African American Judges Reach All-Time High

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The first African American to be appointed to a lower federal judgeship was William H. Hastie, appointed by President Truman in 1949 to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Judge Hastie initially received a recess appointment from President Truman, but was later confirmed by the Senate in 1950. The first African American to serve as a U.S. district court judge was James B. Parsons, appointed by President Kennedy in 1961 to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
The first African American woman to serve as a lower federal court judge was Constance B. Motley,
The first African American woman to serve as a U.S. circuit court judge was Amalya L.Kearse,
In the following  years the number of African Americans serving as U.S. circuit and district court judges remained relatively low and remained that way until President Jimmy Carter created the U.S. Circuit Judge Nominating Commission in 1977. The  commission was “encouraged to make special efforts to seek out and identify well qualified women and members of minority groups as potential nominees”.  During the Carter presidency African American circuit court judges increased from two to nine, a 350% increase. As of January 1, 2015 the number of African American circuit court judges is 21.
There is also an increase in African American district court judges.  As with the circuit court judges,  a significant increase occurred during the Carter administration. The current number of African American district court judges is 86 which is an historic high, and the most recent increase is largely attributable to an increase in the number of African American women appointed during the past five years.
While this increase in African American circuit and district court judges is notable, there is a caveat. There are few or no African American judges currently serving in several judicial circuits and districts with populations comprised of relatively high percentages of African Americans and many advocates of judicial diversity consider this a crucial issue which needs to be examined.

New From Congress.gov – Email Alerts

- from News from the Library of  Congresscongress.gov

The free legislative information website Congress.gov now offers users a new optional email-alerts system that makes tracking legislative action even easier. Users can elect to receive email alerts for tracking:

  • A specific bill in the current Congress: Receive an email when there are updates to a specific bill (new cosponsors, committee action, vote taken, etc.); emails are sent once a day if there has been a change in a particular bill’s status since the previous day.
  • A specific member’s legislative activity: Receive an email when a specific member introduces or cosponsors a bill; emails are sent once a day if a member has introduced or cosponsored a bill since the previous day.
  • Congressional Record: Receive an email as soon as a new issue of the Congressional Record is available on Congress.gov.

The alerts system is a new feature available to anyone who creates a free account on the Congress.gov site. Creating an account also enables users to save searches. Create an account and sign up for alerts at congress.gov/account.

Congress.gov is the official source for federal legislative information. A collaboration among the Library of Congress, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives and the Government Publishing Office, Congress.gov is a free resource that provides searchable access to bill status and summary, bill text, member profiles, the Congressional Record, committee reports, direct links from bills to cost estimates from the Congressional Budget Office, legislative-process videos, committee profile pages and historic access reaching back as far as 1973.

 

Planning on Buying a New Car? Read This First.

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Make sure you check out the Model Year 2015 Fuel Economy Guide before you make your decision.

While gas prices are historically low at this time, no one knows how long this downward trend will last and most certainly we will see gas prices rise again in the future.

Published by the DOE and EPA, this guide gives consumers a valuable resource  helping them  choose the most fuel-efficient and low greenhouse gas emitting vehicles that meet their needs.

The Fuel Economy Guide offers a broad range of information that can be helpful when shopping for a new vehicle including an estimated annual fuel cost for each vehicle. The estimate is based on the vehicle’s miles per gallon (mpg) rating and national estimates for fuel prices. The online version of the guide gives consumers a personalized fuel cost estimate based on local gasoline prices and their personal driving habits. The guide includes a greenhouse gas rating (from one to 10) for each model, giving consumers a quick way to identify vehicles with low greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, the guide provides “best-in-class” lists to help consumers find the most fuel-efficient advanced-technology vehicles as well as the most efficient gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles. The best-in-class lists include multiple market segments, from two-seaters to large pickup trucks.

New FBI Jobsite on Twitter

from FBI News Blog -

The FBI recently launched a Twitter page containing current jobs available at the FBI. The site, @FBIJobs, lists employment opportunities at FBI locations across the country. Some of the current jobs include evidence technician, forensic accountant, IT specialists, civic liaison, mathematician, secretary, and attorney. The site also includes information about the recent campaign to hire technology experts for cyber jobs, including special agents.

Follow @FBIJobs for current updates. Also, visit FBIJobs.gov for employment and internships opportunities, as well as qualifications to work for the Bureau.

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Senate Report on CIA Interrogation Program

Today the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released the long awaited report on the CIA Interrogation program post 9/11.

Five years in the making, the report is based on more than six million internal agency documents, and is a sweeping indictment of the C.I.A.’s operation and oversight of a program carried out by agency officials and contractors in secret prisons around the world in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.cia

Some Key points:

  •  The CIA.’s interrogation techniques were more brutal and employed more extensively than the agency portrayed.
  •  The CIA. misled members of Congress and the White House about the effectiveness and extent of its brutal interrogation   techniques.
  • Interrogators in the field who tried to stop the brutal techniques were repeatedly overruled by senior CIA. officials.
  •  The CIA exaggerated the success of interrogation methods in an effort to gain public support

The report, Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program may be read here.

DOJ Will Continue its Investigation into the Michael Brown Shooting

holderThe following is Attorney General Eric Holder’s statement after the Grand Jury concluded its proceeding in the shooting of Michael Brown.

While the grand jury proceeding in St. Louis County has concluded, the Justice’s investigation into the shooting of Michael Brown remains ongoing. Though we have shared information with local prosecutors during the course of our investigation, the federal inquiry has been independent of the local one from the start, and remains so now. Even at this mature stage of the investigation, we have avoided prejudging any of the evidence. And although federal civil rights law imposes a high legal bar in these types of cases, we have resisted forming premature conclusions.

Michael Brown’s death was a tragedy. This incident has sparked a national conversation about the need to ensure confidence between law enforcement and the communities they protect and serve. While constructive efforts are underway in Ferguson and communities nationwide, far more must be done to create enduring trust. The Department will continue to work with law enforcement, civil rights, faith and community leaders across the country to foster effective relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve and to improve fairness in the criminal justice system overall. In addition, the Department continues to investigate allegations of unconstitutional policing patterns or practices by the Ferguson Police Department.

Though there will be disagreement with the grand jury’s decision not to indict, this feeling should not lead to violence. Those who decide to participate in demonstrations should remember the wishes of Michael Brown’s parents, who have asked that remembrances of their son be conducted peacefully. It does not honor his memory to engage in violence or looting. In the coming days, it will likewise be important for local law enforcement authorities to respect the rights of demonstrators, and deescalate tensions by avoiding excessive displays—and uses—of force.

Rudolph Finally Does Go Down In History.

He certainly does by getting his own Limited Edition Forever stamps from the Postal Service.

It was 50 years ago that the movie, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer  first premiered on television.  To date it is the nation’s longest-running and highest-rated Christmas television special.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary the Postal Service recently released a set of four Limited Edition Forever stamps depicting Rudolph, Hermey, Santa and Bumble.  The images were created from still frames from the 1964 tv special.

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“Rudolph’s story of guiding Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve has been revered by families for five decades,” said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe in dedicating the stamps. “We’re celebrating that milestone by having our fleet of 212,000 ‘sleighs’ deliver Rudolph and his friends on 500 million Forever stamps to nearly 153 million addresses this holiday season.”

The Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Limited Edition Forever stamps will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price (currently 49 cents).

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