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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, March 23, 2017
Capitol Chaos & Pipeline Peril: 'BradCast' 3/23/17
Guest: DeSmog Canada's James Wilt on why KeystoneXL may never happen; Plus: House GOP fails to hold O'Care repeal vote, Senate Dems to filibuster stolen SCOTUS nom...
'Green News Report' 3/23/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Trump vows to bring back coal, as world moves away from it; Toxins found in Great Lakes; Wind energy blows past new milestones; PLUS: Wildfire season erupts early across US...
Previous GNRs: 3/21/17 - 3/16/17 - Archives...
How 'Citizens United' Gave Us Clarence Thomas, Climate Denial and Neil Gorsuch: 'BradCast' 3/22/17
Sen. Whitehouse calls out 'dark money' and $10M for Trump's stolen SCOTUS nominee...
(Not) Normalizing a Stolen U.S. Supreme Court: 'BradCast' 3/21/17
Law prof Peter Shane on lack of 'institutional penalty' for GOP theft of SCOTUS; Also: House GOP makes healthcare bill even crueler...
'Green News Report' 3/21/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Trump's cuts go deepest on climate; Extreme rains trigger catastrophe in Peru; SCOTUS nom blocked environmental suits; PLUS: DefSec says climate change a nat'l security threat....
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Comey Confirms Russia Probe, Rejects Trump Wiretap Claim: 'BradCast' 3/20/17
Guest: Marcy Wheeler on House Intel Comm testimony from the FBI, NSA chiefs, and on the many still-unanswered questions...
Sunday Toons of the 'Air Quotes' Moment
The scam, the con, the paranoia, the cruelity, the Trump Administration makes waves in PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best political toons...
'It's Wrong': Vet Group Slams Trump's Cruelest Cuts: 'BradCast' 3/17/17
Guest: Will Fischer of VoteVets.org on why, despite increase to VA spending, Trump's proposed budget is 'un-American'...
Ban Blocked Again; Cruel Cuts; Good News for GA, TX Voters: 'BradCast' 3/16/17
52 years after LBJ's Voting Rights Act speech, 4 since SCOTUS gutted VRA, 2 recent cases prove it's still very much needed...
'Green News Report' 3/16/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Trump rolls back mileage standards, seeks deeper cuts to EPA; Global warming killed large swaths of Great Barrier Reef; PLUS: Six years on, radioactive boars haunt Fukushima...
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Plowing Through the Disinformation Blizzard: 'BradCast' 3/15/17
Guest: Meteorologist, and GOP climate champ Paul Douglas; Also: GOP healthcare plan still failing; Repubs repudiate Trump claim...
The Republican Assault on American Institutions: 'BradCast' 3/14/17
Guest: David Roberts of Vox on Trump, Pruitt, Tillerson and GOP's ongoing war on science, facts, health, journalism and much more...
'Green News Report' 3/14/17
EPA Chief peddles climate lies; Disinfo works -- Americans confused about climate; Musk to save S. Australia? PLUS: Extreme weather wallops Northeast...
CBO: GOP to Uninsure 24M; And Trumpers, Lobbyists in Charge: 'BradCast' 3/13/17
Guest: Jeff Hauser of CEPR's on Trump's succesful and ongoing 'deconstruction of the administrative state'...
Sunday Toons of the 'Tweets of Mass Distraction' Moment
Something's bugging Trump. But, the nation is paying the price, as 'PDiddie' finds in his latest political toon collection...
That OTHER Constitutional Option for Removing Trump: 'BradCast' 3/10/17
Ernie Canning on the 25th Amendment; Also: More bad news for GOP healthcare bill; Trump out-bombs Obama in Yemen; Some good news for voters...
Taking the 25th
Impeachment is a long, cumbersome and, with GOP-control of Congress, perhaps unlikely process. But, there is another Constitutional path for Trump's quick removal from office, should he continue to spiral...
Get Ready for Hot GOP on GOP Budget Action!: 'BradCast' 3/9/2017
Guest: TPM Journalist Alice Ollstein from Capitol Hill; Plus: The high cost of cutting IRS funding and the benefits of single-payer national health care...
'Green News Report' 3/9/17
Early season wildfires erupt; Trump to cut Coast Guard, FEMA, Energy Star; Dolphins still suffering 2010 BP spill; PLUS: Pollution killing 1.7M kids each year...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
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Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Action sought as partisan court panel rolls back remedy meant to restore voting rights to nearly 10% of WI electorate...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/12/2016 1:51pm PT  

The plaintiffs in One Wisconsin Institute v. Thomsen, one of several long-running court challenges to Wisconsin Republicans' strict Photo ID voting restriction, have filed an emergency petition with the full en banc U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeal, asking that it overturn its previous photo ID decision in Frank v. Walker.

The still pending Frank case as well as the One Wisconsin challenge have, to say the least, undergone a circuitous recent history in a number of federal courts that oversee Badger State election law.

In April 2014, after a lengthy trial, U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman struck down and permanently enjoined Wisconsin's photo ID law after finding it in violation of both the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as well as the Voting Rights Act (VRA).

Republicans in control of the state naturally appealed that detailed and blistering ruling. The federal appeal was assigned to an all-Republican three-judge 7th Circuit panel, headed by Judge Frank H. Easterbrook. Easterbrook is a member of the radical right wing Robert Bork-founded, Koch Brothers-funded "Federalist Society". The ensuing decision to reinstate Wisconsin's photo ID law, despite Adelman's meticulous ruling in the lower court, was so extraordinarily partisan, factually deficient, riddled with errors and legally flawed that it prompted the ordinarily staid U.C. Irvine election law Prof. Rick Hasen to tweet: "I rarely just rant in my blog posts. But Judge Easterbrook caused me to blow a gasket."

Other members of the 7th Circuit were so troubled by Easterbrook's flawed opinion that they took the unusual move of granting a rehearing en banc on their own motion. Because of prior refusals by Congressional Republicans to fill a vacancy on the 7th Circuit with an Obama nominee, at that time of the court's motion there were only ten (10) jurists serving on the full 7th Circuit --- as opposed to the allotted eleven (11) judges. The ensuing 5-5 en banc ruling --- now referred to as Frank I --- left Easterbrook's horribly flawed ruling in place, effectively disenfranchising nearly 10% of Wisconsin's electorate who did not possess or have easy access to the very specific types of Photo ID now required by state Republicans to cast a vote. .

Last April, however, after a disastrous Presidential primary in Wisconsin, where, most visibly, student voters were forced into hours long lines on Election Day in hopes of obtaining a state approved photo ID that would allow them to vote under the GOP law, the Easterbrook panel handed down a decision that appeared designed to ameliorate the widespread disenfranchisement. The ruling --- now referred to as Frank II --- suggested that disenfranchised voters who lack the ability "to obtain a qualifying photo ID with reasonable effort" should be permitted to cast a regular ballot nonetheless.

On July 19, 2016, in what was thought to be compliant with the Frank II directive, the District Court issued a remedial injunction that mandated Wisconsin afford the right to cast a regular ballot to "those who cannot with reasonable effort obtain a qualifying ID", so long as they signed an affidavit to that effect at the polling place. Many, like The Nation's Ari Berman, celebrated, believing that the voting rights of Wisconsin's disenfranchised electorate had finally been restored.

That celebration, it now appears, proved both premature and an underestimate of the level partisan duplicity on the part of the three "radicals in robes" on the Easterbrook 7th Circuit panel...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Overdue ruling may ameliorate disenfranchisement for some voters...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/18/2016 6:35am PT  

The same U.S. 7th Circuit Appeals Court panel that, in 2014, opened the door to mass disenfranchisement via Wisconsin's strict GOP-enacted Photo ID voting law ("Act 23"), has now issued a decision that could, in many instances, lead to the reinstatement of the precious right of citizens to cast votes.

Specifically, the panel determined in a ruling issued last week, Wisconsin's strict photo ID restrictions may not be used to disenfranchise any voter who lacks the ability "to obtain a qualifying photo ID with reasonable effort." The appellate court has remanded the matter back to the trial court so that the District Court Judge who heard the original case can determine how to best fashion a remedy that could keep many otherwise legal and often long-time voters from being turned away again at the ballot box.

The new ruling in the Frank v. Walker case comes too late for approximately 300,000 disproportionately minority and poor voters (nearly 10% of the Badger State electorate), who may have been disenfranchised during the state's recent April 5th primary election. It is difficult yet to ascertain the precise effect the polling place Photo ID restriction had in either the Republican or Democratic Presidential primaries that day, but the restrictions had the potential to alter the outcome of those races as well as a Wisconsin Supreme Court contest. The Scott Walker-supported Republican, Rebecca Bradley, reportedly defeated independent jurist JoAnne Kloppenburg by approximately 95,000 votes. The highly controversial Bradley was thus elected to serve out a 10-year term on the Badger State's highest court after being appointed by Walker to fill a vacancy last year.

As ordered by the federal appellate court, U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman may now provide a remedy for those whom ACLU attorney Sean Young described as the "most impacted" by Wisconsin's polling place Photo ID restrictions. The likely remedy was outlined by the 5th Circuit panel, which noted that the new decision was intended to bring Wisconsin's law in line with Indiana law where a voter "who contends he has been unable to obtain a complying photo ID for financial or religious reasons may file an affidavit to that effect and have his vote provisionally counted."

The court ruled the restriction on voting should not be applied to three classifications of voters for whom the plaintiffs had sought relief:

(1) eligible voters unable to obtain acceptable photo ID with reasonable expense and effort because of name mismatches or other errors in birth certificates or other necessary documents; (2) eligible voters who need a credential from some other agency (such as the Social Security Administration) that will not issue the credential unless Wisconsin’s Department of Motor Vehicles first issues a photo ID, which the DMV won’t do until the other credential has been obtained; (3) eligible voters who need a document that no longer exists (such as a birth certificate issued by an agency whose records have been lost in a fire).

Had such a remedy been in place before the state's recent primary, voters like Eddie Lee Holloway, a 58-year-old African-American man who moved from Illinois to Wisconsin in 2008 and voted without problem there until the WI GOP's Act 23 was instituted, might not have been disenfranchised at all. Holloway, despite owning at least three different forms of ID, including his expired Illinois photo ID, birth certificate and Social Security card, was unable to obtain the required Photo ID to vote in WI, as The Nation's Ari Berman documented last week. "He’d spent $200, visited two states, and made seven trips to different public institutions" in his effort to get an ID to vote, "but still couldn’t vote in Wisconsin," Berman reported, in yet another now-all-too-common tale of longtime voters facing absurd new obstacles simply trying to cast a vote in the wake of such new voting restrictions.

But Holloway was hardly alone...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




While its recent decision upheld a lower court finding that the state's Photo ID law was discriminatory, more than 600,000 lawfully registered voters could be disenfranchised in 2016 anyway...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/21/2015 6:35am PT  

The recent decision by a unanimous three judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeal in Veasey v. Abbott was greeted as "very good news." After all, it marked the first occasion in which a federal appellate court made an express finding that a state-enacted polling place Photo ID law violated the provisions of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA).

The appellate panel affirmed the lower U.S. District Court's finding late last year that a Texas polling place Photo ID law (SB 14), which threatened to disenfranchise 608,470 already legally registered voters (and many others not already registered), disparately impacted minorities and the poor. "Hispanic registered voters and Black registered voters," the 5th Circuit appellate panel observed in their recent ruling, "were respectively 195% and 305% more likely than their Anglo peers to lack [the requisite Photo] ID" now required to cast a vote at the polls under the Texas law.

This was the same conservative appellate panel whose "emergency" stay of the lower court's injunction on SB 14 last year, in all likelihood, helped to facilitate the illegal disenfranchisement of as many as 600,000 lawfully registered voters during the 2014 mid-term election. That "emergency" stay was subsequently affirmed by a sharply divided Supreme Court, whose right-wing majority elevated the risk of confusion that could arise by an eleventh-hour, court-ordered change in election laws above the risk that hundreds of thousands of lawfully registered voters could be illegally disenfranchised by reason of the Texas Photo ID law. Both the 5th Circuit and the SCOTUS majority handed down that ruling, although, at that point, neither court was in a position to contest the District Court's finding that SB-14 not only violated Section 2 of the VRA but that the Photo ID statute had been enacted for a discriminatory purpose.

The SCOTUS decision last year, as The BRAD BLOG observed at the time, belied the contention made by the Supreme Court majority in Shelby County v. Holder, the 2013 case that gutted the VRA, that their destruction of Section 5 pre-clearance requirements for new election laws in states with a history of discrimination, "in no way affects the permanent, nationwide ban on racial discrimination in voting found in [Section] 2." In truth, per last year's decision, racial discrimination in voting will be allowed in those cases where a court order upholding that "ban" is issued too close to an election.

This case provided a classic example of the damage wrought by the gutting of Section 5. Prior to Shelby County, Section 5 mandated that Texas prove that its Photo ID statute woulds not have a disparate impact on minority voting rights before the Photo ID law could take effect. In 2012 a unanimous three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeal refused to grant Section 5 pre-clearance to Texas' SB 14 precisely because of its disparate adverse impact upon minorities and the poor. Absent the Supreme Court's troubling decision in Shelby County neither the current, ongoing costly litigation on SB 14, nor the mass 2014 disenfranchisement would have ensued.

The new 5th Circuit panel's decision affirms that SB 14 has the effect of discriminating against racial minorities and the poor. Yet it failed to lift a stay that it imposed on a supposed "emergency" basis. Instead, it vacated the District Court's "discriminatory purpose" finding and remanded the case back to that court for further adjudication....

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Court's decision on whether to hear a challenge to the Wisconsin GOP's 'unconstitutional' voting restriction is a moment of truth for democracy...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/6/2015 2:03pm PT  

As we find ourselves smack dab on the 50th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday march for voting rights in Selma, Alabama, there are some key decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court, coming very soon, which may well determine whether millions of otherwise lawfully registered and disproportionately Democratic-leaning African-American and Hispanic voters will be prevented from voting in the 2016 elections.

The decision that emerges from the Supreme Court's March 20, 2015 Conference in the Wisconsin polling place photo ID case, Frank v. Walker, could well be dispositive in that regard. It also may be the last chance to avoid the legal chaos that plagued the 2014 elections, during which similar voting restrictions, in state-after-state, were implemented, struck down, restored, or, with respect to Wisconsin, blocked again. Where, last year, the Court's eleventh hour decisions preserved the right to vote in Wisconsin, that same Supreme Court, on the eve of the 2014 mid-term, eliminated the right to vote for hundreds of thousands of predominantly African-American and Hispanic voters in Texas and North Carolina. The failure of the Supreme Court to take up the issue now could produce an even darker cloud of doubt over the integrity and legitimacy of the 2016 Presidential Election.

The immediate issue now before the Court is not whether SCOTUS agrees with a U.S. District Court judge and half the judges on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeal that WI's law (aka Act 23) is both unconstitutional and violative of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. As those judge found, Act 23, if implemented in the Badger State, could disenfranchise more than 300,000 lawfully registered Wisconsin voters.

Rather, the immediate issue at the March 20 Conference is whether the Supremes will grant an ACLU petition for a writ of certiorari (aka "cert petition") and schedule oral arguments on the Constitutionality of the Republican-enacted law. Or whether, as urged by the attorneys representing WI's Republican Governor Scott Walker, the Court will defer its decision until similar legal challenges to strict photo ID laws in other states, such as North Carolina and Texas, wind their way through the trial and appellate courts.

In other words, do they hear the Wisconsin case now, as urged by the ACLU and other voting rights advocates? Or do they wait to combine the matter with several other challenges to substantively identical voting restrictions implemented by Republicans in other states, as urged by one of the men who stands to benefit from delaying such a decision as long as possible?

That decision whether to hear the case now, rather than later, may well have a huge impact on who will serve as the next President of the United States...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




By Ernest A. Canning on 1/5/2015 7:05am PT  

- with Brad Friedman

[An earlier version of this article was originally published by Truthout...]

Both election integrity advocates and dissembling GOP proponents of Photo ID voting restrictions were taken by surprise in late 2013 when 7th Circuit Court Judge Richard A. Posner said, during an interview with HuffPo Live, that the landmark 2008 Supreme Court decision on the matter "would have been decided differently" if the Court had known then "about the abuse of voter identification laws."

That, in and of itself, was a remarkable turn of events. What was ultimately to come was even more so.

Crawford v. Marion County Election Board is the case which Republican proponents of strict Photo ID voting laws now (incorrectly and often disingenuously) cite as giving them carte blanche to enact similar laws in other states, irrespective of the extent to which photo ID laws serve to disenfranchise demographic groups --- minorities, students, the poor, women --- that all tend to vote for Democrats.

Posner is not just any judge. He is a renowned legal scholar and Reagan appointee to the federal bench, who has served on the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeal since 1981. More importantly here, Posner was the author of the 7th Circuit's opinion in Crawford. In that case, Posner rejected an allegation that Indiana's polling place photo ID restriction was unconstitutional. That decision was affirmed at the time by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Posner, who is, as Yale Law Professor Fred Shapiro notes, the most cited jurist of the 20th Century, was not alone in his view in 2013 year that Crawford "would have been decided differently" if the Court knew then what it knows now.

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, the author of the plurality opinion in Crawford --- an opinion that was joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy --- told the Wall Street Journal following Posner's remarks at the time, that he "always thought that [dissenting Justice] David Souter got the thing correct, but my own problem with the case was that I didn't think the record [before the Court in 2008] supported everything he said in his opinion." Souter would have struck down the Indiana law as unconstitutional because, as he argued at the time, it "threatens to impose nontrivial burdens" upon the right to vote.

Joined by four other 7th Circuit jurists last October, Posner penned an extraordinarily powerful and compelling dissent [PDF] in Wisconsin's photo ID voting case. The previously missing evidence is now in, as the judge meticulously detailed in the opinion. GOP claims that photo ID restrictions are needed to combat "voter fraud", he wrote, are "a mere fig leaf for efforts to disenfranchise voters likely to vote for the political party that does not control the state government"...

There is only one motivation for imposing burdens on voting that are ostensibly designed to discourage voter-impersonation fraud, if there is no actual danger of such fraud, and that is to discourage voting by persons likely to vote against the party responsible for imposing the burdens.

Posner's carefully crafted dissent does more than establish why the U.S. Supreme Court should ultimately sustain the District Court's finding that Wisconsin's photo ID law is both unconstitutional and a violation of the Voting Rights Act --- a finding later echoed by a federal District Court in Texas as well. Posner's dissent obliterates the factual premise that had served as a pillar upon which his, and subsequently the Supreme Court's, decisions in Crawford were based.

Polling place photo ID laws do not promote voter confidence in the integrity of elections, as Posner and the Crawford Supreme Court plurality had erroneously assumed. The assertion that they do was a "mistake" --- Posner's mistake! --- and he now admits as much, with the support of devastating new data from recent studies to back him up.

His powerful dissent amounts to more than just a response to the Wisconsin GOP's new Photo ID voting law. It is an elegant plea that the U.S. Supreme Court finally right a grievous wrong that he was personally responsible for. Posner presents an astonishing, air-tight case for ruling that all "strict Photo ID laws," which, as he demonstrates, have only been enacted in states sporting GOP-controlled legislatures, must now be struck-down as unconstitutional...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




By Brad Friedman on 10/16/2014 6:03am PT  

You'll have to scroll down past the initial Ebola stuff, but thereafter, Laurence Arnold and C. Thompson at Bloomberg News offer some nice coverage of The BRAD BLOG's coverage of Reagan-appointed federal Judge Richard Posner's devastating opinion on Photo ID voting laws at the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals last week.

The best line is their closer: "Stay tuned. Because by the sounds of it, the floor that supported voter-ID laws has just given way."

Yup.

* * *
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By Brad Friedman on 10/15/2014 11:15pm PT  

Well, KPFK/Pacifica Radio is still on fund drive this week, but there is just too much going on to not do a new BradCast for my network affiliate stations and for you.

So, instead of live from the KPFK studios this week, we are once again "live" from BRAD BLOG World News Headquarters once again for this week's show. (If you heard last week's episode/primal scream, you'll be happy to know that the news this week is considerably more encouraging!)

Having trouble keeping up with the very latest on all of the on again/off again GOP voter suppression laws across the country just over two weeks before Election Day? Me too! So, if you missed any of our roller coaster coverage here at the blog, on all the fine messes over the past week or so, I try to get you all caught up on what you need to know about the latest in the court battles over the unconstitutional Republican Photo ID voting restrictions in Wisconsin, Arkansas and Texas...and on the one devastating appellate court opinion that might ultimately kill them all once and for all.

Buckle up (and please feel free to drop something in the BRAD BLOG Tip Jar while you're listening!)...

Download MP3 or listen online below...




By Brad Friedman on 10/13/2014 4:25pm PT  

Hopefully you've read the amazing opinion offered by the conservative, Reagan-appointed appellate court Judge Richard Posner by now, absolutely demolishing both Wisconsin's Republican-enacted Photo ID voting law, and pretty much all others --- including the first-in-the-nation such law in Indiana that Posner himself was responsible for upholding back in 2008!

If not, go read it and then come back. It's that good and that important. Either way, we may have a bit more to say about it in the near future, as it's an absolutely landmark opinion on this issue --- one that we've been covering at The BRAD BLOG for more than a decade now --- even as a dissent.

But there's one fairly amazing sidebar to all of this, at least to me, that I've been meaning to note here --- if only because it seems so bizarre...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Judge Richard Posner: 'If the WI legislature says witches are a problem, shall WI courts be permitted to conduct witch trials?'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/11/2014 3:04pm PT  

[This article now cross-published by Salon...]

If you read just one top-to-bottom dismantling of every supposed premise in support of disenfranchising Photo ID voting restrictions laws in your lifetime, let it be this one [PDF]!

It is a dissent, released on Friday, written by Judge Richard Posner, the Reagan-appointed 7th Circuit Court of Appeals judge who was the one who approved the first such Photo ID law in the country (Indiana's) back in 2008, in the landmark Crawford v. Marion County case which went all the way to the Supreme Court, where Posner's ruling was affirmed.

If there was ever evidence that a jurist could change their mind upon review of additional subsequent evidence, this is it. If there was ever a concise and airtight case made against Photo ID laws and the threat they pose to our most basic right to vote, this is it. If there was ever a treatise revealing such laws for the blatantly partisan shell games that they are, this is it.

His dissent includes a devastating response to virtually every false and/or disingenuous rightwing argument/talking point ever put forth in support of Photo ID voting restrictions, describing them as "a mere fig leaf for efforts to disenfranchise voters likely to vote for the political party that does not control the state government."

Posner is, by far, the most widely cited legal scholar of the 20th century, according to The Journal of Legal Studies. His opinions are closely read by the Supreme Court, where the battle over the legality and Constitutionality of Photo ID voting laws will almost certainly wind up at some point in the not too distant future. That's just one of the reasons why this opinion is so important.

This opinion, written on behalf of five judges on the 7th Circuit, thoroughly disabuses such notions such as: these laws are meant to deal with a phantom voter fraud concern ("Out of 146 million registered voters, this is a ratio of one case of voter fraud for every 14.6 million eligible voters"); that evidence shows them to be little more than baldly partisan attempts to keep Democratic voters from voting ("conservative states try to make it difficult for people who are outside the mainstream...to vote"); that rightwing partisan outfits like True the Vote, which support such laws, present "evidence" of impersonation fraud that is "downright goofy, if not paranoid"; and the notion that even though there is virtually zero fraud that could even possibly be deterred by Photo ID restrictions, the fact that the public thinks there is, is a lousy reason to disenfranchise voters since there is no evidence that such laws actually increase public confidence in elections and, as new studies now reveal, such laws have indeed served to suppress turnout in states where they have been enacted.

There is far too much in it to appropriately encapsulate here for now. Ya just really need to take some time to read it in full. But it was written, largely, in response to the Appellate Court ruling last week by rightwing Judge Frank Easterbrook which contained one embarrassing falsehood and error after another, including the canards about Photo ID being required to board airplanes, open bank accounts, buy beer and guns, etc. We took apart just that one paragraph of Easterbrook's ruling last week here, but Posner takes apart his colleague's entire, error-riddled mess of a ruling in this response.

Amongst my favorite passages (and there are so many), this one [emphasis added]...

The panel is not troubled by the absence of evidence. It deems the supposed beneficial effect of photo ID requirements on public confidence in the electoral system "'a legislative fact'-a proposition about the state of the world," and asserts that "on matters of legislative fact, courts accept the findings of legislatures and judges of the lower courts must accept findings by the Supreme Court." In so saying, the panel conjures up a fact-free cocoon in which to lodge the federal judiciary. As there is no evidence that voter impersonation fraud is a problem, how can the fact that a legislature says it's a problem turn it into one? If the Wisconsin legislature says witches are a problem, shall Wisconsin courts be permitted to conduct witch trials? If the Supreme Court once thought that requiring photo identification increases public confidence in elections, and experience and academic study since shows that the Court was mistaken, do we do a favor to the Court-do we increase public confidence in elections-by making the mistake a premise of our decision? Pressed to its logical extreme the panel's interpretation of and deference to legislative facts would require upholding a photo ID voter law even if it were uncontested that the law eliminated no fraud but did depress turnout significantly.

And this one...

There is only one motivation for imposing burdens on voting that are ostensibly designed to discourage voter-impersonation fraud, if there is no actual danger of such fraud, and that is to discourage voting by persons likely to vote against the party responsible for imposing the burdens.

And remember, once again, this is written by Richard Posner, the conservative Republican icon of a federal appellate court judge --- the judge who wrote the opinion on behalf of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals approving of the first such Photo ID law in the country in 2008, the very case that rightwingers from Texas to Wisconsin now cite over and over (almost always incorrectly) in support of similar such laws --- now, clearly admitting that he got the entire thing wrong.

One last point (for now): Our legal analyst Ernie Canning, who (along with me) will undoubtedly have much more to say on this dissent in upcoming days, suggests we award The BRAD BLOG's almost-never-anymore-bestowed Intellectually Honest Conservative Award to Judge Posner. And so it shall be.

Now go read Posner's dissent...

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Vacant seat on court since 2010 likely made the difference; Ruling, unless overturned, could result in re-election victory for Walker; Emergency petition to U.S. Supreme Court likely...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/29/2014 6:02am PT  

With just weeks to go before mid-term elections and a "too close to call" Gubernatorial contest, disenfranchisement and electoral chaos in Scott Walker's Wisconsin reign supreme. And only the U.S. Supreme Court may now be able to do anything about it.

In a 5 to 5 ruling, an evenly divided, en banc U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeal has issued a Cursory Order [PDF], summarily denying an ACLU Petition for an Emergency Rehearing to put the brakes back on the state Republicans' Photo ID voting restriction in advance of the November election.

The ACLU petition followed on the recent extraordinary ruling by three Republican appointees to the federal bench that had vacated a permanent federal court injunction of the law. That injunction, until it was lifted by the three-judge 7th Circuit panel just weeks ago, prevented Wisconsin from enforcing a Photo ID voting law which a U.S. District Court judge had found would likely result in the disenfranchisement of up to 300,000 perfectly lawful registered voters who lack the now-requisite, state approved photo IDs.

As we recently reported, the ACLU, in its emergency petition, argued that it will be virtually impossible for the Badger state's Department of Motor Vehicles to process the number of official state photo IDs that would be required to insure that every lawfully registered voter who desires to vote would get the opportunity to vote in the upcoming Nov. 4 election. Moreover, thousands of absentee ballots that had already been mailed prior to the 7th Circuit panel's lifting of the injunction may not be counted since they did not include notice of the new rules requiring that they must be accompanied with copy of the voter's photo ID.

Following the 5 to 5 decision of the full 7th Circuit (one seat remains vacant, more on that below), the ACLU and other plaintiffs' only recourse for now will be an emergency petition to the U.S. Supreme Court. Given the deadlock by the 7th Circuit and reasoning applied not only by the original U.S. District Court Judge in this case, and also by a 6th Circuit panel in an Ohio early voting case, as well as by six (6) of the (9) U.S. Supreme Court Justices who took part in a landmark 2008 Photo ID decision --- all decisions which were inconsistent with the reasoning applied by the three-judge 7th Circuit panel in the Wisconsin case, which has now been essentially upheld --- a challenge at the U.S. Supreme Court has at least a reasonable prospect of success.

If you're confused, read on. We'll help you make sense of this...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




UPDATED: Wisconsin Republicans will appeal to 7th Circuit...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/2/2014 1:23pm PT  

This week's federal court decision to strike down Wisconsin's polling place Photo ID law has national significance and does not bode well for Republicans who have been attempting to advance such electoral schemes in recent years, as based on misleading "facts", wild claims and dishonest interpretations of case law and court precedent.

The court's landmark decision in the Wisconsin case contains a methodology for testing the law's constitutionality that, if applied by other courts in similar federal challenges to similar laws in other states, would likely mark the beginning of the end for Republican-enacted, polling place Photo ID restrictions. We describe that possibility as "likely", given that a careful reading of prior case law suggests that six of the Supreme Court's nine Justices have already subscribed to legal opinions that are consistent with the methodology used by the federal court in Wisconsin.

In late 2011, shortly after the filing of the first of the two federal cases that resulted in this week's ruling finding that Wisconsin's polling place Photo ID law (Act 23) violated both the U.S. Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), The BRAD BLOG explained why the issues before the federal bench in Wisconsin "could reverse similar laws nationwide."

The 90-page decision and order [PDF] that U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman meticulously crafted, not only after a full trial on the merits, but over a span of more than 3 1/2 months following it, suggests that our earlier prediction may have been an understatement.

In declaring Wisconsin's Republican-enacted Photo ID law unconstitutional and a violation of federal law, Judge Adelman applied a very specific test for the law, one called for by the U.S. Supreme Court back in 2008. That same test, measuring the potential benefits of such laws against their possible harm to voters' rights, if similarly applied elsewhere, would likely invalidate most, if not all of the similar restrictions which have been rammed through numerous GOP-majority state legislatures over the past six years.

While stopping short of describing Republican "justifications" for such laws as a mere pretext for voter suppression, Judge Adelman's decision persuasively finds that the core GOP claims about the supposed need for polling place Photo ID restrictions cannot withstand judicial scrutiny when tested against a fact-based reality in a court of law. The judge found, in no uncertain terms, that such laws are constitutionally infirm because, without legitimate state interests for such restrictions, they serve only to disproportionately disenfranchise the poor, the elderly and minority voters...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




By Brad Friedman on 10/30/2013 10:37pm PT  

If you haven't been able to follow Reagan-appointed federal appellate court judge Richard Posner's stunning disavowal of his landmark 2007 polling place Photo ID law ruling - from admitting he got it wrong a few weeks ago...to unconvincingly unadmitting it this week --- I'd hardly blame ya.

On this week's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio, I tried to help make sense of the Photo ID Posner Coaster, as much as possible, and explain where it leaves the continuing fight against the ramped up GOP voter suppression in this country.

We also covered the criminal charges recently filed against repeat offender Diebold (for what the U.S. Attorney described as "a worldwide pattern of criminal conduct"); the new way that KS and AZ have come up with to keep legal voters from voting; and, with NJ Gov. Chris Christie up for re-election next week and taking a bow for his post-"Superstorm Sandy" performance one year ago this week, it seemed a good time to revisit the secret Koch Brothers audio tapes we revealed in 2011, when Christie was lauded at a secret Koch Brothers meeting in Colorado, where brother David introduced him proudly as "my kind of guy", among other praises sung.

Oh, and Desi Doyen joined us, as usual, for the latest Green News Report and lessons --- learned or otherwise --- one year after "Sandy"...

MP3 Download or listen online below [appx 58 mins]...




By Brad Friedman on 10/29/2013 6:05am PT  

[This article now cross-published by The Progressive...]

Okay. Now this is beginning to get completely absurd.

In an article at New Republic headlined "I Did Not 'Recant' on Voter ID Laws'," published Monday, 7th Circuit Appellate Court Judge Richard Posner now claims he hasn't actually disavowed his landmark majority opinion in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board after all!

The record will show, however, the Reagan-appointed judge may have a bit of a faulty --- or, at least, selective --- memory.

The Crawford case is the now-infamous 2007 challenge to Indiana's then new polling place Photo ID restriction law which Posner voted to uphold in a 2 to 1 decision. The law was subsequently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008. It is the only high-profile case to uphold such laws as Constitutional, even though Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote the controlling opinion at SCOTUS, now believes dissenting Justice David Souter "got the thing correct."

Despite recent comments by Posner, in both his new book and at HuffPo Live, appearing fairly clearly to suggest he now believes he was wrong about his original decision in the case (which is often incorrectly cited by Republican supporters of such disenfranchising laws); and his expressed belief that the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals dissenter Judge Terrence Evans "was right"; and his assertion that such laws are "now widely regarded as a means of voter suppression rather than fraud prevention," Posner now appears to be wobbling back again in his latest response to his own controversy...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Reagan-appointed federal judge's about-face on own landmark vote suppression ruling brings attacks, nationwide reverberations...
By Brad Friedman on 10/28/2013 6:05am PT  

[This article now cross-published by Salon...]

Perhaps predictably, the Rightwing is now turning on the otherwise well-respected, Reagan-appointed appellate court judge who recently admitted his majority opinion in Crawford v. Marion County Board of Elections (2007), the landmark polling place Photo ID restriction law case, "was wrong."

Sergio Munoz at Media Matters details the recent --- and, frankly, absurd --- attacks being leveled against Judge Richard Posner by such outlets as National Review Online and long-time discredited GOP "voter fraud" fraudsters like Hans von Spakovsky.

See Munoz for all the details on the sleazy efforts being put forward by the Right's propaganda machine in their desperate attempt to salvage the only high-profile case they are able to cite that supports --- very meekly --- the disenfranchising Photo ID restriction laws they are trying to enact in state-after-state in order to keep Democratic-leaning voters from casting their otherwise legal votes. That, even though Crawford doesn't even actually say what its GOP advocates pretend that it says. (See our coverage of the DoJ's pending case against the Texas GOP's Photo ID law, to get an idea of how the Lone Star state's own Attorney General Greg Abbott is either lying about Crawford, or simply doesn't understand it. Take your pick.)

But I want to highlight a point or two that I haven't been able to cover previously on all of this, including comments given to The BRAD BLOG by one of the Democratic Party's lead attorneys on the original case, after what he describes as Posner's "stunning" admission.

Also, Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote the U.S. Supreme Court's controlling decision in Crawford affirming Posner's lower court ruling, offered noteworthy comments as well recently, when he was asked about Posner's admission. Justice Stevens now offers a similar admission about his own SCOTUS ruling in the case...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




UPDATED with response to election law professor Rick Hasen's critique...
By Brad Friedman on 10/16/2013 2:54pm PT  

[This article now cross-published by The Progressive...]

This story just keeps getting more insane.

We recently told you --- at The BRAD BLOG and at Salon --- about Judge Richard Posner's remarkable disavowal of his own majority opinion in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals case that became the basis for the U.S. Supreme Court's 2008 approval of the Republican implementation of polling place Photo ID restriction laws.

Though it's the only court case of note that Republicans are able to cite in claiming the "constitutionality" of such laws, last week, during an interview with HuffPo Live, Posner recanted the opinion he wrote in the case. He claimed that he "did not have enough information...about the abuse of voter identification laws," to make a better decision in 2007's Crawford v. Marion County Election Board. If he had, he said, the Indiana case "would have been decided differently."

Of course, at the same time, he noted that the dissenting judge in the case seems to have had no trouble ruling correctly at all. Judge Terence T. Evans blasted at the beginning of his dissent in the case [PDF]: "Let’s not beat around the bush: The Indiana voter photo ID law is a not-too-thinly-veiled attempt to discourage election-day turnout by certain folks believed to skew Democratic."

Evans "was right", Posner now admits, and his own decision was wrong. Apparently, Evans somehow did have the information needed to decide the same case correctly, even if Posner now claims that he, personally, did not for some reason.

Today, the New York Times finally decided to cover Posner's admission, and they add at least one more head-spinning element to all of this...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




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