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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, April 23, 2024
'First Domino Falls' in UAW Effort to Unionize the South: 'BradCast' 4/22/24
Guest: Labor journo Steven Greenhouse; Also: House passes Ukraine aid; Prosecutors accuse Trump of 2016 'election fraud' in NY trial...
Sunday 'Popcorn Ready' Toons
THIS WEEK: Stormy outlook ... Abortion wrongs ... American values ... Earth Day ... And much more in our latest collection of the week's best political toons!...
Bad Climate News for Home, Car Owners; Good Labor News for Workers in the South: 'BradCast' 4/18/24
Also: Jury seated in NY; NV okays abortion initiative; OH Repubs block Biden from ballot...
'Green News Report' 4/18/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Deluge in Dubai; Climate impacts to cost trillions per year; New lightbulb efficiency standards; PLUS: Biden Admin cracks down on toxic silica dust to protect workers' lungs...
Previous GNRs: 4/16/24 - 4/11/24 - Archives...
SCOTUS Suddenly Worried About Overcriminalization ... for J6 Insurrectionists: 'BradCast' 4/17/24
Guest: LawDork's Chris Geidner; Also: GOP impeachment ends; Turnout doubles in AL...
'Trump Media' Plummeting, MAGA Buyers Losing Life Savings: 'BradCast' 4/16/24
Also: Trump's ridiculous 'immunity'; 7 jurors seated in NY criminal trial; Repubs deliver impeachment to Senate; Smartmatic, OAN settle 2020 defamation suit...
'Green News Report' 4/16/24
Record ocean heat bleaching corals worldwide; EV charging roads in Indiana; Biden raising drilling, mining royalties for first time in a century; PLUS: A marine mystery in Florida...
Trump's First Criminal Trial, for Cheating in 2016, Begins in NY: 'BradCast' 4/15/24
Special coverage of an historic day with Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos...
Sunday 'Party Like It's 1864' Toons
THIS WEEK: Bad politics, good toonery and at least one wake-up call, in our latest collection of the week's best toons!...
Biden Closes 'Gun Show Loophole'; Repubs Turn Desperate: 'BradCast' 4/11/24
RNC Chair says Ukraine our enemy; GA Lt. Guv faces probe; Fox hides AZ abortion ruling, Hannity blames Dems; WI Justice to retire...
'Green News Report' 4/11/24
10th hottest month ever in a row; Swiss climate inaction violates human rights; PLUS: EPA crack down on airborne chemical plant pollution, 'forever chemicals' in drinking water...
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
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
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...


Hillary Clinton was never invited to 'join' the Federalist Society...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/3/2024 10:05am PT  

Politico's Josh Gerstein owes his readers a retraction.

Late last week, reporting on a deep dive into years-old White House records, Gerstein tweeted:

A FIND IN THE ARCHIVES: An invitation to Hillary Clinton to speak to & join (!) the conservative Federalist Society back in 1997. The inviter? None other than Leonard Leo, now viewed as an arch-villain by many on left.

But, based on the documents cited by Gerstein, his assertion is only half true...

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

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Election officials grapple with Trump's Constitutional ballot disqualification; Also: Proud Boy boss gets 22 years for 1/6; Courts order lawless AL, FL to restore Black-majority U.S. House Districts...
By Brad Friedman on 9/5/2023 6:24pm PT  

We're back! Both on today's BradCast and even in L.A., after fleeing the state last month to avoid weeks of construction on the roof of the apartment housing our home studio. To no one's surprise, the work is taking longer than we were told, so please pardon our efforts this week to work around it as best as possible after taking last week off to both avoid it and to enjoy the last days of Summer 2023 before the 2024 fight for Democracy (represented this year by Democrats) and Autocracy (represented by a lawless Republican party) begins in earnest.

Among our stories today...

  • Enrique Tarrio, former head of the far-right Proud Boys gang was sentenced to 22 year in federal prison on Tuesday following his conviction for Seditious Conspiracy for his role in the January 6th, 2021 U.S. Capitol insurrection. It's the longest sentence for any of the MAGA insurrectionists to date. Also, of note, Tarrio wasn't even in Washington D.C. that day. Point taken: One didn't need to be personally smashing windows and storming the Capitol to be held to serious account for what happened that day. Got it. Hopefully other jurors in other upcoming related cases will get it as well.
  • The federal Courts are still holding. Mostly. For now. On Tuesday, a three-judge panel found that Alabama Republicans blatantly defied an order from the U.S. Supreme Court to add another Black-majority district to their U.S. House map. The SCOTUS order to do so --- after finding the state violated both the U.S. Constitution and Voting Rights Act with their racially gerrymandered districts --- came in Allen v. Milligan [PDF] in early June. Alabama didn't care. In an unprecedented move, they gave the finger to the Court and drew up a new map with the very same deficiencies featuring just one Black-majority district out of seven, in a state where some 27% of residents are Black. The federal court panel has now assigned a Special Master to draw U.S. House districts for the state, after a lawless Gov. Kay Ivey joined with lawless legislators in the gerrymandered statehouse to defy SCOTUS, the Rule of Law and the U.S. Constitution. Alabama is now appealing the ruling to the same U.S. Supreme Court Justices who rejected their arguments barely three months ago.
  • The story is similar in authoritarian Governor and Presidential candidate Ron DeSantis' lawless state of Florida this weekend. In this case, a state court judge on Saturday ordered the state legislature to draw a new U.S. House map restoring a Black-majority district in Northern Florida that DeSantis had personally ordered state lawmakers to break into pieces and divvy up its Black voters into White Republican districts. The weekend's court order would seem to be good news. However, the State will now appeal the ruling directly to its Supreme Court where DeSantis has hand-picked a majority of the Justices. As we have long been warning, the fight between Democracy and Autocracy (or Fascism, as one of our longtime listeners insists), continues into 2024.
  • Next, I finally catch up with a bunch of news on a growing story --- some of which we've been discussing over the past two years --- that I've otherwise been trying to get to for weeks, but for all of the various indictments, hurricanes, wildfires, debates, etc. continually sidetracking me. The news has to do with the continuing feeling I have that Donald Trump will ultimately not be on the ballot come next November. As noted, that's not a prediction or an inside scoop. It's simply a feeling for now, but one that I can't shake as an increasingly swelling body of evidence seems to support its possibility.

    Today, that evidence includes polling last month finding nearly two-thirds of Americans say they will either "definitely" (53%) or "probably" (11%) not support Trump in 2024. Might such numbers begin to grab the notice of Republican Primary voters? (So far, the answer is largely no. But we've got a long way to go --- and a lot of criminal trials --- before the GOP's nominating convention next July.) There are already a number of high profile Republicans calling on Trump to drop out of the race or noting that he very well may be Constitutionally disqualified entirely from the ballot.

    It is that part of this story today --- disqualification from the ballot via Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution for his role in the January 6 Insurrection --- that we focus on today. Namely, the far-right, Federalist Society legal scholars who recently issued a 126-page law review paper [PDF] finding Trump to be Constitutionally ineligible for the ballot --- "cannot be president --- cannot run for president, cannot become president, cannot hold office" --- due to his roll in the January 6 insurrection.

    And now, there is a host of state Secretaries of State --- both Republican and Democratic --- around the country who are currently or soon to be grappling with the decision as to whether Trump is even eligible to be on their state ballots in 2024.

    Among those Secretary of State's discussed today, after they recently offered various opinions on the matter: New Hampshire's David Scanlan (R); Ohio's Frank LaRose (R); Arizona's Adrian Fontes (D), New Mexico's Maggie Toulouse Oliver (D); Maine's Shenna Bellows (D) and Michigan's Jocelyn Benson (D). (Benson gets credit for the first part of today's headline. REO Speedwagon gets credit for the alternate hed.)

    I welcome your feelings on this matter as well. Feel free to drop me an email or a note in comments and perhaps I'll share it on air in the days ahead.

  • Finally, Desi Doyen is back as well, of course, with our latest Green News Report, catching up with a bunch of stuff we missed while we were out, and as the Summer of Climate Disasters turns to...well, most likely the Autumn of Climate Disasters...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Former DoJ, U.S. Senate, U.S. Court system official Lisa Graves of True North Research; Also: Texas heat; Ridiculous House GOP majority...
By Brad Friedman on 6/22/2023 5:52pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it's yet another "tour de force" of rightwing U.S. Supreme Court Justice corruption by billionaire Republican megadonors. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

But, FIRST UP, a few words on the climate change-intensified heatwaves continuing to pulse through Texas and threatening to max out its rickety privatized electric grid, as officials attempt to conserve their way out of the crisis and as the state's cruel GOP Governor Greg Abbott enacts a big government ban on local ordinances mandating water breaks for construction workers.

Also, a few thoughts today on the indescribably dumb GOP House majority, hellbent on shooting themselves, repeatedly, in their collective feet --- over and over again --- and why they've decided to take out their impotency, frustration and failure, at least this week, on the very effective Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).

THEN, the investigative team at non-profit news outlet ProPublica strikes again this week. On the heels of recent blockbuster reports detailing decades of corruption by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas via hundreds of thousands of dollars in undeclared luxury vacations and travel, gifts, real estate deals and cash payments from rightwing megadonor Harlan Crow (and the Federalist Society's Leonard Leo), it was apparently Justice Sam Alito's time in the barrel this week.

As ProPublica's Justin Elliott, Joshua Kaplan and Alex Mierjeski documented Wednesday, Alito enjoyed private jet travel to a fancy Alaskan fishing excursion some years ago courtesy of rightwing billionaire megadonor Paul Singer. The hedge fund "vulture capitalist" would go on to repeatedly sing the praises of his fishing buddy over the years as "a model Supreme Court Justice" when introducing him at rightwing fundraisers, even as Singer had repeated business before the Court. Alito never declared the subsidized travel with Singer on annual disclosure forms, nor did he recuse himself from SCOTUS cases in which Singer would eventually reap billions of dollars.

Sound familiar? It should. In both Alito and Thomas' cases, the blooming friendships between Justices and billionaires was fostered and massaged by Leo, longtime leader of the far-right Federalist Society, which has been shaping the federal judiciary via Republican Presidents --- and matchmaking between Justices and wealthy benefactors --- for decades now.

We're joined today by the great LISA GRAVES, who previously served as Deputy Asst. A.G. at the Justice Department, Chief Counsel for nominations in the US Senate, and as a Deputy Chief of the Article III Judges Division for the U.S. court system. She now rakes muck as the founder of Truth North Research, helping to expose the toxic and corrupting effect of unbridled rightwing money poured into our political and judicial system from those like Crow, Singer, Leo and the Koch network.

Graves responds to a number of claims made by Alito in his unusual op-ed published by rightwing billionaire Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal this week, where he chose to prebut ProPublica's reporting on Tuesday, instead of either responding to the journalists questions or doing so through the Court's communications office. Graves describes his remarks in the Journal as "extraordinarily deceitful and deceptive."

"Everyone knows that private jet travel is not permissible as a gift of supposed 'hospitality'," she explains. "The hospitality exception in those long-standing gift rules is basically meant to cover things like your high school friend throws you a party for your birthday at their house. Not this sort of post-appointment currying of favor by super-rich people subsidizing a luxury lifestyle through fabulous trips."

She argues the subsidized travel violates the law, along with Alito's failure to disclose it on his annual financial statements. There's false statements on those disclosure forms in which they [both Alito and Thomas] assert there's nothing more to disclose, that they've disclosed everything that they've been obligated to, and they clearly haven't."

"One of the things that this reveals is that the Court actually has no enforceable ethical code which would require the Justices to recuse themselves if there is bias or the appearance of bias, similar to the language that's in the Code of Conduct for US judges that does not apply to the Supreme Court, that they've chosen to not have any enforceable mechanism for."

"If an ordinary person would think that this sort of thing would create bias, a judge basically has an obligation to disclose it and/or to recuse themselves from cases where that bias might be raised," she says. But those rules only apply to the lower courts. When it comes to SCOTUS, the decision of whether to recuse is left entirely up to each Justice.

Graves also offers insight on the corrosive effect of "travel agent" and "matchmaker" Leo, who wields power with donors by hooking them up with Justices for "luxury travel subsidized by billionaires who have business before the Court."

When it comes to Alito, "this is a man who has acted as though he is the keeper of the kingdom in terms of strictly reading the Constitution, claiming this 'strict constructionist' or so-called 'originalist' approach, a faux neutral approach to the law. This is the man who orchestrated the overturning of almost 50 years of legal precedent on abortion. If this guy can't read the actual statute and regulations which expressly describe how [private] jets don't count as hospitality, how can we possibly have any confidence --- and I think most people don't --- that he would act impartially to read the Constitution or the case law around abortion or other issues that he doesn't like?" --- Or, other issues that his billionaire benefactors don't like.

FINALLY, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, which begins with astonishing heat in Texas and India and ends on an even more fowl note...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Legal analyst, author Dahlia Lithwick; Also: Lincoln Project begs Former Guy to sue them; Judge tosses Trump's ridiculous Clinton, Comey 'conspiracy' lawsuit; DoJ offers corrupt Mar-a-Lago judge an off-ramp...
By Brad Friedman on 9/9/2022 6:33pm PT  

For all of the legal experts on TV and Twitter helping the nation understand a flood of ridiculous rulings by corrupt, rightwing, Federal Society-approved judges and Justices, it might also be helpful if they started pointing out the desperate need for structural change in our federal judiciary. We can't lawyer our way out of this mess, but we can reform it. But we're gonna need their help. One of those legal experts joins us on today's BradCast to help make exactly that case. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

First up, however, the Republican "Never Trumpers" of the Lincoln Project are back. And their latest ad is another doozie, pointing out how Trump's sleazy Save America PAC is little more than a "sucker's game" meant to scam his own supporters. "Trump told you the election was stolen to rip you off, to sucker you, to take your hard-earned money and shovel it into his pockets ... It was the biggest scam in political history. ... It was a sucker's game all along."

Apparently, Lincoln Project is running the ad on Fox "News" and it appears to be driving The Former Guy crazy. So much so that he's threatened to sue the Lincoln Project. And now the group's co-founder, Rick Wilson, is begging him to. We share the ad, Trump's pathetic (though hilarious) social media tantrum and Wilson's acerbic (though hilarious) response.

While Trump is unlikely to actually sue Lincoln Project --- and open up his corrupt Save America PAC to the discovery process! --- one of his most recent impotent lawsuits, filed against Hillary Clinton, former FBI Director James Comey, and bunch of other folks at the FBI and DoJ claiming a "conspiracy" against him regarding Russia's interference in the 2016 election, spectacularly crashed and burned before a federal judge in South Florida on Thursday. It was a real judge. Not one that Trump appointed.

As to the federal judge in South Florida that Trump did appoint, Judge Aileen Cannon, who issued the absurd, unprecedented and completely unworkable order on Monday in response to the FBI's court-ordered seizure of thousands of government documents stolen by Trump and stored at Mar-a-Lago, the DoJ pushed back on Thursday night. On Monday, Cannon ordered an injunction against the DoJ's use of the stolen documents, many of them highly classified, in their criminal investigation of Trump's theft until a Special Master examined all of the documents for potential attorney-client and executive privilege conflicts. (There can be no executive privilege conflicts since Trump hasn't asserted it and, no longer the Executive, he is not entitled to any such privilege.)

In their filing [PDF] on Thursday night, however, the DoJ offered a compromise and an off-ramp to Cannon, before they otherwise plan to appeal her ruling in full to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals next week. Hopefully, Cannon takes the off-ramp to allow the critical criminal investigation and national security damage assessment to continue. But, otherwise, the DoJ may have a long slog before the appeals court which has now been packed with Trump-appointed judges.

All of this --- not to mention the unprecedented rulings by the packed, stolen and corrupted U.S. Supreme Court majority at the end of their term earlier this summer --- underscores how broken our federal judicial system has become. And while there is no shortage of well-meaning legal experts on TV and social media explaining how best to respond to corrupted rulings by corrupted courts, these are problems that the nation cannot litigate itself out of, as our guest argues today.

We're joined again by the great DAHLIA LITHWICK, longtime legal analyst at Slate, MSNBC contributor, podcast host, and author of the new book, LADY JUSTICE: Women, the Law, and the Battle to Save America.

Writing this week with our other legal reporter friend from Slate, Mark Joseph Stern, in an article headlined "The Solution to the Trump Judge Problem Nobody Wants to Talk About" the pair reference the court battle over the stolen documents retrieved from Mar-a-Lago: "The problem is not just the extreme and heinous flaws in Cannon’s ruling. It’s also the Trump-shaped world in which Cannon operates, with impunity, which we will all have to endure for the foreseeable future. It’s the brutal reality that we may face a steady stream of depraved decisions like Cannon’s for the rest of our lives --- and the pain of hearing from every quarter that nothing can be done to remedy it."

"There are too many things wrong with the Cannon order to litigate," they conclude. "And there are too many things wrong with Trump’s judicial dominion of every part of our lives --- for years to come --- to litigate. So maybe it's time to stop litigating them and start fixing them."

How to start fixing them? Well, that's at the center of my discussion today with Lithwick, beginning with the need for "big-swing structural reform" of our courts and how to start making the noise needed to help make it happen.

Also, we discuss LADY JUSTICE, Lithwick's brand-new book --- hitting "shelves" in just a few days --- which "knits together these stories of extraordinary women lawyers" who "faced unbelievable odds" and "changed the world in the Trump era". Now, she argues, "they could do it again."

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Rep. Hank Johnson (GA-4), on his bills to expand the Court, impose term limits and ethics rules for 'unaccountable', 'corrupt' Justices; Also: TN's Thursday primaries and unverifiable voting systems...
By Brad Friedman on 8/4/2022 6:49pm PT  

I suspect you'll get much more out of listening to today's BradCast than I can possibly share in this summary. Hearing my conversation with the Congressman --- who has a very dry wit --- is also much, much funnier than reading about it. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

But, before we get there today, voters in Tennessee were voting in their midterm primaries on Thursday. Yes, on a Thursday! In a state where the right-wingers who run it aren't all that interested in democracy, apparently. Otherwise, they would hold primaries on a normal Tuesday, and they wouldn't have upended a state law passed years ago --- when Democrats held the legislative majority there --- to move from unverifiable touchscreen voting systems to hand-marked paper ballots. A story today out of one of their counties where a touchscreen system appears to have failed for one of their voters (described misleadingly in the report as "a rare glitch") underscores this point and my continuing, expanding, years-long nightmare.

Then, we're joined by REP. HANK JOHNSON, Democrat from Georgia's 4th Congressional District and Chair of the House Judiciary's Subcommittee on the Courts, for a detailed and lively discussion about his ongoing attempts to bring accountability to what he describes as the "corrupt system" embodied by today's U.S. Supreme Court.

In April of last year, Johnson introduced the Judiciary Act of 2021, a simple, single paragraph bill [PDF], co-sponsored by a number of House colleagues and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) who declared, at the time, that when "Republicans stole the Court’s majority" they "undermined its legitimacy, and threatened the rights of millions of Americans". Over a year later, with little progress for the measure, after a full term with the Republicans' packed majority now having run roughshod over longstanding Constitutional rights and Court precedents --- on everything from the rights of voters to those of detainees, to gun safety and the environment and, of course, privacy rights and reproductive freedoms --- the bill's sponsors held another press event last month in front of the Capitol to try and bring focus to the need to, as Johnson describes it today, "re-balance the Court away from this current 6-3 rightwing extremist majority that was packed by Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump, and the Federalist Society."

This week Johnson also introduced another measure --- this one, just three pages [PDF] long --- called the Supreme Court Tenure Establishment and Retirement Modernization (TERM) Act of 2022, to introduce term limits for Justices and mandating that new appointees shall be appointed solely by each President in the first and third years of their terms.

"It would establish an 18-year term limit for Supreme Court Justices, if that legislation passes --- and it needs to pass along with the Judiciary Act to expand the Court. We don't really need Justices letting the grass grow under their feet, becoming insulated and removed from accountability from the public", Johnson charges. "You can appoint a conservative judge, but that judge's views would have to end up being subject to being replaced by another judge at the end of that judge's tenure. So, in this way, we give every President the opportunity to appoint new blood into the Supreme Court. Keep the Supreme Court from getting old, stale, and rotten, as it is now...starting with the Honorable Clarence Thomas. "

The Georgia Congressman has also introduced the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency (SCERT) Act of 2022 [PDF], recently marked-up in the Judiciary Committee to bring ethics reform to the High Court, where Justices currently are allowed to police themselves and are exempt from the judicial ethics rules and requirements which govern the rest of the federal judiciary. That, he asserts, has brought us to the "corrupt system" we have to today.

"The Supreme Court can simply decide to ignore all of the cases it chooses to ignore, and cherry-pick cases that have been inserted into the legal pipeline by activists who are intent on getting their way in the United States Supreme Court," says Johnson. "These are the same activists that have these same Supreme Court Justices traveling to exotic locations to be wined and dined, to deliver a speech to the assembled audience, who happen to be stakeholders in one position or another, that they want to insert into the Court and have the Court decide it their way."

"This is the system that we have now, with the Court being able to select a few cases in the pipeline, for that pipeline to be packed with issues that are ripe for these rightwing Justices carefully indoctrinated through their law school years with Federalist Society 'free market' thinking," the Congressman continues. "They have gotten the jobs with the law firms and with the prosecutors' offices that put them on a track to be nominated by a Republican to a judgeship. And they preside over the judgeship and then they get elevated to the United States Supreme Court, after being recommended by the same Federalist Society that indoctrinated them from law school and secured the job for them. These Justices are primed to rule in favor of the rightwing, 'free-market' capitalist interests that put them in the pipeline. It's a corrupt system that we have at this point, and Congress definitely is in position to do something about it."

Johnson has created a website called CourtReformNow.com to detail these measure and many others in order "to do something about it."

That said, many of these long-overdue reforms have had trouble gaining traction in Congress. I ask the Congressman if there is any reason, for example, that his Subcommittee couldn't call in Justice Thomas (who he describes as "ethically bankrupt") to discuss years of impropriety, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of dollars those same activist groups have given his wife Ginni. (She was also recently revealed to have been a key player in helping Donald Trump to try and steal the 2020 Presidential election.) In response, Johnson offers a fascinating --- and amusing --- insight into how the House and its leadership work. That alone is worth tuning in for. But, the central point is that Committee and Subcommittee Chairs don't necessarily have the final say on what those committees may do and who they may call in for testimony. Moreover, as Johnson collegially chafes against some of those restrictions, he also underscores the need to "educate my colleagues about the power that we have and the need for us to use the power."

At "a political moment when the future of our democracy, our freedoms, are at risk," he notes, pressure from the public "has a lot of bearing" on what Committees and the Party itself in Congress are able and allowed to do.

As mentioned, tune in for this one for a much more expansive and colorful explanation on all of this.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with a very "sexy" close to today's show...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Pandora, TuneIn, Google, Amazon or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Slate legal reporter Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Computer check-in system causing long Early Voting lines in GA; FBI warns of 'unauthorized access to elections support systems'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/15/2020 6:33pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's full speed ahead for Senate Republicans' desperate attempt to further pack the U.S. Supreme Court while they still have the chance. And it's anything but feel speed for voters forced to wait in hours-long Early Voting lines in Georgia. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The Peach State could very well turn "blue" this year, according to Nate Silver at Five Thirty Eight, in both the Presidential election and not one, but two U.S. Senate races there this year. But voters will have to work like hell to make that happen. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports today that the state's new voting check-in computers --- needed to operate the state's new unverifiable touchscreen voting machines --- appear to be the main cause of intolerably long lines for voters since Early Voting began on Monday. Some voters have reportedly left without voting, others waited as long as 12 hours to cast their votes. Now that AJC has identified the check-in computers to be a main bottleneck, Georgia's terrible Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger --- who previously attributed the hours-long lines to "voter enthusiasm" --- has apparently told the private software vendor responsible for those check-in computers at Voting Centers to increase network bandwidth to speed up the process. Early reports in Atlanta suggest the expanded bandwidth may be helping to speed things up, but we'll see.

In the meantime, as voters in Georgia must now navigate at least 4 different computer systems (programmed by private companies) to cast their one vote, the FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), a division of the Dept. of Homeland Security, are warning they are aware of "some instances" in which malicious actors (most likely foreign, they suggest) have obtained "unauthorized access to elections support systems." They quickly note, however, they have "no evidence to date that integrity of elections data has been compromised." Feel better?

Our guest today, Slate's great legal reporter, MARK JOSEPH STERN, is definitely not feeling better after a week of hearings in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, meant to further pack the Republicans' already-stolen Supreme Court with Amy Coney Barrett before Election Day. The hearings revealed little or nothing about Donald Trump's third far-right nominee to the highest court in the land, Stern reports. "It was a terrible week. It was one of the worst on record," he tells me, describing the proceedings as a "deranged power grab" and the nominee as establishing a new low for such hearings.

"Amy Coney Barrett has established a new rule for Supreme Court confirmations, which is that the nominee doesn't just have to be kind of evasive or squirrelly. The nominee can literally say nothing of substance and simply announce a rule at the outset that she won't say anything of substance, and then just swat down questions that try to get her to say anything meaningful."

Barrett refused to (or couldn't?) answer even simple, non-political questions and matters of basic federal law, such as whether it is illegal to intimidate voters at the polls. (It is.) "I don't understand why we all had to go through this entire experience. It was a psychic wound, it was demeaning to all of us. She won't even say whether this federal law exists, whether it is real," Stern observes. "Will she acknowledge that gravity exists?"

Among the many related points we discuss today...

  • While Barrett allies herself with the great myth of the late Justice Antonin Scalia's so-called "Constitutional originalism," is she in fact "a legal lightweight"?;
  • Do Republicans even care about her "remarkable paucity of experience"? (Stern charges: "I don't think that she's necessarily being picked on the merits of her own scholarship.");
  • If SCOTUS nominees are now going to refuse to answer any question on virtually anything, have these hearings and the Advise and Consent clause itself become little more than a meaningless joke at this point?;
  • Is Barrett's bizarre assertion that Roe v. Wade is not a "super-precedent" --- apparently meaning a ruling that cannot be overturned --- actually a real legal concept in any way, shape or form?;
  • What, if anything, was the impact of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse's stunning thirty-minute detailing on Tuesday (video here, transcript here) of the decades-long, $250 million, rightwing dark-money court-packing conspiracy? And did it help Americans appreciate the insidious scam that wealthy rightwingers have been running with the GOP for years now to capture our entire federal judicial system? ("Amy Coney Barrett didn't just magically appear in that seat. She didn't just find herself nominated to the Supreme Court. She has been elevated, propped up, by this massive dark money machine," Stern notes.);
  • Did Democrats do all that they could to highlight the outrage of how Republicans are undermining the very legitimacy of our federal courts, even as Dems have little or no way to stop it right now?;
  • Will Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress have the courage to do the right thing for justice and the American people by expanding the Supreme Court to save cherished American rights and the court system itself IF they are able to win the White House and Senate majority this November?;
  • And, why the hell was ranking Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) hugging the Judiciary Committee Chair, Sen. Lindsey Graham (maskless!), at the end of today's final day of hearings?

All of those questions asked and mostly answered on today's lively --- if maddening --- program...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 10/15/2020 11:24am PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court threatens U.S. climate policy for decades to come; Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse deconstructs the unaccountable dark money takeover of the federal judiciary; PLUS: September 2020 was the hottest ever recorded on the planet... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Nature endorses Joe Biden for US president; Atlantic Ocean warmest it has been for 3000 years; Maui Has Begun the Process of Managed Retreat. It Wants Big Oil to Pay the Cost of Sea Level Rise; Climate Change Has Killed Half of the Great Barrier Reef’s Corals; Solar is now ‘cheapest electricity in history’, confirms IEA; Pope Francis calls on the faithful to act on climate change; Farmers are facing a phosphorus crisis; How Biden would use trade agreements to fight global warming... PLUS: It’s the Energy Policies, Stupid... and much, MUCH more! ...

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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!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: BRAD BLOG legal analyst Ernest A. Canning...
By Brad Friedman on 9/29/2020 4:56pm PT  

I'll try to keep my BradCast summary as short and sweet as possible, as tonight's Presidential Debate in Cleveland begins shortly --- with full special coverage of it on tomorrow's program! [Audio link to today's full show is posted below.]

Among the stories covered today, beginning with some good news and slowly sliding downhill from there...

  • At around 7 points, Joe Biden's current lead in the national polling average against Donald Trump is the largest since Bill Clinton's re-election in 1996. But don't get too excited just yet. We don't run national elections. We run 50 state-by-state elections and it's the Electoral College votes of each of those states that matters, not the popular vote...except for this year, when the popular vote actually could end up making a huge difference in who becomes the next President. I explain why;
  • Biden's pre-election polling lead in the crucial battleground state of Pennsylvania, according to a new WaPo/ABC News poll, is now at a substantive 9 points. With the poll's margin of error factored in, however, it could be a much tighter race that that number suggests in Biden's birth state, which is being seen of late, by both campaigns, as the potential tipping point state for the Electoral College this year. But the news is much more good than bad for Biden in the key battleground, in that he is outperforming Hillary Clinton's 2016 lead over Trump in the noteworthy Dem-leaning parts of the state, and has substantially cut into Trump's 2016 margins in the Republican regions of the state and among voters (for example, white without college degrees) that Trump would need to repeat his very narrow reported victory in the Keystone State four years ago;
  • There are, however, many "X Factors" this year that should prevent anyone from thinking they know anything about how all of this could ultimately play out based on either national or battleground state polling numbers --- from the pandemic and the unprecedented number of absentee ballots this year, to the US Postal Service slowdowns, to new, unverifiable touchscreen voting systems in many locations, to the GOP's stolen U.S. Supreme Court and how those "Radicals in Robes" could still help game the system between now and Election Day (and in the days after), particularly if Republicans are able to steal an even larger the majority by ramming Trump's SCOTUS nominee Amy Coney Barrett onto the Court before Election Day, as Senate Republicans currently intend;
  • One of those "X Factors," for example, is playing out right now in New York City today, where the Board of Elections has an apparent disaster on its hands after their vendor sent out tens of thousands of mail-in ballots with the wrong names and addresses printed on the accompanying return envelopes. The BOE claims they will make good on the problem by getting corrected envelopes to voters in time to vote, but once again, chaos reigns for voters in Brooklyn, who are asked by the BOE to contact Apply4Absentee@boe.nyc or call 1-866-VOTE-NYC if they received an absentee ballot with the incorrect name or address on the return envelope;
  • Meanwhile, ballot battles continue in both state and federal courts regarding, among other things, how long after Election Day that mail ballots in swingstates like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and North Carolina may arrive at County headquarters to still be included in the final results. We're joined today by BRAD BLOG's long-serving legal analyst ERNEST A. CANNING to discuss some of those cases and how the U.S. Supreme Court's so-called "Purcell Principle" may serve to overturn (or uphold) rulings in both lower federal courts and in state Supreme Courts. Canning also offers some thoughts on Trump's nomination of Barrett to SCOTUS and how the latest Federalist Society-backed judge to be packed onto the high court illustrates the sweeping lurch to the radical right on our federal court system over the past 40 years;
  • Finally, we close with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report. The news she's got today is pretty grim...but don't blame Desi. There ain't much good news out there to work with these days...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: CLC's Brendan Fischer on an extraordinary new Trump grift; Also: Stop cowering at and covering his wannabe dictatorial tweets!...
By Brad Friedman on 7/31/2020 6:06pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the grifts continue --- huge new ones that few yet know about --- but too many are focused on Donald Trump's latest distractions to notice. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up today: Please stop taking Trump's bait. His tweet on Thursday suggesting the postponement of the November election was little more than an attempt to distract from the day's very real news, including the horrific numbers from the Commerce Department (finding that the U.S. economy had plunged a record, unprecedented, staggering annualized 33% in the second quarter.). It worked. Media fell for it, and so did you, even though the President of the United States has no power to change the date of the Presidential election. The tweet not only helped to flip the entire day's news cycle, it also further terrorized the nation and helped to reinforce his desperate narrative that the 2020 election will be "the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history."

Democrats need to stop cowering in fear at Trump's wannabe dictatorial pronouncements. As Josh Marshall correctly wrote in response, "I understand everyone is afraid. But this is loser talk." The anti-Trump Republicans at the Lincoln Project ain't buying it. And the co-founder of the far-right Federalist Society has called for Trump's immediate impeachment because of it. Media need to learn to stop allowing Trump to hijack the news cycle and Americans need to learn to stop cowering in fear of Trump, despite his only actual talent: masterfully tricking both you and the media into falling for his pathetic manipulation.

Next up, the powerful Republican Speaker of the House, Larry Householder, who was arrested and charged last week by federal prosecutors in a massive, $60 million bribery, money laundering and racketeering scheme, has now been removed from the Speaker position in a unanimous bipartisan vote of the Buckeye State's House of Representatives. Householder and four others (including a senior aide, a former state GOP chair, and two top energy industry lobbyists) were charged in a racketeering scheme funded by FirstEnergy. The scheme was used to force a wildly unpopular bill through the state legislature last year that raised electricity bills on Ohio ratepayers to bail out two failing, hyper-polluting coal plants and two failing nuclear plants, while gutting the state's successful renewable energy and efficiency programs.

Despite the felony charges and lost speakership, Householder has yet to resign, the corrupt $1.5 billion House Bill 6 is still on the books, and Ohio's Republican Governor, Mike DeWine, who quickly signed the measure, still has some explaining to do. But while that scheme, described by federal prosecutors last week as the "the largest bribery, money laundering scheme ever perpetrated against the people of the state of Ohio," allegedly netted Householder some $60 million in bribes from FirstEnergy, laundered through a non-profit front group, it may pale in comparison to what one good government group now charges the Trump reelection campaign is doing.

Earlier this week, the non-partisan watchdog Campaign Legal Center (CLC), headed up by a former Republican Chair of the Federal Elections Commission, filed a new complaint with the FEC charging that the Trump Campaign and a joint fundraising committee is violating federal law by "laundering" nearly $170 million in campaign spending through firms headed up by Trump's former campaign manager, Brad Parscale (pictured above). The money, according to my guest today, CLC's Director of Federal Reform, BRENDAN FISCHER, is secretly being funneled to Trump associates and even family members.

"We've never seen anything like this. The scope and scale of this secrecy scheme is unprecedented," Fischer says, explaining how tens of millions of dollars in campaign ad buys and other large campaign expenses are all being run through two companies created by Parscale. One is called American Made Media and the other is Parscale Strategies. The campaign has claimed the companies are being used to save money by cutting out middle-man vendors, but CLC has discovered that the companies are being used as pass-throughs, and that sub-contracted vendors are making ad buys on behalf of the Trump Campaign anyway. Moreover, those vendors are not being disclosed, as required by campaign finance law, on the Campaign's financial disclosure forms. That, as Fischer tells me, means that payments are being hidden for campaign work, including potentially millions of dollars siphoned to groups with whom it is unlawful for the Campaign to coordinate efforts, and even to Trump associates and family members like Lara Trump (Eric Trump's wife) and former Fox "News" host Kimberly Guilfoyle (Donald Trump Jr.'s girlfriend).

"These two Parscale firms are being used only as pass-throughs to disguise the ultimate recipients of the money," Fischer and the CLC complaint alleging civil violations of campaign finance laws charge. "If the Trump Campaign gets away with this, it's just going to become a common practice. It's going to get replicated by campaigns, both Democrat and Republican, to disguise all of their political spending," he warns, adding that "if there was evidence that the violation was knowing and willful, there potentially could be criminal penalties."

Fischer offers many more details on what CLC knows and, due to the purposeful obfuscation through campaign finance records, what they still don't know, but hope that FEC investigators will be able to find out. We also discuss the dysfunction of the impossibly broken FEC and how that may affect action on this new and very serious complaint.

Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen for our latest Green News Report on Trump's visit to Texas to help sell dirty oil while undermining the state's growing wind industry and lying about Joe Biden. Also, we cover the latest storm now barreling towards Florida as this year's record Hurricane Season continues and those "mystery seeds" that many are reporting as showing up in the mail from China...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Slate legal reporter Mark Joseph Stern on Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the Constitutional rights he is likely to help overturn, and his background as a Federalist Society-trained party 'apparatchik'...
By Brad Friedman on 7/10/2018 5:41pm PT  

Democrats, abortion rights activists, environmentalists and civil libertarians, among others, are beginning to marshal their forces in opposition to Donald Trump's pick to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court. But that fight will be an uphill battle with unapologetic Senate Republicans who blocked President Obama's pick for the court for nearly a year, now promising a vote before this November's midterms while they still enjoy the slimmest of majorities in the U.S. Senate.

On today's BradCast [audio file to show linked below], we look at the legal history and political background of Trump's nominee for the post, Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. We're joined for that conversation by Slate's great legal reporter MARK JOSEPH STERN, who has been covering all things SCOTUS for us of late.

Stern counters, among other things, Trump's assertion during his Monday night announcement that Kavanaugh is a "thought leader" and "brilliant jurist". He details how the 53-year old federal appeals court judge uses cookie-cutter legal phrases to describe his "judicial philosophy", as crafted for him by the right-wing Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation. Those phrases --- "A judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law. A judge must interpret statutes as written. And a judge must interpret the Constitution as written." --- betray his years of dedication not to individual liberties or laws or the Constitution, but in service to the cause of GOP politics.

"He's doing what Neil Gorsuch did," Stern tells me, "which is to spew out these lines which sound good, if you're not very attuned to legal argot. But what they really mean is 'I'm going to do whatever the hell I want, and I'm going to ascribe this pretextual, orginalist, textualist gleam to it in order to make it seem like I'm maintaining my independence and not just doing favors for Republicans.'"

Stern cites, as evidence, a number of Kavanaugh's rulings on the DC Circuit Court, his service on the Ken Starr commission in the 1990s (which led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton), and his years as loyal White House legal counsel during the George W. Bush Administration. "He is a party man. Brett Kavanaugh is a Republican. He has been a Republican foot soldier in virtually every major Republican legal battle of modern times. He has served that role in his capacity as a judge on the DC Circuit to a 'T'."

We discuss Kavanaugh's road-map for overturning Roe v. Wade's nationwide Constitutional right to an abortion, as he laid out himself in his 2017 opinions attempting to block a lawful abortion sought by a 17-year old undocumented immigrant detained by the Trump Administration. But abortion is hardly the only hard-won right that will be, almost immediately, imperiled if Democrats are unable to block Kavanaugh's confirmation to what will become a very hard right-wing Court with his seating. Key environmental rulings are likely to be overturned, Stern argues, as well as those regarding voting rights, privacy rights, and many others.

Stern also explains why he remains very dubious, at best, that either Maine's Republican Senator Susan Collins or Alaska's Lisa Murkowski will break from their party to vote against Trump's nominee (Collins, he explains, is "not widely known for having a spine" and Murkowski, so far, has shown little sign of having one either) and why, if confirmed, Kavanaugh could decide to blow up years of precedent by refusing to recuse himself from SCOTUS appeals to cases that he has previously heard as a member of the DC Circuit Court.

There is one --- and, really, only one --- thin thread of potentially encouraging news regarding Kavanaugh's nomination. That can be found in his 2009 law review article on whether sitting Presidents may be indicted or face other criminal and civil legal actions. Kavanaugh's written comments on the matter, as we discuss, may, in fact, serve to argue the opposite of what a number of his opponents have been (mis)reporting regarding those remarks. In fact, Kavanaugh's argument suggests a sitting President can, in fact, be indicted under both current law and the U.S. Constitution, for civil and criminal matters alike.

Finally today, we're joined by Desi Doyen for the latest Green News Report and much more related to it, including the early response from environmentalists on Trump's SCOTUS pick, how the recent record-smashing heatwaves we've seen from coast to coast over the past week could become much worse very soon, and how this year's hurricane season has already turned deadly from the Atlantic to the Pacific...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest-host Angie Coiro with Trita Parsi, Brad Adams, Daphne Eviatar, Elena Saxonhouse...
By Angie Coiro on 5/10/2018 7:12pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Trita Parsi helps us make sense of the Israel/Syria attacks. I'm Angie Coiro of In Deep sitting in the host chair today.

Trita Parsi from the National Iranian American Council helps us get through the "they started it" claims around yesterday's attacks. We spend some time deconstructing media reports and voices on the issue. He talks, too, about the Americans still held hostage in Iran, and potential long-term consequences of Trump pulling out of the nuclear agreement.

Then Brad Adams of Human Rights Watch talks about the release of American hostages from North Korea. I ask him about Israel kicking a Human Rights Watch employee out, based on his support of the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Then it's back to Gina Haspel, as more news came out today about inaccuracies in her Senate testimony. Daphne Eviatar of Amnesty International details Amnesty's call for Haspel's CIA bid to be rejected.

Finally, we dig to the source of all those troublesome Scott Pruitt emails with Elena Saxonhouse, senior attorney with the Sierra Club. It was the Sierra Club's dogged insistence on getting 24,000 pages of emails that opened up all those tales.

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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By Brad Friedman on 12/15/2017 6:21pm PT  

On today's BradCast, a spoonful or two of sugar where we can find it, along with much too much bitter medicine. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Among the stories covered on today's jam-packed 'BradCast'...

First up: The massively unpopular Republican tax scam lurches toward the finish line after the last of the pretend GOP hold-outs in the U.S. Senate now seem to be on board. They all know it's a scam, of course, one that will not, as they pretend, "pay for itself". And most predict the tax bill will gravely hurt the GOP's chances of holding on to the U.S. House in 2018. But they don't seem to care for some reason Moreover, they are openly admitting publicly that they are coming for cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid almost as soon as the largest redistribution of wealth from the poor and middle class to corporations and the wealthy in the history of the nation is completed before Christmas.

Then: Earlier in the week, Trump's beleaguered Sec. of State Rex Tillerson had announced that the U.S. was ready to meet with the North Koreans for peace talks without preconditions. By week's end, however, that hopeful message of potential peace took a drastic u-turn, as Tillerson appears to have reversed course at the last minute during his remarks at the U.N. on Friday.

Meanwhile, even though they have, up until now, failed to enact any major legislation to date, Trump and the Republicans have been wildly successful at ramming lifetime appointments of radical right-wing jurists to the federal bench through the U.S. Senate. Some of those appointees have been ridiculously unqualified, though at least one Senate Republican is beginning to put the brakes on those nominees. We share part of the astonishing Senate Judiciary Committee colloquy this week between Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) and Mark Spencer Petersen, Trump's embarrassingly unqualified nominee for a lifetime post on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Finally, we get to at least a spoonful of sugar with a musical tribute to the apparently failed U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama, plummeting approval ratings for the President, the Vice-President and the entire Republican Party, and the hilarious case of pretty much every member of the Trump family in D.C. successfully suppressing their own votes in last month's New York mayoral election.

All of that and much more in today's BradCast. Enjoy!

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By Brad Friedman on 11/17/2017 6:17pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's astonishing how many GOP policies, practices and nominees must be pushed through by force, scheming, lying and the breaking of norms and traditions. If any of the stuff they are pushing was actually popular and sought by voters, it doesn't seem like the strong-arm tactics would be necessary. But... [Audio link to show follows below.]

Among the stories covered on today's show:

  • Nebraska law disallows state officials from considering Thursday's massive Keystone Pipeline tarsands oil spill in South Dakota in their upcoming decision on permits to build the even larger and more dangerous KeystoneXL Pipeline expansion in Nebraska;
  • Things are getting ugly in the U.S. Senate Finance Committee as the GOP attempts to ram through massive, unpopular tax cuts for the rich before the Thanksgiving break;
  • Even Fox "News" now finds Alabama's GOP U.S. Senate nominee Roy Moore to be in trouble with voters before the December 12 special election, following growing allegations of sexual assault on minors;
  • The U.S. Senate Judiciary Chair does away with 100-year old "blue slip" tradition in order to ram through more of Trump's lifetime appointments to the federal bench;
  • Those appointees, a new analysis finds, are almost exclusively white and male;
  • They're also "not qualified", dishonest and racist, as investigative journalists have recently discovered;
  • So are Trump's appointees to other areas of the federal government, more of whom were forced to resign in disgrace this week;
  • In other "Filling the Swamp" news, Trump continues to spin the revolving door with Big Pharma exec nominated to head Health and Human Services (HHS), a Big Coal exec gets rammed through the Senate to head the office of Mining Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), but one wildly inappropriate appointee to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may actually get blocked...by Senate Republicans! What are the odds? Well, we'll believe it when --- and if --- we actually see it...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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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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