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Reclaim the mantle: It takes a village

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Here we are again with nightmarish news of children being abused and neglected. A few such stories follow, including one of four dead sisters.

Each story illustrates why we must reclaim the mantle: It takes a village.

Thirteen siblings are found shackled and malnourished in their home in Perris, California, after one of the kids grabs a cellphone and calls police. Their parents — David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49 — are arrested and jailed on various charges. The parents are scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.

Nearly four years ago, 8-year-old Relisha Rudd disappears from a homeless shelter after being spotted with a man in a D.C. motel. Earlier, social workers who had visited Relisha’s home discovered inadequate food for her and for a newborn baby, and they suspect Relisha may have been physically abused.

Ten years ago this month, federal marshals entered a Southeast home to serve an eviction notice and discovered four sisters dead, their bodies decomposing. Their mom, Banita Jacks, was charged with their murders. Jacks was sentenced to 120 years in prison, 30 years per child.

None of the children lived on an island, yet they were deserted — abandoned by the village of adults who should have looked out for their well-being.

The news of such cases is shocking, and the questions surrounding them are always fast and furious. What happened? When did it start? Who knew the family was troubled? How could this happen? Why did it happen?

The case of the 13 Turpin children is very revealing. The couple visited the Elvis Chapel in Las Vegas with their children on three separate occasions to renew their vows. The family had annual passes to Disneyland, about a 90-minute drive from their home. A photo on the Turbins’ Facebook page shows each child mocking the Thing 1 and Thing 2 characters of Dr. Seuss’ “The Cat in the Hat.” In the photo, the kids’ red, black and white T-shirts were numbered from Thing 1 up to Thing 13. The children’s paternal grandmother, Betty Turpin of West Virginia, said the children were home-schooled and that the family often dressed alike for “protective reasons.”

Neighbors saw the Turpin children laying sod at night. Neighbors said the Turpin kids unresponsive when setting up outdoor Christmas decorations. Neighbors lined up outside the Turpin home when news of the house of horrors broke.

Grandmother Turpin said she hadn’t seen her son and his family in four or five years, while neighbors described the family as intensely private. One Turpin neighbor told the Press-Enterprise of Riverside: “I had no idea this was going on. I didn’t know there were kids in the house.”

Is that a problem? Well, yes and no.

Not knowing that a so-called neighbor has kids is one thing. The children could, say, be living with the other parent, away at college or in the military.

The Turpins, however, had 13 children, ranging from 2 to 29 years old, and all 13 of them lived in the same house.

Ten years ago, the Jacks girls had neighbors, too. Next-door neighbors. Neighbors who lived across the street. Neighbors who lived in the single-family homes around the corner. Neighbors whose kids attended school just as the Jacks girls used to do.

Aged 5 to 17, the girls also had relatives — on their mom’s side and their fathers’ side. The older daughters carried their mom’s maiden name, and the younger girls’ their dad’s last name of Fogle.

Because they were enrolled in public schools and their mom was considered destitute, social workers, teachers and school authorities looked in on the mother of four. School absences mounted. Police took up interest as well, but Jacks wouldn’t produce the children, and she wouldn’t let anyone inside the home.

None of the adults had the kids’ back.

By the time the marshals arrived, it was too late. With the girls’ corpses rotting upstairs, Jacks tried to block the stairway. The marshals headed toward the stench.

The trail of a different sort appears to have gone cold. Relisha was a sweet girl by all accounts, and social workers had been familiar with her family’s problems since Relisha was a tyke. So, there was much already known about Relisha, who went missing March 1, 2014, from a near-wretched public shelter on the fringes of Capitol Hill. It was at the shelter where a janitor befriended Relisha and her mom.

Closed-circuit cameras caught Relisha being led by that janitor, Kahlil Malik Tatum, down a motel hallway a few days earlier. Police suspected that Tatum had killed his wife. Days later, Tatum’s body was discovered in a park with a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Relisha’s whereabouts remain a mystery. Relisha Rudd did not vanish into thin air. Somebody knows something. Somebody should come forward, even if that somebody comes forward with the truth of her disappearance and wants to claim the $25,000 reward.

Here’s another newsworthy item. It’s about three local boys who, through no fault of their own, are now men who can barely cope after having been isolated from family and friends, never held accountable by their parents in their youth. They never even walked the family dog, which was fenced in just like they were.

Some members of the neighborhood village witnessed the paths these brothers were on and embraced the mantle.

You don’t have to be the nosy neighbor who inhales and exhales on others’ business. But to not know that your neighbors have 13 kids? Well, no, you do not get a pass.

As the Turpin, Relisha and Jacks stories illustrate, if you don’t help look out for the young, who will?

Deborah Simmons can be contacted at [email protected]

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D.C. area to expect snow, cold wind, school closures Wednesday morning

More wintry weather is on the way Wednesday morning for Maryland, Virginia and The District, according to the National Weather Service.

The weather service issued warnings for the area after forecasting a cold front will sweep into the region Tuesday night and stay until at least mid-morning Wednesday.

Cold winds are forecasted to sink temperatures in the greater Washington Area to the low 20s and forecasts predict the District could receive up to 2 inches of snow early Wednesday.

Regions northeast of the District could see up to 4 inches of snowfall starting Tuesday night, with a lighter dusting of 1 to 2 inches expected southwest of the District.

The National Weather Service warned commuters to be careful of slippery conditions Wednesday morning, especially on Interstate 95. Schools.

D.C. schools are not closed Wednesday, but evening activities have been cancelled.

In central and southern Virginia, several counties have cancelled school Wednesday, including Buckingham and Lunenburg counties.

The advisory comes after light snowfall Tuesday morning in parts of Fairfax County, Virginia, and Montgomery County, Maryland.

Forecasters predict the cold front could reach as far as Houston, Texas.

Temperatures in the District, Maryland and Virginia are expected to rise into the 40s by Thursday.

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DOJ Sides With Archdiocese in Lawsuit Over Christmas Ads

U.S. Department of Justice. Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/NLJ.

The Washington, D.C., public transportation system’s policy of barring religious advertisements on its city buses is unconstitutional, the Justice Department argued in a rare amicus brief Tuesday.

In the brief, the DOJ sided with the Archdiocese of Washington, which sued the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority late last year for refusing to run its Christmas-themed advertisements. The DOJ and the archdiocese claim Metro, as it is locally known, is violating the archdiocese’s First Amendment rights.

The DOJ agreed with the archdiocese that WMATA is engaging in illegal viewpoint discrimination because the transit system allows advertisements that promote secular commercial activity like shopping and buying gifts during the holiday season, just not those that promote religious activity. The archdiocese’s ads promoted its Advent campaign to fundraise and encourage church attendance. 

“When the government creates a forum for expressive activity—regardless whether it opens that forum to all members of the public or only some—it may not restrict a speaker’s access to the forum based solely on the speaker’s point of view,” the DOJ brief said.

The case marks another instance in which the DOJ has entered a private lawsuit to defend religious liberty. Last month, Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of a Colorado baker who declined to make a custom wedding cake for a gay wedding.

DOJ officials listed on the brief included John Gore, the acting assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, and Eric Treene, special counsel for Religious Discrimination at the DOJ. Earlier Tuesday, President Donald Trump proclaimed Jan. 16 to be “Religious Freedom Day.”

The case also pits two former solicitor generals against one another, as the archdiocese is represented by Kirkland & Ellis’ Paul Clement and Munger, Tolles & Olson’s Don Verrilli represents WMATA.

WMATA maintains a policy of declining all ads that “promote or oppose any religion, religious practice or belief.” The rule was enacted in 2015 to stymie a flow of complaints over other controversial ads, which stressed resources and caused security issues.

The case is now pending at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit after a district judge declined to issue a preliminary injunction forcing WMATA to run the ads. In her December ruling denying the request for an injunction, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the District of Columbia said WMATA’s reasoning was sufficient to exclude religious advertising. The judge wrote the plaintiff’s characterization of WMATA discriminating based on viewpoint was “not persuasive.”

“Commercial advertisements do not by definition express a viewpoint or perspective about the true meaning of Christmas or how it should be observed; they suggest to potential shoppers—who fall at every point along the religious spectrum, and who may choose to purchase gifts on Dec. 5 for a multitude of faith-based or secular reasons—where to shop or what to buy,” Jackson wrote.  

The archdiocese recently filed an amended complaint in the district court as well, arguing it will want to run its advertisements next Christmas.

In late December, a three-judge panel at the appeals court also denied the archdiocese’s motion for an emergency injunction pending the appeal. The judges, Patricia Millett, David Tatel and Judith Rogers, wrote the archdiocese failed to provide an example of a nonreligious advertisement on a WMATA bus that “expresses the view that the holiday seasonshould be celebrated in a secular or non-religious manner.”

However, the order noted that it did not speak to the “ultimate merits” of the claims. Oral argument has yet to be scheduled, though briefing is expected to be completed by mid-February. 

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Marcia Coyle Explains: What's Up With the Dearth of SCOTUS Opinions?

Marcia Coyle Explains: What’s Up With the Dearth of SCOTUS Opinions? | National Law Journal

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State AGs Launch Legal Battle Over Net Neutrality

New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Photo: Rick Kopstein.

More than 20 state attorneys general on Tuesday kicked off the first major legal battle over the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to repeal its net neutrality rules.

Attorneys general from 21 states and the District of Columbia, including New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware and Pennsylvania, filed a petition for review of the decision at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The state AGs argue the FCC’s Jan. 4 order restoring the framework for regulating internet service providers to what it was in 2015 is arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act. 

“An open internet—and the free exchange of ideas it allows—is critical to our democratic process,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement. “The repeal of net neutrality would turn internet service providers into gatekeepers—allowing them to put profits over consumers while controlling what we see, what we do, and what we say online. This would be a disaster for New York consumers and businesses, and for everyone who cares about a free and open internet.”

A spokesperson from the FCC did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In defending the vote to repeal the rules last month, Republican FCC chairman Ajit Pai said the internet will remain open to all Americans.

“Following today’s vote, Americans will still be able to access the websites they want to visit,” Pai said. “They will still be able to enjoy the services they want to enjoy. There will still be cops on the beat guarding a free and open Internet. This is the way things were prior to 2015, and this is the way they will be once again.”

The states plan to argue the new rules unlawfully pre-empt state and local laws about net neutrality, and wrongly reclassify broadband internet as a Title I information service instead of a Title II telecommunications service, which would subject ISPs to certain regulations under the Communications Act.

State AGs were not the only ones to go to court over the issue Tuesday. In a blog post, internet company Mozilla also said it would file a petition in the federal court in Washington, as did the nonprofit group Public Knowledge.

In June 2016, the D.C. Circuit upheld the President Barack Obama-era rules that barred internet service providers from blocking certain content or slowing down internet speed, after twice remanding the issue to the agency.

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P.M. Update: Some light snow moves through tonight, leaving a coating or so locally

* Winter weather advisory 9 p.m. Tuesday to 9 a.m. Wednesday | SchoolCast and FedCast *

We saw a brief thaw today as temperatures reached up to around 40 ahead of a little weather system moving through the region. Tonight’s snow risk isn’t a huge one, but we all know it doesn’t take much around here. Fortunately, for travel concerns, this one is near the low end when it comes to impacts. Most of the snow will be out of here by the time we are out the door tomorrow, but we’ll have some cold reinforcements in its place.

Listen to the latest forecast:

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Through tonight: Snow that has been to the northwest of our area will only very slowly advance east this evening, and it might not be much as it gets here. I think we will make it through the commute locally without any snow falling, although later it may impinge on far west and northwest spots. Any snowflakes that mean anything should hold off until later evening or the overnight in the immediate area. While we’re sticking with the earlier forecast, we don’t believe there is much, if any, risk of a boom anymore. A dusting seems like the best bet locally, although anywhere steady snow is sustained could see more. Lows will range from near 20 in the cold spots to the mid-and-upper 20s in the city.

View the current weather conditions at The Washington Post.

Tomorrow (Wednesday): Much of the light to very light snow activity should be moving off to the southeast as we get past sunrise. There is some chance remnant flakes could affect the morning commute, and a few icy spots from overnight are possible. Plan on needing some extra time to get where you’re going. Breaks in the clouds may show up during the morning, but anything substantial could hold off until later in the day. It’s a cold one, with highs mainly in the upper 20s to low 30s. Winds are out of the northwest around 15 to 20 mph, with stronger gusts.


A runner does laps around a partly frozen Constitution Gardens Lake on Tuesday in Washington. Snow is predicted in the area early Wednesday morning. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

See Matt Rogers’s forecast through the weekend. And if you haven’t already, join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram. For related traffic news, check out Dr. Gridlock.

January thaw? We saw a few very warm days last week, but the month has been mostly quite cold. Through Monday, the D.C. area was running 6.9 degrees below normal for the month! But it looks like we’re in for a sustained mild spell. It’s not necessarily a heat wave, but it should get monthly temperature numbers headed back up at least a little bit as we close out January.


European ensemble forecast for the next two weeks for D.C. (wx.graphics)

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Source: Local Weather {$excerpt:n}

Justice Dept. files motion supporting Archdiocese in fight over religious Christmas ads

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a motion in arguing Washington D.C.’s transit authority violated the First Amendment when it banned holiday-themed religious advertisements last year.

Filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the motion will argue that the Washington Area Metropolitan Authority’s rejection of the ads constitutes viewpoint discrimination.

“As the Supreme Court has made clear, the First Amendment prohibits the government from discriminating against religious viewpoints,” said Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand, announcing the lawsuit. “By rejecting the Archdiocese’s advertisement while allowing other Christmas advertisements, WMATA engaged in unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination.”

In November, the Archdiocese attempted to buy advertisements on the side of Metro buses, but the campaign was rejected. Metro cited its policy of barring religiously themed advertisements. The transit agency said such advertisements could incite violence or be seen as incendiary.

The advertisements were expected to run as part of the Archdiocese’s “Find the Perfect Gift” holiday campaign, which referred to a website that encourages people to attend Catholic Mass or donate to charity during the Christmas season.

Depicting an image of three people walking with a sheep and holding shepherd’s staffs, the ads assumed to depict a scene from biblical story of Christmas.

The Archdiocese asked a lower court for a temporary restraining order, but it was denied. A federal appeals court support that decision just five days before Christmas.

A thee-judge panel for the District Court of Appeals ruled that Metro officials were well within their rights to prohibit the archdiocese’s posters, in accordance with the transit agency’s ban on ads that promote religious, religious practice or belief.

The DOJ said it filed the amicus brief today to celebrate Religious Freedom Day.

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SchoolCast and Fedcast for Wednesday

4:40 p.m. update: With the latest information suggesting the low-end of our snow projections – closer to a coating than 2 inches – we want to stress delays are not a given and closings now seem increasingly unlikely. Bottom line: Do your homework!

Original post

It’s been a very cold winter with not much snow to show for it. Nevertheless, most teachers and students have enjoyed at least one snow day and up to two or three. The lucky ones may tack on another on Wednesday.

A cold front coming through should deposit a dusting to a couple of inches of snow across the region between about 9 p.m. Tuesday night and 9 a.m. Wednesday. That’s not a lot of snow, but the fact it will fall on cold roads leading up to the morning commute raises the specter of some delays and maybe even some closings.


(Capital Weather Gang)

We lean toward seeing more delays than closings simply because the snow is going to be so light. Even though some untreated roads may turn a bit slick, we’re not talking about a lot of snow and impassable conditions; and the snow should be winding down by the morning commute. That said, because it may be snowing when officials need to make a decision around 4 a.m., we wouldn’t be shocked if some of the more risk-averse throw in the towel and close for the day.

On the other hand, if the snow fizzles and we just see a dusting/flurries, there’s a realistic chance most head to school on time Wednesday.

FedCast

There’s an outside chance the Office of Personnel Management gives federal workers a late arrival option up to an hour or two, but we lean more toward an on-time opening. An unscheduled leave/telework option seems reasonably possible — but not a given.


Source: Local Weather {$excerpt:n}

Arnold & Porter Adds Ex-Sen. Dodd, Eli Lilly Litigation Chief

Sen. Christopher Dodd. Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM

It was a busy day on the hiring front for Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, which said Tuesday that it had added Christopher Dodd, the former U.S. senator from Connecticut, and Steve Benz, who was head of litigation for pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly.

Both will practice out of the firm’s Washington, D.C., office.

Dodd, whose tenure on Capitol Hill lives on in the shorthand for the post-financial crisis reforms known as Dodd-Frank, served five consecutive terms in the U.S. Senate before deciding not to run for re-election in 2010. His title at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer will be senior counsel.

“I am delighted to become part of the exceptional team at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer,” Dodd said in a statement. “I believe that my experience navigating complex governmental, political, and business issues will be of benefit to clients facing challenges in an ever-evolving global economy.”

Dodd most recently worked as the Motion Picture Association of America’s chairman and CEO before exiting in September 2017.

“Senator Dodd is widely respected in the business community and on Capitol Hill for his expertise and ability to work with colleagues from both parties,” said Richard M. Alexander, Arnold & Porter chair, in a statement. “He will be an effective strategic adviser and valued counselor to clients on a wide range of important legislative and policy issues. They include those affecting financial services, media and entertainment, intellectual property and data privacy, telecommunications, health care, national security, trade, sovereigns, and more.”

As for Eli Lilly’s Benz, he is leaving the Indianapolis-based pharma giant to work as a partner in Arnold & Porter’s life sciences and health care regulatory practice. Benz earned his law degree at the University of Virginia and is a former Air Force captain.

“Steve offers a critical in-house perspective to the firm and our many clients in the life sciences industry,” said Dan Kracov, who co-chairs Benz’s new practice group. “He is a thought leader who is highly regarded in the field, and he has deep experience on anti-kickback and government pricing issues, areas of significant importance to our clients.”

Arnold & Porter is representing the pharmaceutical industry’s top lobbying group in its prominent fight with the state of California about the list price of various drugs.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America sued California last month in an effort to block enforcement of new regulations requiring drug manufacturers to provide public disclosures about looming hikes in drug prices. More than a dozen pharmaceutical companies and associations spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying against the California legislation implementing the regulations, according to public records reviewed by The Recorder. Eli Lilly spent tens of thousands of dollars lobbying over the legislation, according to state records.

Benz handled domestic and international governmental investigations, provided counsel on litigation risk, worked on Securities and Exchange Commission disclosures and company accruals for litigation, and gave advice on governmental affairs issues during his 15-plus years at Eli Lilly.

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Terry McAuliffe, former Virginia governor, faults Charlottesville for 'Unite the Right' chaos

Charlottesville city officials should never have authorized protesters to rally around a monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee last summer, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Monday in one of his first interviews since leaving office.

Mr. McAuliffe told a Richmond radio station that Charlottesville erred by permitting the Aug. 12 “Unite the Right” demonstration in downtown’s Emancipation Park and that the city was warned the site was too small to safely accommodate both participants and counterprotesters.

“We clearly, at the state, knew exactly what was happening,” Mr. McAuliffetold NewsRadio WINA. “The FBI and the [Department of Homeland Security] had been briefing us for quite a while, and we passed all of it on to the city of Charlottesville.”

“We had advised the city of Charlottesville. I wish they had never given the permit. But the city has the right to do whatever they do,” said Mr. McAuliffe, a Democrat who served as Virginia’s governor from January 2014 to this past Saturday.

Billed as a rally held in support of a statue of Lee slated to be removed from Emancipation Park, “Unite the Right” descended into chaos when fighting broke out on the morning of the event between counterprotesters and participants including, Klansmen, neo-Nazis and white nationalists. Three people died in connection with the event, according to police, including two state troopers and a counterprotester.

Charlottesville tried days earlier to relocate the protest to a different park about a mile away, but the rally’s organizer successfully sued the city in Richmond federal court on the eve of the event.

“They never should have given the permit in Emancipation Park. That park is just too small,” Mr. McAuliffe said Monday. “The key to controlling a protest is to keep the two sides as far apart as you can.”

Additionally the former governor took aim at existing policy for preventing the state from taking control during the clashes. Mr. McAuliffe said he deployed nearly 1,000 state police to Charlottesville, but that current unified command laws required the Charlottesville Police Department to call the shots.

“I think we need to look at that. I don’t think that if were committing the most law enforcement, we the state, if we’re doing that, we should make the final decisions,” he said.

Jason Kessler, a white nationalist from Charlottesville who organized the event, told The Washington Times that he’s obtained over 1,000 pages of Virginia State Police documents, suggesting Mr. McAullife was ultimately responsible for authorities during the event.

“It’s indisputable VSP stood down and that he’s ultimately in charge of them. It’s indisputable that people got hurt because the City of Charlottesville sabotaged the rally response. But McAuliffe is trying to wash his hands by saying that he advised them to do something that was ruled unconstitutional by a federal court,” Mr. Kessler told The Times.

“The violence at the rally didn’t occur because it was illegal to move the rally but because both Charlottesville and State Police stood down and refused to implement industry standards for keeping hostile groups separate at rallies,” Mr. Kessler added.

An independent investigation commissioned by Charlottesvilleconcluded last month that police’s failures in preparation, communication and command-and-control created a perfect storm that contributed to the chaos on Aug. 12.

“Although we do not agree with every aspect of the report’s findings, we do appreciate the efforts of the reviewers to talk to people from all walks of life about their experiences from this summer,” Charlottesville’s city manager said at the time.

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