February 1, 2017 Last Updated 10:01 am

Conservatives get their man on the court; Newspaper digital pioneer, David M. Cole, dies

Morning Brief: Canadian billionaire, founder of Beijing-based Tomorrow Group, disappears in China, possibly abducted from his hotel in Hong Kong

The man who many believe is personally pro-choice, but who has adopted an anti-abortion position in order to win office, yesterday nominated a judge most believe will help overturn Roe v Wade. What most of those who identify as pro-life may not understand is that any ruling that effectively overturns the controversial abortion law would only return the issue to the states.

Donald Trump fulfilled his one big campaign promise to cultural conservatives in his nomination of Colorado federal appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court.

“Neil Gorsuch has all the makings of an extreme anti-abortion justice,” David S Cohen, a Drexel University law professor, told The Guardian. “He is devoted to originalism, has decried using the courts for social change, and has protected the rights of religious Christians to impose their views on everyone else,”

The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Michael M. Grynbaum and Ron Nixon:

Trump wants a big show for his Supreme Court rollout. Networks oblige

The coverage by ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox broadcast affiliates is likely to significantly expand the television audience for the president’s announcement, which has taken on the air of a reality television special. Mr. Trump has used his Twitter account to encourage Americans to tune in for the event.

Typically, the introduction of a Supreme Court nominee occurs during the daytime, when viewership is relatively lower. The major cable-news networks also plan to carry tonight’s announcement live.

The Washington Post, Sean Sullivan, Amber Phillips and Ed O’Keefe:

A fractured U.S. Senate awaits Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch

Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s pick to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the high court, is to visit Capitol Hill on Wednesday. Republicans are hoping to confirm the nominee by early April before a two-week Easter recess, allowing Gorsuch to participate in the final cases of the court’s term ending in June.

But in a sign that Democrats were immediately ramping up resistance, Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and several colleagues declared that Gorsuch would need to earn at least 60 votes to clear procedural hurdles to earn a final confirmation vote. Republicans hold 52 seats in the Senate.

“The burden is on Judge Neil Gorsuch to prove himself to be within the legal mainstream and, in this new era, willing to vigorously defend the Constitution from abuses of the Executive branch and protect the constitutionally enshrined rights of all Americans,” Schumer said in a statement. “Given his record, I have very serious doubts about Judge Gorsuch’s ability to meet this standard.”

It took a while, but the NYT was able to track down the back story on Peter Thiel’s dual citizenship.

Thiel is, you will recall, the Silicon Valley billionaire who backed Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker, and who has been a early and big supporter of Donald Trump. Thiel received his citizenship in a ceremony at the New Zealand Consulate in Santa Monica, having never stepped into the country.

“The decision to grant Mr. Thiel citizenship is entirely based on money,” said Iain Lees-Galloway, a spokesman for New Zealand’s Labour Party.

The New York Times, David Streitfeld and Jacqueline Williams:

New Zealand Is ‘the Future,’ Peter Thiel Said in His Push for Citizenship

New Zealand first…

…“I am happy to say categorically that I have found no other country that aligns more with my view of the future than New Zealand,” Mr. Thiel wrote in his application. The 49-year-old investor, who was born in Germany, was granted New Zealand citizenship in 2011 but kept his American citizenship.

Officials in New Zealand released documents related to Mr. Thiel’s application and approval Tuesday night, offering new details about his effort years ago to become a citizen in the middle of the current uproar in the United States over President Trump’s border control measures. That citizenship has raised questions in New Zealand about the government’s motivation, as documents show officials citing Mr. Thiel’s financial support and letting other requirements — like living there — slide.

Associated Press:

Xiao Jianhua Disappears in Hong Kong, Is Reportedly in Mainland China

Mystery surrounds the whereabouts of a Canadian billionaire reportedly taken away from his Hong Kong hotel by mainland police.

The case could rekindle concerns about overreach by Chinese law enforcement in the semiautonomous city.

Chinese-born Xiao Jianhua is on the mainland, according to a report by Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post on Wednesday, citing an anonymous source close to the tycoon.

Overseas Chinese news sites said earlier that Chinese police officers escorted Xiao from his suite at the luxury Four Seasons Hotel last Friday. Such news sites carry reports of political gossip and corruption scandals that can be difficult to verify in tightly controlled China.

Xiao, who reportedly built his fortune in part because of close connections with the families of Communist Party leaders, is the founder of Beijing-based Tomorrow Group, a well-connected financial services company.

He is worth nearly $6 billion, according to the Hurun Report, China’s version of the Forbes Rich List.

San Francisco Chronicle, Carl Nolte:

David M. Cole, who ushered newspapers into the digital age, dies

David M. Cole, a Bay Area newspaper industry consultant who had a major role in the development of electronic journalism, died Jan. 17 of cancer. Mr. Cole, who lived in Pacifica, was 62.

In 1981, when he was systems editor of San Francisco Examiner in charge of newsroom technology, Mr. Cole helped develop a system that allowed readers to download the paper by way of a telephone hookup which linked two computers.

The Examiner was one of only a few newspaper in the nation that used this system. Among the others were The Chronicle. the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times.

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