CT Court Set to Hear Inmate’s Case that Death Penalty is Racist

CT Court Set to Hear Inmate's Case that Death Penalty is Racist

Five Connecticut death row inmates are suing the state to get their sentences overturned because they argue race and geographic bias played a part in their prosecution. Their lawsuit went to trial Wednesday at the Northern Correctional Institution in Somers.

The inmates cite a study that concluded that people of color accused of murdering white victims are three times more likely to receive a death sentence as defendants in white-on-white murder cases.

The Hartford Courant has more:

Chief State’s Attorney Kevin T. Kane is expected to be one of the first witnesses Wednesday in the long-awaited habeas corpus trial on claims by condemned killers that Connecticut’s death penalty is racially, ethnically and geographically biased.

Kane and other state prosecutors - including New Haven State’s Attorney Michael Dearington, who successfully sought the death penalty for Cheshire home invasion killers Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky - will likely testify about their decisions to pursue death by lethal injection for certain accused murderers, and sentences of life in prison for others.

Starting Wednesday and for several weeks, the judge, lawyers, court staff and witnesses in the case will travel to Northern Correctional Institution in Somers where the trial is being held in a prison dayroom. Northern houses Connecticut’s death row.

Petitioners in the lawsuit include five of the 11 black, white and Hispanic men on death row.

DREAMer Benita Veliz to Address DNC Wednesday

DREAMer Benita Veliz will address the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night.

Veliz was detained after a traffic stop in 2009 and received a deportation order shortly after. Her name made national headlines in 2011 when she was spared deportation under new guidelines established by the Morton Memo on Prosecutorial Discretion, issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Veliz is scheduled to talk after Attorney General of California Kamala D. Harris and before Spanish language talk show host Cristina Saralegui.

Take a look at the schedule below:

From 9:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.


Karen Mills Small Business Administration

Progress for People Video: Small Business

American Voices Remarks

Bill Butcher


The Honorable Kamala D. Harris Attorney General of California

Stronger Together Video: Immigration


Benita Veliz DREAM Act Activist

Cristina Saralegui Journalist, Actress, and Talk Show Host

Sandra Fluke Attorney and Women’s Rights Activist

Austin Ligon Co-Founder and Former CEO of CarMax, Inc.

Watch Trailer for Jay-Z, Will and Jada Smith’s ‘Free Angela’ Doc


Will & Jada Pinkett Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment and Jay-Z’s Roc Nation have officially come on-board as executive producers of Shola Lynch’s Angela Davis documentary, “Free Angela & All Political Prisoners.” has more on the announcement:

Overbrook Entertainment and Roc Nation will lend their clout to the Realside Productions/De Films Aiguille-produced documentary Free Angela & All Political Prisoners, which was directed by Shola Lynch. They will become executive producers on a film that premieres at the upcoming Toronto Film Festival and marks the 40th anniversary of the acquittal of Angela Davis on charges of murder, kidnapping and conspiracy. The docu was produced by Carole Lambert, Shola Lynch, Carine Ruszniewski, and Sidra Smith.

The documentary chronicles Angela Davis’ activism that implicated her in charges of attempted kidnapping and murder. It features interviews with Davis, her lawyers, FBI agents assigned to the case, and journalists who covered one of the most volatile trials of the ’60s. Davis’ imprisonment sparked a worldwide movement for her freedom as a political prisoner, while she was simultaneously being labeled a terrorist. The film wrestles with the meaning of political freedom in a democracy negotiated between the people and its government.

“We at Overbrook Entertainment are very proud to support this intriguing documentary about the life of Angela Davis. Filmmaker, Shola Lynch has done an incredible job in revealing a piece of American history we thought we all knew,” said Jada Pinkett Smith.

“Shola Lynch has crafted an intricate and compelling film about Angela Davis. Roc Nation is honored to be a part of a creative collective that can present such a riveting story,” said Roc Nation founder Shawn “Jay Z” Carter.

Photo: President Obama, Sasha And Malia Watch Michelle’s DNC Speech

Photo: President Obama, Sasha And Malia Watch Michelle's DNC Speech

President Barack Obama and his daughters, Malia, left, and Sasha, watch on television as First Lady Michelle Obama begins her speech at the Democratic National Convention, in the Treaty Room of the White House, Tuesday night, Sept. 4, 2012.

At a campaign stop earlier on Tuesday President Obama told his Norfolk, Virginia supporters that his wife was the family’s star and that her speech later that night would top his.

“Whatever I say here today,” he told more than 11,000 supporters on the campus of Norfolk State University, CBS reported. “It’s gonna be at best a distant second to the speech you will hear tonight from the star of the Obama family, Michelle Obama.”

Obama told his supporters he would be back at the White House watching Mrs. Obama’s speech with his daughters.

“I’m gonna try not to let them see their daddy cry,” he went on to say. “Because when Michelle starts talking, I start getting all misty.”

America’s Next Top Model 2027: Julián Castro’s Daughter Carina Victoria

America's Next Top Model 2027: Julián Castro's Daughter Carina Victoria

San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro made his national debut as the keynote speaker on the first day of the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday. But each time the cameras pointed to his family, Castro’s three-year-old daughter Carina Victoria stole the spotlight.

Carina sat in the audience patiently watching her dad speak but she seemed to really get a kick out of watching herself on convention monitors. Just take a look at the video above, she’s ready for the cameras and ready to be America’s Next Top Model, a wise Latina and the president one day.

In his keynote speech Castro explained Carina was named after his grandmother and spoke about her legacy:

In the end, the American dream is not a sprint, or even a marathon, but a relay. Our families don’t always cross the finish line in the span of one generation. But each generation passes on to the next the fruits of their labor. My grandmother never owned a house. She cleaned other people’s houses so she could afford to rent her own. But she saw her daughter become the first in her family to graduate from college. And my mother fought hard for civil rights so that instead of a mop, I could hold this microphone.

And while she may be proud of me tonight, I’ve got to tell you, Mom, I’m even more proud of you. Thank you, Mom. Today, my beautiful wife Erica and I are the proud parents of a three-year-old little girl, Carina Victoria, named after my grandmother.

A couple of Mondays ago was her first day of pre-K. As we dropped her off, we walked out of the classroom, and I found myself whispering to her, as was once whispered to me, “Que dios te bendiga.” “May God bless you.” She’s still young, and her dreams are far off yet, but I hope she’ll reach them. As a dad, I’m going to do my part, and I know she’ll do hers. But our responsibility as a nation is to come together and do our part, as one community, one United States of America, to ensure opportunity for all of our children.

Castro, 37, was the first Latino to deliver a keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.

Gay Teen in Stun Gun Case Sues Indy School District

An openly gave high school student has filed a federal lawsuit against Indianapolis Public Schools. Darnell “Dynasty” Young, who’s 17, first made headlines last spring after being expelled for bringing a stun gun to school. Young said that he brought the stun gun to school to protect himself against bullies. The new lawsuit, which was filed last Friday by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Kirkland & Ellis, alleges that Indianapolis Public Schools “engaged in discriminatory treatment and fail[ed] to protect Young. contributor Rod McCullom offers more details:

Young says classmates at Arsenal Technical HS relentlessly bullied him ever since he and his twin brother arrived in October from Arizona—taunting him, calling him names, following him home and even throwing rocks at him. On 16 April, Young eventually fired a stun gun into the air to scare off a group of six kids who used gay slurs and threatened to attack him. Young was suspended and remained out of school until his expulsion on 8 May.

Young and his mother said they told the school about the bullying “more than 10 times”—but the school only formally investigated one complaint. The stun gun was given to him by his mother, who says school authorities were not helpful and told Darnell to “tone down” his accessories and mannerisms. Young’s mother is also a party to the lawsuit.

TAGS: Bullying

Nicki Minaj Raps: ‘I’m a Republican Voting for Mitt Romney’ on Mix Tape

Nicki Minaj Raps: 'I'm a Republican Voting for Mitt Romney' on Mix Tape

Is Nicki Minaj voting for Mitt Romney?

The Trinidadian-born rapper appears on Lil Wayne’s “Dedication 4,” the recently released fourth installment in his mixtape series and says “I’m a Republican voting for Mitt Romney, you lazy bitches are [expletive] up the economy.”

Minaj doesn’t follow up her “endorsement” with any other political thoughts, instead rhyming “economy” with “zombie,” points out.

Minaj has tweeted criticism for President Barack Obama in the past. But in that same tweet she also lobbied for universal healthcare hardly which hardly makes her sound like a Republican.

“What’s sad is that when Yvette was bringing home the bacon, the gov’t was probably taking millions. On her deathbed though, #Nowheretobefound,” she wrote. “That should be a God given right! Even with Obama Care, too much involved. Just give FREE health care to all. @BarackObama what can we do?”

RapDose, which first pointed out the lyrics on Monday, pointed out Minaj rapped her lyrics over beats produced by Kanye West.

West attended the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver in support of President Obama.

“It’s an incredible time to be around. I wish my momma could have seen this day,” West said at the DNC in 2008.

RNC Custodial Crew Paid Below Minimum Wage

The janitors working around the clock at the Republican National Convention ended up going home making less than Florida’s hourly minimum wage.

Huffington Post’s Jason Cherkis talked to a few workers at the convention and has more details:

Carolyn Walker said she has been cleaning the convention center for 13 years. She had been making $8 per hour until a few years ago, when the cleaning contract went to another company, Cleanevent USA. The new company meant a new, downsized paycheck. She’s now making minimum wage — $7.67 per hour. But that wasn’t the only hit to her wallet.

Walker said the company charges her $6 per week for uniforms. “It stinks to tell you the truth,” she said. “We work very hard.” It effectively means she’s making less than Florida’s minimum wage.

Larry Gilmore, 32, and Jean Baptiste, 27, recounted similar hits to their paychecks by Cleanevent. Baptiste said he’s charged $11 per week for uniforms — a thin blue short-sleeve shirt and dark pants.

Continue reading Cherkis’ story at the Huffington Post.

Federal Judge Restores Early Voting on Weekends in Ohio

Federal Judge Restores Early Voting on Weekends in Ohio

On Friday, a federal judge sided with the Obama campaign and ruled the state of Ohio must restore three days of early voting before Election Day. U.S. District Judge Peter Economus ruled Ohio can’t give members of the military and citizens living abroad three more days than it gives other voters to submit absentee ballots.

“This court finds that plaintiffs have a constitutionally protected right to participate in the 2012 election — and all elections — on an equal basis with all Ohio voters,” Economus said in ruling on a lawsuit brought by Obama for America.

“Plaintiffs will suffer irreparable injury if in-person early voting is not restored the last three days before election day, and there is no definitive evidence before the court that election boards will be tremendously burdened,” Economus, who was appointed in 1995 by President Bill Clinton, went on to say in the ruling.

“The Court’s decision is another step forward in guaranteeing Ohioans have fair and free access to early voting,” said Mike Brickner, director of communications and public policy ACLU of Ohio. “Secretary Husted should now ensure that Boards of Elections are open weekends throughout the early voting period in order to provide the greatest level of flexibility and accessibility to all voters.”

“Election officials are charged with serving voters, and I can think of no greater service than expanding early voting opportunities for every Ohioan,” said Brickner. “Providing expanded hours will give voters more options to decide when they wish to cast their ballot, help those voters with pressing schedules or other special needs, and will ease the influx of voters on Election Day.”

Paul Ryan’s Black College Girlfriend Wants Nothing To Do With Campaign

Paul Ryan's Black College Girlfriend Wants Nothing To Do With Campaign

Paul Ryan’s black ex-girlfriend offered a British newspaper an exclusive interview earlier this week but now she wants nothing to do with the media. Is this a case of the Romney campaign trying to silence her?

The nice people at TMZ just got in touch with GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s ex-girlfriend Daneeta Pope but she said she wanted nothing to do with them and the election:

Pope said, “I’m not interested in talking. I don’t know why everyone is calling. I’m newly married and would just like to be left alone.”

Ryan did an interview awhile back, saying he had a Black GF during college. Ryan was clearly trying to blunt criticism that he was not sympathetic to African Americans.

The interesting story here is that just yesterday the UK’s Daily Mail published an exclusive interview with Pope:

Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, Deneeta Pope said she met the future vice presidential candidate through friends at Miami University some 20 years ago.

Pope, 40, said: ‘Paul is a very nice guy, a kind guy and a family guy. He’s very approachable and a very likeable person.’

The relationship and the negative reaction he said he suffered from his so-called friends were a formative experience in the political evolution of the VP pick who described himself as a ‘big, big fan’ of Martin Luther King and is a staunch advocate of civil rights.

But Pope, an I.T. specialist and realtor living in Chicago, denies that they experienced any racism as a couple.

Pope also said that while their relationship was not very serious, they have remained friends through the years.

‘It tells you the kind of guy Paul is when you learn that he has remained friends with all of his friends that he met in college.’

So she was divulging plenty of information just days ago but now she wants nothing to do with the media? Did she get a call from the Romney campaign asking her to keep quiet? Or is she over it already?

The good thing is even TMZ sees Romney’s campaign is having trouble attracting black voters.

Did One Of Romney’s Housekeepers Make a Cameo in RNC Video?

Did One Of Romney's Housekeepers Make a Cameo in RNC Video?

Before Mitt Romney was introduced at the Republican National Convention on Thursday night viewers saw a 10-minute video created to humanize Romney. The video featured the Romney family inside their home several times but in one of the scenes a women who appears to be working for the family in the background was simply ignored.

Is she one of the four housekeepers the reports have alleged Romney is underpaying? It could be, but more importantly some say the video made her invisible.

“As I’m watching Romney’s RNC video spotlighting his family, I find it interesting there is no mention of the woman in the red shirt in the background, who is obviously there helping,” said artist Ramiro Gomez, who’s art looks to start conversations about the labor force that takes care of families and homes. 

“Yet another reason why I’ll keep making my cardboard cutouts, we are not invisible and we will be heard,” wrote Gomez to his Facebook followers as the video was broadcasted live Thursday night. spotted the video thanks to a tip from Gomez, who is a nanny during the day.

“Not only was there an invisible chair last night there was a lot of invisible help in the Romney family story,” said’s economic justice blogger Imara Jones. “We constantly heard about Ann Romney’s struggle with her five children but no references to the household workers who gave a hand. Earlier this year, when asked, she couldn’t even remember their names.”

IRS forms released earlier this year by Romney’s presidential campaign show that despite reporting income of $21.7 million, the couple paid only $20,603 in taxable wages for household help in 2010. This figure was divided among four women: Rosania Costa ($4,808), Kelli Harrison ($8,667), Susan Moore ($2,238) and Valerie Cravens Anae ($4,890).

The Huffington Post went to several Boston-based domestic staffing agencies and found the salary range for a housekeeper is between $20 and $30 an hour. The HuffPost’s Christina Wilkie did the math and realized that the amount the Romney’s reported in their IRS forms doesn’t add up to fair wages.

“Yet the Romneys still paid only half of the lowest range of an average housekeeper’s salary, which raises the question of who cleaned the Romney houses the other 50 percent of the time,” Wilkie wrote in her story published in January. A Romney campaign adviser declined to respond to questions from The Huffington Post about the housekeeping salaries.

“The average net worth of Latinos is $7,000. The Romneys are worth a quarter of a billion dollars. That economic gulf creates a labor pool that allows the Romney’s to make their lives easier, but the people that help them everyday are rendered transparent to Romney eyes. It’s curious,” Imara Jones went on to say.

‘OSU Haters’ Tumblr Puts Ohio State’s Racist Tweets on Blast

The description for the “OSU Haters” Tumblr is simple: “Ohio State is no place for hate! We expose tweets from haters here, especially those which were deleted.”

And that’s exactly what the site does, it takes hateful and/or racially insensitive tweets posted by other Ohio State students and lays them out for the world to see.

Below is a small sample of the type of tweets “OSU Haters” publishes:




The good news is the three month old Tumblr may actually be making a big difference. “OSU Haters” posted the following note from a “former hater:”

As a consequence of my insensitivity to others at this university, my life was almost flipped upside down. Shortly after my comments I was contacted by the university that a hold had been put on my account and that I needed to meet with them immediately. Becoming a nervous wreck as to what could have happened, I scheduled a same-day appointment and met with some of the faculty in the Office of Student Affairs. During that meeting I discovered the stigma that had been attached to my name and the consequences that could come of it. I was informed that I could be kicked out of Ohio State permanently with an official note being put on any other school I applied to about my comments. This would have been an irrecoverable loss that would haunt me for the rest of my life if I didn’t take quick action. I found out my comments were not private, not secure, not a just way to vent, and not okay.

I had to make amends, and I had to do it quickly. I agreed to regular counseling about hate speech, safe ways to vent my frustration, and the newly formed anxiety I had about future employers finding out about this. I have also begun attending Diversity Leadership Transcript Program events with OSU and the office of Diversity to help me realize the importance of diversity for this country to progress. It is one of the most powerful factors in the progression of science, business, health, equality, and innovation not only within the United States but the world. Without it I wouldn’t be where I am today and most of you wouldn’t be either. I now know what I did was wrong and I will never repeat the same mistake. My only hopes are that this won’t affect my future, and hate like this won’t affect others’ futures as well. We are one university and one country, don’t let petty differences tear apart the exact thing that makes you great.

According to AngryAsianMan, students at Ohio State are organizing a town hall meeting to address the problems identified by the OSU Haters Tumblr. The meeting is scheduled for September 4 at the Multicultural Center.

(h/t AngryAsianMan)

‘I’d Love To Meet Shakira and Thalia’ said Craig Romney, as He Licked His Lips

'I'd Love To Meet Shakira and Thalia' said Craig Romney, as He Licked His Lips

Mitt Romney’s wife Ann Romney and their son Craig have been making campaign stops in hopes of increasing the former Governor’s chances with Latino voters. Mrs. Romney has been out schooling Latinos but her son seems to have a greater appreciation for Latinos Latinas.

At a Latino Coalition luncheon Wednesday Ann Romney told the overwhelmingly Latino audience to get past the “biases … from the Democratic machine that have made us look like we don’t care about this community.”

But she seemed to speak to the crowd in a pretty severe tone.

“You’d better really look at your future and figure out who’s going to be the guy that’s going to make it better for you and your children, and there is only one answer,” Mrs. Romney told the audience.

“It really is a message that would resonate well if they could just get past some of their biases that have been there from the Democratic machines that have made us look like we don’t care about this community,” Romney told ABC News after her speech. “And that is not true. We very much care about you and your families and the opportunities that are there for you and your families.”

ABC News’ Shushannah Walshe called Mrs. Romney’s words a “harsher pitch than we usually hear from the woman who wants to be the next first lady.”

Texas’ Voter ID Law Officially Blocked By Federal Court

Texas' Voter ID Law Officially Blocked By Federal Court

A federal court has ruled against a law in Texas that would require voters in that state to present photo identification before being allowed to cast a ballot in November.

According to CBS News:

A three-judge panel in Washington ruled Thursday that the law imposes “strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor” and noted that racial minorities in Texas are more likely to live in poverty.

Our Voting Rights investigative reporter Brentin Mock said the following:

Texas brazenly defied the U.S. Department of Justice’s request for information proving that their photo voter ID law didn’t discriminate against voters of color. If that wasn’t enough, they consistently defiled the Voting Rights Act and are destined to take their case to the U.S. Supreme Court in hopes they can officially gut the Voting Rights Act once and for all. But the Voting Rights Act, one of the most important civil rights laws in our nation, was built precisely so that states could not recklessly develop election laws that would disregard the rights of its black, Latino and Asian citizens. Voter intimidation groups like True the Vote worked aggressively to have a strict photo voter ID law passed in Texas and I hope they are taking note of the judge’s opinion for why he denied the law. I also hope states like Pennsylvania, that aren’t subject to the Voting Rights Act Section 5 but have passed strict voter ID laws, will take note and understand how these laws are impacting the democratic rights of the citizens they are supposed to be protecting.

Read part of the opinion after the jump.

Black CNN Camerawoman Says She’s ‘Not Surprised’ By Peanut-Throwing at RNC

cnn-studio-technician.jpgCNN Studio Technician Patricia Carroll picture via

Patricia Carroll, the CNN camerawoman who was assaulted with peanuts at the Republican National Convention earlier this week says “I hate that it happened, but I’m not surprised at all,” according to Richard Prince’s Journal-isms blog.

Carroll, 34, said that as an Alabama native, she was not surprised. “This is Florida, and I’m from the Deep South,” she said. “You come to places like this, you can count the black people on your hand. They see us doing things they don’t think I should do.”

“I can’t change these people’s hearts and minds,” Carroll told Journal-isms. “No, it doesn’t feel good. But I know who I am. I’m a proud black woman. A lot of black people are upset. This should be a wake-up call to black people… . People were living in euphoria for a while. People think we’re gone further than we have.”

Carroll says she hopes the story goes away.

“I was hoping this story would go away,” she said. “I’m not interested in talking to any other media about this.”

In her interview with Journal-isms Carroll also thanked CNN for being “behind me 100 percent.”

Herman Cain: Romney’s Black Supporters Too Busy Working to Take Polls

Herman Cain: Romney's Black Supporters Too Busy Working to Take Polls

Former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain told “The Daily Show.” host Jon Stewart that he predicts more black voters will vote for Mitt Romney than polls indicate because many “working” blacks likely were not polled.

“They were working, so they didn’t answer the phone when they took the poll,” Cain said Wednesday night on “The Daily Show.” “Believe it or not, some black people have jobs, and careers, and they run businesses. They didn’t take that into account.”

Cain was referencing a NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll that found Obama continues to lead among key parts of his political base, including blacks (94 percent to 0 percent.)

Unemployment among blacks is double that of the rest of the country, but Cain denied that he meant blacks represented by current polls are all unemployed.

Humanae: A Portrait Series That Classifies Human Skin Tones as Pantone Colors


Angelica Dass (Rio de Janeiro, 1979) Photo Courtesy of Angelica Dass.

Artist Angelica Dass says all her projects are meant to deepen important social, cultural and racial identity issues. Her ongoing portrait series “Humanae” classifies skin color using Pantone’s color scheme.

Dass, who was born in Brazil, told the real pursuit of her project is to “highlight our true colors rather than the untrue red and yellow, black and white.”

Her artist statement describes her process and intention more thoroughly:

Humanae is a chromatic inventory, a project that reflects on the colors beyond the borders of our codes by referencing the PANTONE® color scheme. (PANTONE® Guides are one of the main classification systems of colors, which are represented by an alphanumeric code, allowing to accurately recreate any of them in any media. It is a technical industrial standard often called Real Color) The project development is based on a series of portraits whose background is dyed with the exact Pantone® tone extracted from a sample of 11x11 pixels of the portrayed’s face. The project’s objective is to record and catalog all possible human skin tones.

You may notice there aren’t many Latinos, Central Africans and Indians in the series and it’s something Dass is working on. She hopes to shoot new subjects all over the world but because she has to photograph her subjects using the exact same lighting system, traveling is tough. Currently all her subjects were shot in Spain, where she is living.

If you’ll be in the Chicago area between September 20-23 and are interested in participating in “Humanae” you’re in luck, email Dass at and let her know you’re interested.

Visit to view more of her stunning work.

George Zimmerman Granted New Judge in Trayvon Martin Case

George Zimmerman Granted New Judge in Trayvon Martin Case

The Fifth District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach today ruled that George Zimmerman, the man accused of murdering Trayvon Martin, should get a new judge.

A three-judge panel concluded that Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. went too far when he wrote that Zimmerman is a manipulator and made a veiled threat to hold him in contempt of court in the future.

“Although many of the allegations in Zimmerman’s motion [for a new judge], standing alone, do not meet the legal sufficiency test, and while this is admittedly a close call, upon careful review we find that the allegations, taken together, meet the threshold test of legal sufficiency,” the appeal court wrote in its opinion.

Read the entire decision below.

Federal Court Removes New Restrictions on Voter Registration Groups

On Wednesday, a federal judge in Florida issued an order to permanently remove a new restriction that would have made it harder for voter registration groups to register new voters.

The Florida Times-Union reported earlier this week that voter registration groups saw a dramatic drop in new voters in the wake of the new strictures. The Times-Union investigation also found “the number of new Democrats registering in Florida has all but disappeared.”

The League of Women Voters of Florida, Rock the Vote, and the Florida Public Interest Research Group Education Fund (PIRG) filed a lawsuit in December challenging the restrictions. Federal Judge Robert L. Hinkle temporarily blocked enforcement of the law in May, saying the restrictions violated the U.S. Constitution and federal law.

Judge Hinkle issued an order stating the court will grant the group’s request to permanently remove the restrictions once he receives confirmation that a federal appeals court has dismissed the case.

“We reported back in June how difficult it was for people like Rev. LaVon Bracy and civil rights organizations to register voters in Florida under the HB 1355 law, said’s election rights reporter Brentin Mock. “By permanently striking away the onerous restrictions placed on voter registration, the courts have allowed democracy to flourish and for all people to participate in the democratic process without being penalized. We owe it to those who fought for these voting rights — people like Rev. LaVon Bracy and her family — and those who died for those rights to make sure no law is created that obstructs our access to voter registration.”

The groups who filed the lawsuit are celebrating today’s decision.

“Florida’s anti-voter law created impassable roadblocks for our volunteers, who have been bringing fellow Floridians into our democratic process for over 72 years,” explained Deirdre Macnab, President of the League of Women Voters of Florida. “Thanks to today’s ruling, we can finally put these roadblocks behind us and concentrate on getting Floridians registered to vote. We are grateful the court recognized that the Constitution does not tolerate these types of barriers to civic participation and voter registration.”

“Rock the Vote is thrilled that the most restrictive parts of Florida’s new law will be blocked. We’re now focused on the future: helping tens of thousands of young Florida residents register to vote before the November election,” stated Heather Smith, President of Rock the Vote. “Today’s order means we will be out in Florida making sure that young people have a voice in their communities. It’s a victory for them, and for our democracy.”

Both the civic groups and the state of Florida have agreed not to appeal the ruling. The parties separately signed a settlement that ends the case once the court granted this motion and awards the civic groups’ their attorneys’ costs.

Meet the Black Army Vet Who’s Going the Distance At the Paralympics

The 2012 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony will take place Wednesday evening in London. The 11-day event will see 4,280 athletes from 165 countries competing in more than 20 sports

Team USA features 20 military veterans and active duty service members, including some wounded at war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Among them is U.S. Army 82nd Airborne paratrooper Centra “Ce-Ce” Mazyck, who was paralyzed when her parachute got tangled with another in 2003. Doctors said she’d never walk again but Maczyk refused to listen. And she has proved them wrong.

“I wasn’t hearing it. In my heart, in my soul, I knew I could walk,” Mazyck told NBC News. “To this day, I am walking.”

Watch her video to the right.

The International Paralympic Committee will live stream more than 780 hours of events. NBC will also broadcast a 90-minute special from 2-3:30 p.m. ET on September 16.

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