10-20-2019  9:39 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Washington State to Vote on Affirmative Action Referendum

More than two decades after voters banned affirmative action, the question of whether one's minority status should be considered in state employment, contracting, colleges admissions is back on the ballot

Merkley Introduces Legislation that Protects Access to Health Care for Those Who Cannot Afford Bail

Under current law, individuals in custody who have not been convicted of a crime are denied Medicare, Medicaid, and veterans’ benefits

New County Hire Aims to Build Trust, Transparency Between Community and Public Safety Officials

Leneice Rice will serve as a liaison focused on documenting and reporting feedback from a community whose faith in law enforcement has been tested

Hank Willis Thomas Exhibit Opens at Portland Art Museum

One of the most important conceptual artists of our time, his works examine the representation of race and the politics of visual culture

NEWS BRIEFS

GFO Offers African Americans Help in Solving Family Mysteries

The Genealogical Forum of Oregon is holding an African American Special Interest Group Saturday, Oct. 19 ...

Third Annual NAMC-WA Gala Features Leader on Minority Business Development

The topic of the Washington Chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors' event was 'Community and Collaboration' ...

Building Bridges Event Aims to Strengthen Trust Between Communities

The 4th Annual Building Bridges of Understanding in Our Communities: Confronting Hate will be held in Tigard on...

The Black Man Project Kicks Off National Tour in Seattle

The first in a series of interactive conversations focused on Black men and vulnerability takes place in Seattle on October 25 ...

Protesters Rally in Ashland to Demand 'Impeach Trump Now'

Activists are rallying in Ashland Sunday Oct, 13 to demand impeachment proceedings ...

Leaking pipe in Northeast Portland releases sewage

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A sewer pipe in Northeast Portland leaked an estimated 1,000 gallons (3785 liters) of untreated sewer water into an embankment.The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services plugged the leak Saturday near I-84 and Northeast 21st...

Seattle's first Opportunity Zone development breaks ground

SEATTLE (AP) — The Opportunity Zones program was marketed as a way to help poor communities by offering major capital-gains tax breaks for investors to park their cash in 8,000 designated low-income census tracts.Instead, critics have labelled it a "tax scam," ''the latest example of urban...

Vaughn scores twice, Vandy upsets No. 22 Missouri 21-14

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Derek Mason wants it known he's the best coach for the Vanderbilt Commodores.Riley Neal came off the bench and threw a 21-yard touchdown to Cam Johnson with 8:57 left, and Vanderbilt upset No. 22 Missouri 21-14 on Saturday with a stifling defensive...

No. 22 Missouri heads to Vandy, 1st road trip since opener

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Missouri coach Barry Odom knows only too well the dangers of going on the road and how a few mistakes can prove very costly.While some of his players my not remember that stunning loss at Wyoming to open this season, Odom hasn't forgotten."We're going to treat it just...

OPINION

Atatiana Jefferson, Killed by Police Officer in Her Own Home

Atatiana Jefferson, a biology graduate who worked in the pharmaceutical industry and was contemplating becoming a doctor, lived a life of purpose that mattered ...

“Hell No!” That Is My Message to Those Who Would Divide Us 

Upon release from the South African jail, Nelson Mandela told UAW Local 600 members “It is you who have made the United States of America a superpower, a leader of the world" ...

Rep. Janelle Bynum Issues Response to the Latest Statement from Clackamas Town Center

State legislator questions official response after daughter questioned for ‘loitering’ in parking lot ...

Why Would HUD Gut Its Own Disparate Impact Rule?

"You can’t expand housing rights by limiting civil protections. The ’D’ in HUD doesn’t stand for ‘Discrimination’" ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

New Emmett Till marker dedicated to replace vandalized sign

GLENDORA, Miss. (AP) — A new bulletproof memorial to Emmett Till was dedicated Saturday in Mississippi after previous historical markers were repeatedly vandalized.The brutal slaying of the 14-year-old black teenager helped spur the civil rights movement more than 60 years ago.The...

Parents sue Virginia school district over racist 2017 video

HENRICO, Va. (AP) — The parents of a Virginia student who say their son was assaulted and bullied by his middle school football teammates in an incident captured on video two years ago are suing the school system.The video, which showed football players simulating sex acts on black students...

Team abandons FA Cup qualifier after racial abuse

LONDON (AP) — An FA Cup qualifier between Haringey Borough and Yeovil was abandoned Saturday when the home team walked off the field after one of its players was racially abused.Haringey, a London-based non-league club, walked off in the 64th minute after claims its Cameroonian goalkeeper...

ENTERTAINMENT

Naomi Wolf and publisher part ways amid delay of new book

NEW YORK (AP) — Naomi Wolf and her U.S. publisher have split up amid a dispute over her latest book, "Outrages."Wolf and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced separately Friday that they had "mutually and amicably agreed to part company" and that Houghton would not be releasing "Outrages."...

Jennifer Lawrence marries art dealer Cooke Maroney

NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) — Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence got married over the weekend in Rhode Island during a ceremony and reception studded with Hollywood stars.The "Hunger Games" star tied the knot with New York art dealer Cooke Maroney on Saturday at a Newport, Rhode Island,...

New HBO series 'Watchmen' hopes to match original's ambition

NEW YORK (AP) — Damon Lindelof didn't take lightly the challenge of adapting the most acclaimed graphic novel of all time.The "Lost" and "The Leftovers" co-creator was a fan of the revered "Watchmen" book ever since his father handed him the first few issues when he was 13 in the mid-1980s....

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Where you die can affect your chance of being an organ donor

WASHINGTON (AP) — If Roland Henry had died in a different part of the country, his organs might have been...

3 US soldiers killed in accident at Fort Stewart in Georgia

FORT STEWART, Ga. (AP) — U.S. Army officials say three soldiers were killed and three others were injured...

Kurds evacuate Syrian town in 1st pullout of cease-fire

AKCAKALE, Turkey (AP) — Dozens of vehicles rolled out of a besieged Syrian border town, evacuating Kurdish...

Canada's Conservatives offer bland option to Trudeau's flash

TORONTO (AP) — Even members of his own party say Canada's Conservative leader is bland.They tout it as a...

15 dead after Russian dam collapse floods dormitories

MOSCOW (AP) — At least 15 people are dead after a dam at a small Siberian gold mine collapsed and water...

Trump drops plan to host G-7 at Doral

WASHINGTON (AP) — Responding to stinging criticism, President Donald Trump on Saturday abruptly reversed...

McMenamins
Bill Mears CNN

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A federal civil rights law that has stood for generations needs to be modernized, the Supreme Court effectively ruled Tuesday.

In a 5-4 vote, justices limited the historic Voting Rights Act of 1965, which Congress passed during the height of America's volatile civil rights movement.

The court struck down a part of the law that uses a federal formula to determine which states and counties must undergo U.S. oversight of their voting procedures to prevent voter discrimination.

The ruling will make it tougher for the Obama administration to enforce the law, at least until Congress changes it.

Describing the ruling as a "setback," President Obama said in a statement that his "administration will continue to do everything in its power to ensure a fair and equal voting process."

Voting discrimination, he said, still exists, and the decision "upsets decades of well-established practices that help make sure voting is fair. And he called on Congress to "pass legislation to ensure every American has equal access to the polls."

The ruling said it's now up to Congress to revise the law to meet constitutional scrutiny.

"Our country has changed, and while any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to the current conditions," said Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the court's decision for the majority.

Key details of the ruling include:

• Section 4, the part of the law that was struck down, is the coverage formula the federal government uses to determine which states and counties are subject to continued oversight. Roberts said that formula from 1972 was outdated and unworkable.

• Section 5 of the law effectively cannot be enforced, because it relies heavily on the coverage formula. Civil rights groups say Section 5 has been an important tool to protect minority voters from local governments that would set unfair, shifting barriers to the polls. Without it, they warn, the very power and effect of the entire Voting Rights Act would crumble. But opponents of the provision counter it should not be enforced in areas where it can be argued that racial discrimination no longer exists.

• Under Section 5, any changes in voting laws and procedures in those covered states -- including much of the South -- had to be "precleared" with Washington. Such changes could have included something as simple as moving a polling place temporarily across the street.

The case arrived at the Supreme Court because officials in Shelby County, Alabama, filed suit against the federal government. The suit said monitoring of voting procedures under the law was overly burdensome and unwarranted.

The most recent congressional action on the formula was in 2006, when lawmakers reauthorized it.

"Congress could have updated the coverage formula at that time, but did not do so," wrote Roberts. "Its failure leaves us today with no choice but to declare Section 4 unconstitutional. The formula in that section can no longer be used as a basis for subjecting jurisdictions to preclearance."

The appeal presented the court and its shaky conservative majority with two of the most hotly debated issues in politics and constitutional law: race and federalism.

It was a major test of Washington's authority and the extent to which the federal government may consider vestiges of voting discrimination that may still linger, potentially keeping some minority voters disenfranchised.

In dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Congress reauthorized the Voting Rights Act seven years ago with "overwhelming bipartisan support."

"That determination of the body empowered to enforce the Civil Rights Amendments by appropriate legislation merits this court's utmost respect," she said. "In my judgment, the court errs egregiously by overriding Congress' decision."

She was supported by Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

The Obama administration had argued that states have gotten out of Section 5. In recent years, 31 cities and counties and Virginia successfully petitioned to be exempt from the preclearance requirements, though the rest of the state remains under federal oversight.

The Justice Department on Monday announced that Hanover County, north of Richmond, would also become exempt.

Shelby County, outside Birmingham, Alabama, did not make such a request and opposed Sections 4 and 5. It is 11% African-American, compared with 28% statewide.

Some conservative groups have argued that "ancient formulas" are being applied today, not to erase discrimination, but to benefit a particular political party. Some liberal activists counter that Section 5 and federal oversight are being demonized by many on the right for purely partisan gain, and to divide Americans again over race.

The case is Shelby County, AL v. Holder (12-96).

 

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