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Group holds rally to urge Sen. Jones to vote no on Kavanaugh confirmation

Brandon Moseley

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A rally was held Sunday at Birmingham’s Railroad Park to urge U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D) to vote “No” on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court Confirmation.

An estimated 125 people gathered in Birmingham to show just how many Alabamians oppose Kavanaugh’s confirmation. The group claims that Brett Kavanaugh is a threat to health care access, women’s reproductive rights, voting rights, and LGBTQ+ rights.

Sunday’s event coincided with hundreds of other Unite For Justice events across the country. Attendees made signs, heard from speakers like Planned Parenthood Southeast Alabama State Director Katie Glenn, Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates CEO Staci Fox and Black Lives Matter Activist Martez Files. The attendees also enjoyed musical selections from DJ’s Blk Alchemy and DJ Dolly.

Abortion advocates fear that Brett Kavanaugh, a Catholic, could possibly be the deciding vote that could overturn the highly controversial Roe versus Wade Supreme Court ruling that took away the rights of the state legislatures to ban the killing of preborn children.

Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the country and contributes large amounts of money to Democratic candidates for office.
Kavanaugh would be President Donald J. Trump’s (R) second appointee to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Alabama’s Senator Richard Shelby has expressed support for Kavanaugh; but Senator Jones has been noncommittal on whether or not he will support Kavanaugh. Jones has said that he is keeping an open mind on Kavanaugh and will meet with Kavanaugh after the hearings begin.

Polling indicates that Alabamians support Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) announced that the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold hearings on Kavanaugh’s appointment beginning on Tuesday.

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Senator Jones has asked for more time to review the documents.

Kavanaugh served twelve years on the federal bench, being appointed by President George W. Bush (R). Kavanaugh served in the Bush Administration. Before that, Kavanaugh worked for special prosecutor Ken Star and the Whitewater investigation which led to President Bill Clinton’s (D) impeachment. Clinton was not found guilty by the Senate.

Democrats in the Senate have tried to obstruct President Trump’s appointees to the court.  To this point sixty Trump appointees to Article III courts have been confirmed, including Supreme Court Neal Gorsuch.  81 Trump nominees are still awaiting confirmations to article III courts.

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Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with eight and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

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Congress

Voting rights activist calls for federal Department of Democracy

Micah Danney

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(VIA BLACK VOTERS MATTER)

The co-founder of an organization that is working to mobilize Black voters in Alabama and elsewhere used the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act on Thursday to call for a new federal agency to protect voting rights nationwide.

LaTosha Brown, a Selma native who co-founded Black Voters Matter, issued a statement saying that it is time to reimagine American democracy.

“The Voting Rights Act should be reinstated, but only as a temporary measure. I want and deserve better, as do more than 300 million of my fellow Americans,” Brown said.

The U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a key provision of the law in a 5-4 ruling in 2013, eliminating federal oversight that required jurisdictions with a history of discrimination to get approval before they changed voting rules.

“To ensure that the Voter’s Bill of Rights is enforced, we need a federal agency at the cabinet level, just like the Department of Defense,” Brown said. “A Department of Democracy would actively look at the patchwork of election systems across the 50 states and territories. With federal oversight, our nation can finally fix the lack of state accountability that currently prevails for failure to ensure our democratic right to vote.”

She cited excessively long lines, poll site closings and voter ID laws in the recent primaries in Wisconsin, Georgia, Kentucky and Texas as voter suppression techniques that disproportionately affect Black and other communities of color.

Brown said that the July 17 passing of Rep. John Lewis, who was nearly killed marching for voting rights in Selma in 1965, has amplified calls for the Voting Rights Act to be strengthened. That’s the right direction, she said, but it isn’t enough.

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“History happens in cycles, and we are in a particularly intense one. We have been fighting for the soul of democracy, kicking and screaming and marching and protesting its erosion for decades,” Brown said.

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Congress

Negotiations on a bipartisan coronavirus relief bill appear to have broken down

Brandon Moseley

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The United States Capitol Building (STOCK PHOTO)

Both parties in Congress and the White House had hoped to have agreement on a bipartisan coronavirus relief bill; but those hopes appear to have been dashed after a later Thursday night meeting at the White House.

The Washington Post is reporting that the White House and Democrats failed to reach an agreement late Thursday night on the fifth virus relief bill. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/white-house-democrats-fail-to-reach-agreement-on-virus-relief-bill-and-next-steps-are-uncertain/ar-BB17E3po?ocid=msedgntp

White House officials and Democratic leaders ended a three-hour negotiation on Thursday with no agreement with both sides far apart on even basic issues.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California) insists on a $3.4 trillion package. The White House wants a $1 trillion relief package.

“We’re still a considerable amount apart,” said White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows after emerging from the meeting with Speaker Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. President Trump was called into the meeting several times, but they were unable to resolve key issues.

Pelosi said that the meeting was “consequential,” but blamed Republicans for the breakdown in negotiations. “They didn’t take the virus seriously in the beginning, they’re not taking the consequences of the virus seriously at this time; and that’s why it’s hard to come to terms.”

Mnuchin said that if the administration decides today that further negotiations are futile, Trump would move ahead unilaterally with executive orders to address things like unemployment aid.

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Schumer said that that Democrats were “very disappointed” in how the meeting went and that any White House executive orders could be challenged in court.

Pelosi claimed that Meadows pounded the table at one point. Meadows denies the allegation.

“We are very far apart,” Pelosi said. “It’s most unfortunate.”

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Over 30 million unemployed Americans will see their unemployment checks dramatically cut next week without an extension of benefits. Pres. Trump has suggested that he could increase the benefits by executive action. Critics suggest that would be unconstitutional.

Democrats want about $1 trillion in aid for cities and states. Pres. Trump has dismissed that demand as a “bailout” for mismanaged states and has agreed to just $150 billion in aid for states.

Meadows said that the White House has agreed to go above $1 trillion; but that Democrats still have refused to go below $3.4 trillion. Democrats are also pushing for more money for food stamps, child care, and a U.S. Postal System bailout as part of the plan.

All of this would be paid with more deficit spending.

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Corruption

Arrest warrant issued for Rep. Will Dismukes for felony theft

Dismukes is charged with first-degree theft of property in connection with a theft that occurred at his place of employment between the years 2016 to 2018.

Eddie Burkhalter

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Alabama State Rep. Will Dismukes, R-Prattville, has been accused of theft of property, a Class B felony. (WSFA)

An arrest warrant has been issued for Alabama State Rep. Will Dismukes, R-Prattville, for felony theft from a business where he worked, Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey said Thursday.

Dismukes is charged with first-degree theft of property in connection with a theft that occurred at his place of employment between the years 2016 to 2018, Bailey said during a press conference.

Bailey said the charge is a Class B felony and levied when a person steals in excess of $2,500 and that “I will tell you that the alleged amount is a lot more than that.” 

“The warrant has just been signed, his attorney has been notified and we are giving him until late this afternoon to turn himself in,” Bailey said.

Bailey said the employer contacted the district attorney’s office with a complaint about the theft on May 20, and after reviewing bank records and interviewing witnesses, the decision was made to charge Dismukes with the theft. 

WSFA reported Thursday that the theft occurred at Dismukes’ former employer, Weiss Commercial Flooring Inc. in East Montgomery. Bailey did not provide any more specifics on the charge but said the employer signed the arrest warrant after countless hours of investigation on the part of the DA’s office.

While the charge stems from a complaint filed months ago, Dismukes been in the headlines recently and faced a torrent of calls for his resignation in recent weeks after posting to Facebook an image of himself attending a birthday celebration for the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, Nathan Bedford Forrest.

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The event was hosted by an individual with close ties to the League of the South, a hate group, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

In response, Dismukes stepped down from his post as a pastor at an Autauga County Baptist church but defiantly refused to step down from the Legislature.

If convicted of the felony, Dismukes would be immediately removed from his seat in the Alabama House, to which he was elected in 2018.

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In June, the Alabama Democratic Party called for his resignation over previous social media posts glorifying the Confederacy.

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Elections

Alabama Forestry Association endorses Tuberville

Brandon Moseley

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Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville.

The Alabama Forestry Association announced Wednesday that the group is endorsing Republican Senate nominee Tommy Tuberville in the upcoming general election.

“We are proud to endorse Tommy Tuberville in the United States Senate race,” said AFA Executive Vice President Chris Isaacson. “He is a conservative with an impressive list of accomplishments, and we know that he will continue that record in his role as U.S. Senator. Tommy knows that decisions made in Washington impact families and businesses and will be an effective voice for the people of Alabama.”

“I am honored to have the endorsement of the Alabama Forestry Association,” Tuberville said. “The AFA is an excellent organization that stands for pro-business policies. Protecting Alabama industry is a key to our state’s success.”

Tuberville recently won the Republican nomination after a primary season that was extended because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Tuberville is a native of Arkansas and a graduate of Southern Arkansas University. He held a number of assistant coaching positions, including defensive coordinator at Texas A&M and the University of Miami where he won a national championship.

Tuberville has been a head coach at Mississippi, Auburn, Texas Tech and Cincinnati. In his nine years at Auburn University, the team appeared in eight consecutive bowl games. His 2004 team won the SEC Championship and the Sugar Bowl.

Tuberville coached that team to a perfect 13 to 0 season.

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Tuberville has been married to his wife Suzanne since 1991. They have two sons and live in Auburn.

Tuberville is challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Doug Jones in the Nov. 3 general election.

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