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College Leaders Should Have Seen This Coming

College Leaders Should Have Seen This ComingOn August 16, dozens upon dozens of students wrap around the barrier in front of Gallettes, a local haunt in Tuscaloosa. It’s the end of formal sorority recruitment at the University of Alabama. One student smirks; his eyes are covered by sunglasses, but no mask conceals his mouth. There are four, maybe five masks in the crowd of roughly 100 people packed tightly together. Someone snaps a photograph. The image is circulated widely.The university released data on its first batch of COVID-19 test results eight days later. Between August 19, when classes started, and August 24, 562 students tested positive for the virus. A few days passed, and another batch of results was posted—this time 481 students tested positive over a three-day period. “There was definitely frustration, because we knew the possibility of that happening,” Mikayla Wyatt, an opinion editor at the student newspaper…

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The Inside Story of Why Mueller Failed

The Inside Story of Why Mueller FailedAndrew Weissmann was one of Robert Mueller’s top deputies in the special counsel’s investigation of the 2016 election, and he’s about to publish the first insider account, called Where Law Ends: Inside the Mueller Investigation. The title comes from an adapted quote by the philosopher John Locke that’s inscribed on the façade of the Justice Department building in Washington, D.C.: “Wherever law ends, tyranny begins.”Weissmann offers a damning indictment of a “lawless” president and his knowing accomplices—Attorney General William Barr (portrayed as a cynical liar), congressional Republicans, criminal flunkies, Fox News. Donald Trump, he writes, is “like an animal, clawing at the world with no concept of right and wrong.” But in telling the story of the investigation and its fallout, Weissmann reserves his most painful words for the Special Counsel’s Office itself. Where Law Ends portrays a group of talented, dedicated professionals beset…

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The Most Normal Day of the 2020 Presidential Race Is 9/11

The Most Normal Day of the 2020 Presidential Race Is 9/11For 17 years, Victoria Burton and Mike Hankins spent September 11 the same way: just the two of them, at home, with no set schedule. Maybe they’d watch the reading of the names of the dead for a bit. Occasionally, flipping through the channels, they’d linger on a program that was replaying news coverage from the attacks. But mostly they’d just be with each other.The anniversary was always a weird day to process. He’d been a fire marshal and she’d been a crime-scene detective. They’d seen awful things working on the pile, identifying body parts, sometimes just by a gory shred still attached to a piece of equipment. But the wreckage was also where they met. They soon started dating, and felt as if they’d found their soulmate.If not for the attacks, they probably wouldn’t have ended up together. If…

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The Deadline That Could Hand Trump the Election

The Deadline That Could Hand Trump the ElectionMany Americans know that counting all of the votes in this November’s presidential election is going to take extra time. Few people realize there’s a specific deadline by which states must finish.The 1887 Electoral Count Act seems like an obscure piece of political trivia. But ahead of what could be one of the most contested presidential elections in modern history, some experts worry that this 133-year-old relic of the U.S. Code could endanger the whole republic. The law itself is a relic of the last time the partisan divide got so intense that it nearly ripped apart the country. But no one ever clarified the bits of it that are ambiguous, and no one ever came back to revise or update it. The law is a “morass of ambiguity, which is the exact opposite of what is required in this situation,” a group…

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What Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Death Means for America

What Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Death Means for AmericaA furious battle over a Supreme Court vacancy is arguably the last thing the United States needed right now.The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg today represents a devastating loss for feminists who held up the 87-year-old as an icon of women’s rights, and as a bulwark protecting abortion rights and a wide range of other progressive ideals on a conservative Supreme Court.But her passing less than two months before the presidential election also tosses one more lit match into the tinderbox of national politics in 2020: It will surely inflame a deeply polarized country already riven by a deadly pandemic, a steep economic downturn, and civil unrest in its major cities.In Washington, the vacancy fight could ratchet up tensions to a level unseen even in the tumultuous Trump era. President Donald Trump will be eager to fill Ginsburg’s seat immediately, seizing an…

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