U.S. Reopens Probe Into 1955 Killing of Emmett Till

following the publication last year of “The Blood of Emmett Till,” a book that says a key figure in the case acknowledged lying about events preceding the slaying of the 14-year-old youth from Chicago.

The book, by Timothy B. Tyson, quotes a white woman, Carolyn Donham, as acknowledging during a 2008 interview that she wasn’t truthful when she testified that Emmett grabbed her, whistled and made sexual advances at a store in 1955.

Two white men—Ms. Donham’s then-husband Roy Bryant and his half-brother J.W. Milam —were charged with murder but acquitted in the slaying of Emmett, who had been staying with relatives in northern Mississippi at the time. The men later confessed to the crime in a magazine interview but weren’t retried. Both are now dead.

.. Ms. Donham, who turns 84 this month, lives in Raleigh, N.C.
.. Images of his mutilated body in the casket gave witness to the depth of racial hatred in the Deep South and helped build momentum for subsequent civil rights campaigns.

.. Ms. Donham, then known as Carolyn Bryant and 21 years old at the time, testified in 1955 as a prospective defense witness in the trial of Messrs. Bryant and Milam. With jurors out of the courtroom, she said a “nigger man” she didn’t know took her by the arm.

“Just what did he say when he grabbed your hand?” defense attorney Sidney Carlton asked, according to a trial transcript released by the FBI a decade ago.

“He said, ‘How about a date, baby?’” she testified. Ms. Bryant said she pulled away, and moments later the young man “caught me at the cash register,” grasping her around the waist with both hands and pulling her toward him.

“He said, ‘What’s the matter baby, can’t you take it?’” she testified. Ms. Bryant also said he told her, “You don’t need to be afraid of me,” claiming that he used an obscenity and mentioned something he had done “with white women before.”

.. In the book, Mr. Tyson wrote that Ms. Donham told him her testimony about Emmett’s accosting her wasn’t true.

“Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him,” the book quotes her as saying.

Family separation lawsuit offers chilling details as Trump administration says it will fulfill federal court order

First of all, 15-by-15 size cells with 30 to 50 adults, sometimes children in them as well, with one toilet usually for those people to share. Usually, there’s some privacy. However, it’s still in the same room. And children and adults sharing that space. They’re called iceboxes.

Many, many people of these refer them as so cold that they had to huddle together on cement floors. We also have some very gripping and frankly difficult-to-read personal testimonies. I want to point to one of them.

This is from a mother whose 14-month-old child was separated from her and from the father. They were reunited after 85 days. She wrote- “The child continued to cry when we got home and would hold on to my leg and would not let me go. When I took off his clothes, he was full of dirt and lice. It seemed like they had not bathed him the 85 days he was away from us.”

She went on to say that she had thought, her child being so young, he wouldn’t have really significant effects from the separation. But when she was reunited with him, she’s worried that now actually he is really feeling and has changed because of the separation.

.. Throughout this, we see allegations of racial slurs, guards calling some of these immigrants stupid, and some very particularly troubling accusations, like this one from this mother.She wrote- “One of the officers asked me in Guatemala,” her home country, “‘Do they celebrate Mother’s Day?’ When I answered yes, he said, ‘Then Happy Mother’s day,’ because the next Sunday was Mother’s Day. I lowered my head,” she wrote, “so that my daughter wouldn’t see the tears forming in my eyes. That particular act of cruelty astonished me.”

‘Access to Literacy’ Is Not a Constitutional Right, Judge in Detroit Rules

Do students at poorly performing schools have a constitutional right to a better education?

On Friday, a Federal District Court judge in Michigan decided that they did not when he dismissed a class-action lawsuit filed by students at troubled schools in Detroit.

The suit, filed in September 2016, argued that students at some of the city’s most underperforming schools — serving mostly racial minorities — had been denied “access to literacy” because of underfunding, mismanagement and discrimination.

The complaint described schools that were overcrowded with students but lacking in teachers; courses without basic resources like books and pencils; and classrooms that were bitingly cold in the winter, stiflingly hot in the summer and infested with rats and insects.

Conditions like those, the lawsuit said, contributed to dismal test scores and left students woefully underprepared for life after high school.

“The abysmal conditions and appalling outcomes in plaintiffs’ schools are unprecedented,” the complaint said. “And they would be unthinkable in schools serving predominantly white, affluent student populations.”

.. Judge Stephen J. Murphy III said that “access to literacy” — which he also referred to as a “minimally adequate education” — was not a fundamental right. And he said the lawsuit had failed to show that the state had practiced overt racial discrimination.

But he conceded that the conditions at some Detroit schools were “nothing short of devastating.”

.. “Historically, access to literacy has been a tool to subordinate certain groups and certain communities and to keep those communities down,” he said.

.. A dilapidated history book at Osborn High School with a publication date of 1998, in photographs provided by a law firm.

.. He also agreed that giving students the opportunity to learn to read was “of incalculable importance,” adding that some level of literacy was necessary for voting, applying for a job and securing a place to live.

.. “But those points do not necessarily make access to literacy a fundamental right,” he said.

.. Paul Tractenberg, an expert in education and constitutional law and a professor emeritus at Rutgers Law School, said lawsuits like this one are typically filed — and have a better chance of success — in state-level courts.

“In theory, it would be a great breakthrough to have the federal courts recognize education as a fundamental right,” he said. “But I see no chance of that happening in my lifetime.”

Louie Gohmert

Gohmert stated in a House Judiciary Hearing on May 15, 2013, that he believed the FBI did not act with due diligence concerning alleged bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. His contention was that the FBI was more interested in Christian groups such as those led by Billy and Franklin Graham than in groups that might be considered less politically correct to target. Attorney General Eric Holder responded to his claims: “The only observation I was going to make is that you state as a matter of fact what the FBI did and did not do. Unless somebody has done something inappropriate, you don’t have access to the FBI files … I know what the FBI did. You cannot know what I know. That’s all”. Gohmert objected to this on the grounds that Holder had “challenge[d]” his character and made several unsuccessful attempts to inject his viewpoint as a point of personal privilege.[14]

.. On January 4, 2015, Gohmert announced he would formally challenge Speaker John Boehner for the Speaker of the House position in the 2015 election. He announced the move on Fox & Friends Weekend. He lost to Boehner two days later, on January 6.[1][17]

.. In July 2015, Gohmert delivered a speech to the U.S. Congress in which he called upon the Democratic Party to disband due to its historical support of slavery and racism.[18][19]

.. Gohmert expressed fear that he might become the target of gun violence similar to that experienced by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and refused to hold public town hall meetings.[20]

.. He was one of a number of Republicans who voted against the Budget Control Act of 2011 on grounds it did not do enough to deal with the government’s growing debt.[23]

.. Gohmert does not believe in manmade climate change, and has asserted that data supporting the theory is fraudulent.[28]

.. On August 12, 2010, Gohmert appeared on Anderson Cooper 360° to defend comments he had recently made on the floor of the House regarding “terror babies”. In a speech about national security made on the House floor in June 2010,[42] Gohmert stated that a retired FBI agent had told him that one of the things the FBI had been looking at were terrorist cells overseas sending young women to become pregnant so they would deliver the baby in the United States, and then take the baby with them back to be raised as a terrorist. When adult, this operative—a U.S. citizen by birth—could be easily infiltrated in the U.S. to carry out terrorist actions.[43]

.. In the interview, Gohmert asserted that pregnant women from the Middle East are traveling to the US on tourist visas, planning to deliver the child there.[45]

.. Representative Gohmert was one of three Republicans who called for the resignation of Robert Mueller, the prosecutor investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, on the grounds that he can not conduct his investigation fairly because of his conduct as a prosecutor and as acting director of the FBI.[58][59]