The Morning Roundup: Richard Burr Ain’t Budging from That Indefensible Position That Will Cost Him His Job | News
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Friday, March 18, 2016

The Morning Roundup: Richard Burr Ain’t Budging from That Indefensible Position That Will Cost Him His Job

Posted by on Fri, Mar 18, 2016 at 8:43 AM

It’s been gorgeous out all week, hasn’t it. Surely that will continue through the week—

Oh

click to enlarge screen_shot_2016-03-18_at_8.06.53_am.png

Thanks for nothing, Mother Nature. 

On to the Roundup. 

1. Richard Burr’s not backing down on SCOTUS. Burr, like most Senate Republicans, is still adamant that he will not consider a Merrick Garland’s appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court no matter his constitutional responsbilities, because something something voters something something. 

This is, by the way, an untenably stupid, incredibly indefensible position

In the weeks, if not months, ahead, we can expect the Republican Senate leadership to make the fight over the nomination about its timing, not said merit. Yet we already know that nearly 20 presidents have successfully made Supreme Court nominations in presidential election years or the few weeks before the following inauguration. Moreover, as Geoffrey Stone of the University of Chicago Law School has shown, the Senate has not, in the modern history of the court, failed to consider, much less failed to confirm, any well-qualified nominee whose ideology could be described as moderate and not extreme. And no one, before this day, has described Judge Garland in any other terms. 

More troublingly, this is a sign—like the rise of Trump—of how utterly broken the modern Republican Party is

This week, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill the Supreme Court seat left open by Justice Antonin Scalia's death. Garland leans left, but he's a clear compromise choice: older, more moderate, and with a long history of support from Republican senators.

As of now, Senate Republicans are refusing to give Garland — or any other Supreme Court nominee — so much as a hearing. Their position is, flatly, that they will refuse to confirm any nominee, no matter how qualified or appealing, until the next president is inaugurated.

In practice, what this means is they are hoping to hold the Supreme Court vacancy so it can be filled by ... President Donald Trump. They are refusing to do their institutional duty so that the decision can be made instead by a committed anti-institutionalist.

And now Democratic candidate Deborah Ross is calling him out on it. 

Good on her. And I suspect that, eight months from now, if Richard Burr finds himself out of office and we’re all getting used to the words “Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer,” Burr will look back at this moment and sigh. 

2. More evidence Durham policing has a racial problem. In this week’s issue, we told you that 90 percent of the people Durham cops charge with resisting arrest are African American. And now, the N&O reports on a study that found wide-ranging racial disparities in traffic stops, too. Here’s the bad news: 

A new analysis of Durham police statistics found that the proportion of black drivers stopped in recent years rose significantly during daylight hours when the race of the driver was presumably more apparent.

The analysis compared 151,701 traffic stops from January 2010 through October 2015 and found that the proportion of black drivers pulled over during daylight hours was 12 percent higher than the proportion during nighttime stops.

Among male drivers only, the odds that a driver was black were 20 percent higher when stopped during daylight than when stopped at night, according to the study by RTI International.

But the study, released Thursday, also found the disparity had largely disappeared by the last two years of the study.

And the good news: it's getting better. 

But the study, released Thursday, also found the disparity had largely disappeared by the last two years of the study.

“This improvement may have been the result of changes in Durham Police Department training or policies,” said Travis Taniguchi, a research criminologist at RTI.

The study also found no racial disparity among female drivers stopped by police.

During a news conference Wednesday afternoon at RTI International, the city’s Interim Police Chief, Larry Smith, listed some of the changes the department had deployed to address the issue. They included a greater emphasis in de-escalating potentially volatile encounters between officers and residents, and obtaining a written consent from a motorist before searching a stopped vehicle. The department has also begun to look more closely at any officer who stops large percentages of minority drivers. An officer with 25 or more stops is flagged if 75 percent of those stops involved people of color.

3. RDU will now make you prepay to park

Raleigh-Durham International Airport wants travelers to start paying for their parking online, before they drive to the airport.

The airport will overhaul its parking system this spring. Daily and hourly rates will still be available, but the parking garage will no longer be split into daily and hourly sections.

The ground floor of the garage – where about 1,100 spaces recently have been cleaned up and repainted – will be converted into a new premium-price zone marketed as “ParkRDU Premier.”

Mike Landguth, the airport president and CEO, said the appeal of this section will be its easy entrance, close access to both passenger terminals, and quick access to the exit gates.

4. UNC rolls past … whoever that was. After a rough start, of course. 

The problem for UNC was the team that started the game looked nothing like the group that cut down the nets at last week's Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament. Instead, the Tar Heels (29-6) revisited tendencies that have hurt them over the better part of the last two seasons — namely, iffy defense and lacking an intense edge.

The Eagles (21-14) were more than happy to take advantage before the East Region's top seed dominated the opening 10 minutes of the second half, running off a 20-3 burst by controlling the boards and locking down defensively to build a 20-point lead.

That helped the Tar Heels avoid the unwanted history of being the first No. 1 to lose to a 16-seed in tournament history.

5. Duke struggled in the first half, too. 

The Blue Devils trailed UNC Wilmington at halftime, but rallied en route to a 93–85 victory. Now they’ll face Yale, a twelfth seed that shocked the Baylor Bears in Yale’s first return to the Big Dance in half a century. 

Duke is playing Yale, and the Internet’s got jokes

So it’s happening: The two most hated schools in the NCAA Tournament are going to face off on Saturday. No. 4 Duke vs. No. 12 Yale. Will the basketball be good? Probably not. Will the game be close? Almost certainly no.

But were the Twitter jokes of decent quality in the hours after the matchup was finalized? Most definitely. 

Some examples, then. 

That’s all for this week, kids. 

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