Welcome to another Friday, CivMixers. I hope you all had a lovely week and are planning on enjoying the nice weather this weekend.
Also – Happy National Coffee Day. For me, this is a favorite holiday. And really, one I celebrate most days privately…
I am currently housesitting for some friends, and with three dogs and a cat, it is still more quiet than my four-year-old, so I am in heaven. I mean, I love the munchkin, but sometimes I want to be able to have silence or watch a show with cussing and lots of violence.
Currently, I am re-watching Jessica Jones on Netflix. I definitely can’t watch it with the munchkin around. So, I am happy. It is the little things.
It has been another exciting week, so let’s jump in and see what headlines will close things out for us in 5 Things.
1) Multiple sources have confirmed that President Trump has settled on the nominee he intends to put forward to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Though administration has refused to comment on the murmurings, it is all but confirmed that Trump will nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the 7th District U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Barrett is a staunch conservative – basically the opposite of RBG in every way. If Barrett is nominated and confirmed, she will be Trump’s third appointee to the high court. It would completely change the make-up of the bench, making the conservatives a majority and nullifying the swing vote position that Chief Justice John Roberts currently holds.
As recently as 2016, Barrett said that replacing Justice Scalia with a liberal would flip the power of the court drastically – something she opposed.
If Trump announces formally announces his nominee this weekend, as is expected, it will be only a week after Ginsburg’s death. He is pushing for Senate Republicans to vote prior to the Nov. 3 election, and it appears they have the numbers necessary for a confirmation.
2) Around the country, millions of Americans are still suffering the effects of the COVID pandemic – both physically and financially. As so many people try to make ends meet, keep a roof over their heads and food in their families’ stomachs landlords are challenging the national eviction moratorium that they say is straining their business, costing them money, and violating their rights.
At last count, no fewer than 26 lawsuits along these lines have been filed, some of which include federal challenges to the decree handed down by Trump via the CDC that would prevent restarting evictions until 2021.
Seven separate landlords from Memphis, TN, control over 5,000 different units, all sued just this month alone. They have accused federal officials, including the President, of violating their constitutional rights to due process and illegally preempting existing state laws.
A similar suit has been filed in Ohio, and the National Apartment Association also joined another lawsuit like it in Georgia – all in September.
The CDC directive was effective as of Sept. 4, and is drawn from their existing power to do what they have to, including extreme measures, to protect public health. They correlated the current state of the country to previous health crises that have caused similar government responses. They also pointed out that evictions restarting could aide in the spread of COVID.
Housing advocates agree with the decision, worried that if evictions were to begin again now, homelessness would spike, and shelters would overflow. All of this would add to the spread of the disease and other issues caused by the pandemic.
There are requirements to qualify for the moratorium. There are income limits, conditions to seek aide from all programs and affirm both that they have nowhere to go if evicted and unable to pay directly due to COVID.
Though the CDC directive came just as many existing protections were expiring, it has only put a band-aid on a growing issue. Without real help, the eviction moratorium is only delaying mass evictions, and without more aid for those now unemployed, the displacements are inevitable.
3) In upstate, a small hamlet called Swastika has voted to keep its name, though there have been complaints about its history and symbolism.
The Swastika, as is widely known, has been a symbol of hate and intolerance since the Nazi regime adopted it as its symbol. The symbol has since been associated with anti-Semitism and has been used by multiple hate groups to intimidate and scare not just Jews but members of many other marginalized communities.
The hamlet of Swastika is located in the town of Black Brook in the Adirondack Park. It is 35 miles from the Canadian border.
Though the small, unincorporated area has been known as Swastika for over a century, long before the Nazis rose to power, the town council recently seriously considered changing its name. A visitor to the area from New York City filed a complaint that said the name was offensive in general and incredibly disrespectful to any WW II vets that may be buried in the nearby cemeteries.
The Council met Sept. 14 and unanimously voted down a name change. When announcing their decision, they said that they are sorry that people fro outside of the area are willing to complain about their hamlet’s name without knowing its history.
State Sen. James Skoufis responded to the decision, publicly asking if the decision may have been different if one of the council members had been Jewish, and announced that he will be introducing a bill to ban the use of the name.
4) The man who has been accused of firing the shot that killed Ayshawn Davis, 11, was last in the custody of police on June 8 of this year. A scant four and a half months ago, Jahquay Brown was in the Albany County Correctional Facility on a charge of Robbery 2.
According to Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple, Brown was released after only four hours in custody due to recent bail legislation changes.
The District Attorney of Albany County has also confirmed that Brown had been arrested in Sept 2019 after being identified as a driver in a drive-by shooting on Third Street and Thornton. In January 2020, Brown was arrested and charged with felony Gang Assault in Colonie.
The DA also said that on Oct. 11 this past year, Brown was shot in the head while on First Street in Albany.
5) Today, Schenectady became the first area in New York to host a drive-in naturalization ceremony. The ceremony was in the rear parking lot of Schenectady County Community College, and 43 immigrants showed up.
In the 4th judicial district, the last naturalization ceremony was this past February. Before COVID, the district held a ceremony once a month and never had fewer than 35 people show up.
Justice Mark Powers from the state Supreme Court presided over the event, and Schenectady County Clerk Cara M. Ackerley gave the oath of citizenship.
Ackerley was instrumental in making sure the ceremony happened today, working with both US Citizenship and Immigration Services and with the NYS Office of Court Administration to pull it off.
Stay steady, stay strong, stay safe.
Photo credit: George Fazio.