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Ivey, many Alabama leaders praise choice of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court

Brandon Moseley

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On Monday, Governor Kay Ivey and other Alabama leaders released statements regarding President Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court.

“I applaud President Trump for his nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court,:” Gov. Ivey said. “Judge Kavanaugh clearly understands the proper role of a judge is to interpret the law as it is written and apply the law impartially. It is imperative that judges adhere to the Constitution and resist judicial activism.”

“As a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Kavanaugh will have the opportunity to set valuable precedents for lower court judges all over the country to follow,” Gov. Ivey said. “Another conservative justice on the U.S. Supreme Court who honors the original intent of the Constitution will have a positive impact on our country for decades. I look forward to following the U.S. Senate confirmation process.”

Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan also released a statement supporting the nomination.

“The Alabama Republican Party congratulates Judge Brett Kavanaugh on his nomination to the United States Supreme Court by President Trump,” Chairman Lathan said. “A former legal counsel to President George W. Bush, clerk for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, 1990 Yale Law School graduate, and a current judge for the D.C. Circuit U.S Court of Appeals, Brett Kavanaugh is a wise choice for Supreme Court Justice. While the Democrats will try anything in their power try and block Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation, it is important to note his 2006 U.S. Senate nomination confirmation to the D.C. Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Four Democrats crossed party lines to vote yes for his confirmation. Known for having a textualist and originalist approach to interpreting the U.S. Constitution, Judge Kavanaugh will serve our nation well on the bench of the U.S. Supreme Court. In light of these points of interest, and for the sake of the future of our nation, the Alabama Republican Party calls on all members of the U.S. Senate, including Senator Doug Jones, to vote ‘yes’ in confirming Judge Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court.”

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U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) said in a statement, “President Trump has made an excellent choice in nominating Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. He has impressive credentials, and I look forward to meeting with him to further consider his qualifications and commitment to upholding our Constitution as it is written. This nomination is one of the most important items that we will consider this year. I am hopeful that Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation process will be fair and timely.”

U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) said, “This is truly a historic moment in our nation, and I applaud President Trump’s decision to nominate Judge Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the Supreme Court. Judge Kavanaugh is a conservative, experienced jurist who I believe will be a strict constitutionalist on the bench. I’m hopeful his nomination will give us an opportunity to shift the balance of the Court in favor of the pro-life movement for years to come. I’m confident that Judge Kavanaugh will serve the Court and the American people admirably, and I am eager to see the Senate quickly begin the confirmation process.”

Public Service Commission President Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh (R) said, “President Trump has made another tremendous selection in nominating Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Our next Supreme Court Justice must be a steadfast supporter of the rule of law. There is no doubt that Judge Kavanaugh will be a faithful servant to our Constitution, as his demonstrated record of bold conservatism proves. I enthusiastically look forward to supporting his nomination and urge the United States Senate to confirm him.”

“As a fair legal mind, defender of the Constitution, and a judge on the D.C. Circuit, Brett Kavanaugh is prepared for a seat on the Supreme Court,” Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) said. “I support President Trump’s nominee, and I hope the Senate will move expeditiously to confirm Judge Kavanaugh, a high quality and uniquely qualified nominee.”

President Cavanaugh added, “Senator Jones has a choice between radical liberal scare tactics and the rule of law; between Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer’s band of obstructionists and our conservative values. The people of Alabama will demand that Senator Jones vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.”

“This is exactly why I went door-to-door campaigning for President Trump,” Cavanaugh said. “He is keeping his promises to the American people. We now have an opportunity, for the first time in a generation, to have truly conservative Supreme Court decisions. I pray that Judge Kavanaugh will be the Justice that tips the balance of the Supreme Court to end the atrocity that is Roe v. Wade.”

Cavanaugh is running for Lieutenant Governor in the July 17 Republican primary.

Judge Kavanaugh has served for over a decade as a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He currently serves as the Samuel Williston Lecturer in Law at Harvard Law School. After graduating with honors from Yale College in 1987, Judge Kavanaugh completed Yale Law School in 1990, where he was a Notes Editor on the Yale Law Journal. He clerked for Justice Anthony Kennedy of the Supreme Court, Ninth Circuit Judge Kozinski, and Third Circuit Judge Walter Stapleton. Kavanaugh worked for Special Prosecutor Ken Starr and he was the author of most of the Starr Report. He worked for five years in the White House for President George W. Bush (R) who appointed him to the federal bench in 2006.

It is the constitutional responsibility of the U.S. Senate to provide “advice and consent” to the President on all executive nominations, including judges to federal courts, appeals courts, and the Supreme Court.

Alabama Senator Doug Jones (D) would not commit on whether he will vote for the confirmation of Kavanaugh or not. Jones said on CNN I’m going to make an independent decision.”

With Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) unlikely to be healthy enough to vote on the confirmation, a defection by any rogue Republican Senator (Lisa Collins of Maine or Rand Paul of Kentucky perhaps) a Democratic Senator could decide whether or not Kavanaugh is confirmed or not. Three Democrats voted to confirm Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

“Judge Kavanaugh is exceptionally well qualified to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court – and like Neil Gorsuch, he will be subjected to a smear campaign by those on the Left who are addicted to the imposition of social policy by judicial decree,” commented Douglas Johnson, senior policy advisor to National Right to Life.

Alabama Republican Party Executive Committee member and former state Representative Perry Hooper Jr. said, “President Trump’s Nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court was Brilliant. My Dad was the first Republican Justice and Chief Justice elected to the Alabama Supreme Court in 1994. His Message was that a Judge Should Interpret the Law and not make the Law. That message was articulated tonight by Judge Kavanaugh. He is also a wonderful Family Man and a Dad that coaches Youth Sports. This is a great appointment!”

Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-Selma) is opposing Kavanaugh’s confirmation. “Today is the 150th birthday of the 14th Amendment. There’s no better way to celebrate and protect the legacy of Brown v. Board, Loving v. Virginia, and Baker v. Carr than speaking out to #StopKavanaugh.”

The White House says that they hope that Kavanaugh will be confirmed by October 1.

Kavanaugh’s arguments have been quoted numerous times by the U.S. Supreme Court in Court opinions.

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Elections

Activist calls for Attorney General Steve Marshall to be decertified or impeached

Bill Britt

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Across the state, lawyers, politicos and candidates are questioning how to deal with the dark money that flowed into the Republican Attorney General’s primary race.

North Alabama Republican activist Thomas J. Scovill is calling for Speaker Mac McCutcheon and the ALGOP steering committee to deny Republican primary winner—appointed Attorney General Steve Marshall—certification because of funds he received from the Republican Attorney Generals Association.

“As Steve Marshall’s campaign finance issue drags on, the embarrassment to Alabama government and the Alabama Republican Party (ALGOP) is growing,” Scovill wrote, McCutcheon. “Just as the Alabama Republican Party acted quickly and decisively on the issue of PSC candidate James Bonner’s decorum, now is the time to act decisively on the much more serious issue of lawbreaking by our attorney general.”

At issue is Marshall’s acceptance of $735,000 from RAGA’s 527 nonprofit organizations which Scovill and many others believe is a clear violation of Alabama’s Fair Campaign Practice Act. The state’s Republican legislative supermajority outlawed PAC-to-PAC transfers as part of its reform measures in 2010.

Marshall claims the donations are legal because of a loophole in state law. He also argues that federal law trumps state law in this instance.

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Scovill in his letter to Mac McCutcheon and a partition to ALGOP Chair Terry Lathan says Marshall’s claim is not only misleading but wrong.

“The question of federal jurisdiction raised by Marshall is a red herring,” says Scovill. “When it comes to campaign finance, those who play in federal elections have to comply with federal law, and those who play in Alabama elections have to comply with Alabama law. Those who play in both have to comply with both.”

A thorny advocate for campaign finance transparency, Scovill has fought and won several battles against those who tried to skirt the state’s FCPA.

During the primary election, Scovill backed outsider Chess Bedsole in the Republican Attorney General’s contest. In the runoff, he supported Marshall until he discovered the RAGA contributions.

“My choice for attorney general was Chess Bedsole,” said Scovill. “And just after the primary, I endorsed Steve Marshall, but then when I got back from a two week trip to Colorado on the Thursday before the runoff, I got caught up in all this PAC to PAC and 527 stuff and said, ‘Oh gee, I should have put some time into this back in February.’”

Marshall won the Republican nomination for Attorney General against Troy King who made the same accusation as Scovill. Montgomery County Judge James Anderson dismissed King’s partition to force Marshall to stop using RAGA funds, but that doesn’t mean the matter is settled.

Several legal minds say that Judge Anderson was wrong in his ruling. There are also those who want the issue decided before Marshall’s exception becomes a rule that opens the floodgates for out-of-state PACs to flood the state with dark money from hidden sources.

“Even with a preliminary review by the Alabama Ethics Commission, this controversy cannot be adjudicated through the office of the Alabama Attorney General for obvious reasons – Marshall is the incumbent attorney general,” writes Scovill. “With his nomination by the ALGOP pending, we are out of time for legal quibbles, alibis, and antics.”

In both his letter to Speaker McCutcheon and ALGOP, Scovill references PSC candidate James “Jim” Bonner who the Republican Party disqualified shortly before the primary.

As APR‘s Brandon Moseley reported in June, “Numerous voices in the party have expressed their concerns that Bonner being on the ticket could be an embarrassment that could turn out Democrats jeopardizing and drag down other races up and down the ticket.” The Alabama Republican Party Candidate Committee voted not to certify election results for Bonner even though he was already on the printed ballots. At the time, ALGOP Chair Lathan said, “When our state party chooses to take these steps, it is a serious and rare occurrence. We strongly believe that this is one of those solemn moments. This vote was carefully considered and was not taken lightly.”

Alabama Republican Party will not certify Bonner

Scovill contends the Republican committee must do the same with Marshall. “Marshall is embarrassing the Alabama Republican Party by violating both the spirit and letter of Alabama law,” wrote Scovill. “Republicans are responsible for pressing for enforcement of the law, enforcement which includes impeaching Attorney General Marshall if necessary. Ignoring the issue will create a major controversy Democrats will exploit in the coming general election to the detriment of every Republican on the ballot.”

In August, the State’s Ethics Commission will likely weigh-in on Scovill’s question — finding that RAGA’s actions were unlawful, but it’s the Republican Party that will ultimately have final say on if the PAC-to-PAC transfer ban applies to Democrats and Republicans alike.

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Group organizes to fight Muscle Shoals tax increase

Brandon Moseley

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A new Political Action Committee has launched in Muscle Shoals to oppose property tax increase.

The group opposes a 67 percent increase in the City’s Special Municipal property tax. The tax increase will be voted on by city voters on August 28th.

Stop the Home Tax PAC was recently launched to oppose the proposed 5-mil property tax increase in Muscle Shoals. The vote is being held at the request of the City School Board.

The opponents of the tax increase argue that it would represent a 67 percent increase in the current city-level special property tax for the school board. Opponents argue that a five mill increase would make Muscle Shoals one of the highest taxed municipalities in the region. Muscle Shoals would be at 21-mils, Tuscumbia 13.5 mils, Leighton 11 mils, Cherokee 11 mils, Littleville 11 mils, and Sheffield would be 10 mils.

“We have a number of concerns about this tax increase,” said Carlos Berry, the Chairman of Stop the Home Tax PAC. “Not only will this tax increase place a huge burden on our home owners, but it will hurt our and renters and small business owners as well. Homeowners will see their annual taxes increase, and many renters will likely see their costs increase over the next few years as the property owners struggle to adapt to the higher rates. It is simply impossible to raise the special property tax rate by 67% and not see rates increase.”

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Carlos Berry is a former business owner and former elected Colbert County Board of Education member who lives in Muscle Shoals. He has grandkids in the school system and a daughter who teaches there as well.

“I support public education 100%”, Berry said. “What I can’t support is raising taxes to unreasonable levels due to irresponsible financial decisions being made by the school board. As a former school board member, I know how to prioritize spending on capital improvement projects and ongoing operational costs so that government lives within its means just like the voters have to do.”

Scott Hunter, who is helping with the effort as well, expressed his concerns that most voters will not turnout in late August,

“Tax increase votes are often held using special elections at odd times, with the sponsors counting on low awareness and turnout to get the vote passed,” Hunter said. “Basically, if they can get their friends to show up and vote, the tax usually sails through unnoticed by the majority of voters.”

The Stop The Home Tax PAC say that they intend to raise awareness about the upcoming election in order to make sure that the voters of Muscle Shoals have an opportunity to have their voices heard on this important issue. In addition, STHTPAC will be advocating for voters to reject the tax increase and protect the small business owners, homeowners, and renters in Colbert County.

School officials claim that they need more money to fund capital improvements.

City of Muscle Shoals voters go to the polls on August 28.

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National

Mo Brooks, Gary Palmer Win FreedomFighter Award

Brandon Moseley

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Tuesday, Congressmen Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) and Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) were two of only 31 members of the U.S. House of Representatives awarded the prestigious 2017 FreedomFighter Award by FreedomWorks.

FreedomWorks is a leading conservative organization with more than six million members nationwide.
Only members of Congress who score better than 90 on the FreedomWorks scorecard receive the FreedomFighter Award.

Congressman Brooks’ FreedomWorks score was in the top four percent of all Congressmen in 2017.

Rep. Brooks said, “FreedomWorks is a leading organization in the conservative movement. I thank them for their work keeping members of Congress accountable and scoring key House floor votes which helps the American people better understand the impact of those votes. I was proud to receive the prestigious FreedomWorks 2017 FreedomFighter Award for my voting record in 2017.”

Congressman Palmer said, “I was honored to receive the Freedom Fighter Award this week from FreedomWorks.”

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FreedomWorks President, Adam Brandon, said, “The recipients of the FreedomFighter Award showed a commitment in 2017 to pro-growth economic policies and constitutionally limited government. We’re proud to recognize these senators and representatives. Our work is still cut out for us. Now that we have reduced some regulations and passed a historic tax reform bill, we must continue to pressure Congress to reduce spending to ensure that the prosperity we are seeing now is lasts into the future.”

FreedomWorks Vice President of Legislative Affairs, Jason Pye, said, “The winners of the 2017 FreedomFighter Award deserve applause. These members take tough votes, often going against the leadership of their own party, because they want to do what is right by taxpayers. But consistency is key. America is staring down massive budget deficits as a result of the fiscal profligacy of this Congress. We have to continue working to put our country on a sustainable path, repeal ObamaCare, promote free trade, and continue to rollback the regulatory state.”

“If America is to maintain its place as the greatest country in world history, more members of Congress must fight for the foundational principles that made America great,” Brooks said. “I’m fighting in Congress for those principles, and I’m glad to have a partner as effective as FreedomWorks in the fight.”

Congressman Mo Brooks represents the Fifth Congressional District of Alabama.

Congressman Gary Palmer represents the Sixth Congressional District of Alabama.

Both Brooks and Palmer are members of the House Freedom Caucus.

Both congressmen have Democratic general election opponents.

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Ivey, many Alabama leaders praise choice of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court

by Brandon Moseley Read Time: 6 min
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