Domenico Montanaro

Domenico Montanaro is NPR's senior political editor/correspondent. Based in Washington, D.C., his work appears on air and online delivering analysis of the political climate in Washington and campaigns. He also helps edit political coverage and is the lead editor for Supreme Court coverage.

Montanaro joined NPR in 2015 and oversaw coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign, including for broadcast and digital.

Before joining NPR, Montanaro served as political director and senior producer for politics and law at PBS NewsHour. There, he led domestic political and legal coverage, which included the 2014 midterm elections, the Supreme Court, and the unrest in Ferguson, Mo.

Prior to PBS NewsHour, Montanaro was deputy political editor at NBC News, where he covered two presidential elections and reported and edited for the network's political blog, "First Read." He has also worked at CBS News, ABC News, The Asbury Park Press in New Jersey, and taught high school English.

Montanaro earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Delaware and a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.

A native of Queens, N.Y., Montanaro is a life-long Mets fan and college basketball junkie.

After the mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, gun control is again at the forefront of the political conversation.

President Trump has expressed openness to a federal red flag law and for "meaningful" background checks.

The Democratic presidential candidates take the stage for the second round of debates Tuesday and Wednesday in Detroit. A lot is on the line for the candidates, who have been engaged in back-and-forths over race and health care coming into this round of debates.

On Tuesday, progressives Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren face off for the first time in this campaign. And several other candidates will be scrambling for a breakout night to get back on voters' minds.

The fates of almost 1 million people brought to the country illegally as children, known as DREAMers, are now in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The court granted an appeal to the Trump administration's decision to end the DACA program, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

The Obama-era program to protect DREAMers will get a one-hour hearing before the high court next term. The court said it would consolidate three appeals into one argument.

Updated 7:45 p.m. ET

In a 5-4 decision along traditional conservative-liberal ideological lines, the Supreme Court ruled that partisan redistricting is a political question — not reviewable by federal courts — and that those courts can't judge if extreme gerrymandering violates the Constitution.

The ruling puts the onus on the legislative branch, and on individual states, to police redistricting efforts.

If the overarching question heading into the first debate of the 2020 presidential primary for Democratic voters was "Who can you see as president up there?" it's not certain they got a clear answer.

Rather than fireworks — toward each other or President Trump — the candidates took a cautious approach. Will that be the approach on Night 2, Thursday night, with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden on the same stage?

Here are five takeaways from Wednesday night's debate:

1. Elizabeth Warren was consistent.

Legislative districts in Virginia that the Supreme Court previously said were racially gerrymandered have to remain in their redrawn form, the court said Monday, giving Democrats in the state a victory.

The majority decision was written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who noted that because the entirety of state government wasn't suing to keep the fight going — the case was brought by the state's GOP-controlled House — then it is throwing the case out.

Three-quarters of Americans say they want to keep in place the landmark Supreme Court ruling, Roe v. Wade, that made abortion legal in the United States, but a strong majority would like to see restrictions on abortion rights, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll.

Updated at 2:10 p.m. ET

The Supreme Court is leaving in place part of an Indiana law that mandates that aborted fetuses be buried or cremated.

The court did not take up a second part of the law that banned abortions because of fetal abnormality, the fetus's race, sex or ancestry. A lower court struck down that part of the law in addition to the burial provision. The Supreme Court, though, said it will wait for other lower court rulings before weighing in on the fetal characteristics provision.

There were two headline "principal conclusions" out of Attorney General William Barr's publicly released letter to Congress about the now-concluded Russia probe conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller:

  1. It "did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election."

Updated at 10:55 p.m. ET

The Supreme Court, divided 5-4, has temporarily blocked implementation of a Louisiana abortion law nearly identical to the Texas law the high court struck down in 2016. The court's action, however, is only a pause.

It allows abortion-rights proponents time to bring an appeal to a newly constituted conservative court majority that may nonetheless be willing to reverse course dramatically on the subject of abortion.

President Trump delivered a wide-ranging State of the Union address Tuesday night that went an hour and 21 minutes. That's the third-longest ever.

So what should we make of Trump's third address to Congress, and in a year when Democrats are gearing up for a crowded primary to decide who will face Trump in 2020?

1. Trump did not acknowledge the new political reality in Washington

The longest government shutdown in U.S. history is finally over.

The government is back open — at least until Feb. 15 — after President Trump announced Friday that he would be in favor of opening and funding it for three weeks while he and congressional negotiators try to work out a broader deal on immigration and border security. Congress then quickly acted to reopen the government Friday evening.

There are no two ways about it — Trump caved.

With the Supreme Court now having five justices who are less likely to approve of gun regulations and laws, it granted a major gun case Tuesday for the first time in nearly a decade.

The court granted a right-to-carry case out of New York that pits the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association against the City of New York. New York bans transporting permitted handguns outside city lines, even if the gun is not loaded and is locked in a container. The guns currently can only be taken to the handful of shooting ranges within city limits.

Updated at 5:28 p.m. ET

With negotiations over reopening the government at a standstill, President Trump offered to back temporary protections for some immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, many of whom are now adults, in exchange for funding for a wall on the Southern border.

In a White House speech on Saturday, Trump also offered to extend the Temporary Protected Status program that blocks deportation of certain immigrants fleeing civil unrest or natural disasters.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has no remaining signs of cancer after her surgery last month, requires no additional treatment, but will miss oral arguments at the court next week to rest, the Supreme Court said Friday.

While odds for a recovery from the surgery she had are good, they go way up if the subsequent pathology report shows no cancer in the lymph nodes. On Friday, the court released a written statement saying there is no additional evidence of cancer.

Updated at 3:55 p.m. ET

Three-quarters of Americans say the government shutdown, now tied for the longest in U.S. history, is "embarrassing for the country," including a majority of Republicans, a new NPR/Ipsos Poll finds.

Updated at 2:42 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a case brought by Republican-led states that were seeking to defund Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide women's reproductive health services.

The president is going to pardon a turkey.

Full stop. Insert joke. These things write themselves.

But seriously, it's happening again Tuesday — the peculiar Washington tradition of a president pardoning a Thanksgiving turkey.

They've come a long way since "Lyin' Ted."

There they stood on stage before tens of thousands, President Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz, embracing each other, hands on shoulders, pats on the back, here at the Toyota Center in Houston.

"In just 15 days, the people of Texas are going to re-elect a man who has become a really good friend of mine," Trump said of Cruz after their extended embrace.

The 2018 elections could see the highest turnout for a midterm since the mid-1960s, another time of cultural and social upheaval.

"It's probably going to be a turnout rate that most people have never experienced in their lives for a midterm election," Michael McDonald, a professor at the University of Florida who studies turnout and maintains a turnout database, told NPR.

Updated 5:33 p.m. ET Friday

After GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine came out in favor of confirming him Friday afternoon on the Senate floor, Judge Brett Kavanaugh is all but certainly headed for the Supreme Court in very short order.

The Senate advanced Kavanaugh's nomination, 51 to 49, Friday. A final vote is expected Saturday.

There was a lot that went down Friday. What exactly happened and what does it mean going forward?

Just over a month away from critical elections across the country, the wide Democratic enthusiasm advantage that has defined the 2018 campaign up to this point has disappeared, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

In July, there was a 10-point gap between the number of Democrats and Republicans saying the November elections were "very important." Now, that is down to 2 points, a statistical tie.

Everything was on track. The show was out of the way. It was time to vote.

That's what Republican leadership and those supporting Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court thought — until Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake upended those plans, calling for a "short pause" for a limited, one-week FBI investigation.

The stakes are high for Thursday's Capitol Hill hearing, pitting Trump Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh against Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused him of sexual assault — an accusation Kavanaugh has denied — when they were both in high school more than three decades ago.

A former classmate of Christine Blasey Ford tells NPR that she does not know if an alleged sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh took place as she first suggested on social media.

"That it happened or not, I have no idea," Cristina King Miranda told NPR's Nina Totenberg. "I can't say that it did or didn't."

That's different from what Miranda wrote Wednesday in a now-deleted Facebook post that stated definitively, "The incident DID happen, many of us heard about it in school."

In a troubling sign for Republicans less than two months before November's elections, Democrats' advantage on the question of which party Americans are more likely to vote for in November is ballooning, according to a new NPR/Marist poll.

Updated at 3:52 p.m. ET

Joe Biden walked up to the microphone on the altar in the church at his friend John McCain's funeral and sounded like a man with something to confess.

"My name's Joe Biden," he said. "I'm a Democrat. And I loved John McCain."

Then he paused. Biden noted that he had given a lot of eulogies over the years. But "this one's hard," he said.

The death of John McCain represents something more than the death of a U.S. senator and an American military hero.

In this hotly partisan era, it also symbolizes the near-extinction of lawmakers who believe in seeking bipartisanship to tackle big problems.

Updated at 11 p.m. ET

President Trump has chosen Brett Kavanaugh, a conservative judge from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit — often thought of as the second-most-powerful court in the country — to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court.

Kavanaugh is a connected Washington insider with roots in politics in the George W. Bush White House. He has written almost 300 opinions for the D.C. Circuit in 12 years — and he is only 53, which means he could serve on the high court for a very long time.

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