STATE NEWS BRIEFS FOR OCTOBER 15, 2020
GREENSBORO CITY COUNCIL FINALLY APOLOGIZES FOR CITY’S ROLE IN 1979 KLAN MURDERS
[GREENSBORO] By a 7-2 voter the Greensboro City Council on Oct. 6th issued a formal apology for the role of the Greensboro Police Dept in the November 1979 murders by the Ku Klux Klan of five members of the. Communist Workers Party there. Police deliberately left the area before the shooting.The council approved an apology to the victims (ten were wounded), victims’ families and others associated with the tragedy. Many say the long awaited apology is a step towards healing.
BLACK FIREFIGHTERS IN WINSTON-SALEM FILE GRIEVANCE
[WINSTON-SALEM] Black firefighters with the Winston-Salem Fire Dept. have file a grievance against their Chief William Mayo, alleging that he has not disciplined white fire captains for talking about running over protesters with vehicles, or other white firefighters who created a hostile work environment. They want Chief Mayo fired. One white captain has categorically denied the accusations. City officials are investigating.
THOUSANDS OF NC VOTERS ARE STILL WAITING FOR THEIR BALLOTS
[RALEIGH] Thousands of voters across North Carolina are still waiting for the absentee mail-in ballot to be sent to them, even though it is juts over two weeks before the Nov. 3rd general election. Admittedly, county election officials have been struggling with trying to honor more ballot requests than ever before. In some counties, like Wake, it is taking as long as two weeks to fulfill requests. At least ten NC counties are taking longer than sever days to turn around request.
EARLY VOTING IS HERE,
BLACK VOTING EXPLODES
By Cash Michaels
From today through Saturday, October 31st, early voting in North Carolina will be the rule, especially for African-Americans, who, statistics show, come out in large numbers during this period.
On Monday, Georgia broke it’s own first day of early voting numbers, as video showed long lines of African-Americans at the polls in what many consider to be a strong conservative state.
Even for those who missed last week’s registration deadline here in North Carolina, first time voters age 18 and older can still same-day register and then vote, just by bringing something that confirms their legal address.
Indeed, as past elections have shown, the voting group that leads white males, white females, black males and all others either Democrat or Republican, are black female Democrats when it comes to early voting turnout.
Black churches and civic organizations know the stats, and traditionally have geared their major GOTV (get out the vote) efforts for this early voting period.
However, with the COVID-19 pandemic still ever-present, forcing many older African-American voters to try mail-in absentee balloting for the first time, it remains to be seen whether black voters will rise standing in long lines between now and the Nov. 3rd election.
Several community and grassroots groups like the local chapters of the NCNAACP, are actively pushing to increase black voter turnout compared to the 2016 depressed numbers. The national civil rights organization is also running digital and radio ads in ten states across the country, including North Carolina, to deliver maximum black voter turnout at least five percent higher than four years ago.
Most of North Carolina’s HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) remain open during the pandemic, and students who have been actively registering to vote since before the coronavirus hit, are now mobilizing through their campus organizations to early vote at nearby voting precincts.
October 17th has been designated as the Power to the Polls March and Vote for many HBCUS across the state.
On Sunday, October 18th, while many black churches remain closed due to the pandemic, some churches, like St. Joseph’s A.M.E Church in Durham, will lead a “Souls to the Polls” caravan to a nearby polling station. In effect, congregants either drive or are driven to the polls to cast their ballots, as oppose to traditionally boarding a church van to make the trip.
Across the country, many black churches are phone banking and delivering absentee ballots to the homes of black elderly congregants for them to fill out and have witnessed. Because of varying laws in several states, in some cases, those ballots can be collected and delivered back to the county elections office.
In North Carolina, after the absentee ballot has been signed by the voter and witness (along with the witness address) only a relative of the voter can deliver the absentee ballot back to the county elections office.
You still have time to mail in your absentee ballot if you have one. Just make sure you sign your name, and have one witness sign his or her name and address befit sending it back, or having it dropped off. You have until Oct. 27th, but are urged to snd it back as soon as possible.
FEDERAL COURTS: WHY
By Cash Michaels
This was the last day of the Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearing for Pres. Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee Appellate Judge Amy Coney Barrett.
By all accounts, Judge Barrett, 48, is an accomplished, well-credentialed and experienced jurist who once clerked for conservative firebrand, the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
Judge Barrett is considered to be as right-wing as her old boss.
And Republicans wouldn’t have it any other way, which is why they urged Trump to immediately nominate Barrett within days of the death of liberal High Court icon Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last month.
“She represents victory, the culmination of a generational struggle to reshape the courts in their favor,” writes NY Times columnist Jamelle Bouie.
With little doubt that the GOP will confirm Barrett to take Ginsburg’s seat by November, conservatives are giddy that, for the foreseeable future, they will have a 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court - enough of a majority to finally strike down Obamacare, Roe v. Wade, and several targeted civil and voting rights provisions - issues important to African-Americans.
Make no mistake, packing the U.S. Supreme Court with an abundance of conservatives to backstop and safeguard whatever legislative gains they feel they’ve made in the last four years under Donald Trump is the Republican Party’s primary objective.
Indeed, that’s their deal with him - as long as Trump gives them the judicial nominees they feel they need, they’ll do everything in their power, to keep him in power.
“The right has devised new doctrines to justify conservative rulings, flooded the courts with an expanding cadre of judges and legal scholars, financed a host of legal firms to challenge liberal laws and liberal rulings, and built a multimillion dollar network of tax-exempt groups to promote its agenda,”wrote NY Times columnist Thomas B. Edsell.
“The conservative legal revolution, which first took off in the late 1970s, caught the Democratic powers-that-be asleep at the switch.”
One of the driving forces in that “conservative legal revolution,” Edsell adds, was “resentment” over civil rights advancement.
And that’s why you’re hearing so much GOP consternation about whether former Vice President Joe Biden and the Democrats will “pack” the High Court if they win the White House, and the U.S. Senate particularly.
By “packing,” they mean a “President” Biden and Democratic-led Congress deciding to arbitrarily add enough moderate to liberal-leaning justices to the Supreme Court to counter any conservative direction a 6-3 court would naturally head towards.
Thus, the Democrats - with Biden nominating and a Democratic Senate confirming - could pack as many as six new justices, bringing the total number sitting to 15, expanding the moderate to liberal justices from three to nine.
That would give Democrats a three-justice buffer that would last a lifetime, since that is the term of most appointed federal judges.
And to be clear, there is no constitutional set number of Supreme Court justices to serve at any time, so Democrats could make the court 15, 12 (if three died off), or 21 if they wanted to, and there is nothing that Republicans could do about it since they would be out of power.
Which is also why Republicans are deathly afraid of Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris. She naturally would succeed Biden, and is young enough, and liberal enough, to further pack the court if she saw the need in the future.
Legal experts caution against court-packing, warning that it turns the Supreme Court into an instant partisan tool. Whatever party has a court majority, gets the last partisan word on contentious constitutional cases.
But, observers counter, what is it now with a 6-3 conservative majority? Indeed, Pres. Trump loves to brag about how he will have approximately 300 confirmed appointments to the federal judiciary by the end of his first term.
And that’s because Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed the confirmation process at warp speed to fill as many federal judiciary vacancies as possible with Trump nominees.
But no….you will never hear McConnell - who, history will show, not only denied Democratic Pres. Barack Obama confirmation of his last Supreme Court pick, but even slowed the confirmation process down on Obama judicial nominees - call what he’s doing for Trump…”packing.”