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ALGOP denounces Doug Jones’s expected no vote on Kavanaugh

Brandon Moseley

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Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan said Friday that U.S. Senator Doug Jones, D-Alabama, decision to vote no on the confirmation of Brett M. Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court is a betrayal of the state of Alabama.

“The Alabama Republican Party thanks Senator Richard Shelby for representing our state and committing to cast a YES vote to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court,” Chairman Lathan said.

“Senator Doug Jones has now said he will vote NO on the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court,” Chairman Lathan continued. “His NO vote betrays our state and his actions highlight his disingenuous promise to represent the majority of Alabamians. After siding against Alabamians and President Trump, Senator Jones is now firmly in the Schumer/Feinstein/Warren/Sanders column. With his experience as an attorney, it is shocking that he is willing to betray the right of due process. This ‘seek and destroy’ hijacking of one of the most qualified court nominees in our lifetime is an abomination to our nation’s most fundamental principles of fairness.”

Jones had been demanding a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigation of allegations by Christine Blasey Ford that a drunken Kavanaugh groped her and tried to remove her swimsuit at a party in 1982 when both of them were still in high school. Kavanaugh strongly denies the allegation that he ever groped Ms. Ford as does Mark Judge whom Ford claims was also in the room with them at the time. After committing to vote for the Kavanaugh nomination, retiring U.S. Senator Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, made his vote in favor of advancing Kavanaugh’s confirmation out of the Senate Judiciary Committee contingent on the FBI investigating Ms. Ford’s allegations. Sen. Jones however had already committed to vote NO on the Kavanaugh confirmation, even though there is no physical evidence to support Ms. Ford’s allegations.

“After his repeated NO votes, Senator Jones is now a full-fledged member of the ‘Never Trump’ resistance. Alabama will not forget his betrayal,” Chairman Lathan added. “Senator Doug Jones’ days in the United States Senate are numbered. Anyone who experiences an assault should be taken seriously. All avenues should be exhausted to help a victim and to find the truth pertinent to each individual situation. It is clear Dr. Ford suffered from a traumatic event in her youth, and like Judge Kavanaugh’s daughter, we should pray for her to receive strength, peace and healing. Nevertheless, there was no case made that Brett Kavanaugh was involved in her incident. Actually, the opposite happened as witnesses she named refuted her story and Kavanaugh convincingly denies it.”

“The one thing we are confident of is this: Senator Doug Jones’ nameplate on his office door in the halls of the United States Senate will be replaced by Alabamians in 2020,” Lathan concluded.

Jones Senate seat had been comfortably held by the very popular Jeff Sessions since 1996 until President Donald J. Trump (R) appointed him U.S. Attorney General. Then Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) made the controversial decision to appoint Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange (R) to the Senate seat, even though Strange was then investigating Gov. Bentley. Ultra-conservative former Chief Justice Roy Moore (R) then bested Strange in the GOP primary runoff. The Washington Post then brought forward heretofore allegations that Moore had acted inappropriately with several young women in the 1970s. Jones then narrowly defeated Moore on December 12, 2017 to take the Senate seat and possibly becoming the swing vote on Kavanaugh’s fate.

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Republicans accuse Senate Democrats of orchestrating a character assassination effort against Kavanaugh to block Pres. Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court. The Republicans have a narrow 51 to 49 majority in the U.S. Senate. A vote on Kavanaugh could come as early as Thursday once the FBI investigation is complete.

Doug Jones is up for re-election in 2020. Several Republican candidates appear to be jockeying for the position as the GOP nominee.

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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National

SEC moving forward with football even as PAC 12, Big 10 postpone season

Brandon Moseley

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Bryant-Denny Stadium during an Alabama football game.

The Big 10 and PAC 12 conference presidents both voted to postpone all fall sports including football to the spring. The decision follows similar decisions by the Ivey League, SWAC (which includes Alabama State and Alabama A&M), University of Connecticut, MAC, and Mountain West. Four of the ten Division 1 Football Bowl Subdivision conferences will not be playing this fall including two of the Power Five conferences.

Despite this, the Southeastern Conference, which includes both the University of Alabama and Auburn University, announced that they are moving forward with the football season.

“I look forward to learning more about the factors that led the Big Ten and Pac-12 leadership to take these actions today,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement Tuesday evening. “I remain comfortable with the thorough and deliberate approach that the SEC and our 14 members are taking to support a healthy environment for our student-athletes.”

“We will continue to further refine our policies and protocols for a safe return to sports as we monitor developments around COVID-19 in a continued effort to support, educate and care for our student-athletes every day,” Sankey said.

The PAC 12 and Big 10 conferences made the decision based on advice from the conferences’ medical advisory boards. The fatality rate of COVID-19 among college-age people is minuscule, but college students can and do get COVID-19. One side effect of surviving COVID-19 is myocarditis, a heart inflammation. Myocarditis is a weakening of the tissue between the chambers of the heart. It is treatable but irreversible. Once those tissues are weakened, they will remain weakened causing a number of health challenges for victims over the course of the remainder of their lives. It can lead to premature death.

Reports suggest that at least five Big 10 athletes have been diagnosed with myocarditis after surviving a bout with COVID-19.

Sankey told Dan Patrick that the conference has “been given the green light” from their medical advisory board. The ACC and Big 12 are also moving forward with plans to play football this fall.

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SEC teams will open their fall camps on Aug. 17. The SEC has already reduced the season to ten conference-only games and moved back the start of the season from Sept. 5 to Sept. 26. The move gives the conference more time to make a decision.

The conference is under political pressure from fans, players, coaches and even President Donald Trump to play football this season.

“We Must Do Everything Possible to Have Football this Year,” said former Montgomery Quarterback Club President and the father of three former college football players Perry O. Hooper Jr. “We need College football this fall, period. It would be a terrible disservice to these young student/athletes who have worked so hard for so many years to throw in the towel without trying. This is not the American way.”

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Trump said, “Canceling the college football season would be a tragic mistake.”

“The SEC has it right. Start the schedule in late September with a conference only schedule with a set of protocols in place to be monitored by the SEC office,” Hooper said. “The College football hierarchy must listen to the players, the vast majority want to play.”

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence stated, “We are more likely to get the virus in everyday life than playing football. Having a season also incentivizes players being safe and taking all the right precautions to try to avoid contracting COVID because the season/teammates’ safety is on the line. Without the season, as we have seen already, people will not social distance or wear masks and take the proper precautions.”

The Big 10 presidents voted to postpone fall sports to the spring, but the PAC 12 presidents went even further and voted to suspend all sports until at least Jan. 1, 2021. This move impacts winter sports including basketball. College basketball players already lost the 2020 NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision by the PAC 12 and Big 10 conferences leave the college football postseason in shambles. There can be no playoffs without two of the Big Five conferences and with at least four of the ten major college conferences not playing, it will be impossible to find enough teams with winning records to fill half the bowl spots. It is not at all certain that any of the bowls will actually be played.

At least 167,671 Americans have already died from the COVID-19 global pandemic, and 2,756,157 have recovered from their bought with the novel coronavirus strain, SARS-CoV-2. Now we are learning that some of those COVID survivors are facing debilitating conditions moving forward including heart conditions and loss of lung function.

 

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Elections

Alabama GOP chair says Harris “drags the Democrats’ ticket even further to the left”

Brandon Moseley

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U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris speaking with attendees at the 2019 National Forum on Wages and Working People. (VIA GAGE SKIDMORE/FLIKR)

Alabama Republican Party Chair Terry Lathan released a statement critical of presumed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s choice of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, as his running mate in the Nov. 3 general election. Biden announced the pick to supporters via text message.

“Joe Biden’s VP pick drags the Democrats’ ticket even further to the left,” Lathan charged. “Kamala Harris was the first proud co-sponsor Bernie’s Medicare for All government healthcare takeover. She’s applauded efforts to defund the police and even led the charge to block meaningful police reform in the Senate. She even wants to use the federal government to ban plastic straws and to control what we eat – a move that would devastate the U.S. dairy and beef industries – all in the name of ‘climate change.’”

“We look forward to the clear contrast in policies in the Vice Presidential debate with Mike Pence and Senator Harris,” Lathan concluded. “It will be a true mirror of the obtuse plans the Democrats want for our nation. This ticket does not represent the values of the American people. They will see through all bogus attempts by the Democrats who will pretend to move to the center. They will fail, as their policies have, and America will vote to re-elect President Trump on November 3rd.”

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel similarly blasted the decision.

“A hiding, diminished, & incoherent Biden didn’t just select a VP candidate, he chose the person who will actually be in charge if he were somehow able to win,” McDaniel said. “Harris’ radical policies may be popular among liberals, but they are well outside the mainstream for most Americans.”

“Kamala Harris’ extreme positions, from raising taxes to abolishing private health insurance to comparing law enforcement officials to the KKK, show that the left-wing mob is controlling Joe Biden’s candidacy, just like they would control him as president,” McDaniel concluded.

Harris is a U.S. senator, a former prosecutor, former 2020 presidential candidate and former California attorney general. Her father is an immigrant from Jamaica and her mother is an immigrant from India. She identifies as Black and is the first non-White woman to be on a major party presidential ticket.

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Harris is the fourth woman to appear on a major party presidential ticket. The previous nominees — 1984 Democratic vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton — all lost in the general election.

Current Vice President Mike Pence is expected to return as Trump’s running mate.

Biden is expected to make a joint appearance with Harris on Wednesday in Delaware.

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Polls taken prior to the Harris pick show Biden with a significant lead in polling, both nationally and in several key swing states. Alabama is expected to support Trump by a large margin.

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Courts

Judge dismisses lawsuit against statewide face mask order

Eddie Burkhalter

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Gov. Kay Ivey held a Coronavirus update press conference Wednesday, July 15, 2020 in Montgomery, Ala. (VIA GOVERNORS OFFICE/HAL YEAGER)

A Montgomery judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit alleging Gov. Kay Ivey’s statewide mask order was illegally adopted. 

Montgomery Circuit Judge Greg Griffin dismissed the lawsuit, filed by Debbie Mathis, a real estate agent, retired sheriff’s Deputies Larry Lewis and Barry Munza, which alleged that the Alabama Emergency Management Act of 1955 does not give the governor the ability to order Alabamians to wear face masks. 

Ivey’s order, which went into effect July 16, requires the wearing of face masks when within 6 feet of those outside of their own household when indoors or outside when in gatherings of 10 or more people, with exceptions. The lawsuit was filed against Ivey, State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris and the Alabama State Board of Health. 

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall in the defendants’ motion to dismiss wrote, that the plaintiffs lacked standing to file the lawsuit and the defendants are immune to such lawsuits as accorded by the Alabama Constitution of 1901. 

In a court filing supporting the motion to dismiss, Marshall wrote that “COVID-19 has threatened to overwhelm the State’s healthcare system with a large number of patients in need of Intensive Care Unit (“ICU”) capacity.” 

“On July 15, 2020, with the State’s ICU bed capacity at 87 percent, Governor Ivey issued an emergency proclamation to implement State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris’s recommendation that masks or facial coverings be worn under certain circumstances,” Marshall wrote. 

Despite the plaintiff’s allegations that the order was illegal, Marshall wrote in the filing that Ivey and Dr. Harris had the authority to issue such an order. 

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The judge agreed and dismissed the case. The plaintiffs’ attorney said after the ruling that he planned to appeal the judge’s decision, according to Al.com.

 

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Congress

Alabama Democratic Party: Mitch McConnell, Senate GOP are playing politics at the expense of families

Brandon Moseley

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Mitch McConnell speaks at a conference
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference. (Via Gage Skidmore/Flikr)

The Alabama Democratic Party this week released a statement blaming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and Senate Republicans for the inability of the two parties to come together to pass a bipartisan coronavirus aid bill before adjourning for the August recess.

“We are furious. You should be too. Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are once again playing politics at the expense of Alabama families,” the Alabama Democratic Party wrote in an email to its donors and supporters. “Mitch McConnell waited over two months after the House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act to begin negotiations on a new relief package. He knew full well that many of the programs that Americans have relied on during this crisis would expire at the end of July. Now, many Alabama families are in dire straits and facing evictions. As Senator Doug Jones said, ‘this is completely inexcusable.'”

Negotiations on a deal failed Thursday night, and Trump responded to the impasse by passing a series of executive orders to extend benefits for the unemployed and provide a break from payroll taxes.

“The President’s executive order is a thinly veiled attempt to fulfill his promise of cutting Medicaid and privatizing Social Security,” the Alabama Democrats responded to the President’s actions. “His payroll tax collection moratorium also leaves open the possibility that the taxes may need to be paid in a lump sum next year. We need a bipartisan solution from the Senate, not political stunts, and hollow executive orders.”

House Democrats wanted a $3.4 trillion stimulus while the Republicans want to limit it to just $1 trillion.

“Tell Senate Republicans to extend unemployment benefits to 600 dollars weekly by signing our petition,” the Alabama Democratic Party wrote. “Alabama workers, displaced by the pandemic, should be able to provide for their families and pay their bills. Tell Mitch McConnell to quit playing games and act now.”

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