Wednesday News: What are they trying to hide?


NC GOP FIGHTING HARD TO SUPPRESS MAPMAKER'S FILES IN GERRYMANDERING SUIT: Republican lawmakers “had specifically promised the court that their mapmaker would not even possess racial data,” let alone use it, said Daniel Jacobson, one of the lawyers for the people and groups suing to overturn the maps. And Hofeller’s files, Jacobson said, will show that Hofeller broke the rules and did consider voters’ race when dividing them between districts. “It’s hard to imagine evidence that would be more directly responsive” to the key parts of the trial, Jacobson said. The maps in question were drawn in 2017, to replace a previous set of maps — also drawn by Hofeller, in 2011 — that were ruled unconstitutional due to racial gerrymandering. The state’s Republican legislative leaders strongly object to the files being used in court for this case.

BILL AUTHORIZING STATE LOANS FOR RURAL HOSPITALS CLEARS NC SENATE: A state-funded loan program for struggling rural hospitals easily passed the state Senate Tuesday. Senate Bill 681 sets up a revolving fund of low-interest loans to help rural hospitals overhaul their operations, in part to make them more attractive to larger hospital groups that might want to buy them. The bill cleared the Senate on a unanimous vote, and it heads to the House for more discussion. Democrats voting for the Senate Republican leader's bill said they feared it was just a Band-Aid for a much larger problem. They favor Medicaid expansion, which would give taxpayer-funded health insurance to hundreds of thousands of the state's working poor, providing new paying customers for hospitals across the state. Five rural North Carolina hospitals have closed since 2010, according to a staff summary attached to this legislation. Loans would be decided by the state's Local Government Commission, which already approves local government borrowing, on recommendations by UNC Health Care.

FEDERAL JUDGE RULES AGAINST TRUMP ADMIN KEEPING ASYLUM SEEKERS LOCKED UP: A federal judge in Seattle on Tuesday blocked a Trump administration policy that would keep thousands of asylum-seekers locked up while they pursue their cases, saying the Constitution demands that such migrants have a chance to be released from custody. U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman ruled Tuesday that people who are detained after entering the country to seek protection are entitled to bond hearings. Attorney General William Barr announced in April that the government would no longer offer such hearings, but instead keep them in custody. It was part of the administration’s efforts to deter a surge of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. Pechman said that as people who have entered the U.S. and been detained here, they are entitled to the Fifth Amendment’s due-process protections, including “a longstanding prohibition against indefinite civil detention with no opportunity to test its necessity.”

NEW JERSEY JUDGE WANTS LENIENCY FOR 16 YEAR OLD RAPIST BECAUSE HE COMES FROM "GOOD FAMILY": The boy filmed himself penetrating her from behind, her torso exposed, her head hanging down, prosecutors said. He later shared the cellphone video among friends, investigators said, and sent a text that said, “When your first time having sex was rape.” But a family court judge said it was not rape. Instead, he wondered aloud if it was sexual assault, defining rape as something reserved for an attack at gunpoint by strangers. He also said the young man came from a good family, attended an excellent school, had terrific grades and was an Eagle Scout. Prosecutors, the judge said, should have explained to the girl and her family that pressing charges would destroy the boy’s life. So he denied prosecutors’ motion to try the 16-year-old as an adult. “He is clearly a candidate for not just college but probably for a good college,” Judge James Troiano of Superior Court said last year in a two-hour decision while sitting in Monmouth County, New Jersey.

AFTER SUPREME COURT REBUKE, TREASURY DECIDES TO NIX CITIZENSHIP QUESTION ON CENSUS: The Trump administration has dropped plans to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, the Justice Department said Tuesday, just days after the Supreme Court described the rationale for the question as “contrived.” The decision was made after officials determined that there would not be enough time to continue the legal battle and meet the printing deadlines for the census questionnaire, according to people familiar with the matter. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement Tuesday that “I respect the Supreme Court but strongly disagree with its ruling regarding my decision to reinstate a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.” President Trump wrote on Twitter on Tuesday night that it was a “very sad time for America when the Supreme Court of the United States won’t allow a question of ‘Is this person a Citizen of the United States?’ to be asked on the #2020 Census.” He said he had asked the Commerce and Justice departments to “do whatever is necessary to bring this most vital of questions, and this very important case, to a successful conclusion.”