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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, December 7, 2022
Warnock Wins GA; Nightmare Election Law Case Heard by SCOTUS: 'BradCast' 12/7/22
Guest: FairVote's David Daley on 'bonkers' Independent State Legislature theory's 'seismic consequences' as weighed by High Court...
TRUMP ORG GUILTY ON
17 COUNTS OF FRAUD:
'BradCast' 12/6/22
But the accountability is only just beginning...
'Green News Report' 12/6/22
  w/ Brad & Desi
FBI probing terror attacks on NC electric grid; Russian missile attacks on civilian targets deepen Ukraine energy crisis; PLUS: EV sales surging in U.S. and around the world...
Recent GNRs: 12/1/22 - 11/29/22 - Archives...
All State-Funded Media is
Not Created Equally:
'BradCast' 12/5/22
Guest: Voice of America's former WH House Bureau Chief, Steve Herman; Also: New flu, COVID surge; Russia's latest offensive; Trump calls for 'termination' of U.S. Constitution...
Sunday 'Abandon All Hope' Toons
Give it up for PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best political toons...
AZ Election Super-Geniuses: 'BradCast' 12/2/22
Cochise County ordered to certify results; Lake, Finchem attorneys sanctioned; Also: Warnock campaigner shot in GA; Boebert recount begins in CO; Dems avert rail strike, but about those paid sick days...
Seditious Conspiracy Verdicts and 'Mob Boss' Obstruction: 'BradCast' 12/1/22
Guest: Emptywheel's Marcy Wheeler; Also: Out of work loser, Dr. Oz; Hilarious sentence for GOP vote suppressors; Breaking: 11th Circuit nixes Special Master in Trump docs case...
'Green News Report' 12/1/22
  w/ Brad & Desi
DoJ sues to clean up water supply in Jackson, MS; Mauna Loa shuts global CO2 monitor; New methane rules for drilling; PLUS: Int. Dept to help tribal communities escape rising seas...
Recent GNRs: 11/29/22 - 11/17/22 - Archives...
Good News and Bad News in GA Early Runoff Voting: 'BradCast' 11/30/22
Guest: GA election expert, observer Jeanne Dufort; Also: Dems unite behind new House leadership; Bills passed to help avert rail strike; Meadows ordered to testify in GA...
Fun Times in MAGA Land!: Sedition! Collusion! Denial!: 'BradCast' 11/29/22
Oath Keepers chief 'guilty'; GOP money launderer 'guilty'; AZ Dem SoS/Guv-elect fights to keep Repubs from disenfranchising selves...
'Green News Report' 11/29/22
Breakthrough at U.N. climate conference; Americans at risk of power blackouts; Buffalo, NY buried by blizzard; PLUS: Houston, TX under boil water notice...
We're Back! But Election and Accountability Season Never Left: 'BradCast' 11/28/22
Pillow Guy is running!; Special Counsel wasting no time; Trumpers failed in AK too; Lake still pretending in AZ; Callers have a few thoughts...
Sunday 'Once More Unto the Breach' Toons
And here we go again...into PDiddie's latest post-Turkey toon collection...
Turkey Toons
Gobble gobble! Our thanks to the one and only Pdiddie for a special holiday collection of toons to help you burn off a few calories!...
Debating the Merits of Garland's New Special Counsel: 'BradCast' 11/21/22
Guests: Former DoJ prosecutor Randall D. Eliason of GWU, Const'l law expert John Bonifaz of FSFP; Also: Does the Const. disqualify Trump from 2024?...
Sunday 'Ready or Not' Toons
PDiddie's latest collection of the past week's most gut-busting political toons...
'Green News Report' 11/17/22
Crunch time for COP27 climate agreement; NASA says sea levels to rise a foot by 2050; Trump's 2024 announce-ment climate lies; PLUS: Climate disinfo surging again...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
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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...


A 1994 federal ban worked well for ten years and repeatedly stood up to Constitutional challenge...until Republicans allowed it to expire in 2004...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/3/2022 9:05am PT  

The high-powered AR-15, military-style assault weapon used to massacre school children and teachers at Sandy Hook (2012) and Uvalde (2022) is a semi-automatic version of the M-16 that I used in Vietnam (1968). It was engineered to inflict maximum damage upon human beings. It has no legitimate civilian use.

By 2021, there were an estimated 20 million AR-15s legally in circulation within the U.S., procured at an average cost of $800. This likely produced some $16 billion in revenues for the small arms industry.

The AR-15's widespread availability is an obscenity. It exists courtesy of the same Republican hypocrites, who dare call themselves "pro-life" while infringing upon women's reproductive liberties; yet, offer little more than feckless "thoughts and prayers" when faced with unbridled American carnage.

It is an obscenity wrought by the Republicans' refusal to reinstate the 1994 federal Assault Weapons Ban, which stood up to Constitutional challenge and helped curb similar mass shootings for a decade. That Act prohibited the manufacture, transfer and civilian possession of specific makes and models of military-style, semi-automatic firearms and large capacity magazines (allowing more than 10 rounds), while containing an exemption for weapons sold before the Act went into effect.

The GOP bastardization of the Constitution and the right to life, liberty and a pursuit of happiness was enhanced by District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), a 5-4 decision in which the Supreme Court's Republican-appointed majority overruled a 1939 SCOTUS precedent. For the first time in our nation's history, the opinion, authored by the late Justice Antonin Scalia, held that the Second Amendment created an individual's right to possess a firearm unconnected to service in a State militia.

In his compelling dissent, the late Justice John Paul Stevens excoriated the Court's right-wing majority for ignoring the Second Amendment's language, history and context, all of which revealed that the "right to bear arms" was intended to apply only to a State's right to maintain a "well-regulated Militia". Stevens even cited the Oxford English dictionary's explanation at the time that to "bear arms" meant serving "as a soldier". Scalia, a self-declared "originalist", who claimed to be bound by the original meaning of the text of the Constitution, conveniently ignored that original meaning of our nation's founding document.

Even assuming the Court's "Radicals-in-Robes" were correct --- that the Second Amendment authorizes all individuals to "bear arms" --- that right would certainly be no more absolute than the carefully limited rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. The right to free speech, for example, does not create a right to yell "fire" in a crowded theater or to incite imminent violence. The Court has long held that public safety, in those instances, trumps the First Amendment's "guarantee" of free speech.

If we value our lives and those of our children, We the People must work towards a total ban on the manufacture, sale and civilian possession of the AR-15 and all other assault-style weapons. We must do so irrespective of substantial legal and political obstacles, which include the extortion-like threats of violence offered by right-wing extremists if the government sought to take their guns away.

Neither we nor our fragile democracy will be safe so long as these deadly military-grade weapons are left in the hands of domestic terrorists.

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Ernest A. Canning is a retired attorney, author, and Vietnam Veteran (4th Infantry, Central Highlands 1968). He previously served as a Senior Advisor to Veterans For Bernie. Canning has been a member of the California state bar since 1977. In addition to a juris doctor, he has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science. Follow him on twitter: @cann4ing




Guest: Slate legal reporter Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Jan 6. Comm seeks McCarthy interview; Fulton County, GA D.A. closing in on Trump...
By Brad Friedman on 1/12/2022 6:39pm PT  

Well, we start today's BradCast with some encouraging news. At least until our guest arrives. [Audio link to full, must-listen show follows this summary.]

First up, the investigators are closing in. In Congress, the House Select Committee investigating Trump's January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol are now "requesting" an interview and documents from House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, centered on his communications with Donald Trump "before, during and after" the insurrection.

Meanwhile, down in Georgia, Fulton County (Atlanta) District Attorney Fanni Willis also appears to be closing in on Trump and his fellow conspirators regarding their attempt to steal the 2020 election in the Peach State. In an interview with AP published on Monday, Willis said her team is making "making solid progress, and she’s leaning toward asking for a special grand jury with subpoena power to aid the investigation." She also believes a decision will soon be made on whether to indict Trump and several others. (Meadows? Giuliani? Lindsey Graham?) “I believe in 2022 a decision will be made in that case,” she told AP. “I certainly think that in the first half of the year that decisions will be made.”

And on Tuesday, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow reported "that attorneys for former President Donald Trump have now met in person with the Fulton County District Attorney's office in Georgia." The meeting reportedly took place last month, around the same time that Trump issued an unhinged, seemingly out-of-the-blue statement that few knew what to make of: "All the Democrats want to do is put people in jail. They are vicious, violent, and Radical Left thugs. They are destroying people's lives, which is the only thing they are good at...their DA's, AG's, and Dem Law Enforcement are out of control." Suddenly, his remarks makes a lot more sense.

Welp...That's about it for today's encouraging news, before we are then joined by the great MARK JOSEPH STERN, legal journalist for Slate on what appears to be Steve Bannon's dream of the "deconstruction of the Administrative State" about to come true.

Last Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on challenges to two separate COVID-related Biden Administration mandates. One applies to businesses with more than 100 employees, requiring them all to either get vaccinated or take weekly tests for the virus. The other requires vaccination for all workers at health care facilities that accept money from either Medicaid or Medicare. Both rules were set to take effect as the Omicron surge has led to record pandemic hospitalization numbers. The first was issued by way of regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the second via the Health and Human Services Administration (HHS). Both are based on authorities granted to the Executive Branch agencies via statutes adopted by Congress. Though none of those statutes, passed years ago, include the word "COVID" in them. So now they are both being challenged by Republican state Attorneys General as unconstitutional over-reaches by the Administration.

Based on tea leaves read during Friday's oral arguments --- with two of the challenging attorneys infected with COVID and arguing remotely --- Stern believes it's possible the employer mandate could survive, but that the health care mandate is likely to be struck down.

But buckle up for today's conversation with Stern about all of this, because these cases are a much much larger than simply about the COVID mandates, even though they are likely to save hundreds of thousands of American lives unless struck down by the Court. These challenges squarely target the so-called "Administrative State" which, as you'll recall, Trump's disgraced Senior Political Adviser Bannon vowed in 2017 that they planned to "deconstruct". That may finally be about to happen, thanks to Trump's stolen and packed Supreme Court.

We dive too far into the legal and Constitutional and political weeds to adequately summarize here, but the argument comes down to who has the Constitutional right to "protect the general welfare" of the citizenry on matters of public health (and much more). Is it Congress, which has no expertise in these matters? Or the Executive Branch agencies created by Congress and filled with such experts? Ironically, the ultimate body who will make this decision is going to be the Judicial Branch, which, like the Legislative Branch also has no expertise in these issues.

All of the COVID mandate challenges are based on legal doctrines such as the "major question doctrine" and the "nondelegation doctrine" (both explained by Stern) which, unlike the General Welfare clause, do not actually appear anywhere in the Constitution at all.

"There is nothing (in the Constitution) that requires these principles, and certainly nothing that gives the federal judiciary the power to decide what the Executive Branch gets to do and not do under Congressional delegations," Stern explains. "All of this stuff has been made up. It was made up a long time ago, and used to block New Deal programs under FDR, then immediately abandoned and discarded for nearly a century. Only in the last few years has it been revived by so-called 'originalists' who are seeking to box in Democratic Presidents and prevent them from issuing any kind of policy."

"We are talking about a really recent revival," he continues. "Because as recently as the early 2000s, the Supreme Court unanimously disclaimed any real version of the non-delegation doctrine, and a majority opinion written by Antonin Scalia [of all people!] basically said 'We don't have any expertise, it's not our job to tell Congress what it can and cannot entrust the Executive to do'. We are only about two decades out from that, and the entire conservative legal movement has turned on a dime and decided that, in fact, the courts have this intense obligation to police the boundaries between these branches, even though there's nothing in the Constitution that permits it, much less requires it."

The Scalia majority opinion in question, which Stern "encourage[s] everyone to read" is 2001's Whitman vs. American Trucking. "It is a very clear explanation of why the federal courts have absolutely no business mucking around in this kind of cooperation and negotiation between Congress and the Executive Branch. Twenty-one years later, everyone has decided to ignore that opinion on the Right and pretend like it never happened."

So, what will it mean if the Court now decides that experts at Executive agencies mandated by Congress to exercise their expertise may not do so? The fallout could be enormous and terrifying and go well beyond COVID and these two cases. By way of one example, Stern notes, next month the Court is about to hear a case where "the Biden EPA wants to restrict carbon emissions at power plants. While federal law gives the EPA vast authority to regulate and restrict all kinds of toxic and harmful emissions from power plants, it doesn't explicitly say 'carbon'. It says the EPA needs to decide what counts, and we will defer to their expertise."

But, Stern notes later in our conversation, "this does not start or stop with carbon. This goes to every toxic chemical on the planet, which Congress simply does not have the time or expertise to list. So, anytime you're thinking about the amount of benzene, or methane, or whatever horrific chemical you want to talk about in the water supply, the air supply, that stuff is regulated by the EPA, not directly by Congress. And if this Supreme Court goes as far as I fear it will, we are going to have a lot more unnecessary deaths because of a horrific amount of pollution that the President is going to be told that he simply cannot curb."

And, yes, even that is only the tip of the melting iceberg. It also goes farther than the EPA, to dozens, if not hundreds of other federal agencies and regulations on labor rights and much more, as Stern details. "But that is what these Justices seem to want, and that is the road that we are already following down," he warns. "We live in a juristocracy, my friend, and we are only just beginning to see the downstream consequences of it."

As noted, buckle up for this one...

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Guest: Univ. of KY election law Prof. Joshua A. Douglas; Also: Trump's CA wildfire emergency disaster relief roller coaster...
By Brad Friedman on 10/16/2020 5:57pm PT  

If you're feeling a bit nauseous of late, hopefully it's not COVID. But it could very well be the effects of trying to keep up with the roller coaster of federal court rulings we've been reporting on The BradCast of late. Or it could be due to trying to keep up with the President of the United States changing moods every few hours these days, as he vacillates between vindictiveness and desperation just over two weeks from Election Day. [Audio link to today's full show follows below summary.]

On Thursday, Donald Trump refused a request from the Governor of California for a Major Disaster Declaration following the spate of record wildfires we've seen in the Golden State over the past month, amid record heat and drought fueled by climate change. Some 8,500 fires this year have resulted in more than 4 million acres burned this year alone --- twice the all-time record for the state --- with nearly 2 million acres scorched in six major wildfires over just the past month. A thousands structures have been leveled and 31 people have died in recent blazes, as five of the six largest fires in California history have taken place this year.

But Trump --- who despises California because we don't vote for him --- has long threatened to cut off FEMA emergency funds to the state, dismissing climate change as a cause, citing leaves and dead trees as the reason for the massive fires and demanding better forest management in the state. That, despite the fact that the vast majority of California's forests are federal lands, which are supposed to be managed by....the Trump Administration.

White House spokespeople spent Friday morning explaining that California's request for federal aid "was not supported by the relevant data that States must provide for approval and the President concurred with the FEMA Administrator's recommendation" against it. That recommendation, however, according to Trump's former DHS Chief of Staff Miles Taylor over the summer, was ordered by a cruel and vindictive Trump himself. But by Friday afternoon, just before air time, someone must have pointed out to Trump that more of his voters live in California than in any other state in the union. Or, they just told him how bad he looked, just over two weeks from Election Day, in refusing federal aid to people who have lost everything due to no fault of their own, especially in a state which had been running a $5.6 billion budget surplus until Trump's disastrously bungled response to the coronavirus resulted in a $54 billion deficit here instead.

It's clear that Donald Trump doesn't even care about his own voters, if they live in a state that won't help him win a second term. He cares about only himself. Period. But, whatever it takes. We're happy for the late breaking news that he finally reversed his cruel idiocy moments before airtime today.

Keeping up with the roller coaster of Trump's mood swings, however, is only marginally less nauseating than keeping up with the roller coaster of recent federal court rulings on voting rights this year! As we've been reporting over the past several weeks, in state after state after state, lower courts have general found in favor of efforts by Democrats and voting rights advocates to make voting easier and safer during the pandemic, as the Trump Campaign and Republican Party have sued virtually everywhere to prevent that from happening. But time and again, well-reasoned, Constitutionally sound rulings by U.S. District Court judges have been overturned at the appellate and Supreme Court levels, often in deference to state legislatures, or simply because SCOTUS has decided its too late to change an election rule or law, even not doing so might disenfranchise tens of thousands of voters in violation of federal law and the Constitution itself.

As University of Kentucky election law professor JOSHUA A. DOUGLAS, author of Vote for US: How to Take Back Our Elections and Change the Future of Voting, asks this week in a CNN editorial, if the courts are supposed to protect the right to vote, why aren't they doing so?

Good question, which Douglas joins us to discuss on today's program. He also has some good, if troubling answersto that question, which Amy Coney Barrett will not be making any less troubling when her SCOTUS confirmation is rammed through the U.S. Senate to seat her on the High Court before Election Day.

"It is frustrating," he tells me, "because the Constitutional right to vote is supposed to be one of our most foundational precious rights, and the courts are supposed to be a check on legislative majorities that try to rig the system, rig the rule of the game to keep themselves in power. That's the whole point of judicial review in these Constitutional cases involving voting rights, and the courts are refusing to do that right now."

But Douglas has good suggestions as well, for how we can begin to correct this sickening course that has resulted, in no small part, from the packed rightwing courts which have been stripping more and more rights from voters over the past decade or so.

"Congress does have the Constitutional authority to regulate elections in a lot of ways under Article 1, Section 4 of the US Constitution, referred to as the Elections Clause," he argues, "which gives states the first right in regulating elections, but says Congress may also alter or amend those regulations." Moreover, he continues, "we have to think on a long term strategy on enshrining the Right to Vote as a textual matter in the US Constitution. Because if these judges are 'textualists', then having explicit language conferring the right to vote, which the Constitution does not currently have, is a much stronger legal argument."

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, which --- speaking of Barrett --- examines the apparent climate science denialism of the Justice-in-Waiting, as revealed during her Senate confirmation hearings this week. And, just before we finish up today, the breaking news that the U.S. Supreme Court will be deciding whether Trump may violate the Constitution by excluding undocumented immigrants from Congressional apportionment following this year's decennial U.S. Census...

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Guest: Dark money researcher Lisa Graves on Sen. Whitehouse's Judiciary Committee revelations on the GOP's decades-long, $250 million Supreme Court-packing coup; Also: Good news for voters in VA, TX, AK!...
By Brad Friedman on 10/14/2020 6:56pm PT  

We begin today's BradCast with some good news from the courts, for a change, regarding voting rights in several states today, as the GOP's trench warfare to suppress the vote wherever they can continues, now 20 days out from Election Day. Then, it's on to the $250 million dark-money scheme that a closely interconnected conspiracy of mostly low-profile rightwing groups have orchestrated with Republicans in the U.S. Senate to pack the federal courts --- specifically the U.S. Supreme Court --- and push specific cases to them that are similarly rigged by "orchestrated amicus flotillas" to help achieve very specific results that just happen to benefit all of the well-moneyed interests involved in the well-orchestrated and well-funded conspiracy that made it all happen. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First, we go light before we go "dark". In Virginia, where a severed fiber optic cable knocked out online voter registration for the entire state on Tuesday, the last day to do so this year, a federal judge has granted an extra 48 hours for residents in the Commonwealth to sign up. You've now got until 11:59pm Thursday, Virginians! Get busy!

In Texas, where desperate Republicans are challenging absolutely every new measure instituted to make voting easier and safer amid the pandemic --- even going so far as to sue their own Republican Governor for extending early voting by one week --- a state court of appeals has tossed a case filed Monday by the GOP to block Harris County's plan for "drive-thru" voting. The case was filed just one day before Early Voting began in the state yesterday. Some 11,000 votes were reportedly cast from vehicles via curbside voting centers in Harris County's Houston on Tuesday, as implemented by the County's new, 34-year old County Clerk, Chris Hollins. Dem-leaning Houston has a population of 4.7 million and a geographical area larger than the state of Rhode Island. It is the nation's third most populous voting jurisdiction. A total of 10 drive-thru sites are planned for use during Early Voting. The court win comes as another too-rare victory for voters in the Lone Star State, where the GOP is desperately trying to block the demographic writing on the wall against them.

And, in Alaska, the state Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling that nullifies the state's witness signature requirement for mail-in ballots during the pandemic. The suit was brought by Alaskan Native Americans and voting rights groups who successfully argued that the requirement "impermissibly burdens the right to vote" while many Alaskans are quarantining alone during the crisis. The state's top election official, Republican Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer, had appealed the lower court ruling all the way to the state Supremes...and has now lost. But voters have won.

Then, we head into the "darkness" following Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)'s remarkable, must watch revelations (transcript here) on Tuesday during the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee's appalling and hypocritical push to ram through the confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett before Election Day. In short, Whitehouse summarized the broad and insidious network of interconnected rightwing dark-money groups that select federal court judges for Republicans to nominate to the bench; quietly fund the PR campaigns to push for their confirmations; seek out specific cases to bring to those same judges for a desired outcome that enriches their well-moneyed interests; and then bury the Supreme Court with amicus briefs spelling out that desired outcome.

Whitehouse details the remarkable success that the groups have seen in recent years in not only packing the federal judiciary, including the Supreme Court, but in an 80 to 0 record of wins at the high court with partisan 5 to 4 victories in each and every case.

Teeing off the Senate Republicans' eagerness to push through Barrett's confirmation closer to any Presidential election in U.S. history --- despite vows from the party in 2016 that they would never support filling a Supreme Court seat during a Presidential election year until American voters have had a say in the matter --- Whitehouse observes near the beginning of his remarks that, in his "experience around politics, when you find hypocrisy in the daylight, look for power in the shadows."

Using charts and magic-markers to break down the sprawling case and evidence of the closely-allied, secretly-funded groups making up that "power in the shadows" --- from the Federalist Society (which promoted Barrett's nomination), to the so-called Judicial Crisis Network, to the Bradley Foundation to Donors Trust and the Koch Brothers --- the Rhode Island Senator neatly unfolds the very clear conspiracy that has successfully resulted in cases that benefit its dark-money funders to the tune of billions of dollars returned on their investments.

Much of Whitehouse's case cited evidence first revealed by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), a non-profit good government watchdog and research organization headed up for many years by LISA GRAVES, a former Deputy Asst. Attorney General at the U.S. Justice Department, a former Chief Counsel for nominations in the U.S. Senate, and a former Deputy Chief for the U.S. Court system. She still serves as President of the Board of Directors at CMD and is currently the Executive Director of True North Research.

With all of those qualifications, Graves is uniquely positioned to offer much more insight into Whitehouse's Tuesday revelations of the, yes, actual, decades-long GOP judicial conspiracy now in play; Barrett's qualifications for a lifetime appointment to highest court in the land; her performance during this week's confirmation hearings; and whether Democrats should expand not only the U.S. Supreme Court --- if they win both the Presidency and Senate majority in November --- but the lower federal courts as well.

Graves tells me that Whitehouse's remarks were "very, very important, because he was able to use this forum to shine a light on something that most Americans have no idea is going on, as part of this capture of our courts, which is really about changing our rights and doing it through judicial fiat." She explains that "that thirty minutes is really a class, a course, on understanding this puppet show that we're seeing with this nomination, of who is really calling the shots, and how this is happening."

She also offers a reaction to my own monologue from the top of yesterday's BradCast, in which I detailed the under-appreciated hypocrisy and judicial dishonesty of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, regarding his professed claims of "conservative" Constitutional "originalism" and "strict consructionism". Barrett worked hard during her opening statement on Monday to associate herself with Scalia's disingenuous judicial philosophy, citing the late rightwing extremist Justice, for whom she once clerked, as a model for own tenure as a federal jurist.

There is much ground to cover in all of the above with Graves, so I hope you'll tune in for this one!...

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Also: Touchscreen systems fail on first day of Early Voting outside Houston; Three Trump judges clear way for absentee vote suppression in TX; Online registration fails on deadline day in VA...
By Brad Friedman on 10/13/2020 7:03pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's not easy keeping up with confirmation hearings for a new Supreme Court Justice on an already stolen Court just days before an election, even as disasters are already befalling voters at the polls, thanks in part to the GOP's already stolen Court. But we try our best. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

On the morning of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee's first day of hearings to pack the U.S. Supreme Court by ramming Donald Trump's third nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, onto the Court before Election Day, AP unhelpfully parroted one of the GOP's favorite, if completely phony, myths. "Republicans will highlight Barrett's belief in sticking to the text of laws and the original meaning of constitutional provisions, both Scalia trademarks," the news service claimed. They may be "trademarks", but that's largely because Republicans have long propagated the myth, and the media, like the Associated Press here, are all too happy to help them spread it. In fact, those claims about Scalia --- and the notion that Republicans give a damn about "sticking to the text of laws and the original meaning of constitutional provisions" --- are lies. And easily proven as such.

None of that, of course, prevented the hypocritical Barrett --- who argued against seating a Justice on the Supreme Court during a Presidential election year, back when it was convenient for her party after Scalia's death in early 2016 --- from associating herself with false claims of "conservative" "originalism" or "textualism" or "Constitutionalism" or "strict constructionism" that Republicans have long enjoyed using to falsely characterize Scalia's so-called judicial philosophy and their own pretend assertions that they oppose "radical extremist judges" that "legislate from the bench", as the late Justice brazenly did himself.

In her opening statement on Monday, Barrett lashed herself to Scalia --- who she once clerked for --- by noting: "it was the content of Justice Scalia’s reasoning that shaped me. His judicial philosophy was straightforward: A judge must apply the law as written, not as the judge wishes it were. ... The policy decisions and value judgments of government must be made by the political branches elected by and accountable to the People. The public should not expect courts to do so, and courts should not try."

As discussed in some detail on today's program, and as Scalia might have described it himself if you could catch him in a rare moment of truth-telling, that's all a bunch of "jiggery-pokery", "pure applesauce" and "bull-pucky". Scalia's position in 2013, in the SCOTUS case that gutted the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 --- and his outrageous explanation for it during oral argument --- reveal that Barrett's hero had little concern for the strict, constructionist, originalist wording of either the Constitution or the rule of law, even for an Amendment enacted over 100 years ago and a law adopted 98 to 0 in the U.S. Senate to enforce it, "by the political branches elected by and accountable to the People," as Barrett disingenuously averred in her opening statement. I explained that matter in 2013 and do so again on today's show.

If Barrett is as dishonest and misleading on the high court as she was in her opening remarks, Democrats would have more than enough reason to expand the Court to take back the majority they should have rightfully gained in 2016. In truth, they already do.

Speaking of gutting the Voting Rights Act, that 2013 SCOTUS outrage continues to undermine American democracy today.

Following lines as long as 11 hours to vote in minority-heavy areas of Georgia on its first day of Early Voting Monday, hours-long lines were also seen in urban and suburban parts of Texas today during the Lone Star State's own first day of Early Voting on Tuesday. As in Georgia, those lines were caused, in part, by still-unexplained programming failures on the touchscreen Ballot Marking Device (BMD) voting systems which Texas Counties like Fort Bend force voters to use when casting their vote at the polls, instead of hand-marked paper ballots.

The only way to cast a hand-marked paper ballots in many Counties in Texas is with a mail-in ballot. But those are seriously restricted in the state, largely allowing only those 65 and older to request them. Even there, however, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has recently made returning absentee ballots in person more difficult by proclaiming last week that Texas counties may have no more than one single drop-off location for voters, whether the county has 4.7 million people (like Houston's Dem-leaning Harris County, which is larger in area than Rhode Island) or right-leaning counties like Rockwall, with a population of 105,000. After a federal court judge last Friday found Abbott's new directive unlawful because it forced absentee voters to travel farther and to more-crowded locations, increasing the risk to populations already especially vulnerable to the coronavirus, a three-judge panel on the hard-right U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that finding. With an Orwellian flair, the panel described Abbott's proclamation as an "expansion" of voting rights. All three judges on the panel were Trump-appointees, packed onto the court by the Republican Senate.

Also today, on the final day of voter registration in Virginia, a fiber optic cable was cut, shutting down online registration entirely in the state. Democratic Governor Ralph Northam announced he'd like to make up for the lost hours by extending the state deadline for one of the busiest registration days of the year, but that only a court may do so.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with the fallout from Hurricane Delta in Louisiana in this year's record storm season and the at-times-ridiculous conversation about climate change during last week's Vice-Presidential Debate...

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Guest: Harvard Law's Michael Klarman; Also: Trump praises GOP Rep's violence against journalist at MT rally, as Khashoggi assassination roils...
By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2018 6:46pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's no longer only political pundits and activists calling for Democrats to pack the U.S. Supreme Court by adding several seats as soon as possible, in the wake of the Republican Party's blatant theft of the high court majority. Esteemed law professors are now joining that call. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, first up today, a word or two on the President of the United States' appalling celebration of violence against journalists at a political rally in Montana on Thursday night. To the cheers of his supporters, Donald Trump praised the criminal assault on Guardian journalist Ben Jacobs by Republican U.S. House member Greg Gianforte. The attack last year was carried out by Gianforte, and caught on tape, on the eve of his special election to the state's only U.S. House seat.

"Any guy that can do a body slam --- he's my kind of guy," Trump declared to laughter and wild applause from supporters at the campaign rally for Gianforte in Missoula on Thursday, lauding him as "one tough cookie." The Congressman initially lied to police after the assault, claiming that he was attacked by Jacobs. Later, after he won the election, and after a Fox News crew who witnessed the attack detailed what actually happened, Gianforte pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault, apologized to Jacobs and paid a small fine in addition to performing 40 hours of community service and receiving 20 hours of anger management counseling.

Trump's disgusting --- and chilling --- praise for the violent attack against a reporter doing his job, comes amidst Trump's seeming support for Saudi Arabia following their reported assassination and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist and Virginia resident Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago. Journalists today --- including the Guardian's Editor and the head of the White House Correspondents Association --- are decrying Trump's support for violence against reporters, despite his sworn oath to protect and defend the Constitution's First Amendment. We decry it --- and the dark path where it's leading --- on today's show as well.

Next, we're joined by MICHAEL KLARMAN, the Kirkland & Ellis Professor at Harvard Law School to discuss his recent essay at the Take Care Blog, detailing "Why Democrats Should Pack the Supreme Court" if they are ever able to regain control of the White House and both chambers of Congress. The public conversation in support of expanding the number of seats on the high court --- which can be done statutorily, without a Constitutional Amendment --- has been intensifying in recent weeks. What had begun as a call from activists to restore a Democratic majority, stolen from them by Republicans in 2016, has quickly spread to academic and legal circles.

Klarman, the author of many books on American law and history and a former clerk to Ruth Bader Ginsberg, argues that, in addition to the GOP's historically unprecedented theft of the high court and his belief that Trump was likely elected only due to unlawful foreign interference, a host of radical actions by Republicans in recent years at both the state and federal level, leaves Democrats with only the choice to respond in kind. If not, he argues, it will be nothing less than "unilateral disarmament" and an act of "political suicide" for the party.

"It's not radical. It's responding to an extraordinary rightward shift in the Republican Party that is tearing apart the rules of democracy," he argues. "The Republicans have already packed the Court," so "unpacking" it, he says, would be warranted.

"There's a kind of sickness that's been spreading in the Republican Party for the last decade or two. It's certainly not true of all Republican voters, many of whom I think would be unaware of these things, and would have a problem with them if they knew about it," he tells me. "But the Democratic Party can't go on playing by the established norms and traditions of democracy when the Republican Party is willing to do anything to win. That's unilateral disarmament. It usually doesn't work out well for the party that disarms. So this is a fairly mild way to fight back."

"My argument is not that Democrats should control the Supreme Court at any cost --- I think that's the Republicans' position, [that] 'we get to control the Supreme Court even if it means stealing an appointment.' My position is their theft has to be offset, and put us back in the position that we ought to have been at if the seat hadn't been stolen."

He leaves the case of whether Dems should run on a promise to expand the Court, or wait until they gain back control before announcing such a plan, to political scientists, but he notes: "We're going to have to think creatively in order to rescue democracy. And that may mean occasionally fighting back in ways that Democrats don't gravitate toward naturally, and that they would prefer not to have to use at all in a normal political environment. But you can't just respond by disarming in the face of this incredible threat that the Republican Party is posing to the basic norms and institutions of democracy."

Finally today, more news on the ongoing allegations of attempted voter suppression, particularly in southern states once covered by the Voting Rights Act until the central part of the Act was gutted by SCOTUS Republicans in 2013. That, on the same day that Trump's former longtime lawyer and business partner Michael Cohen broke his media silence to plead with the American public to vote this November or face "another two or another six years of this craziness." And then we enjoy another musical close to today's show, this time from actress Jenifer Lewis, of ABC's Blackish, who explains, in song, why it's time to "Get your ass out and vote!"...

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An entire new decade of government control hangs in the balance...
By Ernest A. Canning on 2/26/2018 11:23am PT  

Don't get me wrong. The bold move by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in adopting a Congressional map that, according to an analysis cited by the Wall Street Journal, could see PA Democrats picking up as many as six Congressional House seats now held by Republicans, bodes well for those of us who value small "d" democracy and the rule of law.

So does the recent mind-boggling 85-point swing from "red to blue" in Kentucky, where Democrat Linda Belcher, in a Special Election, defeated her Republican opponent by 36 points in a state House district that Donald Trump carried by 49 points in 2016.

There are multiple indices of a public revulsion in response to Republican overreach that is much greater than that displayed in 2008 when Democrats rode a "Blue Wave" to victories that placed them in control of the White House, the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.

Last year, polls revealed as little as 12% support amongst the American electorate for Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. Another poll revealed that only 24% of Americans supported the GOP tax cut measure. (Though more recent polling suggests it's growing in popularity.) This year, a Quinnipiac poll, taken in the wake of the massacre at a Parkland, Florida high school, suggests that 2/3 of Americans have finally lost their patience with NRA-funded Republicans and their feckless "thoughts and prayers".

These surveys suggest a likelihood that Democrats in 2018 can recapture a majority in the U.S. House and potentially even the U.S. Senate --- a result that is critical to fending off the threat to democracy, political and economic equality and the rule of law now posed by the Trump/GOP oligarchic/kleptocratic agenda.

But a number of recent court rulings on extreme partisan gerrymandering reveal that the 2020 election will ultimately be of far greater significance than 2018, and not simply because it will be a Presidential election year…

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Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern...
By Brad Friedman on 4/7/2017 5:31pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the world and the U.S. Congress respond to Trump's bombing of Syria earlier this morning, even as Republicans in the Senate complete their unprecedented theft of the U.S. Supreme Court. In a related matter, an appellate court issues a landmark expansion of the Civil Rights Act. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

While many in the corporate media are joining a number of world leaders and members of Congress in celebrating Donald Trump's cruise missile attack on a Syrian air base days after an horrific chemical attack in the country, Russia is citing the action as a "significant blow" to U.S.-Russia relations and an act of "aggression" in violation of international law. Moreover, a number of Congress members, both Republican and Democratic from both chambers, are similarly citing Trump's attack as "an act of war" that is unlawful under the U.S. Constitution, as well as ill-considered and dangerous on several levels. Congress itself has now scuttled away for a two-week holiday recess, after refusing to even debate U.S. action in Syria more than 4 years, in the wake of some 400,000 deaths in the war-torn country.

At the same time, before heading home for the holidays, as the nation, the media and world were otherwise distracted today, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans finalized their historic judicial coup by confirming "Justice" Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court with a simple majority after unilaterally changing Senate rules to kill the right to filibuster SCOTUS nominees in the wake of their year-long refusal to hold a hearing or a vote for Barack Obama's nominee Judge Merrick Garland.

Then, following a landmark 8 to 3 bi-partisan Civil Rights Act ruling this week by the full 7th Circuit Court of Appeals (where most of the judges were appointed by Republicans and are considered quite conservative), Mark Joseph Stern, legal reporter for Slate, joins us to explain why he sees the decision as a precedent-setting "thunderbolt" for civil rights and the LGBTQ community.

The case involves a community college which was found sued for having discriminated against a woman in its employment practices on the basis that she was gay. The ruling, as Stern details, is the first time an appellate court has extended the Civil Rights Act to include protections against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in addition to simply race and gender.

"What the 7th Circuit majority said was, look, it is logically incoherent to remove sexual orientation discrimination from the concept of sex discrimination. When an employer discriminates against a woman for dating another woman, he is discriminating against her explicitly on the basis of her sex. If she were a man dating a woman, then she would not face discrimination. If she were a woman dating a man, then she would not face discrimination. It is only because she is a woman and she is associating intimately with other women that she faces this kind of discrimination," Stern explains.

The case is likely to have broad national implications and will be "impossible to ignore" at the Supreme Court, says Stern. It's also important thanks to Reagan-appointed conservative Judge Richard Posner's opinion in which he argues that courts, as Stern short-hands it, "should interpret statutes in a manner that 'infuses' them 'with vitality and significance today' rather than relying on their original meaning. Posner contrasted this theory with the conservative 'originalism' championed by Justice Antonin Scalia." That is no small matter as it's being sung out by Posner, the Supreme Court's most cited federal jurist of the 20th century. (And, incredibly enough, even the far-right activist Judge Frank Easterbrook joined the majority in this case!)

Stern also discusses what we should expect when and if the case is heard by what he also considers to be a "stolen" Supreme Court in the wake of the GOP's illegitimate confirmation today of Gorsuch.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report with an unconscionable corporate media failure, and as the GOP-controlled U.S. House Science Committee shamefully uses McCarthy-esque tactics to put science itself on trial...

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Guest: Law professor Peter Shane on lack of 'institutional penalty' for GOP theft of SCOTUS; Also: House GOP makes healthcare bill even crueler...
By Brad Friedman on 3/21/2017 5:52pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Donald Trump's U.S. Supreme Court nominee faced questions all day in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. But what the hell is Judge Neil Gorsuch even doing there at all? And doesn't normal coverage of the hearings do little more than normalize a decidedly abnormal situation? [Audio link to show follows below.]

Donald Trump's selection to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia more than a year ago, represents nothing less than a stolen seat on a stolen U.S. Supreme Court. If he is confirmed, Republicans are likely to be rewarded for their theft with a majority on the high court for another generation, following their unprecedented refusal to even hold hearings for Barack Obama's nominee for the seat, Judge Merrick Garland.

I've been wrestling with how to cover this week's hearings, which I consider to be illegitimate (and that is true even setting aside the disturbing matter of Trump as President!) Professor Peter M. Shane of Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law joins me to try and help make sense of the situation. His recent piece at the American Constitutional Society, cited by the New York Times today, details how neither Democrats nor corporate media, to date, seem to have figured out how to issue any kind of institutional penalty for the GOP's blatant, brazen and unheard of theft.

Shane explains that, historically, despite Republican assertions to the contrary, "there is no close precedent" in history for what the GOP has done here. "The reason that they didn't want Judge Garland to become Justice Garland was, of course, the fear that they would be losing what had been a secure 5-4 conservative majority on the court. But they also didn't want to give him a hearing because they knew, if they gave him a hearing, that Judge Garland would appear to be so thoughtful, so reasonable, so accomplished and balanced a person, that it would be politically much more difficult to vote 'no'. Nobody in the Senate is constitutionally obligated to vote in favor of Judge Garland, it would just be hard to explain why [they didn't.]"

So they stole the seat instead, by refusing to even hold a hearing, much less a vote. As to the Democrats' lack of an organized response, such as a promise to filibuster Judge Gorsuch (or any other Trump nominee other than Garland), despite the threat of the GOP doing away with the filibuster for SCOTUS nominees, Shane observes: "It seems to me that the Democrats very frequently anticipate the political defeat that lies ahead, and just keep their powder dry for a fight that never happens." He argues Dems are likely "worried about political blowback for being a fierce party of resistance," adding: "That's what the Republicans have been, increasingly, since 1980. If they've paid a penalty for it, I haven't noticed."

Also on today's program: While Congressional hearings have taken over the beginning of the week, House Republicans are making last minute changes to their scheme to replace the Affordable Care Act, by making it still crueler for millions of Americans (but with even more kickbacks for wealthy ones!) in hopes of wheeling and dealing for enough votes to squeek by with passage in the U.S. House, where they plan to ram the bill through for a full floor vote this week before tossing it to the Senate.

Finally: A majority of Americans are unable to name even a single SCOTUS Justice, and the tax-payer cost for Trump's constant weekend vacations could cover four federal programs for the arts, the elderly, the jobless and the homeless that his budget proposal hopes to slash entirely...

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Guest: Journalist David Dayen on blocking the GOP SCOTUS theft
Also: Trump's buys his way out of fraud suits, makes new racist and anti-Semitic appointments, and NC Republicans plot to steal back their own state Supreme Court...
By Brad Friedman on 11/18/2016 6:09pm PT  

On today's BradCast: In 2000, Republicans used the U.S. Supreme Court to steal the Presidency. In 2016, they used the Presidency to steal the U.S. Supreme Court. So, what, if anything, can be done about it? And, as we also report today, that's not the only Supreme Court Republicans may be about to steal. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Journalist David Dayen of New Republic, the Fiscal Times and The Intercept, joins us to discuss how President Obama has one last "trump card" to play, if he wishes to block Republicans from out-and-out theft of the nation's highest court, at least for a while. But would Obama do it? Could he do it legally? And would Democrats end up being sorry if he did? We discuss that, whether Democrats will continue to "bring a butter knife to a gunfight", and much more today with Dayen, author of Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street's Great Foreclosure Fraud..

Also today: Donald Trump buys his way out of multiple 'Trump University' fraud suits by agreeing to pay up $25 million to his victims. He also, reportedly, names southern anti-voting rights racist Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III (R-AL) as his nominee for U.S. Attorney General, the nation's chief law enforcement official. (That, along with another disturbing new appointment as well.)

Meanwhile, down in North Carolina, where voters appear to have elected a liberal majority to the state Supreme Court and may have rejected their controversial Republican Governor's re-election bid by a slim margin, the Republican-majority state legislature has a scheme to overturn the will of the voters in both the gubernatorial contest and at the NC high court. Because that's how the GOP rolls (and Democrats don't).

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with a slim ray or two of optimism, believe it or not, as Sen. Bernie Sanders offers a way for Obama to (permanently?) block the Dakota Access Pipeline from being built, and international U.N. climate negotiators vow to keep reducing greenhouse gas emissions, no matter how Trump plans to undermine efforts to curb global warming...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 10/25/2016 9:05am PT  

According to a Los Angeles Times "Debate scorecard," the opening segment of last week's third and final Presidential debate, concerning the respective nominees plans for appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court, was a "draw."

Three of the paper's pundits each proffered what at best could be described as a superficial one-paragraph explanation for their verdict: It was a "draw" because 1) an ordinarily unhinged Trump was "calm" and "sedate," and 2) by describing what they would look for in a nominee to SCOTUS, both candidates had appealed to their respective conservative Republican and liberal Democratic bases.

The "Debate scorecard" presents a classic example of what Bill Moyers derides as the "charade of fair and balanced --- by which two opposing people offer competing opinions with a host who assumes the viewer will arrive at the truth by splitting the difference" --- an unacceptable "substitute for independent analysis." Combined with the "draw" assessment, this form of irresponsible punditry lends itself to the false equivalency separately offered by FiveThirtyEight's Oliver Roeder, who suggested that both candidates were "promising an extreme candidate" to fill the vacancy left by the death of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

In truth, the differences between the two Presidential nominees are profound. They represents the difference between oligarchy (Trump) and democracy (Clinton). Trump's preference for a judiciary that would protect the privileged few at the expense of the vast majority of ordinary Americans is both extreme and unpopular. Clinton's egalitarian criteria for judicial nominations is immensely popular and decidedly mainstream. There is nothing "extreme" about a jurist who is committed to the words that appear above the entrance to the U.S. Supreme Court: "Equal Justice Under Law."

What is especially troubling is that media pundits have erected a false equivalency on an issue of vital importance to the American electorate. Outside of global climate change, which threatens the very survival of humanity, the issue of what could turn out to be as many as three lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court over the next four years is amongst the most monumental that voters will face on Nov. 8. As we previously reported the fate of democracy itself is at stake.

Roeder and the three L.A. Times pundits would have understood that if they had bothered to either consult constitutional scholars or specific issue polls before erecting their false equivalency in their respective debate analyses...

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Guest: Ernest A. Canning of 'Vets for Bernie' on tough November choices for hard-core Sanders supporters...
By Brad Friedman on 8/9/2016 5:23pm PT  

The primaries are over, the nominees are set, so what are the best options remaining for dyed-in-the-wool Bernie Sanders fans this November 8th?

On today's BradCast, attorney, veteran and longtime legal analyst at The BRAD BLOG, Ernest A. Canning, who serves as a senior advisor to VetsForBernie.org, joins us to discuss his new article, "Revolution at a Crossroad". [Audio link to show posted below.]

Canning walks through the pros and cons of the various possibilities (staying home, voting for the Libertarian or Green Party candidate, voting for Hillary Clinton, as Sanders suggests, or even, gasp, voting for Donald Trump) as now faced by hard-core Sanders supporters, before offering his recommendation for how best to vote in order to continue the Sanders-led "political revolution". (Ernie also responds to a number of reader comments from the lively debate in response to his article.)

"I think the critical issue, and I think the question that every thinking progressive has to ask themselves is: 'What is the most effective means for moving the goals of the democratic revolution forward?'," he explains while we work through the potential options and outcomes.

Also today, the fight to restore the Voting Rights Act continues. Voting rights advocates on the ground in North Carolina and elsewhere are working hard to assure access to the polls for all this year, on the heels of a number of recent, very encouraging state and federal court victories. And national leaders are, once again, pressing Republicans in Congress to simply allow hearings to discuss ways to try and fix the landmark 1965 legislation after it was gutted by a rightwing majority on the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013.

Finally, we wrap up today's show with a few thoughts from liberal author and intellectual Noam Chomsky, on the threat posed by Donald Trump to the globe and, indeed, life on earth...

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Gov. McCrory ignores previous promise, vows appeal to SCOTUS...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/6/2016 3:59pm PT  

As we reported late last month, in a sweeping victory for voting rights on July 29, a unanimous panel of the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeal struck down North Carolina's massive voter suppression law --- the nation's worst since the Jim Crow era. In a stinging rebuke, the court found the statute's provisions were enacted by state Republicans with "racially discriminatory intent" that "target[ed] African-Americans with almost surgical precision."

Days later, on August 3, as anticipated, North Carolina filed a Motion with the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal seeking a stay of the court's injunction that bars enforcement of its "omnibus" election law, pending a petition for a writ of certiorari (essentially, a request for a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court). The principal basis for NC's request was based upon what is known as the "Purcell principle" --- the Supreme Court's recently-adopted general notion that changes in election laws, for good or ill, should not be ordered too close to an election due to the risk of chaos and uncertainty the late changes may cause at the polls.

The next day, on August 4, the same unanimous 4th Circuit panel summarily denied the NC's request for a stay, noting that, during oral arguments "the State assured us it would be able to comply with any order we issued by late July." Indeed, a stay, the 3-judge panel noted, would actually violate the Purcell principle because the "State has already notified its voters that it will not ask them to show ID [when voting at the polling place] and that early voting will begin on October 20."

"Finally," the 4th Circuit panel observed, "the balance of equities heavily weighs against recalling the mandate or granting a stay. Voters disenfranchised by a law enacted with discriminatory intent suffer irreparable harm far greater than any potential harm to the State."

On Friday, August 5, North Carolina’s Republican Governor Pat McCrory refused to take "no" for an answer, pretended his state never gave the court its assurances about timing, as cited by the 4th Circuit, and vowed to seek a stay from the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Changing our state's election laws close to the upcoming election, including common sense voter ID, will create confusion for voters and poll workers," McCrory explained in a statement. "The court should have stayed their ruling, which is legally flawed, factually wrong, and disparaging to our state. Therefore, by early next week, we will be asking the U.S. Supreme Court to stay the ruling of the Court of Appeals."

Prior to the 4th Circuit's denial of the stay request, U.C. Irvine Law Professor Rick Hasen opined that NC's Supreme Court cert petition was likely to be denied because of "the changing composition of the Supreme Court" following the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia. At that point, Hasen had rated "the chances of emergency relief only fair, because there is enough time to implement most of these changes before the election." (Emphasis added).

Given the rationale advanced by the 4th Circuit's denial order that included the state's own concession during oral arguments that it had time to comply with any order issued before the end of July, it is perhaps prudent to downgrade North Carolina's chances of obtaining a Supreme Court stay from "only fair" to "unlikely".




Major wins for voting rights advocates in NC, WI, elsewhere could be reversed by the next appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court
UPDATES: U.S. District Court blocks implementation of ND Photo ID Law; NC Republicans Seeks Stay pending petition to Supreme Court
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/2/2016 11:11am PT  

The good news is that over the past week two federal courts struck down multiple provisions of GOP-enacted voter suppression laws in Wisconsin and North Carolina. The cautionary news is that the rejection of 21st century Jim Crow-style disenfranchisement at the polls, and, indeed, the fate of democracy itself, may well now hinge on the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election.

The prospect of a Donald Trump presidency does not merely, as suggested on a recent BradCast by The Nation's John Nichols, portend a descent into fascism and "madness." A Trump victory would permit Republican-appointed Supreme Court "radicals in robes" and their anti-democracy agenda to recapture the majority status they lost last February with the passing of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Consider the long term impact of a Trump-selected Supreme Court Justice. A quarter century has passed since the late Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy (D-MA), during the 1991 Clarence Thomas Senate Judiciary Committee Confirmation Hearings, observed:

If we confirm a nominee who has not demonstrated a commitment to core constitutional values, we jeopardize our rights as individuals and the future of our nation. We cannot undo such a mistake at the next election or even in the next generation.

In the first voting rights case to see a ruling come down last Friday, North Carolina NAACP v. McCrory, the good news is that a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeal struck down as unconstitutional a comprehensive GOP voter suppression scheme that the court determined had been deliberately designed to have a retrogressive impact on the right of African-Americans to participate in electoral democracy. The state Republican legislature's scheme, the court held, was specifically designed to "target African-Americans with almost surgical precision."

The bad news, however, is that over the past three years --- a period that included the 2014 midterm election and this year's primary elections --- this unconstitutional scheme was the law of the land in North Carolina only because a cabal of five Republican-appointed Supreme Court Justices gutted a key provision (Section 5) of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). That section required pre-clearance from either the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) or a three-judge U.S. District Court panel before election restrictions of the type enacted by NC could have implemented. In arriving at their decision, the 4th Circuit judges rejected as "clearly erroneous" the factual findings of a George W. Bush-appointed U.S. District Court Judge who had previously upheld this racially motivated scheme's constitutionality.

In the second case last week, One Wisconsin Institute v. Thomsen, the good news is that U.S. District Court Judge James D. Peterson, after a full trial on the merits, struck down as unconstitutional eight (8) specific aspects of eight (8) election laws that were enacted after the election of Wisconsin's Republican Governor Scott Walker and Republican majorities in both houses of its state legislature. The bad news is that a previous decision handed down by Republican appointed "radicals in robes" on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeal --- a decision that became final after the Supreme Court declined to hear the case --- prevented Judge Peterson from reevaluating the constitutionality of a strict polling place photo ID law in WI even though his honor acknowledged that, in seeking to remedy the phantom menace of in-person voter fraud, Republicans had created "a cure worse than the disease."

The importance of the next Supreme Court Justice was underscored by Judge Peterson's suggestion that both the 7th Circuit and the Supreme Court should revisit the issue given that "the evidence in this case casts doubt on the notion that [photo] ID laws foster integrity and confidence" in the electoral process...

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




By Ernest A. Canning on 6/15/2016 12:22pm PT  

Four years ago, The BRAD BLOG suggested that the "horror that played out during the recent midnight massacre inside a Century theater in Aurora, CO [was] but the latest example of the danger posed to our safety and our very lives by the radical right's expansive interpretation of the Second Amendment."

A few years prior, the narrow 5-4 decision authored by the late Justice Antonin Scalia in 2008 (District of Columbia v. Heller) marked the first occasion in which a majority on the U.S. Supreme Court concluded that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to possess a firearm, unconnected to service in a state militia.

In an erudite dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens forcefully argued that the Heller majority had ignored text, history and precedent. We noted that the ruling appeared to elevate "the profits of the domestic small arms industry above the ability of the government to protect our safety, our general welfare, our domestic tranquility and our very lives." More recently, with Orlando on his mind, The Nation's William Greider went so far as to suggest that Chief Justice John Roberts (a member of the Heller majority) "has blood on his hands."

Several factors --- Scalia's death, a 9th Circuit en banc decision which upheld the ability of local governments to deny concealed weapons permits absent extraordinary need, and the public's increasing revulsion in the face of escalating carnage --- suggest that we may be nearing the end to the high cost extracted by the Court's willful misinterpretation of the Second Amendment in the landmark Heller decision...

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




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