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Greg BluesteinTamar Hallerman

John Lewis wins the day with Late Show crowd surf

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We didn’t know this needed to exist but we’re quite glad it does.

Longtime Atlanta congressman John Lewis has done a lot of things in his life: he spoke at the March on Washington (and its 50th anniversary celebration), nearly died while protesting for civil rights on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma and more recently penned a trio of highly-regarded comic books and coordinated a congressional sit-in to protest the lack of action gun violence.

Now the septuagenarian can add crowd surfing on late night television to his “completed” column. (Apparently it’s a thing now on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show).

Lewis also defended Colin Kaepernick’s decision not to stand for the national anthem at a recent preseason football game. (The San Francisco 49ers quarterback said the move was a protest for what he sees as systematic oppression of blacks and other minorities.)

Said Lewis:

“You have a right to protest. It is protected by our Constitution. You have a right to dissent. Dr. King said you have a right to protest for what is right. So this young man, this football player is acting according to the dictates of his conscience and we should support him.”

Watch Colbert’s full interview with Lewis here:

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This might not go over well.

Georgia Southern University Police Chief Laura McCullough told officers to leave their weapons at home if they attend a football game at Paulson Stadium when off-duty. The All on Georgia website notes that the Saturday home opener is also military appreciation day.

A post-script from the site:

Federal and state law are muddy about whether or not off-duty officers can carry on college campuses and this further demonstrates the inconsistency of those laws. The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) was passed several years ago by Congress and permits on and off-duty officers to carry anywhere, legally, with the exception of an airplane and national parks. Still, judicial discretion has led to rulings in favor of officers.

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Two weeks before angry opposition to Newton County’s proposed mosque made national headlines, local officials exchanged confused and sometimes panicked emails with each other and constituents.

Our colleague Chris Joyner’s behind-the-scenes look is certainly worth a read:

Newton County commissioners received and sent dozens of emails about the proposed mosque, beginning Aug. 9 when a local newspaper posted a short story about it online. The emails, released under Georgia’s open records laws, show commissioners were caught unaware of the project and struggling to come to grips with local reaction.

Read the full story here. 

County commissioners voted to temporarily block permits for new places of worship last month. A Muslim advocacy group said federal prosecutors have taken the first step toward opening an investigation into that decision.

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The scorched rhetoric over late Justice Antonin Scalia’s still-vacant Supreme Court seat rages on in Washington, as do the consequences of having a split, even-numbered bench.

The latest case impacted involves voting rights in North Carolina. From the New York Times:

A deadlocked Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to revive parts of a restrictive North Carolina voting law that a federal appeals court had struck down as an unconstitutional effort to “target African Americans with almost surgical precision.”

North Carolina’s law, which imposed an array of voting restrictions, including new voter identification requirements, was enacted by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature in 2013. It was part of a wave of voting restrictions enacted after a 5-to-4 Supreme Court decision that effectively struck down a central part of the federal Voting Rights Act, weakening federal oversight of voting rights.

Challenges to the laws have met with considerable success in recent months, and Wednesday’s development suggested that the current eight-member Supreme Court is not likely to undo those victories.

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“You need to see this.”

That’s the lead-in to Sen. Johnny Isakson’s latest fundraising email, warning of an impending runoff with Democrat Jim Barksdale if the incumbent doesn’t top 50 percent.

“We need to win across the board in Georgia, period. Don’t forget, if Johnny doesn’t get to 50 percent, we are heading to a nine-week runoff,” read the letter. “Not only would that be expensive, but that means political ads as we watch ‘A Christmas Story’ and toast the New Year. And who wants that?”

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