Thursday News: Rising tide of outrage


UNC STUDENT GROUPS PLAN PROTEST OF SILENT SAM DEAL: De’Ivyion Drew, a sophomore at UNC who’s been active in the Silent Sam protests and a member of the campus safety commission, said the money is “way worse” than the statue being put back up. “There’s a lack of perspective from a person of color, particularly black people, who would prefer to have the statue back up than to have the Sons of Confederates or any white supremacy group get $2.5 million dollars,” Drew said at the meeting. Student activist groups, including the UNC Black Congress and the Black Student Movement, have planned a campus protest for Thursday afternoon on the theme that “‘Silent Sam is not ‘Resolved.’” The protest is about “UNC negotiating with and investing in white supremacy,” the group said on its Facebook page.

TRIAL BEGINS FOR NC MAN WHO THREATENED MUSLIM CANDIDATE WITH LYNCHING: A federal trial is scheduled to begin Thursday for a North Carolina man charged with anonymously threatening to lynch a Muslim-American man campaigning for a state Senate seat in Virginia. Court records say jury selection for Joseph Cecil Vandevere's trial is set to get underway Thursday morning in Asheville, North Carolina. Vandevere was charged in June with interstate communication of a threat to injure a person in connection with a tweet directed at Qasim Rashid. The tweet included a picture of a lynching and read, “VIEW YOUR DESTINY.” Rashid posted a screenshot of the threatening tweet in March 2018 and reported it to the FBI. Rashid, a Democrat, lost his Nov. 5 bid to oust an incumbent Republican state senator in Virginia. In September, U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn Jr. rejected Vandevere’s argument that his indictment must be dismissed on grounds of First Amendment free speech.

NC GOP BLOCKS REPUBLICAN CHALLENGERS OF TRUMP ON PRIMARY BALLOT: “While we are disappointed, we are certainly not surprised that another Trump-controlled state party is attempting to deny Republicans the choices they deserve in the primary,” Weld spokesman Joe Hunter said in an email. “For a president who claims to be beloved, Donald Trump and his operatives are going to extraordinary lengths to eliminate competition and avoid actually facing voters. The State Board (of Elections) is not bound by the party’s submission, and we are confident the members of the board will recognize the obvious qualifications of a successful two-term Republican governor who is well-recognized across the nation.” Democrats hold a majority of the seats on North Carolina’s elections board. The N.C. Democratic Party submitted 15 names: Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, John K. Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar, Deval Patrick, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren, Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang. That list includes all the major candidates who hadn’t dropped out by this week.

U.S. SENATE CONFIRMS ANOTHER TRUMP JUDGE DEEMED "NOT QUALIFIED" BY BAR: The latest of President Trump’s confirmed federal judges has been assailed by fellow lawyers for her lack of trial experience and has been lambasted by reproductive rights advocates for her vigorous opposition to abortion, surrogacy and in vitro fertilization. And in a near-party-line vote Tuesday, the Senate approved the nomination of Sarah Pitlyk, making the conservative lawyer the newest federal judge for the U.S. District Court in St. Louis. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) joined the Democrats to oppose Pitlyk. Every other Republican present voted for her. Pitlyk is also the latest of Trump’s nominees to receive a “not qualified” rating from the American Bar Association, which has long reviewed the competence of nominees for the federal bench. In a Sept. 24 letter to lawmakers, William Hubbard, chair of the ABA’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, wrote that Pitlyk’s “experience to date has a very substantial gap, namely the absence of any trial or even real litigation experience.”

CONSTITUTIONAL SCHOLARS ENDORSE THE IMPEACHMENT OF DONALD TRUMP: The House of Representatives on Wednesday opened a critical new phase of the impeachment proceedings against President Trump, featuring legal scholars vigorously debating whether his conduct and the available evidence rose to the constitutional threshold necessary for his removal from office. Invoking arguments between the framers of the Constitution and impeachment precedents dating to monarchical England, the scholars dissected the quality of the evidence before the House and how to define at least one possible impeachment charge, bribery. The three law professors invited by Democrats said that Mr. Trump’s behavior was not only an egregious abuse of his power for personal gain, but the textbook definition of the kind of conduct that the nation’s founders sought to guard against when they drafted the impeachment clause of the Constitution. “If what we’re talking about is not impeachable, then nothing is impeachable,” Michael J. Gerhardt, a professor at the University of North Carolina, told the panel. “This is precisely the misconduct that the framers created the Constitution, including impeachment, to protect against.”