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Posts tagged Alabama

The power to regulate is the power to destroy.

I had some far-off hopes that the general atmosphere of backstabbing chaos currently reigning within the state GOP might have derailed the awful abortion bills pending in the Alabama legislature from moving forward. Unfortunately not; the majorities managed to put everything else aside and force through a vote before the end of the session, and just sent the governor two bills directly intended to obstruct abortion access in the state of Alabama. They haven’t yet been signed into law, and are awaiting the governor’s approval. Here is the latest in Alabama Republican reproductive regulation:

  • SB 363 is a procedure ban on Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) abortions. Since 2015, a number of state anti-abortion outfits have been pushing these bills (here called Dismemberment Abortions, a propagandistic phrase coined by anti-abortion activists, parallel to the coining and use of Partial Birth Abortion to push Intact Dilation and Extraction procedure bans over the last two decades). Since they already won a federal prohibition on the most common procedure used for second-trimester abortions after 20 weeks, they’re now pushing for state prohibitions on the most common procedure used for second-trimester abortions before 20 weeks.[1] If they have their way, some day it will be technically legal to get an abortion in the state of Alabama, it’ll just be illegal to use any actually existing medical technique to get one.

  • SB 205 is a bizarre TRAP law that would prohibit the Alabama Department of Health from issuing or renewing licenses to abortion clinics located within 2,000 feet or less of a public school. This is the same perimeter that the state uses to exclude convicted sex offenders from living or working near a school. The bill’s sponsor claims that it is intended to prevent children from seeing the chaos that surrounds abortion clinics. By chaos, he means anti-abortion protesters; when a howling crowd of anti-abortion protesters harasses your building every business day, Republican state legislators decide that instead of convincing the anti-abortion to move, you have to pick up and move your building. The bill appears deliberately designed to force two of the five clinics in the state (Huntsville and Tuscaloosa) to shut down temporarily and undergo the expense of relocating. The Huntsville clinic in particular is in its current location, near a public middle school, because two years ago the state legislature forced it to close down and relocate there from its former downtown location with a previous TRAP law mandating special building standards for abortion clinics which were impossible to meet in their downtown location. So forcing them to shut their doors for months and relocate to their present location near a Huntsville middle school, the state legislature turns around and says Ha, nope, not there. Some day, if they have their way, you’ll technically be legally permitted to get an abortion in Alabama, it’s just that there will be not a square inch of land left in the state where anyone can actually operate a clinic.

These bills continue years of a deliberate policy of harassment by constant, ever-changing, unpredictable, ever-more-invasive hyperregulation of clinics, by anti-abortion legislators who pile on layer after layer of invasive hyperregulation, with an overt intent to destroy de facto access to abortion in Alabama without ever enacting a formal de jure ban that would be overturned in court. While politicians continue to pretend that abortion rights aree primarily a political battle conducted between those who favor permissive policies and those who favor restrictive policies, in real life, on the ground, the most dangerous threat to abortion and reproductive healthcare is the ever-growing, ever-shifting expansive power of the state to harass and regulate providers out of existence through licensure requirements and invasive, micromanaging targeted regulation.

The ACLU has a petition up urging the governor to veto these invasive laws:

Shared Article from American Civil Liberties Union

Stop Alabama's Attack on Abortion

Tell Alabama's Governor Robert Bentley to care about women's lives and safety and veto two anti-abortion bills - add your name now.

action.aclu.org


  1. [1]There are no exceptions to the ban for pregnancies that resulted from rape or incest, there is no general exception for abortions necessary for the health of the mother; the only exception is that the procedure is allowed only if necessary to prevent serious health risk, defined in the text as meaning a condition that so complicates her medical condition that it necessitates the abortion of her pregnancy to avert her death or to avert serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.

Delendus iterum est.

Good. Let’s re-impeach Judge Roy Moore.

For the second time in his career, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore faces charges before the Alabama Court of the Judiciary and potential removal from office.

Until that court hears and rules on those charges, Moore will be suspended with pay from his position atop the state’s highest court.

On Friday, the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission forwarded charges to the commission, accusing the chief justice of violating judicial ethics in his opposition to same-sex marriage.

— Roy Moore suspended from office: Alabama chief justice faces removal over gay marriage stance

Shared Article from AL.com

Roy Moore suspended from office: Alabama chief justice faces rem…

Second time Moore has faced such charges

al.com


Abolish the Chief Justice. Impeach everybody. One branch down, two more to go.[1]

  1. [1]Roy Moore is (or, I hope, has been, was) Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Governor Robert Bentley, head of the executive branch of government in the state of Alabama, is currently facing possible impeachment proceedings in the Alabama legislature. Alabama Representative Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn), Chair of the State GOP and Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives, one of the most powerful men in the legislative branch, has been indicted on numerous ethics violations and is scheduled to go on trial in just over a week. Qué se vayan todos.

Disobey

Here's a black and white  photo of a group of black youths, standing in a park with their arms outstretched, facing the blast of a water cannon from the right.
Kelly Ingram Park, Birmingham, Ala.
3 May 1963

Fifty-three years ago today, — one day after the start of the Children’s Crusade marches, — black youth were in the streets in Birmingham to march on City Hall and protest Jim Crow in one of the best-known protest marches in American history. They stood up against Mayor Art Haynes and Public Safety Commissioner Eugene Connor and his police and his fire department and the whole violent system of Jim Crow. They filled the jails and they kept marching. Desperate, Bull Connor ordered police and firemen to turn police dogs and water cannons on the kids in the street.

In the end, the kids in the street won, and the white power establishment, the segregationist politicians and the Public Safety Commissioners and the police lost.

This photograph is from Kelly Ingram Park, Birmingham, Alabama, May 3, 1963. It was taken by Bob Adelman.

Impeach Everybody

Excellent. Bring it on. Let’s re-impeach Chief Justice Roy Moore.

. . . Moore insisted Wednesday that his hastily called news conference was merely an opportunity for him to address the many complaints against him and not an indication that charges from the Judicial Inquiry Commission were forthcoming.

However, a source familiar with Moore’s case said Tuesday that the JIC had completed its review and was in the process of bringing charges against the chief justice. It would be the second time such charges were brought – the first coming in 2003 when Moore defied a federal court order to remove a large Ten Commandments statue from the judicial building.

A complaint filed by Southern Poverty Law Center president Richard Cohen against Moore appears to be the primary focus of the JIC charges, according to the source. Cohen’s complaint was several pages long and provided exhibits detailing specific instances in which Cohen believed Moore violated certain canons of judicial ethics.

Moore and Staver dismissed Cohen’s complaint as politically motivated and quickly tied the SPLC to a known transvestite named Ambrosia Starling. Moore went a step farther while discussing Starling’s officiating of a mock same-sex wedding on the judicial building steps, saying that transsexualism is a known mental illness.

–Josh Moon, Moore: Judicial complaints are politically motivated
Montgomery Advertiser, 27 April 2016

And hell, while you’re at it, why not —

Let’s impeach the Governor, too. Come on, y’all only need 11 more signatures.

MONTGOMERY, AL (WBRC) – The Alabama House of Representatives voted to set up a process for impeachment, but added a rule that may have killed articles of impeachment currently pending in the legislative session.

House members voted 78 – 14 to approve a resolution introduced by Rep. Matt Fridy, a Montevallo Republican, to create a process to handle impeachment legislation.

The resolution empowers the House Judiciary Committee to begin an investigation when 21 House members bring impeachment charges. The committee could meet at any time, even when the legislature is not in session.

. . . The requirement of 21 House members to bring impeachment charges was an amendment during the debate. The initial resolution called for 10 members to bring charges. Raising the number of co-sponsors may kill a bill by Rep. Ed Henry, a Hartselle Republican.

Rep. Henry currently has 11 co-sponsors on a bill listing four articles of impeachment against Gov. Robert Bentley. Henry says Gov. Bentley should be impeached for willful neglect of duty, corruption in office, incompetency and moral turpitude.

–Rick Journey, Ala. House sets up impeachment process but may have killed current impeachment bill against Bentley
WBRC FOX 6 News, 26 April 2016

There are few outcomes I can imagine that would be even better than once again removing Roy Moore from office, and paralyzing the state legislature in months of scorched-earth intra-party power struggles. ¡Que se vayan todos! Let’s impeach everybody.

Auburn Police Standards and the Shooting of Melissa Boarts

I picked up a copy of the most recent Plainsman the other day on my way to an appointment on campus. Behold the most predictable headline in the history of newspaper headlines.

Here's a copy of the front page of the Auburn Plainsman, with the headline "AUBURN POLICE SAY SHOOTING JUSTIFIED."

It’s a reference to the Auburn police who followed, confronted and killed Melissa Boarts on the highway last week. The police were following her because her parents called 911 out of fear that Melissa might be suicidal. The police followed her for miles until she stopped, then they saved her from harming herself by confronting her and shooting her to death.

The headline is more predictable than Dog Bites Man. If you programmed a Police Shooting Response robot that took police shooting reports as input and produced a claim of justification 100% of the time, only filling in the blanks with facts taken from the input and not adjusting the template in the slightest, you’d get the same headlines that you actually get from local police statements. Based on the extremely limited information that has been released so far, it’s possible that the police went overboard even by their own standards; it’s also perfectly possible that when the dash cam and body cam footage is released, it will turn out that the killing meets the police’s internal standards for justification — but if so, the police standards themselves are the problem. We don’t know how much police officers knew about how she was armed. The weapon that La Jura keeps talking about, always as a quote-unquote weapon without further clarification, was actually a small knife. Melissa’s parents and their lawyer say that they told the 911 dispatch that she had a knife; police claim that when she got out of the car they didn’t know what weapon she had in her hand. It may be that she brandished the knife in a way that would meet the police’s policies for using lethal force against her. But if so, then morally I think the problem with police procedures is that they take no real account of who initiated the confrontation, who escalated it, what other less-forceful options were available. We have here a case in which police pursued a woman who had committed no crime, followed her car for miles out of their own jurisdiction and into Macon County, cornered her when they were told she was upset and panicked and lightly armed, and then shot her to death when, they claim, she charged them. For ordinary people like you or me, a claim of self-defense requires that someone else is the aggressor; but police standards never take that into account.


Stories on the police shooting, what the police claim they knew, and what the family says they know about what happened, have appeared in the Huntsville Times (April 4), the Montgomery Advertiser (April 5), and The World According to Vladimir Putin (April 5). According to the Opelika-Auburn News (April 7), the family was desperately trying to reach Melissa’s car on the highway but the police cornered her and shot her before they could arrive; the OA News story also reports that there is both dash cam footage and body cam footage of the confrontation and the shooting. But the footage was given to the Alabama SBI, so that state police can investigate local police, and will not be released to the public until or unless the Macon County District Attorney decides that it should be. (The Macon County DA is putatively in charge of this decision because Auburn police followed her out of Auburn and pursued her on the highway into Macon County, where they shot her.)

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