March 17, 2016

President Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court Wednesday to replace the late Antonin Scalia, but don’t expect the judge, seen as a more moderate choice for the court, to begin serving anytime soon. Highly respected and qualified, Garland tests the GOP-controlled Senate’s pledge not to consider any Obama nominee to the limits. Already there are signs of cracking as lawmakers who expressed opposition to any hearings or meetings now changing their tune. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was clear Wednesday that there would be no vote until after the election. And despite his statements to the contrary, that’s just fine with Obama and the White House, who can use the standoff as just another moment to highlight what they view as Republican obstructionism in an election year.

Facing a nearly insurmountable delegate deficit, Bernie Sanders‘ campaign grasped for straws Wednesday in trying to explain why their candidate would push on. Arguing their candidacy would help Hillary Clinton avoid fire from GOP front-runner Donald Trump (that hasn’t worked yet) and that they want to enfranchise every Democratic voter, they maintained that the map gets easier for their candidate as the race progresses—a statement unsupported by polling. Sanders’ strategists also maintained that the hunt for the Democratic nomination wasn’t “a matter of delegate arithmetic,” when that’s precisely what it is—and he’s behind the 8-ball. And in even more striking fashion, the campaign that once complained about the role of super-delegates to the Democratic convention, began floating picking off Clinton backers among the Democratic establishment, as well as potentially overturning voters by winning over delegates pledged to Clinton through caucuses and primaries.

Trump pulled out of Monday’s scheduled Republican debate in Salt Lake City as he reignited his war of words against Fox News host Megyn Kelly, who was set to moderate the debate, and declaring that GOP voters have heard enough from the candidates. Ohio Gov. John Kasich backed out once Trump did, while Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who was looking for a show-down with Trump as he tries to argue it’s a two-man race, resurrected his “Ducking Donald” from when Trump skipped his a debate earlier this year. Feeling confident about his position in the delegate count, Trump is trying to lock in the nomination by simply avoiding giving his rivals a platform on which to appear at his level.

Inside Apple’s fight with the FBI. The Stop Trump campaign looks for a way forward. And a Broadway show may keep Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill.

Here are your must-reads:

Must Reads

President Obama Tries For Political Truce With Merrick Garland
Obama is hoping for a political truce. But that doesn’t makes a partisan war over the nomination any less likely, TIME’s Massimo Calabresi writes

Merrick Garland’s Best Shot at Confirmation: Lame Duck
TIME’s Jay Newton-Small on his prospects

Why Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Is Pushing Ahead
Sanders campaign grasps for straws [TIME]

Stop Trump Campaign Vows to Press On as Many in GOP Retreat to Sidelines
But still searches for something that works [Washington Post]

Inside Apple CEO Tim Cook’s Fight With the FBI
TIME explores the struggle between privacy and security in this week’s cover story

Sound Off

“It is not a matter of delegate arithmetic.” — Bernie Sanders strategist Tad Devine on the Democratic nominating race—which is vey much about counting delegates

“The decision the Senate announced weeks ago remains about a principle, not a person.” — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell repeating his opposition to the Senate considering Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court

Bits and Bites

Republican Debate Cancelled After Donald Trump Says He Won’t Come [Associated Press]

Joe Klein: To Take out Trump, Hillary Clinton Must First Dispense With Her Inner Politician [TIME]

Trump Supporter: ‘Riots Aren’t Necessarily a Bad Thing’ [TIME]

Bernie Sanders Gets an Alaska ‘Super PAC’ Aimed At Millennials [TIME]

Spotlight Story
'Without Empathy, Nothing Works.' Chef José Andrés Wants to Feed the World Through the Pandemic
Celebrity chef José Andrés is focused on feeding Americans affected by coronavirus. Here's how he plans to do it.

New Donald Trump Video Shows Hillary Clinton Barking Like a Dog [TIME]

Obama’s Supreme Court Pick Would Be a High-water Mark for Jews on the Court [TIME]

California’s June Primary Just Became Crucial in the Race for the White House [LA Times]

Hamilton May Stay on the $10 Bill, Thanks to Help From Broadway [New York Times]

Nikki Haley Backs Ted Cruz After Collapse of Marco Rubio’s Campaign [New York Times]

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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