Tuesday, July 23, 2019



[WILMINGTON] -  Lawyers representing the victims of a former New Hanover County School System teacher are suing the system, and asking a judge to allow a class action lawsuit representing all known victims in the case. Former teacher Michael Kelly pled guilty to 59 charges, including indecent liberties with a minor, on June 25th. By raising the case to class action status, all of the victims will be entitled to victim’s compensation. Attorneys also want the NHCS System administration replaced, alleging that they knew about Kelly’s crimes for years, and did nothing about him. Kelly was once cleared by a NHCSS probe.

[RALEIGH] Transgenders in North Carolina can now legally use the public bathroom in government buildings they most identify with, according to a federal court ruling Tuesday. “We are thrilled to obtain some clarity and relief for transgender North Carolinians who have been suffering under H.B. 2 and [the replacement] H.B. 142 for years," said Irena Como, acting legal director of the ACLU of North Carolina, in a statement. "While this part of the court fight may be ending, so much urgent work remains as long as people who are LGBTQ are denied basic protections from violence and discrimination simply because of who they are." Republican legislative leaders said they are reviewing the ruling.

[CHARLOTTE] The chief of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Dept says he is now willing to listen to proposed changes to his agency’s use of deadly force policy, according to members of the city’s Citizen Review Board. Chief Kerr Putney reportedly is interested in how to de-escalate confrontations between police and armed suspects. Putney asked the eleven-member board to begin work on drafting new policy in June, hoping to unveil it by this fall. Chief Putney is under no obligation to accept the proposed policy change.

                                              COUNCILMAN DR. JUSTIN HARLOW
                                           CHARLOTTE MAYOR VI LYLES

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

In the aftermath of Monday night’s Charlotte City Council vote to condemn  “all hate speech, bigotry, racism, and discrimination” by President Trump, the Queen City is now emotionally bracing itself for possible vehement protests in August 2020 when the Republican National Convention comes to town.
Several citizens wanted the council that if it did not rescind the invitation to the RNC to convene in the city in 2020, they were effectively “putting the lives of citizens of color in danger.”
“Let’s call racism what it is,” demanded one public hearing speaker.
By a 9-2 vote Monday night, and after passionate arguments on both sides of the issue, the City Council made it clear in a nonbinding resolution that it abhorred not only the recent controversy at Trump’s July 17th campaign rally at East Carolina University, where a raucous crowd, apparently responding to the Republican president’s racially-charged tweets targeting Somali-born Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota), chanted “Send her back, send her back…,” but previous “racist and xenophobic” language by Trump since he came to office in 2017.
“Whereas, in June 2017, President Donald Trump said 15,000 recent immigrants from Haiti “all hav AIDS” and that 40,000 Nigerians, once seeing the United States, would never “go back to their huts” in Africa, and…in August 2017  [Trump] called some of those who marched alongside white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va. …”very fine people”…on May 16, 2018, [Trump] referred to undocumented immigrants as “animals”…on July 14, 2019, [Trump] suggested that four minority United States congresswomen, all of whom are American citizens and three of whom were born in the United Staes, should “go back” to “the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came…[and] on July 17, 2019, [Pres. Trump] held a rally in Greenville, NC where his supporters chanted “Send her back” in reference to Congresswoman Ilhan Omar…,” the resolution read, in part, listing several instances of what the author, Councilman Dr. Justin Harlow, felt were clear examples of past statements and behavior Trump was likely to bring to Charlotte next year.
“…[T]he Council seems it imperative to condemn such racist and xenophobic language that only serves to stoke fear of others and perpetuate division everywhere based on ethnicity, religion and/or race,” the resolution continued.
All nine of the Council Democrats, some of whom assisted Dr. Harlow in composing the document, lamented before the vote how Trump’s racist behavior did not comport with the kind of welcoming environment the Queen City has worked hard to establish for all who live and work there.
Saying that Charlotte is a “city of immigrants,” the Council’s Democrats, including Mayor Vi Lyles,  stressed how important it was for the condemning resolution to be passed unanimously. 
However, the council’s two Republicans refused to support the measure, joining their colleagues in criticizing the president’s racial tone, but adding that the council was overstepping its bounds stepping into a national controversy.
I don’t personally endorse the way the president has chosen to conduct himself,” Councilman Ed Driggs said. “But he didn’t create the tension that we’re experiencing ... He’s the result of the tension.”
Prior to the vote, the city attorney warned that the council could not now rescind the contract it signed inviting the RNC to convene in 2020, risking severe legal ramifications if it did.
At press time Monday evening, neither the national Republican National Committee, nor the North Carolina Republican Party, issued a reaction to the Charlotte City Council’s condemnation resolution.

                                                 CHIEF JUSTICE CHERI BEASLEY
                                  JUSTICE NEWBY AT JULY 13TH GOP FUNDRAISER
                                   ASSOCIATE JUSTICE PAUL MARTIN NEWBY

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

If there was any doubt that the 2020 race for NC Supreme Court chief justice has already begun, look no further than remarks reportedly made by Associate Justice Paul Newby - the only Republican on the state Supreme Court -  during a recent “campaign address” at a Wake County conservative GOP fundraiser. 
“What do you think the most dangerous branch of government is ?” Justice Newby asked the partisan, predominately white crowd at the Annual Red, White and BBQ Fundraiser, Saturday, July 13th. “The judicial branch is the correct answer.”
Imagine seven ‘AOCs’ on the state Supreme Court,” the conservative justice continued, as the crowd audibly booed the thought. “AOC” is popular shorthand for U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the controversial liberal Democrat congresswoman from New York, who is loathed by President Trump, conservatives and the Republican Party for her progressive socialist policies.
“Well, folks…,” Newby continued jokingly,”… we got six. It’s six to one…I’m the last man standing.”
The “six,” the conservative justice was referring to were his six Democrat colleagues on the NC Supreme Court, apparently suggesting that each were as liberal as Rep. Ocasio-Cortez.
A tape of Justice Newby’s remarks was given to Raleigh TV station WRAL-TV, which then reported and posted the ten minute recording.
Later on the tape, Newby is heard making reference, though not by name, to the newest Democrat associate justice who was elected last year, former civil rights attorney Anita Earls.
“In 2018, the left put $1.5 million to get their ‘AOC’ person on the court,” he is heard saying.
A political consultant for Newby told WRAL-TV that he wasn’t referencing anyone in particular, only pointing out “ideological differences.”
“I lose sleep at night thinking, what would it be like if we had no one to hold accountable those that want to cause social change through our judicial branch,” Justice Newby told the GOP crowd, alleging that it was part of a “…long-term strategy by [Pres.] Obama and his inner circle to stack the state Supreme Courts….”
“Keep your eyes open and your ears open for the next eighteen months, and see what kind of judicial activism occurs on your North Carolina [Supreme] Court,” he cautioned.
Justice Newby, who said “Our rights come from God…and no governmental authority shall interfere with those rights…”,  went on to warn the GOP audience that only four votes on the seven -member state Hight Court are needed for decisions. He urged them to elect Republicans to the three open seats on the state High Court in 2020, one of which will be his as he seek’s the Chief Justice slot.
“Do you want a government…of the judges, by the judges, and for the judges?” Newby further warned the audience., as they said, “Nooooo!”
Ironically, Newby actually preceded Pres. Trump’s controversial Twitter complaint about those complaining about America by a day, saying that “…I will buy you a ticket to leave…” for America’s critics to go somewhere else.
Why was a purportedly impartial Republican conservative jurist of the state’s highest court making such highly partisan remarks in the first place? Again, it was a GOP campaign fundraiser, sponsored by the East Wake Republican Club, not just for Justice Newby, but for three other conservative 2020 Republican hopefuls like gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, U.S. Rep. George Holding, and Congressman Ted Budd.
Rep. Budd, from Greensboro, was given “The Spirit of Jesse Award,” named after the late, racially - divisive U.S. Senator Jesse Helms (R - NC), and a Sig Sauer P365 handgun was raffled off at the event where “…fellow Republicans who are trying to return our country to the founding principles that made America great …” gathered.
Newby’s sharp partisan public references caught the attention of several court-watchers across the state, who wondered whether it was judicially appropriate. I am not sure if the comments violate the Code of Judicial [Conduct] as it could be deemed as campaigning.,” Irving Joyner, attorney and professor of law at North Carolina Central University School of Law, said. “It seems to run close to the line by painting a highly partisan label to the upcoming elections where he is pitted against Chief Justice Beasley. We are looking into the comments.”
It was last February when Newby, the court’s longest serving associate justice, bitterly complained after Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, made history by choosing Democrat colleague,  Assoc. Justice Cheri Beasley, the first African-American woman, to serve as chief justice of the N.C. Supreme Court.
An outraged Newby issued a Twitter statement after the choice was announced, saying, “Sadly, today Governor Cooper decided to place raw partisan politics over a non-partisan judiciary by refusing to honor the time-tested tradition of naming the Senior Associate Justice as chief justice,” Newby opined. “The governor’s decision further erodes public trust and confidence in a fair judiciary, free from partisan manipulation.”
During his July 13th GOP fundraising remarks, Newby called Gov. Cooper “…a political creature” who does not do “…what is right for the state.”
Chief Justice Beasley, when asked about her Republican colleague’s reaction just prior to her taking office March 1st, replied, “ “Let me be clear …I will indeed be seeking election in 2020, and I’m excited and I’m ready to go. I am very comfortable with who I am as a person. I am comfortable with the fact that the governor has placed his confidence in me and that I’m equipped to do this job.”
There has been no response to Justice Newby’s July 13th broad brushed, highly partisan remarks against his Democrat colleagues, especially from Chief K=Justice Beasley.

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