Presidential candidate Cory Booker introduces Senate bill on slavery reparations

GETTY-cory-booker_1554747033858_7077715_ver1.0_640_360U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) speaks to guests during a campaign stop at the Van G, Miller Adult Learning Center on February 08, 2019 in Waterloo, Iowa. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

 

Sen. Cory Booker on Monday introduced a bill that would study the possibility of reparations for descendants of slaves, embracing a push that has recently has caught the interest of fellow 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.

The senator from New Jersey said Monday that “this bill is a way of addressing head-on the persistence of racism, white supremacy, and implicit racial bias in our country. It will bring together the best minds to study the issue and propose solutions that will finally begin to right the economic scales of past harms and make sure we are a country where all dignity and humanity is affirmed.”

The measure is a Senate companion to a bill introduced in the House of Representatives in January by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, which if passed into law would set up a commission to study the impact of slavery and continued discrimination against black Americans and make recommendations on reparation proposals for the descendants of slaves. The legislation was first introduced 30 years ago by then-Rep. John Conyers of Michigan.

“Since slavery in this country, we have had overt policies fueled by white supremacy and racism that have oppressed African-Americans economically for generations,” Booker added. “Many of our bedrock domestic policies that have ushered millions of Americans into the middle class have systematically excluded blacks through practices like GI Bill discrimination and redlining.

Besides Booker, the idea of slavery reparations for black Americans is at least partially backed by at least eight other Democratic presidential contenders. They are Sen. Kamala Harris of California; Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont; former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who served as housing secretary under President Barack Obama; South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg; former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas; Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii; and businessman and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

Several of them were asked specifically about Jackson Lee’s reparations bill during a conference last week of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.

The push by the Democratic White House hopefuls points to the further importance of race and identity issues within the party. Yet while supporters say reparations are needed to address slavery and racist aspects of American history, critics claim such a move could cost several trillion dollars without solving the issue of racism.

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Bill Cosby says he did not authorize the payment to 7 women who sued him for defamation

Bill Cosby, Norristown, USA - 25 Sep 2018

An attorney for seven women who accused Bill Cosby of sexual misconduct announced Friday they have settled a defamation case against him.

Cosby was sued in 2014 by Tamara Green, who alleges that Cosby sexually assaulted her in the 1970s. Green first made the accusation in 2005, and repeated it in interviews in 2014, which prompted denials from Cosby’s camp. “This is a 10-year-old, discredited accusation that proved to be nothing at the time, and is still nothing,” a Cosby publicist said at the time.

Green filed suit for defamation in December 2014, alleging that Cosby was falsely branding her a liar. She was later joined by six other women, whose allegations Cosby had also denied.

A year after the suit was filed, Cosby was charged with sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his Pennsylvania home in 2004. He was convicted in April 2018 and is now serving a 3-to-10 year sentence in state prison.

In a filing on Friday, the plaintiffs’ attorney, Joseph Cammarata, said that his clients’ claims has been settled. The terms were not disclosed.

Cosby’s spokesman issued a statement saying the settlement was made by his insurance company without his knowledge or consent.

“Mr. Cosby did not settle any cases with anyone,” his rep said. “He is not paying anything to anyone, and he is still pursuing his counterclaims. AIG decided to settle these cases, without the knowledge, permission and/or consent of Mr. Cosby. Mr. Cosby vehemently denies the allegations brought against him in these defamation suits and he maintains his innocence.”

Cosby filed a countersuit against the women, accusing them of tarnishing his image and interfering with contracts with NBC and Netflix. That claim is still pending.

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