Thursday News: Stacking the courts


10 JUDICIAL CANDIDATES WILL HAVE TO REFILE AFTER GOP OVERRIDES VETO: One new law altering judicial election districts in four counties could force about 10 judicial candidates who had already entered races affected by the law to either refile or withdraw. The other law could force a new political party to reconsider a few candidates it nominated last weekend or go to court to challenge the law. The judicial district measure redraws Superior Court election district boundaries in Mecklenburg County to address population imbalances in the previous election districts that GOP lawmakers called unconstitutional. But District Court judges also will no longer be elected countywide in both Mecklenburg and Wake counties. Voters in the state's two largest counties now will elect only a few District Court judges based on where they live.

TIM MOORE'S CLAIM VOTER ID "INCREASES" TURNOUT IS BASELESS: State Rep. Tim Moore, the Republican House speaker, recently defended the idea in an interview with Spectrum News. Reporter Loretta Boniti asked Moore whether an ID requirement might suppress votes. “Not at all,” Moore said in the June 7 interview. “States that have adopted voter identification laws have seen zero decrease in voter participation. In fact, most have seen an increase in voter participation.” “Although not the final word on this question, the GAO study provides credible evidence that strict ID requirements may depress turnout,” said Barry Burden, director of the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin. “It remains clear that the best research on this topic does not support the idea that voter participation increases as a result of a voter ID law, with about half of studies unable to detect a statistically significant effect on turnout and the other half of studies finding a small negative effect on turnout,” he added.

VIRGINIA IMMIGRANT DETENTION CENTER ACCUSED OF ABUSING JUVENILES: Immigrant children as young as 14 housed at a juvenile detention center in Virginia say they were beaten while handcuffed and locked up for long periods in solitary confinement, left nude and shivering in concrete cells. The abuse claims against the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center near Staunton, Virginia, are detailed in federal court filings that include a half-dozen sworn statements from Latino teens jailed there for months or years. Multiple detainees say the guards stripped them of their clothes and strapped them to chairs with bags placed over their heads. In addition to the children's first-hand, translated accounts in court filings, a former child-development specialist who worked inside the facility independently told The Associated Press this week that she saw kids there with bruises and broken bones they blamed on guards. She spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to publicly discuss the children's cases.

HUNDREDS GATHER IN RALEIGH TO PROTEST TRUMP FAMILY SEPARATION: The crowd in Raleigh cheered for Uriel, who hopes to become an American politician. He choked up as he talked about his mother’s journey to the United States. She was 3 months pregnant with Uriel when she arrived with her elderly father and 2-year-old daughter. “It’s impossible not to cry while I remember how she crossed the border, and more so that my sister could have been torn from my mother,” he said. Suzy Geronino, a part-time cosmetologist and full-time activist from Mexico, said she wanted politicians to act with humanity. “Be conscious, like a person," she said, urging lawmakers to push for change. "Not follow the political things. Just follow the heart." Geronino said she was touched by the Americans surrounding her at the protest. “It’s not just the Hispanic people," she said. "You see American people are here. Why? Because they see what’s wrong with what the president (is) doing."

AFTER SIGNING EXECUTIVE ORDER TO END SEPARATIONS, TRUMP HOLDS VICIOUS ANTI-IMMIGRATION RALLY: Trump downplayed the crisis that has threatened to envelop the White House amid days of heart-wrenching images of children being pulled from their immigrant parents along the nation’s southern border. He made only a brief mention at the rally of his decision to sign an executive order after spending days insisting, wrongly, that his administration had no choice but to separate families apprehended at the border because of federal law and a court decision. “We’re going to keep families together and the border is going to be just as tough as it’s been,” Trump told the cheering crowd in Duluth. Seemingly motivated to promote his hawkish immigration bona fides after his about-face on the forced separations, the president launched into a vicious denunciation of his political opponents and those who make unauthorized border crossings, suggesting that the money used to care for those immigrants could be better spent on the nation’s rural communities and inner cities. “Democrats put illegal immigrant before they put American citizens. What the hell is going on?” roared Trump, prompting the crowd to chant “Build the wall!”