Donald Trump’s attorneys saw a direct appeal to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as their best hope of derailing Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential election, according to emails newly disclosed to congressional investigators.
“We want to frame things so that Thomas could be the one to issue some sort of stay or other circuit justice opinion saying Georgia is in legitimate doubt,” Trump attorney Kenneth Chesebro wrote in a Dec. 31, 2020, email to Trump’s legal team. Chesebro contended that Thomas would be “our only chance to get a favorable judicial opinion by Jan. 6, which might hold up the Georgia count in Congress.”
“I think I agree with this,” attorney John Eastman replied later that morning, suggesting that a favorable move by Thomas or other justices would “kick the Georgia legislature into gear” to help overturn the election results.
The messages were part of a batch of eight emails — obtained by POLITICO — that Eastman had sought to withhold from the Jan. 6 select committee but that a judge ordered turned over anyway, describing them as evidence of likely crimes committed by Eastman and Trump. They were transmitted to the select committee by Eastman’s attorneys last week, but remained largely under wraps until early Wednesday morning.
House General Counsel Douglas Letter acknowledged Wednesday afternoon that his office effectively released the messages by including a link to them in copies of messages publicly filed with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
“We were not aware that the links in Dr. Eastman’s email remained active, and had no intention to provide this type of public access to the materials at this stage. Providing public access to this material at this point was purely inadvertent on our part,” Letter told the appeals court in a brief letter. The emails, as produced to the committee, included formatting errors that removed “i”s and “l”s. POLITICO has included the missing letters for clarity.
Wednesday, November 2, 2022
White homeowners can expect their homes’ values to increase at twice the rate of homeowners of color, a stark confirmation of systemic racial bias in home appraisals, according to a new report.
Despite ongoing accounts of ingrained discrimination over the past two years, researchers exploring racial inequality in the housing market have not had access to appraisals. This changed last week, when, following a directive from the Biden administration, the Federal Housing Finance Agency released 47 million appraisal reports to the public for the first time.
The appraisals, which were compiled between 2013 and 2021, present evidence of a persistent, widespread practice in the home appraisal industry to give higher values to homes when the occupants are white, and devalue them if the owners are people of color.
Analyzing the millions of appraisals by using census tracts as a proxy for neighborhoods and comparing communities with nearly identical housing stock, two researchers found that the results showed a clear correlation: The higher the proportion of white residents in each community, the higher the appraised value of individual homes.
The researchers restricted their study to neighborhoods in metropolitan areas with at least 500,000 people and at least 50,000 residents of color, and ensured that not only did the houses in the compared communities look similar, but residents were of the same socioeconomic status, and amenities like parks, grocery stores and local services such as banks and post offices were on par.
Set side by side, the only discernible differences in the communities was their racial composition, said the researchers, Junia Howell, a visiting assistant professor of sociology at the University of Illinois Chicago, and Elizabeth Korver-Glenn, an assistant professor of sociology at Washington University in St. Louis. Both are respected sociologists who study segregation, housing markets and racial inequality in American cities. The report was jointly published by Washington University in St. Louis and the nonprofit Eruka, which was founded by Dr. Howell.
Inequity within the appraisal system stems from the housing industry’s long legacy of racism, Dr. Howell said. Policies like redlining, a Depression-era practice that kept homeowners of color out of certain neighborhoods, continue to cast a shadow over communities of color and deny their residents of resources.
“The appraisal system is supposed to be our checks and balances, because it’s supposed to show us how much a home is worth. But we’ve created a system that starts with racism, based on who lives in an area,” Dr. Howell said. “And who lives in what area is always connected to our racial hierarchy. So where white people live, those homes are always valued for more.”
In recent years, dozens of homeowners have made allegations of discrimination, trying to prove bias through what is known as the “whitewashing experiment.” Homeowners scrub their property of any signs that Black people are the occupants.
After a white appraiser gave their Baltimore-area house a value of $472,000 last year, Nathan Connolly and his wife, Shani Mott, both professors at Johns Hopkins University, conducted a whitewashing experiment, removing family photos, posters and books from their home and asking a white friend to stand in for them at the door. A second appraiser, unaware a Black family lived in the home, gave the property a value of $750,000.
While many accounts of systematic bias in the appraisal industry have focused on Black homeowners, Dr. Korver-Glenn and Dr. Howell found that the pricing difference was greatest for homes in areas where the population is comprised primarily of other people of color. In 2021, their report says, homes in white neighborhoods were appraised at three times the value of comparable homes in communities where residents were primarily of American Indian, Alaska Native, Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander descent.
On average, homes in neighborhoods where the majority of residents are white are appraised for $371,000 more than in neighborhoods where the majority of residents are people of color, the researchers found. This gap in values has increased 75 percent since 2013.
It's not just a couple of bucks, folks.
It's nearly $400,000.
White wealth in home equity compared to Black wealth for a similar neighborhood, controlled for all other factors, is a one-third of a million dollar tax on non-white homeowners.
If you're white, your home sells for twice the price. There's literally an entire industry enforcing redlining in America through the "free market" and they're all complicit.
But please, white folk, tell me how you're all the victims here, make it about you.
Former prime minister and Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu is poised to become Israel's next prime minister, according to the counting of almost all of the ballots. By Wednesday afternoon, Netanyahu held his lead with more than 80 percent of the votes counted across the country.
Arab party Balad was originally said to be close to crossing the threshold but by Wednesday afternoon that option seemed to dissipate. Had it happened, Netanyahu's bloc would have potentially dropped to 60 seats, one short of a coalition majority. Likud had sent an urgent letter to the police commissioner on Tuesday night demanding that allegations of voter fraud in the Arab sector be immediately investigated.
According to the exit polls on Tuesday night, Netanyahu's bloc, which includes Likud, Religious Zionist Party (RZP), United Torah Judaism (UTJ) and Shas, crossed the 61-seat threshold and will be able to form the next coalition.
Netanyahu's Likud party was expected to receive 31 seats according to Channel 12 and 32 seats according to Channel 13, while Lapid's Yesh Atid party is expected to get 23 seats according to both polls.
The Religious Zionist Party - led by Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich - saw a dramatic rise in contrast to previous years with channels reporting between 13-14 seats.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz's National Unity Party is expected to get 11 seats, while Yisrael Beytenu wins five to six seats.
Israel's ultra-Orthodox parties saw a large voter turnout with Shas getting 10 seats in both polls and United Torah Judaism (UTJ) earning seven seats
Meanwhile, Israel's Left managed to keep its head above the water with five seats going to Labor and four seats going to Meretz.
Finally, while there was concern over the turnout of the Arab vote, Hadash-Ta'al is expected to receive either four or five seats and Ra'am is expected to receive five seats. According to all channels, the Netanyahu bloc has 62 seats while the Lapid bloc has 54-53 seats.
The new coalition, if it comes to be, could radically change the face of the country and significantly alter Israel’s status in the global diplomatic community.
Netanyahu is currently on trial for bribery, fraud and breach of trust, an unprecedented situation which barely figured in the 4-month-long election campaign.
His allies have promised to transform the nation’s governing structure by passing a law which would override the Supreme Court and canceling two out of the three crimes with which Netanyahu is charged.
“If the results we are seeing this evening hold true,” Pleaner said, “the coalition that will form the next government is poised to propose a series of reforms that would seek to politicize the judiciary and weaken the checks and balances that exist between the branches of government and serve as fundamental components of Israeli democracy.”