COVID-19

As of October 21, 2020 at 10:00 AM
(according to Alabama Political Reporter)
Alabama had 174,528 confirmed cases of coronavirus,
(6,551 more than last week) with 2,805 deaths (99 more
than last week)
Greene County had 339 confirmed cases, (10 more cases
than last week), with 16 deaths
Sumter Co. had 467 cases with 21 deaths
Hale Co. had 745 cases with 29 deaths

“I have given Alabama a voice, a clearer, more concerned, compassionate voice for all the people of the state, in the U. S. Senate, for the past two years,” says Doug Jones

• Working through the Senate Armed Services Committee to provide support for military bases and defense contractors from Huntsville to Mobile.
• Negotiating, together with Senator Richard Shelby and Congresswoman Terri Sewell an adjustment in the wage index rate for calculating Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, which boosted the payments to all hospitals in the state who serve impacted patients.
• Together with Republican Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, adding a section to the 2018 Farm Bill to assist farm families with Heir Property problems. This helped many African-American farm families, whose land is held as heir property, to access USDA farm credit and conservation programs. This section also authorized a new $5 loan program to assist families with heir property, to receive technical and credit assistance to clear their land titles and tenure arrangements.
Jones said he is working hard to get another coronavirus relief package passed by the U. S. Senate, based on the $2.2 Trillion-dollar HEROES Bill passed by the U. S. House of Representatives. “People are unemployed and suffering, we need to do something that will help people make the rent and put food on the table, as well as implement a plan to control and contain the virus,” he said.
Doug Jones is currently locked in a re-election battle with former Auburn football coach, Tommy Tubberville, which will be decided by the upcoming November 3rd General Election.
“My opponent, Tommy Tubberville, uses talking points from Trump and McConnell, as his campaign program. He has not barthered to learn the issues that face our state, in terms of the coronavirus pandemic, economic impacts of the pandemic, voter suppression and voting rights and many others,” said Jones.
“Tommy refuses to talk to the media and he is also not talking with the people and voters of Alabama. I, on the other hand, have been very transparent, talking to the media, holding telephone and Facebook townhalls ands trying to communicate with people in this state about my positions on the issues that face us,” said Jones.
One of the things that I am most proud of is the annual reading of Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1963 “Letter from the Birmingham Jail” on the floor of the U. S. Senate, which I helped to initiate. This year the reading was postponed by the COVID-19 crisis and the death of George Floyd. “Having a bi-partisan group of my colleagues read this letter, on the floor of the U. S. Senate, after Floyd’s death was a profound and powerful moment, for our nation,” said Jones.
After my interview with Senator Doug Jones, I am more committed than ever to vote for him for a full six-year term, as U. S. Senator.

Superintendent Jones says schools will remain in Phase I with remote learning

In his report to the Greene County Board of Education at its regular monthly meeting, Monday, October 19, 2020, Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones announced that Greene County schools will continue with remote student learning for the second nine weeks. Jones stated that he has kept a daily vigil on the COVID-19 positive reports for the county as well as state-wide to assist him is making the most prudent decision for students, their families and the community.
“ I want our students back in the classroom, but I also want them and their families to be safe,” he said.
Dr. Jones explained that he conducted a survey with parents and with the instructional staff to get their input on whether students should return to the classrooms. He reported that in the parents’ survey, 56% were for students returning to the classrooms while 44% wanted to remain with remote learning. According to Jones, there was a big difference in the teachers’ survey: 85% wanted to remain with remote classes, while 15% favored returning to the classroom.
The superintendent said that he is aware that some students are struggling with the remote process. “I realize that for some students remote classes may not be the best approach for them individually; there are distractions in the home; there may be insufficient home support for students while parents are at work; some students are not logging in on a consistent basis; however, protecting lives still is the highest consideration at this time,” he said.
Jones also stated that once progress reports are issued, failing students will be brought back to the classroom for on-site instruction. “This will only be carried out with the greatest of precaution for a smaller number of students. Every safety measure will be in place,” he emphasized.
According to the superintendent, if COVID-19 factors decrease significantly, Phase II, which includes a hybrid instructional approach with a blend of remote and face-to-face classes, will be implemented for the entire school system.
Jones reported that his staff continues to sanitize all school facilities, including fogging. ‘We are expecting plexiglass for our facilities to arrive this week,” he said.
In other business, the board approved the following recommendations of the superintendent:
Employment: Marilyn Finch, Bus Driver, Department of Transportation; Latasha Lewis, Bus Driver, Department of Transportation.
Voluntary Transfer: David Peterson, from Maintenance Helper to Mechanic Helper, Department of Transportation.
•Resignation: LaToya Consentine, Bus Driver, Department of Transportation, effective September 30, 2020.
Administrative Service Items:
•Contract between Greene County Board and Criterion Consulting, Formative Administrator Evaluation Support Services.
•Contract between Greene County Board of Education and Woods Therapeutic Services, Inc.
•Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll
Dr. Jones presented a plaque of appreciation to Board member William Morgan for his service to the Greene County School System. Morgan’s term of office ends in November. Morgan also received a plaque of achievement from the Alabama Association of School Boards for reaching the Master’s level in board training.
Board member Carrie Dancy received a plaque of achievement from AASB for meeting all requirements for school board training for 2020.

Bingo facilities distribute $484,468.83 for October; Forkland’s improvements supported by bingo funds

Following summary provided by Mrs. Kinya Isaac
Bingo Funds regulated by Sheriff Jonathan Benison have afforded the Town of Forkland the opportunity to promote economic development, create jobs, enhance community programs for senior citizens, purchase a recreation and education center for our youth and property for a future park development. It has not only insured a balanced operational budget for the town, but the bingo allocations have also provided seed and matching funds for numerous projects such as vehicles for the newly reactivated police department, $350,000 CDBG Grant to pave streets, Equipment Purchase Grant and the Forkland Innovative Center. Accomplishing the visions of the town’s 2017-2020 Strategic Plan would have been impossible without Charity Bingo.
Mayor McAlpine and the Town Council have initiated the process to build a Public Safety Building which will house the police department, the fire department and the municipal court. Charity Bingo Funds give the Town of Forkland an opportunity to provide vital services which enhance the quality of life for the residents of the community and the surrounding areas.
Distribution for October
On Wednesday, October 14 2020, Greene County Sheriff’s Department reported a total distribution of $484,468.83 from four licensed bingo gaming operations in the county. The bingo distributions were contributed by Frontier, River’s Edge, Palace and Bama Bingo.
The recipients of the September distributions from bingo gaming include the Greene County Commission, Greene County Sheriff’s Department, the cities of Eutaw, Forkland, Union, Boligee, the Greene County Board of Education and the Greene County Hospital (Health System).
Sub charities include Children Policy Council, Guadalupan Multicultural Services, Greene County Golf Course, Branch Heights Housing Authority, Department of Human Resources and the Greene County Library.
Bama Bingo gave a total of $113,499.98 to the following: Greene County Commission, $30,570; Greene County Sheriff’s $33,750; City of Eutaw, $7,750; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,875; Greene County Board of Education, $10,500, and the Greene County Health System, $12,500. Sub Charities, each $1,133.33.
Frontier (Dream, Inc.) gave a total of $114,994.98 to the following: Greene County Commission, $30,570; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $33,750; City of Eutaw, $9,250; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,875; Greene County Board of Education, $10,500; Greene County Health System, $12,500. Sub Charities each, $1,333.33.
River’s Edge (Next Level Leaders and Tishabee Community Center Tutorial Program) gave a total of $114,994.98 to the following: Greene County Commission, $30,570; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $33,750; City of Eutaw, $9,250; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,875; Greene County Board of Education, $10,500; Greene County Health System, $12,500. Sub Charities each, $1,333.33.
Palace (TS Police Support League) gave a total of $140,983.89 to the following: Greene County Commission, $37,478.82; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $41,377.50; City of Eutaw, $11,340.50; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $4,750.75; Greene County Board of Education, $12,873 and the Greene County Health System, $15,325; Sub Charities each, 1,389.47.

Newswire:  Joe Morgan, “Big Red Machine” star dies at 77

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Joe Morgan, Cincinnati second baseman

Joe Leonard Morgan, one of the all-time greatest second basemen in Major League Baseball history, and a key cog in Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine, has died at the age of 77.
Over 22 mostly magnificent seasons, the left-handed batting Morgan, who memorably flapped his left arm before each pitch thrown to him, totaled 2,517 hits, 1,650 runs scored, and a .271 lifetime batting average.
Additionally, he slugged 268 home runs and stole 689 bases.
Inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990, Morgan began his illustrious career with the Houston Colt .45s in 1963. He remained with Houston, which in 1965 changed its nickname to the Astros for nine seasons. In 1971, the Astros traded Morgan to the Cincinnati Reds.
In Cincinnati, he joined Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Ken Griffey Sr., George Foster, and others to form the renowned Big Red Machine.
In 1975, the Reds defeated the Boston Red Sox in one of the most memorable World Series ever, an epic matchup where five of the seven games were decided by one run.
The following year, Morgan helped lead the Reds to a sweep of the New York Yankees in the Fall Classic to capture a second straight title.
Morgan earned League Most Valuable Players in each of those seasons. He earned selection to the All-Star team 10 times and won five Gold Gloves.
In 1983, Morgan joined the Philadelphia Phillies and helped lead them to a World Series appearance against the Baltimore Orioles. Baltimore won the series in five games, and Morgan would play one more season, ending his career with the Oakland A’s.
Morgan’s death is the latest among several legendary baseball players over the past several months, including fellow Hall of Famers Lou Brock and Bob Gibson of the St. Louis Cardinals, Tom Seaver of the New York Mets, and Whitey Ford of the New York Yankees.

Newwire : As clinical trials halt, U.S. Covid cases surge

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Eli Lilly announced this week that it would pause a government-sponsored COVID-19 clinical trial because of a potential safety concern.
The drug manufacturer did not specify the concern, but the experimental vaccine is reportedly similar to the one President Donald Trump has claimed cured him of the coronavirus.
Earlier, Johnson & Johnson put the brakes on a COVID-19 vaccine trial after the company noted an “unexplained illness” reported by a participant.
In September, Great Britain officials held off on a potential vaccine when a participant reported a concerning reaction.
The difficulty in producing a vaccine for the deadly virus comes as a new wave of COVID-19 infection has begun.
Data provided by Johns Hopkins University in Maryland revealed that the U.S. surpassed 51,000 new daily cases on Oct. 13, marking the first time in over two months that the number exceeded 50,000.
The average daily number of new cases stands at 48 percent higher than two months ago when 34,354 were reported.
More than 36,000 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized on Oct. 13, the highest number recorded since August.
Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal that African Americans remain three times as likely as whites to contract the coronavirus, five times as likely to end up in the hospital, and twice as likely to die from COVID-19.
While the race and ethnicity of those who contract the virus are known in just 52 percent of cases, 7 of the 10 U.S. counties with the highest death rates from COVID-19 have populations where people of color make up the majority, according to data compiled by USA Today.Of the top 50 counties with the highest death rates, 31 are populated mostly by people of color. “Put simply, America’s history of racism was itself a preexisting condition,” study authors wrote for USA Today. Additionally, one report noted that had African Americans died at the same rate as whites; approximately 20,800 Black people would still be alive.
Dr. James Hildreth, the president of the historically Black Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, told the Black Press that his school is among four HBCUs preparing to host on campus COVID-19 clinical trials.
Dr. Hildreth previously advised against any vaccine touted by Trump, where the president exclaimed would be ready before Election Day.
“It’s true that Black people have little trust in clinical trials, and that’s understandable,” Dr. Hildreth stressed. “We’ve engendered a level of trust with communities of color that other organizations just don’t have, and it’s imperative for us as HBCUs to rise to this occasion.”
Dr. Hildreth noted that Meharry’s trial would feature a vaccine made by Novavax. “I’ll be the first patient,” Dr. Hildreth said, again punctuating the trust that’s needed to secure African American participants.
“By engaging with the four Black medical schools, [participants] will have individuals who look like them, sitting across the table, having these conversations, and we think that’s going to make a huge difference.”

Newswire: Domestic terror arrests in Michigan heighten alarm of rightwing violence

By Barrington M. Salmon, NNPA Newswire Contributor

Armed white extremist militia members


In recent months, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Chad Wolf, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, and several lower-level Trump administration officials had been warning about the danger posed by homegrown domestic terrorists. Those concerns escalated throughout the summer after clashes between protestors who were marching to remonstrate against the police-involved murder of George Floyd in May and white nationalist Trump supporters.
Those fears were realized last week when the agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, working with Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, her staff and Michigan state law enforcement, apprehended 13 men tied to two militia groups who are charged with hatching a plot to kidnap, try and murder Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, kill those in law enforcement, kick off a civil war and overthrow the government.
Whitmer, Nessel and other critics argue that white extremists in Michigan and elsewhere are animated by dangerous racist and inflammatory rhetoric from President Donald Trump. They have castigated his embrace of white nationalist militias, his unwillingness to condemn their violence and intimidation tactics and his complicity in the recent rise of rightwing violence.
“My greatest fear is what’s different now than when I was working these cases in 1990s, there was no rhetoric coming from the White House supporting White supremacy and law enforcement is failing to properly react to that violence that occurs,” said Mike German, a retired FBI agent and a fellow at the Brennan Centre’s National Security Program. “This makes these groups and individuals feel that they have a greenlight.”
German, a writer, author and scholar, has been monitoring and studying white identity extremists, white nationalists and other domestic terror groups for a number of years. This follows his time in the FBI in the 1990s working undercover and infiltrating white supremacist and right-wing militant groups.
He said he’s deeply concerned about the increase in violence perpetrated by far-right individuals and groups over the past three years. Of equal concern, he said, is that these groups have been allowed to operate with very little response from the Department of Justice, the FBI and local law enforcement and with the sympathy of the White House.
In September 17, 2020 testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee, Wray said “many of these violent extremists, both domestic and international, are motivated and inspired by a mix of ideological, sociopolitical, and personal grievances against their targets, which recently have more and more included large public gatherings, houses of worship, and retail locations.”
“Lone actors, who by definition are not likely to conspire with others regarding their plans, are increasingly choosing these soft, familiar targets for their attacks, limiting law enforcement opportunities for detection and disruption ahead of their action,” Wray continued. “Domestic violent extremists (DVEs) pose a steady and evolving threat of violence and economic harm to the United States.”
The FBI director said trends may shift, but the underlying drivers for domestic violent extremism – such as perceptions of government or law enforcement overreach, sociopolitical conditions, racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, misogyny, and reactions to legislative actions – remain constant. He said the FBI is most concerned about lone offender attacks, primarily shootings, as they have served as the dominant lethal mode for domestic violent extremist attacks.
But the rise of groups like the Proud Boys, the Three Percenters, the Hell Shaking Street Preachers, the G416 Patriots, Odinsvakt Kindred, Stormfront and others belies the FBI analysis and narrative of the lone wolf domestic terrorist.
German and Wray said more deaths were caused by DVEs than international terrorists in recent years. For example, 2019 was the deadliest year for domestic extremist violence since the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. Wray added that the top threat America faces from domestic violent extremists stems from those in law enforcement has identified as racially/ethnically motivated violent extremists (RMVE). RMVEs were the primary source of ideologically motivated lethal incidents and violence in 2018 and 2019 and have been considered the most lethal of all domestic extremists since 2001.
“Of note, the last three DVE attacks, however, were perpetrated by anti-government violent extremists,” Wray said.
Experts who monitor White nationalist extremist groups have watched with increasing alarm at the rash of violent clashes, the shootings, use of vehicles to injure protestors and brawls that have broken out between the Proud Boys and other far-right, neo-fascist, armed and unarmed militia groups and protestors seeking social and racial justice.
Yet, to the consternation of many, Trump, Attorney General William Barr, the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been spending their time and effort since Trump came into office targeting Black Lives Matter activists, the broad coalition of multiracial social justice advocates involved in protests and members of Antifa, all while ignoring the real threat that confronts this country.
In response to massive social justice protests, Mr. Trump and top officials such as Attorney General William Barr, have emphasized the threat posed by leftist groups like Antifa, but rarely mentioned or blamed far-right groups involved in the majority of the violence. Mr. Trump himself has regularly downplayed the threat of White supremacist violence during his presidency and has recently described Black Lives Matter as “a symbol of hate.”
“This administration is not unique for not prosecuting right-wing violence. The fact that the murderers involved in the Greensboro massacre in 1979 were never caught illustrates that,” said DC-based talk show co-host and longtime social justice activist Jacqui Luqman. “The Klan was openly communing with law enforcement. The danger now is the danger that has always been allowed to exist. We’ve already seen it.”
“There is a long history of violence these groups have waged against Black people and their allies who have shown up to confront this anti-Black racism. Recently, they have attacked people with cars and other vehicles and there have been several shootings with one person killed. There have been assaults of protestors committed by far-right wing people armed with baseball bats and other weapons. They have shown their willingness to commit violence because time-and-time again, the police has not stopped them. Officers are very slow to apprehend them if they have done so at all. They know they can be violent because the police are on their side and Donald Trump and Barr have sanctioned what they’re doing.”
An FBI affidavit points out that the plotters seemed to be motivated at least in part by their belief that state governments, including Michigan’s, were violating the Constitution. Militia members were and are opposed to stay-at-home orders, limitations of public movement and other restrictions, and in response, the plotters talked about targeting police officers in their homes, blowing up Whitmer’s country home and kidnapping her.
“There has been a disturbing increase in anti-government rhetoric and the re-emergence of groups that embrace extremist ideologies,” said Nessel in a statement announcing the charges. “These groups often seek to recruit new members by seizing on a moment of civil unrest and using it to advance their agenda of self-reliance and armed resistance. This is more than just political disagreement or passionate advocacy, some of these groups’ mission is simply to create chaos and inflict harm upon others.”
In a news conference after the arrests, Whitmer reiterated that she had made “tough choices to keep our state safe.” And she placed the problem squarely on Trump.
“When our leaders speak, their words matter. They carry weight,” she said. “When our leaders meet with, encourage, or fraternize with domestic terrorists, they legitimize their actions, and they are complicit.” Trump, she said, “refused to condemn white supremacists and hate groups like these two Michigan militia groups” and told one far-right group to “stand back and stand by.”
With less than a month before the presidential election, federal and local law enforcement officials are watching closely and are ready to stamp out any flare up of politically motivated violence by domestic terrorists.

Newswire: Grand Jury for Breonna Taylor never presented with homicide charges, juror says

By Alanna Vagianos, Huffington Post

Demonstration in Louisville in support of Breonna Taylor


A juror in the Breonna Taylor case said Tuesday that prosecutors never presented the grand jury with homicide charges against the three police officers involved in Taylor’s killing.
The new allegations raise additional questions over how prosecutors handled the killing of Taylor, a Black woman shot by police in her own apartment in Louisville, Kentucky, earlier this year during a “no-knock” raid. Only one detective, Brett Hankison, was ultimately charged in connection with the incident, and it wasn’t even for her death; he was indicted on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment for shots fired into a neighboring apartment.
“The grand jury was not presented any charges other than the three Wanton Endangerment charges against Detective Hankison,” the anonymous grand juror said in a statement via attorney Kevin Glogower. “The grand jury did not have homicide offenses explained to them. The grand jury never heard anything about those laws.”
The anonymous juror said the grand jury inquired about additional charges but were told there wouldn’t be any “because the prosecutors didn’t feel they could make them stick.”
The grand jury, an anonymous panel of 12 people, came under swift criticism in September for declining to file any murder charges against the three Louisville police officers. Hankison was fired from the force in June. The other two cops, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and officer Myles Cosgrove, have been placed on administrative leave but are still employed by the force, and did not face charges.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron repeatedly said at a news conference last month that he was not legally allowed to bring charges against the other two officers, and that the grand jury agreed with him.
“While there are six possible homicide charges under Kentucky law, these charges are not applicable to the facts before us because our investigation showed ― and the grand jury agreed ― that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in the return of deadly fire after having been fired upon,” Cameron said in September.
But the anonymous juror said that wasn’t the case, Glogower told reporters last month. On Tuesday, Jefferson Circuit Judge Annie O’Connell issued a ruling allowing the juror to speak about their experience on the panel. Grand jury proceedings are not normally available to the public, but O’Connell ruled that the juror can speak and may remain anonymous.
“This Court finds the traditional justifications for secrecy in this matter are no longer relevant and that the ends of justice require disclosure,” O’Connell wrote in her ruling.
The juror released their statement just hours after the ruling.
“The grand jury didn’t agree that certain actions were justified, nor did it decide the indictment should be the only charges in the Breonna Taylor case,” the juror continued. “The grand jury was not given the opportunity to deliberate on those charges and deliberated only what was presented to them. I cannot speak for other jurors but I can help the truth be told.”
Cameron’s office did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
Ben Crump, an attorney for the Taylor family, called for a new independent prosecutor to be assigned to case in light of the juror’s statement.
“We now know what we suspected: Attorney General Daniel Cameron took the decision out of the grand jury’s hands. They didn’t allow the grand jury to do what the law says they have the right to do,” Crump said in a statement. “It is a despicable miscarriage of justice that is disrespectful to the life of Breonna Taylor that AG Cameron white washed what his office presented to the grand jury.”
Taylor, a Black 26-year-old EMT, was shot eight times by police when they executed a “no-knock” warrant and died in a pool of blood on her apartment floor as her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, looked on. The “no-knock” warrant, which multiple cities including Louisville have now banned, listed Taylor’s name and address, but the main investigation centered on Taylor’s former boyfriend, who lived more than 10 miles away from her apartment.
The family of Taylor reached a $12 million settlement last month in a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Louisville. The settlement is the largest sum paid out by the city of Louisville in a police misconduct call.Subscribeolitics email.From Washington to the campaign trail, get the latest politicsTop of FormBottom of Form
Just a week before the grand jury reached their decision, Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mother, urged advocates and supporters to focus on the main goal. “We must not lose focus on what the real drive is,” she said. “It’s time to move forward with the criminal charges because she deserves that and much more.

Newswire : Civil rights groups oppose fast-tracked Supreme Court nominee:  Nation’s diversity not represented in its courts

By Charlene Crowell


Supreme Court building in Washington, D. C. and Amy Coney Barrett and her family, including two adopted Black children from Haiti
 
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – One of the most consequential decisions that presidents make are lifetime federal judicial appointments at every level: circuit, appellate and the U.S. Supreme Court. The independent federal judiciary is charged with ensuring that the nation’s courts are fair to all people. Even the phrase “equal justice under law” is carved in the stone façade of the Supreme Court building.
 
A recent American Bar Association blog states, “For the nation to continue to have trust in the integrity and independence of the federal judiciary, the process that places judges on the bench must be viewed as fair, unhurried and unbiased.”
 
But for Black America and other communities of color, throughout our history and continuing even today, ‘justice’ is often far from fair, nor is it unbiased. In recent years, the Supreme Court has declared that corporations should be treated like people, and that voting rights no longer need to be protected. In November, the high court is scheduled to revisit the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
 
Other issues that may reach the Supreme Court could include whether federal agencies can preempt state laws protecting consumers from bad actors in the student loan servicer arena, and in payday, auto-title, and high-cost installment loans.  Even the nation’s half-century old Fair Housing Act could be revisited due to the Trump Administration’s roll-back of an Obama-era fair housing rule known as disparate impact. If allowed to stand, the burden of proving discrimination will be shifted to consumers instead of powerful corporations and others alleged to have violated the law.
 
“Over the next several years, the Supreme Court will make important and lasting decisions that affect every facet of our lives, including income inequality, the racial wealth gap, access to health care – including reproductive rights – and many other issues,” states a new CRL policy brief.
 
For these reasons and others, the passing of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg created a significant moment for the future of the court. As the second woman to ever serve as a Supreme Court Justice, the fondly-recalled ‘Notorious RBG’ broke gender barriers throughout her legal career, forging freedom and access for many who were historically marginalized.
 
And the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill that vacancy has triggered a chorus of civil rights organizations expressing their adamant opposition. As a former clerk to Justice Scalia, 1998-1999, Judge Coney Barrett has frequently lauded him as her mentor, and praised his judicial philosophy both as a law school professor and as a judge.
 
At the September 26 White House Rose Garden announcement of her nomination, Judge Coney Barrett said, “I clerked for Justice Scalia more than 20 years ago, but the lessons I learned still resonate. His judicial philosophy is mine too: A judge must apply the law as written. Judges are not policymakers, and they must be resolute in setting aside any policy views they might hold.”
 
Despite high praise by conservatives and the Senate Majority’s commitment to ram through her nomination, civil rights organizations and other advocates have expressed strong opposition to Judge Coney Barrett.
 
“We stand opposed to her confirmation to the Court,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Her confirmation would dramatically alter the Supreme Court in ways that would prove devastating for Black communities and other people of color across the country.”
 
Similarly, the head of the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights organization recently advised the Senate Judiciary Committee of the NAACP’s position on the nomination.
 
“Coming in the middle of a presidential election in which over seven million people have already voted, the Barrett nomination is as illegitimate as it is corrupt,” wrote Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO to the Judiciary Committee. “On issue after issue, we have found her to be stunningly hostile to civil rights.”
 
“Early and absentee votes are already being cast for the November election –and nominating a candidate for a lifetime appointment to this nation’s highest court during this electoral period undermines the democratic process and is a disservice to the American public”, said Sherilynn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. “Senators must also respect the clear will of the American people, and honor the precedent they set in 2016, by declining to consider any nominee until the winner of the presidential election is inaugurated.”
 
“The Senate majority needs to prioritize COVID-19 relief legislation for the rest of this year and not use the remaining time of this session to confirm judicial nominees, leaving millions of Americans vulnerable to financial hardship”, said Mike Calhoun, President of the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL).
 
With less than three weeks before election day, the Senate began the confirmation process on Monday, October 12 with its Judiciary Committee hearings, chaired by Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina. The committee is expected to vote on the nomination on October 22. As Senate Majority Leader, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell is planning a floor vote for the week of October 26.
 
The rapid review of Judge Coney Barrett is a stark contrast to the lengthy, Senate-engineered delay of President Obama’s 2016 election year Supreme Court nomination.
 
On February 13, 2016, Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed. Weeks later on March 16 that year, President Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
Circuit. But the U.S. Senate refused to hold committee hearings or a floor vote for almost a year, and thereby denied President Obama the right to fill the court vacancy.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell publicly boasted in a speech that August, “One of my proudest moments was when I looked Barack Obama in the eye and I said, ‘Mr. President, you will not fill the Supreme Court vacancy.’ “Nearly a year later, the lengthy high court’s vacancy enabled President Trump to nominate Neil Gorsuch on February 1, 2017.The Senate confirmed Gorsuch on Friday, April 7, 2017 and was sworn in the following Monday, April 10. In real time, that nomination process took just two months.
 
 
It is also noteworthy that as the nation is increasingly diverse, the federal bench remains dominated by
White judges.
 
A recent Associated Press analysis of the Trump Administration’s judicial appointments found that White men were nearly 86% of the 206 lifetime appointments made. Similarly, White men were 85% of all Senate-confirmed U.S. Attorneys.
 
A court system that does not reflect the people it is sworn to protect is hard-pressed to ensure diverse backgrounds, experiences and viewpoints in judicial deliberations. Continuing the trend of nominating and confirming White, conservative justices strain — if not ignore — the nation’s pledge of equal justice.
 
In the words of the Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights, “During this pandemic and amid nationwide calls for racial justice, we cannot allow Trump to select a third justice who he has pledged will devastate our hard-fought civil and human rights — including access to health care for millions of people.”
 
The approaching electoral decisions include the future of hard-won civil rights, and whether they will continue to be systematically dismantled. It is in the hands of voters to decide. And the choices should be clear: a return to the multiple ills of bygone years or hopeful future with justice and opportunity for all.
 
 
Charlene Crowell is a senior fellow with the Center for Responsible Lending.
She can be reached at charlene.crowell@responsiblelending.org.
 

COVID-19

As of October 14, 2020 at 12:00 Noon
(according to Alabama Political Reporter)
Alabama had 167,977 confirmed cases of coronavirus, (6,357 more than last week) with 2,706 deaths
(105 more than last week)
Greene County had 329 confirmed cases, (18 more cases than last week),
with 16 deaths
Sumter Co. had 459 cases with 21 deaths
Hale Co. had 714 cases with 29 deaths