On today's BradCast: With Justice Anthony Kennedy retiring from the U.S. Supreme Court, is all hope lost for overturning partisan (and racial) gerrymanders that have helped to keep Democrats and their voters from enjoying appropriate and Constitutional representation at both the state and federal level?
But, before that today: What appears to be good news from a U.S. District Court striking down the Trump Administration's approval of Kentucky's cruel new work requirement for Medicaid recipients as "arbitrary and capricious", may not end up being quite as good news as it sounds. We explain why.
Next: Trump's tariffs and trade wars are beginning to cost jobs in the U.S., and the first jobs losses are to Trump supporters in Missouri. The next victims could be those who work in the U.S. automobile industry. Of course, all of this could be stopped in its tracks but, apparently, the Republicans who control both houses of Congress have no interest in putting the brakes on this out of control and dangerous Presidency.
Then: The final two weeks of the U.S. Supreme Court's term have been disappointing ones for many, including opponents of both partisan and racial gerrymandering. Federal courts in multiple states had determined that Republican-controlled states (and one Democratic one) had unlawfully and unconstitutionally created U.S. House and state legislative maps that impermissibly prevented voters from being appropriately represented in Congress and state legislatures.
Over the past two weeks, however, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed a lower court ruling that had struck down several racial gerrymanders in Texas, and they also punted three different partisan gerrymandering cases, in Wisconsin, Maryland and North Carolina, back to the lower courts for rehearing. Perhaps the most disappointing such case was Common Cause v. Rucho in the closely divided swing-state of North Carolina, where a federal appeals court found a clear case of partisan gerrymandering and ordered the entire U.S. House map to be redrawn in time for the 2018 midterms.
In that case, the Republicans who drew the map admitted they did so in order to give the GOP a 10 to 3 partisan advantage in U.S. House seats, despite state voters narrowly supporting Obama in 2008, Trump in 2016, and with Democrats winning statewide elections for Governor and Attorney General that same year.
And all of those SCOTUS punts came just before Justice Anthony Kennedy, who gerrymandering opponents had hoped would finally be the swing vote to end the practice of partisan redistricting once and for all, announced his retirement instead.
We're joined today by Common Cause's National Redistricting Manager DAN VICUNA to explain the outcomes and current status of those cases in TX, WI, MD and NC, and how opponents of gerrymandering plan to move ahead now that Kennedy --- their greatest hope for ending the practice nationally, once and for all --- will no longer be on the Court when those cases ultimately return.
"Mind you," Vicuna points out, regarding the thumbs up, for now, that SCOTUS gave to NC to continue using their current partisan gerrymanders in 2018, "the reason why they redrew these maps in 2016, late in a Census redistricting cycle, is because their original map was struck down as an illegal racial gerrymander."
Finally, speaking of the extremist Republican legislature in NC, lawmakers there on Friday approved a statewide initiative for the 2018 ballot, on a partyline vote, that would, if supported voters, amend the state constitution to require Photo ID voting restrictions at the polling place. That, after a law they had passed to do the same thing was struck down in 2016 by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals because it was found to have targeted African-American voters "with almost surgical precision"...
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