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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, October 20, 2014
Congresswoman Sets Impeachment Deadline for Judge Mark Fuller
ALSO: Court unseals divorce docs from first marriage, Fuller attorney dismisses abuse allegations as 'rhetorical questions'...
SCOTUS ALLOWS TEXAS' DISCRIMINATORY GOP PHOTO ID LAW TO USED IN MIDTERMS
Despite uncontested findings striking down the law as a racially-motivated, 'unconstitutional poll tax', it will be implemented this year...
'Dead Heat' and 'Dirty Tricks': The Nightmare Scenario
Maddow warns: 'With this many top of ticket races tied, turnout will be everything...Now we watch for the ways that people will try to stop voters from turning out or from having their votes counted, by hook or by crook'...
Judge Fuller's Attorney Says Wife Beating Thing No Big Deal; 911 AUDIO and Gov. Don Siegelman Disagree
Standalone video of 911 call; First comment on case by imprisoned former AL Gov.; MORE...
Emergency Appeals Filed at SCOTUS to Restore Voting Rights to 600,000 in TX
GOP Photo ID law, which lower court found intentionally discriminatory, is different from recent cases before High Court, say plaintiffs...
'Green News Report' 10/16/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Ryan backs away (sort of) from climate change denial; NatGas isn't a bridge to lower-emissions; PLUS: Did Lockheed-Martin really invent a compact nuclear fusion reactor?...
Previous GNRs: 10/14/14 - 10/9/14 - Archives...
Bloomberg on BRAD BLOG on Judge Richard Posner on Photo ID Voting Laws...
'By the sounds of it, the floor that supported voter-ID laws has just given way'...
'BradCast': Special Coverage of WI, TX, AR Photo ID Rulings
Trouble keeping up with the on-again/off-again court rulings on GOP voter suppression laws? Brad tries to make sense of it all for ya...
WTF?!: FL Gov. Rick Scott Refuses To Appear at Debate With Gov. Charlie Crist
Watch the video. They're calling it 'FanGate'. We're just calling it Florida...
Arkansas Supreme Court Strikes Down State GOP's Photo ID Voting Law
Court determines law, passed over Dem Governor's veto, violates explicit right to vote in state Constitution...
5th Circuit Appeals Panel Restores Texas GOP's 'Discriminatory' Photo ID Law
While not contesting lower court's finding of law's unconstitutionality, judges cite SCOTUS precedent on last minute voting changes...
'Green News Report' 10/14/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Coal wins U.S. Senate debate in KY!; Pentagon: climate change threat to NatSec; Wind power cheapest source of energy; PLUS: September 2014 was hottest ever...
Previous GNRs: 10/9/14 - 10/7/14 - Archives...
Strange But True: Minority Ruled in WI Photo ID Case
A bizarre sidebar to the federal court's ruling in WI, thanks to a quirk in the law and Dems' inability to fill a vacant seat on the 7th Circuit...
Repub Judge Who Approved Nation's 1st Photo ID Law in 2008 Writes Devastating Dissent Against Them
Reagan-appointed Richard Posner pens best case ever against Photo ID voting restrictions...
Liar, Liar: Father and Son Reps Duncan Hunter Just Make Shit Up
Son claims ISIS agents nabbed at Mexican border! Father, as BRAD BLOG reported in 2007, said non-citizens 'rounded up' and 'herded' to vote in CA!...
SCOTUS BLOCKS WI PHOTO ID VOTING LAW
Bad news for GOP and Gov. Scott Walker, good news for voters, as U.S. Supreme Court restores demoracy at last minute to the Badger State...
FEDERAL JUDGE STRIKES DOWN TX GOP'S 'UNCONSTITUTIONAL, DISCRIMINATORY' PHOTO ID VOTING LAW
U.S. District Court judge permanently enjoins GOP law, finds it discriminates, amounts to a poll tax...
ACLU on 'Photo ID Needed to Fly' Canard
They nailed federal Judge Easterbrook's lies about WI's Photo ID voting restriction much more succinctly than we did: 'Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong again'...
'Green News Report' 10/9/14
McConnell & other GOP candidates dodge and retreat from climate denial; U.S. auto fleet achieves record fuel efficiency; PLUS: 'Clean Coal' in Canada?...
Non-KPFK 'BradCast': Special Election Coverage/Primal Scream Edition
This year's elections may be decided by the courts even before Election Day: A BradCast special...
SCOTUS Overturns 4th Circ, Allows NC to End Same-Day Registration, Counting of 'Wrong Precinct' Ballots
100s already disenfranchised; Nation's worst suppression law to have full trial next year...
GAO: Republican Photo ID Voting Restriction Laws Lowered Turnout in KS, TN
Dems tout non-partisan government report to underscore need to fix Voting Rights Act, but there's more to story they aren't mentioning...
Federal Court Tosses VA's Ridiculously Gerrymandered Congressional Map
Ruling by GW Bush appointee is too late for 2014 election, but redrawn map could result in 2 to 3 new Dem U.S. House seats in 2016...
'Green News Report' 10/7/14
LED inventors win Nobel Prize; EPA regs slashed cancer risk 65% in CA; L.A. builds all-electric highway; PLUS: SCOTUS upholds (GW Bush's) EPA ozone regulations...
7th Circuit Offers Blatant FALSEHOODS in Ruling on WI Photo ID Voting Law
No, Photo ID is NOT required for boarding an airplane, no matter how many times wingnuts make the claim to influence a SCOTUS ruling...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

Judge Fuller's attorney again downplays first wife's allegations of domestic violence, substance abuse as 'rhetorical questions'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/20/2014 2:19pm PT  

It's been a very busy few weeks here of late, just trying to keep up with all of the roller coaster court rulings (here's the latest, and its not good), thanks to GOP voter suppression laws around the country. (Your donations to our efforts in that regard help a great deal --- thank you and please!)

So, with a very few minutes pause in the voter suppression action on Friday morning, we were finally able to catch you all up with the latest in the Judge Mark Fuller wife-beating case on Friday.

Naturally, no sooner did we do so, when a few more noteworthy events happened in the case...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Despite uncontested findings of purposeful discrimination in the GOP law, strict new Photo ID restrictions allowed to take effect...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/18/2014 2:52pm PT  

- with Brad Friedman

As the plaintiffs in the otherwise successful challenge to Texas Republicans' polling place Photo ID restriction law pointed out during their emergency petition to the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this week --- after an appeals court panel had temporarily stayed a lower court's determination that the law was discriminatory and thus, stricken down --- it was the High Court itself which, when it gutted a central provision of the Voting Rights Act last year, promised there were other provisions still standing in the landmark VRA that could adequately be used to prevent discriminatory voting laws in all 50 states.

"Our decision in no way affects the permanent, nationwide ban on racial discrimination in voting found in [Section] 2" of the Voting Rights Act, the John Roberts Supreme Court majority declared at the time. Apparently they were just kidding.

As the plaintiffs in the case persuasively argued in a filing at the court on Friday, "If voters cannot be protected after findings --- including a finding of intentional racial discrimination --- and a permanent injunction in a case where there was a year of discovery, nine days of trial, and an exhaustive, comprehensive District Court opinion, then when will they be?"

The answer to that question came back from the Court in the form of a pre-dawn order [PDF] issued Saturday morning upholding the appellate court's ruling that, even though the law, SB 14, is discriminatory, as found by the lower court after a full trial on the merits, the Photo ID restrictions that are likely to disenfranchise some 600,000 legally registered and disproportionately minority voters in the Lone Star State will be back in effect for this November's mid-term elections.

The trial earlier this year, challenging the law under both the U.S. Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act --- the section that SCOTUS had previously announced was more than adequate to protect voters --- determined that the Texas law "creates an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, has an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose." U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos also found in her 147-page ruling, that "SB 14 constitutes an unconstitutional poll tax."

Texas had already required ID for every single polling place voter in the state from 2003 to 2013, and even though state Republicans' even more extreme version of Photo ID restrictions on voting instituted by SB 14 had already been found racially discriminatory by the U.S. Dept. of Justice and again by a U.S. District Court in D.C. based on data supplied by the state of Texas itself, and now, once again, found both discriminatory and unconstitutional by a U.S. District Court in Texas after a full trial, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld an appellate court stay issued this week on the basis that the lower court's ruling came just too close to the election to change the rules at this point.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeal had reasoned that it was better for all 600,000+ voters to face potential disenfranchisement under the racially-motivated law, rather than just a few who might face a poll worker that didn't receive adequate notice that the more restrictive ID law --- the one allowing concealed weapons permits, but not state-issued Student IDs, the one that doesn't even allow U.S. Government Veterans IDs as proof of identity for voting --- had been approved for use. It appears that a majority of Supreme Court Justices agreed.

Like the appellate court, the SCOTUS majority did not dispute any of the District Court's findings nor explain why those findings did not outweigh the "potential" disruption of the Lone Star State's electoral apparatus on the eve of an election. Its cursory order, however, leaves no room for doubt that the Court has expanded what is known as "the Purcell principle" so that, no matter how egregious the law in question, no matter the evidence establishing deliberate racial discrimination and widespread disenfranchisement, the Court will apply a per se rule that an injunction barring the illegal disenfranchisement of voters will be stayed if it is issued in close proximity to the start of an election.

While the SCOTUS majority failed to offer a written opinion to explain their decision to allow massive disenfranchisement in Texas this year, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing on behalf of herself and Justices Sotomayor and Kagan, provided a tightly written dissent offering documented facts and uncontested evidence to support her opinion that the Supreme Court should have vacated the 5th Circuit's last minute stay of the lower court ruling...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 10/17/2014 1:50pm PT  

We really should have taken some time off this past summer, cause it looks like we may not get a good break anytime soon. It may be a much busier November, December and even January than we'd like.

Rachel Maddow highlights what we regard as our personal nightmare scenario: "Almost every legitimately contested, legitimately interesting race in the country --- is tied, right now, with less than three weeks to go"...

Ugh.

"With this many top of the ticket races tied, turnout will be everything," Maddow explains. "So now's the part where we watch for the ways that people will try to stop voters from turning out or from having their votes counted, by hook or by crook. ... Right now, big picture, three weeks out: this is a tie game. Close enough to be fascinating, but also close enough to be stolen"...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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-> Stand-alone video of the 911 AUDIO from Fuller's second wife Kelli
PLUS: Still-imprisoned Gov. Don Siegelman, another victim of Fuller's perfidy, finally comments on reports of federal judge's repeated domestic abuse...
By Brad Friedman on 10/17/2014 6:02am PT  

[This article now cross-published by Salon...]

Recently, the attorney for U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller (Middle District of Alabama) described the incident where the federal judge was arrested and charged for beating his second wife bloody in an Atlanta hotel room in early August as overblown.

This week, his attorney went further in describing allegations that Fuller similarly beat his first wife as little more than "nonsense" and "gossip".

Also this week, Fuller's most famous "victim", former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman (D), has finally spoken out about the entire sordid business.

Fuller's Alabama attorney Barry Ragsdale says that it was only after the release of a video showing an NFL superstar knocking out his then-fiancée in a hotel elevator in Atlantic City that people began to care in the least about a federal judge who, according to the police, repeatedly struck and kicked his second wife Kelli and dragged her around the hotel room by her hair.

"It got caught up in the Ray Rice and NFL scandals, and it's gotten lumped into a category of domestic violence that I don't think it belongs in," Ragsdale said in his attempt to marginalize the incident on behalf of his client, according to the Montgomery Advertiser. "There was not a beating, kicking or slapping in this instance," he says.

Really? Is that the case? Well, aside from the wife, the police and the evidence at the scene suggesting otherwise, let's review the audio from Kelli Fuller's 911 call again to help determine if Ragsdale's claim is credible.

Since the audio, as we originally posted it here last month, was buried inside of a longer video segment from Chris Hayes' MSNBC show, we've taken the liberty to pull out just the audio from the call itself, as played on MSNBC, to put it into its own standalone video for easy reference. Here ya go...

Really, Mr. Ragsdale? No "beating, kicking or slapping in this instance"? The 911 audio evidence strongly suggests otherwise, as did the lacerations and bruises reportedly found on Kelli Fuller's face and legs, the hair found on the floor in the room, and the blood discovered in the bathroom when police responded at the Ritz-Carlton.

We wonder if Fuller, a 2002 George W. Bush lifetime appointee to the federal bench (unless he resigns or is impeached by Congress) with a record for failing to recuse himself when presiding over trials of political opponents, would be impressed with the audio evidence from the 911 call and the testimony of police if it was presented in his court room.

In any event, Ragsdale went on to describe the reaction from the public and the calls for the federal Judge's resignation and/or impeachment from the entire Alabama Congressional delegation (including both of the state's U.S. Senators and all five Congressmen and women), the state's Governor, senior federal judges, and all sorts of newspapers from Alabama (here, here and here) to Washington D.C. as merely "overblown"...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 10/16/2014 3:36pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Rep. Paul Ryan backs away - sort of - from outright climate science denial; Have we reached peak climate change denial?; Turns out natural gas isn't a bridge fuel to a low-emissions future; PLUS: Did a U.S. defense contractor really invent a compact nuclear fusion reactor? Separating fact from fiction... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Appalachian transition: coalfield residents must help themselves to diversify; Green groups sue over EPA GMO pesticide approval; Hanford nuclear workers reveal shoddy practices; Fact and fiction on the Arctic methane bomb; Risks of cheap water; Los Angeles mayor orders water cuts of 20% amid historic drought; Can Africa bypass the pollution phase of development?; Russian natgas shutdown would not hurt Europe; Autism again linked to air pollution ... PLUS: In Wisconsin, Dark Money Got A Mining Company What It Wanted... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Case against GOP Photo ID voting law in Lone Star State is very different than recent cases before the Court, plaintiffs argue
UPDATE: Texas responds, blames 'emergency' on plaintiffs' rush to have case tried before the election...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/16/2014 1:09pm PT  

Attorneys for U.S. Congressman Mark Veasey (D-TX) and other plaintiffs have filed an Emergency Application[PDF] with the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking to restore a lower court ruling that struck down the law last week as intentionally discriminatory and an unconstitutional poll tax. That initial U.S. District Court ruling was subsequently stayed by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this week.

Veasey's application was followed by the filing of another Emergency Application [PDF] by the United States Department of Justice (DoJ). Both were filed with Justice Antonin Scalia who oversees the 5th Circuit. Scalia has instructed the DoJ to respond by 5p ET on Thursday.

Both applications to SCOTUS were filed in the case of Veasey v. Perry in which a U.S. District Court, after a full trial on the merits, imposed a permanent injunction, preventing the State of Texas from implementing the nation's strictest photo ID law, Senate Bill 14 (SB 14).

The District Court determined that, if implemented, SB 14 could disenfranchise more than 600,000 registered Texas voters who are disproportionately black and Hispanic. The District Court not only ruled that SB 14 violated the U.S. Constitution, the Voting Rights Act (VRA) and amounted to an unconstitutional poll tax, but expressly found that it was passed as the result of deliberate and willful racial discrimination.

The emergency petitions ask that the Supreme Court lift the U.S. 5th Circuit's 11th hour stay of the injunction so as to prevent electoral chaos and confusion in the rapidly approaching November election. In the first petition, the Veasey plaintiffs argue that what the 5th Circuit did in this case --- stay a permanent injunction that was issued on the basis of a District Court finding of intentional discrimination after a full trial on the merits --- was "virtually unheard of" in the annals of American jurisprudence.

Plaintiffs contend that the 5th Circuit misapplied a leading Supreme Court case, Purcell v. Gonzalez [PDF] (2006) pertaining to the issuance of injunctions on the eve of a pending election. That case does not, as the 5th Circuit ruled, mandate a per se rule that always precludes changing a law immediately prior to an election. The DoJ contends that no such per se "rule exists, and the court of appeals clearly and demonstrably erred in failing to apply the established stay factors."

Instead, plaintiffs forcefully argue, "The Purcell principle", mandates that an appellate court give deference to the factual findings of the District Court. The 5th Circuit, they add, erred by ignoring the requirement of Purcell that Texas prove it would likely succeed on an appeal. The 5th Circuit also erred, they say, because it failed to balance the state's allegations about possible confusion that might ensue from implementing pre-SB 14 law against the "actual" confusion, chaos and mass disenfranchisement that the District Court, based upon uncontested evidence, concluded would occur if SB 14 is enforced in the November 4th election (early voting begins in TX on October 20th).

"Imagine that a state passed a law, six months before an election, stating that 'Negroes cannot vote,'" the plaintiffs write. "It would be ludicrous for an appellate court to turn around and stay that injunction because of some per se rule that election laws can never change immediately prior to elections"...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 10/16/2014 6:03am PT  

You'll have to scroll down past the initial Ebola stuff, but thereafter, Laurence Arnold and C. Thompson at Bloomberg News offer some nice coverage of The BRAD BLOG's coverage of Reagan-appointed federal Judge Richard Posner's devastating opinion on Photo ID voting laws at the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals last week.

The best line is their closer: "Stay tuned. Because by the sounds of it, the floor that supported voter-ID laws has just given way."

Yup.

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By Brad Friedman on 10/15/2014 11:15pm PT  

Well, KPFK/Pacifica Radio is still on fund drive this week, but there is just too much going on to not do a new BradCast for my network affiliate stations and for you.

So, instead of live from the KPFK studios this week, we are once again "live" from BRAD BLOG World News Headquarters once again for this week's show. (If you heard last week's episode/primal scream, you'll be happy to know that the news this week is considerably more encouraging!)

Having trouble keeping up with the very latest on all of the on again/off again GOP voter suppression laws across the country just over two weeks before Election Day? Me too! So, if you missed any of our roller coaster coverage here at the blog, on all the fine messes over the past week or so, I try to get you all caught up on what you need to know about the latest in the court battles over the unconstitutional Republican Photo ID voting restrictions in Wisconsin, Arkansas and Texas...and on the one devastating appellate court opinion that might ultimately kill them all once and for all.

Buckle up (and please feel free to drop something in the BRAD BLOG Tip Jar while you're listening!)...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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By Brad Friedman on 10/15/2014 5:30pm PT  

Okay, gotta go do a broadcast, so I'll leave it to someone else to explain what the hell this is all about, as just posted moments ago...

* * *

UPDATE: Um...okay...so...I'm now out of the broadcast and...um...here's video of Gov. Rick Scott actually explaining why he had refused to come out on stage at the debate...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Restrictive law, one of nation's strictest, approved by Republicans after veto by Dem Governor, struck down before mid-term election...
By Brad Friedman on 10/15/2014 3:16pm PT  

Good news for voting and democracy fans once again today...

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) --- Arkansas' highest court on Wednesday struck down a state law that requires voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot, ruling the requirement unconstitutional just days before early voting begins for the Nov. 4 election.

In a decision that could have major implications in the state's election, the state Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that determined the law unconstitutionally added a requirement for voting.

The high court noted that the Arkansas Constitution lists specific requirements to vote: that a person be a citizen of both the U.S. and Arkansas, be at least 18 years old, and be lawfully registered. Anything beyond that amounts to a new requirement and is therefore unconstitutional, the court ruled.

"These four qualifications set forth in our state's constitution simply do not include any proof-of-identity requirement," the ruling said.

AP didn't note as much, but the court's ruling was unanimous.

Michael Li of the Brennan Center's Democracy Program said in a statement following today's ruling, that it was "an important victory for the many lifelong Arkansas voters who would have been disenfranchised by one of the strictest photo ID laws in the country." He added: "Today's decision reaffirms that when it comes to voting, the Arkansas Constitution is steadfast in protecting voters."

Earlier this year a state judge declared the law "null and void" after finding in two separate court cases that it violated the state's strict protections of the right to vote. Several weeks later, the state Supreme Court nixed the judge's ruling, but failed to rule, at the time, on the state constitutionality of the law. Now they have.

The Photo ID voting restriction in Arkansas was passed in the state legislature after Republicans took over both chambers in 2013 for the first time since Reconstruction. The bill was vetoed by Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe, but the veto was subsequently overridden by the Republican legislature. As recently noted in a devastating opinion on the Photo ID law in WI (which is currently blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court) written by conservative icon Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, other than in Arkansas, every single strict Photo ID restriction that has been passed over the last several years has been in states where Republicans control both chambers of the state legislature, as well as the Governor's mansion.

As we reported in April, the Arkansas law, Act 595 [PDF], went even further than most similar laws being enacted by Republicans around the country. It requires a photocopied ID to be included with absentee ballots, as well as when voting in person. Notably, however, it does not require strict Photo ID for absentee voters. When voting by absentee ballot, the law allowed, in addition to state-issued Photo ID, for the use of "a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter."

Those allowances would not have been granted to in-person voters under the GOP voting restriction, despite the fact that absentee ballot fraud is far more prevalent than the virtually non-existent cases of polling place impersonation.

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Appellate judges do not challenge lower court findings, but worry about 'confusion', SCOTUS precedent on late voting law changes
UPDATE: Plaintiffs file Emergency Application to Vacate the Appellate Court ruling with SCOTUS...
By Brad Friedman on 10/14/2014 7:21pm PT  

[This article now cross-published by Salon...]

This is not unexpected, though its still disturbing to those concerned about voting rights and the possibility that more than half a million legally registered voters in Texas may not be allowed to vote in this November's election.

A three judge panel on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has, for now, blocked the U.S. District Court's ruling last week in Texas, issued after a full trial on the merits of the law, which had struck down state Republicans' polling place Photo ID voting restriction after finding it deliberately discriminatory and a violation of the U.S. Constitution and federal Voting Rights Act.

Following Tuesday's order by the 5th Circuit [PDF] reversing the lower court ruling, for now, the plaintiffs challenging the state statute said, almost immediately, that they plan to file an emergency appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court to put the law back on hold before the November elections.

Voting rights proponents worry that, if the Court holds true to its recent rulings in voting rights cases in NC, in OH and, most recently, in WI, they are likely to allow TX' discriminatory law to stay in place this November, pending a full hearing on the merits at a later date.

There is, however, some important differences in the TX case than in those other three, which we'll explain in a moment.

Texas had appealed the initial 147-page ruling [PDF] by U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonazles Ramos, issued last week, which found that the Texas Photo ID voting statue, SB 14, "creates an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, has an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose." She also determined that the state requirement that voters produce one of a few very specific types of state-issued Photo ID when voting at the polling place amounted to an "unconstitutional poll tax", since all such ID requires at least some payment by voters...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 10/14/2014 3:54pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Coal wins Kentucky's U.S. Senate debate!; Pentagon warns climate change an immediate threat to national security; East Coast cities could see daily flooding from rising seas within 30 years; Wind power the cheapest source of energy; PLUS: It's official: September 2014 was the hottest September on record globally (Don't tell Fox 'News'!)... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

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By Brad Friedman on 10/13/2014 4:25pm PT  

Hopefully you've read the amazing opinion offered by the conservative, Reagan-appointed appellate court Judge Richard Posner by now, absolutely demolishing both Wisconsin's Republican-enacted Photo ID voting law, and pretty much all others --- including the first-in-the-nation such law in Indiana that Posner himself was responsible for upholding back in 2008!

If not, go read it and then come back. It's that good and that important. Either way, we may have a bit more to say about it in the near future, as it's an absolutely landmark opinion on this issue --- one that we've been covering at The BRAD BLOG for more than a decade now --- even as a dissent.

But there's one fairly amazing sidebar to all of this, at least to me, that I've been meaning to note here --- if only because it seems so bizarre...

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Judge Richard Posner: 'If the WI legislature says witches are a problem, shall WI courts be permitted to conduct witch trials?'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/11/2014 3:04pm PT  

[This article now cross-published by Salon...]

If you read just one top-to-bottom dismantling of every supposed premise in support of disenfranchising Photo ID voting restrictions laws in your lifetime, let it be this one [PDF]!

It is a dissent, released on Friday, written by Judge Richard Posner, the Reagan-appointed 7th Circuit Court of Appeals judge who was the one who approved the first such Photo ID law in the country (Indiana's) back in 2008, in the landmark Crawford v. Marion County case which went all the way to the Supreme Court, where Posner's ruling was affirmed.

If there was ever evidence that a jurist could change their mind upon review of additional subsequent evidence, this is it. If there was ever a concise and airtight case made against Photo ID laws and the threat they pose to our most basic right to vote, this is it. If there was ever a treatise revealing such laws for the blatantly partisan shell games that they are, this is it.

His dissent includes a devastating response to virtually every false and/or disingenuous rightwing argument/talking point ever put forth in support of Photo ID voting restrictions, describing them as "a mere fig leaf for efforts to disenfranchise voters likely to vote for the political party that does not control the state government."

Posner is, by far, the most widely cited legal scholar of the 20th century, according to The Journal of Legal Studies. His opinions are closely read by the Supreme Court, where the battle over the legality and Constitutionality of Photo ID voting laws will almost certainly wind up at some point in the not too distant future. That's just one of the reasons why this opinion is so important.

This opinion, written on behalf of five judges on the 7th Circuit, thoroughly disabuses such notions such as: these laws are meant to deal with a phantom voter fraud concern ("Out of 146 million registered voters, this is a ratio of one case of voter fraud for every 14.6 million eligible voters"); that evidence shows them to be little more than baldly partisan attempts to keep Democratic voters from voting ("conservative states try to make it difficult for people who are outside the mainstream...to vote"); that rightwing partisan outfits like True the Vote, which support such laws, present "evidence" of impersonation fraud that is "downright goofy, if not paranoid"; and the notion that even though there is virtually zero fraud that could even possibly be deterred by Photo ID restrictions, the fact that the public thinks there is, is a lousy reason to disenfranchise voters since there is no evidence that such laws actually increase public confidence in elections and, as new studies now reveal, such laws have indeed served to suppress turnout in states where they have been enacted.

There is far too much in it to appropriately encapsulate here for now. Ya just really need to take some time to read it in full. But it was written, largely, in response to the Appellate Court ruling last week by rightwing Judge Frank Easterbrook which contained one embarrassing falsehood and error after another, including the canards about Photo ID being required to board airplanes, open bank accounts, buy beer and guns, etc. We took apart just that one paragraph of Easterbrook's ruling last week here, but Posner takes apart his colleague's entire, error-riddled mess of a ruling in this response.

Amongst my favorite passages (and there are so many), this one [emphasis added]...

The panel is not troubled by the absence of evidence. It deems the supposed beneficial effect of photo ID requirements on public confidence in the electoral system "'a legislative fact'-a proposition about the state of the world," and asserts that "on matters of legislative fact, courts accept the findings of legislatures and judges of the lower courts must accept findings by the Supreme Court." In so saying, the panel conjures up a fact-free cocoon in which to lodge the federal judiciary. As there is no evidence that voter impersonation fraud is a problem, how can the fact that a legislature says it's a problem turn it into one? If the Wisconsin legislature says witches are a problem, shall Wisconsin courts be permitted to conduct witch trials? If the Supreme Court once thought that requiring photo identification increases public confidence in elections, and experience and academic study since shows that the Court was mistaken, do we do a favor to the Court-do we increase public confidence in elections-by making the mistake a premise of our decision? Pressed to its logical extreme the panel's interpretation of and deference to legislative facts would require upholding a photo ID voter law even if it were uncontested that the law eliminated no fraud but did depress turnout significantly.

And this one...

There is only one motivation for imposing burdens on voting that are ostensibly designed to discourage voter-impersonation fraud, if there is no actual danger of such fraud, and that is to discourage voting by persons likely to vote against the party responsible for imposing the burdens.

And remember, once again, this is written by Richard Posner, the conservative Republican icon of a federal appellate court judge --- the judge who wrote the opinion on behalf of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals approving of the first such Photo ID law in the country in 2008, the very case that rightwingers from Texas to Wisconsin now cite over and over (almost always incorrectly) in support of similar such laws --- now, clearly admitting that he got the entire thing wrong.

One last point (for now): Our legal analyst Ernie Canning, who (along with me) will undoubtedly have much more to say on this dissent in upcoming days, suggests we award The BRAD BLOG's almost-never-anymore-bestowed Intellectually Honest Conservative Award to Judge Posner. And so it shall be.

Now go read Posner's dissent...

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Making shit up about alien invasions of one form or another is a long family tradition for the Republican U.S. Congressmen from CA...
By Brad Friedman on 10/10/2014 1:57pm PT  

California Congressman Duncan D. Hunter (R) is in the middle of an amusing kerfuffle after claiming that he was told by unnamed U.S. Border Patrol agents that "ISIS is coming across the southern border," and will soon be "bombing American cities [after] coming across from Mexico." Most disturbing, he also said that while several of the Islamic terrorists had already been nabbed by federal agents, more have most likely slipped through and are amongst us even now!

"I know that at least 10 ISIS fighters have been caught coming across the Mexican border in Texas," the Congressman told a dubious Greta Van Susteren on Fox "News" earlier this week. Though those 10, luckily, were taken into custody, Hunter added, "you know there's going to be dozens more that did not get caught by the Border Patrol."

The Dept. of Homeland Security, however, has denied the claim, calling it "categorically false, and not supported by any credible intelligence or the facts on the ground." The Mexican Embassy has similarly disputed it. Politifact investigated the matter, before describing it as "incorrect and ridiculous" and rating it a "Pants on Fire" lie. And now other Republicans are being forced to grapple with how and whether to back up their colleague or not.

Nonetheless, Hunter Jr. is sticking by his alarming claim.

But this is hardly the first time a California Congressman named Duncan Hunter went on record, on television, during the heat of a campaign to simply make shit up about scary aliens sneaking across the border to come into our country and undermine our very way of life.

As The BRAD BLOG highlighted in 2007, Hunter Jr.'s father, now-retired Rep. Duncan Hunter Sr. --- who held the same Congressional seat his son holds now --- offered a similarly outrageous and apparently bald-faced lie while pretending to run for President that year.

Then, as now, Republicans were in the middle of attempting to enact disenfranchising Photo ID voting restrictions in the lead up to the election, akin to the very same ones blocked by the Supreme Court in WI and struck down as discriminatory and an "unconstitutional poll tax" by a federal judge in TX last night.

During a PBS-sponsored Republican Presidential debate that year, in response to a panelist's question, Hunter the Elder offered a blatant whopper about non-citizens "being round up [and] herded into the polls" to vote, claiming, with no apparent evidence to back him up whatsoever, that "we've seen that in California" in past elections.

Like Boy Hunter's recent claim on Fox "News", Father Hunter's response to debate moderator, Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Cynthia Tucker, appears to have been simply made up out of (nearly) whole cloth...

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