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Mississippi Lieutenant Governor Was Member of College Fraternity Under Fire For Racism

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Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) was a member of a college fraternity that was known for pro-Confederate displays and run-ins with black students.

Reeves, who is running for governor this fall, was in Kappa Alpha Order at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. A 1993 yearbook lists him as a freshman that year, and he was featured as a Kappa Alpha member starting in the 1994 yearbook. The fraternity, which is still active at Millsaps, looks to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee as its spiritual leader.

On Oct. 8, 1994, members of Kappa Alpha and another fraternity “donned Afro wigs and tied large Confederate flags around their necks,” according to an article in The Clarion-Ledger at the time. Some of them were also reportedly in blackface. The fraternity brothers “got into a shouting match” over the incident with some black students. The state fraternity leader defended the chapter, saying it was “getting a bad rap” and blamed a few rogue individuals.

Members of the Black Students Association asked for the fraternity to be suspended

One of the students leveling the charges against Kappa Alpha was Kiese Laymon, the opinions editor of the student paper. Even before the incident, in August, Laymon wrote a piece about Kappa Alpha’s reputation, lumping the fraternity in with the KKK and neo-Nazis in their love of the Confederate flag. 

“At Millsaps, I know we’ve overcome racism,” Laymon wrote sarcastically in a column, “and if the word ‘n****r’ is ever muttered, it could only be echoed from the walls of the Kappa Alpha house.” 

In response, a month later, the paper published an anonymous letter from a Kappa Alpha member who acknowledged Laymon was right about the attitudes of his fraternity ― but said that, privately, not all of them were racist and sexist and did want things to change. 

In 1995, the Kappa Alpha yearbook page showed a group of students standing with a Confederate flag in military attire. It’s not clear if Reeves is in the photo, although he was also pictured as a member of the fraternity that year. 

The images were first uncovered and published by the Democratic super PAC American Bridge on its website, the American Ledger

In the 1993 yearbook, before Reeves pledged, the fraternity’s page showed students in a form of blackface, mocking Pacific Islanders ― with darkened faces, wearing grass skirts and leis ― and wearing Confederate flag paint. 

In the 1993 Millsaps yearbook, there was a photo on the Kappa Alpha page featuring two students in blackface. 

College yearbooks are coming back to haunt politicians.

Three of Virginia’s top state officials are currently embroiled in scandals about their use or acceptance of blackface. It started with the governor’s yearbook page, featuring a photo of two men, one in blackface and one in a KKK outfit. (Democrat Ralph Northam insists he isn’t one of the men pictured.) Since then, the Democratic attorney general has admitted to once wearing blackface at a college party, and the GOP leader of the state Senate edited a college yearbook containing racist pictures and slurs.

Even if they’re not pictured in blackface, they seemed to gladly accept a privileged white culture that found entertainment in the racist pastime.

In 2013, Reeves spoke at an event for Sons of Confederate Veterans, a neo-Confederate organization that claims the Civil War was not about slavery. From his Facebook page:

Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) spoke at a Sons of Confederate Veterans event in 2013.

Reeves’ office did not return requests for comment about whether the lieutenant governor ever appeared in blackface or Confederate attire, and to give his thoughts on his fraternity’s behavior. 

The Mississippi gubernatorial primary is on Aug. 6. 

SOURCE: Huffington Post

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US Supreme Court Upholds Abortion Clinic Protest Zone Limits In Chicago, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday left in place policies in Chicago and Pennsylvania’s capital Harrisburg that place limits on anti-abortion activists gathered outside abortion clinics.

The justices declined to hear two appeals by anti-abortion groups and individual activists of lower court rulings upholding the cities’ ordinances.

The Chicago policy bars activists from coming within eight feet (2.4 meters) of someone within 50 feet (15 meters) of any healthcare facility without their consent if they intend to protest, offer counseling or hand out leaflets. The Harrisburg measure bars people from congregating or demonstrating within 20 feet (6 meters) of a healthcare facility’s entrance or exit.

Both cases pitted the free speech rights of anti-abortion protesters against public safety concerns raised by women’s healthcare providers regarding demonstrations outside clinics. There is a history of violent acts committed against abortion providers.

At issue before the Supreme Court was whether the ordinances violate free speech rights protected by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.

The Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year upheld the Chicago ordinance, which was introduced in 2009. The Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Harrisburg in 2019. That measure was enacted in response to disruptions by protesters outside two abortion clinics in the city.

The cases did not directly implicate abortion rights. In a major ruling on Monday, the struck down a Louisiana law placing restrictions on doctors that perform abortions.

Also on Thursday, the court directed a lower court to reconsider the legality of two Indiana abortion restrictions – one that would require women to undergo an ultrasound procedure at least 18 hours before terminating a pregnancy and another that would expand parental notification when a minor seeks an abortion. The lower court had struck down both measures.

Abortion remains a divisive issue in the United States. The Supreme Court in its landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling legalized abortion nationwide, finding that women have a constitutional right to the procedure. In recent years, numerous Republican-governed states have sought to impose a series of restrictions on abortion.

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Federal Judge Reverses Trump Asylum Policy Due To Government Failing To Abide By Administrative Procedure Act

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(Law & Crime) — A federal judge appointed by President Donald Trump on Tuesday evening overturned the Trump Administration’s second and most restrictive asylum policy, all because the government failed to abide by the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), the judge reasoned.

In a 52-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly of Washington, D.C. held that in enacting the rule, which required immigrants to seek asylum in any country they passed through before they could claim asylum in the U.S., the Trump administration “unlawfully dispensed” with mandatory procedural requirements allowing the public to weigh in on proposed rule changes.

Kelly, who was appointed to the court in 2017, rejected the Trump administration’s assertion that the asylum rule fell within exceptions to the APA permitting the government to disregard the notice-and-comment requirement if there’s “good cause” such commentary is unnecessary or if the rule involves a military or foreign affairs function.

“[The court] also holds that Defendants unlawfully promulgated the rule without complying with the APA’s notice-and-comment requirements, because neither the ‘good cause’ nor the ‘foreign affairs function’ exceptions are satisfied on the record here,” Kelly wrote. “Despite their potentially broad sweep, the D.C. Circuit has instructed that these exceptions must be ‘narrowly construed’ and ‘reluctantly countenanced.’ The Circuit has also emphasized that the broader a rule’s reach, ‘the greater the necessity for public comment.’ With these baseline principles in mind, the Court considers whether either the good cause or foreign affairs function exception applies here. Neither does.”

According to Kelly, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) generally allows any person physically in the U.S. seeking refuge to apply for asylum — with some exceptions for immigrants who have committed certain crimes or who had previously been “firmly resettled” prior to arriving in the U.S.

“The Court reiterates that there are many circumstances in which courts appropriately defer to the national security judgments of the Executive. But determining the scope of an APA exception is not one of them,” Kelly wrote. “As noted above, if engaging in notice-and-comment rulemaking before implementing the rule would have harmed ongoing international negotiations, Defendants could have argued that these effects gave them good cause to forgo these procedures. And they could have provided an adequate factual record to support those predictive judgments to which the Court could defer. But they did not do so.”

Claudia Cubas, the Litigation Director at CAIR Coalition, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, praised the decision as removing an “unjust barrier to protection” for those in need.

“By striking down this rule, Judge Kelly reaffirmed two fundamental principles. The protection of asylum seekers fleeing for safety is intertwined with our national values and that the United States is a country where the rule of law cannot be tossed aside for political whims,” Cubas said.

Read the full opinion below:

Asylum Ban Decision by Law&Crime on Scribd

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US Supreme Court Rules Public Funds Allowed For Religious Schools In State Tax Credit Program

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USA Today writes:

The Supreme Court delivered a major victory Tuesday to parents seeking state aid for their children’s religious school education. The court’s conservative majority ruled that states offering scholarships to students in private schools cannot exclude religious schools from such programs.

The decision was written by Chief Justice John Roberts, who has joined the liberal justices in three other major rulings this month. It was a decision long sought by proponents of school choice and vehemently opposed by teachers’ unions, who fear it could drain needed tax dollars from struggling public schools.

Read the US Supreme Court ruling here or below.

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