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Saturday News: R.I.P. R.B.G.

SUPREME COURT JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG HAS PASSED AWAY: Ginsburg first made her mark in the 1970s, challenging laws and norms dictating that a woman’s place was in the home and a man’s place was in the workforce. As a lawyer, she litigated or contributed to more than 60 cases dealing with sex-based discrimination, including a dozen that reached the Supreme Court. Short in stature and known for her careful, halting manner of speaking, Ginsburg nonetheless became one of the most successful civil rights litigators of the last century. As historian Jane Sherron De Hart wrote in a 2018 biography of Ginsburg, “She showed Americans with intellectual rigor and precision that women’s rights are human rights.”

Friday News: Solidarity


ASHEVILLE NURSES VOTE TO UNIONIZE AT MISSION HOSPITAL: Nurses at a hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, have voted to unionize and gain the power to bargain over their benefits and working conditions. The Citizen-Times reported a ballot count on Thursday morning showed that there were roughly twice as many “yes” votes by Mission Hospital nurses than there were votes against forming a union. The vote concluded a year-long effort by nurses and union representatives to organize. It also comes less than two years after HCA Healthcare bought the hospital as part of a $1.5 billion sale. The 1,600 registered nurses who work at Mission Hospital and the St. Joseph campus will be represented by National Nurses United, the nation’s largest nurses’ union. The hospital had opposed the union effort. It said a union would ultimately hurt the hospital’s quality of care and could cause its labor costs to “increase materially.”

Thursday News: The Peter Principle?

UNC BOG WANTS TO GIVE PETER HANS AUTHORITY TO SELECT UNIVERSITY CHANCELLORS: The UNC System Board of Governors is proposing to allow the system president to add two finalists to each chancellor search process and then to select a final candidate from that list. The board says the policy change would improve the succession of leaders, but professors at multiple campuses say it would be dangerous and would give UNC System President Peter Hans too much power in selecting chancellors. The biggest concern is the president handpicking a chancellor without input from an individual campus, which “erodes our practice of institutional autonomy and shared governance,” said Karin Zipf, a history professor at East Carolina University. “No matter how they want to spin it … ultimately it gives [Hans] absolute power,” Zipf said. “Not only is he bringing forward the people, but he’s also choosing the person.”

Wednesday News: One step backwards


COURT RULES GERRYMANDERING NOT SUFFICIENT TO BLOCK VOTER ID AND TAX CAP: "We conclude that the Superior Court erred in holding that our General Assembly lost its power granted by our state constitution ... simply because a federal court had determined that the maps contained too many majority-minority districts, such that some members elected to that body were from districts that were illegally gerrymandered based on race," Judge Chris Dillon wrote for the majority. "It is simply beyond our power to thwart the otherwise lawful exercise of constitutional power by our legislative branch to pass bills proposing amendments." Judge Donna Stroud wrote in a concurring opinion that declaring the General Assembly invalid because of some gerrymandered districts wouldn't allow any legislative action – even drawing new voting districts – which would create chaos.

Tuesday News: Purple state fever


DONALD TRUMP IS REALLY WORRIED ABOUT NC, COMING TO FAYETTEVILLE SATURDAY: President Donald Trump plans to host a campaign event in Fayetteville on Saturday, his latest visit to North Carolina. The event is at 6 p.m. at Fayetteville Regional Airport. People can register for up to two tickets at Doors open at 3 p.m. The Republican president has visited Winston-Salem and Wilmington in recent weeks, in addition to a trip to Charlotte for the Republican National Convention. Gov. Roy Cooper has limited outdoor gatherings to 50 people in response to the coronavirus pandemic. His order exempts the exercise of First Amendment rights, but urges people taking part in such activities to avoid mass gatherings, follow social-distancing recommendations and wear masks.

Monday News: Three thousand fifty two


NC'S COVID 19 CASES APPROACH 185,000: At least 184,936 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 3,052 have died, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Sunday reported 1,196 new COVID-19 cases, down from 1,454 reported the day before. Five coronavirus-related deaths were reported Sunday. About 4.9% of tests were reported positive as of Friday, the latest date available, in line with health officials’ goal of 5% or lower. At least 831 people in North Carolina were reportedly hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Sunday, down from 870 the day before. Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the state health department, said last week the state is “simmering” but still has too many cases to open additional businesses.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


DEJOY IS MERELY A TOOL IN TRUMP'S EFFORT TO DISRUPT THE ELECTION: Louis DeJoy, the Greensboro businessman and GOP mega-donor, may think of himself as a big shot with a lofty federal government appointment – U.S. Postmaster General. But to President Donald Trump, DeJoy is just another convenient bit-player in his dangerous and unrelenting effort to disrupt the 2020 elections. So far in North Carolina, it appears that request for mail-in ballots are both being handled expeditiously by local Elections Boards and mail service has been delivering requested ballots in a timely manner. Regardless, President Trump is determined to concoct an election crisis and plant distrust. First, he raised unfounded suspicions of potential fraud in connection with mail-in voting. Then he comes to North Carolina and tells voters to break the law – calling on voters to cast ballots by mail and then on Election Day try to vote again – to see if efforts to double vote are detected. He’s sought to raise doubts about the legitimacy of counting votes cast whether those delivered by mail or cast in person at early voting sites.

Saturday News: And where's the General Assembly?


FACING BUDGET SHORTFALL, UNC-CH PONDERS FURLOUGHS AND EARLY RETIREMENTS: "We are going to be faced with some difficult decisions in the coming months," Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz told members of the Faculty Council in a Friday afternoon meeting. Becci Menghini, vice chancellor for human resources, said UNC-Chapel Hill has a limited number of tools to address the lost revenue: Some furloughs have already happened, and more are possible. Some employees may be required to work reduced hours for reduced pay. There could be temporary reductions in base salary for those making more than $45,000 a year. Some faculty and staff could be asked to take early retirement. Administrators also told faculty that they haven't made any decisions yet on the spring semester, including when and how it will start and whether there will be a spring break.

Friday News: Invasion of the Trumps


IVANKA SWOOPS IN AT NC FARMER'S MARKET, JUNIOR IN HENDERSONVILLE: Ivanka Trump visited the N.C. State Farmers Market in Raleigh Thursday to tout a U.S. Department of Agriculture program meant to provide hungry families with food boxes during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the 2020 presidential election less than two months away, the Trump campaign, and members of the Trump family, are showing a renewed focus on North Carolina, which is expected to be a swing state. Donald Trump Jr., one of the president’s sons, also was in North Carolina on Thursday, visiting Hendersonville. Thursday’s visits come on the heels of dual Trump family visits Tuesday, when the president held a rally in Winston-Salem, and Eric Trump, another son, visited High Point. Last week, the president stopped in Wilmington to name it the nation’s first World War II Heritage City. During a late August visit to Mill River, the president announced he was setting aside another $1 billion for the food box program, bringing its total to $4 billion.

Thursday News: Bigot on the bench

TRUMP'S SUPREME COURT SHORT LIST INCLUDES NC WOMAN WITH TIES TO ANTI-LGBTQ GROUP: A Duke University graduate with ties to an anti-LGBT group has been included in President Donald Trump's list of nominees for the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Allison Jones Rushing was born in Henderson, North Carolina, in 1982 and was nominated to the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which represents West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia and the Carolinas. On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis tweeted his thanks to Trump, writing, "Judge Rushing is a western NC native I was proud to recommend to serve on the Fourth Circuit and a strong conservative choice who would uphold the Constitution." In March 2019, NBC News reported Rushing has ties to an anti-gay "hate group" called The Alliance Defending Freedom, or ADF. According to NBC, ADF "has a long track record of opposing the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals."


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