U.S. SUPREME COURT CURTLY DISMISSES ELECTION LAWSUIT: The Supreme Court on Friday rejected a lawsuit backed by President Donald Trump to overturn Joe Biden’s election victory, ending a desperate attempt to get legal issues rejected by state and federal judges before the nation’s highest court and subvert the will of voters. Trump bemoaned the decision late Friday, tweeting: “The Supreme Court really let us down. No Wisdom, No Courage!” In a brief order, the court said Texas does not have the legal right to sue those states because it “has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections.” Trump complained that “within a flash,” the lawsuit was “thrown out and gone, without even looking at the many reasons it was brought. A Rigged Election, fight on!”
WISCONSIN SUPREME COURT IS HEARING TRUMP COMPLAINT TODAY: The high court agreed to take the case at Trump's urgent request Friday, soon after a state judge ruled against him and with Monday's Electoral College vote bearing down and the state's 10 electoral votes about to go to Biden. The court is controlled 4-3 by conservatives, but its willingness to take the case isn't necessarily an indicator of how it will rule. The court previously refused to hear the case before it went through lower courts, and a majority of justices have openly questioned whether the remedy Trump seeks is appropriate. Trump sought to have more than 221,000 ballots disqualified in Dane and Milwaukee counties, the two most heavily Democratic counties in the state. He wanted to disqualify absentee ballots cast early and in-person, saying there wasn’t a proper written request made for the ballots; absentee ballots cast by people who claimed “indefinitely confined” status; absentee ballots collected by poll workers at Madison parks; and absentee ballots where clerks filled in missing information on ballot envelopes. The circuit judge on Friday ruled that none of Trump’s arguments had merit and that state law was followed during the election and subsequent recount.
LABOR ADVOCATES TAKE CHERIE BERRY TO COURT OVER COVID PROTECTIONS IN THE WORKPLACE: These groups, which include the Episcopal Farmworker Ministry, The Hispanic Liaison of Chatham County, and the N.C. State AFL-CIO, want the state to require employers to enforce social distancing, provide face masks, regularly disinfect the workplace and ensure adequate ventilation, among other steps. “Workers throughout North Carolina, from all industries, age groups, and across racial and ethnic lines, are not safe at work because of the lack of enforceable COVID-19 workplace requirements,” the petition said. “[The petitioners] are calling on NCDOL to put an end to the dangerous conditions and exercise its power to engage in rulemaking.” Berry, the state’s five-term Republican labor commissioner who is leaving office in January, declined to do so. There have been 302 reported coronavirus clusters at workplaces in North Carolina, with 6,886 cases and 31 deaths through Dec. 7, according to the state health department. The largest share — 4,122 cases and 21 deaths — were associated with clusters at meat processing plants.
FDA AUTHORIZES CORONAVIRUS VACCINE AFTER MARK MEADOWS THREATENS TO FIRE COMMISSIONER: The historic authorization of the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech for people age 16 and older, just 336 days after the genetic blueprint of a novel coronavirus was shared online by Chinese scientists, sets in motion a highly choreographed and complex distribution process aimed at speeding vaccines throughout the United States to curb the pandemic. The FDA action came after White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Friday told FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn to be prepared to submit his resignation if the agency did not clear the vaccine by day’s end, according to people familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss what happened. Meadows’s threat followed months of efforts by FDA scientists to try to ward off President Trump’s importuning on the vaccine and keep the review process apolitical and transparent in hopes of boosting public confidence in the shots. The FDA already had planned to clear the vaccine Saturday morning, and accelerating the authorization to Friday night was not expected to change the delivery timeline of the first shots. Pfizer and its Germany-based partner, BioNTech, harnessed a fast, flexible genetic technology that had been in development for decades but never deployed in an approved medical product. It was used to build a vaccine that surpassed all expectations by being 95 percent effective at preventing disease in a clinical trial with tens of thousands of participants. The vaccine has already been approved in Britain, Canada, Saudia Arabia and Bahrain.
ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES ACROSS THE NATION, CORONAVIRUS IS RAGING: Tens of thousands of new coronavirus cases continue to emerge on college campuses. A New York Times survey of more than 1,900 American colleges and universities — including every four-year public institution and every private college that competes in N.C.A.A. sports — has revealed more than 397,000 cases and at least 90 deaths since the pandemic began. More than 6,600 cases were identified in the athletic departments of the 130 universities that compete at the highest level of Division I football. Those numbers, which are an undercount because dozens of universities provided little or no data, emerged as schools forged ahead with football season amid the pandemic. More than 85 colleges have reported at least 1,000 cases over the course of the pandemic, and more than 680 colleges have reported at least 100 cases. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which quickly aborted an attempt to hold most fall classes in person after an early outbreak, said undergraduates would need to be tested before returning to campus. The Times is counting reported cases among university students and employees in all fields, including those whose roles as doctors, nurses, pharmacists or medical students put them at higher risk of contracting the virus. At least six universities that have a broad range of programs, including medical units, have reported dozens of cases tied to health care. Some universities did not provide data for cases at their medical schools, hospitals or clinics. Some included those cases in their campuswide counts, but did not specify how many.