US soldier held in North Korea for 71 days back in US custody.
For second time, Supreme Court says Alabama cannot use racially gerrymandered voting map.
US soldier held in North Korea for 71 days back in US custody
Today, US officials have recovered Army Pvt. 2nd Class Travis King. The news came after North Korea suddenly announced their intention to “deport” King this morning. King was taken into US custody in China.
In 2017, North Korea released American student Otto Warmbier after detaining him for a year and a half. By the time Warmbier returned, he was in a vegetative state and died just days later. The details of what happened to Warmbier in North Korea aren’t clear, but some have feared King might meet a similar fate. At present, King’s condition is not known, but officials say he is being transferred to a medical facility in Texas.
However, even if King is returning in sound condition, his troubles may not be over. He may still be facing further military discipline or court martial.
Back in July, Pvt. King sprinted across the border between South Korea and North Korea. King had only recently been released from a months-long prison sentence in South Korea for an assault conviction. On the day he ran into North Korea, he was supposed to be on a flight back to the US, possibly to face more disciplinary action.
North Korean authorities questioned King and released a statement saying King had entered North Korea because he harbored “ill feeling against inhuman maltreatment and racial discrimination” within the US Army and was “disillusioned about the unequal US society”. When this statement was released, it was widely dismissed as North Korean propaganda. However, many of these same sentiments had already been expressed by members of King’s family.
Family members say King had long suffered from mental health issues. His time in the military seems to have made matters worse, with family members saying he’d been the target of racial discrimination and mistreatment. An uncle said he’d been getting into trouble as a result.
For second time, Supreme Court says Alabama cannot use racially gerrymandered voting map
Last year, a special panel of three federal judges ruled that Alabama’s Congressional district map violated the Voting Rights Act. The map, drawn by Alabama’s Republican-dominated legislature, had included only one district out of seven that was majority Black, despite the state’s population being about 27% Black. The Supreme Court upheld the judicial panel’s decision this summer, forcing Alabama to draw a new map with a second majority-Black district.
Defying this ruling, Alabama Republicans only slightly increased Black percentages in one district to less than 40%. The three-judge panel again found the new map to be in violation of the court’s order. The court decided to appoint a special master to draw a new, lawful map. Not taking several “nos” for an answer, Alabama again appealed to the US Supreme Court to allow them to use their new map while they appealed the judicial panel’s decision. The Supreme Court has once again ruled against Alabama in the case.