Monday News: New court, new day


COOPER ASKS NC SUPREME COURT TO REVIEW ELECTIONS ISSUES: Gov. Roy Cooper has asked the seven justices to review a three-judge panel’s decision that upheld the merger this year of the state elections board and ethics commission, a case that could determine whether Republicans will have leadership on elections boards at the state and county level during presidential election years when North Carolina voters also elect their governor. Another case that will go before the state’s highest court on Monday is a redistricting challenge sent back to the justices earlier this year after the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed federal court rulings finding unconstitutional racial gerrymandering in 28 state legislative districts and two unconstitutional gerrymanders in place from 2011 to 2016.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY MAY VOTE ON NEW DISTRICT MAPS AS EARLY AS TODAY: Federal judges want North Carolina redistricting completed by later this week, so the General Assembly is back to work voting on legislative boundaries. The state House and Senate scheduled Monday floor sessions to debate and vote on their respective district maps. The Senate already gave tentative approval to its plan late last week on a largely party-line vote. Each chamber also will have to vote on the other chamber's plans before the two maps are approved. A three-judge panel ordered last month that the final boundaries be sent to them by Friday for review. The judges previously threw out nearly 30 districts from the 2011 maps for relying too heavily on race. The Republican-controlled House on Monday also could hold override votes on three of Gov. Roy Cooper's vetoes.

TENSIONS IN BERKELEY HEIGHTEN AS VARIOUS ELEMENTS CLASH DURING PROTESTS: Black-clad anarchists on Sunday stormed into what had been a largely peaceful Berkeley protest against hate and attacked at least five people, including the leader of a politically conservative group who canceled an event a day earlier in San Francisco amid fears of violence. The group of more than 100 hooded protesters, with shields emblazoned with the words "no hate" and waving a flag identifying themselves as anarchists, busted through police lines, avoiding security checks by officers to take away possible weapons. Then the anarchists blended with a crowd of 2,000 largely peaceful protesters who turned up to demonstrate in a "Rally Against Hate" opposed to a much smaller gathering of right-wing protesters.

TRUMP'S POPULARITY WITH HIS BASE KEEPS PARTY ESTABLISHMENT IN LINE: Perhaps most critically, Trump polls much better with Republicans than the GOP-led Congress does—the congressional approval rating among Republicans is only 16 percent, according to a Gallup survey earlier this month. And that basic truth has kindled among Republicans in Washington a fear of alienating Trump’s voters, giving the president an extraordinary level of control over internal dissent, even as he shocks and offends GOP officials over everything from Charlottesville to Russia and apparent nuclear threats against North Korea. “He got a lot of flak for saying he could kill someone on Fifth Avenue. It’s kind of true. He can do anything and it’s OK,” marveled one GOP strategist in attendance at the summer meeting of the Republican National Committee here in Nashville, speaking of Trump’s grip on the base.

TRUMP WANTS TO RAMP UP MILITARIZATION OF POLICE BY RESCINDING OBAMA LIMITATIONS: President Donald Trump is preparing to lift restrictions on surplus military equipment that can be passed on to local law enforcement agencies in spite of past concerns that armored vehicles and other gear were escalating confrontations with protesters. Documents obtained by The Associated Press indicate Trump was preparing to sign an executive order undoing an Obama administration directive that restricted police agencies' access to grenade launchers, bullet-proof vests, riot shields, firearms, ammunition and other surplus military equipment. Trump's order would fully restore the program under which "assets that would otherwise be scrapped can be repurposed to help state, local, and tribal law enforcement better protect public safety and reduce crime," according to the documents.