SUPREME COURT // “Fascism forever”: Liberals at Salon and other publications thought they “got” Neil Gorsuch. But kudos to Mike O’Loughlin at, yes, America magazine for demolishing this fake news: “No, Neil Gorsuch did not start a ‘Fascism Forever’ club at his Jesuit high school” http://cvote.it/2k223SY
OBSTRUCTION // Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer wouldn’t even meet with Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. In fact, administration officials confirmed that Schumer and his leadership team won’t even grant Gorsuch a courtesy phone call. (Last year, Mitch McConnell did call Merrick Garland on the phone.) http://cvote.it/2k6RQXV
RELIGIOUS LIBERTY // President Trump at the National Prayer Breakfast: “Freedom of religion is a sacred right, but it’s also a right under threat all around us,” he said. “My administration will do everything in its power to protect religious liberty in this land.” Trump also pledged to end the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits the political speech of religious ministers. http://cvote.it/2k6C5A8
OBSTRUCTION // “President Trump has 11 unconfirmed Cabinet nominees. That’s more unconfirmed two weeks into a tenure than all previous presidents combined,” ABC News reporter Ryan Struyk noted. For a third time, Democrats refused to show up and vote. So Republicans on the Senate’s environmental panel approved Trump’s EPA pick Scott Pruitt anyway. He’ll receive a full Senate vote next week, along with health secretary nominee Tom Price. http://cvote.it/2k6Xqtp
CABINET // Call it the power of the teachers unions. But the one Trump Cabinet nominee in most danger of not being approved by the Senate is Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos. But DeVos won the support of Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer, a Republican who was wavering in her support. A 50-50 vote on Monday is possible, setting up Vice President Mike Pence to cast the first ever tie-breaking vote to approve a Cabinet nomination. http://cvote.it/2k6NFvl
CABINET // The Senate Budget Committee voted 12-11 to approve Mick Mulvaney’s nomination to serve as Trump’s budget chief. http://cvote.it/2k6JkIE
RELIGIOUS LIBERTY// “Mr. President: Don’t cave to liberal fear-mongering. Protect religious freedom,” says Ryan Anderson, who previewed the proposed executive order on religious liberty that was leaked to media outlets. http://cvote.it/2k6NujG
WORD OF THE DAY // Friday news dump – Releasing bad news or documents on a Friday afternoon in an attempt to avoid media scrutiny, as fewer people read or watch the news on the weekend. With the advent of social media, however, this tactic is becoming less effective.