Act may not be in peril when the Supreme Court hears arguments next month on the fate of the law, often called Obamacare. Democrats have focused relentlessly on the threat to the law as they have made their case against Judge Barrett, who they warn would join a 6-3 conservative majority to strike it down.

Even as Republican state officials and the Trump administration are asking the Supreme Court to invalidate the entire Affordable Care Act based on what they say is a flaw in a single provision of the sprawling law, Mr. Graham asked Judge Barrett to describe severability.

She said the doctrine generally requires that courts strike down a single provision of a law and retain the balance of it.

“The presumption,” Judge Barrett said, “is always in favor of severability.”

That is the key issue in next month’s case. After Congress zeroed out the penalty for not obtaining insurance in the so-called individual mandate, Republican state officials argued that the mandate was now unconstitutional. They added, more significantly, that this meant the entire law must fall, including protections for pre-existing conditions.

Judge Barrett did not say how she would vote in the pending case, but the general tenor of her summary suggested that she was skeptical of the maximalist arguments made by Republican officials.

Her general statement was consistent with an opinion in July from Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, Mr. Trump’s last nominee.

“Constitutional litigation is not a game of gotcha against Congress, where litigants can ride a discrete constitutional flaw in a statute to take down the whole, otherwise constitutional statute,” Justice Kavanaugh wrote.


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During the third day of hearings on Capitol Hill, Sen. Joni Ernst, Republican of Iowa, asked Judge Amy Coney Barrett if she had any advice for young women. She advised them to “be confident” and to “know what you want.”CreditCredit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

Near the end of a third day of hearings on Capitol Hill, Senator Joni Ernst, Republican of Iowa, asked Judge Barrett if she had advice for young women.

Judge Barrett said she did, and passed on some guidance that. she said her father had told her.

“One thing I have often told my own daughters is that you should not let life just happen to you or lead you along,” Judge Barrett said. “You should identify where your objectives are and identify the type of person you want to be and make deliberate decisions to make that happen. My dad used to tell us not to make a decision is to make a decision.”

“Make decisions. Be confident. Know what you want. And go get it,” she concluded.

Ms. Ernst, who is a facing a tough re-election race in Iowa, told Judge Barrett many young women are rooting for her, including Ms. Ernst’s daughter, Libby, who is a student at West Point.

“I would share with you that there are thousands upon thousands of young women out there that see the role that you set,” Ms. Ernst said, adding that they see the judge as “someone they can aspire to be.”

Credit…Hilary Swift for The New York Times

Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, expressed concern that if confirmed, Judge Barrett would be the third justice on the high court who worked for Republicans during the Bush v. Gore case about the disputed 2000 election outcome.

“Few understand we are operating in a moment where the president is undermining vote by mail,” Ms. Klobuchar said. “Many argue that Bush v. Gore hurt the court’s legitimacy.”

Judge Barrett said that she couldn’t recall her specific work on the case. “I did work on Bush v. Gore on behalf of the Republican side,” she said Wednesday. “To be fully honest, I can’t remember exactly what piece of the case it was.”

Ms. Klobuchar noted that Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh also advised on the matter for President George W. Bush.

After her clerkship with Justice Scalia ended in 1999, Judge Barrett worked as a lawyer for the boutique Washington firm Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewin, which merged with another firm, Baker Botts, in 2001. The firm represented Mr. Bush in the election dispute, and Judge Barrett provided “research and briefing assistance” on the matter as an associate, according to information she first provided the Senate in 2017, as she was being considered for her appeals court seat.

“I worked on the case on location in Florida for about a week at the outset of the litigation,” Judge Barrett wrote in the questionnaire she submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee. She noted that she had worked with Stuart Levey, a former partner at the firm, while the case was in Florida courts, and that she had not continued working on the matter after returning to Washington.

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ultimately ordered an end to the Florida recount, delivering a victory to Mr. Bush. Mr. Bush would go on to appoint two lawyers who had helped that effort — the future Justices Roberts and Kavanaugh — to the federal bench. Mr. Bush later nominated Justice Roberts to the Supreme Court, while President Trump nominated Justice Gorsuch in 2017.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Ms. Klobuchar asked the judge if she thought that pattern of representation among nominees put forward by Republicans was “a coincidence,” and suggested it would be inappropriate to potentially have three justices who had played a part in that litigation considering a possible case relating to the 2020 election.

“Asking whether something would undermine the legitimacy of the court or not seems to be trying to elicit a question about whether it would be appropriate for justices who participated in that litigation to sit on the case rather than recuse, and I went down that road yesterday,” Judge Barrett said. On Tuesday, said she would consider recusing herself from an election-related case, but made no commitment to do so on that matter or in a challenge to the Affordable Care Act.

“The reason I asked about that is that this would be unprecedented,” Ms. Klobuchar said. “Right now we are in unprecedented times where we have a president who refuses to commit to a peaceful transition of power, working to undermine the integrity of this election.”

At last month’s presidential debate, Mr. Trump said he planned to look to the Supreme Court to settle a potential election dispute. “I think I’m counting on them to look at the ballots, definitely,” he said.




‘Good Old Days of Segregation’ Remark Was Sarcastic, Graham Says

After invoking the “good old days of segregation” while questioning Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Senator Lindsey Graham responded to criticism by saying it was made “with deep sarcasm.”

“And one of the reasons you can say with confidence that you think Brown v. Board of Education is a superprecedent is that you’re not aware of any effort to go back to the good old days of segregation by a legislative body. Is that correct?” “That is correct.” “It was with deep sarcasm that I suggested that some legislative body would want to yearn for the good old days of segregation as — the point that I’m trying to make, there is nobody in America in the legislative arena wanting to take us back to that dark period in American history. It blows my mind that any rational person could believe that about me. This is not a game we’re playing here with the people of South Carolina. There are plenty of differences between my opponent and myself, manufacturing a scenario that Lindsey Graham wants — go back to the days of segregation is not worthy of the times in which we live. It is not worthy of an assault on me. We have plenty of differences with Mr Harrison. I want to assure the people of South Carolina that statement was made with dripping sarcasm.”

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After invoking the “good old days of segregation” while questioning Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Senator Lindsey Graham responded to criticism by saying it was made “with deep sarcasm.”CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Mr. Graham, who is fighting off an increasingly steep re-election challenge from a Black Democrat in South Carolina, drew criticism on Wednesday after he invoked the “good old days of segregation” while questioning Judge Barrett.

Asking the judge about various Supreme Court precedents as he opened the third day of hearings, Mr. Graham appeared to be trying to drive home the point that there was no longer any meaningful push in America to challenge the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, which held that school segregation was unconstitutional.

“One of the reasons you can say with confidence that you think Brown v. Board of Education is a super precedent is you are not aware of any effort to go back to the good old days of segregation via legislative body. Is that correct?” he asked. Judge Barrett answered in the affirmative.

As Judge Barrett has done, Mr. Graham contrasted that decision to precedents like the one in Roe v. Wade, which enshrined a federal right to an abortion, and which has been a frequent target of legal challenges stemming from state laws rolling back abortion rights.

But the chairman’s comment drew a swift rebuke from his Democratic rival, Jaime Harrison, who shared a clip of Mr. Graham’s remark on his Twitter account, sending it bouncing across social media.

“The good old days for who, Senator?” Mr. Harrison asked. “It’s 2020, not 1920. Act like it.”

During a break in the hearing, Mr. Graham said he had been misunderstood and rebuked his opponent for the criticism. His comments were “dripping with sarcasm,” Mr. Graham said, referring to the era of segregation as “dark days.”

“It blows my mind that any rational person could believe that about me,” he added.

The comment came just a few days after Mr. Graham was roundly criticized for saying during a campaign forum in South Carolina that Black people “can go anywhere in this state” as long as they were “conservative, not liberal.”

He had been talking about his friendship with the state’s other Republican senator, Tim Scott, who is a Black man.

Judge Barrett, under questioning from Senator Kamala Harris, the Democratic nominee for vice president, said Wednesday that human-caused climate change is “a very contentious matter of public debate,” a position starkly at odds with the established scientific consensus.

Climate change proved to be a surprisingly contentious subject, both on Tuesday and Wednesday. And on both days, Judge Barrett used language that echoed Republican political talking points.

During Tuesday’s confirmation hearing, Senator John Kennedy, Republican of Louisiana, asked Judge Barrett about her views on climate change. “You know, I’m certainly not a scientist,” she said, and added that “I have read things about climate change — I would not say I have firm views on it.”

Such language has often been. used by Republican lawmakers wrestling with their party’s longstanding disavowal of climate science: While party stalwarts used to simply deny that human activity is causing the planet to warm dangerously, they increasingly have taken the more neutral “I’m not a scientist” position.

On Wednesday, Ms. Harris challenged her again, taking Judge Barrett through other scientific matters, whether cigarettes cause cancer, whether the coronavirus is infectious, then. whether “climate change is happening and threatening the air we breathe and the water that we drink.”

Judge Barrett responded, “I wondered if, where you were going with that. You asked me uncontroversial questions, like Covid-19 being infectious or if smoking causes cancer.” Then she accused Ms. Harris of “trying to solicit an opinion from me on a very contentious matter of public debate,” climate change.

“I will not do that, I will not express a view on a matter of public policy, especially one that is politically controversial because it is inconsistent with the judicial rule.”

The science of human-caused climate change is established.

Judge Barrett’s answer is “a dodge that fails to acknowledge the overwhelming scientific consensus that humans are causing the planet to warm,” said Ann Carlson, a faculty director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at U.C.L.A. School of Law.

She continued, “Judge Barrett is a smart, highly educated person who has spent most of her career in a job that rewards knowledge and intellect. For her not to have firm views on climate change is almost unbelievable.”

The evidence that the planet is warming, and that warming is having destructive effects, has only grown more pressing as more and more Americans have come to understand the links between extreme weather in their own lives — including more destructive hurricanes and wildfires. The issue is increasingly important to voters, and has become a prominent part of the presidential race; President Trump has continued to scoff at the evidence underlying climate change, even saying recently that “I don’t think science knows, actually,” while Joseph R. Biden Jr. promises an aggressive $2 trillion plan to counter global warming.

It is also important to the Supreme Court. In past decisions, the justices have accepted that human-caused climate change is occurring and determined that the Environmental Protection Agency can regulate greenhouse gases in the case Massachusetts v. E.P.A., but a more conservative Supreme Court might revisit the issue.

To Professor Carlson, Judge Barrett’s response “seems like a pretty strong signal to those in the know that she is skeptical of regulating greenhouse gases.”




Highlights From Day 2 of Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Hearing

On Tuesday, senators began their questioning of Judge Amy Coney Barrett during her Supreme Court confirmation hearing.

“Can you hold up what you’ve been referring to in answering our questions? Is there anything on it?” “That letterhead that says United States Senate.” “In English? OK, so in English that means that I interpret the Constitution as a law, that I interpret its text as text and I understand it to have the meaning that it had at the time people ratified it. That meaning doesn’t change over time, and it’s not up to me to update it or infuse my own policy views into it. But I want to be careful to say that if I’m confirmed, you would not be getting Justice Scalia, you would be getting Justice Barrett.” “Justice Ginsburg, with her characteristic pithiness, used this to describe how a nominee should comport herself at a hearing: no hints, no previews, no forecasts. That had been the practice of nominees before her. But everybody calls it the ‘Ginsburg Rule’ because she stated it so concisely, and it’s been the practice of every nominee since.” “Do you agree that I.V.F. is tantamount to manslaughter?” “Senator, the statement that I signed, as you said, simply said, we — I signed it on the way out of church. It was consistent with the views of my church. And it simply said, we support the right to life from conception to natural death. It took no position on I.V.F. So really, the issue in the case is this doctrine of severability and that’s not something that I’ve ever talked about with respect to the Affordable Care Act. Honestly, I haven’t written anything about severability that I know of at all. My children to this point in their lives have had the benefit of growing up in a cocoon, where they have not yet experienced hatred or violence. Giving broader statements or making broader diagnoses about the problem of racism is kind of beyond what I’m capable of doing as a judge. I have no agenda, and I do want to be clear that I have never discriminated on the basis of sexual preference and would not ever discriminate on the basis of sexual preference. You know, like racism, I think discrimination is abhorrent. On the questions of law, however, I just — because I’m a sitting judge and because you can’t answer questions without going through the judicial process — can’t give answers to those very specific questions.” “Given what President Trump said, given the rushed context of this confirmation, will you commit to recusing yourself from any case arising from a dispute in the presidential election results three weeks from now?” “I would consider it — let’s see, I certainly hope that all members of the committee have more confidence in my integrity than to think that I would allow myself to be used as a pawn to decide this election for the American people. So that would be on the question of actual bias, and you asked about the appearance of bias.”

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On Tuesday, senators began their questioning of Judge Amy Coney Barrett during her Supreme Court confirmation hearing.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

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