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College Republican Under Attack From GOP

Beth Clayton

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By Beth Clayton
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY–After the controversial Supreme Court ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposiation 8 in California, Stephanie Petelos, the Chair of the College Republican Federation of Alabama, spoke publicly in support of universal treatment under the Constitution.

Petelos had once been touted as a “Rising Star” by the Alabama GOP, however now many believe that she is under attack by the Party’s leadership.

In her statement following the Supreme Court rulings, Petelos said, ““The College Republican Federation of Alabama agrees that all people should be treated equally under the law, as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. The CRFA does not discriminate against anyone on the basis of religion, race, or sexual orientation and we are proud to embrace members from all walks of life, opinions, and beliefs.”

Petelos told AL.com in an interview that she felt same-sex marriage was reasonable because “we’re governed by the constitution and not the Bible.”

ALGOP Chairman Bill Armistead took a different stance on the Supreme Court rulings, calling them “an affront to the Christian principles that this nation was founded on.”

Now, a proposed bylaw change would require Petelos, the daughter of the Mayor of Hoover and a Jefferson County Judge, to publicly rescind her statements or be removed from the ALGOP steering committee.

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The proposed bylaw change states, “Notwithstanding anything herein to the contrary, no person may continue to serve as a member of the Steering Committee in the event such person publicly advocates a position in his or her official Republican capacity which is contrary to the most recently adopted platform at the Republican National Convention, without the prior approval of the Steering Committee. In the event any such person is removed from the steering committee for advocating a position in his or her official republican capacity which is contrary to the most recently adopted platform of the Republican National Convention, such person may only be reinstated by publicly rescinding the previous public statement in writing and by receiving the approval of the Steering Committee to return as a voting member. Any member of the Steering Committee may also be removed in accordance with the provisions of these Bylaws and the Bylaws of the organization he or she is representing.”

The change is sponsored by Don Wallace, an accountant from Tuscaloosa and Bonnie Sachs, a fourth grade teacher from Double Springs.

Petelos said that she thought that many young Republicans did not hold strong opinions on equal marriage anymore.

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“I think a lot of people would be actively for it if they didn’t live in fear of backlash from party leaders,” said Petelos. “We don’t want to go against the party, we love the party. We’re just passionate about a whole list of other issues. That’s why we’re involved.”

While Petelos is not able to comment publicly about equal marriage issues anymore, as per her agreement with the Party leadership, other young Republican leaders are speaking out on her behalf.

“As a Young Republican, it’s hard to see this as anything other than a personal attack on the Chairwoman of the College Republicans for speaking her mind on a sensitive issue,” said Warren Greene, the Chair of the North Jefferson Young Republicans, in an interview with Alabama Political Reporter.

“I can’t see how an amendment like this could do anything but stifle the growth of our party, particularly among the young, at a time when we need it most nationally,” Greene said.

Green continued that the bylaws change is one with which he fundamentally disagrees, regardless of the issue at hand. “Putting aside this specific issue completely, I find it a bit troubling both as an Alabamian and a Republican that we are basically surrendering our right to disagree with the national party on any position it might vote to take,” he said.

Young Republicans Federation of Alabama National Committeewoman Jackie Curtiss spoke on the equal marriage issue with Alabama Political Reporter in early July.

“Our members have very diverse views on family and marriage. Some of our members support traditional marriage only, some support gay marriage and others support civil unions for all,” Curtiss said.

This issue comes only two and a half months after the College Republican National Committee released a 95-page report on what went wrong with young voters in 2012. The report was the result of extensive polling and focus groups, which ultimately concluded the Republican Party was in a “dismal present situation.”

In the report includes a conclusion on the Republican position on gay marriage. “On the ‘open-minded’ issue … [w]e will face serious difficulty so long as the issue of gay marriage remains on the table,” the report says.

Curtiss added that she hopes that the proposed bylaws change “does not push any conservatives away from the Republican Party. If anything, I hope the Republicans who see this and do not like what is going on with ALGOP get more involved with the Party.”

“In a state where women, minorities, and young people have worked so hard to help elect Republican candidates and grow the Party, this does not look good for ALGOP’s inclusiveness. That is why I hope the Chairman will come out and publicly say that he does not support the proposed bylaws change,” Curtiss said.

The College and Young Republicans in Alabama seem to be embracing the ideas of newer generations. A recent Washington Post-ABC News study showed that 81 percent of young voters support marriage equality.

“Our state party should be a place where ideas and fresh solutions are created, not where they are imposed,” Greene said.

The Alabama state party will vote on the change to the bylaws next week.

A Rising Republican Star Stephanie Petelos

Youth Organizations Set Equal Marriage Platforms

Young Republican Believes DOMA Ruling a Victory for States Rights Gay Marriage

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National

23rd Alabama inmate dies with COVID-19

There have been 409 total positive COVID-19 cases among inmates and 392 total among employees as of Sept. 26.

John H. Glenn

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(STOCK PHOTO)

The Alabama Department of Corrections on Friday reported the 23rd COVID-19 death among inmates in the state’s prisons.

Christopher Nalls, a 59-year-old inmate serving a 15-year sentence, died Sept. 10 at a local hospital in Hamilton, Alabama.

Nalls was moved to the local hospital on Aug. 31 to receive treatment for pre-existing health conditions unrelated to COVID-19.

His admission test upon entering the hospital was negative, and after treatment, Nalls was discharged Sept. 4.

Upon return, Nalls’s condition worsened, and he was readmitted Sept. 10. He died later that same day. A postmortem COVID-19 test showed Nalls died with COVID-19.

ADOC did not report any other positive COVID-19 cases among inmates in correctional facilities. But in the same report Friday, ADOC reported six new positive cases among staff, bringing the staff total to 28 active cases.

ADOC’s Office of Health Services initiated investigations into possible prolonged exposures between positive staff members and inmates or employees.

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There have been 409 total positive COVID-19 cases among inmates and 392 total among employees as of Sept. 26.

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Courts

Sen. Doug Jones won’t support SCOTUS nominee before Nov. 3 election

“Certainly, power grabs are not uncommon in our political system, but few are accompanied by such blatant hypocrisy as we are witnessing now,” Jones said.

Eddie Burkhalter

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Incumbent U.S. Sen. Doug Jones during a livestreamed press briefing. (VIA DOUG JONES CAMPAIGN)

Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, on Friday said he would not support any nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court before the outcome of the Nov. 3 election is determined. 

Speaking during a livestreamed briefing, Jones said that while Republicans appear to have enough votes to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, he will not be a party to denying the people a voice in the process in the election of the next president “in just under 44 days.” 

President Donald Trump said Saturday that he plans to nominate Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ginsburg, who on Friday became the first woman, and first Jewish person, to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol. 

Several Republicans who voiced opposition to President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court more than 10 months before the 2016 election have reversed course, and now say they support Trump nominating a selection with election day just a little more than a month away. 

“Certainly, power grabs are not uncommon in our political system, but few are accompanied by such blatant hypocrisy as we are witnessing now,” Jones said. “In fact, I believe that the level and intensity of hypocrisy being displayed by Senator McConnell and the president, with regard to the rush to confirm Justice Ginsburg’s successor, is unmatched in the history of our constitutional government.” 

Jones said what McConnell and other Republicans should be focusing on instead is getting another round of much-needed COVID-19 aid to small businesses and people impacted by the pandemic. 

“Rather than pushing this confirmation to the top of the Senate calendar, the majority leader should turn his focus instead to protecting the lives and livelihoods of the American people. We should pass a new bipartisan COVID-19 stimulus package to give Americans and businesses the relief that they desperately need, and that economists say if required to shore up the economy now,” Jones said. 

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Jones expressed concern as well for what medical experts are warning could be a new spike in COVID-19 nationwide. 

“There could be an even greater urgency, if our health care professionals’ warnings come to pass,” Jones said. “And that is as temperature drops and people go indoors that this virus spikes, and we see another surge.” 

Asked why his opponent, Tommy Tuberville, won’t debate Jones, he said, “It’s pretty simple. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”  

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“He has no clue. He is Coach Clueless,” Jones said. 

Jones noted that when asked recently on his thoughts on extending the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of 2020, Tuberville stumbled through an answer that indicated he wasn’t sure what the Voting Rights Act was.

“He had no earthly idea,” Jones said. 

Jones said Tuberville isn’t going to debate him because Tuberville doesn’t want to talk about issues.

“He doesn’t want to talk about a plan. His plan is simply this: Whatever Donald Trump says, I’m good,” Jones said, “and if Donald Trump says or does something that is not good, it’s crickets coming from Coach Tuberville.” 

Jones noted that after multiple news outlets, including Fox News, confirmed reporting that Trump had said disparaging things about veterans who died in combat, Tuberville has not spoken out against Trump’s comments. 

Jennifer Griffin, senior national security correspondent for Fox News, reported that she has spoken to senior U.S. officials who backed up reporting by The Atlantic, and said Trump said of the Vietnam War “anyone who went was a sucker.” 

“He has not said a thing about what was confirmed by Fox News about the president’s comment,” Jones said of Tuberville. “That’s just disgraceful.”

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News

SEC college football season begins

In August, it appeared that there could potentially be no college football season.

Brandon Moseley

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(VIA AUBURN UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS)

The delayed Southeastern Conference college football season is now underway as Auburn on Saturday hosted Kentucky. The University of Alabama will be playing the University of Missouri in Columbia.

Kickoff for the Kentucky vs. Auburn game was at 11 a.m., and the kickoff for the Alabama vs. Missouri game will be at 6 p.m. Auburn defeated Kentucky 29 to 13.

In August, it appeared that there could potentially be no college football season. The Ivy League, the SWAC, the University of Connecticut, the MAC, the Big 10, the PAC 12, and the Mountain West conferences all announced that they would postpone the 2020 football season to spring.

The unlikely prospect of playing two shortened college football seasons in one calendar year seemed to be the best hope of there even being a college football season. But college football is not like other sports and there is no central governing authority. Each conference makes decisions for itself.

The Atlantic Coast Conference and SEC both met and each decided that they would play this fall — regardless of if any of the other conferences were playing. The Big 12 eventually joined the SEC and ACC.

The SEC will play a 10-game, conference-only season that ends with an SEC Championship game on Dec. 19. Both Alabama and Auburn will have fans in the stands, but both schools are limiting capacity — at least for their home openers. Attendees must wear masks or cloth face coverings and social distancing rules will apply.

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Many states, including Alabama, are playing high school football, and the NFL is in its third week of play. Last week, the Big 12 reversed their earlier decision to sit out this fall and announced an 8-week, conference-only season starting in October. On Thursday, the PAC 12 voted to play a seven-game, conference-only season starting in November, followed by a Dec. 19 championship game. The Mountain West has also voted to play a fall season and the Mid-American Conference is voting, and the colleges are expected to green light an abbreviated fall season.

President Donald Trump had strenuously urged colleges to play this football season.

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UAB, South Alabama and Troy University have already begun their Conference USA and Sunbelt Conference football seasons. UAB defeated South Alabama 42 to 10 on Thursday night.

While few young people have actually died from COVID-19, some university presidents in the Big 10 expressed concerns about the long-term health effects on COVID-19 on survivors, including incidents of heart inflammation.

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Congress

Republicans blast Jones for refusal to even consider Trump nominee

Brandon Moseley

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Republicans criticized U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, on Friday for saying that he would not vote to confirm any nominee by President Donald Trump before the Nov. 3 election.

Alabama Republican Party chair Terry Lathan called Jones’s announcement “disgraceful.”

“It’s disgraceful that Senator Jones is dismissing his duties when he announced he would not support the confirmation of any Supreme Court justice nominee put forth by President Trump prior to the November election,” Lathan said in a statement. “The Constitution of our country clearly states that the President ‘shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint…judges of the Supreme Court…’”

“At the very least, Senator Jones owes Alabamians the simple courtesy of meeting with the nominee regardless of what he already plans to do,” Lathan continued. “It’s time for him to do his job, at least until November 3rd.”

“The people of our great state have spoken,” Lathan concluded. “The majority support President Trump and his policies which includes the conservative judges he has nominated for the federal bench. However, Doug Jones continues to ignore the wishes of the majority of his constituents and falls in line with his liberal party bosses, Hollywood supporters and New York fundraisers. On Election Day, Alabamians will give their advice and consent to remove Doug Jones from office. Tommy Tuberville will represent the majority’s values when he is elected as our next U.S. Senator.”

On Friday, Jones was asked if he would even meet with the nominee. His response was, “I don’t think my vote’s going to count, so I doubt they’ll even want to.”

“The President’s nominee hasn’t even been announced but anti-Trump Democrat Doug Jones has already made up his mind against the person,” said NRSC spokesperson Paige Lindgren. “Refusing to take part in a consequential Supreme Court confirmation process is the latest example that Jones has one foot out the door. He’s clearly no longer focused on representing the people of Alabama.”

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Former State Rep. Perry Hooper Jr., a Trump supporter, said that Jones votes against “everything that the people of Alabama believe in.”

“Doug Jones has consistently voted against the President and everything the good people of Alabama believe in.” Hooper said. “Jones is against the 2nd Amendment, he is for government funded abortions and he is a globalist. Alabama needs to send a strong pro-life, pro-business, pro-Trump and pro-American to Washington DC. And that man is Coach Tommy Tuberville.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, has vowed to bring the president’s pick to the floor of the Senate for a vote.

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“Thank God for Senator Mitch McConnell,” Hooper said. “Senator McConnell has 51 votes to confirm the President’s nominee to the US Supreme Court.”

Conservatives are hopeful that a more conservative court will vote to overturn Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court precedent that prevents state governments from banning abortions.

“Senator Doug Jones betrayed Alabamians when he voted against Justice Kavanaugh and has betrayed them again today, before President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee has even been named,” SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement. “During his short time in office, Jones has proven to be an extremist, repeatedly siding against constituents and voting with the most radical members of his party – like Kamala Harris – in favor of abortion on demand through birth, paid for by taxpayers. Asked about his stance on limiting late-term abortions more than halfway through pregnancy, Senator Jones laughed and called the issue ‘stupid.’ Jones is unfit to represent the pro-life, pro-Trump state of Alabama and will be held accountable at the ballot box.”

Many media sources are reporting that Trump will appoint Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the vacancy on the court left by the death of Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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