Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Last Call For Ohio Inequality

Over the river in Ohio, a federal judge has used the recent Supreme Court decision striking down parts of DOMA as unconstitutional to rule that a gay couple married in Maryland must have their marriage recognized in the Buckeye State, and that Ohio's 2004 constitutional ban on recognizing other state's same-sex marriages is unlawful.

A federal judge in Ohio ordered state officials Monday to recognize the marriage of two men that was performed in Maryland on the death certificate of an Ohio resident in hospice care who the judge says “is certain to die soon.”

“The end result here and now is that the local Ohio Registrar of death certificates is hereby ORDERED not to accept for recording a death certificate for John Arthur that does not record Mr. Arthur’s status at death as ‘married’ and James Obergefell as his ‘surviving spouse,’” Judge Timothy Black wrote in granting the couple a temporary restraining order Monday. The order is in effect until 5 p.m. Aug. 5, unless the court extends the order at a later date.

By treating lawful same sex marriages differently than it treats lawful opposite sex
marriages,” the judge concluded, Ohio’s 2004 constitutional amendment banning recognition of same-sex couples’ marriages and Ohio’s statute addressing the same issue “likely violate[] the United States Constitution.

That's a pretty big dent in state same-sex marriage bans.  Pretty much all the states that have state bans on performing same-sex marriages also ban state recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states.

SCOTUS practically begged for a state case on banning same-sex marriage, and they'll almost certainly get one soon.

Looking at Ohio’s bans on recognizing same-sex couples’ out-of-state marriages, while acknowledging its recognition of the marriages of opposite-sex couples who would not be allowed to marry in Ohio, Black concluded, “The purpose served by treating same-sex married couples differently than opposite-sex married couples is the same improper purpose that failed in Windsor and in Romer: ‘to impose inequality’ and to make gay citizens unequal under the law.

Ding ding ding! 

When one of these state cases reaches SCOTUS, things are going to get interesting, I suspect.

Great White Way

Well, this is some depressing stuff.  Pew Research's latest poll on President Obama's approval rating has some pretty...what's the word I'm looking for...divided?  Divided breakdowns.  Total, he's at 46% approve, 46% disapprove.  The crosstabs get pretty hinky, but it's the last section on white poll respondents that's a whopper:

My observations:  I'm honestly surprised that among white Republicans, the president's approval numbers are even 6%.  Also, not surprised at all to see one in 5 white Dems unhappy with President Obama.

But to see working class white folks 2 to 1 against this President is astonishing.

If you make less than $75k a year and you're white, you pretty much despise this President, and for the life of me I can't explain why.  I mean, I can postulate.  President Obama has a very positive approval rating among white college graduate women, 55-40.  But 22% among white men without a college degree?  Are you serious?

TNR's Nate Cohn seems to think this isn't quite a complete disaster for POTUS.

But these numbers also show the difficulty of winning with gains among white working class voters alone. Despite Obama’s monumental collapse among white working-class voters, his approval rating is only at minus-5 among registered voters. That might seem like a silly complaint, since the GOP would gladly take a 5-point win in a presidential election. But the GOP won’t sweep the white working-class voters who supported Obama in 2012 but now disapprove of his performance. More than half of them are self-identified Democrats—and it’s tough to imagine that most won’t return to the next Democratic nominee. And if these Democratic white working-class voters ultimately come home, then Democrats would still win, narrowly, on the strength of their resilient "new coalition" of minorities and well-educated whites.

Additional gains among white working class voters will almost certainly be part of the next winning GOP coalition. But it’s hard to win with narrow gains concentrated among a single demographic group. At some point, the GOP will reach the point of diminishing returns, where they start running into the problem of ideology and partisan loyalties. That seems to have happened (at least in this poll) in the South, where Obama hasn’t lost very much additional ground among white voters since last November’s election. And the Electoral College discourages narrow gains: The GOP needs to win back states like Virginia, Colorado, and Florida, where there are fewer white working-class voters than the national average. So it would be prudent for Republicans to broaden their appeal across the board, even if the newest polls suggest they have a particularly fruitful opportunity among downscale whites.

And while the President's approval rating is down sharply among white's up 8 points with Latino voters.

Food for thought.

Not Even Pretending Anymore

North Carolina Republicans, apparently sick of this "nonsense where Democrats are allowed to vote" and all, have decided that removing hurdles to vote just won't work, and if "those people" want to vote, well then they can just be massively inconvenienced like everybody else.  Here's what the NC voter suppression bill will do:

  • Implementing a strict voter ID requirement that bars citizens who don’t have a proper photo ID from casting a ballot.
  • Eliminating same-day voter registration, which allowed residents to register at the polls.
  • Cutting early voting by a full week.
  • Increasing the influence of money in elections by raising the maximum campaign contribution to $5,000 and increasing the limit every two years.
  • Making it easier for voter suppression groups like True The Vote to challenge any voterwho they think may be ineligible by requiring that challengers simply be registered in the same county, rather than precinct, of those they challenge.
  • Vastly increasing the number of “poll observers” and increasing what they’re permitted to do. In 2012, ThinkProgress caught the Romney campaign training such poll observers using highly misleading information.
  • Only permitting citizens to vote in their specific precinct, rather than casting a ballot in any nearby ward or election district. This can lead to widespread confusion, particularly in urban areas where many precincts can often be housed in the same building.
  • Barring young adults from pre-registering as 16- and 17-year-olds, which is permitted by current law, and repealing a state directive that high schools conduct voter registration drives in order to boost turnout among young voters.
  • Prohibiting paid voter registration drives, which tend to register poor and minority citizens.
  • Dismantling three state public financing programs, including the landmark program that funded judicial elections.
  • Weakening disclosure requirements for outside spending groups.
  • Preventing counties from extending polling hours in the event of long lines or other extraordinary circumstances and making it more difficult for them to accommodate elderly or disabled voters with satellite polling sites at nursing homes, for instance.
 It's a greatest hits collection of barely legal voter suppression, all roped into one behemoth of awfulness, and with the Voting Rights Act now defunct, there's nothing anyone can do to stop it.

If passed, HB 589 will almost certainly have a disastrous impact on voting in North Carolina. As Ari Berman notes, 56 percent of North Carolinians voted early in 2012, including a disproportionate number of minorities. In addition, more than 155,000 voters registered to vote at the polls last year. And with 10 percent of North Carolinians — 613,000 people, a third of whom are black and half of whom are registered Democrats — lacking photo ID, it doesn’t take Encyclopedia Brown to figure out which party will be helped by HB 589.

No, it doesn't.  And they're not even pretending any more that they care about anything other than reducing turnout, reducing the number of overall people who can vote, reducing the college vote, reducing the minority vote, and reducing the poor vote.


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