Ron Elving

Ron Elving is Senior Editor and Correspondent on the Washington Desk for NPR News, where he is frequently heard as a news analyst and writes regularly for NPR.org.

He was previously the political editor for USA Today and for Congressional Quarterly. He has been a Distinguished Visiting Professional in Residence at American University, where he is now an adjunct professor. In this role, Elving received American University's 2016 University Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching in an Adjunct Appointment. He has also taught at George Mason and Georgetown University.

He has been published by the Brookings Institution and the American Political Science Association. He has contributed chapters on Obama and the media and on the media role in Congress to the academic studies Obama in Office 2011, and Rivals for Power, 2013. Ron's earlier book, Conflict and Compromise: How Congress Makes the Law, was published by Simon & Schuster and is also a Touchstone paperback.

During his tenure as the manager of NPR's Washington coverage, NPR reporters were awarded every major recognition available in radio journalism, including the Dirksen Award for Congressional Reporting and the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

In 2008, the American Political Science Association awarded NPR the Carey McWilliams Award "in recognition of a major contribution to the understanding of political science."

Ron came to Washington in 1984 as a Congressional Fellow with the American Political Science Association and worked for two years as a staff member in the House and Senate. Previously, he had been state capital bureau chief for The Milwaukee Journal.

He received his bachelor's degree from Stanford University and master's degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of California – Berkeley.

By now, practically everyone has seen that picture of the two guys at President Trump's weekend rally in Ohio wearing T-shirts that said: "I'd Rather be a Russian than a Democrat!"

The media world that revolves around President Trump is a world of promising news, which is to say news that is mostly about promises.

The stories that dominate front pages and lead newscasts are typically about things that might happen or could happen. And sometimes, these things actually do happen.

President Trump does not make "mistakes" in the sense that the rest of us do.

We make mistakes, get corrected, make amends, apologize and move on. The president does not.

The president may not even tell "lies" in the sense that the rest of us might.

If we lie and are exposed, we face consequences that affect us personally. It is different for this president.

Given the attitude with which President Trump has greeted all news of the Russian interference in the 2016 election, his performance in Helsinki on Monday should have come as no surprise.

And yet there was surprise — even shock — when the president of the United States stood onstage alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin and accepted the former KGB officer's denials regarding that interference.

In the end, after days of highly dramatized deliberation, President Trump had to choose. He had to choose not only between several possible nominees for the Supreme Court, but also between categories of advisers.

In this case, he chose to listen to his lawyers rather than his talk show hosts. And he did not seem overly concerned about the warning Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had issued over the weekend about which prospective nominees would be easiest to get confirmed.

The last thing Washington needs right now is another blockbuster news story.

But here it comes anyway, President Trump's latest choice to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. At a minimum, that person will be the center of attention in Washington through much of the summer and fall, through Senate hearings and deliberations — after which the nominee is highly likely to be confirmed and to serve on the nation's highest court for decades.

When it comes to Washington news stories, it doesn't get much bigger than that.

President Trump has vowed not to ask prospective members of the Supreme Court about their views on Roe v. Wade, the basis for legal abortion nationwide since 1973 and the most widely discussed legal case in America in the past half-century.

President Trump also made a rather different promise to voters in 2016 in his third televised debate with Hillary Clinton. He said Roe would be overturned if he got to change the balance on the court:

So much has happened in the past two years that many may have forgotten what happened to Merrick Garland in the spring of 2016.

But filling in that recollection goes some distance in explaining a lot of what has happened since.

To recap, Garland was nominated to fill the 2016 vacancy on the Supreme Court created by the death that February of Justice Antonin Scalia, an icon of conservative jurisprudence.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, known as the man at the center of the U.S. Supreme Court, could not have chosen a more appropriate moment to retire.

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