Thursday News: Show me your papers, Part 17


U.S. SUPREME COURT TO DECIDE IF BERGERMOORE CAN DEFEND VOTER ID: In a surprise pre-Thanksgiving order, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear Berger v. North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, stemming from a dispute over a North Carolina voter id law. The dispute is not about the underlying voter id law itself, but about the ability of the state legislature to intervene in defending the law against challenges. This is a fairly common problem we see today where a state executive (governor and/or attorney general) is a Democrat and the state legislature is controlled by Republicans, and there’s a dispute over who gets to speak for the state. Back in 2017, I wrote a Slate piece urging North Carolina’s governor to withdraw a cert. petition over North Carolina’s very strict voter id law after the 4th Circuit struck parts of it (calling them targeted at African-American voters with almost surgical precision). There was then a dispute in the Supreme Court over who gets to speak for North Carolina, and the Court, seeing the dispute, denied cert. Chief Justice Roberts was irked, and issued a statement saying that the denial was because of the dispute, not the merits. Hopefully Roberts will keep his partisan justices under some semblance of control.

EXTREMIST NC REPUBLICANS ARE STILL TRYING TO REPLACE BIDEN WITH TRUMP: More than 30 Republican state lawmakers in North Carolina and South Carolina signed onto a new letter that backs false claims about the 2020 elections and pushes for the whole country to copy a widely discredited type of election audit that Arizona recently attempted. The letter goes on to suggest that the 2020 election results should be overturned and Democratic President Joe Biden ousted from office. One of the lawmakers who signed the letter is North Carolina Rep. Donnie Loftis of Gastonia. He was at the Capitol during the Jan. 6 attack on Congress in which former President Donald Trump’s supporters tried to reverse the election results by force, although he hasn’t been charged with any crimes related to that day. Loftis initially wrote on social media that he “got gassed three times and was at the entrance when they breached the door,” The News & Observer reported, but later told WRAL-TV that “I had absolutely zero involvement in the rioting and categorically condemn the storming of our Capitol building that day.” Dude is unfit for office, either way; whether he was involved or simply lied about it. He needs to be interviewed by the FBI with the quickness, because he is now voting on the laws of our state.

ECU FRATERNITY CHARTER SUSPENDED OVER RUFI-INDUCED SEXUAL ASSAULTS: Administrators at a North Carolina university have suspended a fraternity amid allegations that its members were involved in sexual assault and drink tampering at their house, the school announced Wednesday. East Carolina University said in a memo that the Theta Chi fraternity is on a 30-day suspension while an investigation begins into a reported incident on Oct, 29, news outlets reported. In the memo, ECU Chancellor Phillip Rogers said the suspension can be reissued if necessary during reviews. If the cease-and-desist order is violated, the school will take further action. Theta Chi Fraternity has said it will cooperate fully with the investigation, Rogers said. ECU issued an alert on Nov. 9 that it had received a report about the incident, but authorities have provided no details. Word of the possible assault and drink tampering prompted protests and marches calling for Theta Chi to be removed from the Greenville campus. Back in the 90's I frequently attended fraternity/sorority parties, and had to intervene more than once to stop an assault of this nature. It's not hard to spot a girl who has been drugged, or the jackals waiting to pounce. Go with your squad, and take care of your squad. That is all.

AHMAUD ARBERY'S KILLERS FOUND GUILTY: Three men were convicted of murder Wednesday in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, the Black man who was running empty-handed through a Georgia subdivision when the white strangers chased him, trapped him on a quiet street and blasted him with a shotgun. The February 2020 slaying drew limited attention at first. But when video of the shooting leaked online, Arbery's death quickly became another example in the nation's reckoning of racial injustice in the way Black people are treated in their everyday lives. Now the men all face a mandatory sentence of life in prison. The judge will decide whether their sentences are served with or without the possibility of parole. As the first of 23 guilty verdicts were read, Arbery’s father had to leave the courtroom after leaping up and shouting. At the reading of the last criminal count, Arbery’s mother dropped her head and quietly pumped her fists. “He didn’t do nothing but run and dream,” Marcus Arbery Sr. said of his son. Outside the courthouse, dozens of Black supporters hugged and cried. Like many, I was really worried another debacle like the Rittenhouse verdict would happen. Justice is not dead, although it may be very ill.

THE FEDS ARE FINALLY CRACKING DOWN ON IN-FLIGHT JACKASSES: Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a memo Wednesday directing federal prosecutors to prioritize investigations into crimes committed on planes, as record numbers of unruly passengers continue to disrupt travel. Passengers who assault, intimidate or threaten violence against flight crews and flight attendants do more than harm those employees; they prevent the performance of critical duties that help ensure safe air travel,” Garland said. “Similarly, when passengers commit violent acts against other passengers in the close confines of a commercial aircraft, the conduct endangers everyone aboard,” he said. The Federal Aviation Administration has been using its civil authorities to try to crack down on misbehaving passengers, opening 266 enforcement cases, and has sought federal criminal investigations in 37 cases. The majority of incidents have stemmed from disputes over wearing masks, which is required throughout the aviation system. While federal authorities have said they have zero tolerance for bad behavior on planes, the sheer number of incidents this year has strained the systems designed to provide for accountability. Responsibility of investigating cases is shared among several agencies, including local police. And that is a mistake. Law enforcement in the sky needs to be a uniform system, not a hodge-podge of whoever draws the short straw.