Lone Black Republican in Senate Rejects Trump's Judicial Nominee Amid Voter Suppression Claims
Sen. Tim Scott, what has the Republican Party done for you lately?
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), the only Black Republican in the Senate, opposed President Trump's nomination of Thomas Farr to become a federal judge, on Thursday, ending his chances of confirmation. Trump's choice — an attorney who has supported voter suppression targeting Blacks — caused Scott to defy the leader of his party's wishes.
Farr was on the road to becoming a federal judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Democrats have criticized him for defending a North Carolina voter ID law that the appellate court struck down for explicitly targeting African Americans.
Democrats Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum said, in a joint statement, on Tuesday: "Thomas Farr's record of hostility and disregard for fundamental civil rights disqualifies him for a lifetime appointment that will allow him to codify his discriminatory ideology into law."
Scott's opposition of Farr, combined with Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and all Senate Democrats, resulted in lack of support for the nomination to go forward.
Scott said, on Thursday, a memo obtained by The Washington Post "created more concerns" about Farr. It indicated the Raleigh attorney "backed a law that the courts called 'the most restrictive voting law North Carolina has seen since the era of Jim Crow.'"
In 1990, Farr worked on the campaign of Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), a notorious racist. The Justice Department later said postcards generated by the campaign were sent to intimidate Black voters from heading to the polls. Farr has denied taking part in drafting the postcards.
"I am ready and willing to support strong candidates for our judicial vacancies that do not have lingering concerns about issues that could affect their decision-making process as a federal judge," Scott said.
This is the second time the South Carolina senator has opposed a Trump nominee. In July, Scott didn't back Trump appellate court pick Ryan Bounds because of his college writings on diversity and rape. It forced a withdrawal of the nomination.
It seems that Scott being a Republican is a conflict of interest for him. Supporting issues of importance to the Black community, or Black people in general, is not of interest to his party. Another Black Republican came to that conclusion this week.
On Monday, Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah) gave a concession speech after a narrow loss in this month's midterm election. Love expressed a sentiment of betrayal by her own party.
"Republicans never take minorities, minority communities into their home and citizens into their homes and into their hearts, they stay with Democrats and bureaucrats in Washington because they do take them home, or at least make them feel like they have a home," she said.
Reader Question: What are your thoughts on Sen. Tim Scott taking a stand?
The light sentence given to the officer who killed McDonald, "suggests to us that there are no laws on the books for a Black man that a white man is bound to honor," said his great-uncle.
Hours of testimony at Jason Van Dyke's sentencing on Friday ended in shock for one family, and relief and happiness for the other.
"Obviously we've had a second incident in several years," University of Oklahoma President James Gallogly said. "It shows that there must be something systemic. We have work to do."
Update: Student Wearing MAGA Hat Standing Face-to-Face With Native American Veteran Releases Statement
"I was not intentionally making faces at the [protester]," said Nick Sandmann.
UPDATE: Monday, Jan. 21, 2019 at 7 a.m.
Nick Sandmann, the Covington Catholic High School Junior who stands in front of Nathan Phillips, an elder with the Omaha tribe and a veteran, in a viral video that has sparked outrage, made a statement through a lawyer and spokesman on Sunday night.
Sandmann said the students decided to raise their voices to drown out the comments against them by four Black protesters who identify themselves as Hebrew Israelites. A video has been released of the incident.
"A student in our group asked one of our teacher chaperones for permission to begin our school spirit chants to counter the hateful things that were being shouted at our group," Sandmann said in his statement. "The chants are commonly used at sporting events. They are all positive in nature and sound like what you would hear at any high school," he said.
Phillips walked up to the students and said he started drumming and singing a song to encourage unity trying to quell the argument.
"There was that moment when I realized I've put myself between beast and prey,'' Phillips told the Detroit Free Press. "These young men were beastly and these old Black individuals was their prey, and I stood in between them and so they needed their pounds of flesh and they were looking at me for that.''
But said at one point, he claims the teenagers started saying "Go back to the reservation'' and broke into chants of "Build that wall.'' He also questioned why chaperones did not get involved.
"I was scared," Phillips told CNN. "I don't like the word 'hate.' I don't like even saying it, but it was hate unbridled. It was like a storm."
Sandmann claims he was "not intentionally making faces at the [protester]. I did smile at one point because I wanted him to know that I was not going to become angry, intimidated or be provoked into a larger confrontation."
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington in Kentucky is currently investigating the incident.
ORIGINAL STORY Published Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019
Students wearing "Make America Great Again" hats, who attend Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, K.Y., were in Washington, D.C. on Friday for the anti-abortion March for Life rally. In a video, it appears that Nathan Phillips, an elder with the Omaha tribe and a veteran, was being mocked by the students at the Lincoln Memorial.
The incident occurred as the Indigenous Peoples March was ending. Videos showing their behavior went viral on social media on Saturday.
One of the students, standing less than a foot away, appears to be trying to intimidate Phillips by staring him down with a mocking smirk on his face. Phillips was in the midst of drumming and singing a song of unity:
I've seen that look before — on the MAGA boy's face as he taunts a participant from the Indigenous Peoples March. Fueled by ideology and a desire to dehumanize, it frightens me and reminds me of other cruel youth groups from history.
(anyone know original source of video?) pic.twitter.com/Ka6t5HKmCz
— Melissa Chan (@melissakchan) January 19, 2019
Kaya Taitano, who shot the video, told CNN that MAGA hat-wearing-students and four Black teens, who'd been preaching about the Bible nearby, started yelling and calling each other names. That's why Phillips started drumming and singing a song to encourage unity trying to quell the argument.
President Trump, whom the students apparently idolize, posted a tweet last week to mock Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who plans to run for president in the 2020 election.
Trump made fun of the 1890 Wounded Knee massacre in response to a video Warren posted on Instagram.
If Elizabeth Warren, often referred to by me as Pocahontas, did this commercial from Bighorn or Wounded Knee instead of her kitchen, with her husband dressed in full Indian garb, it would have been a smash! pic.twitter.com/D5KWr8EPan
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2019
Phillips, a Vietnam veteran who said he served between 1972 and 1976, is in tears as he explains in a video how the incident on Friday made him feel:
"I heard them saying, 'Build that wall, build that wall.' This in indigenous land. You know, we're not supposed to have walls here. We never did …"
He continued, "Before anybody else came here, we never had walls. We never had a prison. We always took care of our elders. We took care of our children. We always provided for them. We taught them right from wrong."
He said he wishes the young men who taunted him would use "that energy to make this country really great."
Thank you to @VinceSchilling of @IndianCountry and many others who identified the proud Native man who is being harassed. He is Mr. Nathan Phillips. I'm reposting this video from “ka_ya11" on IG. This man's words pierce my heart. The grace. The wisdom. The hope. pic.twitter.com/BKOA40SVq5
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) January 19, 2019
Robert "Bob" Rowe is the principal of Covington Catholic High School (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
An investigation is now taking place, and the MAGA teens could be expelled. The Diocese of Covington and the high school issued the following statement on Saturday:
"We condemn the actions of the Covington Catholic High School students towards Nathan Phillips specifically, and Native Americans in general, Jan. 18, after the March for Life, in Washington, D.C. We extend our deepest apologies to Mr. Phillips. This behavior is opposed to the Church's teachings on the dignity and respect of the human person.
"The matter is being investigated and we will take appropriate action, up to and including expulsion.
"We know this incident also has tainted the entire witness of the March for Life and express our most sincere apologies to all those who attended the March and all those who support the pro-life movement."
More than 10,000 people have signed a petition on Change.org demanding changes at the high school.
Many are saying on social media that the actions of the Covington Catholic High School students mimics how whites tried to intimidate Blacks during the civil rights movement:
The MAGA-hat wearing Covington Catholic High School students mocking Elder Nathan Phillips at the Indigenous Peoples March in Washington are direct descendants of the white privilege that empowered white kids to mock Elizabeth Eckford at Little Rock Central High School in 1957. pic.twitter.com/tQroBf6aPb
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) January 19, 2019
U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) is working to stop wheelchairs from getting damaged during air travel.
U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) is leading the charge for better airline management of customers' motorized wheelchairs. Duckworth has been confined to a wheelchair since her helicopter was shot down in Iraq and she lost both of her legs.
President Donald Trump signed legislation on Wednesday that said all furloughed workers would receive back pay once the government reopens. However, the Trump administration has ordered states not to provide unemployment coverage to federal workers who have been required to work without pay during the partial government shutdown.
California Governor Gavin Newsom said on Thursday the U.S. Department of Labor sent states a letter with that mandate, according to NPR. The Department of Labor said the roughly 420,000 federal employees who are "essential" cannot file for unemployment as they are "generally ineligible."
It also reported 10,454 initial claims by federal workers for the week that ended Jan. 5, doubling the previous week's figure. Thousands more have applied since, state officials said.
Newsom said the decision by the Department of Labor's decision was "jaw-dropping."
"So, the good news is, we're going to do it, and shame on them," he said.
"From a moral perspective, there is no debate on this issue and we will blow back aggressively on the Department of Labor."
The California Employment Development Department (EDD) reports unemployment claims for one week during the shutdown are up 600 percent from the same time last year. The state has over 245,000 federal employees.
Newsom encouraged people to continue to apply while the state figured out how to get the money. He estimated benefits that would last up to 26 weeks and provided a few hundred extra dollars a month. He said he knows it doesn't fix everything, but hopefully it helps.
His message to Trump: "Let us states do the job you can't seem to do yourself."
Some state officials said they had asked utilities and other companies to extend mercy to federal employees, and the federal Office of Personnel Management published sample letters that furloughed employees could send to creditors to ask for patience.
Texas has received more than 2,900 claims from federal workers since the shutdown began on Dec. 22, while Ohio is approaching 700. Kansas reported 445 filings, and Alabama was closing in on 500. Montana said it had logged almost 1,500.
Trump tweeted on Friday that he would be making a "major announcement" on Saturday about the government shutdown.
I will be making a major announcement concerning the Humanitarian Crisis on our Southern Border, and the Shutdown, tomorrow afternoon at 3 P.M., live from the @WhiteHouse.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 18, 2019
A senior administration official told CNN that Trump plans to offer Democrats another proposal to end the shutdown.
Reader Question: How are people you know that are furloughed workers surviving?
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The dance team's choreographer told Camille Sturdivant that her skin was "too dark" to perform because she "clashed" with uniforms.
Camille Sturdivant has filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the Blue Valley School District for the abuse she was subjected to as a member of the high school dance team.