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February 16, 2016
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With Justice Antonin Scalia's sudden, unexpected death, the Supreme Court has one Hispanic female, two other female justices, one black male, and four white men — which counts as pretty diverse for a Supreme Court in many ways. Scalia obviously can't give his opinion about who should replace him now, but in a dissent to last June's ruling affirming the right to same-sex marriage, the late justice left some clues, Adam Liptak notes at The New York Times. And what Scalia wanted was more diversity — just not in the way that President Obama might think about the word.

The Supreme Court (until Scalia's death) "consists of only nine men and women, all of them successful lawyers who studied at Harvard or Yale Law School," Scalia wrote. Since Justice John Paul Stevens, a Protestant, retired in 2010, the court includes "not a single evangelical Christian (a group that comprises about one quarter of Americans), or even a Protestant of any denomination," he added. (Scalia was Catholic, along with five other justices; the other three are Jewish.) Also, he noted, "four of the nine are natives of New York City," including himself, two were born in California, and only one — Indiana native Chief Justice John Roberts — is not from the East or West Coast.

Liptak adds that all but one of the justices served on a U.S. federal court of appeals — until the mid-1900s, most justices weren't sitting judges when elevated to the high court — and none had every run for public office or served on a state court. "Obama will consider many factors in deciding on the next nominee," Liptak writes. "He will no doubt nominate someone to the left of Justice Scalia. But he may want to listen to the departed justice's plea to broaden the court's profile." You can read Liptak's analysis at The New York Times. Peter Weber

8:16 a.m. ET
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The media "has missed the whole point on immigration" and distorts his remarks to create confusion about immigration policy, Republican Donald Trump said Saturday afternoon while speaking in Iowa.

Trump's comments moved away from the softer tone he adopted in recent days, proposing a tracking system for visa recipients as well as the swift removal of "criminal, illegal immigrants" — phrasing which leaves unclear whether he is again proposing mass deportation of 11 million people.

In an interview published Saturday, Trump's running mate, Mike Pence, argued the candidate's variation on this issue is "a classic CEO process" of developing an effective plan with a diversity of input. "At the end of the day, when [Trump] articulates a position, it’s going to be very much consistent with the priorities that he's laid forth and that have really resonated with millions of Americans," Pence said.

Since I wouldn't want to "take phrases and statements, chop them up, take them out of context," as Trump accused the media of doing on Saturday, here is a link to watch his entire speech. Bonnie Kristian

August 27, 2016
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Democrat Hillary Clinton spent Saturday morning at an FBI office near her home in New York receiving her first classified briefing as a nominee for president.

The two-hour meeting came about a week and a half after Republican Donald Trump received a similar intelligence update, attended by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. The briefings are conducted by staff of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and held in special rooms called Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities.

Though such meetings have been used to prepare nominees for a smooth transition into office for more than half a century, opponents of both candidates this election cycle have questioned their respective fitness to receive such valuable information. Clinton's critics pointed to her private email server scandal as evidence that she cannot be trusted with classified documents, while Trump's detractors suggested he is too loose-lipped to handle sensitive data. Bonnie Kristian

August 27, 2016

If you have clear skies just after sunset on Saturday, August 27, look west to see Venus and Jupiter so close on the horizon they almost appear to merge into a single light.

This rare astronomical event is called an "appulse," which is when two celestial bodies appear from Earth's vantage point to approach each other as closely as possible — in this case, with less than one degree between the two planets.

Venus and Jupiter will not come this close again for nearly five decades — the next comparable conjunction will appear in 2065 — and Saturday's light show will be bright enough to view with the naked eye, weather permitting. Bonnie Kristian

August 27, 2016
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Donald Trump took to Twitter Saturday morning to boast that African-American voters will support him come Election Day — and had he stopped there, it would have been just another example of Trump's awkward minority outreach efforts.

Instead, however, he cited the fatal shooting of Nykea Aldridge, cousin of Chicago Bulls shooting guard Dwyane Wade. The mother of four was killed by stray gunfire Friday, and Trump — while misspelling Wade's first name — said her death is one reason black Americans will give him their votes.

Trump was roundly criticized for his tweet after it went live. Actor Don Cheadle tweeted, "You are truly a POS," while The Washington Post's Philip Bump nailed the post's inappropriate tone: "It comes off not as a thoughtful statement of concern for a tragedy that needs to be fixed and more as an attempt to leverage a murder into a campaign slogan." Bonnie Kristian

August 27, 2016
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At least 17 Kyrgyz migrant workers were killed and four more injured Saturday when a printing warehouse in Moscow, Russia, caught fire. The blaze was put out after two hours.

The fire was caused by a broken lamp on the first floor, said Ilya Denisov, chief of Moscow's emergency services, and then spread upstairs through an elevator shaft. The victims are all believed to be young women who were trapped while putting on their work uniforms.

"Most of them were in Moscow to earn money," said Abdygani Shakirov, who works at a local Kyrgyz community organization. "They were in the dressing room and were unable to get out. The smoke had blocked the exit." Bonnie Kristian

August 27, 2016

If you're ever stranded on a desert island, writing "SOS" in giant letters in the sand actually can help — or, at least, it helped a pair of boaters rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard from an uninhabited island in Micronesia on Friday.

The pair began their journey on Wednesday, August 17, and were expected to arrive at their destination one day later. Instead, they landed on the empty island near the Chuuk Lagoon on Friday, August 19, and survived on limited supplies for a week until the SOS was noticed by a U.S. Navy plane. Before the SOS was spotted, rescuers searched some 17,000 square miles without success. Bonnie Kristian

August 27, 2016
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The United States and Russia are close to reaching agreement on national ceasefire in Syria, Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday, but have yet to sign a deal. Following talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva, Kerry said there are still "a few narrow issues to be resolved" before a lasting accord can be reached.

"We don't want to have a deal for the sake of the deal," he explained. "We want to have something done that is effective and that works for the people of Syria, that makes the region more stable and secure, and that brings us to the table here in Geneva to find a political solution."

The U.S. and Russia previously reached a ceasefire agreement in February, but that temporary peace collapsed by April. Bonnie Kristian

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