FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
March 21, 2016
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Ten days before Justice Antonin Scalia died, launching the political battle over who would fill his vacancy, Chief Justice John Roberts delivered a speech slamming the Supreme Court nomination process. In remarks at Boston's New England Law, The New York Times reports that Roberts denounced the politicization of the process that he says is really just meant to ensure that nominees are qualified for the job.

"We don't work as Democrats or Republicans," the chief justice said, "and I think it's a very unfortunate impression the public might get from the confirmation process."

Roberts pointed out that while nominees back in his day were easily confirmed, the last three justices — Samuel Alito Jr., Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan — have all faced split votes from the Senate. "Look at my more recent colleagues, all extremely well qualified for the court and the votes were, I think, strictly on party lines for the last three of them, or close to it, and that doesn't make any sense," Roberts said. "That suggests to me that the process is being used for something other than ensuring the qualifications of the nominees."

President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court last week, despite Republicans' promises that they will deny any Obama nominee in favor of letting the next president fill the vacancy. Becca Stanek

12:30 p.m. ET

Before he called President-elect Donald Trump an illegitimate president in an interview last week, Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) suggested Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) should've taken a "look at history" and all Republican presidents have done for civil rights. "It was Abraham Lincoln that freed the slaves. It was Rutherford B. Hayes and Ulysses S. Grant that fought against Jim Crow laws. A simple 'thank you' would suffice," Lewis said during an interview on WVOM Maine radio's George Hale and Ric Tyler Show, while discussing Lewis' comment that he believes Russian interference undermined the legitimacy of Trump's presidency.

Beyond just being inflammatory, the Portland Press Herald pointed out that LePage's claims about 19th-century Republican presidents' contributions to civil rights simply weren't accurate. While Grant did oversee the Republican Party's efforts to end slavery and protect African Americans' rights, Hayes "oversaw the end of the Reconstruction era, giving rise to the enactment of Jim Crow laws that enforced racial segregation," the Portland Press Herald reported.

Lewis spokeswoman Brenda Jones said LePage's "mean-spirited comments" were not something Lewis "feels the need to defend himself against." "The facts of history refute that statement," Jones said.

A spokesman for LePage did not immediately respond to the Portland Press Herald's request for clarification.

Catch LePage's remarks below. Becca Stanek

12:25 p.m. ET

Actress Betty White turns 95 on Tuesday, which is pretty old. Here's an idea of what that looks like as charted by Atlantic hurricanes:

But despite being just five years away from the big one-zero-zero, White is still even hipper than many (let's face it — most) young people. Unlike Paul Ryan (a measly 46), for example, she knows how to properly dab:

From Golden Girls to SNL to the Super Bowl, celebrate White's birthday with seven of her best on-screen moments below. Jeva Lange

12:05 p.m. ET
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Here's a perhaps little known fact: It's actually illegal to idle your car in certain states, even if it's parked on your own property.

A Michigan man was given a ticket for warming up his car by leaving it running in his driveway, a local Fox affiliate reports. "I thought it was some kind of a joke," said Taylor Trupiano of the $128 fine. "Every person warms up their car. We live in Michigan." But the local police chief said the practice drives up crime rates: "We have five to 10 cars stolen this way every winter."

The laws about idling cars vary from state to state, and some particularly cold states even make exceptions if the temperature drops below a certain number. In Michigan, you're allowed to use a remote starter, because the key isn't in the car. If your key is in the car and it's running, it's a state and local violation, because somebody could steal the car. [Good Housekeeping]

"This is purely a public safety issue," the chief said.

Lesson learned: Don't heat and run, folks. The Week Staff

11:48 a.m. ET
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Wilbur Ross, President-elect Donald Trump's commerce secretary nominee, has had a hand in sending an estimated 2,700 jobs overseas since 2004, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing previously unreported Labor Department data. When the billionaire was working as an investor, buying struggling companies and pulling them back from the brink of failure, some of the textile, auto-parts, and finance businesses he controlled resorted to shipping production abroad.

In the grand scheme of things, those 2,700 jobs "amount to a small fraction of the U.S. economy, which sees employment fluctuate by the tens of thousands of jobs each month," Reuters reported. Ross' supporters also pointed out he's saved thousands of jobs. Still, the numbers show a different side to Ross' story. "He is not the man to be protecting American workers when he's shipping this stuff overseas himself," Don Coy, who used to work at an company Ross created before the automotive parts manufacturer closed its factory in Ohio and moved production to Mexico, told Reuters.

Trump, meanwhile, has repeatedly threatened to impose a "big border tax" on automakers that decide to manufacture in Mexico instead of in the U.S. When asked for comment on Ross' record, a Trump spokesman told Reuters that Ross' decisions to move jobs overseas were "driven by the need to put operations near customers and keep U.S. plants competitive, echoing arguments made by other auto industry executives who face pressure from Trump."

Ross did not respond to Reuters' requests for comment. His Senate confirmation hearing is slated for Wednesday. For more on the story, head over to Reuters. Becca Stanek

10:35 a.m. ET

President-elect Donald Trump will take the oath of presidency Friday with his hand on his 60-year-old childhood Bible, CBN News reports.

Trump has shown off his Bible at campaign rallies before, declaring: "I believe in God, I believe in the Bible, I'm a Christian, I have a lot of reasons." He was given the Bible on June 12, 1955, two days before his 9th birthday, when he graduated from Sunday Church Primary School at First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica, New York:

"[Trump's] mother, Mary Anne, presented it to him and he's kept it ever since," CBN News reports. "The Bible is a Revised Standard Version with his name imprinted on the front cover. The inside cover is signed by church officials with his name inscribed."

Trump will also reportedly use the Lincoln Bible to be sworn in, which was also used by Obama in 2009 and 2013. Obama was the first president to use the Lincoln Bible since Lincoln's own inauguration in 1861. Jeva Lange

10:24 a.m. ET

A three-day weekend apparently wasn't long enough for President-elect Donald Trump to get over the fact that Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) doesn't see him as a "legitimate president" because of Russia's meddling in the presidential election. Trump had already tweeted about Lewis on Saturday, suggesting the civil rights leader was "all talk, talk, talk — no action or results," but he had more to say on Tuesday morning, this time about Lewis' claim that Trump's inauguration would be the first he'd ever skipped in his nearly 30 years in Congress:

As it turns out, Trump's account of Lewis' attendance record is in fact more accurate than Lewis'. Though Lewis said in an interview last week that he had never before missed an inauguration, an article published in The Washington Post on Jan. 21, 2001 reports Lewis did not attend former President George W. Bush's inauguration. His reason: He didn't think Bush was the "true elected president" because he hadn't won the popular vote. Becca Stanek

10:07 a.m. ET

Malia and Sasha Obama's giant swing set was donated to a family shelter in southwestern Washington, D.C., after being turned down by Barron Trump, CNN reports. Installed at the White House in 2009, the swing set was originally intended to help make the new residence feel like home for Malia and Sasha, who were then just 10 and 7 years old, respectively. The set even bears a plaque declaring the structure "Malia & Sasha's Castle."

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama had a chance Monday to watch kids at the Jobs Have Priority Naylor Road Family Shelter try out the set, after it arrived at its new home Jan. 5:

Barron Trump, 10, was offered the play set first, but the Trump family turned it down due to the fact that he is remaining in New York with his mother, Melania Trump, through at least the spring — where his replica Mercedes with its custom BARRON nameplate presumably entertains him. Jeva Lange

See More Speed Reads