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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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National

Shelby discusses disaster assistance for the Wiregrass with Trump

Chip Brownlee

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Alabama’s senior U.S. Senator Richard Shelby said Thursday that President Donald Trump “agreed to help” with assistance for those affected by Hurricane Michael in Alabama’s Wiregrass region.

Shelby tweeted Thursday that he spoke with Trump about the need for assistance after Michael devastated portions of Southeast Alabama in early October.

“During my meeting with @POTUS, I brought up the need for disaster relief in the #Wiregrass following #HurricaneMichael,” Shelby tweeted. “President Trump agreed to help.”

While Trump approved a Major Disaster Declaration last week for four affected counties, Geneva, Henry, Houston and Mobile, it only provides public assistance grants, which reimburse local governments and community organizations for certain expenses incurred because of the disaster but can’t be disbursed to individuals recovering from a disaster.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has also not yet approved the state of Alabama’s application for an agricultural disaster declaration.

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The Alabama Emergency Management Agency has requested IA grants, and the agency has also provided additional evidence to demonstrate that certain Alabama counties qualify for the individual assistance.

Individual assistance, where it to be approved in the coming days by the Trump administration, would include financial assistance, direct aid and disaster loans. The assistance could be used for losses that were not covered by insurance, are of critical need and couldn’t be covered in other ways. It’s not intended to restore damaged property to its condition before the disaster, according to FEMA.

Most disaster assistance is provided in the form of loans administered by the Small Business Administration.

Shelby’s discussion with Trump comes after U.S. Sen. Doug Jones urged President Donald Trump last week to push for approval of the individual assistance grants for Alabamians impacted by Hurricane Michael. Jones also supported agriculture assistance in a separate letter to the Department of Agriculture.

Neighboring counties in Florida and Georgia have already received IA grants.

Hurricane Michael was one of the most powerful hurricanes to make landfall in the continental United States, causing more than $204 million in estimated agriculture losses and $307 million in estimated economic losses in Alabama, according to a report from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System at Auburn University.

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National

Jones co-sponsors bipartisan bill to address growing chronic wasting disease problem

Brandon Moseley

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U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, joined Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wyoming, and Michael Bennet, D-Colorado, in introducing legislation to authorizes a special resource study to determine how chronic wasting disease (CWD) spreads and could be prevented in deer and elk.

CWD can affect both wild and domestic herds of deer and elk in 25 states. However, state recommendations for preventing the spread of the disease vary. This bill would give state wildlife agencies and wildlife experts information to conduct targeted research on how the disease is transmitted, determine which areas are most at risk, and develop consistent advice for hunters to prevent further spread.

“As an avid outdoorsman and hunter, I am deeply troubled by the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease,” said Senator Jones. “This disease is threatening to impact the wildlife population in Alabama just as it has in a number of other states throughout the country. That’s why it is so vital for the Senate to pass legislation that will ultimately give state and local wildlife officials the tools they need to contain the spread of CWD.”

“Chronic wasting disease has negatively affected white-tailed and mule deer in Wyoming for decades,” said Senator Barrasso. “To protect our wildlife populations and our hunters, we need to know more about how this disease is spread and which areas are most at risk. Our bill gives wildlife managers the tools they need to research and identify exactly where chronic wasting disease is most prominent and how we can better prevent it. It’s a critical first step to addressing this debilitating disease and keeping our wildlife herds healthy.”

“The deer and elk herds affected by Chronic Wasting Disease are a critical part of Colorado’s wildlife heritage and economy,” said Senator Bennet. “We need to learn more about containing CWD, and this bipartisan legislation will provide the information state wildlife professionals need to align their work and prevent further spread.”

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Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), John Thune (R-South Dakota), Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), and Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) cosponsored the legislation.

The “Chronic Wasting Disease Transmission in Cervidae Study Act” addresses the needs identified by state wildlife agencies. The bill requires the USDA secretary to enter into an arrangement with the National Academies of Sciences to review current data and best management practices (BMPs) from the CWD Herd Certification Program and state agencies regarding: the pathways and mechanisms for CWD transmission; the areas at risk and geographical patterns of CWD transmission; and gaps in current scientific knowledge regarding transmission to prioritize research to address gaps.

In October the second confirmed case of CWD positive deer was found in Mississippi. The most recent deer was in Pontotoc County. CWD is the most devastating disease facing the deer population today. Alabama has 1.75 million deer. Currently the state is CWD free; Mississippi was CWD free until this summer.

Mississippi Wildlife officials report that an emaciated 1.5-year-old, free-ranging male white-tailed deer was euthanized on October 8, 2018. The deer’s behavior appeared abnormal. The sample was confirmed CWD-positive by the National Veterinary Services Lab in Ames, Iowa, on October 30, 2018. This is the second case of CWD documented in Mississippi.
Alabama’s WFF has tested nearly 8,000 deer since 2002 and has not detected CWD within Alabama.

As part of WFF’s CWD Strategic Surveillance and Response Plan, WFF will increase its CWD surveillance sampling efforts beyond typical surveillance rates in those counties within the 50-mile radius of the Pontotoc County CWD-positive white-tailed deer. These counties include Franklin, Lamar, and Marion counties.

Additional samples for these counties including, but not limited to, voluntary samples from hunter-harvested deer as well as focused efforts on road kills and abnormally behaving deer.

CWD is a neurodegenerative disease found in most deer species, including moose, elk, mule deer and white-tailed deer. It is infectious and always fatal. It is part of a group of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies and is similar to mad cow disease in cattle and scrapie in sheep. These diseases cause irreversible damage to brain tissue that leads to neurological symptoms, emaciation and death of the animal.

Deer infected with CWD can become emaciated, lethargic, have abnormal behavior, and show gradual loss of bodily functions. Other signs include excessive salivation, loss of appetite, progressive weight loss, excessive thirst and urination, and drooping head/ears.

Because it is a prion disease, contact with the spinal and brain tissue of a deer carcass can spread the disease to uninfected deer. To prevent the spread of the disease into Alabama it is now forbidden to import the complete carcasses from members of the cervid family (deer, elk, moose, caribou, etc.) from any other state and Canada.

The rules requires that hunters should completely debone the animal and remove and dispose of any brain or spinal tissue from skull plates, raw capes and hides before returning to Alabama. Those skull plates must be free of any brain or spinal cord material. Velvet-covered antlers are also included in the prohibited materials. Root structures and other soft tissue should also be removed from all teeth. Finished taxidermy products and tanned hides are not affected by the ban.

Overhunting resulted in the near extinction of deer in Alabama by 1905, when there were less than 2,000 deer living in the state, until the state of Alabama and a collection of private landowners in south Alabama stepped in to protect the species. The wolf, bison, elk, cougar, passenger pigeon were all wiped out in Alabama by overhunting. From those humble beginnings, the Alabama Conservation Department, restocked the rest of the state, with most of the restocking done in the 1950s and 1960s.

Gun season for deer in Alabama begins on Saturday and continues until February 10.

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Elections

Secretary Merrill orders election workers not to count write-in votes

Brandon Moseley

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The Secretary of State’s office announced Thursday that no county needs to count the write-in ballots for the general election.

In a statement the Secretary of State’s office wrote: “State law requires the Secretary of State’s Office to review county vote totals and compare those totals to the number of write-in votes cast in each statewide race involving a Federal or State office. Following the completion of that review, the Secretary of State’s Office is tasked with determining whether the total number of write in votes is less than the difference in votes between the candidates receiving the greatest number of votes for that office.”

“Secretary Merrill and his team have completed a review of the offices and it has been determined that no county is required by law to count and report write-in votes for any State or Federal office as provided in Alabama Code Section 17-6-28.”

County election officials must still make this determination for any county offices not included in the Secretary of State’s review.

The final vote totals as certified by the County Canvassing Board are due to the Secretary of State’s Office by Friday, November 16, 2018.

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Chad “Chig” Martin and Chris Countryman both ran write-in campaigns for governor.

Allowing write-in votes slows the process of counting the votes down considerably as those ballots would have to be pulled out and counted manually.

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News

DA Greg Griggers shot in Demopolis

Brandon Moseley

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The District Attorney for Marengo, Greene and Sumter Counties, Greg Griggers, was ambushed outside of his Demopolis office by a suspect Thursday. The attempted assassin was killed by law enforcement according to Demopolis Police Chief Tommie Reese.

Griggers is the DA for Judicial Circuit 17 District Attorney. Authorities are reporting that Griggers was ambushed as he sat in his vehicle outside of his Demopolis office Thursday afternoon. Griggers has been rushed to the hospital where he in stable condition and is expected to survive.

Griggers has served as the elected prosecutor for Alabama Judicial Circuit 17 since 2003.

The Alabama Political Reporter spoke with Barry Matson, the Executive Director of the Alabama District Attorney’s Association.

“We are very concerned for Greg,” Matson said. “All the district attorneys are. There are prayer chains in every office in the state.”

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Matson said that he was en route to the hospital where Griggers is being treated.

Matson said that he talked with Griggers after he got out of surgery and the DAs Association has promised that his office will “Have everything they need to pursue justice and fulfill his oath of office.”

“Greg is a good guy and a great prosecutor,” Matson said. “Our Association is proud to have him as part of our group.”

Michael Jackson, the district attorney for Alabama’s 4th Judicial Circuit, had identified the shooter as a former state trooper. Matson confirmed that to APR, but did not know further details.

“Griggers got shot in the face and they killed the ex-state trooper who shot him,” Jackson told AL.com Thursday afternoon.

Jackson said that Griggers should live: “They say he’s going to recover.”

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said on Twitter, “Praying for the recovery of Greg Griggers, District Attorney for the 17th Judicial Circuit, a who suffered a gunshot wound today. Greg is both a friend and a tremendous public servant. Keeping him and his family in our thoughts.”

U.S. Attorney Jay Town said in a statement, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Greg and his family. District Attorney Griggers is a dedicated public servant and an honorable man. This serves as yet another reminder of the perils and dangers that law enforcement at every level face daily.”

Original reporting by the Alabama Media Group’s Connor Sheets, Channel 23 TV’s Chelsea Barton, and the Tuscaloosa News contributed to this report.

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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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