Several black Louisiana elected officials are asking the Justice Department's civil rights division to intervene in a dispute over whether state Supreme Court Justice Bernette Johnson is legally entitled to become the court's next chief justice.
A letter sent Monday to the head of the division's voting section accuses Johnson's colleagues of trying to dilute the rights of black voters by unilaterally creating a new process for deciding which justice has the most seniority.
I'm Maria Hinojosa and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, violence continues to erupt across Syria. We'll talk to a human rights activist who has seen it firsthand. That's in a few minutes.
But first, a year ago today on July 9, 2011, the world's newest nation was born in Africa.
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UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We hereby declare Southern Sudan to be an independent and sovereign state.
"I will be outspent." This simple phrase headed an email President Obama recently sent to supporters.
"We can be outspent and still win," the message read. "But we can't be outspent 10 to 1 and still win." Obama asked for donations of as little as $3 to compete against the deep pockets of Republican challenger Mitt Romney and the super political action committees that back him.
U.S. Sen. David Vitter is highlighting his role as Louisiana's lone member on the congressional committee that drew up a final version of the federal highway bill. But he's omitting the detail that the bill blows an $859 million hole in Louisiana's Medicaid funding.
As President Barack Obama was set to sign the measure into law Friday, Louisiana's Democrats were questioning Vitter's role in slashing the Medicaid dollars and asking if he fought against the cuts.
Residents in Kenner will be able to vote Nov. 6 on two amendments to the Home Rule Charter. Both charter revisions, if adopted by voters, would check the mayor's power by stopping his appointees from politicking for him and by giving the council oversight of more contracts.
More than 150 evangelical leaders, from across the political spectrum, have come together to call for immigration reform. Host Michel Martin looks at the crusade for reform with Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and Rev. Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.
Now we turn to the National Council of La Raza's annual convention. That's the nation's largest Latino civil rights organization, and that group begins its convention this weekend in Las Vegas. I'm joined now by Ron Estrada, who is chairing the event. He's also the vice president of marketing for La Raza. Mr. Estrada, thank you so much for joining us.
The NAACP is gearing up for its annual conference in Houston, Texas. Each year, the civil rights group attracts big names, including this year's guest speaker, presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. Host Michel Martin talks with conference organizer Leon Russell about what's on his members' minds for this year's election.