Friday, April 28, 2023

Last Call For Jury-Rigged Gerrymander

When Democrats win state supreme Court races as in Michigan and Wisconsin (or force appointments of liberals as in New York) it opens up a huge realm of possibilities for real progress. 

The North Carolina Supreme Court has overturned its own past ruling that said partisan gerrymandering is illegal, clearing the way for Republicans there to redraw the state’s congressional lines in a way that heavily favors the GOP.

The ruling clears the way for North Carolina legislators to aggressively gerrymander the congressional map, which is currently represented by seven Democrats and seven Republicans. Now Republicans in Raleigh could re-create the map they initially passed last cycle which a Democratic-controlled state Supreme Court struck down, netting as many as four seats.

The court issued a 5-2 decision, with the court’s Republican justices voting to overturn the past ruling and the two Democratic justices dissenting. The court flipped from 4-3 Democratic control to 5-2 Republican control during elections last November.

The state court’s ruling issued Friday could also result in the U.S. Supreme Court dropping a closely watched case about the power of state legislatures over federal elections. The justices heard arguments on the issue in December, but signaled last month that they were considering changing course as a result of the effort to get the North Carolina court to reverse its earlier ruling.

In a separate ruling, the court also overturned another one of its past decisions on a voter ID law, on a similar 5-2 split strictly along party lines. That ruling issued Friday will clear the way for a long-litigated photo ID law to go into effect in the state.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder, who now runs a Democratic redistricting group, denounced the ruling as a nakedly political exercise.

“This shameful, delegitimizing decision to allow the unjust, blatant manipulation of North Carolina’s voting districts was not a function of legal principle, it was a function of political personnel and partisan opportunism,” Holder said in a statement. “Neither the map nor the law have changed since last year’s landmark rulings — only the makeup of the majority of the North Carolina Supreme Court has changed.”

The previous Democratic majority on the state court issued a series of recent decisions in the last year that ruled that partisan gerrymandering was illegal in North Carolina, while also blocking implementation of the state’s photo ID law. The new majority’s decision to rehear arguments on these cases so quickly was an unusual one, and many court observers believed the decision to do so meant that it was a matter of when, not if, the new court would allow for partisan gerrymandering.

In a lengthy decision issued by the court Friday, the conservative justices concluded that they could not adjudicate claims of partisan gerrymandering, saying that is the role of the state legislature.

“There is no judicially manageable standard by which to adjudicate partisan gerrymandering claims. Courts are not intended to meddle in policy matters,” Chief Justice Paul Newby wrote in his 144-page opinion for the court’s majority.
To recap, the corrupt Roberts Court ruled that federal courts have no business interfering in state redistricting because the Voting Rights Act exists to stop disenfranchisement. This of course was just after Chief Justice Roberts gutted the same VRA, making it unenforceable.

Now North Carolina's GOP state supreme court has ruled that the state legislature has ultimate power, and can gerrymander how it sees fit.

Which they will, locking in GOP one-party rule for decades to come.

Like Ohio before it, NC will be a permanent red state by 2024, and along with it will come corrupt one-party GOP rule.

Only by voting in massive numbers will the needle be moved now.

Supremely Corrupt Crooks, Cads, And Creeps

SCOTUS conservatives are corrupt as hell.

A 2018 Senate investigation that found there was “no evidence” to substantiate any of the claims of sexual assault against the US supreme court justice Brett Kavanaugh contained serious omissions, according to new information obtained by the Guardian.

The 28-page report was released by the Republican senator Chuck Grassley, the then chairman of the Senate judiciary committee. It prominently included an unfounded and unverified claim that one of Kavanaugh’s accusers – a fellow Yale graduate named Deborah Ramirez – was “likely” mistaken when she alleged that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a dormitory party because another Yale student was allegedly known for such acts.

The suggestion that Kavanaugh was the victim of mistaken identity was sent to the judiciary committee by a Colorado-based attorney named Joseph C Smith Jr, according to a non-redacted copy of a 2018 email obtained by the Guardian. Smith was a friend and former colleague of the judiciary committee’s then lead counsel, Mike Davis.

Smith was also a member of the Federalist Society, which strongly supported Kavanaugh’s supreme court nomination, and appears to have a professional relationship with the Federalist Society’s co-founder, Leonard Leo, whom he thanked in the acknowledgments of his book Under God: George Washington and the Question of Church and State.

Smith wrote to Davis in the 29 September 2018 email that he was in a class behind Kavanaugh and Ramirez (who graduated in the class of 1987) and believed Ramirez was likely mistaken in identifying Kavanaugh.

Instead, Smith said it was a fellow classmate named Jack Maxey, who was a member of Kavanaugh’s fraternity, who allegedly had a “reputation” for exposing himself, and had once done so at a party. To back his claim, Smith also attached a photograph of Maxey exposing himself in his fraternity’s 1988 yearbook picture.

The allegation that Ramirez was likely mistaken was included in the Senate committee’s final report even though Maxey – who was described but not named – was not attending Yale at the time of the alleged incident.

In an interview with the Guardian, Maxey confirmed that he was still a senior in high school at the time of the alleged incident, and said he had never been contacted by any of the Republican staffers who were conducting the investigation.

“I was not at Yale,” he said. “I was a senior in high school at the time. I was not in New Haven.” He added: “These people can say what they want, and there are no consequences, ever.”

The revelation raises new questions about apparent efforts to downplay and discredit accusations of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh and exclude evidence that supported an alleged victim’s claims.
So yeah, Kavanaugh straight-up lied about his alibi on that, and he had help lying about it, aided and abetted by the Federalist Society and the Senate GOP.

Seems like we have a wildly illegitimate court here and when your least horrible member on the conservative side is Amy Coney Barrett, you've got serious problems...

Ron's Gone Wrong, Con't

Team Biden has figured out that Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis having school libraries living in fear and banning books to keep from being defunded is, you know, a major vulnerability for the entire Republican party.

Presidential campaigns often are waged on whether or not the country is ready to “turn the page.” President Joe Biden wants his reelection bid to hinge on whether or not there is a page to turn.

The president’s team has made the issue of book banning a surprisingly central element of his campaign’s opening salvos. He referred to GOP efforts to restrict curriculum — Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye” was the third most banned title in America last year — in his first two campaign videos. He presents himself in each video as the defender of the country’s core values, a bulwark against an extreme Republican Party rolling back America’s freedoms.

The campaign’s first TV ad, a 90-second spot running in seven states over the next two weeks as part of a seven-figure buy, warns Republicans “seek to overturn elections, ban books and eliminate a woman’s right to choose.” Biden followed up with a tweet hitting “MAGA extremists … telling you what books should be in your kids’ schools.” That followed the explicit reference to book bans in Biden’s launch announcement video Tuesday.

The early focus on book banning is part of the campaign’s attempt to reinforce a broader message, said one Democratic adviser involved in the effort: Biden is the only one standing between the American people and a Republican Party determined to roll back rights and limit freedoms.

“People just don’t understand why we should ban books from libraries,” said the adviser, who spoke with candor about the campaign’s strategy on the condition of anonymity. “So it’s a measure of extremism and another thing [Republicans] are trying to take away.”

Biden’s message is based on mounds of research by Democratic pollsters over the last several months, as the president’s advisers and the Democratic National Committee have expanded the constellation of pollsters and data analysts tracking voter attitudes and the effectiveness of certain messages.

The potency of book bans, along with issues like abortion and gun safety, is quite clear, according to multiple people familiar with the campaign’s data.

“Book banning tests off the charts,” said Celinda Lake, one of the Democratic pollsters who tested the issue for Democrats. “People are adamantly opposed to it and, unlike some other issues that are newer, voters already have an adopted schema around book banning. They associate it with really authoritarian regimes, Nazi Germany.”

Authoritarian book bans: poll-tested, voter disapproved!

I keep seeing all this agita over Biden being too old and too unpopular to win a second term, and all I have to say is "It's pretty easy to beat the party that's in the news weekly for banning books in schools and public libraries."

At least, I hope it is.  I mean, it's not like Trump is disagreeing with the concept, either.

Or, anyone in the GOP, for that matter. This is a slam dunk and I'm glad to see Biden opening with the most obvious "These parties are not the same" comparison in decades.
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