Good morning! Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, June 28, 2018.
1. Trump gets second SCOTUS pick.
- Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy will retire at the end of July. He’s 81 and been on the Court since 1988.
- President Trump will appoint his replacement, which he says will be someone on the same list of conservative judges from which he selected Neil Gorsuch last year.
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the Senate will vote to confirm Trump’s nominee this fall. Of course, Democrats would rather that not happen and are trying all manner of arguments to delay the nomination/confirmation.
- Bottom line: we’re probably going to have a new Supreme court Justice by October, and it’s likely to solidify a conservative tilt on the high court for a generation.
Why it Matters
- Kennedy is known as the “swing” justice. The Reagan appointee has cast decisive votes on cases considered to be big wins both for conservatives (gun rights, political speech, public sector unions) and liberals (gay marriage, upholding Roe, limiting prayer in school).
- His replacement will likely be a more reliable conservative vote.
- Everyone is wondering whether this means the Court will strike down Roe v. Wade. I think that’s unlikely, but it could reshape the issue legally by granting states greater authority to enact restrictions like limits on abortions after 25 weeks.
- There ain’t much more dramatic than a Supreme Court nomination, politically speaking.
- Republicans are straight up salivating at the chance to realign the Court. Democrats are losing their minds over the implications. I think we can expect this extraordinary period of political toxicity to get a lot worse in the next few months.
- One factor to watch: Since Gorsuch’s confirmation, the Senate has one more Democrat and one fewer Republican. Why? Alabama, of course.
- If this confirmation vote gets tight – and it could – Sen. Doug Jones will become a decisive factor.
- And what if the choice is over fellow Alabamian Bill Pryor, who is said to be on President Trump’s short list?
- AP: Justice Bill Pryor? A look a candidates to replace Kennedy.
- David French in National Review: The legal implications of Kennedy’s retirement.
- Jack Goldsmith for the Chicago Tribune: Kennedy’s departure is the biggest event in U.S. jurisprudence since Bush v. Gore.
2. Steve Marshall tells of his wife’s struggles w/ mental health, addiction
- Attorney General Steve Marshall on Wednesday shared the painful, grief-ridden story of his wife Bridgette’s struggle with mental health problems and addiction.
- Those struggles contributed to her suicide this past Sunday, Marshall said.
- If you haven’t already, you really should just go watch the entire news conference for yourself, which you can do HERE.
“It is our hope today to share our story to also give strength to those families who have endured what we have endured. And maybe for that person who felt like Bridgette did on Sunday morning to know that there is hope and there are people who love them,” Marshall said.
Talking about Mental Health
- We don’t like to talk about mental health. We sure don’t like to talk about suicide.
- But if there’s a silver lining to the recent rash of prominent suicides (Robin Williams, Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain), it is that important conversations are starting to happen.
- Alabama Daily News contributor Will Whatley is sharing his story of struggles with mental health in a must-read, must share column.
- He writes about how he discovered and came to terms with his own mental health issues, and how he found a way to deal with them effectively.
- It’s one thing to say we need to talk about mental health. It’s another thing entirely to do it by sharing your own story. Read his brave and commendable column HERE.
3. What’s happening in Congress
- As predicted, the “compromise” immigration bill went down in flames yesterday.
- 112 House Republicans voted against it, despite President Trump urging them to pass it. That shows many are still very wary of being associated with the “A” word: amnesty.
- They’ll vote today or tomorrow on a narrow measure fixing the legal issues surrounding child/parent separations at the border.
- The annual bill authorizing programs for the Department of Defense is just a few steps away from the President’s desk.
- Two Alabama House Members – Rep. Mike Rogers and Rep. Bradley Byrne – have been appointed to the House-Senate Conference Committee that will work out the differences between the House and Senate-passed versions.
- Speaking of the military, the House is set to vote on the Defense Appropriations bill today.
- Rep. Martha Roby, who sits on Defense Appropriations, is trying to whip up votes for the measure and pointing how it supports the many military programs and projects in Alabama at places like Fort Rucker, Maxwell-Gunter AFB, Redstone Arsenal, Mobile’s LCS shipbuilding, etc.
- The Senate has begun the process of working through amendments to the Farm Bill.
- Everything from the controversial Conservation Reserve Program to tariffs to Cuba policy to all manner of food stamp changes could be debated and voted on the next few days.
- Ag Committee Chairman Pat Roberts wants the bill to pass before Congress breaks for the Fourth of July.
- Read more from POLITICO’s Liz Crampton.
4. Border bungle begets Baldwin bru ha ha
- The federal government could temporarily house as many as 25,000 immigrant children at air fields in Baldwin County.
- Lots of people are wildly opposed to that idea for various reasons. That means political leaders are, too.
- Congressman Bradley Byrne has been leading a fight to stop it.
- Now he has help from local officials as well. Baldwin County Commissioner Chris Elliott and Sheriff Hoss Mack are traveling to Washington, D.C. to make their case to DOD officials.
- Now the whole thing is a political bru ha ha along the coast.
- Two points: (1) It’s not the first time the feds have pitched this idea, and (2) efforts to push back can be effective.
- When the Pentagon & HHS wanted to use Maxwell-Gunter AFB to house immigrant children back in 2015, Rep. Martha Roby and others pushed back hard and were successful.
5. News Briefs
More Huntsville goodies
- The hits keep coming for the Rocket City. LG Electronics is going to build a $28 million solar panel plant there and create 160 jobs, Gov. Kay Ivey announced.
Mobile making moves
- The University of South Alabama wants to build an on-campus stadium. That makes a lot of sense because Ladd-Peebles is kind of falling apart.
- Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s plan to move the Mobile airport to the Brookley complex is one step closer to fruition. The Airport authority has deemed it feasible and will begin working on a master plan. That would give Mobile the rare downtown, cosmopolitan airport.
Trial gets going
- The trial of Balch & Bingham attorneys Joel Gilbert and Steve McKinney, and Drummond vice president David Roberson, is now fully underway in federal court.
- The prosecution gets to go first, and they are trying to prove the accused conspired to bribe former State Rep. Oliver Robinson to get local residents to oppose an EPA superfund site cleanup in Birmingham.
- In opening statements, the defense called Robinson, who pleaded guilty and is cooperating with prosecutors, a “cheater and a liar.”
- The trial is expected to last three or four weeks and the potential witness list is pretty crazy.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Attorney General Steve Marshall shares pain & grief of wife’s suicide.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Will Whatley: Mental heath struggles come with a stigma; let’s change that.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Justice Bill Pryor? A look at potential replacements for Justice Anthony Kennedy.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Justice Anthony Kennedy’s exit triggers epic Supreme Court clash.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – House rejects Republican immigration bill, despite Trump’s support.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – LG Electronics to build $28 million solar panel facility in Huntsville.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Equifax must boost security under new agreement with Alabama, other states.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Two taken to hospital after vehicle hit by Amtrak train.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Clean schools make for proud schools: Program aims to freshen up MPS campuses.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Meet the District 5 School Board candidates.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Health care will define the midterms. Donald Trump’s move to gut Obamacare guarantees it.
DOTHAN EAGLE – A watershed moment.
DECATUR DAILY – Calhoun program offering student a faster route to a good job.
DECATUR DAILY – Former lawmaker Micky Hammon expected to be released from prison.
DECATUR DAILY – Attorney: Charges against Henry ‘vague, confusing’.
FLORENCE TIMES DAILY – Poverty is everyone’s problem.
ANNISTON STAR – Time for our leaders to make mental health a top state priority.
AL.COM – Emails between Drummond executive, Balch attorneys shown in court.
AL.COM – Challenger says Rep. Alvin Holmes’ ‘absence notable’.
AL.COM – New Alabama math, reading and science tests coming in 2020.
AL.COM – Alabama AG Steve Marshall shares painful details of wife’s mental illness, suicide.
AL.COM – Ivey boots rail commissioner; he slams her anew.
AL.COM – ‘Political stunt’ or ‘doing his job’: Fiery debate over keeping immigration camp out of Alabama.
AL.COM – Supreme Court doesn’t settle Florida-Georgia water war.
AL.COM – $28M solar panel assembly plant coming to Alabama.
AL.COM – Alabama reaches highest-ever ranking for child health, remains in bottom 10.
AL.COM – Guards in Alabama maximum security prisons get 10 percent raise.
AL.COM – House protects Alabama’s role in NASA rocket propulsion.
WASHINGTON POST – Justice Kennedy, the pivotal swing vote on the Supreme Court, announces his retirement.
WASHINGTON POST – Republicans plan to confirm Trump’s Supreme Court pick before the November elections.
WASHINGTON POST – President Trump announces a major U.S. Steel expansion — that isn’t happening.
WASHINGTON POST – ‘Preparing for the worst’: Unions brace for loss of members and fees in wake of Supreme Court ruling.
NEW YORK TIMES – A Look at Some Potential Candidates to Replace Kennedy