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Sen. Doug Jones visits Middle East with congressional delegation

Gabby Dance

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Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, is currently traveling to Afghanistan, Iraq and other nations in the Middle East alongside other members of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The trip’s purpose is to survey political developments in the region and their impact on counter-terrorism operations and America’s national security and to get a firsthand look at operational and strategic impacts of U.S. policy.

During his first trip to Afghanistan and Iraq, Jones will meet with deployed personnel from Alabama and heads of state, high-ranking foreign leaders, diplomats and American military commanders and civilian personnel.

He will be traveling with a congressional delegation led by Sen. Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island, the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire.

Jones was appointed to the Armed Services Committee, which had no Alabama representatives at the time, in December.

 

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Bill Pryor, Kevin Newsome are on Trump’s short list for the next Supreme Court seat

Brandon Moseley

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Supreme Court of the United States building in Washington

Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee recommended that Judge Amy Coney Barrett be confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The full Senate is expected to vote to confirm Barrett to the High Court as early as Monday. The next president we elect on November 3 will likely shape the future of the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary for decades to come.

While former Vice President Joseph R. Biden (D) has not disclosed his list of possible Supreme Court picks; Donald Trump produced a list before the 2016 election and as updated his list throughout his presidency. Two of his possible future Supreme Court picks have strong Alabama ties.

Kevin Newsom presently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. He is a former Alabama Solicitor General. Pres. Trump lists Newsom as a possible future Supreme Court Justice.

Trump also listed Judge Bill Pryor as a possible future Supreme Court picks. Judge Pryor presently also serves on the important U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. He is a former Alabama Attorney General. Pryor was on Trump’s original list of possible jurists.

The Republican Attorney Generals Association pointed out that thirteen current and former Republican AGs and senior staff are currently included on President Trump’s SCOTUS short list, including Pryor, Newsome, and sitting Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron.

As Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Kentucky) former legal counsel, AG Cameron had the unique experience of working side by side with the Majority Leader to help usher over 200 federal judges through the confirmation process, including Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

Other former Republican AGs and senior staff on Trump’s list include:

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  • U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz a sitting United States Senator and former Texas Solicitor General
  • Judge Kyle Duncan who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He is a former Assistant Texas Solicitor General and Louisiana Appellate Chief.
  • Judge Allison Eid presently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. She is a former Colorado Solicitor General.
    Judge Britt Grant serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. He is a former Georgia Solicitor General.
  • Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) is a United States Senator and former Missouri Attorney General.
  • Judge James Ho serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He is a former Texas Solicitor General.
  • Justice Carlos Muniz serves as a Florida Supreme Court Justice. He is a former Florida Deputy Attorney General and Chief of Staff.
  • Judge Lawrence VanDyke serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. VanDyke is a former Nevada and Montana Solicitor General.
  • Judge Don Willett serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He is a former Deputy Texas Attorney General.
  • Judge Patrick Wyrick serves on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma. He is a former Oklahoma Solicitor General.
  • Other possible future picks on President Trump’s list include:
  • Judge Bridget Bade who serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
  • Justice Keith Blackwell who serves on the Georgia Supreme Court.
  • Justice Charles Canady from the Florida Supreme Court.
  • Judge Steven Colloton from the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
  • Paul Clement who is a partner with Kirkland & Ellis, LLP.
    Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) is a sitting United States Senator.
  • Steven Engel who is Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice.
  • Noel Francisco is a former United States Solicitor General.
  • Judge Raymond Gruender who serves on United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
  • Judge Thomas Hardiman who serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
  • Judge Greg Katsas serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
  • Judge Raymond Kethledge who serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
  • Judge Barbara Lagoa who serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
  • Ambassador Christopher Landau who is the United States Ambassador to Mexico.
  • Judge Joan Larsen who serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
  • Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) a sitting United States Senator.
  • Justice Thomas Lee who serves on the Utah Supreme Court.
  • Justice Edward Mansfield who serves on the Iowa Supreme Court.
  • Judge Federico Moreno who serves on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
    Judge Martha Pacold who serves on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
  • Judge Peter Phipps serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
  • Judge Sarah Pitlyk serves on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.
  • Judge Allison Jones Rushing who serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
  • Judge Margaret Ryan who serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.
  • Judge David Stras serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
  • Judge Diane Sykes serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
  • Judge Amul Thapar serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
  • Kate Comerford Todd is the Deputy White House Counsel.
  • Judge Timothy Tymkovich serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
  • Former Justice Robert Young of the Michigan Supreme Court (retired).

Selecting federal judges is one of the longest lasting effects that a President can have on the country. President George H. Bush (R) was elected President in 1988 and served just one term, but his Supreme Court pick, Clarence Thomas, is still serving on the court three decades later. If Trump’s three Supreme Court picks last as long they could be serving past the middle of this century.

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Elections

Trump to visit Pensacola tonight

Trump is making a push in Florida in the final weeks of the election, and Northwest Florida is part of his strategy.

Brandon Moseley

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President Donald Trump speaks at the Republican National Convention

Neither presidential candidate is likely to visit Alabama before the general election, as both campaigns accept that Alabama will be certainly in President Donald Trump’s camp on election day no matter what else happens. While Alabama is not a swing state, Georgia and Florida are both in play, and both campaigns are devoting enormous resources there.

Trump is making a push in Florida in the final weeks of the election, and Northwest Florida is part of his strategy. Trump will be just across the Florida-Alabama state line visiting Pensacola and is scheduled to address supporters at the ST Engineering hangar beginning at 7 p.m. CT.

The doors open at 4 p.m. and the event begins at 7:00 p.m.

The president’s rally tonight comes right after a visit to Pensacola last week by Second Lady Karen Pence and is one of many Florida campaign events planned for Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

Trump arrived in Florida after Thursday’s final presidential debate with Joe Biden. He is scheduled to hold a campaign event in The Villages before traveling to Pensacola. The president will spend the night at his Palm Beach resort Mar-a-Lago and will vote early Saturday.

The vice president will hold rallies in Lakeland and Tallahassee on Saturday. Florida has 27 electoral college votes. It would be very difficult for Trump to get the 270 electoral college votes necessary to win without winning Florida.

Democrats warn that attending a Trump rally could be dangerous due to the coronavirus threat.

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“The last thing Floridians need is for Donald Trump to host more potential superspreader rallies across our state,” Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo said in a statement on the rally in Pensacola. “What we do need, however, is a president capable of putting Floridians ahead of his own self-interest and get this pandemic under control.”

Most recent polls have Trump trailing Biden in Florida. Tickets are required to attend the rally.

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National

Barry Moore: Trump is right when he says that Biden is “all talk and no action”

2nd Congressional District candidate Barry Moore praised Trump’s debate performance.

Brandon Moseley

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Congressional candidate Barry Moore (VIA MOORE CAMPAIGN)

The third presidential debate was held Thursday, and congressional candidate Barry Moore released a statement emphasizing that he continues to support President Donald Trump.

“This third debate showed us once again why Donald J. Trump is the better choice to lead this nation for four more years,” Moore said. “Joe Biden’s nearly five decades of being a politician make him an expert at dodging questions, giving non-answers, and twisting the facts to fit what he thinks is the response he needs to give right then. President Trump doesn’t respond like a politician, and he left Biden floundering. Biden truly is, as the President said, ‘all talk and no action’.”

“President Trump gave us three years of incredible economic growth after the Obama/Biden recession,” Moore continued. “He’s fought Chinese disinformation and domestic undermining throughout this pandemic and wants our economy to come back quickly. Biden wants to expand lockdowns, raise taxes, impose the economy-killing Green New Deal and throw us back into the same situation we endured for eight years under Obama/Biden.”

“Biden’s record—the real one instead of his tall tale of the minute—is one of little action and lots of failure,” Moore concluded. “Trump’s record is unprecedented economic growth and restoring America’s position in the world after Obama/Biden ‘lead from behind’ weakness. That’s why I will be voting for Donald J. Trump on November 3rd.”

Trump Victory Finance Committee member Perry Hooper Jr. agreed.

“President Trump was the clear winner,” Hooper said. “Bottom line, you have an outsider with results versus a failed 47-year career politician. I thought the President did well going beyond the base talking about what this Administration has done for Black Americans. This Administration passed the Criminal Justice Reform Act, Opportunity Zones, increased funding for Historic Black Colleges and cutting Black unemployment.”

“Joe Biden hurt himself when he talked about his Energy Policy,” Hooper said. “He said he wanted to do away with the Oil and Gas Industry. Obama and Biden destroyed the coals Industry and now Biden wants to destroy the Oil and Gas Industry. What he said will hurt him in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas and Oklahoma. Biden also talked about his government socialized economic policy. If that Policy is implemented, it would bankrupt America. The best statement made by the President, was when the President looked at Biden and said, You and Obama are the reason I ran.”

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The Trump campaign released a statement saying, “The President CRUSHED it.”

“After the Debate Commission CANCELED the second Presidential Debate last week, President Trump knew he needed to EXPOSE Joe Biden for the corrupt, China-loving SOCIALIST that he is,” the campaign continued. “The truth is, Biden would sell out America to the Chinese government and he’d DESTROY everything the President has accomplished. Tonight made that very clear. Unlike Sleepy Joe, President Trump will always fight for YOU.”

Moore is the Republican nominee in the Nov. 3 general election for Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District. Moore served two terms in the Alabama House of Representatives from 2010 to 2018.

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He and his wife Heather own a small waste management business. He is a veteran, Auburn graduate, husband and father of four from Enterprise.

The general election will be Nov. 3.

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Courts

U.S. Supreme Court rules Alabama can ban curbside voting

“The District Court’s modest injunction is a reasonable accommodation, given the short time before the election,” the three dissenting justices wrote. 

Eddie Burkhalter

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(STOCK PHOTO)

The Supreme Court, in a 5-3 decision, allowed Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill to ban curbside voting, staying a district court injunction that had allowed some counties to offer curbside voting in the Nov. 3 election amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Supreme Court’s majority in its order declined to write an opinion, but Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonya Sotomayor’s five-page dissent is included.

The lawsuit — filed by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Southern Poverty Law Center, American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Alabama and Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program — was brought on behalf of several older Alabamians with underlying medical conditions.

“The District Court’s modest injunction is a reasonable accommodation, given the short time before the election,” the three dissenting justices wrote. 

Sotomayor, who wrote the dissent, closed using the words of one of the plaintiffs in the case. 

“Plaintiff Howard Porter Jr., a Black man in his seventies with asthma and Parkinson’s disease, told the District Court, ‘[So] many of my [ancestors] even died to vote. And while I don’t mind dying to vote, I think we’re past that – We’re past that time,’” Sotomayor wrote. 

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill on Wednesday applauded the Supreme Court’s decision. 

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“I am proud to report the U.S. Supreme Court has now blocked a lower court’s order allowing the fraudulent practice of curbside voting in the State of Alabama,” Merrill said in a statement. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have worked diligently with local election officials in all 67 counties to offer safe and secure voting methods – including through the in-person and mail-in processes. I am glad the Supreme Court has recognized our actions to expand absentee voting, while also maintaining the safeguards put into place by the state Legislature.”

“The fact that we have already shattered voter participation records with the election still being 13 days away is proof that our current voting options are easy, efficient, and accessible for all of Alabama’s voters,” Merrill continued. “Tonight’s ruling in favor of election integrity and security is once again a win for the people of Alabama.”

Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, expressed frustration after the ruling in a tweet.

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“Another devastating loss for voters and a blow for our team fighting to ensure safe voting for Black and disabled voters in Alabama. With no explanation, the SCOTUS allows Alabama to continue making it as hard as possible for COVID-vulnerable voters,” Ifill wrote.

Curbside voting is not explicitly banned by state law in Alabama, but Merrill has argued that because the practice is not addressed in the law, he believes it to be illegal. 

A panel of federal appeals court judges on Oct. 13 reversed parts of U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon’s Sept. 30 order ruling regarding absentee voting in the upcoming Nov. 3 elections, but the judges let the previous ruling allowing curbside voting to stand. 

In his Sept. 30 ruling, Kallon wrote that “the plaintiffs have proved that their fears are justified” and the voting provisions challenged in the lawsuit “unduly burden the fundamental Constitutional rights of Alabama’s most vulnerable voters and violate federal laws designed to protect America’s most marginalized citizens.”

Caren Short, SPLC’s senior staff attorney, in a statement said the Supreme Court’s decision has curtailed the voting rights of vulnerable Alabamians.

“Once again, the Supreme Court’s ‘shadow docket’ – where orders are issued without written explanation – has curtailed the voting rights of vulnerable citizens amidst a once-in-a-century public health crisis. After a two-week trial, a federal judge allowed counties in Alabama to implement curbside voting so that high-risk voters could avoid crowded polling locations,” Short said. “Tonight’s order prevents Alabama counties from even making that decision for themselves. Already common in states across the South and the country before 2020, curbside voting is a practice now encouraged by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It should be a no-brainer to implement everywhere during a pandemic; the Alabama Secretary of State unfortunately disagrees, as does the Supreme Court of the United States.”

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