Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Last Call For Cawthorne Called Out

A group of petitioners in North Carolina are filing papers claiming that GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn is ineligible for office under the state Constitution because of his participation in the January 6th insurrection.

A Bernie Sanders-backed group has launched a long-shot bid to keep North Carolina Representative Madison Cawthorn off the ballot in this year’s midterms by claiming his alleged support for the 6 January insurrection renders him ineligible to serve in Congress.

A petition by a group of Tarheel State voters who are making the challenge to Mr Cawthorn’s eligibility was filed with the North Carolina state board of elections last week as part of a campaign progressive groups Free Speech for People and Our Revolution are staging in hopes of using an obscure section of the 14th Amendment to keep a number of GOP figures from seeking reelection.

Enacted in 1868 as part of the Reconstruction process after the US Civil War, the 14th Amendment is now mainly known for guaranteeing birthright citizenship to anyone born on American soil, and for its guarantees of “due process” and “equal protection” to all citizens.

But the challengers opposing Mr Cawthorn’s candidacy hope the board will apply a North Carolina law allowing them to challenge a candidate’s eligibility by filing an affidavit articulating their “reasonable suspicion” that he is barred from holding officer under the third section of the amendment, which states that “no person shall be a … representative in Congress … or hold any office … under the United States … who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress … to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof”.

The amendment does not lay out how such ineligibility would be determined, but in practice the House and Senate have invoked it by a simple majority vote against prospective members. Congress has done so only once since the end of the 19th century when it blocked a Socialist Party of America member named Victor Berger from taking office as a representative from Wisconsin.

Berger, who had been convicted of violating the Espionage Act by opposing the US entry into the First World War, later successfully sued to have his conviction overturned, removing his ineligibility and allowing him to serve three terms in Congress.

The petition against Mr Cawthorn does not accuse him of violating any laws that would bar his eligibility, but alleges that his support for the protests organised on 6 January — including his appearance at the rally on the Ellipse which later featured then-president Donald Trump — combined with his vote against certifying the election amount to involvement “with, at minimum, the planning of events that led to the insurrection”.
Yes, it's a long shot.But it might actually work because in NC, a candidate whose eligibility is challenged has the burden of proof placed upon them to then prove they are indeed eligible. We'll see what happens, most likely the challenge will be dismissed by a Trumpist-friendly judge, but hey.

On the other hand, depending how he reacts to this, Cawthorn will probably commit another insurrection in his defense.

Our Little White Supremacist Domestic Terrorism Problem, Con't

US Attorney General Merrick Garland is taking the threat of Trumpist white supremacist domestic terrorism seriously, enough so to form a special Justice Department unit dedicated to rooting it out.

The Justice Department is establishing a specialized unit focused on domestic terrorism, the department's top national security official told lawmakers Tuesday as he described an “elevated” threat from violent extremists in the United States.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen, testifying just days after the nation observed the one-year anniversary of the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, said the number of FBI investigations into suspected domestic violent extremists has more than doubled since the spring of 2020.

“We have seen a growing threat from those who are motivated by racial animus, as well as those who ascribe to extremist anti-government and anti-authority ideologies,” Olsen said.

Olsen's assessment tracked with a warning last March from FBI Director Christopher Wray, who testified that the threat was “metastasizing.” Jill Sanborn, the executive assistant director in charge of the FBI's national security branch who testified alongside Olsen, said Tuesday the greatest threat comes from lone extremists who radicalize online and look to carry out violence at so-called “soft targets.”

The department's National Security Division, which Olsen leads, has a counterterrorism section. But Olsen told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he has decided to create a specialized domestic terrorism unit “to augment our existing approach" and to “ensure that these cases are properly handled and effectively coordinated” across the country.

The formulation of a new unit underscores the extent to which domestic violence extremism, which for years after the Sept. 11 attacks was overshadowed by the threat of international terrorism, has attracted urgent attention inside the federal government.
Senate Republicans are already Big Mad about it, as are the usual House GOP trogldytes, but the fact is that's where the terrorism is happening right now, folks.

Remember, under Trump, these attacks were dismissed if not actively covered for.


Ridin' Over Biden

President Biden will be in Georgia today to announce he's backing Chuck Schumer's plan to eliminate the filibuster for voting rights legislation, but the reality is that voting rights activists in the state simply don't give a single damn about what Biden has to say on the subject anymore.

SO MUCH FOR UNITY — Democratic leaders hoped to spend the week before Martin Luther King Jr. Day presenting a united front for voting rights legislation and blasting Republicans as undemocratic.

So much for that.

Multiple high-profile voting rights leaders are planning to skip President JOE BIDEN’s speech on the matter in Atlanta today, dismissing the address as too little too late. “We’re beyond speeches. We’re beyond events,” said LATOSHA BROWN, the leader of Black Voters Matter. (h/t Sam Gringlas from NPR’s Atlanta bureau)

“We do not need any more speeches, we don’t need any more platitudes,” former NAACP of Georgia President JAMES WOODALL told NYT’s Nick Corasaniti and Reid Epstein. “We don’t need any more photo ops. We need action, and that actually is in the form of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, as well as the Freedom to Vote Act — and we need that immediately.”

STACEY ABRAMS won’t be there either, citing a scheduling conflict.

At the same time, Democrats are facing growing doubts within their own ranks about nixing the filibuster to pass the voting bills. Burgess Everett reports that Sen. MARK KELLY (D-Ariz.) is undecided on what to do while Sen. JON TESTER (D-Mont.) admits he’s not crazy about a filibuster “carveout.” That’s aside from Sens. JOE MANCHIN (D-W.Va.) and KYRSTEN SINEMA’s (D-Ariz.) long-stated opposition.

WHAT BIDEN WILL SAY TODAY — Look for him to crank up the heat on the party’s voting push, calling the next few days “a turning point in this nation,” and posing a question: “Will we choose democracy over autocracy, light over shadow, justice over injustice?”

“I know where I stand,” Biden will say, according to a preview shared with Playbook. “I will not yield. I will not flinch. I will defend your right to vote and our democracy against all enemies foreign and domestic. And so the question is where will the institution of [the] United States Senate stand?”

Biden, whose support for the filibuster has softened since taking office, is also expected to reiterate that he backs “changing the Senate rules to ensure it can work again … Because abuse of what was once a rarely used mechanism that is not in the Constitution has injured the body enormously, and its use to protect extreme attacks on the most basic constitutional right is abhorrent.”

A White House aide says Biden will again invoke Jan. 6 and will “describe this as one of the rare moments in a country’s history when time stops and the essential is immediately ripped away from the trivial, and that we have to ensure Jan. 6 doesn’t mark the end of democracy but the beginning of a renaissance for our democracy.”

I don't see how treating Biden like garbage helps advance voting rights. I seriously thought Stacey Abrams had better judgment than to dismiss Biden with a "scheduling conflict" when she's sure as hell going to need him later this year for her campaign rallies for Governor. 

But apparently we're right back to 2010 when "Obama failed us" after passing historic legislation.

I absolutely understand the frustration and anger. But as Jonathan Capehart points out, the actual villain remains Mitch McConnell and the other 49 GOP senators blocking any and all voting rights legislation.

The reality though is that for all the righteous anger in the country, Schumer doesn't have the votes to change the rules. There are still Democrats who refuse to play ball, and it's not just Manchin and Sinema, but Kelly and Tester and even Jeanne Shaheen.

That's not Biden's failure, but it is a failure of the Democrats.

It might be the bridge too far this time. Capehart reminds us that we still have the vote in 2022 to punish Republicans across the country, but most Americans don't care to do so, or they outright support the GOP.

As I keep telling people, the Civil Rights era was an aberration of American history, and that era is now almost certainly over.
Related Posts with Thumbnails