On today's program: A preview of what to expect from the Supreme Court’s oral arguments this week; an epidemiologist explains what life might look like as Southwestern Pennsylvania prepares to reopen; nursing home workers bear the brunt of caring for coronavirus patients; and parents become teachers’ assistants as kids transition to online schooling.
SCOTUS gears up for second round of oral arguments
(00:00 — 05:00)
The US Supreme Court is, once again, hearing oral arguments by telephone on cases that could impact November’s presidential election. In the first of two cases, House Democrats and the New York State Attorney General are asking the justices to force President Trump to turn over his financial records.
Amy Wildermuth, dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and a one-time clerk for late justice John Paul Stevens, says that so far, Trump has ignored state and congressional subpoenas.
“This is a really interesting question,” she tells The Confluence. “If you think about a congressional subpoena, Microsoft, Google—any of those places—have to respond to congressional subpoena. You and I have to respond to those congressional subpoenas. So the question that is being asked now is whether the president has some exception, some exemption from being required to respond.”
The Supreme Court will also hear a case involving “faithless” members of the electoral college. Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia have laws requiring members to cast ballots for the presidential candidate chosen by their voters. But only 15 provide for some sort of penalty for disobeying voters.
Although it is difficult to predict where the Court may fall on these issues, Wildermuth says that their outcomes will answer important questions. “I think what these cases signal is that we probably ought to know what the law on this is going forward,” she says.
As SWPA begins reopening, should it?
(05:04 — 09:45)
On Friday, most of southwest Pennsylvania will transition from the red phase to yellow of COVID-19 reopenings. The stay-at-home order will lift, retail can resume, and gatherings of fewer than 25 people are permitted. But is it a good idea? 90.5 WESA’s Sarah Boden spoke with David Dausey, an epidemiologist at Duquesne University who specializes in helping governments prepare for pandemics, about what lies ahead.
Nursing home staff are affected by caring for virus patients
(09:51 — 13:08)
More than two-thirds of Pennsylvania's COVID-19 deaths have been in nursing homes, where workers have had to say good-bye to residents they’ve known for years. And, as many workers have called out sick or to stay home with their kids or other loved ones, many nursing homes have found themselves short-staffed during a time when they need the most help.
Parents struggle to “do it all” with kids in virtual school
(13:12 — 17:32)
With the pandemic shutting down schools across the state and around the country, classrooms have been replaced by the kitchen table or living room couch and many parents have been reluctantly drafted into a new role: teacher’s assistant. National surveys say that moms are doing most of this added work.
90.5 WESA’s Julia Zenkevich contributed to this report.
The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.