North Carolina Senate race tests Trump's endorsement power
When Ted Budd won a surprise endorsement from former President Donald Trump last year, he was a little-known congressman running for a Senate seat in North Carolina against some of the state’s most recognizable Republicans, including a former governor.
Judge strikes down Florida election law changes
Saying that “Florida has a grotesque history of racial discrimination,” a federal district judge struck down most of a controversial election law passed in the state last year, and said the state can’t make any major changes to election regulations for the next 10 years unless a judge clears them first.washingtonpost.com
North Carolina Democratic voters yearn for a new type of Senate candidate after years of defeats. Now they have two.
Cheri Beasley, a former North Carolina Supreme Court chief justice, would be her state’s first Black senator. State Sen. Jeff Jackson, meanwhile, is trying to re-create Beto O’Rourke’s 2018 Texas magic.washingtonpost.com
Transgender prisoner attacked guards after razors were taken away meaning she could not shave
A transgender inmate at a maximum security prison attacked a guard after her razors were removed, meaning she could no longer shave, a court has heard. Marcia Walker, 47, a child rapist formally known as Mark Walker, is legally recognised as female by the prison authorities, but has been in a long running dispute over access to gender realignment surgery. Durham Crown Court was told how Walker reacted angrily when prison officers from Frankland jail objected to her having razor blades. Walker claimed being unable to shave herself worsened her gender dysphoria, and when prison officers entered her cell, Walker spat at one telling him: “I have Covid.” During the same incident Walker also made a specific threat to kill the prison’s custody manager Michael Roachford, as well as threatening another inmate. The court heard that Walker was already angry that copies of National Geographic magazine - sent into jail by a charity - had been confiscated from her cell because they contained pictures of naked children. During interview, Walker had insisted she had no sexual interest in the images in the magazine and added: “They cannot take my razors from me.” In a statement read to the court, Mr Roachford described Walker as “a white, transgender inmate legally recognised as a female.” He said: “In my role as custody manager I should not expect threats to kill me. Marcia has a history of making threats.” Fiona Lamb, mitigating, said: “The defendant has had quite an unpleasant experience being in custody. I’m sure no one enjoys it but because of the defendant's personal circumstances it has been very difficult for her.” Walker, who appeared by video link admitted assault on a prison officer, threatening to kill Mr Roachford and fellow inmate Liam Edwards, as well as breaching a sexual harm prevention order. Sentencing Walker, Judge Ray Singh said he had "real concerns" over releasing her into the community, but also acknowledged there were issues over her continued detention within the prison system. However he said he was taking "a chance" on her and imposed consecutive three-month sentences for all offences, totalling 15 months, suspended for two years, with 30 rehabilitation activity days with the Probation Service. Walker will also be subject to post-sentence supervision. The court was told Kent Police, her original offender managers, from the first offence in 2003, will now take her to an agreed accommodation facility in Guildford, Surrey. She will leave Durham Prison, where she's been on remand within the next 24 hours. Judge Singh added that any breaches would land her back before him and he would activate the full 15-months. Walker told him she would not breach, adding: "You have my word on that". Walker was first jailed for 13 years as a man in 2003 for two rapes against girls under the age of 16, one aged just four, as well as 10 counts of making indecent photographs of children, seven of taking indecent photographs of children and two of distributing indecent photographs of children. In 2012, Walker was jailed for an extra six months for claiming a bomb had been sent to the then Home Secretary Theresa May’s home. In 2017 Walker received a further prison term for making hoax bomb threats against Long Lartin prison where she was being held at the time.news.yahoo.com
Another Trump on the ballot? Lara Trump eyes Senate seat
The former president's daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, is eyeing the North Carolina Senate seat being vacated by Republican Richard Burr. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)RALEIGH, N.C. – A Trump may be on the ballot next year — but not Donald Trump. The former president's daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, is eyeing the North Carolina Senate seat being vacated by Republican Richard Burr. The answer to that question has implications that extend far beyond Lara Trump's political future. The 38-year-old Lara Trump is married to the former president's son, Eric.
Impeachment vote becomes defining moment for GOP senator
But the North Carolina Republican’s vote to convict former President Donald Trump should not have come as a shock. AdWith Burr retiring at the end of his term in 2022, it’s a vote that could end up defining his career. Exactly a year later, as the Russia investigation was wrapping up, Burr’s time leading the committee came to an abrupt end. He sided with most Republicans in a vote to dismiss the trial, creating an expectation he’d also vote to acquit. AdSo when Burr stood up to vote for Trump's conviction, many in the chamber wondered if there would be other surprises.
Too big to read: Giant bill a leap of faith for Congress
(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)WASHINGTON – The $900 billion pandemic relief package that was rushed through Congress Monday created a familiar year-end conundrum for lawmakers: It was a bill too big to fail, and also too big to read. The Senate Historical Office says it's the longest bill they could find record of passing Congress. The bill was released at 2 p.m., just hours before the House and Senate began voting on it. Also in the bill: hundreds of unrelated legislative items negotiated by leadership to win support from various constituencies. “Members of Congress need to see & read the bills we are expected to vote on.
Army beats Navy 15-0 at Michie Stadium
It was the first meeting between the teams at West Point since 1943. They had lost all three games played previously at West Point to the Midshipmen, including 13-0 in 1943 during World War II. Xavier Arline started for Navy, just the fifth freshman to start at quarterback for the Mids against Army. Army: The Black Knights have overcome a schedule that had to be almost totally revamped to rebound after a subpar 2019. He first took his place with cadets on the Army side of the stadium for much of the first quarter before joining Navy midshipmen in the second quarter.
Federal judge postpones NRA case, other trials as Florida COVID-19 cases climb
The state has recorded more than 1 million COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic early this year. Throughout the pandemic, federal and state judges -- including judges in the federal Northern District of Florida -- have conducted hearings through telephone, Zoom or other online platforms. “This court is cancelling all civil trials for a period of time, with the hope that an effective vaccine is on the horizon and new infection numbers will start to fall. To be clear, this is a decision I am making for my cases on my civil docket only,” he wrote. “This is not a uniform, district-wide order, and in no way should be construed as a limitation on any other judge in the Northern District of Florida.”
House Latest: Republican Lauren Boebert wins Colorado House
She soundly defeated Tipton, a co-chair of President Donald Trump’s Colorado reelection campaign, in the Republican primary in June. Republican state Sen. Stephanie Bice earned a reputation as a political moderate in her two terms in the Oklahoma Senate. ___11:20 p.m. TuesdayRepublican Maria Elvira Salazar has defeated Democrat Donna Shalala for a House seat in Florida. Republican Ronny Jackson has won a House seat in West Texas, where he moved after leaving the White House in 2018. The solidly Republican district is currently held by Mac Thornberry, one of six GOP congressmen in Texas retiring this year.
Voter registration could be reopened in Florida
With seven hours remaining to register to vote Monday afternoon, the state voter registration website slowed down. On Tuesday, the state extended registration by seven hours. “We only had five complaints on Tuesday about the inability to use the online voter registration portal,” said Earley. Several voting rights groups filed suits to extend registration even longer. Federal Judge Mark Walker late Tuesday denied a motion to extend registration.
Challenge to dog racing ban goes to appeals court
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A legal challenge to a 2018 constitutional amendment that will end greyhound racing in Florida has gone to a federal appeals court. As is common, the notice does not detail arguments the plaintiffs will make at the 11th U.S. The lawsuit argues that the voter-approved ballot measure violates a series of rights under the U.S. Constitution, including equal-protection rights because horse racing will be allowed to continue at pari-mutuel facilities while dog racing will be blocked. Walker issued a 55-page ruling in April that dismissed a version of the lawsuit but allowed the plaintiffs to amend and refile it. But in his ruling last month, Walker quickly disposed of the amended version, saying that the plaintiffs “lack standing” to sue Moody over the ban.
Florida Sen. Rubio introduces NIL bill to push NCAA changes
FILE - In this March 12, 2020, file photo, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks to media on Capitol Hill in Washington. Ron DeSantis signed into a law a bill that would open up that market for college athletes in the state. The bill gives the NCAA until June 2021 to have new rules in place that will supersede states laws. These kids deserve to make a little bit of money while they're in college, Rubio said. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) examining names, image and likeness compensation for college athletes, though Rubio's bill was separate from that group.
Judge scraps mediation in gun lawsuit
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. The National Rifle Association and Florida officials will avoid mediation in a lawsuit challenging a 2018 state law that prevents people under age 21 from purchasing firearms, under an order issued this week by a federal judge. The law raised the age from 18 to 21 to purchase long guns, such as rifles and shotguns. Accordingly, the issues involved in this case are not amenable to mediation. Mediation would not be a productive exercise, nor would it be a worthwhile use of the parties, or the courts, resources, the lawyers wrote. In Mondays order granting the request, Walker wrote this court finds good cause has been shown why the mediation requirement should be waived.
AP Exclusive: Power Five spend big on lobbying Congress
The Southeastern Conference was the biggest spender, hiring three lobbying firms and paying them a total of $140,000, according to lobbying disclosure forms reviewed by The Associated Press. The Southeastern Conference was the biggest spender, hiring three lobbying firms and paying them a total of $140,000, according to lobbying disclosure forms reviewed by The Associated Press. The Big Ten paid $20,000 to the firms working for all the Power Five but did not hire its own dedicated lobbyist. The ACC and the Big 12 each spent $60,000 $40,000 on their own lobbyists and $20,000 on the Power Five firms. Both conferences had the same lobbyists last year, the first year either had spent significant money to influence members of Congress.
Appeals court wades into ballot order fight
“By systematically awarding a statistically significant advantage to the candidates of the party in power, Florida’s ballot order scheme takes a side in partisan elections,” Walker wrote. Ron DeSantis’ administration and national Republican groups, who joined the case as intervenors, appealed Walker’s decision, and the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments Wednesday in Atlanta. Arguing that a federal court “has no subject-matter jurisdiction” in the lawsuit, the state is asking the appellate court to reverse Walker’s order and dismiss the challenge. They succeed in carrying their burden on none of these elements,” the state lawyers argued.
State, groups wage court fights over solitary confinement
iStock/allanswartIn separate but parallel lawsuits, civil-rights and legal groups are challenging Florida's use of solitary confinement in prisons and juvenile detention centers -- but are facing pushback from state agencies. "Unfortunately, it is clear that plaintiffs' purpose in bringing this lawsuit is not to gain relief from some violation of constitutional rights," the Department of Juvenile Justice motion said. Data provided by the Southern Poverty Law Center shows the state placed more than 14,000 children in isolation while in the care of the juvenile justice department during the 2017-2018 fiscal year. Outside of court, the Department of Corrections has defended its use of confinement as a safety measure. Michelle Glady, a department spokeswoman, told The News Service of Florida in May that confinement is used for security reasons or to effectively manage prisons.
Inmates ask appeals court to back hepatitis C ruling
"The Eighth Amendment requires prison officials to provide medical treatment that avoids serious consequences, not simply treat them after a prisoner becomes dangerously ill," the brief said. The long-running legal fight centers on the use of an expensive type of medication known as "direct acting anti-virals" to treat hepatitis C, a contagious liver disease that can be fatal. Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker in April ruled that the medication should be provided to all inmates with hepatitis C, prompting the state to go to the Atlanta-based appeals court. In the brief Friday, the attorneys for inmates wrote that the Department of Corrections refused to provide treatment "solely for financial reasons." The brief said experts have estimated that at least 20,000 inmates in state prisons have hepatitis C, a rate that is far higher than in the broader population.
Arguments set in Jane Doe' gun case
Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments Dec. 10 in a legal battle about whether two young adults can remain anonymous in a challenge to the constitutionality of a Florida gun law. The arguments will be heard in Atlanta, where the appeals court is based, according to information posted last week on a court docket. The appeals court had previously indicated the case would be heard in December but had not specified a date. The NRA later sought to add an Alachua County resident as a plaintiff and identify her as Jane Doe. It also sought to add to the case allegations related to another young adult identified as John Doe.
Challenge to clemency system could be moot
Siding with plaintiffs last year, Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker found the state's voting-restoration process violated First Amendment rights and 14th Amendment equal-protection rights of felons. But siding with the state clemency board, the Atlanta-based federal appeals court blocked Walker's order from going into effect while the case remained pending. In the court filings Friday, lawyers for the plaintiffs wrote that the felons "are now eligible to vote under Florida state law, so this appeal is moot." "Because it now appears that all plaintiffs have satisfied any outstanding legal financial obligations, they have regained their right to vote, and their challenge to the executive clemency procedure is now moot," the state's lawyers argued. The drawn-out clemency process was the primary reason behind the push for the constitutional amendment, which received support from more than 64 percent of Florida voters last fall.fNews Service of Florida
Jane Doe' gun case to be heard in December
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A federal appeals court is expected to hear arguments in December in a dispute about whether two young adults can remain anonymous in a challenge to a 2018 Florida gun law. The National Rifle Association filed the appeal last year after Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker rejected an attempt by two 19-year-olds, identified in court papers as Jane Doe and John Doe, to take part anonymously in the challenge to the gun law. But opponents have argued that allowing them to remain anonymous would hinder public access to court proceedings. The NRA later sought to add an Alachua County resident as a plaintiff and identify her as Jane Doe. It also sought to add to the case allegations related to another young adult identified as John Doe.
State seeks reversal of prison hepatitis ruling
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Department of Corrections this week asked a federal appeals court to overturn a ruling that requires the state to provide costly treatment to inmates who have been diagnosed with the early stages of hepatitis C.The department, represented by Attorney General Ashley Moodys office, filed a brief Monday at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, as it battles a ruling by Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker that required the treatment for all inmates with the contagious liver disease. The state does not dispute that the treatment, which involves medication known as direct acting anti-virals, should be provided to inmates with later stages of hepatitis C. But attorneys contended in the brief that the state would not violate the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment if it did not provide the medication to prisoners in the early stages. This appeal raises the question whether the Eighth Amendment requires the Florida Department of Corrections to treat inmates with early-stage hepatitis C with a newly developed, yet expensive, course of treatment, the 37-page brief said. News Service of Florida
New law scuttles ballot signature fight
Ron DeSantis signed a new elections law, a federal judge has dismissed a long-running legal battle about the handling of mismatched ballot signatures. Both sides in the case said the new law resolved disputed issues about verifying signatures on vote-by-mail and provisional ballots. Lawmakers passed a bill (SB 7066) in May that made changes in the signature-verification process, and DeSantis signed the measure June 28. Attorneys for the Democrats and the state, however, disagreed on a final legal issue in the case. Democrats asked Walker to dismiss the case without prejudice, a term that leaves open the possibility of subsequent legal action.
State advances plan for Spanish-language ballots
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Voters throughout the state will have access to Spanish-language ballots in time for next years presidential election, under regulations Gov. The notice referred to the states Puerto Rican American population and a lack of statewide uniformity for Spanish-language ballots. Last September, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker issued an order requiring elections supervisors in 32 counties to provide Spanish-language sample ballots but did not require Spanish-language ballots to be made available for the November elections, saying there wasnt enough time for supervisors to comply. In May, Walker required supervisors to provide Spanish-language ballots and other assistance to Spanish-speaking voters in Floridas March 2020 presidential primary election. Bilingual official ballots are necessary to protect the secrecy of Spanish-language voters ballots, to avoid potential intimidation of Spanish-language voters, to avoid mistakes and misunderstandings by poll workers about the proper provision of Spanish-language ballots, to avoid the possibility that not enough unilingual ballots are created or made available at each precinct, and to ensure that the voting process is fully inclusive of and effective for Spanish-language voters, the plaintiffs lawyers wrote.
Wrangling continues in ballot signatures lawsuit
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A new state law may have resolved issues at the heart of a federal lawsuit about mismatched ballot signatures, but the legal wrangling hasnt ended. National and state Democrats, who filed the legal challenge last year, asked Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker to dismiss the case after Gov. Its the second time the federal judge has had to weigh in on the process for handling mismatched ballot signatures. In 2016, Democrats filed a similar lawsuit, challenging signature-matching requirements for vote-by-mail ballots. Walker called the state law indefensible and said it threatened to disenfranchise voters.
Trump disavows 'send her back' rally chant, many Republicans alarmed
Known on Capitol Hill as the squad, the four lawmakers are sharp critics of both Trump and the Democratic House leadership. And I disagreed with.TRUMPS DEMAGOGUERYAt the rally, Trump intensified his vilification of the four congresswomen and underscored that such attacks will be a key part of his strategy for winning re-election in 2020. When the chant started, Trump paused for several seconds and looked across the crowd silently from the podium. U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar, and the crowd responded with "send her back", at a campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina, U.S., July 17, 2019. Republican Senator Mitt Romney, asked about the send her back chant, said, Its very unfortunate for our country.feeds.reuters.com
'Send her back' chant at Trump rally catches Republicans off guard
The House Republicans stopped short of blaming the president and Trump at midday tried to distance himself from the chant. I felt a little bit badly about it, Trump told reporters at the White House. U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar, and the crowd responded with "send her back", at a campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina, U.S., July 17, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan DrakeThe Democratic-controlled House voted on Tuesday to condemn Trumps tweets as racist. On Wednesday, the House voted to kill for now a resolution brought by Democratic Representative Al Green that called for Trumps impeachment.feeds.reuters.com
Elections law targeted over early voting sites
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Part of a new elections law that requires sufficient nonpermitted parking at early voting sites will create an unconstitutional burden on young voters attending colleges or universities, plaintiffs in a long-running dispute over campus early voting argued in documents filed Monday. Rick Scotts administration, which decided that certain campus buildings did not meet statutory guidelines for early voting sites. Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker in July 2018 ruled that the interpretation was unconstitutional and issued a preliminary injunction allowing campus early voting locations. In the November elections, that resulted in early voting on 11 campuses, with about 60,000 ballots cast, according to court records. The parking requirement also will have a negative impact on early voting sites in urban areas where parking is scarce, the lawyers argued.
Democrats say law resolves ballot signature fight
The new law also creates a way for voters who cast provisional ballots to cure signatures that dont match those on file with elections officials. Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker in November sided with Nelson and the Democrats, issuing a preliminary injunction and giving extra time to cure ballots. The new law also addresses another of the plaintiffs complaints by creating a way for voters who cast provisional ballots to cure signature match rejections. And the law extended the deadline for voters to submit a cure affidavit to resolve signature discrepancies. Under the new law, voters who cast mail-in ballots and those who used provisional ballots have until 5 p.m. the second day after the election to submit the affidavits.