Good morning, everyone.
1. Federal judge issues injunction preventing UNC from enforcing HB 2
Late Friday afternoon, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Schroeder granted an injunction against HB 2. Our own Lily Carollo reports:
“It is important to emphasize that this injunction returns the parties to the status quo ante as it existed in Title IX facilities prior to Part I’s passage in March 2016,” Judge Schroeder wrote in his ruling. “On the current record, there is no reason to believe that a return to the status quo ante pending a trial on the merits will compromise the important State interests asserted.”
In a statement released shortly after news of the ruling broke, the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, the organization representing the transgender plaintiffs, had this to say: “This ruling is an important first step to make sure that thousands of LGBT people who call North Carolina home—particularly transgender people—get the privacy, respect, and protections afforded others in the state. As we prepare for trial, we are more determined than ever to ensure equal justice for all North Carolinians.”
The decision bars the UNC system from enforcing HB 2 against the three plaintiffs* before the final trial; you can read the full ruling over at the blog linked above.
Schroeder is a George W. Bush appointee, and is known for ruling in favor of the state in the voter ID case back in April. But during the hearing for the injunction earlier this month, even Schroeder couldn’t hide his skepticism when North Carolina’s lawyers tried to explain the law:
“A transgender female who dresses as a female, lives life as a female, and, to all outward appearances, is female is now supposed to use a men’s bathroom,” Schroeder mused. “How on earth is that supposed to work?”
“Partially by single-occupancy bathrooms, which admittedly are not available in all instances,” Bowers replied. “And this would be purely speculation on my part: some transgender individuals will continue to use the bathrooms they always have.”
“They would be violating the law,” Schroeder shot back.
“There’s no enforcement,” Bowers admitted.
“Then why have a law?” the judge asked. Barely suppressed laughter could be heard in the gallery.
The HB 2 trial is scheduled to begin November 14. If both Friday’s ruling and recent polling are any indication, it could be a long winter for North Carolina Republicans.
2. Darryl Howard’s lawyers seek sanctions for prosecutorial misconduct
Disgrace former Durham D.A. Mike Nifong may find himself back in a Durham courtroom, this time to testify about how he handled Darryl Howard’s case in 1995 when he was a Durham County prosecutor.
From the N&O:
Howard, 54, saw his conviction overturned by Durham County’s chief resident Superior Court judge in May 2014, then reinstated by the state Court of Appeals this past April after the three-judge appellate panel found procedural problems with how the jury verdict was vacated.
The case, which has won the backing of the Innocence Project, a national organization dedicated to exonerating the wrongfully convicted through DNA testing, brings more arguments of prosecutorial and police misconduct in Durham, a city still stinging from similar problems highlighted by the Duke University lacrosse case.
Nifong, the prosecutor at trial, repeated the investigator’s claim to the jury during his closing arguments and suggested that the sperm on the teen was the result of consensual sex before the murder.
Those claims by Nifong and Dowdy were contradicted by a police memo that was in law enforcement files but not turned over to trial attorneys representing Howard.
3. Donald Trump’s racism runs in the family
On Saturday, the New York Times published an investigation into Donald Trump’s long history of housing bias against black people. Trump, his father Fred, and the Trump Management Company were sued by the federal government in 1973 for housing discrimination.
The piece is well worth a read.
She seemed like the model tenant. A 33-year-old nurse who was living at the Y.W.C.A. in Harlem, she had come to rent a one-bedroom at the still-unfinished Wilshire Apartments in the Jamaica Estates neighborhood of Queens. She filled out what the rental agent remembers as a “beautiful application.” She did not even want to look at the unit.
There was just one hitch: Maxine Brown was black.
Stanley Leibowitz, the rental agent, talked to his boss, Fred C. Trump.
“I asked him what to do and he says, ‘Take the application and put it in a drawer and leave it there,’” Mr. Leibowitz, now 88, recalled in an interview.
It’s a good thing the Times published this on Saturday, because on the same day, they posted the ultimate “gotta-hear-both-sides” piece about Trump’s awful commentary on Dwyane Wade’s cousin’s death. Give it a read and judge for yourself:
The tweet, which was deleted and then re-posted because the original one spelled Dwyane Wade’s name wrong:
His case to black voters is that minority communities have suffered because of failed Democratic policies, and that they should support his candidacy.
“What the hell do you have to lose?” he has said frequently over the past week in a rhetorical question aimed at African-Americans.
He has paid particular attention to Chicago, a city plagued by a seemingly endless spate of shootings and gun violence.
Mr. Trump has had a penchant for using tragedies to illustrate his campaign’s message. After the June attack in an Orlando nightclub, Mr. Trump wrote: “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!”
Since we’re not bound by an arbitrary standard of objectivity, here’s another take: Trump is a grifter whose “case to black voters” is almost always made to overwhelmingly white audiences. And, even if we entertained the thought that Trump has a vested interest in the votes of anyone who hasn’t burned a Colin Kaepernick jersey, it sure as hell isn’t working.
Trump’s outreach to African American voters appears to be falling flat among that demographic, with only 5 percent of black voters saying they will vote for Trump; 79 percent of African American respondents say they will vote for Clinton, with 16 percent undecided.
Only seventy-one more days until Trump crawls back into the shit-splattered toilet he slithered out of and goes away forever. Hopefully.
4. Twenty-four NC counties, including Wake and Orange, still don’t have a set early voting plan.
Not surprisingly, it’s a mess. From the AP:
Local boards in 66 of the state’s 100 counties approved their updated plans, according to data provided Friday by the State Board of Elections. Those plans are now essentially finalized.
But 24 counties provided two plans – one approved by a majority on each three-member board and the other backed by a single member. Those counties include several of the state’s largest: Mecklenburg, Wake, New Hanover, Pitt and Union. The Orange County board offered four plans.
Two of the three members on each county board are Republican because Gov. Pat McCrory is a Republican. The other is a Democrat.
The competing plans in each county now go to the State Board of Elections, which makes the final decision. The five-member board could meet in the next two weeks, board attorney Josh Lawson said Friday. Three of the five state board members are Republicans.
5. Back to school
Most public schools, including those in Wake, Durham, Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Orange County, and Johnston County, start classes again today. Some hot tips, courtesy of the N&O:
Now, a word about school buses that just sit there in the middle of traffic showing off their red flashing lights: That’s your cue, dear driver, to come to a dead stop. This year, Wake school officials will equip 17 buses with stop-arm cameras to collect evidence on violators. The filmed evidence will be provided to law enforcement authorities.
The cameras are rotated on different buses, based on reports of violations. Consider yourself forewarned. […]
Wake school officials also point out other changes. For the first time in six years, the cost of school meals has gone up.
The 25-cent increase brings the cost of elementary breakfasts to $1.25 and lunches to $2.25. High school breakfasts will increase to $1.50 and lunches to $2.50.
False reports of gunfire at Los Angeles International Airport sent panicked passengers running from terminals and onto the tarmac on Sunday night.
Police responded to 911 calls of shots fired at the airport but later said the reports were unfounded and there had been no gunfire or injuries.
“Reports of a shooting incident at LAX have been proven to be loud noises only,” the Los Angeles Police Department said about 45 minutes after the reports sparked chaos at the airport.
Multiple 911 calls came in from several locations at the airport about gunfire at around 8:45 p.m. local time (11:45 p.m. ET), several law-enforcement sources told NBC News. They said the calls came from terminals 4, 7, and 8.
People poured out of Terminal 4 onto the tarmac, and a security officer was overheard saying “shots fired.” One person told NBC News she heard “pops” in Terminal 4, while others recounted hearing shouts of “run!”
That’s it. Have a good one.
This post has been updated to clarify that the preliminary injunction only covered the three plaintiffs in the case. The ACLU filed an appeal “seeking broader relief” for all transgender North Carolinians on Sunday.