Local News Roundup: Ripple effect of leaked Supreme Court draft opinion; $3.2 billion proposed budget for Charlotte; Cawthorn in the headlines again

The leaked draft Supreme Court opinion on the possible overturning of Roe vs. Wade has people talking all over the country about the potential impact of the ruling. We’ll talk about how overturning Roe vs. Wade would impact North and South Carolinians and what local people are saying about it.

No property tax increases are in the plan for the Charlotte’s new budget, with employee bonuses and raises at the top of a $3.2 billion proposed budget. We’ll talk about some of the budget details and reactions.

Madison Cawthorn continues to make headlines, this time after a nude video was released.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police holds a news conference calling attention to a series of sexual assault cases in Charlotte. We’ll talk about the cases highlighted and why.

And despite work to improve them, Mecklenburg County’s park system ranks among the worst in the country.

Mike Collins and our roundtable of reporters delve into those stories and all the week’s top local and regional news on the Charlotte Talks local news roundup.

Guests:

Erik Spanberg, managing editor for the Charlotte Business Journal

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com, host of the Rollcall podcast “Equal Time”

Claire Donnelly, WFAE health reporter

Joe Bruno, WSOC-TV reporter

Local News Roundup: NC, SC Senators question Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, CMS reading scores continue to fall

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee spent much of the week questioning Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina had their chance to engage the nominee, and in the case of Graham, it got quite heated. We’ll hear what both had to say.

Third grade reading scores are getting worse in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, even after students have returned to in-person classes. Preliminary testing indicates that less than 15% of all third graders are expected to hit the mark for academic success in reading this year.

That and other academic challenges serve as a backdrop for Superintendent Earnest Winston’s budget proposal this week. How the school system and board plan to approach spending strategies for meeting academic goals.

In the ongoing funding dispute between the city of Rock Hill and the Carolina Panthers, leaders in York County approved a plan for providing economic incentives for the headquarters project. What they’re offering, and what happens next.

Those stories and more with our roundtable of reporters.

Guests

Joe Bruno, reporter for WSOC-TV

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com, host of the Rollcall podcast “Equal Time”

Nick Ochsner, executive producer for investigations & chief investigative reporter for WBTV

Ann Doss Helms, education reporter for WFAE

A balancing act that’s worth it

In a brief mention in his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Joe Biden described his Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson as a “consensus builder” and touted her support from the Fraternal Order of Police, before moving on to other topics.

That was understandable in a time of war and division, overseas and closer to home. But that doesn’t mean that Jackson’s spot is guaranteed. As she makes the rounds this week, visiting with senators from both parties, it’s a reminder of the tightrope she must walk, the challenges she must overcome even as the rules in this high-stakes game keep changing.

As an African-American woman who has achieved much, she’s proved she is up to the task.

Understandably, many Black women in America celebrated when Biden fulfilled his campaign promise and nominated Judge Jackson to the Supreme Court. She would be the first Black woman on the nation’s highest court, though there have been many who were deserving, one of the most obvious being the first Black woman appointed to the federal bench, Constance Baker Motley, whose life and work are chronicled in the new book “Civil Rights Queen.”

Black women formed a strong part of the coalition that put Biden in the Oval Office and have been stalwart citizens throughout American history, on the forefront of human rights, civil rights and voting activism through icons such as Fannie Lou Hamer, Dorothy Height and Shirley Chisholm and so many others who never received the recognition they deserved.

I have a hunch that if former President Barack Obama had nominated Jackson, who reportedly was on his short list, instead of Merrick B. Garland to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the court, her almost-certain dis by Senate Republicans, led by then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, would have triggered a groundswell that would have carried Hillary Clinton into the White House.

Jackson, then and now, would have to be prepared for whatever might come her way during confirmation hearings, set to start March 21 before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

She’s already been subjected to a grilling from Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn. During her hearing last year for her spot on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Cornyn asked: “What role does race play, Judge Jackson, in the kind of judge you have been and the kind of judge you will be?”

Black women are Americans, and representation raises the bar — legal and otherwise

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was shocked and, indeed, insulted that anyone would ascribe even a hint of racist intent to his recent statement that divided the electorate into African Americans and Americans: “If you look at the statistics, African American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans.”

On the one hand, that outrage was pretty rich coming from the man who treated the first Black president of the United States as an annoyance to be dismissed or ignored, especially when that president attempted to appoint a Supreme Court justice, one of the duties of — the president of the United States.

On the other hand, the Republican senator from Kentucky was just doing what a whole lot of Americans do: Treat “white” as the default and everyone else as someone or something “other,” and, by statement or inference, someone or something “less.”

Of course, McConnell being McConnell, he “misspoke” while explaining his stand against the shrinking voting rights of Americans who only began to fully share in the franchise after a law passed by Congress in 1965 — one that came only after fierce debate and the bloody sacrifice of civil rights workers.

It’s Black History Month, Senate minority leader. Read a book, watch “Eyes on the Prize,” examine your own party’s Southern strategy. And do it before bills that would ban teachers from talking about race in a way that could make anyone uncomfortable make their way through the legislature in your home state of Kentucky.

It could be any month, though, as the pending appointment of the next Supreme Court justice by President Joe Biden has ushered in yet another round of “Let’s pretend that all those white, male judges were perfect and perfectly qualified and these Black women on the short list with long résumés and years of experience could never measure up.”

Only white men on the Supreme Court, well, that was the way it was. If merit and good character were criteria, Black women — and representatives of Americans of every race and gender and creed whose fate has been decided by the highest court in the land — would have been appointed to the court long ago. But in those days, years, decades and centuries, the “white” was silent, and understood.

Biden’s First Year Wins and Flops

On PBS Black Issues Forum, with host Deborah Holt Noel and panelists Steve Rao and Harold Eustache, weighing in on the first year in office for President Joe Biden and VP Kamala Harris and Biden’s plans to appoint the first Black woman to the Supreme Court.

Mary C. Curtis: Will A Supreme Court Justice Sway The Presidential Race?

CHARLOTTE, NC — In her first week on the job, Justice Amy Coney Barrett could be weighing in on a number of important cases piling up in the Supreme Court, including several related to next week’s election.

WCCB political contributor Mary C. Curtis weighs-in on what kind of impact Barrett could have on the presidential race.

Mary C. Curtis: Key Takeaways From Confirmation Hearings

CHARLOTTE, NC — Wednesday marks day three of confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee judge Amy Coney Barrett. WCCB political contributor Mary C. Curtis discusses the key takeaways so far.

Joe Biden, Clarence Thomas and Amy Coney Barrett with Angela Wright

It is not everyday that one person has a relationship to so many of the day’s main news stories, but Angela Wright has touched history as the woman not called to support Anita Hill when she testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee during Clarence Thomas’ confirmation hearings almost 30 years ago. Wright talks to Mary C. Curtis about former Vice President Joe Biden, #MeToo and the inner workings of a contentious Supreme Court battle.

POLITICAL WRAP: Previewing First Presidential Debate; Supreme Court Battle

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Two days to go before the much anticipated first debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

President Trump is now “strongly demanding” Biden take a drug test before or after the debate, calling his previous performances “uneven.”

Our political contributor Mary C. Curtis has a debate preview and the latest on the battle to fill the open seat on the Supreme Court.

The Heat: Pres. Trump Threatens to Challenge U.S. Election Results

With 38 days to go, the latest polls continue to show Donald Trump trailing his opponent Joe Biden in many key states. For weeks the U.S. president has repeated baseless claims that the election results would be a “big scam” because of the expected increased use of mail-in voting. Something, he says, is open to fraud.

Then earlier this week a new tactic – a threat not to honor the results.

For more, CGTN’s Nathan King reports from the  White House.

To Discuss:

  • Eric Bolling is a political commentator and the host of “America This Week” on Sinclair broadcasting.
  • Chris Prudhome is a Republican strategist and the president of Sunvision Strategies
  • Mary C. Curtis is in North Carolina. She’s a columnist for “Roll Call’ and host of the “Equal Time” podcast.
  • Christopher Hahn is political commentator and the host of “The Aggressive Progressive” podcast.